Story of a Keyboard Handcrafted from a Cardboard Box

keyboard handcrafted from a cardboard box
keyboard handcrafted from a cardboard box

Currently, when it comes to wireless keyboards, most of us will immediately think of keyboards that connect to computers through Wireless technology (like Bluetooth). It’s interesting when there is a “wireless” keyboard that cannot input data into the computer. That is a keyboard handcrafted from a cardboard box.

The early days I learned to use a computer

I first used a computer when I learned Computer Science in grade 10 (2006). In the early days, Computer Science was a normal subject to me, just like Technology. I learned quite well.

Everything was fine until I “ate” a score of 6 for the midterm exam. This really shocked me.

Being a student with a “disease” of achievement (although I don’t agree with calling it an achievement disease, because there is nothing wrong with achievement, why call it a disease, but I will discuss this in another article). Getting a mediocre score is a strong “slap”. The reason is that I did not finish the test in time, due to typing too slowly. Partly, I was also struggling with adjusting the Font on Microsoft Word.

The keyboard handcrafted

I lived in a poor rural area. My father at that time didn’t even know what a computer was. Furthermore, even until now, he still doesn’t really understand what my job is. By the way, my father currently still only uses an old Nokia phone, without the Internet. The TV is the same, not connected to the Internet. Simply because he doesn’t want to worry about those things.

In grade 10, I didn’t have a personal computer. So I went to the library to borrow books to read. Also because of this, later I accidentally became a librarian in the school library. After school, I stopped by a few NET shops with some friends, they played online games like Võ Lâm Truyền Kỳ and Audition, while I sat and practiced typing at a “snail” speed on Microsoft Word.

Practicing like that, I felt progress, but the feeling was still not enough. So my brother and I made a fake keyboard out of hard paper. It’s very simple. Find a rectangular cardboard box of the same size as a real keyboard, then draw some keys on it. The keyboard layout is available in the textbook.

My first software

I have practiced typing faster that way. My parents loved me very much, even though they didn’t have much money, they tried to equip me with a personal computer when I was in grade 11 (2008). That is a “graveyard” computer, Intel Pentium 3 chip, running Windows XP operating system. I remember my old machine cost 3 million VND.

Ms. Thuỷ, my Computer Science teacher, took me all the way to Bến Tre town to buy it. I was soon her favorite student because I had a special passion for computers. The advantage is that I am one of very few people (probably about 3 people) who are good at programming with Pascal. I studied in my teacher’s computer center. And I have also finished 2 A and B computer certificates.

Before receiving this computer, I had planned what I would do with my personal computer. I will create folders containing PDF documents, folders containing music of favorite singers (Wanbi Tuấn Anh and Lương Bằng Quang), folders containing Flash games, and especially folders containing applications that I created.

My first software is a bit viral, it is a single-tone music player as requested. Some student orders a piece of music, the next day I will send him an EXE file to play that music. Nothing special. I know a bit of music theory. I find the frame of that music on the Internet. After that, I convert the music notes to the height and duration into the “beep” function in Pascal. And obviously it’s hard-coded.

Keep your passion for programming

Actually, at the end of grade 12, my first wish was to apply to the People’s Security School. The simple reason is because my best friend dragged me. Another reason is that an older sister encouraged me to study that field. It’s embarrassing to say that I had a huge crush on her. But I didn’t pass the police department because I didn’t have enough health and for reasons related to the record.

So I chose the field of information technology at Can Tho University. Why not the University of Natural Sciences or Polytechnic in Ho Chi Minh City? The reason is the same as before, my best friends dragged me along. Another reason is to save costs.

I followed the programming field like that. And what about your story?

Remember why you chose to be a software developer. If you are like me, being a person who loves computers, keep your passion, continue to live your life with that passion.

By Huong Nguyen

I am a full-stack software engineer. I have working experience with Java, Node.js, Angular, PostgreSQL, Jenkins, and OpenShift. I enjoy spending time with my son and wife on weekends. I am also a book lover. All posts and content I share solely represent my own views and do not represent the views of my employer.

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