(Bless Me)Uniqueness is absolute: even two personal computers
of the same brand and specification cannot be exactly alike. I learned this lesson
painfully in my work as Information Systems Manager in Jeddah when higher management
refused to increase the number of people in my user helpdesk. But a computer is a
computer. At least for now.
But why talk of computers and clones,
anyway? This is all about chickens and eggs.
So it was in the early 1990s that the egg
of an idea hatched. To this day, I am still not sure whether it was a harbinger of things
to come or a product of the times.
The dusty crumbling of the Berlin wall and
the collapse of the Soviet juggernaut were still making people cough and sneeze; the
remains of the roof sealant and masking tapes on our family room windowsills in Jeddah had
not yet totally washed out since Saddams nerve gas threat; more dust was being
stirred by the tearing down of the Babri Masjid in India; Bosnian blood splattered on
virgin snow kept competing with the ketchup that our then two-year old boy persistently
applied to our Toshiba 15" TV screen; the innards of a listless Earth churned and
twisted and burst in volcanic eruptions all over the globe with Mt. Pinatubo seeming like
a climax. Or an anti-climax.
The Philippine school system in Saudi
Arabia, specifically the Philippine School in Jeddah, founded in 1981, was in an uproar
over quality education.
The elusive peace bird was spotted several
times gliding over the Mindanao skylines. People who raised their heads in the hope of
catching a glimpse of the sarimanok squinted at the powerful sun and complained of
I worried nights about the big loan I was
going to take from the company to buy the new Cressida XL 92 family sedan since the
second-hand Celica 82 sporster was getting too crowded for a growing family.
I could feel my bronchitis coming back if
I suppressed things any further. Something was bound to crack up:
It was the egg of an idea.
I started writing BUGS & BYTES
in the summer of 1992.
The Apple Macintosh was waning while the
Intel MS Windows platform was waxing, and I was up to my neck at the office with
I was always fascinated with anything on
print. I grew up in the 1960s Jolo reading my mother's collections of DC (or was it
Marvel?) comics, and Liwayway and Bulaklak magazines: Superman, Batman & Robin, The
Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Darna and Dyesebel. In the early 1970s, I often slipped out of
my high school classes and spent long afternoons in one of the nipa sheds under the acacia
trees by the provincial asphalt roads reading Alcala and Ravelo comic strips. In the
evenings and on weekends, I drew a notebook comic serial on Captain Tikbalang, half-horse,
half-human with the upper half as a horse donning a Zorro mask and cape.
Late in the 1970s and into the 1980s, when
I got deadly serious into finishing a bachelor of science degree, and then a master of
science degree, both in Electrical Engineering, I had to content myself skimming through
the caricatures of the UP Collegian when I was not busy sketching transistors and diodes
and single-line diagrams of power systems.
By the 1990s, I was thus ecstatic when I
was finally able to afford buying a home PC and a laser printer.