I probably spend several days of deep thought before trying to code something on my Spectrum emulator which is huge fun even though its very frustrating because to date my saves havent worked and transcribing lines of code onto a notebook and then back into the machine is time consuming and not much fun, sheer drudgery.
Its the intellectual challenge thats so fascinating. I spent the last two weeks - off and on - trying to figure out how to express a block of four characters as a single variable so it could then be assigned a random number making it move around the screen. The block of four characters form whats known as a sprite which could be a little man for example or a little baddie.
Imagine a square formed of four smaller squares exactly like graph paper. I did it by making the three all tied to the fourth. But each small square requires two coordinates for the computer to print it to the screen. What took all the time was figuring out how to express this algebraically and then give the resulting calculation a single variable name.
If none of this makes sense dont worry about it. Its purpose is to draw a simple shape that can move around under its own power. The answer was to create a sub routine that performed all the calculations and then give it a single variable name but thats just the beginning of the problem!
This shape has to move over a background consisting of an isometric grid. Every time the shape is printed it over writes that part of the screen leaving a hole where there had previously been the grid. So the grid must be redrawn too every time the shape moves.
Modern computers can handle multiple layers of screen so that moving objects dont affect the background, the Sinclair cant do that. So now you have to juggle which to draw and when to draw it so theres no apparent flicker or holes as the program runs and bearing in mind its a slow processor doing all the work without the help of a seperate graphics co processor chip.
Timing is crucial and the odd thing is that as you juggle these timed events, moving the instructions around in the listing to get the optimal speed, strange things can happen on screen and sometimes they are better than what you were hoping to achieve just because a call to a subroutine was moved to another position in the coding list.
I'm already approaching over a hundred lines of code and I've hardly started and until this LOAD/SAVE problem is solved I dont want to write any more as it takes hours to type in thanks to the bizarre Sinclair keystroke system which assigns up to five functions per key and requires jiggery pokery using the Shift, Tab and Esc keys in various combinations to shift the machine into its various modes.
Phew! Yes but it really is fun. Sort of. Especially when it actually works.
The mouse problem is coming under control to some extent. if I had to kill any more I think i might become a Buddhist, no I'm serious, it weighs heavily on my conscience to kill a small animal thats only trying to survive in an extremely hostile environment.
It doesnt help that they're so cute and one or two are quite bold so that Tammy has at least stopped screaming and now talks to them instead! I went out and bought two varieties of humane trap. Both useless so far. Its the glue traps that produce results but I hate having to deal with a helpless struggling little animal obviously terrified and exhausted.
Yesterday i experimented and discovered that vegetable oil releases the glue. Just pour a film of it to surround the mouse and then gentle help it get free by prying a limb or two loose after which it can manage the rest by itself. Their bones are so tiny one fears to break them, i used a pine needle as a pry but even so i was anxious not to cause further pain. Then I let the little bugger go in our compost heap, its nice and warm, plenty of food and far enough away from the house to make it extremely dangerous for him to try and get back what with the owls, cats and dogs prowling around.
BUDDHISM? Frankly for some time now I've been reaching the conclusion that of all the various wise men who have attempted to instruct us how to behave ethically,the Buddha made the most sense.
This arrogant human assumption that we have the right to treat animals as inferior beings whose fate is unimportant has bothered me for a long time but not enough to stop me eating them.
Now I'm beginning to prefer vegetables to meat and i havent been eating much meat for at least a year now if not longer. My portion is usually equivalent in size to a cigarette pack or approximately one and a half normal size sausages. Lucky dog gets the rest.
No i havent gone 'funny' on you, its an internal decision of my body not my head. It doesnt want much meat any more and I have always preferred vegetables to outweigh the meat on my plate. I've always had this internal voice telling me what it wants to eat and I have always listened to it. Mind you its a bit too fond of chocolate so you cant let it have things all its own way!
Tammys back in New York, i cant wait for this election fiasco to be over so I dont have to listen to her diatribes about Saint Hillary. Only my good manners keeps me from letting rip on the disgraceful pantomime and its players not to mention the dim witted electorate that lacks the backbone to take matters into its own hands and sort out the system thoroughly from top to bottom. The average American doesnt realize and probably doesnt care that this is making the USA the laughing stock of the world but they should.
My theory is that trump fell afoul of the Russian mafia which is virtually the same as the Russian government for all intents and purposes. i think he's into them for such huge sums of money that they put the arm on him to run for president hoping to have their own puppet in the White House.
i think his incredibly outrageous behaviour has been deliberate hoping thereby not to be elected so his handlers dont get what they want. If he'd outright refused to run he'd have had a fatal accident but compare his demeanour now with how he sounded on the first Apprentice show? Its like two different men.
Months ago i told Tammy that this was my theory because from the very outset of the campaign it seemed obvious to me his behaviour was atypical.
I'm not at all fond of the man, never was even twenty years ago his business dealings were transparently fraudulent and I could never understand why he wasnt being prosecuted for it.
There are some in my area that think that the Trumps and Clintons are long time friends and that their advisors devised this way to get Mrs.Clinton elected. Trump would get the nomination and then do ... more