Today I deployed my programme that I have written after finding and reading through the manual that Mr Breakey showed us as part of our memory resident programming module that we have been doing since September. The manual is absolutely brilliant and shows how to make programmes re-load themselves even if the computer is turned off and on again.
I’ve written it in C and have compiled it into an executable that changes its name and pointers to it every time it runs so that it is more difficult to remove. It also copies a couple of backups so that if someone deletes one version if can re-install itself. In total when compiled its only 28Kb in size – way smaller than my old Basic programmes. It also looks for open network ports and copies itself to them, which was something I learned from when we had to make programmes that can send messages between computers. Its absolutely insane that the computers are all so wide open.
Every time the computer runs the programme just checks to see if it is the 23rd May, and if it does, it calculates what age I will be and displays a message saying “Make sure you wish Richard a happy 00th/rd/nd birthday”.
I’ve spent a couple of weeks re-writing the floppy disk copying programme that I originally designed in Basic in to C, and its much, much better now too.
I copied it on to one of the library computers and within 10 minutes I could see by going to other computers and looking at the autoexec.bat files on them that the programme had successfully copied itself to all of them. Will be interesting to see how far I can make it spread in time for my birthday in 5 months time.
by Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)
When George’s Grandmamma was told
That George had been as good as gold,
She promised in the afternoon
To buy him an Immense BALLOON.
And so she did; but when it came,
It got into the candle flame,
And being of a dangerous sort
Exploded with a loud report!
The lights went out! The windows broke!
The room was filled with reeking smoke.
And in the darkness, shrieks and yells
Were mingled with electric bells,
And falling masonry and groans,
And crunching, as of broken bones,
And dreadful shrieks, when, worst of all,
The house itself began to fall!
It tottered, shuddering to and fro,
Then crashed into the street below –
Which happened to be Savile Row.
When help arrived, among the dead
Were Cousin Mary, Little Fred,
The Footmen (both of them), the Groom,
The man that cleaned the Billiard-Room,
The Chaplain, and the Still-Room Maid.
And I am dreadfully afraid
That Monsieur Champignon, the Chef,
Will now be permanently deaf –
And both his aides are much the same;
While George, who was in part to blame,
Received, you will regret to hear,
A nasty lump behind the ear.
As many great names do, the creating of the name RMTWeb was a complete fluke.
I have a brand new Pentium 200MMX computer a staggeringly huge 2.5Gb hard disk and a 16 speed CD-ROM Drive! In addition this amazing computer has 32Mb of RAM and a large 15″ CRT monitor! This super machine also has a modem and allows me to connect to the Internet using AOL!
The first account I signed up for gave me a horrid username – rtaylo4382. After enduring this name for the past year and a half I decided that things would have to change. I’ve been searching and searching for a new screen name, then by accident I decided to try my initials which was denied as it was too short – I was keen on designing my own web pages so I added the word “web” after my initials. The name was accepted and thus my first proper email address – [email protected] was born!
—Later editors notes–
I then set about registering every variant of rmtweb online for the next 5 years or so. Most notably I used [email protected] and the blogging site rmtweb.livespaces.com which is where this blog was originally hosted until I moved it on to my own domain.
I used my AOL email address and kept the screen name until 1999 when I decided to get my own domain name – rmtweb.co.uk, and “proper” email address ([email protected]). It has been running ever since! As a result of having an email address that has been around for such a long time, I regularly get in excess of 2000 items of spam every day.
Today I managed to buy the latest thing – a 1.44Mb high density (HD) floppy disk, I actually bought a box of 10 of them from the school office. I will finally have room to store all of my Basic programmes and Filemaker programmes to take them between home and school.
I can’t get the program working as I wanted on the BBC computers, but the school got new computers running MS-DOS 4 that are much easier to work and alter, especially since I already have the 3.30a manual at home.
The final version of Hahas (version 3) that I finished today doesn’t display anything on screen at all when it runs other than the c:/> that looks like the normal prompt, but isn’t. Behind the scenes it is adding to the autoexec.bat parts of the boot folder, so that the program will always run every time the computer turns on. I added in a few extra features so that it only displays the hahas occasionally, not every time a disk is put in, as it was getting too obvious. Lots of people in class started to notice the hahas and the computer teacher also wondered what they were. Also new is that it hides the file by prefixing it with a $ (dollar sign) so that although space on the floppy disk it is on will be missing, most of the idiots wont know why. I also renamed the version stored on the hard disk to call it expander.exe so that people wont suspect it as not being a real system file. It also copies the date and time of the msdos.sys file so that it looks like it has always been there.
I think I will update it next to make it just display a message on my birthday every year, but only once I leave the school otherwise I might get in a lot of trouble.
Today I finished version 1 of a program that will run on the BBC computers in school. People keep stealing my floppy disks to annoy me so I decided to get my own back. If they try to use them I have a program that will now run when inserted into the BBC computers that I have written and compiled in Basic.
I called in the HAHAs, because thats what it displays on screen – a never-ending loop of hahas with an optical illusion, meanwhile it uses up all available memory so that the computer crashes.
I spent the whole of my Christmas holidays, and most of every night since reading over the Acorn OS manual that I borrowed from the school computer classroom, and have found out that there are commands that you can use to over-write memory. Normally you shouldn’t do that as it stops the computer working, but for the purposes of vengeance, why not.
I ran several tests today at school and it actually works.
The computing class today was boring so I spent most of it trying to work out how to make the program copy itself automatically on to the computer and also try to detect when a floppy disk is inserted and automatically copy itself back on to another disk, that way it will spread to all the computers without me having to copy it manually. The problem with copying it back is that I haven’t figured out how to make it test if it already exists on the disk, so it displays a prompt asking about overwriting, so people would be aware of it.
Today I wrote my first program in QBasic. I managed to get it copied on to our 286 computer using 2 floppy disks that managed to buy this week for £1 each from the school office. I copied QBasic from the computer at school on to the disks and managed to get it working at home!