Speed typing on strange devices 04.23.2007

The National Texting Competition reminds me of the brief time during middle school when I could type over 40 words per minute on my TI-83 calculator.

And also of the really basic 3D engine I wrote in TI-Basic. And of the functional but bare boned single player MUD I wrote in Algebra. It was basic, but it had command completion and prediction!1.

The TI-83 was really the first platform I heavily programmed in — if I could dig out my old calculator, I’m sure I’d find a bunch of old programs and games I wrote whilst bored in class.

I remember trying to make a L.O.R.D clone. Eventually I had to separate out different parts of the game into modules — secondary programs beginning with zzz — to sanely manage the code. I also started to run out of variables, and had to resort to storing variables in to lists to transfer states between modules.

It was horribly complicated and horribly convoluted and required keeping dozens of single letter variables in my mind, but I still miss it. It was tough, but fun.

  1. Really, a bunch of recursive modules and for loops with some creative usage of substr and single letter matching. It’s really surprising just how capable TI-Basic was if you jumped through the right hoops and suffered through the necessary twists and turns.