Crossing the bridge

Although I am not entirely happy with the book on MFC programming, I have sufficiently figured out how to direct the compiler so that I can actually compile and test programs. To some extent, this follows the same general order and structure of Petzold’s book. It may take a while before I get to the subjects I am most interested in. The book by Roger Mayne is moving faster and less thoroughly. I had set Petzold aside, but I an picking it up again.

I have also gone back to the beginning with BASIC. It’s absurd that it’s so complicated to “enter a number”, in Windows, unless you know exactly how. Like many things, it’s apparently fairly easy once you now how…but it’s not so easy for a novice to figure out how. I now have a BASIC emulator, so I can go back over instructional code and early games. Some of these could be improved and ported to C and other languages. I’m sure this has already been done, but not by me. As I work through examples, I hope to improve my programming skill. It;s a slow method, but it works for me.

Van Winkle’s Bridge

I had a miserable holiday season. I was busy trying the Rip Van Winkle approach to learning programming, and not accomplishing much. The further I got in to Petzold, the more the behavior of programs diverged from what was described in the text. The programs would compile….but they wouldn’t work. The C language, the compilers (Visual Developer) and Windows itself have all changed since 1999, and the preconditions and and postconditions for Windows function calls that worked in the original, and those that apply now have changed in ways that I don’t have the resources to follow. And that’s if I haven’t committed any typos in entering the programs.

Although many beginning programmer’s texts start with a command-line approach, they don’t facilitate a transition to the Windows environment. I’ve finally found one that does: “Introduction to Windows and Graphics Programming With Visual C++”. by Roger Mayne. This looks like the bridge I have been looking for.

We’ll see how this goes.

One piece at a time

Like the old Johnny Cash song. My attempts to work through Petzold are hitting snags, because there have been changes to Windows since he wrote the book, and the programs as written don’t work anymore. I don’t have an instructor or a decent guide to the complexities. I have finished the first eight chapters, about a quarter of the way through the book, which I still think is respectable progress, although I had hoped for more.

Sapience Knowledge Explorer

I’ve been concentrating on getting my computer programming moving, still concentrating on the early chapters of Windows Programming. I’ve been spreading my efforts out over the first few chapters, since typing programs in is a boring activity and I like to shift my focus to create a little variety. I’m almost through the chapter on text input, well into the chapter on the mouse, and almost through the chapter on the timer. There’s a bug in the program that’s supposed to draw dots of an analog clock face, and I can’t quite figure it out. Also, I’ve found that Visual Studio 2015 is finicky and unforgiving about creating resources (*.rc files, for those in the know), and has different behavior than the earlier version Petzold used in his book, so the description in the book doesn’t quite match. Once I’ve reached the point where my programs can actually can read the keyboard, I will be in a position to begin integrating this with other textbooks.

I’ve also begun working on a Windows Version of a program I’ve been puttering about with for some time; the Sapience Knowledge Explorer. I had begun an old style Command line version and made considerable progress working through a couple of textbooks for examples when I set this aside. My intention is that by working through a Windows version, I can make it more commercial, or at least more useful.

So far it’s quite embryonic. It doesn’t do much besides ask if it’s OK to continue and displays a greeting message if not. But–it’s my own work, not copied or derived.

Rip Van Winkle

I’ve been away from attempts to program Windows for some 20 years, and it has almost, but not quite, entirely moved beyond me. I’ve mostly been copying in the sample programs, trying to get a handle on the most basic concepts of input and output. As before, I note that things that were easy in the console approach are much harder in Windows, and thing that were hard in the console approach are much easier in Windows. So far, I’m still in the “Basics” part of the book, but I’ve gotten sample programs in the first 10 chapters (after some debugging due to typos) to compile and run. I can’t say that I entirely understand what I’m doing, and I’m not yet doing much original programming, but I am making progress.

Sort of live

I’m back to reviewing history, at present concentrating on the late medieval period. Since I have picked up programming again after a long hiatus, I’m working with “Windows Programming”, 5th edition, by Petzold. This is 20 years old and I’m rather surprised there hasn’t been a new edition, focused on 64-bit windows, although (looking at Google Play) there are still a lot of 32-bit programs on the market. The basics haven’t changed. I’m working with Visual Studio 2015 (can’t afford to upgrade yet), although the appearance of programs has. There are a couple of other Computer science texts that I also want to be working with, and I’m trying to integrate my computer knowledge. For now, I’m working on the basic input/output functions. Besides putting text in a window, the next chapter involves graphics.

Still playing Elite: Dangerous.

Early Medieval History #1

During this period, Latin peoples including Italian, French, and Hispanic peoples, and Germanic peoples began to surpass the Balkan peoples. Anglic peoples, Northeast European peoples, and Nordic peoples also began to appear in recorded history.

Persian peoples remained prominent in this period. The Sassanian Persian empire was succeeded by the Umayyad Caliphate and then the Abbasid Caliphate of Islam. Egypt was under Roman (in this period known as Byzantine) rule. Anatolia was mostly under Byzantine rule, but Turks began to immigrate. The lands of Mesopotamian peoples were contested by the Byzantine and Sassanian empires, until they were conquered by the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates.

The Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties ruled China. In South Asia, the Gupta empire ended and various successor states arose. Islam also entered what is now Pakistan.

In Northern East Africa, the Christian kingdoms of Alosia, Makura, and Nobatia in what is now Sudan resisted Islamic conquest. The kingdom of Axum was present in Ethiopia,. Bantu-speaking peoples continued to move into South Africa.

I still do not yet have many details of American Indian peoples.

Maybe I am dead

My resolution to write every day fell down a cliff. I was working on my science fiction story, and it was going much too slow, as I fell down a rabbit hole of developing too many minor characters. I did get to the rocket launch, and may post a couple of pictures. I picked up playing Elite: Dangerous and spent too much time with it. My computer can’t quite handle it, and kept crashing. Part of the problem was that it clobbered Firefox, which I managed to recover by refreshing. I also started picking up threads of the Computer programming I set aside a couple of years ago, and today worked through a refresher of the Windows version of “Hello, World”. It’s going to be pricier than I like to update my development software, the hardware is even more so. We shall see what we shall see.


No, I’m not dead yet. I have been continuing to work on early classical history and should be ready for tomorrow. Also working on my novel. I have the first chapter written and am into the second. I’m still working on potential friends and enemies at a fairly slow pace. Sleepy.

One more time

A few years back, when I moved back to Arizona from West Virginia, I was interested in model rocketry, so I already had the idea for the story I’m working on now. I looked up the Superstition Space Modeling society, which at the time was having trouble finding a launch site. I tried again, a few years later, and this time got as far as visiting what was supposed to be their new launch site out west of Phoenix. After much trouble to find the place off in the desert, I found it occupied by an astronomy group, with nary a rocket or rocketeer in sight. I was disappointed, and then COVID 19 came along. So, with the novel reviving, I am again interested in attending a launch. For authorial research purposes. Yes, the society is still active, and yes, they have a launch planned in November, not too far from where the old site was. So think I’m going to try to go. This time, I’m going to call to make sure it’s going to take place when and where It’s supposed to and I have someone to meet.