Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
software created
extended or repaired


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Friday 06 April 2018 The Forest Road Reader, No 2.1 : Old Skool

In our house we celebrate Easter as the death of the regular hockey season, and its forthcoming resurrection as the summer league. We marked this over the weekend by eating approximately an acre of spinach, first in the form of kibbeh, then as borek, then the day after that as leftover kibbeh and leftover borek. The kibbeh works really well as burger, in a bun either with your conventional burger trimmings or Levantined-up with pomegranate molasses or spiced yogurt. The borek is just really pretty gorgeous and it's so simple every time I make it I wonder why I don't do it more often.

I'm in the middle of preparing a conference presentation that I'm doing with my friend Chris next week. Ordinarily both of us would be at the tweaking and polishing phase rather than the working out what to say and pulling the sides together stage, but it all came about rather late on and, in truth, neither of us expected our proposal, which came to me in a flash about an hour before the deadline, to be accepted.

Chris and Jez are old and have been programming a long time. You can tell they’re old by their grey hair and unfamiliarity with the works of Camila Cabello, and you can tell they’ve programming a long time by their insistence on proper clicky keyboards and the battered copies of Stevens propping up their monitors.

But once they were young!

Before they were programmers they were hobbyists, spending hours, nay days, nay nights and days, cranking out game after game written in screen after screen of Basic (Locomotive and Sinclair respectively).

Can they take their combined 50 years of software development experience and project it back to 1984? Can they apply test driven development, source code control, and continuous integration to the programming environments of their youth?

Join Chris and Jez as, armed with an Amstrad CPC 464 and a cassette recorder, they attempt to find out.

I chose an Amstrad as our retro-computer of choice because I knew Chris had one as a kid. I never owned one, or even knew anyone who did back then, although I very briefly had access to one during (... counts on fingers ...) the summer of 1993, long after its heyday.

I initially envisioned us just sitting down and starting to code, giving a bit of a commentary on what we were doing, but it's turned into rather more of a kind of career retrospective. The more I've thought about it the more I've found I have to say, which is always a good sign. I've just written quite an impassioned section about the biases I carried (and hope I no longer carry) about software development and towards my work mates. I've no idea what Chris is going to say, but that's going to be part of the fun of it.


Ornithologically pleasing...

  • Nice looking nuthatch bopping around Moseley Bog
  • Saw a greenfinch and a collared dove on the same trip along the canal through Digbeth. Can't remember seeing them there before despite heading back and forth half a dozen times a week every week since last September.
  • A little egret braving the swollen River Rea rapids.
  • Fleeting glimpse of a goldcrest in a holly hedge at the top of St Agnes Road.
  • There's a partial-albino blackbird who lives on the path from the canal up to Curzon Street. Saw him this week.

Tagged hockey, talk, ornithology, and accu-conference


Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
software created
extended or repaired

Older posts are available in the archive or through tags.

Feed

Follow me on Twitter
My code on GitHub

Contact
About