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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:18 am

[quote]Quote from jbeale on November 22, 2011, 23:59
Anybody remember the Exidy Sorcerer? A family friend had one, and my brother and I got to borrow it for a few glorious weeks. .[/quote]

yes I liked the look of it but didn\'t want to jinx it. I had a habit of buying a computer and having the company go out of business within 3 months :)

Luckily that jinx seems to have disappeared these days otherwise i\'d be buying lots of apple computers :)

I used to borrow a Sanyo MBC3000 from the company i wrote the accounting suite for. It was quite portable if you believe 150pounds (at least) of metal, builtin CRT and keyboard and 2 8\" floppy drives tied to a cart on the back of a bike is portable

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:42 am

[quote]Quote from Galaak on November 22, 2011, 20:38
[quote]Quote from tufty on November 22, 2011, 20:22
My first program didn\'t work.[/quote]
And you did not give up. Kudos to you my friend :-)[/quote]
Of course I didn\'t give up. It was a bit of a difficult situation to debug, really - did the program not work because the program itself was incorrect, because I\'d misassembled it, miskeyed (this was hand assembled 6502 entered through a hex keypad made of toggle switches on a Microtan 65 mainboard that was given to me as \"broken\") or did it not work because there was still a problem with the hardware of the computer itself?

FWIW, the problem was at my end somewhere, but I forget which bit I\'d got wrong.

Similar problems exist today - my code appears to run under qemu, but will it work on the Pi board? Only time will tell...


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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:57 am

Apart from the obvious \"10 print \"Roy\" 20 goto 10\" type things, the first program I worked on was a keyboard-based pixel drawing program for the Apple IIc, written in Basic. I was 11 if I rememeber correctly. It worked, but then \"Blazing Paddles\" came along (

Currently, I do web design and development, so I play with PHP and javascript.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:20 am

Ooh, I can\'t remember exactly. It was certainly an objective c mac app, I think it had two buttons and a text field. The buttons said \'set me to five\' and \'set me to zero\'. You can guess what they did ;) I even made a little logo and everything.

After that I made some more interesting mac apps, including one which allowed drawing with shapes. Now I do php and JavaScript on the web, as well as objective c for iOS. I\'d like to start applying AI to my programming, which I suspect python would be good for.


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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:35 am

First programme was written in Basic on a Commodore PET which was to calculate the returns on a \'Yankee\' bet. (11 combinations)


When I started in work it was mainly writing code for Applications (initially dBaseII, but soon afterwards Lotus 1-2-3 and the Excel became mainstays)

Had a few attempts installing and using Linux in 1992. Downloading up to 50 1.44 images; dd\'ing them and then compiling to a kernel was interesting to start with, but when you had to recompile because you\'d missed something out, it soon became tedious (hardware was a Compaq 16MHz 386SX processor with a mighty 4Mb of RAM)

Ended up just sticking with MS for desktop environment and a MicroVAX as a server (meant I could keep up with VMS when away from the office).

At it\'s \'height\' (?), my home network had a \'286 Linux PC with ADSL modem card (originally a POTS modem connected to 2 x 64k ISDN); wireless PCI card and ethernet card acting as my main router; an MS Exchange Server; MicroVAX 3100 Model 10; Sun SPARCstation 2; my desktop PC and 3 laptops connecting by wireless.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:05 pm

I was reticent to submit this one because it could give the young ones amongst us bad ideas. So here is a disclaimer; I do not endorse writing programs like these – do not write programs like this. Bad! No! Don’t! :) I bet a lot of you have done this though (or worse)...

I wasn’t always a good boy. I once wrote a password grabber for a Novell network, this must have been about 1996. It basically perfectly reproduced the Novell login screen, your victim sits down and logs in – you just display the login failed incorrect password message but save the data to a small file on disk. Then shell out to the real Novell login screen. The victim assumes they just typed the password incorrectly and logs in successfully when they try again. You come along the next day and grab the file.

I did this on our college network, I wouldn’t have ever used this to try to do something criminal. I just wanted to get supervisor rights on the network so a few of us could have a shared network drive for shareware games. So it took a few days of trying but eventually we caught one of the network supervisors with it.

Logged in as him and granted my login user supervisor rights, set up the network drive and all was good. Eventually some of my mates wanted supervisor rights for certain things so I granted it to one or two of them as well. Then, one day... we all had a big argument and network supervisor rights war broke out. Everyone on the network ended up being granted supervisor rights with people frantically trying to grant and deny each other the rights. This basically brought the whole college network to a grinding halt. Major trouble affecting a lot of people, I felt terrible. Eventually I owned up and explained how it all happened.

The punishment wasn’t too bad because I did this, they had my entire class – who were all involved – up in front of the network managers for a telling off. But all they said was that our year (class of 98) was one of the best they had seen in a while in terms of ability but we were also the worst behaved. This actually had a really positive effect on us all since, after that, none of us wanted to fight the system anymore.

Moral of the story? Don’t mess with the system? I would say take from this that it is better to program something which has a very clear purpose for you – as opposed to a hypothetical made up program from a worksheet. Program in anger :)

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:15 pm

<<Forgot to quote the posting about passwords!!>>

Someone was caught doing a very similar thing at one place I worked. As the System Programmers we were threatened with the Official Secrets Act if we ever talked about it.

So I haven\'t until now. The company no longer exists and the computers are long obsolete so I don\'t think MI5 will be kicking my door down. But if you don\'t hear from me...

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 pm

My first ever program - after I taught myself Basic on a ZX-81 - was to catalogue my record collection. I wrote, in ZX-Basic - a program that allowed me to load, save, enter and amend record details and, best of all, search. Basically (no pun intended) a mini-rdbms.

It even worked. Hooray! Except I only had 1KB (that\'s one kilo-byte) of RAM, so, by the time I got my 10th record entered, I got the old \"Error 4 - Out of memory\"

These days, I work with and look after Oracle Databases - so I\'ve had a soft spot for databases I suppose ever since those first happy days.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:13 pm

Hacking or just understanding how to use information?

On a Dial up modem connection to Rolfe & Nolan in the early 1900\'s I found myself in someone elses account. I had full access to all the customer account information, but I got bored as it was of no interest to me. (Late 1980\'s)

As a sub-sub-contractor at Morgan Stanley. I found that it was possible to find all salary and bonus information about any employee based on their ID number (There was a company wide facility to find the ID number). The details on how to use the function (for testing connectivity) were published in a tech Wiki which was avaliable to every member of staff.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:19 pm

My first program was for my Microcomputer class, programming on an SDK-8085, I believe the first program was have the display count to 10 or something like that. The class was mainly about interfacing electronics and computers on a very simple scale, like turning on and off leds. The final program was output a SIN wave to an O-scope, I used the second bank of 256 bytes for storage of the SIN wave, and the program itself was 40 or 50 bytes long. I did finally get a Commodore 64 about 6 months after the class. That was a lot easier, since I could program in Basic and ML, and I didn\'t have to punch in Hex number for the program anymore.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:04 pm

I started back in the early 1980s with a Spectrum and a BBC B and an RML 380Z at school. Yes, I did the usual \"Hello World\" programmes and then the move-a-thing-around-the-screen with ZXPL or whatever, but contrary to some others here I really didn\'t get the big kicks from programming \"games\" mainly because however clever the control systems, my graphics were always pretty rubbish.

The stuff I got a real kick from was the silly stuff - defeating the copy protection on \"Revs\" in order to make a \"backup\" disc which I then hacked to include the names of my friends and to give the car 255 gears, most of which were useless, but some of which made your car go much, much faster.

And then my A-level project, which grew from that - a set of disc utilities including a sector editor which mixed BBC BASIC and 6502 assembler. BBC BASIC was *so* far ahead of contemporary home-computer BASICs... Pascal, Modula-2, 8085, 6809, C, MCS-96 in later years.

These days? Not mentioning Lingo (yuk) I still use BBC BASIC in the form of Richard Russell\'s BBC BASIC for Windows and have just started work with the Arduino. Getting close to recreating that early-80s buzz. Sort of hobby programming, but at work! Best of both worlds :-)

Oh, and to the poor soul who used Logo in Welsh, have you ever tried running Linux in Welsh?



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Re: What did your first programs do?

Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:42 pm

Oh, and to the poor soul who used Logo in Welsh, have you ever tried running Linux in Welsh?

No thanks.

I do remember that you used to be able to use Locoscript in Welsh...

As for programming, my very first programme probably asked for a name and then said \'Hello \"name\"., with much hilarity as different things were typed into the prompt. The first \"real\" programme I did was an extension of that, based on a type-in listing from \"Your Sinclair\" for an Elisa type program. Again the emphasis was on inappropriate humour.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:57 am

I don\'t remember what I did with the ZX Spectrum, not too much, but later in the mid 80\'s on an IBM PC XT it was \"Hello, world\" in Borland\'s Turbo Pascal. :\')
Then many things in several languages, C, Pascal, BASIC, COBOL, but mostly Clipper - the \"high level\" language (and database) of the time.
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Re: What did your first programs do?

Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:12 am

The first thing I wrote (that wasn\'t a \'Hello World\' type learning task) was a graphical Playfair cipher in VB when I was 13. I came across the code the other day and it\'s main component is a monster piece of code which ends with about 16 curly brackets! I submitted it as a month long piece of coursework and got the best grade (which makes me worried about the grading!), looking at it now I am fairly certain I could rewrite it in less than a day! Less than an hour in fact if you took out and extra features and ran it from the command line.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:15 am

I think I mean \'endif\' rather than curly bracket? Can\'t remember, I moved on to java and c and learnt anbout OO pretty quickly after that!

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:26 am

[quote]Quote from winkleink on November 22, 2011, 10:20
Back in the 80\'s (yes another old guy) when I was playing with Vic-20\'s and C64s in Ireland I learned to program by writing games. Not so much typing in from magazines, but learning from my class mates and creating my own games.

Hey, a soul mate! I also started with the VIC-20, in 1983. I had to buy the computer used, and I had to spend all my allowance and then some... I was eight years old, living in Finland.

My first program was just one of the examples from the VIC-20 user manual. The one with the flying \"birds\" or the tone generator, I can\'t remember which. After trying all the examples (I didn\'t have the cassette recorder yet) I started adapting them, trying my own stuff.

After a few months, I was able to buy a Commodore 1530 C2N Datasette. I had bought my VIC-20 used, so it came with some games on C cassettes that the previous owner had written from hobbyist magazines of the time. Some of the games were written in BASIC, and by examining them, I learned that you could define your own characters (8 by 8 pixels, two colors) in RAM (POKE 36869, ...). This opened some wonderful possibilites. I made dozens of simple games in BASIC after discovering that.

Later, I also bought the 3k RAM Expansion with the graphics commands for BASIC, as well as a speech synthesizer module. Both of those were tons of fun.

I outgrew the VIC-20 after a few years. Commodore 64 came next. That\'s where I learned 6502 (well, 6510, actually) assembly programming. I borrowed a book from the local library, and it had a simple 6502 assembler/disassembler, written completely in C-64 BASIC. It was almost 20 pages of code. I spent days writing the program (and saving frequently, to tape). After I had typed in the whole program and corrected the errors, I could finally wrote my first assembly language program. It was mind blowing to see your instructions to be executed instantly, compared to BASIC programs.

I made a lot of games, utilizing sound, sprites, self-defined characters, even the 320x200 graphics mode that was new to the C-64. It was really exiting time to learn about computing.

After that came the Amiga, programming in C, operating systems and all the complex topics that really detract from the core of what makes programming fun... Although much of the lessons I learned with the Amiga are still applicable today, albeit in a different field of programming: embedded systems, which I\'m very fond of.

[quote]Quote from winkleink on November 22, 2011, 10:20
Since the goal of the Raspberry Pi is to bring back the excitement and interest that existed in the 80s I was wondering what did you program when you started with computers and secondly are you still coding, either professionally or as a hobby?

These days, My heart is still with the resource-limited computers of our time, the humble micro-controller. I have found a profession in electronics, using many different 8- and 32-bit microcontrollers. It is very similar to the world of 8-bit computers like it was, back in the day. And I never got interested in the PC side of things, except for Linux and Python.

[quote]Quote from winkleink on November 22, 2011, 10:20
Any suggestions on how to get kids excited about coding would also be welcome.

A Raspberry PI that boots into a Python shell, with PyGame, PyOpenGL and all the interesting stuff would be a dream machine for teaching kids about programming. Add an Arduino to the mix to teach the physical side of computing, and that\'s about it, I think.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:21 am

[quote]Quote from winkleink on November 22, 2011, 13:57
[quote]Quote from Davespice on November 22, 2011, 13:21
Using tracker software is almost a form of programming really.[/quote]

Completely agree and wouldn\'t it be great if music lovers found a home here was well.


That\'s partly why I\'m here, actually :D

I\'ve forgotten every for/next loop I ever learned back in the late \'70s, but I\'m curious to dig in and see what I can teach myself to do, musically, with this system. I have a picture in my head of combining the R-Pi with my Korg NanoKey and some kind of display as a super-portable music composition dohickey. Another idea is to mount VSTs as physical stand-alone bits with (perhaps) some kind of non-standard input control surfaces.

But then, this is all Pi in the sky stuff. No idea how far it\'ll go.
I sometimes ride my Pi to the Forum.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:37 am

I\'m loving the stories. Looks like there is a lot of history and stored knowledge on the forum.
I can\'t wait until the Raspberry Pi is out an all the creative folks make do amazing things.

I must admit for me I did most of my programming in the VIC-20/C64 days, maybe because there wasn\'t a lot of programs available.
At the moment my coding is more Arduino based, which I am loving and firing the passion for doing more.
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Re: What did your first programs do?

Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:43 am

As to the other question, I don\'t really recall what my first program was. What I remember is this: Tenth grade (U.S.) math class, where the \"computer\" was actually a teletype terminal and the computer behind it had to be set up each morning by inputting the OS on a paper strip. All the programs we used/wrote were coded to these paper strips. I remember I wasn\'t very good at writing programs, but that I spent a lot of time playing Star Trek, where the teletype machine would bash out a 9 x 9 grid and the numbers indicated how many stars there were in the grid, or if there were starbases or Romulans or Klingons waiting to attack you.

Then, a few years later, I was living at a friend\'s house and his dad had TRS-80 in the basement, and I spent a lot of time coding in ADSR envelopes to try and get it to play simple melodies.

Jump ahead a couple years, and then I was messing around on a Comodore 64 trying to make short animated clips of spaceships flying past giant planets.

Who knows where it\'ll lead this time around.
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Re: What did your first programs do?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:43 am

I\'m pretty young by programming standards. Started back in 2005 with windows batch programs (queue the hate XD ), moved into C for microcontrollers for robotics about 4 years ago and c++ after that. Basically I know enough to hack something together that my programming friends can \"fix/prettify\" for me.

My first program was a net send for loop in my basic computer class. The * destination proved deadly and strangely enough I almost got expelled for a simple batch program that just repeated a message. The teacher claimed it was a virus, ridiculous yes?

My first Real program in c++ was a basic database engine that stored information in plain text. Nothing fancy, just enough to get me the automatic A in the class. Apparently I was the first and last person to do that, since the Professor hasn\'t offered it to his class again.

I\'m the kind of person that doesn\'t really *learn* a skill until it\'s applied and I need projects for that. I\'m really excited for the raspi, I can\'t wait to lose countless hours exploring its secrets.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:41 am

I came here as this was mentioned on WOS (world of spectrum) arch enemy of the BBC micro ;) hehe . I had a speccy , atari 8 bit , c64.. I collect retro machines.. but the c64\'s basic was MASSIVELY awful it was best to learn ASM and interrupts etc.. a lot of peoples program was...
10 print \" comment in shop\"
20 goto 10
and if you were really flash you\'d put a ; at the end of line 10 and disable break key etc.. my fav was doing poke 53272,<value> on c64 and doing it in a for loop to make the screen look trashed :) .

As mentioned earlier, music I used octamed for a short while on amiga. but ST was better for music. I studied computing at uni, learned a load of languages , but do music and other things now.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:03 am

I think the first program I wrote was in middle school in QBasic, simple \'Hello <insert name here>\', but that moved on to a program that would print different-colored smilies (hello PRINT CHR$(001)!) all over the screen. That was fun, since nobody else in the class had figured out how to force a program to terminate >=)

Then it was on to re-creating screens that the computer would usually have up, such as the BSOD and the previously-mentioned Novell login, which I found I could make more accurately in ASM. Then a friend introduced me to the world of TSR assembly programs, and those got me into a bit of trouble... =)

On to MUDs, first adapting the ones I played, then writing my own, which didn\'t last long...

College, with C, C++, Java and other OO, SQL, anything I could get my hands on for free, and anything that allowed me to play with visualizations and representations of data.

A couple of minor programming jobs that were just excuses for the company to have an extra Help Desk guy around - the programming they really considered secondary =( - until finally, the job I have now, which is ACTUAL PROGRAMMING (woo!) for an engineering firm, where I use (again) just about anything I can get my hands on to make web pages, drawing programs, 3D model viewers/manipulators, database tools, and whatever else my bosses and I can dream up to work on.

I am truly thankful that I found what it was I loved to do at a very early age, and it was thanks to a cheap, educational-level computer. I applaud everything that Raspberry Pi stands for, and wish them and this community nothing but the best =)

Can\'t WAIT to get my hands on one of these.

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Re: What did your first programs do?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:20 pm

when I first borrowed my cousins ZX81, I typed in a very simple Lunar Lander game from a magzine. I then used this to learn movement within a game and adapted it to include a moving base.

The first full game I can remember writing from scratch was a version of breakout on a VIC-20 in BASIC, way back in 1982. It even included a hi-score :)

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