Exercise: Went shopping.
Keyboard: Just a little Sound of Music.
A long long time ago, in a country far far away, there was a guy called Ivor Woodfield.
My Dad was an accountant. He had a slide ruler and a mechanical typewriter. Probably still has both of those items. I remember him bringing home an adding machine once. It was big and needed to be plugged into the mains power. But it could do you standard arithmetic and that meant he didn't need to use a slide rule.
In school we learnt how to use log tables to perform calculations my converting two numbers to their logarithmic equivalent (base 10), adding them together and converting back. It was quite magical. They stopped teaching this stuff after the 70's as students had pocket calculators.
The next time I came across a computer was during the open day at IBM Hursley. This was IBM's research park in the UK and a kid I went to school with Dad worked there. I was invited to the open day. I saw large cooled machine rooms filled with large IBM computers. Printers and punched card decks. Images made out of the characters that could be printed.
It all seemed so uninteresting. The conveyor belt that took away the trays of your dirty dishes in the cafeteria was probably more interesting - although the ascii art was pretty good too.
And so this continued, until at some point I discovered Hexaflexagons. I don't know where, maybe a book, maybe a journal. I strongly suggest it was from something by Martin Gardner who had been writing about them since the 50's. Maybe it was something my Dad showed me. Either-way, I made one from a sheet of paper and started experimenting with them. I loved puzzles, brain teasers especially of the mathematical bent. I had a collection of interlocking wooden puzzles.
The Hexaflexagon was a fun topologic puzzle and I wondered if you could make others, square ones, or triangular etc. I experimented with making different ones to see how many combinations of "sides" I could produce. It turns out that there is a whole class of flexagons.
One day at school, while playing with one of the flexagons, a passing teacher saw me and uttered the words that are now embedded in my memory forever.
"If you like puzzles, you should try computer programming"
- Ivor Woodfield
I was thirteen, and he just changed the course of my entire life with those words.