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When I was in the army I wasn't officially a dev. But one commander needed someone to develop a bunch of stuff and couldn't get a dev officially, so I ended up as his "assistant", which was an awesome job with about 60% time spent on software development.

Except I wasn't an official developer, so I wasn't afforded many of the privileges developers get, like a slightly more powerful machine, a copy of Visual Studio, or an internet connection. In this environment you couldn't even download files and transfer the to your computer without a long process, and I couldn't get development tools past that process anyway.

So I was stuck with whatever dev tools I had pre-installed with Windows. Thankfully, I had the brand new Windows XP, so I had the .Net framework installed, which comes with the command line compiler csc. I got to work with notepad and csc; my first order of business: write an editor that could open multiple files, and press F5 to compile and run my project.

Being a noob at the time, with almost no actual experience, and nobody supervising my work, I had a few brilliant ideas. For example, I one day realized I could map properties of an object to a field in a database table, and thus wrote a rudimentary OR/M. My database, I didn't mention, was Access, because that didn't need installation. I connected to it properly via ADO.NET, at least.

The most surprising thing though, in retrospect, is the stuff I wrote actually worked.

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