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Comment Sinclair ZX81 ... eventually (Score 1) 857

God the effort it took to get my hands on a computer ... I worked as a paperboy for about 4 months, right through a harsh 1983 winter. I froze my arse off riding through snowdrifts at 5am with no lights, no gloves, etc (cue 'when I were a lad', 'you were lucky', etc)

Then, when I FINALLY had enough money, my dad told me I couldn't spend it on a computer because it was a fad, a waste of time, bad for my eyes and so on.

Eventually I won out and I started my love affair with computers which has never dimmed. I write software in my spare time, most of it freeware (e.g. yWriter)

As a postscript, 20 years after so much opposition to my first home computer, I wrote a gigantic and very complex piece of factory management/sales tracking/accounting software from scratch, which saved the family business. My dad still hates computers though ...

Comment Beat Hazard (Score 1) 279

I load up my fave game (Beat Hazard, available through Steam) and blast away on one of my fave MP3s. As short as 3 mins, or as long as 30. Obviously it won't fit the bill if you're using a work PC, but I code at home.

I'm not associated with the company, related to the developers, etc, etc. I just find it a very good time-waster for short amounts of time.

Comment Re:Australia (Score 5, Interesting) 1651

I quit cycling and sold my bike when they introduced mandatory helmet laws in Australia. Many years (and quite a few kg) later I caved in and bought a bike, but it still seems ridiculous that I have to wear a helmet to cycle 500 metres to the local shops. On the other hand, when I'm riding 40-50km distances on my road bike I'd rather wear a helmet and gloves because I ride faster and travel on a lot of roads with traffic.

Comment Re:I would recommend an e-ink reader (Score 1) 415

Seconding e-ink. I have a Kindle 2 for reading and a powerful laptop for gaming/programming/media/etc. Reading on an e-ink device is like reading off paper. (The more light you shine on the screen, the brighter it gets.)

On the other hand, reading off a tablet or LCD is like holding sheets of paper up to a flourescent light. I get enough of that every day on the PC & Laptop, and when I read I don't want more of the same.

Comment After the next election? (Score 2) 67

Judging by the polls, in 2013 the Australian Labor Party will be handed the biggest caning in the history of Aussie politics. Roxon won't be in power to enact this legislation, and Conroy (Mr Internet Filter) will be out on his ear too. So, where the ALP and their policies are concerned, 'after the next election' equates to 'once hell freezes over'.

Comment Re:Programming languages (Score 1) 221

I've always said computer programming should be moved to the Arts faculty in universities. Getting kids to study the highest-level math when most computer programming involves syntax and logic is insane. English is my first language but I'm fluent in Spanish after growing up there, and I also have enough French get by. I did an arts degree at uni in the 80's, but in the late 90's I went back and got a computing degree as well. I don't remember a whole lot of math usage during my studies, and I acheived an 80-85% average over the three years. (I flunked Math in high school, btw, which is how I ended up doing an Arts degree in the first place.)

Comment Re:Case in point: Skyrim (Score 2) 197

Agreed. I have hundreds of hours on Daggerfall, Morrowind + Expansions and Oblivion + Expansions, but Steam tells me I've played Skyrim for a total of 23 hours. (20 of those were spent looking for things in the inventory, or switching between items in the inventory, or screwing around with the inventory. Ten minutes were spent installing an inventory fixer addon, but I haven't loaded the game since.)

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