Friday, June 27, 2008

20 Years Before - 1988

When I had attended a course for GW BASIC. I already had a computer at home, and it was called the ZX Spectrum with, wait for it, 48k memory. Before formally learning the BASIC, I had restricted myself to a few prints and beeps and meticulously typing out program listings off computer books which eventually resulted in a star walled winding road with a car in the middle. The beeps always allowed you to specify the frequency and duration to compose a simple tune of your own.

The I/O was innovative with the ability to use standard audio cassette tapes to record your programs and load it back. Hmmm. The good old sequential storage medium. And mostly, I was using it for playing games. There was one called DLAN, a space simulator which I had spent countless hours trying to save the Earth and solar system from menacing alien fighters which featured a 3D environment along with a full solar system map, portholes and docking to a planet to refuel and carry out simple maintenance activities.

Later, I upgraded to a 128k machine with only one game that utilized the full memory which required to tap two keys as soon as possible to increase the power for some athletic activities like a 100 meter sprint or a tug-of-war against the computer counter part.

Bah, now a days, each game occupies more that a GB of disk and memory and provides the same level of experience.

The 128k also gave me an opportunity to learn about machine code language where I had to painstakingly type out hex byte-codes which resulted in a simple editor to allow you to directly program your computer using machine code. That was the time when I learned about machine instructions like move or registers.

We have come a long way until then...

No comments: