first programs

From: <(>
Date: Tue Jan 16 13:50:48 2001

My first useful program was a graphical alarm clock. I'm a dropout and so
missed math education beyond arithmetic. This is why I do all my agebraic
problems linearly as you do in programing. I still don't understand how
and why algebra is done the way it is in schools. Boolean algebra makes
so much more sense to me.

Anyway, I was trying to plot the face of a circular clock. First I tried
using PI as the base for the plotting and my clock's face came out wierd
and incomplete. After messing with the program for some hours I realized
that OF COURSE a circle derived from pi was going to be incomplete because
PI is irrational. No matter how many digits after the dicimal you use, you
will never get a complete circle, just a progressively less incomplete
one. Duh. Back to the drawing board.

I started hitting the trig functions looking for an answer and hit on
Sine/cosine as the way to do it. Educating yourself is hard and you often
have to backtrack like that.

The alarm clock worked perfectly within the accuracy limits of my Atari
8-bit's real-time clock. Because of video refresh 'stealing' jiffies, it
would lose a few seconds per day. Prior to this, I'd written the standard
"hello world" stuff, but this was the first really useful program I'd

Another was a program which drove an optical digitizer I built from a
fiber-optic cable, an infrared fiber optic detector (variable
potentiomiter) and some tape. It plugged into the joystick port and used
the Vpot analog to digital converter the machine uses to 'read'
paddle-type game controllers. The tape-wrapped end of the fiber optic
cable fit nicely into one of the pen bays on an Atari 1020 color plotter.
Run a photo into the plotter and start the program. After a few minutes,
the photo is on screen in 16 shades of grey. Saving the image was as
simple as an incremeted "peek" and store of each location in screen
memory. I was very proud of it at the age of 14. I still have the program
and some 'girly' pictures I digitized with it, but the scanner hardware is
long lost. Sigh. My adolescent friends TOTALLY understood. ;-),



In <>, on 01/16/01
   at 02:50 PM, John Tinker <> said:

>My first memorable (to me) program on the C-64 was "scribble". It
>randomly changed accellerations as it drew a line around the screen, with
>a tendency to drift back toward the center. It really did look like a
>scribble. I was quite proud of it. My friends didn't understand.
>-- John Tinker

Jeffrey S. Worley
Complete Computer Services, Inc.
30 Greenwood Rd.
Asheville, NC 28803
Visit our website at HTTP://
Received on Tue Jan 16 2001 - 13:50:48 GMT

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