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Recently my dad commented on my blog that I posted about writing code. He has always been a significant inspiration for my interest in programming. I don’t think that I have any genetic predisposition to programming, but growing up and watching him dictate code that I typed into a computer is something I will never forget.
That scenario was a good memory for him as well because in his email he reference one of the games we worked on together: Nibbles. These crazy worms made of ASCII characters travelled around the screen gobbling up numerals while growing longer and longer. The simple controls were arrow keys in up-down-left-right configuration. If you got through all of the numbers 0 – 9 then you got to go to the next level! The next level consisted of a slightly different configuration of walls, but the same simple challenge. Having not much to do in those days I soon completed the levels and pops says, “lets make more!”
So the screen was pulled back and we found underneath a pile of QuickBasic code that boggled my mind! He found the segments for wall building and I sat at the computer while he rattled off the exacting syntax to create a new world of ASCII lines to explore. I remember something like…
“okay from that line press enter…”
“Okay we need to make the wall kill the worm…” as he paced the room thinking.
“Let’s make a line in between those two, so type ‘455 if $character….’ yep, that should work”
The father in my brain comes out when I am trying to solve these programming challenges.
“Okay, what I need to do here is to get that string to eat that other string…”
“Type in ‘def eatString(str1, str2):’ and then press enter.”
He is a good teacher to embed his dictation voice in my brain so helpfully. I also remember him teaching my mom how to use a computer. That was a little crazy.
Well here is a link to the challenges I have been able to complete thanks to that voice: