Quantumwave Interactive Inc.
Interactive media development . Programming . Design . Consulting
My career evolves constantly in this fast moving world in Internet time...
Looking back when I was a kid, my parents provided my younger brother and I opportunities to experience various art forms. We attended classes on drawing, painting, clay modeling, violin, piano...etc. He became a creative director (who works and lives in London, England), and I became an interactive media & software developer, now living in Toronto, Canada.
At an early stage in life, I found my interests in art and design. My visual and artistic skills were developed from art classes throughout my childhood and teenage years. I learned sketching, pastel, watercolor, oil & acrylic painting, clay and pottery making, and Chinese calligraphy with brushes and traditional ink (which needs to be grind manually from an ink stick). Most important of all, I learned to observe and appreciate.
My interest in interactive media started in the early 70s when my parents brought home a TV game box. The box had only two games: Pong and Breakout. There were a couple of switches for choosing the game, number of players, and difficulty level. A cable connected the box to the TV, and each player had a controller with rotating knobs. The graphics were simple, blocky, and in black and white. The only sound that came out of the box was just simple beeps. Even though the hardware was primitive, the games were simple, easy to learn and addictive. That was my first experience with interactive media! In a way, unofficially, I have been involved with interactive media for almost three decades!
The next "toy" which caught my eyes was the highly advanced (back in 1979!) Timex Sinclair ZX-80 personal computer. It was tiny, small enough to fit on top of the palm, powerful (with an 8-bit Z80 CPU and 1K of RAM), and was relatively inexpensive. Because it came with BASIC (the computer language), many people could afford to become computer programmers. I bought books and read about programming this little computer, although I never actually owned this computer. They were all in my head, those BASIC programs.
To my surprise, my dad came home one day in 1980 with our first personal computer - it was an Atari 400 computer. The graphics on the Atari was quite advanced for its time - the games were fun too (Star Raiders, Space Invaders, Missile Command...). BASIC was again the standard language. I spent a good amount of time programming the Atari, buying magazines and typing in programs, saving them to tape, and modifying them to learn. I wrote games and applications, and learned to peek and poke, and wrote spaghetti code...
Later when I discovered a language called Pascal, I knew it was going to change my life! In 1982 or so, I bought an Apple II (6502 CPU) with a Z80 CPU add-on card (for running the CP/M operating system). I started programming using Apple Pascal and later switched to Turbo Pascal running under CP/M (MS-DOS didn't exist). I wrote my own telecommunication software (for hooking up to the university mainframes), applications, utilities, database and games. This little compiler was fast and powerful; I could write almost anything with it.
When IBM came out with their first personal computer, my interest shifted to the first computer that people simply referred to as the "PC". It came with MS-DOS - a more advanced version of CP/M, and Turbo Pascal was one of the software ported to it. It was fast (instead of the Z80 CPU, it was using the Intel 8086 processor), but it was also "business-oriented" and expensive.
Not much later, Apple introduced a new computer called Lisa. It drew a lot of attention because of the way it was designed and functioned. Instead of character-based screens using only the keyboard for data entry, the Lisa came with a mouse and a graphical interface. The Lisa was also using the more powerful Motorola 68000 CPU. I had the opportunity to use the Lisa at the university, and it changed my mind of what a computer should be - intuitive, powerful, and fun. Although the Lisa was well received, it wasn't successful as a consumer computer because of the high price tag.
In 1984, Apple introduced a more down to earth computer named Macintosh - it was cute, fun, portable and graphics-oriented (marketing and pricing indicated it was targeted at the business sector initially, and even Bill Gates was in an Apple ad!) Although the Macintosh was still lacking color display, it started the Desktop Publishing industry with the introduction of LaserWriter and Adobe PageMaker. Needless to say, I was doing a bit of desktop publishing at that time as well - a "leading-edge technology" combining design and computers!
Around 1986, the Amiga computer was introduced with much anticipation. It was the first personal computer with a multitasking operating system much like Unix, and a graphical interface like the Macintosh, with graphics and "multimedia" oriented hardware unheard of before in a personal computer. At that time, the Amiga had the horse power to drive the Macintosh around the block, without wasting much CPU cycles by relying on a couple of custom chips to handle things like graphics, sound, I/O etc. The Amiga OS was more advanced than MS-DOS or even Apple's operating system. With the multitasking OS, I also started programming in Modular-2 (another language from the creator of Pascal), and learned modular, threaded, and object-oriented programming. From using the Amiga, I also created many 2D and 3D animations and desktop video...it was a lot of fun!
After studying computer programming, graphic design and computer graphics, I combined my interests and training and found the best of both worlds in "multimedia". I was always interested in art, technology and computers. What else is more fun than to do interactive multimedia?
My first job was at an audio/visual company as a designer doing presentation and "multimedia" projects for corporations. However, because of my technical and design background, I was wearing many hats at the same time: technical support, network administration, exhibition set design, 3D animation, graphic design, and multimedia programming...
These days, I use both Windows and Macs for development and production, and experimenting with Linux for servers. As we progress with the latest technologies, the development of the latest handheld computers and wireless networking brings us back to the fundamental basics. At least for now, we're limited by the bandwidth of the wireless world, and the screen factor of handheld devices.
I'm also a big fan of gadgets and electronic toys. I enjoy tools and toys that allow learning and creativity - computers, digital still and video cameras, computer languages, authoring tools, imaging applications, Lego MindStorm, and handheld devices (owned a Palm 1000, Palm III and V), and switched to Pocket PCs since their debut. Pocket PC devices I used include a Compaq iPaq 3650, a Dell Axim X5 with a wireless card, and an O2 XDA IIs. These days, I carry a Nokia 6680 phone, with email and web access in a smaller form. It has Flash Lite and is great for mobile applications development and testing.
At this stage, developing rich internet applications, games, database-driven sites, handheld and wireless applications seem to be what's happening. Stay tuned for the future.
Dave Yang's Bio
Dave is an independent developer, consultant, and founder of Quantumwave Interactive Inc. As the technical director and lead developer for companies in the U.S. and Canada, Dave has developed rich internet applications, games, interactive kiosks, commercial and educational software. His tools include Flash, ColdFusion, Flash Communication Server, Director and others; creating projects for clients such as AOL, Art Gallery of Ontario, Discovery Channel, Disney, Government of Canada (Environment Canada and Ministry of Housing), Kraft, McDonald's, and NBA. His contributions on object-oriented programming, software methodologies and techniques are used by other developers.
Dave was a speaker at conferences such as Flash Forward, FlashInTheCan, IBM Blue Horizon, CFNorth and MXNorth. He was an instructor for the Digital Animation program at the Bell Centre for Creative Communications, and was the technical editor for various books including: Branden Hall and Samuel Wan's “Object-Oriented Programming with ActionScript” and “Robert Penner's Programming Macromedia Flash MX”. He is a member of the Macromedia Flash advisory board, and beta team member for Macromedia products. He is currently developing rich internet applications for various clients.
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