The A and B of C

I'm on page 2 of 'C for Beginners'. It was written in 1986, when I was 14 years old. At that time, I was a pretty good programmer in BASIC, but had never used COBOL or Pascal. C (not yet C++) had been the flavour of the month for the last year or so, and no one knew how long it would last. Certainly no one imagined it would be a major language two decades later.

However, for the last six months I've been toying with the idea of constructing my own VST instruments, and possibly effects. There's some very good free VSTs about, but the don't do exactly what I want.

I want, for instance, a multiple-band phaser or 'wah' device - up to five variable-width frequency bands, that are boosted with resonance, and which bounce between high and low frequency positions in various envelopes.

To make VSTs, I need the Steinberg VST SDK, plus a bit more knowledge about DSP. To use the SDK, which is freely available, I need to know about C. It's been years since I've done any serious programming, but I spent 14 years since the age of 10 being a pretty good programmer, and that should count for something.

Anyway. I'm on page 2.
Page 24, and I'm being reintroduced to the data types I first met 12 years ago, while studying Ada. Along the way, there's been some trips down memory lane. References to BCPL, ALGOL and the ill fated MSX - promoted as the next big thing that wouldn't get outdated, and was gone within six months.

Tonight, I've recorded Billy Elliot, Legend of Earthsea (Part 2), Farscape episode 209 (which has the be the slashiest episode ever), and A Fish Called Wanda, which is a lot less rubbish than I recall. In a few minutes, I'll stick them on to reencode overnight, watch an episode or two of Babylon 5, drink some tea...and read some more about C.

I'm actually rather enjoying it. Twenty years after everyone else.

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