About

Paul Ramnora

 I’m a self-taught artist/computer programmer.

Introduction

Hi, my name is, Paul Ramnora. I’m currently aged 50 years old. I was born/brought up/and, live in London, UK.

I wrote this web site in order to get to share with you some of my chief most interests in life; which includes, quite happily,  surfing through the internet all day/night long: 24/7/366 Am I a self-confessed internet addict? Answer: Yes!

There are times when this is a good thing…such as whenever you wish to ‘learn’. (I wish to learn, constantly, all the time, non stop…! Officially, I have been diagnosed as suffering from: AS/Asperger’s Syndrome; and, people with AS are very well known for remaining living entirely in their ‘own’ sort of world. )

There are other times when this is a bad thing…such as when you wish to get the hell away from the computer…and, then, find you just can’t…?!

  • Got to stay and check email, at least, one more time…?
  • Got to stay and practice writing another web page/or else, re-write/change/update it…
  • Got to stay and fix the computing program bug…???
  • -Etc.

Eventually, you find yourself with very little time left for having ‘real life’ interactions outside of the computer itself.

Though, I do have outside interests too, quite obviously; such as…

  • Cineworld cinema/(yearly membership)
  • Tate Gallery/(yearly membership)
  • Martial Arts(aikido/tai chi/-etc. I’m a ‘white belt’ beginner; training both on/off.)
  • Visiting seeing both family/friends(don’t go and see them often enough?!).
  • Re-visting seeing ‘old’ places/discovering ‘new’ places; usually, on my bike.
  • -Etc.

My own computer programming history…


I was born 1963.

I learned about the art of doing programming somewhere in the late 70’s.

Frankly, I took to it instantly right away just like the proverbial ‘duck taking to water’.

I immediately understood exactly what the teacher’s instructions had meant…without needing any further explanation. I would walk all around the classroom both showing and explaining the instructions to all the rest of my fellow classroom pupils.

I recall our Indian maths teacher, Mr. Das Gupta, asking me, once, “What do you wish to be when you grow older?” Enthusiastically, I answered him, “a computer programmer.”

I enjoy learning to use many different programming languages. My first programming language was called:

  • CESIL/Computer Education in Schools Instructional Language…an assembly like sort of language: jump/cmp/-etc.; which was taught to us in school during Maths class; somewhere in between ages: 11-14.

I recall way back in those days: 70’s…we didn’t actually get to see any computer at all?! Yes, believe it or not; that statement is perfectly true; I didn’t actually know what the hell a computer looked like; other than through seeing pictures of ‘large room sized computing machines’ in books.

Instead, the teacher merely handed out to us some cardboard punch cards; which we would then mark up using our pencils. At the end of the lesson, the teacher would collect all of our punch cards together. He’d then go off somewhere totally mysterious to us; and, feed these programs into the computer; and, then, collect the output. It wasn’t until next week’s time…that he would come and hand out to us our computer printout results.

Somewhere in the early 80’s, I started to notice computers galore having newly arrived inside of electrical shopping stores: Curry’s/-etc.; as well as, being advertised on TV, regularly; such TV programs as: Tomorrow’s World.

These all in one computing machines were basically a box containing:

  • typewriter keyboard
  • CPU/Computer Processing Unit
  • built in programming language stored inside of ROM/Read Only Memory; which was, usually, BASIC/Beginner’s All Purpose Symbollic Instruction Code.

The machines were priced at around £100.00; buy it…then, return home, and, plug the computer interface cable into the back of your TV arial socket to use as being the computer’s monitor screen.

My first BASIC computer was a…

  • Tandy Radio Shack Color Computer II…which came with built in MicroSoft BASIC; that used line numbers/and, GOTO statements. In those days programming was a rather messy affair; but, nevertheless, great FUN learning; seeing all sorts of really strange patterns/text appearing on screen…??? I think this computer had around 16K memory size; so, you had to keep your programs really short; something like under a page in length…! There were no long variable names: strNumberOne; but, instead, purely in order to save much needed memory, you used single letter/or, double length variable names, such as: n, n2.

Later on, I owned…

  • Commodore 64 The 64 stands for just 64K memory…lol…and, came with built-in Commodore 64 BASIC.
  • Atari 520 STFM Much to my surprise, this computer came with no built-in programming language, at all?! As I had originally been expecting…; therefore, I went out and brought separately, instead, a language called: FASTBASIC; it was a ‘structured’ modern sort of BASIC…which didn’t force you to use line numbers/GOTO statements.
  • PSION Organiser XPII A robust ‘hand held’ pocket computing device; which had a 2 line screen! It had 32K memory; but, you could use at total of 2 x 32K memory packs to extend it’s memory size; thus, making 64K memory in all. It’s built-in programming language was something called: OPL/Organiser Programming Language…that I recall was very BASIC-like in syntax.
  • PSION Organiser Series 3a I remember buying this from Harrods huge super store covering a whole entire block…with 4 to 5 floors; the famous shopping complex located in Knightsbridge, London. Yet, another hand held device; which had a 16 line screen…yea! A huge difference from me having been forced to use the previous 2 line screen version. It also used OPL as being it’s main programming language. Cost: £100-200.

Later on, still during the 90’s…

PC/Personal Computer (my first PC was brought from out of a catalog company; I can’t remember which, possibly, Littlewoods. Anyway, the latest buzzword: the internet had arrived on the scene; and, everybody was talking about going web surfing; quite naturally, I didn’t wish to feel completely left out…?! The cost of this machine was around £1000+; and, there was no way I could afford it; if it wasn’t through taking out a HP/Hire purchase weekly payments plan.

Experiencing the internet for the first time…was a really a totally ‘different’ experience for me; as before all of my computers had been stand alone machines; but, all of a sudden, I found myself instantly -or, almost instantly/computer connections ran VERY SLOWLY way back then; I think, I started out using a 14.4K wired modem…later on, very quickly, upgraded to become 28.8K, instead; as 14.4K was just MOST INCREDIBLY SLOWWWWWW…think about 1 to 2 minutes long just waiting for a single web page to load/5 to 10 minutes to download 1 photo pic…OHHHH the sheer AGONY of it all!

Even worse still…there was no flat rate fee totally ‘unlimited’ internet usage…so, you were constantly AWARE that the longer you stayed online…then, the more and more money you were forced to go PAY…?! Thus, the idea was, don’t stay online for far too long; just get to where you want to go real quick; then, download whatever it was…web page/photos/movie…a short movie took absolute ages to download…like, maybe, all damn day…! Then, immediately sign back off the net, again; in order to save running up some MASSIVELY HUGE bill! Being a net addict like I am: 24/7/366; so, you can very easily imagine what sort of bills I had to go pay; makes me wish to cringe even thinking about it…?! Thank God, for now-a-days monthly flat rate fee ‘unlimited’ internet usage.

Using the combination of both PC/internet…it was now possible for me to go download computer languages entirely for FREE. I no longer needed to go out, and, scout through computer shops to buy them, anymore/or, alternatively, buy it from out of a computing mail order magazine. Consequently, I went and downloaded as many programming languages as possible to and go try, including:

  • LISP
  • PROLOG
  • LOGO
  • FORTRAN
  • FORTH
  • -etc.

Most of the languages I’d gone and downloaded, I couldn’t even make head or tail of how to use them…; because they didn’t all come with built-in/or, online help…???

At first, my operating system was something like: Win 3.x. Later on, more modern operating systems evolved such as Windows 95/-etc. My operating system CD-ROM disc: Win95/98…I discovered came with a FREE version of Microsoft QBASIC which I tended to use most regularly to practice doing programming with.

PRINT “Hello, world!”

…RUN/Press key: [F5]. Output…

Hello, world!

PRESS any key to continue

VB6/Visual BASIC 6 – OOP/Object Oriented Programming

Later on still, I went and brought a copy of Microsoft Visual BASIC 6; and, it was welcome to the wonderful world of OOP/Object Oriented Programming; employing a built-in library full of ‘drag and drop’ objects…used to build a UI/User Interface really quickly and easily in just merely minutes.

Boy, was I utterly amazed; and, needless to say, very deeply, impressed with OOP; this method cut down my programming time by, at least, half; plus, the UI looked really professional(and, all with hardly any effort)!

What was especially interesting to me was the realization that the programming language behind Visual BASIC 6 was, in fact, none other than, QBASIC…which I had already gone and learned in my non-OOP days. It was just simply a case of adapting the QBASIC programming language; to interact with objects, instead. So,…

PRINT “Hello, world!”

…would become, instead…

txtTextBox1.Text = “Hello, world!”

Finally, worked out how to write my very own HTML web pages/build my own web sites by joining multiple such web pages together…

I’d been doing regular internet web surfing for a period of around 6 months of so…; quite naturally, I couldn’t help wondering to myself how these same internet pages that I was constantly seeing/reading/surfing through were actually made/created…???

Using a number of different internet based search engines, I came across HTML tutorials; but, then, couldn’t quite figure out how to do it for ‘real’…instead, I was just merely studying reading up about the mere theory of how it’s possible to create web pages:

  • how to set text: bold/italic/underlined
  • create bulleted/or numbered lists
  • /-etc.

I read all about the theory of how others did it…; but, never yet went and did it for myself.

Then, one fine day, I came across a no-nonsense tutorial…which took more of a direct ‘hands on’ approach to learning; meaning just simply ‘do it’…don’t just sit and ‘think’ about doing it, anymore.

The example page I wrote was real simple; something like ‘Hello, world!’ It was written in under 1 or 2 minutes -(because, I’m a fast copy typist)-.

I wrote the page using…

  • Windows Notepad word processor

<html>

<head><title>My 1st web page</title></head>

<body>Hello, world!</body>

</html>

Saved it as: my1st.html

Then, viewed it inside of…

  • MSIE/Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser

In order to make the web page launch; you simply left double clicked on it’s picture icon; and, the ‘default’ web browser would, then, automatically launch; and, display the web page output.

Later on, I learned that in order to view web page ‘source code’ inside of any web browser; you, simply, right mouse button click on a blank space inside of the actual web page itself; and, then, from the context menu list of options that appears, choose: View > Source. This allowed you to spy  seeing into the underlying ‘source code’ of any web page which is being located anywhere on the net.

From ever since that truly eye opening moment/day; I never ever stopped writing web pages. In fact, every single time I come onto a computer machine…I’m, at least, ‘tempted’ to go write a web page…which is exactly what I’m doing, right now.

I must confess that I’m not a very good web designer, though; more of a straight forwards web page content writer; as, I’m sure, you will already have gathered through reading this rather long article. LOL

The influence of your 1st programming language tends to prove to be very long lasting, indeed…

My first programming language was BASIC/Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instructional Code.

I soon discovered that your first programming language can have a really big influence on you; be it either for better or worse.

For example, it makes you downright unwilling to try out learning to use any other computer languages; because these other languages syntax can be entirely different from what you’ve been used to using for endless years and years. It’s rather like saying stop talking English; and, all of a sudden, start talking in French…?!

Consequently, my learning has been mostly confined to using either the BASIC family/or else, BASIC-like programming languages.

  • BASIC/FASTBASIC/OPL/BASICA/QBASIC/Visual BASIC 6/VBScript/Visual BASIC.NET

Other languages I merely experimented at playing with every now and then; these include all of the following and more…

  • HTML, CSS, XML, Javascript, JQuery, Java, Pascal, C, C++, Python, PERL, LISP, Prolog, Logo, Smalltalk, Scratch, -etc.

No matter what ‘new’ programming language I go and experiment with learning, now-a-days; I still find myself returning back, again and again, to go and practice using: BASIC. The latest version of BASIC which I’m currently studying is:

  • Microsoft Visual BASIC Studio 2012 for Web
  • Microsoft Visual BASIC Studio 2012 for Desktop
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