- 1982 bought a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and proceeded to type in simple BASIC games from magazines. Almost all of these games did not work, for one reason or another which at the time made no sense at all as I HAD typed it in exactly as shown in the magazine, so being about half way through typing in a 6 page 2 columns per page listing I stopped. I then loaded, from tape, a previously saved game, got the manual and then ran it and got something like (if memory serves) '21 - variable not found' which made no sense to me at all.
So after a study of the back of the manual and a serious look at both the listing for the game and the code I typed I started to change what looked to me like a '1' to 'l' (lowercase L). I then ran it again and changed it a little then ran it again and changed it a little more then ran it again and changed it still more and then finally I ran it and it worked. Well I was from that moment hooked on Programming.
I then started dabbling in Z80 Assembly and doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things with the Spectrum, mainly crashing it... but it was fun and I was learning.
- 1985 I Bought an Amstrad CPC464 with Green Screen Monitor and continued my BASIC programming along with Z80 Machine Code. By about 1989 or there about this machine ended up with;
- a coloured monitor
- a 6128 ROM
- a 64K memory expansion
- 2 3" disc drives
- 2 ROM boards with various roms 2 of them being Maxam and Protext along with a couple of RAM modules I built which would simulate a ROM
I had reached a level where I could take a game from tape and put it on disc and it would work, even the ones with headerless blocks. I even wrote a few programs that would work from ROM just utils but they were handy when it came to increasing my game collection
- 1990 Bought and Amiga 500 and was just blown away by the very impressive graphics and the games my favourite was Swiv and my wife liked it aswell. It was at this point that my son who was at the time about 18 months old and just walking did something I didn't know could be done. He inserted a 3.5" disc into one of the external drive I had upside down, I had to take the drive to bits to get the disc out.
I learnt 68000 machine code which was strange and very different to Z80 but also a lot more powerful and faster. But the custom chips in the Amiga were a pain to program... all those numbers... they used to drive me nuts. Many a spectacular crash was to be had getting one of those numbers destined for a custom chip wrong.
The time with the Amiga was not long lived as I had an interest in Electronics and at the time there were not a lot of electronic related programs available for the Amiga.
- So in 1991 I got a PC. An Amstrad PC 2286 with a whopping 20Mb Hard drive and 1Mb of RAM. It also sounded like a tank when started up. But I started to fiddle with MS-DOS and QBasic along with GW BASIC. I also started learning 286 machine code.
1992 saw the purchase of a 486DX33 it came with a fantasticly big 80Mb Hard Drive and I think 8Mb of RAM a 5.25" disc drive and a 3.5" disc drive. I continued programming and also playing with MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 also tried GEM at one point it was just a shame this never took off.
I used the machine mainly for Electronics related stuff and in 1994 I passed the Amateur Radio Exam which meant I could now use the computer for even more fun stuff.
I learnt to program in Visual Basic 3 which was very weird to say the least. It was the idea of putting a control on a form and just writing the code that dictated what the control did that got me for a while. After all I was used to writing the code that generated the control and what it did... not just the code for what it did. But I finally got it.
I was then, not sure when, introduced to Pascal by a friend and never looked back at VB again, until I got a job programming mainly in VB at which point there was a very steep learning curve going from a back ground of VB 3 to VB 6.
I continued to fiddle with machines until I got a job as a hardware technician for Escom I ended up being the Technical Manager of the local store for 7 weeks as they closed it. A few weeks later they closed all the stores in the country. I then got a job with Byte - The Computer Superstore which was fun, worked with a great bunch of people and even got to go on a couple of courses for Toshiba laptops and AST Computer laptops and desktops.
I got access to the internet in about 1996 or 1997 and then started playing around with web stuff. As I had accumulated a few machines one of them was turned in to a server so that I could develope stuff off line.
In May 2003 I was introduced to a forum by a friend and they were trying to create a template for posting on the forum. I got involved and we got it all working it was at this time I started with PHP and MySQL and phpBB. I learnt PHP by just reading the manual and trying out some of the examples in the manual and changing them etc. I learnt how phpBB worked by looking at the scripts that make up phpBB.
There you have it a condensed load of useless history.