C#: Day 1

Cultural relic Commodore 64 home computer.

LOAD “$”,8,1

64 kB of RAM. Commodore 1530, SID, Commodore 1541, TAC-2, Floppy, Decrunchinget cetera. Introduction When we got our Commodore 64 I was so intrigued by the command-line interpreter, Commodore DOS, and fascinated by what my brother later did with BASIC, I had to try it for myself but only got a little further than Hello World. Later, I and my brother were introduced to the Demoscene as well, which sparked an interest for pixel art and coding that grew with subsequent computer platforms. I didn’t get far on the C64 and it wasn’t until after we got our Amiga 500 and then the Amiga 1200 that I really took to programming and pixel art (I love you Photoshop but you will never be my Deluxe Paint). During the A500 I developed an interest in the Amiga Workbench operating system. On the A1200 I developed further interest in hardware and software. I upgraded the A1200 from 14 MHz to 28 MHz, from 2 MB to an additional 4 MB RAM and a 40 MB HDD, next was a Motorola 68040 central processing unit at 33 Megahertz, 8 Megabyte of RAM, 540 MB Hard Disk Drive and had a 28.8k V.FAST Modem. Later, my brother talked me into breaking the bank on the Blizzard 1260 Accelerator with the Motorola 68060 CPU clocked at 50 MHz and with 16 MB Fast Memory. Sigh, the 39 MIPS in Workbench 3.0 (and Tornado) made it worthwhile. By then I had 1.1 GB HDD, more bauds and bits with a 57.6k Modem and a 6x CD-ROM. On it, I ran a Bulletin Board System, The Lock-Up BBS. Doors were the Apps of the time, for Bulletin Board Systems, which were the Internet equivalent of the time, sort of. As a Sysop, I was not satisfied with the available Doors so I quickly learned the ARexx language. I had a series of Doors when I jumped to the Assembly programming language and continued programming Doors. Optimizing the code became a passion. I even did CPU specific executables. I preferred customization and as a result my Doors were highly configurable. A few of my aliases were BigBang, Fusion and Dave. I had just begun coding a Workbench application at the time of the Commodore Amiga demise. When I got my first PC, with an AMD K6, I was turned off to programming on it at the time and quit (it wasn’t that easy breaking up with my Amiga and her Motorola 68000 family). Although, it was a good high-end PC at the time. Later though, I learned HTML and CSS. A while ago I was on and off ActionScript too but wasn’t convinced.

The Commodore Amiga 1200 personal computer.

Cultural relic A1200.

AGA, DOpus, X-COPY, D-COPYCloser by CNCD, ProTracker, OctaMED, Imagine, LightWave 3D, Joystick, Datic (Alfa Data) Chrystal Trackballet cetera. C Sharp Long overdue, I am finally going to be programming again. I chose C# (Visual C#) to go with the development of Windows 8 and in particular Windows Phone 8 apps and I will document the process here on my blog. Today I got around to begin the Channel 9, C# Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners. I have no knowledge of any C programming language prior. I have finished lesson 1 through 5 and so far almost everything is very familiar due to my previous knowledge. I like the free Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 too (I’ll always miss you ASM-One). The low level Assembly programming language put me off to high level programming languages up until recently (I prefer the Close to Metal approach) but now I have a newfound interest. I’ll summarize and go into detail for my second day. Clearly, I got lost in nostalgia for this first post. My Initial experience is positive though!

Screenshots of various BBS Doors and the Amiga Workbench.

The Lock-Up BBS

Screenshot collage of a few of my Doors, my BBS, a glimpse of my Workbench, and ANSI.

An easy-to-read review of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop

Trial and error

I love the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 and the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse. Having established that, I was looking for something ergonomic. At first, I tried the Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Keyboard and Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Mouse. While they were OK, they weren’t very ergonomic at all. Typing and using a mouse a lot, my wrists feel fatigued after very long sessions. The keyboard keys didn’t feel as good as the K750 either, and the separate mouse didn’t come with a transmitter. Using the ICIDU USB Mini Adapter, which is Bluetooth 2.1 and USB 1.1, Windows 8 couldn’t find the mouse. With the Trust Bluetooth 4.0 USB adapter, the mouse was found, but frequently lost the connection for some reason. I also recently used a new Logitech B110 mouse while waiting for something interesting to be released. It stopped working after just a few months. I guess you get what you pay for.

This is where the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop comes in.

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop sitting on my desk.

ASUS PB278Q, Asus Xonar Essence One and Audio Pro Addon T8 as a reference.

A closeup of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop.

Micro (Macro) soft and Bokeh courtesy of the Nokia Lumia 920.

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop character layout.

A closer look at the keyboard character layout.

A closeup of the mouse.

Windows and back button on the mouse.

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop viewed from the side.

View from the side with the Sennheiser HD650 far off.

The keyboard

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop keyboard is unconventional looking to say the least. It has a separate part to optionally place the keyboard onto, to get an elevation to the wrist pad if you prefer. A fantastic little detail is that it snaps into place with magnets. When I placed my hands as they should, the wrists relaxed to the point that I just sat there like that for a while. It was that comfortable and natural. At first, the typing speed and spelling accuracy fell far below acceptable, but once I got used to it, it was lovely. The curvature and tilt together with the feel of the wrist pad is wonderful. It also has that premium feel to the keys like the K750 which the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard lacks. I do miss the battery free ease of the K750 but the mechanical switch of the Windows 8 function keys make up for it. As I mostly use the custom function keys I can leave the switch there and flip it whenever I need the traditional function keys instead of holding a function key depressed back and forth.

A pet peeve with the keyboard is the upper most row of keys. They are both smaller and don’t have the same premium feel to them. I often miss the escape key because of this. Somehow, I occasionally hit the Insert key instead of the Enter key and additionally miss the arrow keys. The Enter key and arrow keys are a bit small, but its probably because of the confined key spacing akin to a laptop keyboard.

The mouse

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop mouse is very comfortable although I was skeptical at first. The thumb rests comfortably in the indentation, where you also have the Windows button to go to the start screen on top, and on the side you have a back button, barely visible. The battery compartment underneath is easily opened as the lid is held by magnets, but still firm, and it’s the same on the keyboard as well. On the mouse, there is a power switch underneath. On most surfaces the mouse has a nice glide to it. The scroll wheel is fairly standard, but good, and is also a middle mouse button. The right and left mouse buttons are also fairly standard, but nice.

Numeric keypad

The separate numeric keypad is great, and leaves all that extra space on the desk. If and when I need it, I just reach for the drawer and get it out.

Conclusion

What I also like is that all three, the keyboard, mouse and numeric keypad, use the same included transmitter. Quick and easy connection with no lag. The mouse is instantly active when switching the mouse on after being turned off. I couldn’t recommend the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop more whole heartedly. Love it.