I have planned to retroblog about this for some time, but it was Abe’s post about the past that reminded me.
I started in high school, was it 4th or 5th grade? This was around 1985. I was advanced in Math or Science, so we had a computing class. We studied BASIC programming. I did not have my own home computer at the time, but I was already imagining some games that could be developed on graphing paper.
In Grade 7, 1987, I got a “PC XT.” It was a 8088 4.77 Mhz, 640 KB memory, 2 360KB floppy drives, CGA video adapter and monitor. It was a “clone” of the IBM XT platform, inside an “AT” case, but they were called “XT’s” for convenience. It had an unauthorized copy of the IBM BIOS complete with ROM BASIC. (Licensed machines had third-party BIOS without BASIC.) I did some programming in ROM BASIC, and then BASICA on the PC-DOS 2.0 platform. (PC DOS needed a IBM PC BIOS to run). I then migrated to Borland Turbo Basic and Microsoft QuickBasic.
I then swung around to the opposite end: programming in x86 machine language. I was inspired by Peter Norton’s Programmer’s Guide to the IBM PC. This was the day of hotshot programmers developing machine code in a few tens of KBs. I used Microsoft MASM, Borland Turbo Assembler (TASM), and their tools.
I made some PC utilities (what do I remember? a file splitter I think), which I submitted to PC Digest. I didn’t have a modem yet so I could not login to their BBS. I remember walking to their office in Legaspi Village to submit it on a 1.44 MB diskette. I believe I was already in college by this time, and was equipped with a 286 16 Mhz (with “turbo” I think), 2 MB RAM, and a 50 MB Quantum ProDrive hard drive. I was already doing some programming for college coursework – for my next post.