From a very young age I've been into computers. I grew up with an Atari 800, eventually learning that by typing problems from my 3rd grade math homework into the keyboard with the BASIC cartridge loaded, it would give me the answers. It was my first experience in programming, and from that point on I was hooked.
I chose "Shah Mat" as my nickname in high school. Growing up in Alaska was isolating - it was the middle of the internet revolution but everything was much more expensive. Computers were out of my reach, much less internet access - do you know how much long distance phone calls costed in the early 1990s? My friends and I were relegated to intellectual pursuits that were much more easily obtained: cards, chess, and role-playing games.