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Thread: When did you start coding? What's your story?

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    Hyperactive Member Peter Porter's Avatar
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    Question When did you start coding? What's your story?

    It was 86 when I started to code. Taking a graphics class, I mistakenly stopped the program I was using and got my first glimpse of Basic. After viewing this code for 15 minutes, my teacher dropped a programming book at my station, and in two weeks I created a clone of Super Breakout, followed by my graphics program which I used to create my game based off the film Aliens.

    So, when did you start coding?

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    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    81... I took a summer camp class at the local University (UTEP)... learned Apple BASIC... the next summer, I took the "advanced" class... which was Logo/Turtle graphics. Then a hiatus as we moved... but in summer of 84, we got our very own I.B.M. PC... dug out the old books from the summer classes... translated what I could into PC BASIC... and I've been off and coding ever since. Now it's become less of a "when did I start" question and more of a "when am I going to stop" ... I used to think they'd have to pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands... now I'm not so sure.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I remember it like it was yesterday. A wee lad, I was, catching frogs, chasing butterflies, and pondering the mysteries of the universe. Then, into our house came a TRS-80 Level I, with 4K RAM and a tape drive. It's hard to imagine a more useless system than that appeared to be. Now as I recline here in a comfortable chair and think back on those early days, I realize that it really wasn't much of a computer. My father created a turkey whose eyebrows went up and down, and that taxed the graphical ability of the system about to the limit. I dabbled, most casually, with a basic bit of BASIC, which taught me enough to basically cause fits for ignorant sales staff, but little more. It was just the basics of BASIC. My friends and I would stay late after school working on a game using a few Apple II systems that the school had, until our grades started to plummet, at which point we packed it in. And that's about how it stood for me until the early 90s, when I was given a task that was trivial for a computer, but horribly tedious and error prone for a human. I decided to write a macro to do the work. That prompted me to learn ASM (which I never wrote, but could read pretty well, especially since I could mimic it (and had to) in Quattro Pro macro language), C, and C++. Then we got Excel 95 (we were cookin' with GAS!!), and I rewrote the macros from the ASM-like Quattro Pro macro language to the Excel macro language, which was VBA. The speed increase was something crazy, like 60x, and on I went from there.

    Coding in that Quattro Pro macro language was a really cool introduction. The logic required for the things I was doing was pretty neat. The inability to comment any of the code was very educational, as well. Essentially, I could only work productively for about four hours. After that, I could work, and I'd even think it productive, but it wasn't. The number of errors increased to the point that the forward progress fell to 0.0. So, I'd code in the morning, launch the macro (it took a good 8 hours to run, succeed or fail), and go find something else to do.
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Woah, it's official, I'm old. My first taste of programming was on a school's TRS-80 Model 1 in the early 80s. I made a simple game on it called Tag. Lotsa large blocks moving around.

    My first home computer was an Apple knock-off, followed by a Commodore 64.
    Last edited by Peter Porter; Apr 22nd, 2017 at 06:16 AM.

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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I did my first ever programming in maths class in year 11 at school in BASIC. At the time, I wasn't really interested and didn't really know what computers were for. That same year, I was on my school's team in the city inter-school maths competition and we won, receiving a Microbee computer for the school. I didn't use it once.

    I had a five year break between school and university and started out enrolled in a Bachelor of Advanced Science. After my first year, I transferred to a different university a couple of hours away and enrolled in a combined Science (Chemistry) and Chemical Engineering course. During the first year of the Chem Eng course, we did a half-credit subject programming in Fortran and I loved it. I considered switching to a Computer Science course but I figured that everyone in it would have been using computers for years and that I would be starting too far behind.

    I stuck with the science and engineering course for several more years and disliked the engineering part especially more and more as time went on. With a year to go, I finally decided that I'd never work in the field so to continue would be throwing good money after bad. I finally did switch to Computer Science and in my first class the lecturer asked how many people had a computer at home and no more than half the class raised their hand (this was 1998). And when he asked how many people had done any programming before that number went down to about 20%. I wanted to shoot myself there and then.

    Anyway, I finished that course in two years, given all the credit I'd already got (I did get the Chemistry degree but never the Chem Eng) and started working in C++. I left there after a couple of years, learned VB.NET and C# and worked for myself for a while, then got a job writing VB.NET code. I've changed jobs once since but have been writing VB.NET and C# code ever since.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    For me it was 1970, if you count programming and testing by hand for a hypothetical CPU described in a book.

    First program that actually ran on real hardware? That was 1972 in Basic on a GE Time Sharing service machine accessed via a Teletype Model 33 ASR.

    Time online was costly, so you wrote your program on paper, then keyed it to paper tape offline. Then you went online, uploaded the paper tape, ran a test, attempted a little debugging. Then you took your printout and your "patch" paper tape and worked on the bugs. Next session you punched a new "patch" tape, went online and uploaded it and tested. If it worked you punched a new complete paper tape. Disk wasn't cheap either so you couldn't leave your program online for very long.

    You have to remember that the Altair 8800 wasn't designed until 1974 and announced in the 1975 Popular Electronics. The more primitive Mark-8 is less well known and predated the Altair 8800 by 6 months.

    Computers were still rare and getting access to them was not common.

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    Lively Member homer13j's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I started on a TRS-80 as well. Actually a pair of them purchased by our high school electronics lab in 1982.

    My first time using one I spent an hour or so typing in some BASIC code for a game I copied out of a book. Unfortunately I forgot to put a floppy disk in first because doing so meant you had to reboot the system to use it.

    So my very first experience coding turned out to be a giant waste of time.
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Floppy disk? Luxury!

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    Wall Poster TysonLPrice's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I started on an IBM mainframe (I think it was a series 360) back in 85. Around 2002 I switched over to VB 6.0 and now I spend half my time on that and half on VB .Net.

    I remember the "experts" thought only a handful of people would really own PCs.
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    1975 was really the game changer. All sorts of stuff based on microprocessors became available, and you could buy the chips and roll your own.

    For a lot of people it wasn't until 1977 when Apple II, Commodore Pet, and TRS-80 came out. Then new product introductions became fast and furious after that.

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    PowerPoster Arnoutdv's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I started programming when I bought an Atari 600XL (1983/1984?). I had spent all my money on it so I had to start programming to be able to use it at all
    A year later the 600XL (16KB) was replaced by the 800XL (64KB) with a floppy drive and the glorious programming language Turbo Basic.

    When I bought my Atari 1040ST I really started with programming because I wanted to know and learn how demos worked. The last demo I created was the Tea Party Demo in 1990.

    In the meanwhile I got my first job at a market research company and in the years I programmed in Pick Basic and got to use databases for the first time. Which was a kind of a false start because the Pick Database is a MultiValue database which is hardly used in the rest of the world, but with features you really miss when working with more traditional DBs.
    Bought my first PC (to play DOOM ) and did some demo programming in Turbo C.
    When Windows 95/98 was released I started to create PC applications for the department I worked for using VB5/VB6.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Pretty good considering there was no VB5 until 1997.

    But a lot of companies then as now dragged their feet, so they might still have been on Win3.1 or stone tablets until after VB6 came out in 1998.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Y'all are old!! We need to hear from some younger people.
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Do they use forums? I figured they just watch YouTube videos with a robot voiceover, or no speech at all and head-banger music turned up to 11... and use the Snippets R Us copy/paste service IDE add-in to write their code.

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    Frenzied Member jdc2000's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    1972, DEC PDP-11 with ASR 33's.

    Do they use forums? I figured they just watch YouTube videos with a robot voiceover, or no speech at all and head-banger music turned up to 11... and use the Snippets R Us copy/paste service IDE add-in to write their code.


    No one under 30 uses forums. If they don't get a response to a question in 5 seconds or less, they move on.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Well I was being pretty unfair.

    Most of them don't even have a PC but just one of those giant phones. What are they now, 7 inches or so?

    Or maybe they write in Python, the Juicero of programming languages.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Python is oddly big in GIS work. I'm not sure why, but ESRI seems to have adopted it.
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    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I had a BBC Micro computer as a kid but the only programming (if you can call it that) i remember was making coloured text scroll across the screen. They were created by the BBC in partnership with Acorn as educational computer for kids. We always had computers in the house when i was younger and it must have made an impression on me.

    I then went on to college where i did a computing course and i did a some Turbo Pascal, before going to University where i went straight into VB6 and Databases and some basic web stuff HTML and Javascript.

    Any of my Friends if they had a computer it was something like a ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, an Atari ST or an Amiga but they were strictly for playing games not learning programming.
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I typed my first program into a Sharp 1211 from the Manual. That was in 1981 and i was about 8 years old. then in 1982 my father bougth a C64 and i really learned writing my own programs. First Basic then Assembler and i am a nerd since back then In 87 or so i bought an Amiga with my own spared Money got into the Cracker/Trader/Demo Scene, wrote some 1000s of pages Assembler programs, got phone bills of some 1000 Dollars for trading stuff with a 2400 baud modem, etc. all that weird **** i'd now freak out if my Kids would do this
    yeah, i'm getting old too...

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Python is oddly big in GIS work. I'm not sure why, but ESRI seems to have adopted it.
    I think one problem is that Python is sort of the PHP for everything that PHP doesn't do. There is a low bar to entry as long as your ambitions are small, and it isn't from Microsoft. The latter alone is enough to gain points among an influential portion of the market.

    So PHP plus Python sort of stand in for things VB, VBA, and VBScript might otherwise do.

    If all you need is to make a few macros or a console "Hello World" to feel good about yourself then Python is your ticket. I have no clue how anyone uses it for anything substantial though.

    The IDEs out there for Python seem little more than text editors. GUI frameworks seem to be in complete chaos, with little or nothing like a standard let alone a visual designer for them. At best you get something like the JavaFx designer, which is a separate utility a Java IDE must invoke.

    Visual Studio gained a lot from stealing the VB model of IDE integration. But being also from Microsoft it has a tough time making inroads with all of the Anybody But Microsoft sentiment out there.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Y'all are old!! We need to hear from some younger people.
    I hear ya, but at least this thread shows younger generations that there's plenty of experienced programmers on VBForums if they need help. Over 830 views in 8 days is not bad.

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    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    1972, DEC PDP-11 with ASR 33's.
    1977, DEC PDP-11 with ASR 33's.

    VT50's and then VT52's - then the VT55 with vector graphics.

    I worked in the HS computer room at 16 - started with printing things like tax bills. Then started working for the company that the 4 teachers / admin folks had started.

    By senior year I missed 60 days of school traveling as far as Ohio installing school admin packages. Long haired New Yorker trying to tell farmland HS principals how to properly calculate rank and gpa's!

    By 1986 I decided I was never going to give my proprietary rights over to lizard bosses who only wanted to sell out and shaft the workers - and went out on my own (actually had a partner for about 10 years).

    First thing we bought was a used PDP-11 - shipped from Michigan to CT. Decade later we bought a VAX-11.

    Our first major product was a report writer that could interface with the old employers packages. Sold it for $5,000 a school district - must have sold 30 districts. Back when hardware was so expensive the software prices followed suit.

    Had to make your own index files and sort pointer files - no SQL that's for sure!
    Last edited by szlamany; Apr 28th, 2017 at 05:54 AM.

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    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I can remember this book vividly!

    http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/w...g%20Manual.pdf

    First thing I wrote was a animation of the moon revolving around the earth as the earth moved along it's path to show the odd pattern the moon made (anyone remember Spirograph!)

    Fortran!

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Python is oddly big in GIS work. I'm not sure why, but ESRI seems to have adopted it.
    My son is in the first year of a physics degree, and his programming module was done in Python. It seems to be fairly standard in that kind of field.
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Porter View Post
    I hear ya, but at least this thread shows younger generations that there's plenty of experienced programmers on VBForums if they need help. Over 830 views in 8 days is not bad.
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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    (anyone remember Spirograph!)
    Oh yeah. I've used one. I don't remember if I had one, or some place I was at had one.
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    Karen Payne MVP kareninstructor's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Started in 1991, first developer position in 1994 using Nantucket Clipper.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by kareninstructor View Post
    first developer position in 1994 using Nantucket Clipper.
    Aye matey, and a fast ship she were, too....
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Aye matey, and a fast ship she were, too....
    I once knew a man from Nantucket...
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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Leave that one right there. There is nothing good that can be said about a man from Nantucket.
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I don't know about all this technology from yesteryear! I have always had enough memory I never had to dispose.

    I feel like I lived the lowly developer's american dream. I started developing reports and macros in Excel and Access VBA around 2012 for my company. In 2013, I got into VB.NET and started building things with a LOT of help from people on this forum as well as my father, who does a bit of programming. I was fortunate to have a job that enabled me to build and deploy solutions so I got a lot of experience relatively quickly. I worked with code more or less every single day for 5 years! Man I miss those days.

    I now have a new job in RPA and while I still work on code and solution prototypes (albeit in C#) I mainly oversee automation initiatives now.

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    Android OpenGL ES Guru Jacob Roman's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    For me it was 1991 when i had the Amiga 500. The Extras disk I had came with Amiga BASIC, and i had another disk that had a bunch of Amiga BASIC games which were all open source. I wanted to know what made them tick so i dug in, used my Amiga BASIC book to learn all the routines, well its been 26 years later and now i know everything

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I had an article on C programming published in Amazing Computing back in the day.

    It is just too bad that the Amiga never had even half of the resources it needed to continue from its bold beginnings. Then of course Microsoft threw an arm around Apple and formed the duopoly that succeeded in killing all other platforms off.

    So evil one would almost think Anders Hejlsberg was already working for Microsoft at the time.

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    Android OpenGL ES Guru Jacob Roman's Avatar
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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I blame the marketing. Amiga had issues with money in the beginning. Then later Commodor bought them. Which is why it wad known as the Commodor Amiga for awhile. It use to be huge in Europe but not as big in the US with all the competition. Even then it was way ahead of its time as a multimedia gaming / art rig. Then Commodor in 1994 went under. It wasnt until later in 2000 that Gateway bought them but they did nothing with it. Amiga is still around but its no where near as big as Microsoft or Apple.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    As far as I can remember Amiga never brought anything to market aside from joysticks and joystick-like devices until Commodore bought them. I still have two of the early Amiga palm-sized "pro-/power-sticks" here somewhere.

    But "still around" is a pretty relative thing. Where can you buy a new one today?

    And there were other machines like Atari's ST that also got crowded out of the market, though I was never a fan of those. They seemed really hacked together by comparison.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I didn't see any systems actually for sale there, mostly parts.
    But you can search for AMIGAOne X5000 to find what I would guess is the system carrying on Amiga heritage. But it isn't a Motorola based processor, and really sounds more like the result of a group of hardcore Amiga aficionados carrying on with supporting and advancing the Amiga OS and hardware, as opposed to a standard corporate entity.
    But I don't know. I came very close to buying an Amiga system in the late 80's, but recent marriage considerations at the time put that off and that ship has sailed.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Which ship?

    The 80s, the Amiga, or the marriage? Not that I meant to be nosy about it. We've all had our ups and downs.

    I think they had some refurb PAL A1200s but I can't say I want to go back there anyway. I'm not into retro computing like some. i just wonder where things might be now if things had been different. You might be carrying an Atari Bobcat-10A phone right now.

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    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    Technically, I guess all three now, but what I was thinking was probably along the same lines as yourself. I would have been very into working with the Amiga I think at that stage of my life, but at this stage, the thought is that gaining knowledge about the Amiga now is too arcane. I'm finding it harder to get motivated to learn new things that should be useful in the current computing arena, let alone get enthused about learning more about older systems that I missed out on.
    The fact is, the whole year of 1977 (and a bit of 76 and 78) I was in California attending Navy "A" and "C" schools learning how computers work and how to diagnose and repair them and other associated Navy systems. If I had been more aware, I could have also been attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center auditorium which was on the other side of the bay in "Silicon Valley". That would certainly have been interesting, I think, but I missed that opportunity.

    I still have my first home computer, an Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P, which I bought in early 1978, but I couldn't get it to show any signs of life the last time I tried to power it up, which was probably around 15 years ago. I bought an Apple II+ in 1979, and a string of other computers over the years, including an Osborne Executive in 1983 at a cheap price after the company went bankrupt. I still have a Commodore 64 that ran the last time I tried it, which was sometime in the last 10 years I think. I thought strongly about buying an IBM PC when it first came out, around October of 1981 I think, but after talking to the sales guy at the local ComputerLand store in Virginia Beach and finding out it had an 8088 and not an 8086, I wasn't very interested. I didn't jump on the "PC" based bandwagon until 1991 I think, buying a 10 or 12 Mhz 286 based system (AT clone with EGA card and monitor and I think the extended Hard drive that exceeded the 32-MB File System limit of the time (it was 45 MB). Somehow that timing doesn't seem right to me, as I'm pretty sure some people at my 10-year reunion in 1986 were talking about having some brand new 386 systems. Why I would buy a 286 system five years later doesn't seem to make sense.

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    Feb 2006
    Posts
    20,922

    Re: When did you start coding? What's your story?

    I hear you about the slowing on on keeping up with new tech let alone old tech. I'm now almost completely retired and settled into a techno-rut because the pressure is gone.

    Programming gigs turned into retraining work-Visa guys to do actual work and that was like an enthusiasm vampire after a few years. Think of the worst clueless newb question threads here, then add time pressure and no ability to just walk away from crazy notions. I got tired of proving 2 plus 2 really does give 4 to people with no actual aptitude for arithmetic.

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