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when did you learn how to code and in what?

Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61202
    
  66

Stephan van Hulst wrote:
Bear Bibeault wrote:
Jelle Klap wrote:Pascal. Absolutely hated it

Deservedly so.

Why? I started out with Pascal, and while I wouldn't use it anymore, I quite liked it back then. What's so bad about it?

I hated the ultra-rigid structure and syntax.


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18570
    
    8

margaret gillon wrote:Paul C. wrote
. . . the last year in which I was paid to do programming was 2012.

I'm curious -- retired or changed fields ?


I'm retired now -- still programming for my own interest but not getting paid for it.
Martin Vajsar
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 22, 2010
Posts: 3610
    
  60

Bear Bibeault wrote:I hated the ultra-rigid structure and syntax.

I was using Turbo Pascal/Borland Pascal these days. I believe they've relaxed the syntax a bit (ie. you didn't have to declare structures/variables/procedures in the one prescribed order), so I didn't feel it that oppressive. It's true that compared to C it was much more talkative, but Borland's IDE allowed me to create macros, and I used that to be able to insert all of the common constructs at the press of a few keys.
Buddhi Bal Thapa
Greenhorn

Joined: May 26, 2014
Posts: 1

C, In high school.
Steve Kedzie
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 30, 2014
Posts: 22

Apple Basic on dad's Apple IIc 1985, then moved up to an Apple IIGS in 1988. Didn't touch code again until 1998 when in college with an intro to "Programming and Problem Solving with C++" course.
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
My first experience was Fortran with WAT4.

WAT4 meant Waterloo compile-and-go compiler for Fortran. (WATBOL was the Waterloo compiler for COBOL.)
This had been created at the University of Waterloo so that beginning students could just turn in their card deck and later pick it up surrounded by a printout.

Otherwise, I suppose you would have to submit three separate jobs:
1. A compile job to punch out a deck in assembly language,
2. A LINK-EDIT job, which would punch out a machine language deck including system commands, and
3. The final submission with the input cards.

When I first saw the title of the textbook, I thought it meant "FORTRAN with Applications" (WAT4 meaning "what for").
Peter Rooke
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Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 803

Pascal and then C - back in the late 80's. Liked Pascal, liked C even more.
Played about with ZX spectrum BASIC in the late 70's. Never liked BASIC


Regards Pete
Bernhard Goetz
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Joined: Jan 07, 2013
Posts: 42

It was a VTech Leader 2000 learning computer. I was around ~9 years old. You could program basic. It had a cache for 500 lines which I extensively used. I loved my vtech!
Brian Schuetz
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 13, 2014
Posts: 22

My first program language I learned was Basic. I had a Texas Instruments TI-99-4/A computer that my parents bought for me for Christmas. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I was a teenager. In school, I did Basic on a Radio Shack TRS-80, and an Apple II.

Although I liked programming and was interested in computers, it didn't dawn on me to make a career out of it. I joined the military after high school and eventually I ended up using dBase III. I bought a book on how to program it, and discovered my love for programming, and my career choice.

I learned Pascal in college (after the military), then C/C++, Scheme, Visual Basic and Ada. My Visual Basic skills is what got my career started, and now I'm still stuck programming in VB6. I also program in COBOL. I've been trying to learn Java so I can be involved with the Java development work at my place of employment.


Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1 NIV)
Guillermo Ishi
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Joined: Jul 28, 2014
Posts: 51
I remember the early days of home computers, and entertainment news media and parents who thought of the computer in the same way as a musical instrument. As in get them started on computers while they';re still in diapers so they;ll be virtuosos and have an advantage over the competition. A popular misunderstanding that lasted most of decade.

The first programs I ever wrote were in Basic on a Timex/Sinclair. Soon after I learned pure machine language by designing and building my own z-80 based computer with the rom being an eeprom. I used sockets for the chips and connected them together with wire wrap wire soldered to the pins. All the chips were free - I called up manufacturers and they were happy to send me free chips. I built the eeprom programmer as well. It used dip switches for the 16 bit address bus and 8 bit data bus with a spare switch for strobe, which burned it a byte at a time. Amazing days. I remember I wanted to do something with the 6502 micro which Apple was using because it had a more interesting instruction set in a way. Didn't get around to that, but did acquire the chip I think. Same with the 68000

Not long after, I started learning Turbo Pascal on the library card catalog computers, by rebooting them to my floppy, late at night! They were the only pcs around. Then I migrated to Turbo C and Microsoft C, all copies of everything being bootlegged, as was the norm in those days. BG and Jobs themselves were guilty... Then I was fortunate enough to get a great job writing firmware in assembly language, which I was really prepared for and excited about due to my hardware background. Next came C++ and Java and this and that. Many forgotten languages along the way like Clipper and Paradox....

Anybody else here ever hear of Don Lancaster?




chris webster
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Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1703
    
  14

Brian Schuetz wrote:I learned Pascal in college (after the military), then C/C++, Scheme, Visual Basic and Ada. My Visual Basic skills is what got my career started, and now I'm still stuck programming in VB6. I also program in COBOL. I've been trying to learn Java so I can be involved with the Java development work at my place of employment.

Quite an eclectic mix of experience there, Brian. If you can do Scheme and want to work more on the JVM, you could look at Clojure (Lisp for the JVM) e.g. via the free online course from Helsinki University. There's quite a buzz around functional programming languages these days, so it might be an interesting way to break out of VB and COBOL.


No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Karthik Shiraly
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Joined: Apr 04, 2009
Posts: 501
    
    5
Guillermo Ishi wrote: ...building my own z-80 based computer with the rom being an eeprom. I used sockets for the chips and connected them together with wire wrap wire soldered to the pins. All the chips were free - I called up manufacturers and they were happy to send me free chips. I built the eeprom programmer as well. It used dip switches for the 16 bit address bus and 8 bit data bus with a spare switch for strobe, which burned it a byte at a time.


Wow, so much electronics chops! And you didn't even have the Internet to turn to. I'm both impressed and inspired.
Did you ever get stuck, and if so, how did you overcome?
Guillermo Ishi
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Joined: Jul 28, 2014
Posts: 51
Karthik Shiraly wrote:
Wow, so much electronics chops! And you didn't even have the Internet to turn to. I'm both impressed and inspired.
Did you ever get stuck, and if so, how did you overcome?


There was a series of books by Don Lancaster that was amazing. One was The TTL Cookbook and the other was series on microprocessors that I forget the name of. Between those and the applications sections of manufacturers data books it was pretty easy. The most amazing thing looking back was making all those tiny solder joints without glasses Radio Shack sold surplus keyboards from some terminal, which came with a schematic and from the Lancaster books I knew how to scan a keyboard. There was a Motorola character generator chip that I used with a surplus RF modulator so I could use my TV as a screen. If you ever got stuck you could call up an apps engineer from the region listed in your data book, which were the same numbers I used to get free chips... Before this I had been studying music. Computers flipped me out because it was like a new world of speed in the same way that my microscope as a kid was a new world of size.

I started to run out of money so I got a job at a place that put IBM compatibles together from foreign sourced parts and sold them to local businesses. Like how Dell and Gateway probably got started. That was a terrible drudge and a salesman there told me about a place he'd been to and I went there and got a job. He was an IBM retiree making data loggers and controller boards. They were used in railroads and power substations as I remember. One of them had an onboard basic interpreter and I wrote a PC interface for that. He had been sending out a copy of a com program with it like you would used to connect to a BBS. Then I wrote a C IDE for the same board. I think the compiler came from Motorola. Then I wrote a Z-80 C compiler myself for somebody. Interesting thing at that place was we didn't use oscilloscopes or even debuggers. He philosophy was debug it in your head. I was underpaid, and desperate because of that, like the guy in Jurassic Park. I can relate to his mistake. So I dug ditches and various manual labor for awhile.

Then got a great job writing assembly language and another place at about 3x the prevailing salary. First time I ever used an oscilloscope for sure and maybe first time I ever used a debugger. Stayed there until there was so much pressure I thought my health was about to suffer. Very good place, just a few bad apples here and there, and it was time for a change.
Karthik Shiraly
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Joined: Apr 04, 2009
Posts: 501
    
    5
Guillermo Ishi wrote:
...If you ever got stuck you could call up an apps engineer from the region listed in your data book, which were the same numbers I used to get free chips...

How times have changed !

Thanks for replying, and sharing your experience. I hadn't heard of Don Lancaster's books until now; will check them out.
Jesus Angeles
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Joined: Feb 26, 2005
Posts: 2057
apple 2e, using basic, 1986, cursor bouncing on the screening

If the elementary student can handle programming, it is a great idea. It will be a great start for the kid.

Guillermo Ishi
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Joined: Jul 28, 2014
Posts: 51
Karthik Shiraly wrote:
Guillermo Ishi wrote:
...If you ever got stuck you could call up an apps engineer from the region listed in your data book, which were the same numbers I used to get free chips...

How times have changed !

Thanks for replying, and sharing your experience. I hadn't heard of Don Lancaster's books until now; will check them out.


I don't know why he dropped off the scene so much. He was also sort of a practical philosopher and populist, and a business tactician. I also got a lot of information from a British magazine named Wireless World that I had available.

One thing I had going for me was that I was a poor bohemian. I would have loved to have had a iie, which Lancaster often wrote about. I would enjoy having one even now I think. But I had to make my own stuff and learned a lot in the process. Between the time I got the TTL book and the micro books I designed but never built a computer entirely from TTL which used zero crossing from a comparator as its input. A serial receiver I would call it today. TTL mastery!

I think about how anybody ever knew anything in those days without the web even myself sometimes. I would say that paper published information is still one of your most reliable source because you benefit from the publishers selectiveness. I'm pretty sure you could still get an apps engineer to talk to you on the phone and sample chips to you. I remember getting a pair of 65K x 4 DRAMs sampled to me which was cutting edge at the time. All the memory a Z-80 could handle. I had to keep it off the bus until one of the higher address lines became active so my eeprom boot loader would work.
Partheban Udayakumar
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Joined: Jul 04, 2013
Posts: 254

I learnt LOGO and I still remember the first shape I drew other than a line was square and the most i struggled was with a circle. I think that was nearly when I was in class 3 or 4


"Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand."
--- Martin Fowler
 
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