I love computing, and hate "information technology". If you do not know the difference, you are probably just working for some "IT" company, not "computing" in any real sense of the word. In other words, I dig real-time programming, bit operations, assembly code, I/O port programming, Interrupt Handlers etc. and hate databases, SQL, Java. GUIs, SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Microsoft Windows, Banking applications etc. You get the idea.
My personal favorite effort in programming is when I implemented a Pattern Recognition algorithm invented by researchers in Image Processing in my University, subsequently published as a paper in the journal "Pattern Recognition Letters", Volume 16, Issue 1 (1995), pages 49-58: "A FAST ALGORITHM FOR SEQUENTIAL MACHINES TO COMPUTE PATTERN SPECTRUM VIA CHESS-BOARD DISTANCE TRANSFORM" by P.Ghosh and B.Chanda. A PDF version of the paper can be found here ».
My fun with computers began with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum that my father brought back from England when I was 14. We upgraded to ZX Spectrum 48K and eventually to ZX Spectrum+ using the upgrade kit.
I wrote a bunch of games on this machine, and got a taste of assembly language programming on the Zilog Z80 CPU.
The ZX Spectrum was my primary computer till 1992, when I assembled a PC AT 286 from components gathered from grey-market operators. I have since built many PCs of various configurations.
Perhaps the most impressive computer I have had the opportunity to play with is a Digital AlphaServer 4/266 running DEC OSF/1 around 1996 - a native 64-bit RISC CPU running a native 64-bit O/S available ten years before Intel even thought about 64 bits.
The biggest computer I have used so far is Control Data Corporation's Cyber 180/840A mainframe at the Regional Computer Center, Calcutta. I wrote a bunch of numerical analysis programs in FORTRAN on this machine in 1989.
I sporadically document my adventures in computing in my blog Supratim Sanyal's Computing Blog | Wandering Digital Wastelands as a Geek.
Here is my list of computing heroes:
Alan Turing: Founder of computer science, mathematician, philosopher, codebreaker ...
Ken Olsen: Founder and ex-CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation.
Dennis M. Ritchie: Inventor of the C programming language
Ken Thomposon: Invented UNIX
Dave Cutler: Architect of Digital VMS and Microsoft Windows NT operating sytems.
Linus Torvalds: Author of the Linux operating system.
Here is a series of wonderful videos that chronicle the years of ZX Spectrum excitement: