• Essays & Articles
  • Writing

    Writing

    Coding

    When I was in elementary school, my parents got me a subscription to 3-2-1 Contact magazine. The Magazine had a lot of articles about science and nature, but one section about computer programming caught my eye. At the time we had an Apple IIGS, and when I had nothing better to do, I would copy the sample code from the magazine onto the computer. Typically this resulted in a simple game or graphic, nothing too exciting.

    Then one day I decided to modify the code a little, just to see what would happen. (I believe I changed a greater than sign < to a less than sign >.) To my surprise and delight, the output on the screen changed in a way that made sense to me. It was one of the first times I remember experiencing the joy and excitement that comes from putting your ideas into the world. I had taken this program that someone else had created and made it my own. Feeling empowered I continued to alter random parts of the code until I was able to understand everything that was happening.

    Using the magazines as a guide I slowly began to learn the programming language of Basic. From there I began to write my own simple programs. Below is the code for one of my earliest program, that I could find. It repeatedly prints the word “Hi!” on the screen, in a random color and location until the ESC key is pressed.

    SCREEN 12
    RANDOMIZE TIMER
    DO
    x = INT(RND * 640)
    y = INT(RND * 480)
    c = INT(RND * 15)
    PSET (x, y), c
    LOCATE 15, 38
    COLOR 1
    PRINT "Hi!"
    LOOP UNTIL INKEY$ = CHR$(27)

     

    Over the years I have written tens of thousands of lines of code that do everything from sales tracking to inventory management to web hosting. I’ve taught myself a multitude of computer languages and technologies such as QBasic, Visual Basic, Ruby on Rails, PHP, MySQL, CSS, JavaScript, Apache, Nginx, Linux Administration, and WordPress. To this day still get a thrill every time I’m able to solve a difficult programming problem and turn one of my ideas into reality.

    Books

    Waking From Innocent Dreams

    At the age of 16 my life changed forever when I learned that my birth family from El Salvador was searching for me. Waking From Innocent Dreams is an autobiographical novel about my journey to reconnect with the family I had always dreamed of meeting. The book explores the meaning of family and the challenges that come with it.

    In Development

    A Kickstarter's Guide to Kickstarter

    A Kickstarter’s Guide will give you a thorough understanding of the Kickstarter site, its functionality, practical usage, audience, and strategy. If you have never put together a campaign before or are having trouble getting traction, it will provide a framework to help you navigate the vague world of crowd-sourced funding.

    2011

    Essays & Articles

    Chapter I: Reunion

    Note to the reader This is an excerpt from my upcoming autobiographical novel, Waking From Innocent Dreams. The book is still a work in progress, but I wanted to share the first chapter with you for the 20th year anniversary of my reunion. This chapter is also available in PDF and ePub format for offline...

    Chapter I: ReunionNelson/Roberto

    Ana & Isabel’s Reunion

    Isabel and Ana Williams are two friends who, like me, were adopted from El Salvador and grew up in the New England area. The sisters had only faint memories of their life in El Salvador. However, Isabel remembers the face of a woman, who she thought was her mother, lying dead next to her....

    Ana & Isabel’s ReunionNelson/Roberto

    Misfit Con: A Home for Dreams, Doers, and Makers

    Memories of summer camp Growing up I spent my summers at Camp Frank A. Day, both as a camper and as a staff member. The 14 summers spent on the shores of Quacumquasitt were some of the best days of my life. What I loved most about camp was the people. You really got to know people...

    Misfit Con: A Home for Dreams, Doers, and MakersNelson/Roberto

    Why you should support (and share) your friend’s work.

    I noticed something recently. People, for the most part, don’t share their friends’ “work.” By work I don’t mean 9-to-5 day job type stuff, I mean their passion projects. I feel like most people only share articles, pictures, and videos from well-established websites. I guess these are “safe to share” because they are popular and...

    Why you should support (and share) your friend’s work.Nelson/Roberto

    You are not a failure…

    Dedicated to my brother Derek. Throughout my life, I have failed. I have failed so many times, in so many different ways. Often, it seemed like the things that I struggled with came so easily to others. There can be immense pressure to succeed. To live up to the expectations of others and ourselves. Whenever something doesn’t...

    You are not a failure…Nelson/Roberto

    Get updates about the release of my upcoming book, Waking From Innocent Dreams.

    © Legend - A Handcrafted Misfit Theme

    Nelson/Roberto

    Nelson/Roberto

    My name is Nelson de Witt, but I was born Roberto Coto. Separated from my birth family during El Salvador’s civil war, by death and adoption, I was reunited with them at the age of 16.

    I’m a jack of all trades that has done everything from business process design to video production to server administration to film photography. I’ve run, consulted on, and wrote a book about Crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve taught myself everything from Ruby on Rails to narrative story structure.

    What do all these things have in common?

    I’m a skilled problem solver who can tackle complex issues and find solutions that combine art with outcomes.

    Chapter I: Reunion

    Ana & Isabel’s Reunion

    Misfit Con: A Home for Dreams, Doers, and Makers

    Why you should support (and share) your friend’s work.

    You are not a failure…

    View More