The moment my life went wrong

Back in the Summer of 1983, I was a child you would recognise from the wreck I’ve made of childhood.

I was an extrovert, I was never in the h

 

ouse, I was out with a massive group of friends any chance I could get.

Then December comes. As any other kid, I looked in my mum and dad’s wardrobe’s looking to see what presents I would be getting for Christmas. Nothing. A little weird, so I took a risk and looked in my oldest brother’s room and there in the back of his wardrobe was a Woolworth’s bag with black box, about a foot long, half a foot deep and wide. On the front was a black machine with what looked like blue keys.

What the fuck is that?  Guess it’s for my middle brother or something, so I presumed my present hadn’t been bought yet.

Come Christmas Day, I wake up excitedly and rush downstairs with my brothers and we start unwrapping presents. I’m given this box and I unwrap it and it’s the same box I saw before.

Aaaaah… look at that beauty

Same question, what the fuck is it? Sinclair ZX Spectrum Personal Computer. What is a computer? What is a Spectrum?

So my brother’s set it up for me (they’ve obviously used it before!), plugged into a colour TV, cassette player and a few WH Smith’s tapes. The fuckers didn’t even bother buying games for it but pirated them from someone in their work, along with a list of games I could buy for £2.50 or something. A tradition I’ve carried on every since ha.

So they put in a tape and we wait, and wait and wait and then I’m presented with this screen. The first computer game I’ve played.

Let’s remember, this is 1983, and computers by modern standards were crap as you’d expect, so  it’s hard to imagine the impact this made at the time, or as I prefer to see it now, what a complete fucking disaster this made of my life.

For the next six to nine months, I hammered that fucking rubber keyboard and Kempston joystick as I refused to let some fucking sprites on a screen beat me. Jetpac, Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Pssst and Football Manager was hammered morning, noon and night.

The number of hours I wasted on this game. FML.

But then the boredom set in. No more “yay let’s play Atic Atac”, more “oh god, do I have to play these shitty games again”, but that god for the manual, which gave very, very basic instructions on how to “program” it and this was the point my future life went to shit as I typed in those long program listings from Sinclair User that never fucking worked first time around, that took longer to debug than to type in the first place, but at least it gave me a skill I have to this day of finding problems very quickly and fixing them.

I can still remember me and my brothers writing a game called Miners Strike, which was basically Space Invaders but instead you fired policeman at miners. Well it was topical at the time, and the hell of doing graphics as binary characters with the help of pen and paper.

So this is how my future life was decided. My mass of friends drifted away, going outside was rare, I was kicked out of the school football team and basically I turned into  what kids of today are like: glued to their xbox’s and playstation’s, never going out, anti-social.

Over the next year or so, I learnt Z80 code but then moved to the Commodore 64, and it was the same story… I got bored of the games and started coding on it instead as it was much more entertaining to me.

Then I joined the 16 bit generation in July 1987, and what was left of my personality soon disappeared as I joined “the scene”, writing tech demos in what was bascially a European wide pissing contest to see who could do the best effect better than anyone else.

Ah it was fun.

Now it’s my job, I’m a developer for a living, sat in front of two monitors for eight hours a day, writing crappy code and fixing issues before I go home and spend another five hours at my home computer before going to bed and the whole sorry cycle starts over again.

Sounds a fucking blast doesn’t it.

Computers in Hollywood, never realistic… but fucking Jurassic Park is the worst.

You have a Velociraptor bashing (no pun intended) at the door, you need to lock the doors quick as it’s only Sam Neill holding the nasty little fucks back.

So what method do you think the brains behind Jurassic Park decided would be the best way to secure a big fucking metal door.

  1. A fucking lock on the door?
  2. A switch next to the door to lock it?
  3. A fucking archaic Unix graphic file browser where you have a 3D representation of the file structure, and you have to find the program to lock the doors?

Of course, it’s number three. For fuck’s sake.

Just interested in where the fire alarm is, the parent folder?

It is actually a real piece of software called FSN, or Fusion by Silicon Graphics.

An olive branch to @joecienkowski

Hi Peachy,

We’ve not always seen eye to eye with what you say on Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter but I want to reach out and help you.

I’m incredibly sad that your blog is no longer up and running, and I understand that it can be costly hosting a free blog with free hosting on wordpress.com, so I want to help you.

Your message is so deep and profound, it needs more than 140 character messages for you to expand on your, let’s say unorthodox approach.

I am offering free of charge to set up and host a blog for you. All you have to do is edit your DNS records on your domain host, and I will set you up a WordPress blog and secure it for you. If you have any other requirements or software, I will install it for you.

After I’ve secured it, you will be the only user with 100% control of the backend, not even I will have access.

Just say the word and it can be up and running in 24 hours.

The dangers of listening to The Living Dinosaur in work

I’ve ripped The Living Dinosaur‘s Holy Hallucinations series to MP3 so I can listen to them while working.

It’s just because he rips a new arsehole for everyone he crosses, he makes me chuckle away to myself.

However, listening to Holy Hallucinations 17 in work, I got to this point and laughed out loud in the office. He’s replying to some prick about how great the human species is, and then lists superior aspects of other species.

And this is the bit that made me laugh.

It just so happened that I started laughing just as a developer turned around, so I’ve made him a little paranoid 🙂

 

Amazing coloured photos of the four Romanov daughters

I’ve just been reading Helen Rappaport’s excellent book Four Sisters again, about the four daughters of the last Tsar of Russia.

While doing some research on the interweb, I found this stunning image of the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.

romanov_angels_by_velkokneznamaria

P.S. Just after I published this post, I noticed that this image is the actually the front cover of the current edition of the book. Whoops! One of the problems with using an eReader.

David Bowie, 1947-2016

Days after the passing of Lemmy, 2016 continues to be a shit year with the passing of David Bowie after an 18 month battle with cancer.

Absolutely gutted, and it takes his passing and an eight hour marathon of his music on my iTunes today to realise just how brilliant he was over five decades.

But just like it was listening to the lyrics of Freddie Mercury on the Innuendo album after he died, listening to his last single Lazarus it makes me wonder how the hell we didn’t get the message before.

He’ll be sadly missed, and like Lemmy, we’ll never see his like again.

I’ve been listening to this track too much today, but it’s an amazing performance from the Old Grey Whistle Test.

R.I.P Ziggy and Major Tom