my faceChris Foley is a computer programming enthusiast. He loves exploring new programming languages and crafting nice solutions. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland and works as a research scientist and freelance programmer.

Now I can do Anything!

I was either 8 or 9 when I got my first computer: a ZX Spectrum. I know I was 9 when my friend showed me how to type:

10 PRINT "hello"

I was hooked. Playing games instantly became passé. I could make the computer DO things!

The Spectrum was second hand and had long since lost its programming manual. There was no internet back then either so I did my best with scraps of information I could find here and there. I learned about variables, for loops, gotos and even arrays, as well as a bunch of built-in commands and functions.

My big break came a year later when a different friend loaned me "BASIC for beginners". I remember reading about the IF keyword. It was my first experience of a light bulb moment and I remember thinking, "Now I can do anything!"

The final couple of years of primary school saw many hours of pair programming, drawing graphics, home-made games and grand plans for programs that were beyond our skill level.

Over 20 years later, all three of us still program computers.

BASIC book cover

28 November 2015