Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Everyone of my generation, including my beautiful spouse who is not the most technically minded person in the world, did some programming in BASIC. I'm pretty confident of this. I talk to people and tell them I teach programming and they usually admit that they remember doing some in college or university and not being very good at it. Unless they do it professionally. Skill at programming fits a pretty good bimodal curve - you're either adept or hopeless. I admit I'm one of the few that falls between the two humps - I can do it, but I'm not that great. Take Space Wars, for example - only took me three years to finally iron out the worst of the bugs and it still has bugs. Of course, thank Ada for Macromedia Flash - version 0.01 was done in Pascal and I never even got near finishing that. And then there's languages. I can do BASIC, Fortran, Pascal - you're standard programming languages, but I never got the hang of Object Oriented languages, which is why C++ baffles me. Or rather, I can do it up to the point where you start implementing classes and then my brain wants to go watch "American Idol".
One of the reasons I never progressed into "real" programming is its one of those things I've never had the time to waste mucking about on some meaningless project. I've got a pretty cool sound effects system prototype I've been working on, but it's in Visual Basic. And I can tell at this point I'm really spinning my gears with it because what I want it to do is beyond the capabilities of VB. I really need to know C++, but I really don't have the skill set to start implementing it in a new language. Funny enough, I taught myself the rudiments of MS Access last month. I learned enough to know that, like most programs, databases are fussy things. But at least I can add it to my resume now - "somewhat adept at MS Access".

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No Goto Zone

I like XKCD today. But you already knew I've the typical geek's sense of humour.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Oh, sorry... ate a funny whelk...
here's some retro fun - sorry it's not complete
Player 1 up - thrust, left,right - steer, home - hyperspace, insert-fire
Player 2 W - thrust, A,D - steer, S - hyperspace, CTRL - fire

known bugs - too many to count

Update - found an original marquee sign on ebay - now proud owner of. Just wish I could get the rest of the machine. Think I'll frame it and back light it.