Geek Nostalgia

Scott Hanselman just wrote an excellent post with a photo when he was a child geek.

I cannot resist following him [:)]
This 1985 photo gives a good idea of the little nerdy I was. Second row from the bottom, 4th from the right.

I was ten and I was playing with my first computer, an Exeltel (a french computer)! At that time my main programming activity was to tweak strings and redefine the character set, all this in real-time, to do the games my computer didn’t have, like the so cool Sega Space Harrier. Without the 2×68000 the arcade machine had, I needed a solid imagination to enjoy playing with my own version. The same year, our school got a dozens of Thomson Mo5 and it was fun teaching the teacher how it worked. A few years later, the next step was to code 3D demos for Commodore Amiga. Everything was programmed with 68000 assembly and had the constraint to display 50 frames per seconds.

Everyday my mom was angry telling me computers won’t help going anywhere in
life [:D] Hopefully my friends and parents made me discover also the
pleasure of socialization and outdoor activities.

Since then, my only break in programming was when I did a few years of advanced mathematics classes. I really love maths, especially theory of numbers, but didn’t imagine what to do with it except teaching. I didn’t realize all the potential of being a financial trader. So I chosed to quit maths and go back to software. And since recently, I think my choice of being a programmer instead of being a trader, was not a too bad choice. Especially that for more than 20 years every programming day is playtime [:)].


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  • Yann Trevin

    Btw, this looks so familiar to me. Same glasses, same haircut. For the bio, just replace Exeltel by ZX81 and Amiga by Atari, and you are done: it’s me. Ah… Shame they have not setup special courses for our very kind. This would have been so fun.

  • Patrick Smacchia


  • Yann Trevin

    Mais pourquoi diantre fallait-il toujours qu’ils fassent la photo de classe le jour du cours de sport? C’est un complot ou quoi?

  • Patrick Smacchia

    No I was not part of Red Sector, but from a group named Bass. I was fan of stuff like vector bob, glenz & rubber vector and I did some games too.

    I agree with you Frans, the fact that at that time all teenagers
    had the same computer with the same CPU was a huge incentive tolearn advanced performance tricks and core assembly, to do something better than the others.

  • Frans Bouma

    Brr… I’m starting to get old! internal exile on the amiga was of course from 93! ;)…

    Cool demo on the video btw, you coded that? Red sector, brings back memories from late 80-ies :) The demo on the video inspired azatoth of phenomena apparently, as his demo later on uses the same kind of music + effects.

  • Frans Bouma

    You were an amiga demoscener too? Cool! :) I was Otis / Perseus – infocorner (made ‘internal exile’ demo (won SIH 95) and a lot of music and small assembler routines I still have somewhere :D) No youtube video though…

    Your story sounds very familiar. 😉 “First do your homework,then you can spend some time on the computer”

    Too bad not a lot of young people / kids are programming for fun anymore, I mean: the demoscene for example is getting smaller and smaller and hasn’t seen large groups of new people coming in for over a decade already. But perhaps it doesn’t help that modern computers don’t force you to write code (even basic statements!) to get anything done like load a game or program 😉