This was first published in that excellent and long-defunct magazine, Freelance Informer. This all came about because of this picture (check out the dandruff):

SchoolComputer

 

And here’s the full story:

Thatcher1 Thatcher2

As an added bonus, here’s a printout of my very first computer program, written in the long-forgotten language Focal. See if you can work out what it does.

FirstProgram

Yes, it works out the volumes of spheres for radii going from 1 to 10. Nothing too ambitious, then. Still, it worked first time, which is more than I can say for a lot of the stuff I’ve written in the years since.