What was your first non-homework program?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by djsfantasi, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. djsfantasi

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
    I've been writing code so long, I can't remember. It may have been an artificial intelligence program written in Fortran IV on an IBM 1130.

    But my first, non-homework microcomputer program was written on my TRS-80 model I with 8k of RAM (piggybacked RAM chips and slight mod). The original came with 4k, then 16k later. Still have it. Lost the tape recorder along the way, but still have some books and I *think* a couple of programs on cassettes.

    My biggest use was a program I wrote to simulate a teletype for use in a "Mission Impossible" inspired scheme to kidnap a friend to bring him to his bachelor party. The guys met in my basement, where the program described what and how we were going to do this (first occurrence of computer aided instruction?). We then jumped into a couple of cars and drove to where he was having dinner with his fiance's family. Oh, after a quick stop at the police station to give them a heads up (we didn't want to get arrested). They had two pieces of advice to give us. Keep the (fake) rifles hidden and don't wear ski masks driving through town and secondly, remember we never had this conversation. Damn, if I had known that, I'd have included it in the program.
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  2. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    My first non-homework program was my first program! I wrote a "space invaders" program for the TRS-80, I think around 9 or so. I didn't have a TRS-80 at the time -- I wrote the BASIC program on paper -- so I never got to type it in and try it.
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  3. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    Olivetti Programma 101
    Basically a calculator that you could enter a math function (like a cell of an Excel sheet). So, first program did some simple math functions.

    This thing was already 10 years old when it was donated to our school. Not homework and a 'program' that we had to copy to a magnetic card to swipe through before manually entering the values for each variable.
  4. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    FORTRAN analysis of game theory payoff matrices up to 10 x 10 (ca. 1962) on IBM 7090
  5. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    1998, age 12, VB6. Very first was a program that would calculate your weight on the moon, the sun, and the other planets in our solar system. Then second was a program to harrass my my parents remotely over the home LAN (randomly open and close their CD tray, reboot their computer, send alarming popups, play creepy messages with TextToSpeech, start sending character presses while they were typing, etc.) Didn't take me long at all to abuse the power.
  6. adam555

    Active Member

    Aug 17, 2013
    I don't remember the first program I wrote for my Commodore VIC-20, but one of the first was a game where you had to shoot missiles at a arrow moving left to right across the screen. I also remember going out of memory quite often; as it just had something like 4Kb.
  7. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
    ZX 81 - as a 2nd mate in a cargo freighter - Calculation of the final trim and metacentric height (GM) of a vessel, figuring out the moment of the weight in each space (tanks or holds) and free surfaces . It included the necessary data (hydrostatic particulars of the vessel - SD 14 class). Worked OK.

    Typing the whole program (divide and conquer came much later) took some 3 hours.

    The first attempt after around 2 hours working in a secluded cabin, the machine was reset because of the inrush current of winches (working with 2 gangs, discharging at Santos - Brazil).

    Chief Officer used to called the machine "that piece of cr*p" but made sure to use it every time he had to calculate the cargo distribution (something VERY frequent when commercial people was trying to fix different cargoes for next voyage).

    Nowadays, a PC does the job and besides trim / GM, it calculates stress, bending moments and many other parameters. Compulsory, required by all classification societies.
  8. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    I built one of the original kit ZX 80's.
  9. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    I look at the shipping containers going in/out of our factory and think there is alway room on a ship and then complain when our last-minute order is bumped because it wasn't expected, must be deck loaded or the captain uses his privilege to reject a hazardous material. I never considered there was so much consideration in how those vessels are loaded. Interesting.

  10. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    First non-homework program was the same day that I wrote my first Hello World program in BASIC as a junior in high school. I wrote a "program" to print out the roster of the AFJROTC drill team that I commanded. It consisted of nothing but print statements. I was so new to programming that I didn't know about the concept of a simple text file that you could print out. My second non-homework program was a computer dating program that ran on a bunch of Apple IIe computers that I wrote as a fund-raiser for the student council. It was wildly successful and made the student council far more money than they had gotten in prior years using a professional service... and it was so totally bogus that the Computer Math teacher and I agreed to delete all copies of it else someone run across it and figure out how bogus it really was. Still, I had fun and learned a lot about programming from it -- and got paid something like $50, to boot.
  11. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    I don't recall the first but there were some goodies in there.
    Lunar lander. PacMan written in Fortran.
    Also I did a softball team roster/playing positions program in APL on a CP/M Z80 S100 system.
  12. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
    Impressive as they could be because of their capacity - the lady below, EMMA MAERSK, can carry some more than 13.000 20' units (or equivalent) - their capacity is managed by somebody ashore (focus man) looking at each and all ports of call to which a certain amount of slots is assigned.


    The planner in a terminal has a specific job: to prepare in advance the stows of containers to be loaded, in front of the vessel, so the trucks' merry-go-round suffers no delay in bringing them alongside. A late comer means reorganizing that stow, going to look for it, out of the area or, even worst, to load it "somewhere else" because all for the same destination are already on board.

    Regarding cargo on deck and rejection by the Master is not a simple thing: as per IMO regulations, hazardous cargoes have to comply with complex rules which amongst others includes "segregation" and "separation" (fom other hazardous units on board) plus other considerations regarding to the vessel itself.

    Speaking in a very general way, I would say that hazardous labeled containers have higher chances of being loaded on deck than under deck.

    I work in advising and certifying the loading of cargo in flat racks/platforms. When they exceed the standard dimmensions (sides/height) even if correctly stuffed and secured they could eventually be rejected by Master / Ch. Officer because they could be taking two more slots on the sides and / or not allowing another stowed on top.

    As in any game, practice improves your reflexes and you are able to foresee most of those details .

    On the 20th this month, I will present (?) all the paperwork to start the process for retirement. I expect to miss all that but I also expect to have more time to other important things like deciding if I will control my transistors with current or voltage. :p
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
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  13. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
    I cannot say the year but when discharging Fuel Oil at Bayonne Terminal (New Jersey) had the chance to spend less than 6 hours at New York. I bought mine that day there. In the voyage back to Argentina, I spent many hours in the smoking room (sole place with a TV), learning BASIC.

    Found it quite intuitive. Honestly I was literally fascinated with that.

    Long time after, it took me some time to accept that with a PC, a particular language was not compulsory but an option. Oh yes!

    One year later, when taking over at Curaçao as Ch. Officer of an LPG carrier, the serviceman from Radio Holland bought for me at Miami (6,8 USD), "Programming the Z80" by Rodnay Zaks (maybe the best book ever). In the voyage back home, again, I learnt how it worked and the respective Assembler. Kind of a epiphany to me.
  14. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    Still on my bookshelf. Spent many a night with it as a tween/teen.
  15. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    Ignoring many trivial programs I wrote to get started, the first decent program I worte was a reproduction of a popular "horse race" betting game written in BASIC for my TRS-80 CoCo. The first paid programming I did was a SRAM memory characterization suite developed on a Teradyne memory tester, written in C/C++.
  16. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    About 20 lines of Basic proved that a certain toroidal transformer was physically impossible. (Not enough hole in the middle for all the wires.) The surprise for me was that it was way easier than the course work. The surprise for the "real" engineer was that a school kid just smoked his design in 20 lines of code.
  17. Brian Griffin


    May 17, 2013
    My first non-homework program? I don't remember, but I did that way before they started to hand out any of them in school.

    I learned my first C++ in age of 14 - no one and nobody in school ever mentioned that. I picked it up because I was amazed in Counter-strike (a multiplayer game) and it's AI to play against (Jeff Broome [now in Gearbox Inc.] and some other guys made the first few "bots" for the game).

    So the non-homework program? Trying to write bits of code, string manipulation and such. Designing an AI was too far for a teenager back then, so I scaled down my learning work.

    My other non-homework program (using a microcontroller) was a musical Christmas tree, because I like making home made stuff. It was a polyphonic one, but then upgraded to a .wav file player with the lights all over. :)
  18. BR-549

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    1979. Atari 400. Assembly. Morse code decoder.
  19. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008

    I did program some lissajous figures in the memory of the TRS80, as the graphic resolution on screen is only 48 X 128 pixels.
    To show it I printed the figure on the dot-matrix printer.

  20. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
    My first program simulated a loran-c baseline with a master station oscillator offset and a slave station oscillator offset, to train people how to control the time difference as part of their watchstanding duties using the basic program on a digital PDP-8/e and a ASR-33 teletype at a whopping 110 baud. I say whopping because the normal teletype circuits were still 75 baud.

    I modified it for the TRS-80, and then one of my charges a couple of years later modified it for the HP -9825 desktop calculator shown here

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
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