|First & Last Name||Job Title||What was the first program you wrote that you were proud of?|
|Aashima Gupta||Global Head, Healthcare Solutions, Google Cloud||The first program I was proud of was “Say for Windows” a windows based program. It detected and played different audio file with .wav format. |
I used C++ and Windows SDK.Listening to different sounds had me in bewilderment , I experimented with different headers types and various lengths of files, combining them and showing them in the list box. It was magic!
|Adam de Boor||Staff Software Engineer||I wrote an interrupt-driven background print spooler in 6502 assembly language that was around 200 bytes long.|
|Adrian Graham||Cloud Solutions Architect||When I was about 12 years old, my friend Jason and I wrote a choose-your-own-adventure game on his parents' Xerox 820 in Basic. |
The game was based on the Schwarzenegger movie 'Commando', with most story tangents ending in some sort of massive explosion. We saved it to 8-inch floppy disks which, I believe, my sister subsequently destroyed.
|Adrian Otto||Technical Director, Office of the CTO, Google Cloud Platform||In one of my first jobs as a system engineer in a test group I wrote a simulation system that emulated a network of 20,000 network attached printers to test an enterprise printing software from Xerox that was just about to ship to customers. |
I felt very proud about it because the Xerox software failed spectacularly multiple times in our simulation, uncovering a number of serious bugs. The system used shell scripts and perl scripts to set up the environment and push the print jobs into the system.
I will never forget how much fun it was to build it, and enjoy the results it produced!
|Ahmet Alp Balkan||Developer Experience Engineer||I wrote a text-based online multiplayer strategy game with medieval kingdom wars theme using classic ASP and Access database, on the weekends when I was 15. The game had more than 10,000 players and I failed to scale it.|
|Alex Devlin||PTM||I took a basic "programming in Java" class for a few weeks one summer in high school. |
As part of the course requirements, each student had to create a final project making use of what we learned over the class (like random number generation, accepting user input, and other key basic concepts) then show it to our parents. I wound up creating a text-based adventure game, equally inspired by Zork and Monty Python And The Holy Grail, with a variety of silly challenges and references to other sketches the Pythons performed through the years.
My father and instructor - both fans of British humour - loved it!
|Alex Martelli||Technical Solutions Engineer||It computed and tabulated all the conditional probabilities of division of a suit in contract bridge, given the known distribution of another suit. |
Written in Fortran-IV on punched cards, run on the University's CDC 6600 timesharing computer as a batch job. I was a student of (hardware) electronic engineering and that was the only major program I wrote throughout college, together with two classmates.
With strict, repeated code reviews, the program run flawlessly on the one and only run it took! (Only major 100% bug-free-on-first-try program I wrote in my life!-).
|Andrew McRae||Engineering Manager||The first real program I wrote was in 1977 on a Wang 2200B, in BASIC. I was in Year 9 in High School, and the school (on my constant suggestion) had borrowed the computer for 2 weeks, and I had to stay back after school to use it until the cleaners kicked me out. |
The first program I wrote was to display the day of the week for any date provided - the teachers actually asked me to demo it in front of various classes, and that was a proud moment, since it actually worked.
In hindsight, little did I realise that I would spend a lifetime doing basically the same thing, writing programmes and demoing them.
|Ankur Chaudhry||Project Intern||It was my first multiplayer game (used bluetooth). The player needed to collect the coins. |
The idea was that those coins would disappear and you needed memorize their locations in rectangular grid! Beauty was that it was made for Android 2.0 (mostly involved Java/ some C++ 2D graphics).
Huh it amazes me how far Android have come!
|Ankur Kotwal||Developer Advocate||When I was 8, I wrote an address book application in GW-BASIC. |
It was the first application that I wrote without help and I loved every minute of it. I knew then that I wanted to be a software engineer.
|Arya Boudaie||Software Engineer||I wrote a python program in 12th grade to automatically check my grades for updates. |
It was a huge thing at our school to constantly refresh the website with our grades, and I knew that I could automate the process by having the program constantly refresh it, store the grades in a list, and then alert me via text when there was a change.
It was awesome using it, and then expanding it to have others use it as well - seeing people on campus genuinely enjoy using my program is what really got me interested in continuing programming.
|Barry Twycross||Software Engineer||I wrote an 8080 assembler in BASIC. The machine I got as a graduation present in 1981 only had BASIC, but I wanted to do assembly. |
Actually, I wanted to write space invaders, but wanted to do it in assembly.
I think this may have helped me get my first programming job, the boss who interviewed me seemed to spend inordinate time asking about the assembler. In retrospect I think he was impressed.
|Ben Escudero||Strategic Account Manager||As a 9 year old after un-boxing the school's first computer in 1983, using Turtle Graphics (Logo) to get it to draw a square on the screen. |
The school's librarian was amazed that a child was able to dictate where the turtle would move to on the screen.
|Ben Walton||Site Reliability Engineer||A primitive ASCII art editor in written in Turing, a learning language from University of Waterloo. |
My first creation with my new tool was the Batman logo thus scratching itches for my two favorite things at the time... Batman and programming!
|Bill Prin||Developer Programs Engineer||I was trying to learn to make games with QBasic, but my mom limited me to an hour a day on the family computer since she thought I was just playing games. |
So I made a program that filled the screen with " I Love You, Mom!" in different colors and sizes, which made her lift the restriction. Then my computer privileges were promptly revoked again when I deleted her dissertation draft trying to install Linux.
|Binder Makin||Software Engineer||Generate random music using basic music theory in 6502 assembler.|
|Bjarke Ebert||Software Engineer||When I was 14 I wrote a program to enumerate the infinite set of lost positions in the game of Nim.|
It was written in Basic on my Amstrad computer, and every time it found a lost position it printed a line on the matrix printer. This went on for the entire night while I was sleeping.
This enabled me to infer the pattern for a winning strategy.
|Brad Svee||Head of Solutions Americas West-GCP||In 3rd grade my uncle gave us his used Macintosh SE and showed me how to use QuickBASIC to make my own games and gave me a copy of "Creating Adventure Games On Your Computer". |
I followed the guide, made my own adventure game, but changed a lot of how the game flow worked, and had to translate some of the example code from regular BASIC to QB.
The last game I made was huge, amazing and I was super proud of myself, but that was short lived. My game had somehow managed to overwrite a large portion of the 20mb hard drive, corrupting components of the OS and overwriting my mom's TurboTax files.
Many tears and $1000+ later, she got some of her files back and the computer worked again, but I was relegated back to the Commodore-64 for any programming I wanted to do.
|Casey West||Architecture Advocate||I'm still proud of SigWik, the shortest wiki in the world. I wrote it in 2004, in Perl, and it still reigns at 222 beautiful, readable characters! |
Ward Cunningham uses it in talks to explain WikiPrinciples. Source: http://wiki.c2.com/?SigWik
|Catherine Berry||Senior Software Engineer||In 1982, the Atari 800 was capable of displaying 256 colors, but normally only a palette of 16 could be displayed at any one time. |
One way to show off your Atari assembly-language skills was to make all 256 colors appear on the screen at the same time. Several demos were making the rounds, but they were all slow, requiring several seconds to build up the colors on the screen.
I came up with a novel approach using HBI (horizontal blanking interrupt) code to swap palettes, resulting in a program called FAST256 which put all 256 colors on the screen, neatly arranged in a 16x16 grid, more or less instantaneously. Its binary size was around 50 bytes.
Those were the days...
|Christian Wyglendowski||Software Engineer||I was working as a help desk technician at a college and one of my tasks was to tally page counts from the various printers on campus. This was previously done by visiting each printer, printing a test page and recording the page count.|
I had been toying around with learning Python and figured that there had to be a way to get that data from the printers over the network.
I did some research on HP's Printer Job Language (PJL) and wrote a script that used telnetlib to collect the page count data from the printers remotely.
I've been getting a thrill out of lazily automating mundane tasks ever since.
|Damien Neil||Gopher||I don't remember how old I was when my local library got a TRS-80, but probably about six or seven years old. |
They had a few books of programs in BASIC that you could type in and run, and I went through them all. There was one game, however, which I couldn't run: A maze that you could navigate with a joystick. The library didn't have a joystick and I couldn't figure out how to adapt the program to work without one, so I was stuck.
So I wrote my own maze game. It threw a bunch of random blocks on the screen and you used the keyboard to navigate around them from the entry to the exit. I fiddled with the block density until it generated mazes that were a little bit challenging but still solvable. It was fun!
Another thing the library didn't have was a tape drive. There was no way for me to save my program, so I played it until it was time to go home and then I had to turn off the computer. And that was it for my program, poof into the ether. I was a bit sad, but I'd had fun writing it and that was enough.
Some time later, the library got some joysticks for the TRS-80. The first thing I did was go find that book and type in the maze program. At long last I was going to get to play the *real* maze game!
It was terrible. It didn't even have collision detection--you could walk right through the walls! The analog joystick just moved a cursor around on the screen. And the generated mazes weren't interesting at all; mine had been just as good.
My poor, lost maze game had been *better* than the one in the book.
I was so proud of myself.
|Dana Hoffman||Software Engineer||In high school I played a lot of online trading card games where you would earn virtual cards by playing games, and display them on a website so you could show off your collection or trade them with people.|
I started off with a static website, but eventually wrote some php code to generate my website based on which cards I had stored in a MySQL database.
It was probably way more effort to learn php and write the program than it was to update the website by hand, but it taught me how to program so I'd say the long-term payoff was pretty high.
|David Nicholson||Software Engineer||I took a class on HTML in the late 90s, and the last portion of the class focused on Adobe Flash.|
My father and I were both big NHL hockey fans. I was a Dallas Stars fan, and my dad was a Vancouver Canucks fan. I made an Adobe Flash animation with ActionScript that had the question "Who will win the Stanley Cup this year?" and two logos to choose from- one the Dallas Stars, and one the Vancouver Canucks.
As you hovered your mouse to click on the Vancouver Canucks logo, the logo would move to a new position so that you could not click on it. You could click on the Dallas Stars logo, and audio of an announcer yelling "THE STARS WIN THE STANLEY CUP" would play on repeat.
|Doug Felt||Software Engineer||I first used a computer as a junior in high school in the 70's. |
We had two old-style paper-tape terminals that communicated with the school district (or local university?) mainframe. Had a roll of paper tape for output, and could read and write five-hole paper tape, which is how we saved our programs-- we didn't have personal accounts on the machine.
BEL really rang the bell, CR actually returned the print head, LF actually scrolled the paper... I thought it all was pretty cool and everything just sort of fell into place for me, so I started playing around with the machines at odd hours-- the teacher was ok with this.
The first semester we learned Fortran, the next semester was Basic-- lots of flavors back then.
A few of us found that by hitting the break key repeatedly at the right time we could interrupt some other user's login flow and see their login in clear text, and um, 'discovered' an archive of games written in Basic under some other account.
They were pretty well-written, as I recall, and I taught myself by reading them and then writing stuff-- games, of course.
'Life' (which I'd learned about reading Martin Gardner's column in Scientific American) was probably the first thing I wrote.
But the one I felt proud about came later, it was a two-player exploration game-- I generated a terrain grid, and tracked the positions of the players and let them see various parts of the terrain and interact with each other based on their location.
I figured out how to use the file system to implement synchronization on the shared game state, so that the players could each move as fast as they could without turn-taking. I hadn't seen that before and was kind of proud of myself for figuring that out.
Sent a copy off to the People's Computer Company in Menlo Park, and got a nice note back from them.
|Doug Stevenson||Developer Advocate||I wrote a program for the Apple II in BASIC that scored a multiple choice quiz. My dad was able to use it to speed up his work. It was my first paid programming gig!|
|Douglas Dollars||Senior Program Manager, Google Cloud||The first program I wrote that I was proud of was an application launcher for my mother, using AppleScript on an LC III. Apple’s usability was no match for six large icons offering direct access to jigsaw puzzles and photos.|
|Douglas Grundman||Software Engineer||I wrote a full-screen text editor in 6502 assembler for a computer built by a friend. It had 8k of RAM, iirc, and could DMA a region of text to the screen. |
Addressable cursors were a thing of the future, so I just maintained a cursor on the center line of the screen (by setting the top bit of the appropriate character), and by fiddling with the DMA control registers, efficiently scrolled the body of text around that line.
Despite the system's 1MHz clock speed, it felt very fast. It ended up fitting into about 3k of ROM.
|Eric Anderson||Product Manager||A first person driving game. |
At least, that's how I thought of it. It was really just a square (my car) and a horizon line. I took me forever to create obstacles (more squares) that came towards my car.
Once that was working, I was filled with excitement. The possibilities! I got my car moving left to right. Then I adjusted speed (the rate at which obstacles moved down from horizon).
Then I added colors, wheels on my car, and the shape of the obstacles. I couldn't stop!
|Eric Mintz||Software Engineer||My very first program, which computed Pi by applying the Trapezoidal Rule to integrate the unit circle. |
I wrote it in CORC (later renamed CUPL, the Cornell University Programming Language) in 1964. CORC/CUPL died a well-deserved death about a decade afterward.
I understood that the error was bounded by four times dx, the trapezoid width, because if I introduced a 1 x dx rectangle, I could move the trapezoids to the outside of the circle. To investigate convergence, I iterated the calculation using 1, 2, 4, 8 ... trapezoids until my job timed out.
Unfortunately, I did not know enough numerical analysis to realize that I should sum the rectangles from the perimeter inward. (Accumulating the smallest values first preserves significance), so I only got 5 digits accuracy. I was mighty pleased anyway.
I was ejected from the Ithaca High School computer programming independent study seminar for excessive ambition, so my follow-on efforts were independent-independent, as opposed to merely independent.
|Eric Ness||Technical Program Manager, Site Reliability Engineering||Back in my college days, the microcomputer age had just started. |
Being a poor college student, I couldn't afford a store bought computer like a Apple ][ or TRS-80 so I cobbled together an 8080 based S-100 microcomputer by buying used/surplus/broken computer boards and repairing them.
Back in those days, most students needed to go to the computer center to use a terminal but there were also dial-up lines available. I wanted to do my computer assignments from the comfort of my own apartment so I wrote a terminal emulator program in 8080 assembly language.
My program did a reasonable job of emulating a VT-100 and could also echo the data to a printer.
This program was a big time saver during my last year of school.
|Filip Zivkovic||SRE-Software Engineer||I wrote "Hangman" game in Pascal, that had full ASCII-art style graphics and could tell you what are you guessing (a movie, a song, an object, an emotion). |
I worked at it day and night to debug everything and finally when I finished it, I copied it onto all floppies I had to distribute it to my friends.
They all started competing soon and I even kept producing newer versions with more terms available to guess.
|Gabriel Jimenez||Associate Product Marketing Manager||In my first comp sci class in college we did a classic assignment where you code two snails and have them race each other with a randomized winner outcome. |
The language was java, and it felt super cool to take all this seemingly separate code and bring it together to perform this automated task.
|Grace Mollison||Cloud Solutions Architect||A C program on a VAX VMS machine to display a clock . It was a bake off between me and one of the Devs ( I was the DBA) . :-) I won !|
|Greg Wilson||Head of Google Cloud Developer Relations||The first program I was proud of was making a pixel bounce around the screen. |
It was the first time I saw visual results of something I wrote and I showed everyone around me.
I experimented with different timings to make it faster, slower, more erratic, etc.. I stayed up all night tweaking it and learning. I wrote it on an Apple II computer in BASIC
|Ivan Maltz||Software Engineer||My first program was a blackjack game written in FOCAL. I wrote it in 11th grade, shortly after the school got a PDP-8. |
The program was saved on paper tape. I visited the school a couple of years after graduating, and the program was still being run.
|Jamie Erbes||Technical Director, Cloud CTO office||In the early 80's, I bought a TRS-80 Color Computer (affectionately called CoCo). |
It connected to my color TV and used a cassette for saving code. CoCo and I built a really cool program in Color BASIC that was a sort of psychedelic spinner.
Being the only girl in most of my "green screen Unix" ComSci classes, I was super proud to bring a little fun to the programming lab with some "CoCo Color Shows"!
|Jason Robbins||Software Engineer||I wrote a BASIC program that would generate a random maze, simulate a mouse running through the maze several times using different algorithms, and produce a bar chart of the number of steps the mouse took on each run.|
|Jason Robbins||Software Engineer||I wrote a pascal program to place eight queens on a chess board so that no queen could take any other. |
My first version was very slow, but I gradually made it work very fast.
|Jeff Peck||Technical Program Manager||My first professional program was 'written' in plug wires (the precursor of RPG) for a IBM 501. The application processed punch-cards to list and tabulate the attendance data for my high school.|
At the same time (1970), my first major 'software' program was written in IBM 1620 machine language (yes, the actual digits, six instructions to a card, no assembler); this program implemented the SADSIM computer (a Virtual Machine) and then would run SAD applications.
|Jen Tong||Developer Advocate||In the mid 90s, I wrote a text adventure game. It was 20,000 lines of QBASIC spaghetti code. |
Recognizing that if and goto were enough to write any program, I disregarded my father's advice to use loops and subroutines.
Terrible as it was, it inspired several of my friends to sling their own code.
|Jens Owen||Play Games BD, Partner Development||1982: Printer utility to dump Apple II screen images to dot matrix printer. Hand assembled in 6502 machine language.|
|Jim Wogulis||Staff Software Engineer||The first program I remember writing that I was really proud of was written in Basic and computed all the digits on the largest known prime number at that time (2^19937 - 1). |
I was 16 and this was in 1977. It ran for 27 hours on a Data General Nova II. I knew the first and last three digits of this number as they were listed in the Guinness Book of World Records at the time. I'll never forget the feeling of seeing the first and last three digits on my output match theirs!
I still have a printout of the original source code and output. Fun fact: almost exactly thirty years later to the day I was given a nearly identical problem in one of my Google onsite interviews.
|JJ Johns||Senior Software Engineer||I wrote the first version of Tetris for the TI-85 graphing calculator when I was in 7th grade. |
This was written in TI-BASIC, before it was possible to write assembly programs for the calculator. I wrote most of the code on a pencil and paper while sitting in the car waiting for my parents to do things. I then typed it all in on the calculator. I was already had a TI program collection web site, and sent it to my other friends who ran similar websites (before ticalc.org existed).
A number of my classmates didn't have the computer or adapter to download the program online, so I printed it out so they could type it in themselves. I still have one of the original printouts.
|Joe Corkery||Senior Product Manager||The first program that I wrote that wasn't for an assignment and was proud of was written in C. |
It ran in the background and actively scanned the active user logs to let me know when my friends were also logged in and therefore available to chat. It was a great tool, although I wish I had known about Perl at the time because string processing in C was no fun.
|Jon Skeet||Senior Software Engineer||The very first was in Sinclair ZX Spectrum BASIC: a little game where an alien appeared on a random line of the screen, and you had a spaceship you could move up and down, then fire at the alien, which would then disappear and reappear. No scoring, no time pressures... but it was something I'd created. |
My father was at home ill that day, and I remember being excited enough to rush up and tell him about it. It was a big moment.
The earliest project I'm still proud of in retrospect was implementing Logo in ZX Spectrum BASIC. We had BBC Micro computers at school, which had Logo, and I loved it... but I didn't have it on my Spectrum at home, so I decided to implement it myself.
Being only about 10 or so, I didn't realize that implementing a programming language was a big task, so I never considered that I shouldn't try. I learned trigonometry from the wonderful Spectrum manual, and create a pretty complete Logo implementation.
I'm sure the code was awful in many ways, but I'm still very proud of the kid that wrote it :)
|Jonathan Rochelle||Director, Product Mgmt||My first program - written in BASIC - was an interactive graphic which had a space ship shooting downward at growing sticks. |
It was on an Atari 800 using the joystick and was not at all fun to play after the first 30 seconds ;)
|Justin Beckwith||Product Manager||I wrote a little application in BASIC for my TI-85 graphing calculator in high school. |
It solved a bunch of formulas that kept coming up in Chemistry class, and I figured - instead of solving this by hand every time... could I find a way to make my calculator do it for me?
In an effort to share these with classmates I ended up building my first web site on Geocities. 20 years as a web developer later... the rest is history :)
|K Richard Pixley||Engineer||RSTS/E on pdp11 had a game called animal written in Basic+. I hacked it into a slightly different game.|
|Kevin Nelson||Google Cloud Architect Advocate||The first program I wrote that I was proud of was a Blackjack simulator to test betting strategies. It was written in Apple Pascal on an Apple II in 1979 or 1980. |
The initial version just did random shuffles of a single deck.
Later versions included spots for up to 7 "players", one, four and six-deck shoes, and varying shuffle strategies to better simulate the actual conditions at a casino.
|Laurence Moroney||Developer Advocate||I wrote an app that generated English sentences from sets of words. I used to to auto generate funny statements about my friends!|
|Mete Atamel||Developer Advocate||When I was around 12, I took my mum's recipe book and converted that into a simple program written in GW-Basic. |
There was a list of recipes to choose from and once a choice is made, it would show the recipe on a new screen.
I later added colours and formatting, probably spent a solid week or two on it. I was so proud when I showed it to my mum!
Then after a long silence they said "what else can you do? can we hire you to be an employee?".
|Paul Bartlett||Software Engineering Manager (TLM)||I think my first useful program would have been one to help my dad and his colleagues work out which subset of a batch of cheques hadn't yet been cashed (i.e. which ones summed to a given amount). |
It would have been in some early flavour of MS Basic, but don't recall which as although it was running on a PC at his office we were very much a Sinclair household (a ZX Spectrum 48K then a QL!).
|Paul Lindner||Staff Software Engineer||At age 16 I was published in Compute!'s Gazette. The small utility, named ML Runner, is tool written in Commodore 64 Basic and 6502 Assembly. |
It converted machine language binaries into easy to use BASIC programs. The result was a better, easier way for users to execute code.
You can see the actual short code on page 98 here of the June 1987 Issue here:
|Prasanna Meda||Software Engineer||Pascal - Eight queens problem as part of one of my first programming courses. |
I would not say I am still proud of what I did. I felt like I achieved something those days. I had to go through many logic and code iterations.
I solved complex problem with no awareness of backtracking and heuristic algorithm designs!
|Rob Pike||Distinguished Engineer||In the late 1970s, using the Research 6th Edition of Unix, C, a vector display and a film printer, I wrote a program to animate celestial phenomena for display at the Planetarium at the University of Toronto. |
The output was 16mm film. Graphics has come a long way since then.
|Robert Burke||Software Engineer||I was in a highschool "infotech" class, and we were learning to use visual basic on Windows machines. Some of the projects were whack-a-mole and a racing game (with collisions!). |
We had to come up with something different for our final project, so I implemented a card game, with some AI.
I didn't get close to finishing any interesting AI opponents, but I got full marks for researching how to load the right DLL and use the same playing card graphics as Solitaire!
|Robert Hagmann||Software Engineer||The first program I remember was written over a half a century ago. |
It was written in FORTRAN IV on an IBM 1130. It was matrix operations, likely multiplication.
It showed me that I could conceive of something and make it real through programming. Through 'clever' use of functions, I inadvertently managed to change the value of an integer constant!
|Roger Tawa||Staff Software Developer, Chrome team||My first significant program was a one-on-one tank battle game for the TRS-80 Color Computer, written in Microsoft BASIC, in the early '80. I had to use low resolution mode (128x192 pixels) so that I could up to 4 colours, one each for sky, ground, tank, and bullet. |
The computer had such a small amount of memory that the screen buffer maintained the game state: craters in the ground were represented by changing ground colour to sky colour, and a tank hit registered when the bullet crossed over a "tank" colour.
One of my fondest memories of writing this program was that I "discovered" a sorting technique that I later learned in University was called a Selection Sort.
My brother and I could not afford to buy games for the computer, so this program provide endless hours of fun for both of us. I'll never forget this.
|Sam Hansen||Systems Engineer||On a whim, my mom had purchased me a copy of Mark Ludwig's "The Giant Black Book of Computer Viruses". |
The first real sense of accomplishment was when I managed to write a parasitic .EXE infector that was capable of attaching itself to any windows executable. It contained a directory search routine and self detection routine (I.e. it wouldn't infect an already infected file).
The virus itself was written in x86 assembly: something I'm very proud to say was the first programming language I learned. I was about 12 years old, and yes - I hosed the family computer on a good number of occasions.
I also learned how to un-hose it. I'm forever grateful of Mr. Ludwig and that book, it's what helped a troubled teenager focus on something and eventually led to a great career in technology.
|Scott Kirkwood||Sr. Software Engineer||Backgammon Game, written in Basic (basica) and Rewritten in (Turbo) Pascal|
|Scott Penberthy||Director, Applied AI||My first major effort was a multiplayer StarTrek game in HP Basic, where I thought it'd be cool if we could connect terminals together so people at different schools could all play one epic battle. |
The game had a crude chat feature which was great for taunting each other. I thought such "inter-terminal" computing might have a future. Lol.
My very first program was also in Basic, which printed "Hi!" after you typed "run." That was pure magic to me. I had created a robot.
|Sowmya Ramakrishnan||Product Marketing Manager||When I was 15, I wrote a C++ code to sort numbers. |
Back then laptops didn't exist and we got 1 hour in a week to access computers in our school lab. 3 of us shared one computer. So we would write the code in our notebooks (yes - the paper ones) before the lab and use the time in the lab to type out the code on borland editor.
It was super exciting to see a black and white monitor display the string of sorted numbers!
|Stan Shebs||Software Engineer||I wrote a program in Fortran V to translate German sentences into English. |
It was all on punched cards; I would give the deck of cards to the computer operator, who fed it into an Univac 1108 mainframe, and then I would get a printout with the results.
This was in 1974, in an Explorer Scouting post sponsored by Shell; we swarmed the computer room one night a week, keypunching the code that we had written out by hand at home.
Rubber bands were everywhere (that was how you kept the cards together), and the operator taught us how to shoot them very accurately!
|Steve Cellini||Developer Advocate||An interactive database access app! Users could enter simple statements to query and update data, and write little programs. |
I was smitten then and there with the idea of connecting users with their data ;)
|Thomas Bushnell, BSG||Staff Software Engineer||I wrote a program to play backgammon against you, in BASIC, on the AIM-64. You can look that computer up on the interwebs.|
The computer had 4k RAM, and the program existed in two forms: one which knew the rule that if you roll doubles you got four moves instead of two; and the second which didn't know that rule, but was able to bet using the doubling cube.
|Tim Lesher||Software Engineer||When I was about 12, my cousin (a toddler) liked to bang on the keyboard of my Commodore 128 and pretend she was typing. |
I wrote a little program in Commodore Basic to randomly flash the screen and play a random tone on every keystroke, and 1/20th of the time it would go "haywire" and flash and beep continuously for ten seconds (causing a giggling fit every time).
After that, every time she visited she would ask for "the beeps".
That was the first time I'd ever written a program that surprised and delighted someone else, and I was hooked on making users happy.
|Tim Swast||Developer Programs Engineer||The first program I wrote was a video game where you are a snowman who throws snowballs at an evil horde of snowgoons (green snowmen). |
I got many of my friends and siblings involved to help me with the art, sound effects, and play testing. I used Game Maker and it's built-in Game Maker Language on a Windows 98 PC.
|Todd Kerpelman||Developer Advocate, Firebase||I wrote an awesome adventure game in Basic for the Apple IIe called Usera. |
It had everything -- a blocky-looking dragon, a blocky-looking sword, and a booby-trapped room where you had to avoid blocky-looking blocks that fell from the ceiling.
I'm pretty sure 30% of my code was GOTO statements.
|Tony Aiuto||Software Engineer||In Junior High, around 1974, we had a Hewlett Packard 9820 that you could program in their Basic dialect. |
My friend and I would build prime number generators and race them. I constantly won by sacrificing readability for optimization.
|William Hamburgen||Display Systems Architect||"UNROLL"|
In 1968. my Minnesota high school had a Model 33 teletype that let us save BASIC programs on paper tape and run them on an IBM 360 that was 300 miles away in Chicago. Pretty cool!
We eventually got a shared directory for all student programs, and that's where I left UNROLL. Our teacher was cleaning up the directory, found it and ran it. It responded with a "?". He typed a random number, and UNROLL began unrolling just that many feet of teletype paper.
He figured out pretty quickly who did it. A proud nerd moment!
|Yufeng Guo||Developer Advocate||I used Java to simulate a 15 digit scramble/slider toy. It was my first recursion project, and solving it was very gratifying. |
Of course, it solved it using brute force, and the JVM would run out of memory if you expanded to 5x5 or higher (it only sometimes could finish a 4x4).
It was my first real experience of a program that I wrote doing something akin to magic.