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      /  Was that even possible back then !!!
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BigD 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 13-Apr-2012 19:07:54
#81 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5387
From: UK

@Franko

Quote:
Nah... dropping a nice freshly made slice of toast that always lands butter side down is the real cause of global unhappiness and many wars...


Maybe in Dr Seuss land!

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John Lasseter, Co-Founder of Pixar Animation Studios

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BigD 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 13-Apr-2012 19:22:36
#82 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5387
From: UK

@Thread

I find myself more productive on my Amigas than on my Mac. I think the internet hasn't helped productivity amongst computer users. Although, advice forums and online shopping is ok, the term 'surf the net' was coined quite early on and describes what most people use it for; social networking, youtube, tv shows on watch again services and inane non-productive activities. I need more time to learn how to use Photoshop but instead the pull of 'surfing the internet' is distracting!


A bit like this! Try coding/photo editing with this going on outside your window. A good analogy that uses surfing

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Franko 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 13-Apr-2012 19:58:12
#83 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Jun-2010
Posts: 2809
From: Unknown

@BigD

Quote:

BigD wrote:
@Thread


A bit like this! Try coding/photo editing with this going on outside your window. A good analogy that uses surfing


If that was going on outside my window I'd be shouting "TSUNAMI" and waving at the oil tankers going by, cos I'm roughly 700 feet above sea level...

Mind you if that was the last thing I saw going by me window I would at least die with a smile on my face...

Betcha my miggies would end up back home on the west coast and one of my relatives who survived the tsunami would find them and be flogging them up the Barras the following Sunday, (they've always been after them since they saw the prices a Blizzard PPC board can fetch on eBay, ruddy scroungers the lot of em)...

PS: In case any relatives are reading this, I'm leaving everything to the squirrels...

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HenryCase 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 9:36:42
#84 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Nov-2007
Posts: 728
From: Unknown

@thread
The simple fact is this. Back in the day, geeks represented a larger proportion of computer users, and there was greater curiosity about what they did. Nowadays, the ratio of geeks to other computer users is smaller, and computers are a more established medium. However, in terms of pure numbers, the amount of geeks (and pseudo-geeks) has clearly increased, and if you can't see that then you're looking on the wrong websites.

I'd also like to point out that we were all seen as noobs at some point. If you don't think the influx of microcomputer users of the 80s was looked down apon by the old guard of the time, then you're delusional.

You could make many comparisons to how other technologies became embedded in our culture. Take the car for instance, how many of you are curious about how a car works and have taken the time to study the workings of a car engine, etc...? Most people do not care to do so, so long as it works. However, when cars were newer, simpler and manufactured in a less refined manner, such knowledge would be more widespread (remember Haynes manuals?). There is always a new frontier to explore with technology, if you truly believe that you have something relevant to teach users of modern technology, then work on refining what that is.

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jingof 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 12:05:43
#85 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@HenryCase, @thread

Let's take a step back... I think the quesiton has been framed wrong. Let me try to reframe it:

Judging from my own son's actions (described here), I have felt like many early teens just feel overwhelmed with modern computers. Their complexity is so high that many kids feel intimidated out of even trying to get a deeper understanding.

For example, "why should I try to make a game, it takes teams of 100 programmers to do that now." Or, why should I try to learn to extend an OS in assembly, or develop the 3D graphics algorithms, etc.

It just seems to me that the bar has been raised so high now, that fewer kids are willing to try to poll volt it. That's just human nature. In fact, if I was growing up now, I'm not sure I'd feel prepared to take on the task of understanding such a technology behemoth as the modern PC, Linux or Mac. The Vic-20, C-64 and Amigas were a limited scope that a kid could wrap their brain around, and really understand. I remember rushing home from school to type in the latest game from Computes Gazzette magazine, play it, and then try to read the code and figure out how it worked. Tweak it, make things happen differently etc. But today, the bar is much higher. If the C-64 was a small pool, the modern PC is the Atlantic ocean, and that's a much different proposition to embark on.

That's just a practical observation... intimidation does happen when things look harder. It's just a fact.

My son, for example, wasn't interested in programming modern PCs. But when presented with a C-128 that he thought was a new computer designed just for kids to make games on, then he was interested in learning how it worked. So, when he felt the scope was limited to something realistic for him, then his interest was piqued. __AND THAT' is the point__

This point is not that ... "new technology is bad". Or "it was better in the old days" type argument.

It is simply realistic questions:

* how much is intimidation a factor now, in why many kids often seek less understanding? Or is it just percentages changing as "non-geeks" move in?
* consoles use to be programmable (C-64). Today, they aren't. I.e. You can't sit with an Xbox 360 in your lap and program it on your TV and experiment. And in that regard, the Xbox 360 can do half of what the C-64 could do. How much is that a factor?
* for kids that only care about games, instant communication etc.. at what point does technology over-exposure start to interfere with just being a kid and growing up adjusted and educated?

Bottom line, I don't think of it as "get off my lawn" or "it was better in the 80's" sentiment. It's not the statements of some old guy, feeling nostalgic.

Rather, I'm trying to say.. how do we make sure our kids don't miss out on something we all had:

A lower barrier to entry in understanding how computers work, that doesn't intimate an _otherwise interested_ teen into user-only mode.

Simple as that. Maybe it is unnecessary. Maybe my observations are off base.

But at the very least, it is an honest, sane set of questions worthy of being asked... and not the overblown, anti-progress hyperbole that this thread has turned it into.

Last edited by jingof on 14-Apr-2012 at 12:32 PM.
Last edited by jingof on 14-Apr-2012 at 12:22 PM.
Last edited by jingof on 14-Apr-2012 at 12:19 PM.
Last edited by jingof on 14-Apr-2012 at 12:16 PM.
Last edited by jingof on 14-Apr-2012 at 12:15 PM.

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HenryCase 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 12:38:39
#86 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Nov-2007
Posts: 728
From: Unknown

@jingof

Quote:
jingof wrote:
Judging from my own son actions (described here), I have felt like many early teens just feel overwhelmed with modern computers. Their complexity is so high that many kids feel intimidated out of even trying to get a deeper understanding.


There is a common misconception that modern computers are harder on the beginner programmer than older computers. By and large, this is not true, it's still easy to get started if you pick appropriate tools. What has changed is that the power of making your own programs isn't as 'in your face' as it used to be when your computer presented you with a BASIC prompt on boot.

Quote:
jingof wrote:
For example, "why should I try to make a game, it takes teams of 100 programmers to do that now." Or, why should I try to learn to extend an OS in assembly, or develop the 3D graphics algorithms, etc.


This is another common misconception, that kids won't be interested in making things that don't end up being a professional-level product. If that was true, why would they enjoy drawing, making music, being creative in any way at all? As long as they're having fun, it doesn't matter. It's worth sharing this video with you, which is a presentation by Eben Upton from the Raspberry Pi foundation. Listen out for the bit where he describes coding Snake with a bunch of kids:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj91taKHlmM

Quote:

* consoles use to be programmable (C-64). Today, they aren't.


The C64 was never a console, it's a home computer, you're comparing apples to oranges.

Quote:

A lower bearer to entry in understanding how computers work, that doesn't intimate a teen into user-only mode.


I agree that encouraging users to grow into developers is a noble goal, and I agree we can do a better job of doing so. This ties in with what I said before...
"if you truly believe that you have something relevant to teach users of modern technology, then work on refining what that is."
That's why I admire the work being done by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, they're making positive steps to address the youth programming culture issue. However, it is right to assess what lessons from the past are still relevant today, and not all of them are. Simply put, not all of the skills you know are of equal value to the next generation. Programming? Definitely still useful.

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ruben 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 12:55:44
#87 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 364
From: Portugal

@HenryCase

Quote:
This is another common misconception, that kids won't be interested in making things that don't end up being a professional-level product. If that was true, why would they enjoy drawing, making music, being creative in any way at all? As long as they're having fun, it doesn't matter.


I can only speak for myself, but that isn't always the case. In my Spectrum and Amiga days, what really motivated me for game programming was this sense that if you'd get together with a couple of friends to do a game on your free time, you could end up creating something that would be as good as the best stuff available at the time.
Sure, today you can use any PC to learn programming, but you'll always know that whataver you're doing will be way behind what is already out there.

So you end up learning just for the sake of learning, which isn't a bad thing at all, but in the old days you'd have the extra joy of being on top of the tech, and that's gone now.

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jingof 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 13:29:30
#88 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-May-2007
Posts: 497
From: Jingo Fet is from "A Galaxy Far, Far Away"

@HenryCase

Quote:
There is a common misconception that modern computers are harder on the beginner programmer than older computers. By and large, this is not true, it's still easy to get started if you pick appropriate tools.

Perception is often reality. Particularly when "picking the right tools" requires knowledge not yet attained. This is exactly why Eben Upton states that the "scratch" language environment for the Pi is intended to make the system "less intimidating for kids than a modern PC/programming tools".

So, your own reference (Upton) agrees that intimidation and perception is part of the problem they are addressing with the Pi kids programming project.

In my view, Rasberry Pi with the Scratch environment is exactly what I'm talking about.. A reduced and more approachable environment. So, happy to see it taking shape.

Quote:
This is another common misconception, that kids won't be interested in making things that don't end up being a professional-level product

By what standard do you judge this a misconception?

I've heard this rationale for disinterest stated several times, among teens. So, why you judge this misconception is a mystery to me.

Quote:
The C64 was never a console, it's a home computer, you're comparing apples to oranges.

Consoles and home computers (particularly in the 80's) were not "apples and oranges". The distinction is mostly marketing and only slightly technical. This is exactly why the Coleco Adam was originally launched as a console and a year later, a keyboard and software was released to turn in into a home computer. There were other consoles that did this as well. The IntelliVision, for example, as I recall, also had a home computer expansion option.

A console is a subset of a home computer. So, they are more related then your apples/oranges comparison would have one conclude.

Last edited by jingof on 14-Apr-2012 at 01:32 PM.

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danwood 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 15:14:29
#89 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Sep-2008
Posts: 1058
From: Unknown

@jingof

Quote:
For example, "why should I try to make a game, it takes teams of 100 programmers to do that now.".


This was the case 10 -15 years ago, you have more chance though today. If you want to release the next Call of Duty, of course not, but mobile development has brought back the age of the bedroom programmer, more than ever. Look at apps like Instagram, started by 2 guys, sold 18 months later for $1billion.

iOS and Android development is one of the main attractions to kids/teenagers who are interested in development now, it's where the innovation is and where anyone can play along side the big boys.

Quote:
consoles use to be programmable (C-64). Today, they aren't. I.e. You can't sit with an Xbox 360 in your lap and program it on your TV and experiment. And in that regard, the Xbox 360 can do half of what the C-64 could do. How much is that a factor?


The C64 was a computer, with keyboard and inbuilt programming language, an Xbox 360 is not. A fairer comparison would be a console of the time like an Atari VCS, a NES or Master System - you couldn't sit a Sega Mega Drive on your lap and program it on your TV either.

Last edited by danwood on 14-Apr-2012 at 03:15 PM.

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Franko 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 15:15:39
#90 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Jun-2010
Posts: 2809
From: Unknown

@HenryCase

Why do people when it comes to computers have to stick the label "geeks" onto others !!!

Were the first people who had VCR's in their homes labelled as geeks or the first ones to buy CD players labelled as geeks, no (well probably by some but not by the mainstream public), so what is it with computers that you have to be a geek if you were among the first to buy them !!!

The first guys who actually built their own computers systems from kits or from scratch as a hobby were labelled as geeks & nerds but they were indeed a tiny group in comparison to the sudden onset of ready made pre built computers that sprang up at the beginning of the 80's with the like of the ZX Spectrum & the Vic 20, which were bought ready built and ready to work and there was nothing "geeky" about them....

As for noobs, course everyones a noob at some point in time in everything we set out to do and no-one has said those who actually built computers in their homes from scratch didn't frown or look down upon those of us who bought ready made ones, so what your point is there I have no idea...

As I've never owned, driven or had any interest in cars I disagree they they are simpler to understand than a computer. I have spent many a boring hour back in the days when people actually fixed and tinkered with their cars themselves watching/ helping my brother in law repairing something that had gone wrong on his old Avenger but I never actually learned anything about them as they simply didn't interest me....

The big difference between a car and computer is, to take an interest in a computer I only have to switch it on and start programming at the keyboard to get it to do something unlike a car where I would have to go outside, jack it up, climb underneath and all over it and require more tools and spare parts, get covered in oil and gunk just to find out what's wrong with it. Comparing cars to computers, well there is no comparison they are two entirely different subjects in all aspects of them...

I've tinkered/ repaired most things in my life but cars to me are just something that hold not even the remotest bit of curiosity for me, so I guess car owners could say about me what I say about most people today and their lack of interest in the learning about computers, when it comes to cars I'm just too lazy to learn but then I don't use a car so have no need to learn about them whereas I use computers and it makes sense to learn all there is to about something I use every day, plus its fun...

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Franko 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 15:26:02
#91 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Jun-2010
Posts: 2809
From: Unknown

@jingof

Quote:

jingof wrote:
@HenryCase

Consoles and home computers (particularly in the 80's) were not "apples and oranges". The distinction is mostly marketing and only slightly technical. This is exactly why the Coleco Adam was originally launched as a console and a year later, a keyboard and software was released to turn in into a home computer. There were other consoles that did this as well. The IntelliVision, for example, as I recall, also had a home computer expansion option.

A console is a subset of a home computer. So, they are more related then your apples/oranges comparison would have one conclude.


Yup things like the Coleco were indeed consoles but the ZX Spectrum, Dragon, Oric Atom, Vic 20 and C64 were never sold nor advertised as anything other than being computers...

To put it simply if it didn't have a keyboard whereby the user couldn't interact with it to program (if the chose to do so) or key in text or figures in order to use an app it was a console not a computer...

I mean would you really call something like the Atari 2600 or SNES a computer and not a console, there was and still is a big distinction between a computer & a console...

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Mechanic 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 16:16:40
#92 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Jul-2003
Posts: 2007
From: Unknown

@jingof

Quote:

jingof wrote:


Rather, I'm trying to say.. how do we make sure our kids don't miss out on something we all had:

A lower barrier to entry in understanding how computers work, that doesn't intimate an _otherwise interested_ teen into user-only mode.

Simple as that. Maybe it is unnecessary. Maybe my observations are off base.

But at the very least, it is an honest, sane set of questions worthy of being asked... and not the overblown, anti-progress hyperbole that this thread has turned it into.


Get rid of the self appointed experts. The nitwits that have forgotten where they began
and expect everyone to start at the level it took them time and work to achieve.

Like this guy:
================================================================
Mechanic wrote:

If you have been around home computers for more than 25-30 years you are lucky
in the sense that the first language you probably used, or were familiar with
was BASIC.

Expert replied:

Not really true after me and my mates wrote our first couple of programs in basic we soon learned it was pretty useless and began teaching ourselves assembler on the VIC 20 and when the C64 came along we never wrote anything for it in basic just assembler.
================================================================

'wrote our first couple of programs in BASIC'

Don't ya just love it?

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Franko 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 16:21:58
#93 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Jun-2010
Posts: 2809
From: Unknown

@Mechanic

Quote:

Mechanic wrote:
@jingof

Get rid of the self appointed experts. The nitwits that have forgotten where they began
and expect everyone to start at the level it took them time and work to achieve.


Does that mean were going to get rid of you...

Sure hope so...

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Franko 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 16:28:45
#94 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Jun-2010
Posts: 2809
From: Unknown

@Mechanic

Ooops sorry I forgot to include the link to a post you placed on my site giving your "Expert" opinion on all things computing... Ironic, crazy or sad... you decide...

Mechanic's EXPERT opinions...

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Mechanic 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 16:57:15
#95 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Jul-2003
Posts: 2007
From: Unknown

@Franko

Quote:

Franko wrote:
@Mechanic

Ooops sorry I forgot to include the link to a post you placed on my site giving your "Expert" opinion on all things computing... Ironic, crazy or sad... you decide...

Mechanic's EXPERT opinions...


Not me. Never posted there.

Got anything else, expert?

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Franko 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 17:03:01
#96 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Jun-2010
Posts: 2809
From: Unknown

@Mechanic

Quote:

Mechanic wrote:
@Franko

Not me. Never posted there.

Got anything else, expert?



C'mon you should know by now I never visit a site with being armed to the false teeth with some sort of backup plan and a couple of exploding squirrels...

Too many experts just confuse the terminally bewildered... so it's either me or you... as these forums aint big enough for both of us... on guard...

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Darrin 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 18:47:19
#97 ]
Team Member
Joined: 14-May-2003
Posts: 1941
From: Lake Charles, USA

@Mechanic

Quote:
'wrote our first couple of programs in BASIC'


My first computing class in school taught CESIL first.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesil

Because we only had one computer for the whole school (an old Reasearch Machines 380Z which we had to boot into CPM and then load BASIC) we had to hand write out programs and send them off to the local University for some people to type into the mainframe and then mail us the hardcopy output back.

Thank god I had my own VIC-20 at home.

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Mechanic 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 19:09:51
#98 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Jul-2003
Posts: 2007
From: Unknown

@Darrin

Quote:

Darrin wrote:
@Mechanic

My first computing class in school taught CESIL first.


Thank god I had my own VIC-20 at home.




CESIL.... Looks like an early RPN calculator language.

There should always be something for the complete newbie. Some will take to it, some will not.

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Darrin 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 14-Apr-2012 19:31:01
#99 ]
Team Member
Joined: 14-May-2003
Posts: 1941
From: Lake Charles, USA

@Mechanic

Yeah, it had IIRC 14 commands. I guess the point was to assess those who could think in a logical manner. I recall exercises like "Write a program in CESIL to convert a list of temperatures from C to F and watching half the class spend 30 minutes slogging away at it while the rest of us (who owned computers) got on with doing the homework given to us in the previous classes.

By the end of the year we had two 380Z computers and by the following year we had a zillion (seven to be exact) BBC Micros (only one with a floppy drive though, the rest were all cassette tape).

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HenryCase 
Re: Was that even possible back then !!!
Posted on 15-Apr-2012 10:11:26
#100 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Nov-2007
Posts: 728
From: Unknown

@ruben
Quote:
ruben wrote:
I can only speak for myself, but that isn't always the case. In my Spectrum and Amiga days, what really motivated me for game programming was this sense that if you'd get together with a couple of friends to do a game on your free time, you could end up creating something that would be as good as the best stuff available at the time.


Of course that incentive adds to your drive to work, but what I was questioning was the point that kids will only want to make games if they have this incentive you mention. My point is, there are many reasons that a kid will want to make a game, and having a polished end result is not always a necessity.

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