SKY Delta Airlines inflight magazine, June 1984

Gee….Whiz kids!

A lack of visual contact with clients is called a bonus by many young computer users, because they are judged on merit rather than age.

Visual contact is called a bonus by many young computer users, because they are judged on merit rather than age.  Currently, Tei Gordon is involved in a massive publicity campaign, hoping to raise his current list of more than 50 companies up to around 200.  Like the other young entrepreneurs, he started using a computer to play games and progressed to other thins.  He decided this business was a good idea, “because I didn’t really have time to deliver papers with all my swimming and extra activities.”

Seventeen-year-old Anne Mei Chang of Lincroft, New Jersey, first used computers in the eighth grade.  During the next two years, she learned Basic, and assembled and took courses in Pascal at Bell Labs, through her Explorer’s post.  Her knowledge led to a job as an assistant instructor at the National Computer Camp.  By the end of the session, she was teaching the beginner’s group, while the instructor worked with the advanced students.

“I would think it (working on computers) is for people who enjoy math, because it takes logic.  It’s also for people willing to work hard because it takes a long time to learn,” said Chang.  That “willing to work hard” phrase appears to be the common thread among all of these computer whiz kids.

The push to bring out young programming talent has generated several contests.  More than 200 entries were received in the most recent Young Programmers contest run by 80 Micro, the system-specific magazine for Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 microcomputer users.  Prizes were give for winning programs in each age category (11 and under, 12-14 and 15-18) and the top winners were paid normal freelance rates for publication of their programs in the magazine’s February issue.  Disks with the winning games from last year’s Verbatim Computer EdGame Challenge can be purchased for $3.50.  Winners from this year’s contest, which stresses the design of imaginative, instructional games, will also see their programs recorded.

The fascination with these young people who are intuitively at home with computers even spawned a weekly TV show called Whiz Kids.  The CBS program featured four teenage hackers who fight crime with the assistance of their computers, led by one teen’s talking machine, “Ralf.”

CAPTION: Tei Gordon might be 14, but companies like General Electric , J.C. Penney and GM use his weather data to save dollars.  He obtains the raw data via modem from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C.



Delta Airlines - Inflight Magazine

June, 1984