Hi. My name is Travis Phillips (yeah yeah I know the domain name gives it away). I’ve been online since the days of dial-up. I got my first computer in 1986. It was a Tandy 100EX from Radio Shack. I remember getting it for Christmas that year. My parents were questioning their decision to spend over $1K on this computer thing that I so much wanted . They were afraid that it would just be another “toy” that I would enjoy for a short while but then it would no longer be used.
Prior to getting my first computer I had been reading books about going online, programming, etc. I also had already taught myself how to type on my mom’s old manual typewriter. It was the kind where you really had to put some effort into pressing down on the keys to type and probably why I type so hard on today’s feather-light keyboards. Up to this point I had only used a few Apple computers in elementary school. I was very set on getting a computer and so hoping I would find one under my tree on Christmas day.
Fortunately, for my parents, they made a wise decision in getting me a computer. From the day I opened it up, I spent hours upon hours on my new computer. I taught myself how to program in the included BASIC language and begin using the computer to design and print greeting cards, posters, banners, newsletters, and whatever else I could come up with. I had the good ole dot matrix printer that made this horrible sounding noise every time you printed something.
I used that computer to do everything and learned as much about it as possible. I upgraded and expanded it as much as I could over the years I had it. I added an external hard drive (which if I remember correctly was like 10MB of space which in those days was HUGE). I also added a RS232 port so that I could get an external modem to hook up to it.
Adding an external modem opened up a world of possibilities. This meant I now had the ability to get online. I quickly signed up for the GEnie online service and discovered that I could message and connect with people all over the world. I could send email and chat in real-time. It was awesome! I soon had to get my own phone line because being online meant no one could use the telephone. And yes this was a land-line telephone. People actually used them then because no one had a cellphone.
I can recall the enormous phone bills I would run up due to my online endeavors since our small little town had no local dial-up numbers. It took a few years but we finally got a local BBS that we could connect to and then someone started offering dial-up internet service and I soon took advantage to that. Once I got dial-up Internet my computer was almost connected 24/7. It was awesome!
It wasn’t until I got into college that I designed my first webpage. We got some free webspace with our accounts and that is when I started learning HTML. I even remember putting up my “under construction” page <grin>.
From there I continued to maintain my webpage, eventually moving it to my own web host when I got out of college and even buying my own domain name, traviz.com. Travis.com wasn’t available so I substituted the “s” for a “z” and went with it. I was already using “traviz” for my screen name in a lot of places online so it just fit. Domain names were more of a luxury in those days since the cost for a .com domain name was around $100 if I remember correctly. This was long before GoDaddy was a household name.
I’ve maintained a website at that domain for many years now and this year decided to setup my own blog here at travisphillips.net. I’ve done blogs for several other projects and businesses but never for myself personally. Well, that’s not totally true now that I think about it. I just remembered I did setup my own blog one time on WordPress.com. You can find it at http://travisphillips.wordpress.com.
In college I majored in Computer Science. I got my degree at UNCG and soon after landed a job programming for a supply chain company. I worked there for almost nine-years and then went to work for another company as a programmer. Over the years my job evolved into software design and architecture. Today I work with colleagues all over the world and get to help design software solutions for a major company. It just goes to show that Tandy computer my parents bought really did pay off.
Now that I’ve covered my “computer geek” and “Internet” history I will now turn to my love of music. Before I was even born, my mom and dad would sing to me. My dad played the guitar and both of them would sing together. I suppose this played a huge part in my singing ability. As a kid I would sing with my parents at church and other events that they would perform at. I’ve always loved singing.
In middle school I joined the chorus and sang in a choir (as a tenor) from then all through high school. In high school I got my first taste of acting as I was cast in several musicals and dinner theater type events. My first big acting debut role was that of the Cowardly Lion in the musical The Wizard of Oz. I was 16 years old when my high-school choral group performed this musical. I will never forget that. I really enjoyed it and everyone was amazed to find out it was me playing the part. For those that don’t know I was quite shy as a kid and growing up so the acting thing was quite the surprise for most people.
In college, I was able to sing with several choirs. My favorite was the time I was in the Men’s Glee Club. It was here I had the opportunity to sing many acapella numbers. and really found my love for acapella music. One of my highlights was their annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser where we would deliver singing telegrams to people’s loved ones. We would go around in groups of 4 or 5 people and do acapella renditions of love songs. It was lots of fun.
Somewhere along the way I also started singing in my church choir where I would eventually get the opportunity to be choir director. One thing I failed to mention is that I did take some music classes in college. Music was one of the reasons I chose to go to UNCG for college. They are an awesome music school and I was considering majoring in music or computers or both. Clearly the computers won out but that didn’t stop my love for music and singing.
After many years of directing choir at my church I eventually got married and moved away from my small town (Siler City, NC) to the big town of Greensboro, NC. I had been commuting to Greensboro for many years since it is where I went to college and also landed my first professional job.
Today I still sing on occasion but as much as I would like. I’ve sang at weddings, funerals, church events, etc. Most of my time these days is focused on work and church and my various online endeavors.
At my most recent church, I was the media director and oversaw most of the audio/video equipment as well as maintained all of the online stuff for the church. 2015 proved to be year of many changes for me.
In July of 2015 I became officially divorced and at the end of 2015 my current church (where I was media director) disbanded. During all this change I met a wonderful lady whom I call my girlfriend and I enjoy spending time with her as well with our nine cats. Eight of these cats are mine and were inherited from my previous marriage. They were all rescued and provide lots of joy but also prove to be a full-time job in tending to them. They never allow for a dull moment…that’s for sure. My girlfriend is the sane one…she only has one cat who has really fallen in love with me. What can I say…I’m so much a cat person.
If you’ve made it this far then I can tell that you are a dedicated person. Let me just say thanks for sticking it out to the very end of my “about me” page. You now know a good bit about me but continue reading my blog to find out more about me and what’s happening in my life. Have a wonderful day and remember that today is only as good as you make it!