|Hello everyone, welcome to my second article on learning the fine art of programming. In my last article I listed a goodly number of possible options for learning to program with BASIC. Some were old, some were new, some are decidedly cool, and some were ridiculous. Some were (and are) extremely good development tools--capable of being used to create commercial quality software. There are also many other options which I left out of the mix.
Previously, I covered the highlights of what each one offered, and provided enough links for you to do some more research on your own. (You did go out and research some of those, didn't you?? I mean, if you're serious about wanting to program, then a little effort into research and experimentation can't be a huge hurdle. If it IS, you really need to re-think your future career.)
You thought it was bad that American prisoners get to watch TV in prison. If you go to jail in China, though, you're forced to play WOW. Notice I said "forced." 300 inmates working 12-hour shifts...Any prisoners who fall out of their chairs are intimidated by threats of having to go outside and "experience the day."
You know what I hate about WOW? If you kill nagas, you end up with tons and tons of useless fish oil. How clever of Blizzard. They must have known that Fish Oil May Have Positive Effects on Mood and Alcohol Craving. Of course, you're skeptical. Will this really help you kick the halibut? Help you stay in school? Don't you wish you could slap me with a salmon right about now? Oh, that's right, you can only afford Ramen...
Speaking of Ramen, are you really stupid enough to be in college? Talk to Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal. He's giving people $100,000 to skip college. Oh, it's not without a hitch. You have to start a company. Yeah, I'm sure these companies are going to do just great. You lack the discipline to shag hundreds of babes, quaff gallons of booze standing on your head, and snore and text your way through a few years in an auditorium, but you somehow have what it takes to run a business? Can you name even one successful dropout? I mean, besides Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg...uhm.
As many of you know, I have a large collection of vintage hardware and software, and, as is par for the course in collecting, I've ended up with certain atypical software genres either by design or simply because they were included with other things. One facet of my collection that fits that definition are all of the educational titles I have for various consoles and computers. As many of you may also know, Christina and I have two daughters, Amelie, who just turned 6, and Olivia, who just turned 4. They're obviously right at the age where it's use it or never use it time for some of this educational software. The good thing is that our girls have grown up around this stuff, and that, combined with what comes naturally to children, makes them ideal users. I decided that instead of taking the easier way and going console (the CD-i and VIS platforms in particular come to mind, but I have many others that have at least a few titles on them), I'd use it as an excuse to break out one of my older computers. It was a toss up between the C-64, Atari 8-bit and Apple II, since those three systems feature the most educational software of the old computers in my collection. I had already spent enough time with the C-64 and had broken out the Apple II stuff a few times before, so I decided to go with the Atari 8-bit for this attempt with my daughters.
Here's what happened:
Today's casual photos, taken with my iPhone 3G, are three sealed Walt Disney Personal Computer Software titles from Sierra for any 64K minimum Radio Shack (Tandy) Color Computer (CoCo 1, 2 or 3). These titles were created and released during a time when Sierra supported multiple 8-bit platforms before going exclusively 16-bit, until finally pretty much putting all of their focus into PC's, with occasional console detours like the Sega CD. The photos are Mickey's Space Adventure, Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood (note that MobyGames misses the CoCo version completely), and Donald Duck's Playground, all from 1986. Enjoy:
I'm sure I'm not the only Armchair Arcader mourning the loss of Mr. Wizard today. Though his early shows were before my time, I did watch him frequently on Nickelodeon, and was always fascinated to think about how many magical things you could do with common household items.