semi-OT: do you routinely attempt projects out of your comfort zone?

Andrew Burton aliensrcooluk at
Tue Mar 9 13:49:37 CST 2010

Considering that I have never been on a programming course and have entirely
tought myself from books and examining code, I would say that I mostly stick
to what I know and only learn new stuff (coding techniques, new languages
etc.) when I have to. In the last 5 years that includes compression (LZW and
RTE/RLE), complements (2, 9 and 10), the .BMP format (urgh, why have it all
upside down and back to front deliberately!), BCD numbers, CSV files and
various other things.
I admit I don't like learning new languages, because it is a lot of hassle
in the beginning. Once I have mastered the basics it does become alot easier
and much more fun. I usually have a programming manual sat beside me to
remind me of syntax and to look-up commands that I know exist but can't
remember the exact name of (AMOS Basic/AMOS Pro for the Amiga has around
1000 official commands, plus around 1000 more commands made by AMOS
enthusiasts).[1] Motorola 68000 ASM was very easy to pick up and understand,
but I am still learning techniques to make my code more efficient :)

I learnt the in's and out's of Windows from the beta version of Windows '95
whilst at work experience in 1995, a bit more whilst doing a DTP course in
1997/8 (which got me my NVQ level 2 in computers) and the rest I have picked
up from various versions of Windows used at work. Though I have learnt about
the workings of Windows (registry and executables) from my own experiences
with my laptop, which I got in Feb 2007.

Andrew B
aliensrcooluk at

[1] Don't confuse AMOS (Amiga OS), written by Francios Lionet for Mandarin
Software/Europress, with the other AMOS which I have seen mentioned on this

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Keith" <keithvz at>
To: <General at>; "Discussion at :On-Topic and Off-Topic
Posts" <cctalk at>
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 6:36 PM
Subject: semi-OT: do you routinely attempt projects out of your comfort

> Do you routinely attempt projects out of your comfort zone?
> While I think it is the right thing to do intellectually to expand my
> knowledge, I often think that I waste a lot of time trying to do fairly
> simple tasks in areas where I have limited knowledge or experience.
> I think challenges can be rewarding, and I enjoy them.  "Anything worth
> doing is hard." I think is the phrase.
> I try to do the necessary research, background reading, start from the
> ground up before attempting to do anything.  I still find that getting
> your hands in it, ie learning by doing, seems to help the process along.
> With all this being said, it sure is frustrating and the rewards come
> slowly.  While I DO like instant gratification, I don't expect it.  I do
> expect that the payoff, it terms of reward vs time spent is reasonable.
>   As my available personal free time has been less and less lately,
> making sure that I'm not just wasting my time is important to me.
> Do you find that you spend most of your time on projects that are well
> within your knowledge and experience, or most of your time learning
> about new technology/skills/programming language/hardware/etc to
> facilitate accomplishing a new project?
> Thanks
> Keith

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