re: How did you get into programming in the first place? VIEW POST


In the late 1960's my father worked for Exxon (Esso in South America where we were on overseas assignment) and they sent him to IBM School to learn to program like they did for many controllers/accountants b/c who else was going to program in those days...

He came back and told me (5 years old) he learned to program and I was fascinated by the thought that you could tell a machine to do something.

That curiosity stuck in my mind as I kept thinking of how such a thing would work and when we returned to the US (San Francisco) he signed me up for a class taught at Dominican College in San Rafael. I was too young (12) to drive so I took a bus to/from class and I learned BASIC on a teletype with no screen, just a typewriter connected to a printer and a paper tape reader. We wrote a program to print calendars and images using text characters. I was hooked!

Subsequently he became the CFO of Zilog in Cupertino on Bubb Road and next door to the then nascent Apple computer. My father would complain about the "hippies" next door and their beer bashes. It sounded like fun to me!

My first real immersive language experience was simultaneously teaching myself C using K&R (book only, no compiler) and Forth running on my calculator - before the IBM PC/Apple II were available. My first "real" computer was a Victor 9000 that I bought on employee discount b/c I worked at Victor during the summer and taught myself ASM programming. I've since learned over 10 languages and I keep learning more each year.

One of my life goals is to get is out of the Turing Tarpit as I don't think what we've been doing all these years has changed much. We are still typing if/then statements in text editors. There has to be a better way!

Thanks, this has been a fun trip down memory lane!

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