Technology in My Life By: Braedon Graika

At the age of five my oldest brother, Gage, introduced me to the computer game, Sims. From there on out, I was constantly playing video game with either my brothers, friends, or just myself. Through video games a deep love for computers and technology in general grew inside of me. Video games showed me a whole other world that was easily accessible. My parents actually credit video games to me learning how to read more complicated things than simple picture books. This largely came from the fact that my brothers would refuse to constantly read aloud the text on the screen of the games they were playing, this lead to me having to either slowly figure out what was being said or completely lose track of what was happening in the story. From this point on in my life technology to me was the use of any advanced tool for the personal gain of knowledge or entertainment.

Sims may have been my introduction to technology, but Halo 1 made my fall in love with it. My friends and I had countless 4 vs. 4 Halo LAN party sleepovers growing up. There was nothing we enjoyed more at the time than playing Halo, which alone shows how much an impact technology had on me growing up. Sure we rode bikes and played outside, but when it came down to it Halo was always our first choice. We would usually only do other activities when our parents got sick of us sitting around all day.

In seventh grade I received my first personal computer for Christmas. This was amazing for me because before this I could only use my brothers' PCs when they weren't using them. I spent countless hours on World of Warcraft late at night playing on this computer. However, I learned pretty quickly how important virus protection is; after about a year and a half of owning my PC it became extremely bogged down with malware. It got to the point where I couldn't even play WoW because the viruses were eating up so much RAM.

In my junior year of high school I decided to enroll in a Java computer programming class. I initially enrolled because I did well in a digital tools class and my teacher in that class said I should try out computer programming. Little did I know programming is way more complicated than Excel and Word, and I wasn't very talented at first, actually, I was just plain bad at it. However, the idea of nearly limitless options for creation via code sparked my interest in doing something more with computers besides gaming. At the end of the semester a couple friends and I decided to sign up for the Amazon coding competition. We got absolutely crushed, but the experience was awesome. Hearing these Amazon employees talk about making everything from apps to drones solidified my desire to pursue computer programming outside of high school.

In 2012, I made the decision to enroll at WSU as a computer science major. This decision evolved technology’s role in my life from a hobby to my passion. Even though I did a small amount of programming in high school, I never fully grasped the concepts of programming because it was so foreign to me at the time. However, in college everything clicked and coding felt almost natural. From the moment I enrolled on, a large portion of my time has been spent either coding or reading about new technologies being invented or worked on. Being immersed in the world of programming and technology has only made me love it more as I learn more about them.

My third year into computer science at WSU I decided to compete in the WSU Hack-a-thon with two of my friends. We went about trying to create a multiplayer game in 24 hours. We didn't accomplish everything we set out to, however, we did end up with a playable game that was surprisingly fun. This was my first experience trying to create something on my own outside of school. It was extremely challenging in the fact that all parameters and bounds of the project were created by us rather than a teacher. This project was also a great way to intersect the two pieces of technology I've always loved the most: computer programming and video games.

Annotations:

Photo #1 (https://storybird.com): I chose this image because it reminds me of how my oldest brother used to show me how to play video games. At that age I was too small to reach the keyboard and mouse properly while sitting on the chair so I’d sit on my brother’s lap. Also at this age I required someone to be there to show me how to get things up and running on the game. All of my memories of playing games that age involve at least one of my brothers. This picture also kind of reminds me of when I’d stay up late at night watching my brothers play games and constantly bugging them to let me play.

Photo #2 (http://freehalo.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/halo1.jpg): I chose this image of the Halo 1 cover because it's the first thing I saw when I loaded up Halo. Halo is probably the most influential game of my childhood purely because of how much time I spent playing it. Even seeing this image again brings back so many memories of late night Halo parties, Cheetos, and Mountain Dew. Since gaming was my introduction to technology, I had to include the image of gaming that means the most to me. Halo is also meaningful to me because it’s the first game when my friends and I had to learn how to connect multiple consoles to play with each other, in other words we had to learn how to integrate technology in order to involve all of us in the game.

Video #1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nQ2oiVqKHw): I selected this recording of the Windows XP intro jingle because when I first started my PC and heard it, it was a magical moment. That sound even to this day brings back all of the feelings of joy and wonder that it brought me as a kid. I have so many memories of waiting till my parents went to sleep then turning on my PC hoping they wouldn't hear this startup sound before I played hours of WoW. There are some bad feelings with this sound as well though. When my computer became completely ladened with viruses I often would restart it and get through this startup jingle just for my PC to turn itself off again before getting to the login page. I sometimes would go through this process 5 times before actually being able to logon.

Photo #3 (https://dsd3rmhotmx78.cloudfront.net/get/ e83db2062cf4073ecd0b420de34b4e8be273ead01db7184796f1_640.jpg?permalink=1): I chose this picture of a programming language because the Java programming class I took in high school was my first introduction to computer programming. I feel this image is a good representation of this moment because it’s completely filled with code and is slightly blurry which reminds of the utter confusion I had when I started looking at code for the first time in that class. It honestly seemed just as bad to me as looking at Korean or some other language I had no idea about. At the same time though it also made me extremely curious and excited about what I could create via code. This picture also reminds me of the first time discovering something I now know and love.

Photo #4 (http://www.inveg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/wsu_logo.png): I chose to use the Washington State University logo because it represents when I decided to enroll at WSU as a Computer Science major and began seeing this logo everywhere I looked. This was huge for my use of technology in life because here at WSU is where I first began to fully understand computer programming and computer programming is the most important technology in my life. Also, studying Computer Science at WSU has led me to an internship where I got to apply my technological skills towards a large business that brings software to thousands of companies. WSU also represents the first time I realized I can make a career out of my love for technology.

Photo #5 (https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/540389982725091328/lOnzg39k.jpeg):This Washington State University Hackathon picture is important to me because the Hackathon is the first time I created a software project outside of school, which is the first time where I actually applied my coding skills towards something I’m truly passionate about. I have a shirt with this exact same logo on it and every time I where it I get brought back to that moment. Also, the Hackathon is the place where I got to combine my two favorite technologies: video games and computer programming. This was a huge milestone for me because I’ve always loved playing video games, and after learning to code I made a goal out of creating my own video game. This picture always represents the first time I learned how to design a project from the ground up.

Credits:

Created with images by Lalmch - "computer macbook tablet"

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