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VT2005EE 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 16-Nov-2007 23:58:28
#41 ]
Member
Joined: 10-May-2007
Posts: 42
From: Unknown

@jingof

I agree 100%! I was once one of those 13 year old kids back in '86. I programmed my Commodore 128 through my senior year in high school. When I went off to college to study engineering, I was primed and ready to buy an Amiga 1200, thinking that I could use the Amiga for my engineering studies. I wanted to continue the fun that I had experienced with the C128. However, the college of engineering (at Virginia Tech in the USA) made us all choose between a Macintosh or an IBM-compatible (as the x86 line was commonly referred to at the time) - this was in 1992. Once I was forced to conduct all of my engineering work and reports on this "IBM compatible", I had to drop any intention to continue using the C128 - or buying an Amiga. My heart was pretty well torn out and stomped on, and I am really just now recovering...... I agree that kids today are left with what I saw develop through the 90s and into the 2000s - an impossible ocean of ridiculously complex methods to program even the simplest of graphics, etc.



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DonnieA2 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 2:48:10
#42 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Jan-2004
Posts: 516
From: Unknown

@jingof

Kids Programming Language is rather new, and not well known internationally however in the USA here where schools are full of DELL PCs this is getting quite popular with teachers who go beyond turtle graphics/logo (which some still use).

I am not suprised you don't know about it, but a quick GOOGLE for Kids Programming brings it up as one of the top items..

I really recommend KPL and it comes highly recommended among most of the educational community. I even here a conference for it may be in the works..

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 7:18:36
#43 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@scuzz

Quote:
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.

Quote:
not as entertaining as creating an interactive web page and releasing it onto the web...

Yes, you're posts have put this in a little different light for me. I do think programming accessibility, huge conceptual scope and difficulty in gaining an understanding, etc. are a big part of the change in computer habits. But I also agree with you that the ability to download almost anything you want and a re-defining of entertaining are factors with perhaps equal or greater weighting.

I think it's true that exploring computers, learning programming etc. teaches more about logic, electronics and develops problem solving skills. But, you've certainly made some good points to explain the disinterest, that don't necessarily equate to the distraction or noise the Internet often represents.

Last edited by jingof on 17-Nov-2007 at 07:19 AM.

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 8:16:53
#44 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@scuzz

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

Definitely a classic. Max Headroom was a great 80's character. But I could hardly take my eyes off Amanda Pays, the love interest in the movie. She was hot!

Also, some good early Amiga graphics in there.

AOL has the movie and series posted free (with ads) here:
http://video.aol.com/video/tv-max-headroom-blipverts/1648823

Quote:
the computer effects on the show were created on Commodore Amigas

Right. In fact, the extended Paranomia video had lots of Amiga graphics in it, including the boing ball. Boing ball shows up first at about 1:53.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWaEeHPEGds

I found this clip of a rare 2006 part of a much older Max:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kTNFlxh0d0&feature=related

Poor guy, type casting is tough.

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Swisso 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 13:43:09
#45 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 13-Mar-2004
Posts: 211
From: Bournemouth

@jingof

I agree with a lot of your post, I went through the Vic20 etc.etc stage but only after I was married and therefore never had much time to get too seriously involved with programming ( screaming kids & stuff) Looking back now I wish I had pursued it more diligently but I can relate my work to the situation also.
I work in the motor trade as a diagnostic Electrician, have done for 30+ years It was not something that I had planned to do, more a case of being saddled with the jobs that nobody else wanted to do. I found that the old grey matter was able to reason very quickly what the faults were and was then typecast. I have seen the introduction of electronics into motor vehicles through to computers and canbus. Has it made them more reliable? has it made them more fun to drive? In my opinion no! instead it has given me a huge headache for the past 30+ years. To get back on thread, when I get home and click on the mouse and see workbench with its clear, clean filesystem and ease of operation I am so relieved that an Amiga is still running and trying to keep up with the pace of change.

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er....CDTV!

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NovaBurst 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 17:48:01
#46 ]
Member
Joined: 21-Oct-2004
Posts: 76
From: Unknown

I agree with a lot of your posts too. This is an interesting topic, because I've thought about it many times myself. Just like a lot of you, I learned BASIC back on the C64.

Actually, I have been learning REBOL lately and I must say, it really gives me that kind of feeling. You can create GUI stuff really quickly and easily and the language just feels comfortable. You might give it a go.

One last thing, I loved the Max Headroom series!


Last edited by NovaBurst on 17-Nov-2007 at 05:48 PM.

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 22:06:01
#47 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@NovaBurst

An interest in REBOL has been building for me, and I think you've pushed me over the edge . I've heard a lot of good things about REBOL. So, time to see what all the fuss is about.

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newbee 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 22:19:06
#48 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 18-Sep-2003
Posts: 175
From: Adelaide, Australia

@jingof

It's not as bad as you think, spend some time investigating and reading up on the OLPC and what they make available for the children to do.

It will bring the "fun" of computing back to millions of children.

I'm wondering if forums like this will (in 20 years time or so) be filled with people reminiscing about their OLPC computers.


OLPC - Main site - Click the large colored objects to see more
OLPC info, videao etc

Regards
Darren

Last edited by newbee on 17-Nov-2007 at 10:41 PM.

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newbee 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 17-Nov-2007 22:28:25
#49 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 18-Sep-2003
Posts: 175
From: Adelaide, Australia

@newbee

If you are American or Canadian (Lucky buggers) you can own one of these beauties in the "give one get one" scheme

Give one, get one

In summary:
You purchase two units, one goes to some needy child somewhere else in the world.
You get one that you can use (or more appropriately your child can use).

Darren


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scuzz 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 18-Nov-2007 23:43:45
#50 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-May-2004
Posts: 351
From: New Forest United Kingdom

@Swisso

.... Bournemouth... My goodness. Thats two Amiga nutters in very close proximity. We are almost an Amiga User Group.

Cheers.

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

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scuzz 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 18-Nov-2007 23:53:39
#51 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-May-2004
Posts: 351
From: New Forest United Kingdom

@jingof

[ quote ]

Definitely a classic. Max Headroom was a great 80's character. But I could hardly take my eyes off Amanda Pays, the love interest in the movie. She was hot!

[ end quote ]

I could never work out if she was ever wearing anything under that coat.

I loved everything about the film and the shows. In those days I actually thought TV entertainment was about to be as rebelious as the music predating this. Sadly not. There was also a good film with that guy from Duran Duran ( Andy whatsit thinks ) in the same format. The whole Channel 4 thing just ran out of steam.

If you see Tomb Raider the last movie the kid in the caravan is a rip off of the kid in Max Headroom. They even have the same name....

My favourite Max comments were when he said ' If you think you got it bad then spare a thought for the moth ' And when his director left he said ' Tim, how can you leave... ? After all of the heartache and the tears.. ' He then pauses and laughs ' BYE '
You really had to be there... ' Get it on ' Powerstation followed and Robert Palmer in
full swing with strangely that guy out of Duran Duran playing guitar.

Where were we....

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

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Swisso 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 19-Nov-2007 7:29:47
#52 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 13-Mar-2004
Posts: 211
From: Bournemouth

@scuzz
yes and with Swoop at Fleet, probably even closer to you, I think we do have a possible Pub meet on the cards. What do you think 'the three ess's' or 'the South coast ess's' or 'sss. Amiga' ?

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er....CDTV!

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ecmanaut 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 26-Nov-2007 15:36:19
#53 ]
New Member
Joined: 15-Nov-2007
Posts: 1
From: Unknown

I can heartily recommend HacketyHack for your 13+yearolds, which is another project aimed at getting kids into creative mode, having fun, and solving problems of their own, much like we do.

But I think starting out in the small, non-complex 8 bit world may likely be a much better start, if for no other reason, then for appreciating the steps up in abstraction power that going to a language like Ruby does to your programming. Skipping steps of evolution isn't always a healthy shortcut.

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RodTerl 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 26-Nov-2007 16:28:27
#54 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 6-Sep-2004
Posts: 589
From: Rossendale

Simple steps to see if a programming language is easy and simple to use.

1.Start the programming language by clicking on its icon. If it asks you what you want to do, it Too complex. It should accept that you want to do anything you want, and let you name the program or project when saved accordingly. Default name, Untitled Date Time, to save multiple occurances.(Preferable, not absolutely needed)

2.Typing Print "Hello World" and selecting Run by any method, should bring up a display with the text, Hello World in it. After all, the programming software has been installed on a particualr machine, and you are effectively using it in real time interactive mode. Hence, all the required hardware access IO code should alredy be implemented and initialised by the programming language GUI itself. Why should the person have to reimplement it yet again.

3. Typing such as a simple for next loop, with the variable displayed as it is on screen, should not throw up error messages such as type mis match, out of bounds errors or such. (For f=1 to 10;Print f;next f)

4. A readily available index of commands, even just a scollable list of alphanumerically sorted entries, with command structure and realistic variable names inserted in each command, with directions to which are mandatory or not, and what default values are used, if any, would be an acceptable compromise.
If the programing language used this list for per command help, and compile time, so much better.

5. Plot x,y
Before ANYTHING else, I cannot stress how important this function is for the interaction of the modern world and children, And adults. We give crayons to very young chuildren, and expect them to scrawl on anything, to learn how to manipulate the drawing implements before they can learn to draw letters. Yet, in all present examples I have seen, Graphics are a long way down the list, coming after file IO and such. Again, why should a programming language enforce the reimplementation of file handling, when all file handling is identical, and already implemented by the programming language.

6. Input a$
Now that the child can quite happily make a mess of the screen through the program, Then they can be introduced to the idea that they can actually alterthe data used in the program themselves, while it is running. Of course, there are other functions, Mouse(), Joy() Pen() etc..

7. Sound
Because I was brought up with computers in the 80s, I had a ZX Spectrum, so Beep was the order of the day. However, the Spectrums Beep was still far more powerful than even the latest PCs motherboard sounder, which by default, still Beeps. Before anyone complains about Beep, please note that digital D Type amplifiers are becoming very popular, and are essentially just that, a one bit, bit stream, essentially the 1 bit DAC found on certain CD players. Commands such as Sound in(), Sound out()or simple equivalents, would go a long way to helping learn about IO handling of similar data structures and such.

8. Files
Now once the child has got to grips with the capabilities of the machine, they can start loading in previous work, saving it out and such. This code should really be already implemented in the menu options. Given that the GUI is basically a text editor, the entire wrapper should be no larger than a fixed font Text editor, preferably a few k at most.

Some things I have picked up while frustrated at trying to get various Basics to work.

BlitzBasic2 for PC
Use Graphics 800*600 or similar, gives you graphics mode.

QBasic
Use Screen 12 for graphics 640*480*16 col

ANSI Text terminal
this took me a while to really sort out, but this is possible.
Use ESC[=18h for 640*480*16 colours, or, the same screen as Qbasic
You can then use the \ character, along with curser control commands, to scan an image onto the screen, in 16 colour pixel resolution, as long as you dont mind losing the right edge and lower edge of the screen area.
Compressing the text file with LZH, gives you a file size very similar in size to a 640*480*16 colour GIF.

Anyone up for writing a script based, pixel level ANSI terminal web browser, with images?8)

RodTerl

Now all we need is ANSI extentions for 24 bit, higher resolutions, animation an streaming, and we can recreate everything in text?.. Of course its mad, thats the whole point 8)

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jingof 
Re: When computers were fun...
Posted on 30-Nov-2007 21:48:18
#55 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@RodTerl

Quote:
5. Plot x,y
Before ANYTHING else, I cannot stress how important this function is for the interaction of the modern world and children, And adults.

I agree you all your points, but this one in particular. That (and sprites) are always the first things kids want to do but it is usually pretty difficult to access and understand. Logo was popular for exactly this reason I think.

Quote:
BlitzBasic2 for PC
Use Graphics 800*600 or similar, gives you graphics mode.

I looked at BlitzBasic also but thought it was pretty cryptic out of the box.

Quote:
Simple steps to see if a programming language is easy and simple to use.

You've described the same kind of language I'm thinking about. A language with the ease of use of Logo, but more flexible and expressive so you can do more general purpose tasks like working with files, keyboard input etc. Maybe such a language already exists, and some candidates have been suggested on this thread - still plan to check into them and see.

Last edited by jingof on 30-Nov-2007 at 09:48 PM.

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