Computing

Amstrad CPC 6128 and monitor

I have worked closely with computers since I was very young. My first computer was an Amstrad CPC 6128 (above), with such games as Arkanoid, Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing, Chuckie Egg, Dizzy and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker among others.

The Amstrad was also my first experience of programming, as Amstrad Computer User always contained program listings for various games and logic puzzles. It was mostly just reading from the magazine itself, but it gave me an interest in programming that has stayed with me. Programming in the original BASIC also meant that I could learn by adapting the program listings to make the games more or less challenging.

Since then, I have always had some form of personal computer, used mainly for school work and games. I used early software for library categorisation and genealogy, and I started to learn about data storage and modelling. I also began to learn PHP, and work with open-source software to maintain an early version of this Web site, a blog, forum and media library.

At a similar time I was starting to learn more formal programming and computer science at school. The programming was in Visual Basic 6.0, combining the easy learning curve of BASIC with the Microsoft COM libraries, which we used to create simple GUI applications. This practical introduction was combined with theory on networking and database design, and I enjoyed being able to put these theories to practical use.

University was a similar experience, combining theory (this time adding formal methods) with practical application (this time in Java), but I continued to work on my own programming outside the course. Using scripts or programs to solve practical problems of my own meant that I could continue to put the theory into practice with real-world application.

Raspberry Pi with RF transmitter and receiver
A Raspberry Pi for home automation.

After university, either through professional experience or personal projects, I have continued to work with computers of all shapes and sizes, and I see no reason why that won’t continue! Most recently my personal projects have revolved around home automation, and I’m hoping to be able to do more with this in the future.