Discussion on: How old have you been when you started programming and what was your first project?

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Dian Fay

I was about 8 in the early-to-mid 90s. My father subscribed to the Sky & Telescope astronomy magazine, and one issue published the code listing for a simple three-body gravitational simulation in BASIC, so one afternoon he and I copied it down and got it running. That was the first; other early hits include the obligatory mucking around in GORILLA.BAS, an abortive text adventure after the style of Colossal Cave, and trying to port simpler C listings for fractal generators into BASIC with some success -- I could grasp the program structure and translate the algorithms, but couldn't handle C's more complex toolchain and lack of a dead-simple PSET to plot a pixel.

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Michael Kohl

Copying pages full of BASIC listings from magazines is something I did too. Always fun to find the typos later 😂