Towards the end of Grade 10, back in 1989, I programmed a baseball simulator.

More accurately, I tried to program a baseball simulator. It was based on the Strat-O-Matic board game. The language I used was Pascal. More specifically, it was probably Turbo Pascal.

I managed to get only one small part of the program I had envisioned working. But, in the end, I got part of it to work. It was a very satisfying conclusion to hours and hours and hours of hard and solitary work.

Did I mention the hours of work?

Almost thirty years later, I have decided to dip my toe into programming again. In doing so, I have discovered that many of the basic concepts and techniques are very familiar to me. It seems some of the hard work with Pascal all those years ago has stuck. My explorations feel more like a homecoming than a journey into the unknown.

Admittedly, I am very much a newbie. There is much much more to learn and, for me, therein lies the fun. There will always be much more to learn. The field is always evolving. Thanks to the internet, there are also plenty of high-quality resources to help keep my learning moving forward.

So, where am I headed?

I have an idea for an web application that might have some commercial value but I’m not holding my breath. I also have an idea or two for some games that I think will be fun. I’d also like to explore what is possible in terms of storytelling. There has to be more that can be done with the internet beyond using it as a fancy distribution channel. And, yes, I have an idea for a baseball simulator. In this case, however, its inspiration is Ookiku Furikabutte and Baseball Stars.

Whatever the outcome, developing the ideas into a functioning reality will be a valuable learning experience. In this day and age, if you can conceive it, conceptualize it, and break it down into discrete and manageable problems, you can build it.

And the importance of breaking a problem into its smaller parts is pretty much what I learned with my first baseball simulator. I was overly ambitious to start, but, eventually, I focussed on one part of the game and got it to work. With a bit more time and focus, I’m pretty sure that I could have developed the whole thing. Now, thirty years later, I have the focus. I need only make the time.

4 thoughts on “2018 goto 1989: a return to programming

  1. “Towards the end of Grade 10, back in 1989, I programmed a baseball simulator.”

    I have no memory of this. Am I forgetting, or was this a hush-hush project?

  2. Great post, I am actually tempted to get back into this again now. I am fluent in ZX81 BASIC as well as Apple II plus. I also took a Pascal course on an Apple computer in high school.

    But speaking of computers, would you be willing to write a post on the current (as opposed to all the ones in the past) Facebook privacy scandal? Two question that fascinates me are:
    1. Would you be willing to pay one dollar a month (an arbitrary amount) to Facebook if they left your private information alone?
    2. If Facebook adopted such a business model, could they afford to stay in business?

    Personally, I am not on Facebook, but I am on Twitter, and I WOULD be willing to pay them a dollar a month because I do enjoy their service.

    1. Thanks for reading and your comment, Jan!

      I would definitely recommend you get back into programming. With your background and experience, you’d be up and running in no time. There’s also lots of valuable and free resources.

      https://www.freecodecamp.org/ might be a good start. I’m really enjoying it.

      I have made a few notes for a post about the “scandal.” The short answer is “don’t believe the hype.”

      This article is worth a read:

      View at Medium.com

      1. I would happily pay a regular fee if they got rid of ads and stopped pushing content that they decide I want to see. At minimum, I’d stick around to see how the “community” changed, when people who aren’t willing to pay such a fee leave. I’m not especially worried about the privacy stuff.

      2. There is a price point that would work, although I imagine the stock price might tumble. If there is any rationality to FB’s valuation (and I don’t think there is much), it is the probably false hope that sufficient personal detail will lead to ads that people just can’t resist clicking.

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