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'There was something amazingly enticing about programming. You created your own universe and you were the master of it. The computer would do anything you programmed it to do. It was this unbelievable sandbox in which every grain of sand was under your control.' - Vint Cerf

'Programming... struggling with an obstinate system that can do what you want but only if you can figure out the right thing to say to it.' - Will Crowther

Ah... computer programming. I like to dip my toes in now and then. Back in the day (i.e. the 1980s), all home computers shipped with a version of BASIC in ROM, so you were encouraged to play around with programming right out of the box. Spawned a generation of kids that went on into careers in IT. If you wanted to you could even spend hours typing in and running program listing from magazines and books (if they worked ). Now that was work, but it gave you an understanding of how computers and code worked.

Programming can be immensely frustrating but also immensely satisfying when you see your little creation running on the screen, fast, tight and bug-free (which always takes about ten times longer than you think it will ). It's just cool telling the computer what to do for a change, plus the joy of creation and intellectual exercise.

Click on the programs below to get started. All are ZIPped Windows executables that can be run straight away (no installing). There are also links to the source code. These are real simple little programs, just for a bit of fun. I make no claims to be a coding wizard!

Here are some programs I've written in Visual Basic 6 . My VB6 Notes may be of interest to any VB6 programmers out there.

Dancing Lines A hypnotic display (Source)
FF Adventure Sheet Adventure sheet for Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (Source)
Hello World! The most basic program of them all... (Source)
Polygon Displays different sided polygons (Source)
Psychedelia Trip out (Source)
Spinning Polygon Displays different sided rotating polygons (Source)
Spiral Draws a spiral! (Source)

The programs below are written in my favourite language, BBC BASIC . Originally designed for Acorn machines like the BBC Micro. Any kid who went to school in the 1980s will probably be familiar with them. You can even get a version for Windows! A well designed, well structured, easy to learn programming language, recommended if you fancy the idea of having a go at programming but may feel a bit daunted by the complexity of languages like C++, Java or even Visual Basic.NET. I also have some BBC BASIC notes.

Balloons Watch 'em float around (Source)
Circles Various coloured circles (Source)
Lines Hurts the eyes after a while.. (Source)
Polygons More spinning polygons (Source)
Spirals This one hurts the head after a while.. (Source)
Triangles Every BBC BASIC programmer starts out with this one! (Source)