My First Lesson In Programming

Today I stumbled upon the first program I ever wrote. It's an interesting story looking back twenty years later.

When I was somewhere between 8-10 years old my uncle gave my family our first computer, a Coleco Adam. Along with the computer we were given the now classic book BASIC Computer Games. No one in my family new anything about compilers, programming, or computers in general, but we were excited about the idea of creating something out of nothing so decided to give one of these programs a go.

We decided on Bunny and began to slowly peck out the source code into the text editor. We saved the file, exited the editor, and then stared blankly at the screen as we realized we didn't know what to do next. Interpreters and compilers were obviously never discussed and after our futile attempts of running our program failed, I decided to take a different approach.

What was I trying to accomplish? What were the outcomes I needed? The answer was simple- an ASCII image of a bunny. So that's what I created, and ASCII image of a bunny. For the rest of the afternoon I typed out the bunny by hand and by using brute force I eventually accomplished the goal.

This retrospective reminds me that when things "just aren't working", sometimes I need to take a step back and reevaluate my methods. I may have an Occam's razor type revelation that could satisfy requirements without significant compromises.

Keep it old school and tell the world your first programming experience in a comment below.

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