It's hard to get Isaac Dziga, 14, to talk about anything but computers. He has been plugged in ever since he can remember.
These days that's not entirely unusual. But Isaac has managed to turn his passion into cash with his own Internet consulting firm, W-3 Studios. The going rate for Isaac's time is $50 an hour, but he charges more as the job gets more complicated.
Isaac, who lives in Los Angeles, specializes in writing World Wide Web pages _ documents filled with text, graphics and "links," ways to connect to other pages _ for people on the Internet.
The Internet is a collection of computers all over the world that talk to each other, and the World Wide Web is one of the most friendly and easy ways to move from one computer to the next. The Web allows you to locate and move through information on any subject imaginable.
Users of the Internet and the World Wide Web can ask Isaac to design a "page" for them, complete with information and graphics, as well as links to other pages. On larger projects, Isaac scans in and prepares the images as well as the text, and he has even started to work for larger companies, getting whole systems ready to use the Internet.
Isaac, who is just entering high school, says he writes at least two of these pages per week. But his biggest recent project was to configure a computer to act as a company's Internet "server," a linking system between the company's computer and the rest of the Internet.
"I think the whole idea of the Internet is nice because you don't see the other people," Isaac said. "You have to judge them on how they express themselves."
That, Isaac says, gives kids an advantage. Most people on the Internet assume he is an adult. By the time people find out his age, Isaac says, most are surprised, but it rarely changes their opinion of him.
Isaac's love for computers began in Florida, where he lived as a young child. Isaac and his family lived in Sarasota. While his father attended the University of South Florida to study mechanical engineering, Isaac spent his time playing in the computer labs. Eventually the games he used crashed, or stopped working, so Isaac had to learn how to get them up and running again.
The activity that actually got Isaac into the World Wide Web and the Internet is called MUSEing. MUSE stands for Multi-User Simulated Environments, game-like virtual worlds where computer users can interact. Resembling role-playing games for the '90s, these worlds can become almost as real as our natural one.
All this playing around doesn't mean Isaac isn't serious about computers.
"Originally, I wanted to be a programer in someone else's company," but Isaac said he realized doing that would make him just "another cog in the process." Now he's looking toward computer-related law as a future because, "TV and radio are just getting onto the 'Net without really understanding it," and he thinks they could use someone who does.
If you have access to the Internet and World Wide Web, you can contact Isaac by pointing your web browser at his URL (Universal Resource Locator, like an address on the Web), http://www.river.org/SQUIGGLE/ or sending him e-mail at isaacwell.com.