Kids today! Why they never knew they had it so good! *pumps fist in the air

Now I am not going to be one of those old timers that preach about, “when I was a kid, i had to walk uphill in the…” No i’m not, simply because I am not old. Kinda. I’m talking about the App Store. You see, when I was a kid, I would wait 30 days for a magazine to get my apps.  And in those days, they were called programs.

the_rainbow_-_june_1984-224x300-1-2Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much, let me sum up. It was 1985, I had my first computer – a Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer 2. Embarassingly, they were commonly referred to as the CoCo. I never called it that in fear I would get my ass whooped. I was think I was the only kid in my hick town with a computer. I was damn sure the only person that knew how to use one. I would plug my computer into the family television set and wait for the green screen to come up with an “OK” prompt. It was actually only a fraction of what it takes Windows to load. Then, opening my latest copy of Rainbow Magazine (don’t judge, it was for “CoCo’s”), I would flip to the back where it contained pages of sample code. Hundreds and hundreds of lines.

Hours passed where I would patiently, manually, type the code into the computer.  …what the hell was wrong with me… There wasn’t a software store in town, or in the state, and I there was no app store or even any sort of network to access one. To see a computer do something, I typed. And typed for the big payoff. The code was on the lines of:

coco3fpga_decb1-300x262-1-210 CLS 20 PRINT “ARE YOU LAME (Y|N)” 30 INPUT Y$ 40 IF Y$=”N” THEN GOTO 100 50 IF Y$=”Y” THEN PRINT “DAMN RIGHT, YOU’RE TYPING THIS AREN’T YOU?” 51 IF Y$”Y” and Y$”N” GOTO 200 55 PRINT “GO ORGANIZE YOUR STAR WARS FIGURES AGAIN” 60 END 100 PRINT “LIAR.” 110 GOTO 20 200 PRINT “JERK.” 202 LET Y$=”BIG JERK”+1

210 GOTO 20

(Funny, as I typed that, I wanted to put semicolons, parenthese, etc into the code by habit – because I upgraded to the powerful PASCAL programming language after my BASIC days.)

That was an example off the top of my head. Don’t worry, the real program was much cooler. Hours later I would type RUN and hit return.  The computer would respond, “?SYNTAX ERROR IN LINE 91390″. After another hour of debugging, I would usually end up with a few stick-mountains and John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High playing color-computer-2-300x225-1-2note by note in single computer tones. It was awesome. Or even better, I had a program that would help me calculate how much concrete I needed for a given area. Very useful for an 12 year old.

Oh crap, I had no way of actually saving any work. Nope, not even a floppy.

Welcome to HippoBytes. I may have not invented the Flashlight app, but I am pretty sure I was one of the first to program an awesome strobe light on the family TV.

The moral of the story, no matter how freaking lame and geeky you are, you still might turn out cool in 25 years.

-Adam