The Beginning

"Who's this guy Cutter?" Fair question. One that'll take more than one entry to answer. Today I'll stick to the very basic, and the tech side.

My name is Stephen Gregory Blades, Jr. (aka Cutter), named for my father (of course). I'm considered, by some, to be an old man in the tech world at 36 years. I was born in Roanoke, Virginia. My mother, sister, and I moved to the Atlanta, Georgia metro area when I was six, where we moved all over until I graduated Marietta High School at 17.

A month after graduation I joined the U.S. Army, starting off in the Field Artillery as a Fire Direction Control Specialist, then switching over to Military Intelligence as an Intelligence Analyst. I'm going to stop giving you the Army rundown now, because that's 9+ years to go over. We'll save that for a rainy day, perhaps. I will tell you that I got my nickname while in the Army (It stuck, Copi. Thanks, wherever you are.)

I started off with three of the best, and worst, computers ever invented. All three changed computing in some way. The first was a Commodore Pet, which my Great Uncle Gil had brought to me from NASA. I blew the circuit breakers in the apartment when I tried to splice a new power cable to it. I was 11. The Pet had the screen and keyboard attached, and was larger than my black & white television set in my room.

My second computer I bought for myself when I was 12. I won $100 in a radio station drawing at a balloon race on my birthday, and promptly cashed the check and went out and bought the Timex Sinclair 1000. It had a touch pad keyboard, hooked up to my tape deck for data backup, plugged into a standard TV for a monitor, and I eventually got an additional RAM module, bumping me up to 16K. This is when I started learning BASIC, from a book my mother bought for me after a lot of twelve year old nagging. These computers are still around today, used by home robotics enthusiasts world-wide as the brain of their creations.

My third system (which my mother purchased) was the Coleco Adam. She bought the system at the brand new Circuit City that had opened on Highway 41 in Marietta, GA (I think it's a strip club now.) It had a seven day return warranty, and Coleco went out of business on day eight. It had a built in tape drive, and came with the keyboard and a daisy wheel printer (plus a cartridge slot for ColecoVision games, which were way cooler than the Atari), plus two game controllers. Christmas break, I rode my bike five miles down Highway 41 to buy my first modem, which I promptly used to dial into The Tardis, one of Atlanta's most frequented Bulletin Board Systems, run by my buddy Jay Finch. The modem got fried, that summer, when my mother left the system plugged in during an electrical storm.

So ends "The History of Cutter and Computing: Part I". Tune in for the rest of the story...Part 2