I want to tell you a story.

A long, long time ago. Prior to the onset of C#, Git, Google Chrome, my twelfth birthday, and YouTube, there was this awesome web browser/ISP called America Online. This thing had it all: chat rooms, electronic mail, instant messaging. The chat rooms were basically an amalgam of people spewing off their thoughts, beliefs, and unsolicited A/S/L? messages. As with anything on the internet, AOL chat rooms were bound to be abused.

Enter Methodus Toolz. Methodus was a warez application which could exploit various vulnerabilities in AOL, and could even be used to exploit various non-AOL vulnerabilities. Methodus was not the only application of this sort, but it was an easily accessible one and it was very user-friendly. At the time, I did not realize the true nature of Methodus. I was actually looking for a “fader” application, i.e. an application that could change the color of chat text to give the text a colorful gradient appearance.

So I clicked it, and what happened likely changed the course of my life.

One day I was digging around in Methodus when I happened to click a context menu item called “HTML editor.” A few seconds later, a window pops up with all sorts of less-than signs, text, and slashes. A button at the top labeled “run” or “go” (it’s been about fifteen years) was beckoning to be clicked. So I clicked it, and what happened likely changed the course of my life. A web browser appeared, displaying a basic web page. I quickly realized that the text in the HTML editor corresponded to bits of text on the web page. What the hell was going on? I’d better Ask Jeeves about this!

A few searches later and I was digging deeper and deeper into the world of HTML, bgcolor attributes and all! I was hooked. I had the power to create a website. How amazing is that? I dug into free web hosts and started creating very professional and polished websites for skateboarding, NASA, The Matrix, and whatever I could think of. This pretty much signaled the beginning of everything I’ve ever done in software. I eventually learned how to write really bad JavaScript and started making DHTML pages. I distinctly remember building a solid black page which showered down random ASCII characters in green text to resemble the screens from The Matrix, and it was seriously the coolest thing ever.

To be continued…