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Author Topic: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming  (Read 4841 times)

Renegade

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Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« on: September 17, 2013, 10:17:51 AM »
What are some fun ways that you've learned to program? I don't mean EVERYTHING, but some anecdotes or just fun stuff 1-off things or habits - whatever is entertaining. I'll start...

I learned a lot of programming from reading Wrox and other programming books on the toilet. Makes for a loooong poop, and the occasional numb ass, but it was highly educational. :P
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Stoic Joker

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 11:37:17 AM »
Back in the mid/late 90's I picked up a copy of "Sam's Teach Yourself C in 24 Hours" at a Staples, which came with a copy of the Borland's C++ v4.52 IDE. I took it home, installed the compiler, and began reading ... About a week later, it slowly began to dawn on me that Sam...was totally full of shit.

A few months later, a friend of a friend walked me through the code (line by line) necessary to get a MessageBox to compile and run. This is actually surprisingly difficult if one doesn't define the project properly (or at all) and therefore has to define/declare everything in pure C ... Especially if the one in question also does not happen to posses the slightest clue wtf they're doing. :D

ecaradec

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 02:51:47 PM »
On a holiday trip we visited family. My cousin had a game that was a kind of a lodrunner like that we played a lot while being there. I wanted to get it but my cousin had an amstrad cpc6128. At home i had a cpc464. The 6128 had a floppy disk drive but the 464 only had a tape so I could make a copy. As the game was in BASIC language we printed it so that I could type it again at home. Yeah we did that then !

When I got home I typed everything that was printed, but the last page was missing. It didn't print. Out of necessity, I wrote the end on my own... I had no idea if it would work, but at the end it did. I felt totally awesome.
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app103

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 04:32:30 PM »
I once made a really cool 404 page, as the result of trying to work out how to code a complete slot machine game as a single javascript function of 20 chars or less. It was for a chat room hosted on a server that a friend of mine wrote for the purpose of teaching programming, with a built-in js interpreter, where anyone with admin privileges could throw functions in the room and use them for all kinds of stuff. That was a really neat, fun experience. We all had a blast with it. About 10 minutes after I tossed my slot machine function in the room, someone else got tired of losing and coded a cheat function for it, that would play it 100 times and report back how many times (if any) that you won.  ;D

Target

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 12:06:18 AM »
no witty anecdotes, but for me coding snacks have been great fun and great learning tools

mouser

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 12:19:31 AM »
When I was a little kid first learning to program, my initial motivations were to play computer "games".  I put the word "games" in quotes because these weren't the kinds of 100-person production quality games of today.  We're talking about a situation where you typed in the 2-page game program code from a computer magazine for 6 hours in order to play it (text only).

This book was my bible:
41ygsIYE79L._SX260_.jpg
Basic Computer Games


That book and my father's encouragement is what started me coding -- for many years after that my focus was on creating games.  I spent a good part of a decade doing little else but creating clones of arcade games.  My grand opus was a clone of q-bert that had my own invented cut-scenes.. I wish I still had a copy of that..

Somewhere around 1986, in my latter years of high school, I finished work on a hybrid text-graphics adventure creation toolkit, and send out some packages in the mail with demo disks to a few computer game companies to see if i could find a company to buy/use it.  Didn't get much interest and just shelved it and went to college.

ewemoa

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 01:45:03 AM »
When I got home I typed everything that was printed, but the last page was missing. It didn't print. Out of necessity, I wrote the end on my own... I had no idea if it would work, but at the end it did. I felt totally awesome.

Nice!

Perhaps this idea can be reworked as the basis for a programming contest :)

wraith808

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 09:05:24 AM »
I had a very simple program that I made for an RPG, and every time I'd learn a new programming language, I'd re-make it in that programming language with a few improvements. :)


Tuxman

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 09:32:40 AM »
Hm...

(No, really, I started with Visual Basic. Don't ask why.)

wraith808

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 10:42:22 AM »
I started with Visual Basic also.  It's a common start.

...Well, professionally.  In college I started with C and Pascal as my primary languages.  Then professionally, I was writing for MStest which used something similar to VB at the time.  Then to Delphi (so... back to Pascal in other words).  Then to C++.  Then to C#.

Another interesting way that I learned was via the Beagle Bros contests (in old fashioned BASIC with Assembler calls).

Renegade

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 08:09:23 PM »
I had a very simple program that I made for an RPG, and every time I'd learn a new programming language, I'd re-make it in that programming language with a few improvements. :)

Funny, I did the same sort of thing to acclimate to some environments where I didn't usually program much with my "Frackin' Reserve" program. I did a Windows desktop client, a Linux/OS X desktop client, a jQuery web version, and an Android version.

Using a simple program that you KNOW to jump into a new environment really makes things a lot easier.
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x16wda

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 08:20:48 PM »
I played with a Sinclair ZX80 for a month or two (it was only $88!), then upgraded to an Atari 400. Soon after that someone (company name lost in the mists of antiquity) released a language cart called "Action!" that I pounced on. Among other things it allowed you to call assembly routines stored as strings, so I crafted a whole library of string handling functions in lovingly hand-assembled, relocatable tiny 6502 assembler... I think the most exotic routine was probably around 40 bytes of code. Ah, those were the days! (Moving up to an Atari ST with a good assembler and an IDE and debugger seemed luxurious, satisfying in a different way; not as intimate with the code as the hand assembly was, but a whole heap more productive...)

(Coding was my key to a sysop post on Compuserve for a few years too, back before all that newfangled WWW stuff...  :P)
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app103

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 09:07:56 PM »
I had a very simple program that I made for an RPG, and every time I'd learn a new programming language, I'd re-make it in that programming language with a few improvements. :)

That reminds me of the "Pass the Translator" game that I used to play with Krishean, before Google killed their free translator API.

We would take turns "building a translator" and making it somehow better than the last version. We could change the language it was written in or whatever else we wanted to do to it. Then pass it, with source, to the other. You could reuse any part of the source from any of the previous versions, in your next version, including usng something contributed by the other person. The only catch, was that it had to be a desktop app.

The last version in our little game was the Fried Babelfish that was submitted for NANY 2009, reusing the script Krishean contributed in his .hta app version, and turning it into a 2 tabbed Delphi app.

Our little game started when Krishean mentioned how much he hated looking at the ads plastered all over the Babelfish site, and I loaded the site in a little app I whipped up, with the window sized to show just the important part, thereby hiding the ads, written in ibasic.  :D

Edvard

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Re: Odd/Fun Ways You've Learned Programming
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 01:01:21 AM »
Quote
Another interesting way that I learned was via the Beagle Bros contests (in old fashioned BASIC with Assembler calls).

Dude!!  I LOVED Beagle Bros back in the day, hammering away at their advertisement's 'one-liners' on the school's Apple ][+ and ][e's.  I learned SO much from those.  Our family was too poor to afford computers back then, but I had read through so much BASIC code that I knew it by heart by the time we finally got a Timex-Sinclair 1000.  
I made two programs on that; a 'catch the falling object' game that got faster and objects falling farther away from you as you progressed, and a 'steer a vehicle (actually a letter "A") between the ever-closing walls' game.  Both of them I saved the source, hand-written on school note paper, for years so I could show off to my friends whenever I had the chance (they all had Commodore VIC-20s and TI 99/4As, the lucky bums).  That's all lost to the sands of time now...
Funny thing, that's also how I learned how RAM could affect a computer's speed.  Because the Timex-Sinclair 1000 had only 1K of built-in memory, I always had to code in larger slow-down loops when programming other computers, and when my uncle bought a 16K RAM pack for his TS-1000, I thought it was the fastest computer I had ever seen.  :o

Now, I'm learning Pascal (seems to be the only language I have the bean for anymore) and as a learning exercise, I'm turning all the text-mode tutorial programs into full GUI apps in Lazarus, with sometimes unexpected results.  :D
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 01:06:25 AM by Edvard »