My Computers


I'm not quite sure what the situation is like today, but at the time when I studied computer science, expert opinion was that one had to jump through several hoops before even qualifying for one's first contact with a computer. The idea was to put you through something like the process involved in learning to drive a car: first you learn the rules, and only then are you allowed to sit behind the steering-wheel. Anyhow, you had to learn the basics first; next, you had to master a pseudo language which was supposed to enable you to understand the most important concepts in the field; and only then (if you had any time left) could you try to apply all this to rather poor and limited computers and compilers. That approach must be good and efficient, I guess -- but, frankly, I've never met anyone who has learned anything following this method, though, I suppose, I haven't tried hard enough...

In my own case, I entered the computer world from the opposite end. Before I faced my first computer, i.e. put it in my pocket, I had no idea either what a computer was or what one did when one did programming, or in fact whether I needed a computer at all. The only thing I knew at the time was that I was very, very interested in all that computer stuff. After just a few days spent with my first computer, I was absolutely sure that I had found my future profession. Since 1977, I have been learning about computers at school, in university, and have read many books and magazines about them...but, most of what I have learned about computers has come from working on one... That is the reason why the story about my computers is also the story about the work I've done until now.

In order to keep this introduction brief, I won't go into details. I started from pocket programmable calculators (TI-59, HP-41CV - visit my site), then passed on to a TRS-80. After that, for many years, I had the pleasure to use an Acorn BBC B, before finally moving on to a PC. During the past decade, PC has gone through many changes. Will it be my choice forever?