I think Alt-248 is one of the first things I discovered on PCs that is still useful today. I just typed it, mentally scoffing at that glorified cheat sheet Character Map. 🙂

I remember my glee when, as a pimply-faced seventh grader, I inadvertently held Alt down while I tried typing something on the numeric keypad of my XT. Out of some hidden world a character appeared, the degree symbol.

Shortly thereafter, I knew a lot more about ASCII.

So much of my knowledge is because of accidents I’ve been allowed to explore. So much of my creativity is because of raw materials I’ve been allowed to arrange. So much of my vision is because of experiences I’ve been allowed to have.

I worry that kids these days are not being allowed to indulge their curiosity or creativity. My aunt and uncle have the bucket of Legos from my grandmother’s house. The last time I saw some of my relatives playing with them they were playing with the things I built and forgot to take apart, when I was 12. They cried when I took them apart right then and there. “If you liked it rebuild it again, so it’s yours,” I said. No, you’re mean, and we’ll go watch TV instead.

I haven’t seen a new bucket of Legos, just a bucket of bricks, in ages. Or Tinkertoys. Or Capsela.

I hope they’re still out there, waiting to be discovered like Alt-248 was.