I’m a software engineer living in Portugal. My brother initiated me in the art of programming. My academic education gave me knowledge about computer science and information systems engineering. My day-to-day work introduces me to enterprise information management systems. And my curiosity makes me learn about everything else.

This blog is a way of persisting ideas, research and experiments in a more consistent and structured way. Most things will be related to computers or programming in some way.

In the beginning the earth was void and without form … a little latter

I’ve started to be interested in computers and programming, in a ZX Spectrum 128K. The Spetrum was mostly for gaming but some lines, squares and circles where created with BASIC. Most of my programming experiments started in a 33 Mhz 386 PC with Turbo Pascal.

The initial programs asked your name and produced a scripted output with colored messages and progress indicators, for fun. Later programs where a little more complex. I wish I still had my lander implementation which featured procedural terrain (just a zig zag at the bottom), configurable gravity force, sprite animation and CMF sounds for burner activation, crashes and successful landings. Much more fun making it than playing the damn thing.

Amazing Graphics!

Off course it was a mess of Pascal and assembly code but at the end of that period I already had great concern for the correct alignment of code. Eventually I was presented to cellular automatons and, in particular, to Conway’s Game of Life. It was very simple to understand and fascinating. It represented what I like about programming. Very simple rules can produce very complex, unpredictable and life-like structures.

Learning languages and thinking meta

So I’ve learned and experimented with a few programming languages for an hobby. Making sense of all the different programs, languages and patterns made me start to see things in a more conceptual level: the meta level of programming. I still remember by hearth how I initiated VGA 320x200 graphics mode within a Pascal program. It was a piece of assembly.

Initialize VGA 320x200 graphics mode
1
2
mv  ax, 13h
int 10h

Those initial constructs are still applied but are under several layers of software. Nowadays there are little to many moving parts to know them all by hearth. So I try to think about the individual responsibilities of components, how they interact and the properties of that interaction. Languages that allow to express different concepts like sound or images directly are very interesting. Reinventing drag-and-drop for the fourth time in a Web OS not so much.

Having fun

Nevertheless most things programming are fun for me. Be it micro, macro, infra or meta some things are just made for fun like all those little hello worlds or, in my case, the various implementations of the Game of Life like the first experiment here.