It all makes sense.....

Although I am not officially diagnosed Aspergers although I'm 99.9% confident I am and still awaiting my first assesment I cannot help but think my love for Mathematics and Computers and playing chess could be related possibly to being an Aspie.

I have always found Maths interesting and although never an expert on it would consider myself good at it. Last Semptember I enrolled on a Maths GCSE course at my local college it lasted about 9 months I skipped a few weeks and end of year revision classes but still managed to pass and found out only 22% of adults aged 17+ actually passed the maths GCSE this year so I was really proud when I got my results a few weeks ago. 

I also enrolled on an computer course level 1 and passed this too all with working full time and living with a wife and kids. It was hard and stressful mind as I couldn't find my much needed time out but the enjoyment of working my brain made it worth while. I don't know if any of you are the same but I love working things out or fixing things or playing games console to keep my mind ticking feels great.

Anyway I also love chess I was in chess club at school and even beat a chess player whilst on holiday who kept bragging he was the "chess master". I find it hard playing chess on a games console for some reason and alot easier on the actual board game maybe because I'm up close and get a better view.

Anyway my point of this short story is I'm thinking maybe why I excel at things I enjoy could be related to being an Aspie and it would make sense.

Do any others on here enjoy Mathematics, Computers and Chess?

  • I've been into computers and electronics since childhood; I was part of the "Clive Sinclair" generation that started out with ZX81s and ZX Spectrums (Spectra?), and before that had a few of those electronics experiment kits where you joined components up by trapping wires in little springs. It began, I think, just with an incredible fascination with how things work; since early in my childhood, I learned to take things apart and (sometimes!) put them back together again. My music system was always stuff from the second-hand shops that I stripped down and serviced myself.

    Once I got my first ZX Spectrum, there was no stopping me. I was never really interested in the games much, always the programming, and later, building my own hardware add-ons for it (don't etch circuit boards in your aluminium kitchen sink - you'll get in trouble with your Mum!) We didn't really have computer studies at school, so I was always self-taught; BASIC to being with, then machine code (hand converting op-codes to hex), and later, a bit of Pascal and Forth (for which I wrote my own compiler.) I did do an O-level in electronics at school, though - not taught by the teachers as such, they just put me in for the exams. I made a little audio sampling add-on for the Memotech machine I had at the time, and got 100% for the practical part of the course, one of my proudest school achievements because I'd had so little input from my teachers (my need to do things myself rather than ask for help is rather pathological!)

    I had a break from all that for a few years in my late-teens and early-twenties, as I got very involved with photography and making music (I did save a few gigs by being the only band-member who always carried a soldering iron!) But once I realised that I couldn't hack the social side of gigging in bands, I got my first PC, and dived straight back in again, learning the more modern object-oriented computer languages. I still do a lot of coding as a hobby, though not the electronics any more. Most of what I write are add-ons for music making (VST plugins) and tools for helping to organise my computer; but I also write a lot of code for no purpose other than to see what I can do, and sometimes have a go at a new computer language just for the fun of it (Haskell at the moment.) I'm also fascinated by the history of computers and programming, and the theory which underlies how computers are made and used.

    I was always good at Mathematics, but I've never been good at Arithmetic. Re-arranging equations, complex numbers and a bit of calculus, I can still do OK; I use them all the time in the sound-processing code that I write. Working with actual numbers, though, I'm hopeless at - my working memory lets me down all the time and I can never remember my times-tables; as soon as I have to carry-over a digit, I'm utterly lost, and writing it all down is essential. Quite often, I will write myself a few lines of code rather than struggle doing it in my brain!

    I've never been into chess, though, nor any other kind of competitive game. I can enjoy games where I pit my wits against logic problems, etc., but not playing anything against another person. I think I just don't like the social problems of how to deal with bad losers, gloating winners, impatience at having to wait my turn etc.

  • I remember back in the day it was RML380Z - and then onto the Sinclair products. I did a BBC micro course in my first job - and then a Z80 specialist programming/interfacing course. It was handy because I ended up as a production manager at a place designing and sub-contract manufacturing Z80-based multiplexers.

    Back is the old 286 days, I had one with Windows 3.0 - and then a 486DX4/120 with 32MB of ram (most people had 1MB, some rich people had 4MB and I managed to get a sample of 32MB = superfast PC!). I used it to create album cover-art for my friends band.  I've just got myself an old Atari ST for my studio - goin' old skool!

    I taught my daughter to build PCs from scratch and to install operating systems when she was 8 - we've always been techy. We run about 10 PCs here - and a couple of raid servers. We;ve got all our data and music available from anywhere - very convenient.

    A few years ago I had to spec, design and program some operating systems for nuclear particle accelerators. No pressure.....

    I'm still into Quake 3 - it's my favourite for a quick frag-fest.

  • it was RML380Z

    The first machine I ever touched, too; my middle school had one (just one!). It was never used in lessons, and I don't know even if the school staff ever used it for anything much. I joined the extra-curricular computer club, but it wasn't a success at all; it was just too impractical to have only one machine between all of us, so my eagerness quickly turned to frustration.

    At upper school there was a network of 480Zs; I remember being rather jealous of schoolkids in other areas that got to use Beebs (I don't really recall why; though I do think they're rather prettier to look at!.) Again, the computer room was barely used, and there was no programming in the school curriculum. The only lesson I used them in was something called "Control Technology" (I got the O-level, but never met anyone else who even remembers this subject.) We did the basics of external interfacing and a little robotics, so I really enjoyed that subject (partly because it involved lots of motorised Lego!)

    A few years ago I had to spec, design and program some operating systems for nuclear particle accelerators. No pressure.....

    I have to admit, this does make me a little jealous (though, no doubt, I am idealising it somewhat!) Once it became clear that I was doing well with my A-level studies, and considering all the technological hobbies I had, this was the kind of career that I hoped for and which my family wanted for me, and it was thought realistic by career advisors. I'd even done a bit of work experience in a professional laboratory working on semiconductor fabrication (Plessey, if I remember rightly.)

    Unfortunately, the cracks were already starting to show by the time I finished 6th-form, and the social demands of University crushed me completely - I turned from a model student to a severely depressed alcoholic within a few months, and quit my course a term or so into the second year to go hide from the world. I view it stoically these days. Probably better that I discovered my incompatibility with what I was aiming for back then than later on, when entrusted with something as dangerous as a particle accelerator!

  • I guess that it did... otherwise I wouldn’t be talking to a dead Hungarian mathematician and physicist right now.

  • Be a luv and pop back and take less interest in atomic bombs! :) 

  • I'll try - but I'll need 1.21GW to get there and I've got no coins for the meter....

  • Have you considered hitchhiking? ... this might not be back to the future but could you aggrravate  an electrical storm and forge coins from the pin ball machines. 

    Dont try to limit your skills to the purely theoretical! That’s the physicist talking!

  • Maybe my Infinite Improbability Drive might help? Research and development is going really well; I can now reliably make a really hot fresh cup of something which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

    I'm currently trying to work out the precise improbability that I didn't really stay up all night again making ridiculously long posts on various internet forums.

  • Not wanting to dismiss your inventiveness but is it an infinite improbability drive you’ve trying to invent, or one of these? 

  • I tried one of those, but the "Set Off Now" button that you can see beneath the clock never seemed to work; no matter how many times I pressed it, I remained stubbornly in bed and didn't set off anywhere.

  • “Set off now” sounds so full of promise to a literal Aspie..... sigh....I invisage jet packs or portals... 

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