[You say in your very slim autobiographical bi…

[You say in your very slim autobiographical bits that one of your hobbies was making computers do things they weren’t intended to do.  Such as what?]

Work properly, usually.  But after I’d worked for a bit at the good ole ZX81 I bought another one and built speech boards and electronic thermometers and barometer attachments and a real-time clock and wrote huge clunky programmes in BASIC to make it all work.  It was a sort of weather forecasting machine.

I learned a lot.  I’d never been very good at science at school and I was terrible at maths, but of my own free will I started to mess about with Boolean algebra and machine code.

The thing was, at school there’d never been any incentive to understand maths, except that you’d get hit about the head somewhat if you didn’t.  I really resented that, when I thought about it later on.  I remember the Friday evening when I worked out how the machine memory addressing worked and there was this glow in my head as I realized all the things I could now do and I thought, ‘Mathematicians must feel like this all the time!  Why didn’t anyone tell me it could be like this?’