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Rudei 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 13:55:53
#21 ]
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Joined: 20-Nov-2002
Posts: 3585
From: Dallas, Texas

@Metalheart

OT: is that bike fast?

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Metalheart 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 14:33:17
#22 ]
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Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2968
From: Somewhere in the Dutch mountains....

@Rudei

Quote:
OT: is that bike fast?


Well, I'm not exactly sure but it has about 98 HP as a standard, the previous owner has tuned it (something to do with the carburators) and has fitted laser exaust pipes, now at it has about 115 HP.

It accelerates like crazy, and I've reached wel over 140 Mph on it, and it felt like it would have gone even faster but I got scared And the corners on the highway were getting way to tight

I find it a great bike to drive, especialy after seven years without one. (I had a crash in 2000, and didn't have the money or the nerve to get a new one...)

Driving 50 Mph on the highway feels like standing still....

Internet says it has a topspeed of 143 Mph (98Hp)

http://www.bikez.com/motorcycles/kawasaki_zz-r_600_1991.php

The ZXR series are faster, also the obvious ZZR1000, but I guess I can say its fast enough for me

Cheers,

Martin

Last edited by Metalheart on 14-Nov-2007 at 02:35 PM.

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Rudei 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 14:50:07
#23 ]
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Joined: 20-Nov-2002
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From: Dallas, Texas

@Metalheart

It looks cool!

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TheDungeonDelver 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 15:25:23
#24 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Apr-2004
Posts: 815
From: Unknown

What? VIC20? C64? No! Punchcard and paper-tape is what we need! Blinking lights, flipping switches to load values into a static accumulator! A four character hex-output display with a little spiral notebook handy to interpret the codes with, that's all we need!

You know I remember once upon a time when the Amiga - and its community - was about being high tech and looking forward to new technologies and driving the market.

Now it seems to be the purview of luddites and anti-technologists who think being frozen in 1994 is a good thing; that the creation of larger, faster drive technology, faster memory busses and furthering CPU speeds is some kind of tacit failure of the technology world. Well, wake up and smell your burning CIA chips: Moore's law was driving the computer world long before Jay Miner started wire-wrapping banks of memory to build the Lorraine.

I can't fathom why people are railing at the ubiquity of computers. That a computer is as common now as a toaster is a good thing. I'm sorry that people don't need to join your 'leet little club of programmers and board solderers to learn how to use them. I'm not 12 any more; fun for me using a computer comes from effortlessly enjoying things like websurfing, games, and applications. You may not want to believe this, but I was there "back in the day" and frankly I hated it. Spend hours typing in a program from a magazine, type RUN ... and nothing. Or some cryptic error you could spend hours tracking down.

I longed for stuff that "just worked".

Thankfully that day is here now - well no, that day came back in the early 1980's when Apple got this crazy notion that things should "just work" instead of "be work". Oh sure the Lisa was a misstep but the Mac wasn't, and that lit a fire under the computing world (although to be honest the spark was already there thanks to the Xerox Star - what Apple did would have come at any rate). The Amiga, the ST, Windows - all stuff that worked effortlessly.

As for languages, Visual Basic (for example) is about as simple as an object oriented language can be, and offers a chance to really "do" things with your computer. Coupled with a myriad of libraries and other tools there's no reason why a kid these days can't do a little more than move sprites around or look at text output.

Looking back is fun and all but I'll stick to the way things are.

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Metalheart 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 16:17:16
#25 ]
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Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2968
From: Somewhere in the Dutch mountains....

@Rudei

thanks

thats what I thought...

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Rudei 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 16:51:49
#26 ]
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Joined: 20-Nov-2002
Posts: 3585
From: Dallas, Texas

@TheDungeonDelver

Good for you, and you missed the point and sentinent entirely, well done you!

Rude!

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DonnieA2 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 18:36:06
#27 ]
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Joined: 21-Jan-2004
Posts: 516
From: Unknown

@jingof

I wouldn't actually say that computers of today aren't being used like this..

Have you checked out ...

Kids Programming Language

It's a really big effort using today's computers to get kids out there programming and learning. I think things on the web like this are more compartmentalized today so you might not know it existed but kids doing programming and learning is a big part of the equasion today.

KPL is free for the download as well..

If you are not into KPL there are a ton of alternatives linked out there for different ages and sizes over at Kid's Domain

There is even a Java for Kids book too..

Java for Kids

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 19:05:26
#28 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@TheDungeonDelver

I think you missed the point. In fact, it sounds like you stopped reading after the first paragraph. So, let me clarify... I'm not anti-technology. More like a technology enthusiast. But I'm not talking about us adults...

I'm saying that kids today have a much steeper learning curve than we did if they want to learn about how computers work. And that this has to be discouraging and intimidate them into perpetual users of technology they don't understand.

I'm not saying technology is a bad thing or that I want to go backwards. But kids today have fun passively _using_ computers. Whereas, we had fun _exploring, understanding and programming_ computers and the later teaches you a lot more. No where is that a call for backwards thinking.

Quote:
Visual Basic (for example) is about as simple as an object oriented language can be


IMO, Visual Basic and .NET have a lot of inherent complexity, and aren't a suitable starting point for kids. Do you know kids that understand VB and .NET? I certainly don't.

Last edited by jingof on 14-Nov-2007 at 07:33 PM.

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 19:12:26
#29 ]
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Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@Laser

Quote:

Nowadays all the commercial stuff is produced over the course of years by huge teams and is so totally beyond the bedroom coder that a young kid will not bother.


I agree this is part of it also. Still, I think many kids have enough curiousity to try it on their own, and share their creations among their friends. And in that context, they don't expect a Halo 3 performance.

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 19:23:51
#30 ]
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Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@DonnieA2

Hmm.. these are some interesting links I hadn't seen before.

I notice KPL has 19 messages in its technical support form. Is this product new, or why so little traffic on it?

Some of the alternatives look good too. Liberty BASIC in particular looks promising.

Quote:
I wouldn't actually say that computers of today aren't being used like this..

It seems to me that few people know about these options or few are using them. But I don't know that for a fact.

Thanks for the links, I'll check them out more later.

Last edited by jingof on 14-Nov-2007 at 08:11 PM.
Last edited by jingof on 14-Nov-2007 at 07:47 PM.
Last edited by jingof on 14-Nov-2007 at 07:31 PM.

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Skandall 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 19:51:41
#31 ]
Member
Joined: 17-May-2006
Posts: 22
From: Unknown

@jingof

Well said. I'm constantly astounded by the fact that my 10 year old daughter has virtually no understanding of how computers work and the UI conventions that exist. I cannot count the number of times that I have had to tell her that turning off the monitor is not the same as turning off the computer. It is so true that todays computers do not encourage that same type of exploration that we had with the C64/C128/Amiga. What I do know is that if I show her a 3D modeling application she gets interested and tries to make things. If I show her a programming language she has no interest unless it is Scratch since that is a visual programming language. Kids today are no different than we were, but the tools have evolved from the fun hobby machines of the past into serious tools of productivity that are not to be messed around with. It's a shame really.

As for game consoles, I will say this: Microsoft has made the XBOX 360 a closed system with the sole exception of XNA. It is possible to use the XNA developers kit to make games that will run on the XBOX 360. However, the complexity of the XNA SDK is well beyond the average users abilities. Making a game isn't easy and there isn't much in the way of help. The PS3 doesn't have anything like that, however, you can install Linux on the PS3 and then use it as a computer. Again, it's still not kid friendly but it is far more open that the XBOX 360. Also, I've recently seen some very interesting R&D videos on the Sony Blog that show some potential uses for the new PLAYSTATION Eye that allow you to create your own content by drawing on paper. Whether that will be turned into something other than a tech demo remains to be seen.

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 14-Nov-2007 21:11:01
#32 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@Skandall

Quote:
turning off the monitor is not the same as turning off the computer


I've had these sorts of problems with my 13 year old. She can IM her friends all day long, but at the same time doesn't understand basics like this. There's lots of familiarity with the menus and buttons, but no understanding.

Quote:
However, the complexity of the XNA SDK is well beyond the average users abilities.


Yes, it's way over the heads of kids. And as I understand, there's a complex process to get your games on the XBOX, a yearly membership fee etc. This and the PS3 options are less accessible to beginners than the PC IMO.

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 15-Nov-2007 19:04:47
#33 ]
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Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@Will

Quote:
You don't think it's more a case of us changing into adults.

I don't that's it, especially since I'm mainly referring to kids here.

Quote:
Back then you could be really impressed with moving a sprite around

At least, in my case, kids are still impressed with this, when they did it and they understand it. Sure there is a higher threshold to impress us adults, but does this higher threshold mean kids have less incentive to try to understand programming themselves?

Quote:
Hmm, that's a long waffle for me.....

Yes, it seems like you provided more reasons to support the same conclusion: Kids have less motivation to learn about computers - and have settled into roles of surfer, IMer and MP3 downloader. Which doesn't lend much understanding in the end.

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scuzz 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 15-Nov-2007 23:22:04
#34 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-May-2004
Posts: 351
From: New Forest United Kingdom

@jingof

>Yes, it seems like you provided more reasons to support the same conclusion: Kids >have less motivation to learn about computers - and have settled into roles of >surfer, IMer and MP3 downloader. Which doesn't lend much understanding in the >end.

I started programming in BASIC on the ZX81 back in 1981 and then the games were often coded in the magazines. Getting the object to move across the screen and drop onto the bottom of the screen, supposedly as an aeroplane was mostly in my head. Cus there really wasn't any examples of computer games that could do anything different. The graphics and quality of motion was very limited. The gaming was a new adventure and everything that improved on the gameplay was very very noticeable. Trouble is, BASIC is very easy to understand. And the activities on the screen can be understood. LOGO was a touch more taxing on the brain in respect of direct maths and screen output. AMOS leaped higher though still a controllable understandible programming language... Jump then again to Blitz and on to C and the world changes very quickly. Move then to modern game engines and what they are doing with Heavenly Sword with the PS3 and the kids will find the gap so immense they will just give up and grab their MP3 player. BASIC is that, BASIC. And a great play thing. And through rose tinted glasses those that grew up with it will always reflect on easier times. You might think the kids see the C128 as something more than an old antique ( which is how you see it ) but in the end its just something else in their life they have not mucked around with and so is fascinating by nature. For me I played Manic Miner, and still love the Amiga, but I gotta say I prefer Heavenly Sword on the PS3 cus it represents where we are today... And getting kids to programme at this level is a mighty leep from the ZX81. Passing interest maybe, but if you do see any computing potential, please get them up to speed as quickly as possible, so they can fight for a better computing world, than the current crap existence that is MP3, chat and download central.

scuzz

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scuzz 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 15-Nov-2007 23:28:37
#35 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-May-2004
Posts: 351
From: New Forest United Kingdom

@scuzz

PS Max Headroom... 20 minutes into the future. Classic.

I still have the original programme on video.

[ quote ]

....... the computer effects on the show were created on Commodore Amigas, and not IBMs or Apples which were incapable of producing such (then-)sophistocated graphics.

[ end quote ]

scuzz
http://www.commodore-amiga-retro.com


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BigBentheAussie 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 16-Nov-2007 7:03:25
#36 ]
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Joined: 28-Oct-2003
Posts: 1690
From: Melbourne, Australia

@jingof

Yep. I know exactly what you mean. We are kind of yearning for a return to the Micro-computer age.

The full capabilities of today's machines are now harder to take advantage of, and thus the focus has shifted solely towards games and applications that do take full advantage of the machine's technical capabilities.

In the C64 days it would be possible for a bedroom coder to produce games approaching the calibre of the latest and greatest for that platform. But something approaching cutting edge these days is near impossible, especially in the realm of graphical content. Some independents software publishers get around this in innovative ways, for instance by producing simple but breath-taking content duplication creation techniques(Darwinia?). It takes a lot more to impress these days because the bar has lifted, and this, in turn, raises the barrier to entry and diminishes the motivation to create.

But that said, that doesn't necessarily mean the demise of the bedroom coder or even the entry level programmer. One just has to lower ones expectations. Your 11 year olds did not have expectations.

I do not believe we should go back to machines booting up at a Basic or a DOS prompt, however programming tools(languages and IDEs) should be an optional component during the installation of all Operating Systems. But there is nothing stopping you downloading an Express edition of Visual Studio for Windows which is free and letting your kids script some stuff, and event driven programming is orders magnitude easier to program these days. Even if APIs have become a little convuluted.

There is also nothing stopping you opening up a text editor(at worst) and getting your kids writing a little HTML and Javascript (Javascript has gotta be faster than C64 basic for Pete's sake), which has the added benefit of being platform agnostic and a skill that could benefit them in the future.

Perhaps the key is simpler devices, like handheld devices or mobiles, with display limitations akin to microcomputers where graphical content is not king. Kids would find it handy if they provided a high-level language and an abstracted yet powerful API, that you can program on the device itself rather than require a fully fledged PC. You may not want to program on it, but kids would as it would be like a toy to them. I prefer e-mail to texting too, but that has taken off. When you can publish or transmit your games/apps as easily SMS or MSMS, that could be an attractive proposition to a kid too. Maybe GP32 or the DS is a good example of something that would benefit from a high level API and IDE built in that kids could create games with.

I used to love tinkering with my Epyx toolkit on the C64 in the good ol'days. T'was far easier to set sprite positions with a sprite command than with pokes. The advent of Object oriented programming, even if it's just to access pre-existing object methods/properties rather than create classes, makes things a lot simpler. IDE's practically tell you what objects can do these days.

Last edited by BigBentheAussie on 16-Nov-2007 at 07:11 AM.

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Rudei 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 16-Nov-2007 9:24:42
#37 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Nov-2002
Posts: 3585
From: Dallas, Texas

@BigBentheAussie

I agree, but how many kids do you think are programming these days? Just because the tools might be there, my view was that there is no motivation and too much distraction and that kids simply don't code - I cannot substantiate this, it's just when I look at the friends I have got who have got kids, I don't see any of them performing any of the stuff that you and I used to do despite the tools being around.

Any thoughts on this aspect?

Rude!

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voyager2007 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 16-Nov-2007 12:47:05
#38 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 5-Sep-2007
Posts: 432
From: Germany

@BigBentheAussie

In the olden days, when ROM space was limited, people designed interpreters that were able to do a lot with only a few commands. Modern development environments like .NET and Java create whole landscapes of APIs. It's like placing a million 8-bit computers next to each other. And that's exactly what's missing nowadays: A BASIC interpreter that has APIs so simple that they can be comprehended by a kid. It could also help other people create software that used to feel overwhelmed by current development environments. It's all just a matter of API design and reduction of API complexity while increasing API power. Have a look at DarkBASIC for instance, which is already quite good. But it can be even simpler to use.

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 16-Nov-2007 22:22:16
#39 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@BigBentheAussie

Quote:
The full capabilities of today's machines are now harder to take advantage of, and thus the focus has shifted solely towards games and applications that do take full advantage of the machine's technical capabilities.


True. Interesting irony - computers are so much more powerful, yet most independent users do less novel and innovative things with them -- because they are so much harder to exploit and more intimidating.


Quote:
do not believe we should go back to machines booting up at a Basic or a DOS prompt


Right. But don't get me wrong - I don't want that either. Would certainly be a tough sell to anyone. And I certainly wouldn't want to trade my Quad Core Intel in for a C-64 or anything. Just find it interesting how it's worked out - that more power killed the "bedroom coder".

Quote:
But that said, that doesn't necessarily mean the demise of the bedroom coder

It shouldn't have to mean this. But it seems it has, or nearly so anyway. I don't have statistics to back that up, just certainly seems there's a lot of "using" going, but not much "creating".

Quote:
nothing stopping you downloading an Express edition of Visual Studio for Windows

Right, but I'm not sure how many would-be bedroom coders do this. Maybe they do, but the kids I know would have absolutely no idea about this option or how to take advantage of it. Or what to do with .NET once it is installed. Maybe I'm wrong, but this just doesn't seem like a suitable starting point.

Quote:
Perhaps the key is simpler devices, like handheld devices or mobiles, with display limitations akin to microcomputers where graphical content is not king. Kids would find it handy if they provided a high-level language and an abstracted yet powerful API, that you can program on the device itself rather than require a fully fledged PC.


Yes, that's _similar_ to what I have in mind as well. Something that is perhaps less powerful but also much easier to understand and be creative with. A kind of computer with training wheels aimed at the 10 to 17 age group. Essentially, a Commodore 64-II with around a $300 price tag, built with modern hardware and designed for kids or novice users. Including custom programming language for games development (shareable with friends on cell phones), homework assistance, help kids publish their own websites etc. And not meant to compete with or obviate the more powerful systems. I'd buy one for my kids, but maybe I'm alone in that regard.

Last edited by jingof on 16-Nov-2007 at 10:35 PM.
Last edited by jingof on 16-Nov-2007 at 10:33 PM.

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scuzz 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 16-Nov-2007 23:07:22
#40 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-May-2004
Posts: 351
From: New Forest United Kingdom

@jingof

>True. Interesting irony - computers are so much more powerful, yet most >independent users do less novel and innovative things with them -- because they >are so much harder to exploit and more intimidating.

There are many many reasons as to why computer habits have changed. None more than the ease by which folk can have their cake and eat it. You don`t need to struggle too much today to get absolutely anything simply by clicking a few mouse buttons. The download mentality that populates the net flows from mobile phones through to interactive gaming now... And chat is all. While kids like their gaming they also like the chat, and the interactive nature of computers. I wouldn`t say its a case that computers are harder to exploit, I would say that your average user just couldn`t care less, just as long as they have the internet and an MP3 player.

Thankfully there will always be those that wanna have a play. And as long as you can break into the old computer vault then there will be guys doing it. Microsoft are screaming out at the moment for computer talent, given the apparent shortage of programmers. Games are more about game engines and a grasp of 3D graphical capabilities and the bigger work in entertainment through films and the like. The production levels are just immense, and I just take my hat off to anyone entering that field.

Not possible with PEEK and POKE sadly....

CPM on my C128 is still fun... but not as entertaining as creating an interactive web page and releasing it onto the web...

Early computers had to be a programming tool, don`t forget. It was the only way to use them. With GEOS came point and click and the rest is history. GUI... from programming to entertainment centre in just two decades. In two more decades there won`t even be a computer, just an interactive paper thin screen, or even less.

scuzz

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