RAW Computing is the website of Roland Waddilove, a self-employed freelance writer and occasional programmer. I write about PCs and peripherals, Apple Macs, Windows, OS X and Linux, the internet, hints, tips and tweaks, software, programming, problems and solutions, tutorials, articles and more. Of course, everything on this website has been designed, created and written by myself.
I currently use Windows XP, Vista, 7 and Ubuntu Linux on various PCs, and OS X Lion on Apple MacBooks, but I started out in the early 1980s with a Sinclair ZX-81, which was followed by a Jupiter Ace and then an Acorn Electron.
In the mid 1980s I was the editor of Electron User and then in the late 80s I was the editor of Atari ST User and associate editor of Computing With The Amstrad CPC. In the early 1990s I was editor of PC Today and in the late 1990s I was editor of PC Home. From 1999 on I have been a freelance writer.
Contact me if you can offer any work! My email address is at the bottom of the page
I got my first computer, a Sinclair ZX-81, in 1982. Back in those days, you pretty much had to be a programmer to do anything with your computer. You either typed in program listing from magazines (which took about two weeks and when you ran it, it said "Syntax Error", or the RAM pack wobbled and you lost the whole lot), or you created your own programs. Typing in listing was tedious, but a side effect was that you learned how computer programs were constructed, so after w while I wrote a few BASIC programs of my own and then learnt Z80 machine code. Compilers didn't exist in then. You had to write out the assembly language on paper, look up the op-codes in a big book, write them down in hexadecimal and then type in the hex on the computer.
After the ZX-81, I got a Jupiter Ace. Now this was an unusual computer because it didn't have BASIC as most other home computers did and it ran Forth instead, which is a completely different programming language. I spent a year or two writing my own programs in Forth because there wasn't any software for thr Jupiter Ace. I also wrote some Z80 machine code programs on it too. Strangely, writing programs in Forth on the Ace was fun, but then I've always been interested in things that are slightly out of the ordinary.
The next computer was an Acorn Electron (a cheaper version of the popular BBC Micro), and I wrote lots of programs in BBC BASIC and 6502 machine code. Then I got an Atari ST. I didn't write a lot for it, but dabbled in C, 6800 machine code and BASIC. At the same time, I also had an Amstrad CPC-464, another Z80-based home computer and wrote a lot for that too.
Finally, I got a PC. Programming a PC isn't as much fun as those early home computers and the processor was said to be designed by someone with a grudge against programmers. It's not at all friendly and despite all the previous machine code and Basic programming, I never wrote any programs for the PC for a long time. This is partly because in its early days, it was purely a business computer and couldn't do all the fun stuff that modern PCs are capable of. It wasn't until Microsoft Visual Basic 3 was released that I took up programming again.
Programming has always been a hobby because you had to be a programmer in the early days of home computers, but it's not the day job though, that's writing for magazines. Many are long gone, like Electron User, Atari ST User, Computing with the Amstrad CPC, and PC Today, but I currently write for several UK magazines on various topics.
Check this out: An unexpectedly strong hydrogen bond: ab initio calculations and spectroscopic studies of amide-fluoride systems. You'll find the article about a third of the way down the page and I'm listed as one of the contributors. Click the First Page link to see a pdf of the first page of this riveting article.Actually it doesn't start till well over half way down the page, so you only get to read the first paragraph. Don't ask me what it's all about, that was a long time ago.
Affilate links follow...