By Tony Richards
One of the first steps of being a software artisan is being passionate about programming.
This isn’t something you “accomplish”, but rather it either comes naturally or it doesn’t.
I remember the first time we got a computer when I was growing up. It was a Timex Sinclair 1000. I fell head over heels in love!
It’s not that it was a fantastic computer. How could it be? it was only $99!
Instead, it was freedom. Freedom to create, learn, explore, express, and define one’s self all in a nice little inexpensive bundle of black plastic and membrane keyboard.
It wasn’t really my computer. Father bought it for his business.
All sorts of roadblocks were put in front of me before I could use the new computer, but that was fine with me.
The first thing I was required to do was to read the manual. I quickly and completely devoured it. The computer was left in it’s box for a number of days, but Dad let me pull out the manual and read it was much as I wanted.
I remember going to Church, barely able to pay attention, and designing my first games in pseudo code.
My biggest roadblock was touch typing… not that you can touch-type on a Sinclair, but Dad made it a requirement before I could use it. I went to the library and checked out a neat little book that taught typing (many years before Mavis Beacon was around), and I taught myself to type.
After successfully passing Dad’s touch typing test, I was finally allowed to start programming.
Ugh… the horror… the expansion memory pack was so poorly designed that any time someone bounced down the stairs the computer would reset and I’d lose everything. I quickly learned to save early and save often… but I kept at it.
Not too much longer I had written a mnemonic assembler in BASIC. It took me 10 minutes to load the code from audio tape, and then I could load my programs, edit them, and save them to tape.
What a pain… had I not been so passionate about programming then I doubt I would have gotten anywhere.
Instead, I was inspired… no matter what the roadblocks, hurdles, challenges or caveats, I was destined to be a software artisan.