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Growing Up Geek: Amol Koldhekar

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Welcome to Growing Up Geek, a feature where we take a look back at our youth, and tell stories of growing up to be the nerds that we are. This week, we have our very own Amol Koldhekar!

My childhood may have kicked off the 1990s, but I grew up surrounded by remnants of the 80s, like the Apple II that temporarily lived in my dad's home office or the Nintendo Entertainment System that was originally my older sister's console. I think all younger siblings of that era can identify with having to play as Luigi on Super Mario Bros. My sister eventually lost interest in her NES, so I took claim to it. While I had loads of fun playing Excitebike and Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, I always spent an inordinate amount of time escaped in Duck Hunt while I was busy peering through the glass end of the NES gun, trying to see how it worked. Ironically, this curiosity may have impeded obtaining better devices early on -- when my NES stopped working, I tinkered with its innards and somehow got it to work, negating the need for my parents to get me a Super Nintendo. As I grew older, I grew wiser, deeming the NES a lost cause in order to convince my parents to let me get a Nintendo 64 with birthday money. How amazing that the NES was soon repaired and still works!

DNP Growing Up Geek Amol KoldhekarI vaguely remember the day my family connected a phone line to our home computer and discovered what the internet was. Naturally, this led to an invasion of AOL CDs into our home. I thought dial-up was the greatest thing ever, even if it was on a single computer we had to share. While it was slow even back then, the internet gave me access to an incredible amount of knowledge and information, and I often found myself reading articles and forums on technology and video games.

Over the years, I became the go-to guy for all my friends and family to ask for help with computers and gadgets, even getting paid for some of the more crucial fixes. This extra income led to me building my first computer in high school, albeit piece-meal over the course of a few months. During this experience, I found so much help within the tech community, both locally through friends and globally through message boards. I often paid it forward, helping other fledgling tech nerds once I had my own bearings straight.

DNP Growing Up Geek Amol KoldhekarIn high school, I grew fond of photography, and ended up being my school's yearbook and newspaper photographer. That often meant sitting after school doing digital photo edits, which grew into keeping track of the servers used to store the department's information. The room next door was used for the Robotics club, so I ended up using my free time to work on my school's Robotics team as a programmer. It was what all the cool geeks did.

In college and beyond, my infatuation with technology intersected with my nomadic tendencies. The introduction of smartphones, tablets and mobile data have really revolutionized how many of us, including myself, stay in touch while on the go.

Yet I seem to remain overly attached to the technology I've owned over the years. I still have that first PC I built, with only slight upgrades since conception. I got my first MacBook Pro in 2007, and it still lives on as my only Apple computer thanks to its amazing versatility. Both devices are still connected to the first flat-panel monitor I bought over eight years ago. My video game systems still see some activity now and then (yes, even the NES). For however quickly technology evolves, it has actually been a steady constant in my life. Still, I find myself intrigued by what gadgets are still to come, and am more than overjoyed to experience this road of discovery with Engadget.

In this article: growing up geek, growingupgeek
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