Debunking Buyers’ guide liars!!!! (part 2)
The author still isn’t presenting a coherent argument in this series of posts, with these so called “lies” he refers to being nothing more than him personally disagreeing with a review. For brevity we’ll skip over the author’s personal stories because, whilst the “sharing” of tales about the author’s relationship with his father might be therapeutic for him, it is completely irrelevant to the supposed topic of his blog.
Of course, BASIC or Machine Code were the only languages which were built in to the Commodore 64 and most other computers at the time, but users normally needed an Assembler or Monitor to write in Machine Code, unless they resorted to POKEing the Machine Code into RAM from BASIC, which involved Assembly by hand. This was because most of these computers didn’t come with disk drives.
Only having two languages wasn’t down to not shipping computers with disk drives, it was more about there not really being a need to add to what was already present; newcomers to computing didn’t need the confusion of multiple high level languages because BASIC did the job of illustrating the basics well enough in those circumstances and old hands who know assembly language wouldn’t have been interested anyway. And, as repeatedly noted previously dear reader, programming wasn’t the primary use for these machines in the first place so having lots of languages present would be overkill.
The BASIC for the Sharp MZ80K was only supplied on cassette! Users had to choose and buy an Assembler program to use Assembly Language/Machine Code on most computers, although the Acorn BBC Micro and Acorn Electron had a built in Assembler in their BBC BASIC, while Commodore PET computers and the Apple ][ had a built in Monitor.
We’ve commented previously dear reader about machines arriving without a BASIC dialect in ROM, the Sharp machine wasn’t alone and, of course, would have lost precious RAM to loading the BASIC interpreter.
Now the author admits that most computers didn’t come with a monitor having previously lambasted the C64 for the same thing, another rather blatant double standard on his part. And we do need to note, dear reader, that the gulf between a machine code monitor and an assembler is massive; monitors are tools for debugging programs rather than writing them and, whilst it is possible to create programs in one that doesn’t make it a sensible thing to do or bestow them with anywhere near the same versatility as an assembler.
The C64 didn’t score 5 for ANY of these categories, but got 4 for all categories apart from “Level of Sophistication”, where it got a 3. They only gave the BBC Micro 3 for its user friendliness! How could this be, when BBC BASIC was written 5 years later than Commodore BASIC V2, was customised for the BBC Micro hardware, had long variable names, a command to define the function keys, as well as procedures and the facility to include Assembly Language in lines of BBC BASIC programs?!
As noted previously, ”user friendliness” does not refer to programming languages no matter how desperately the author might want it to, so BBC or indeed Commodore BASIC are completely irrelevant as regards that score and it’s all about how easy the computer would be for the layperson.
Obviously, at about the same time Microsoft were updating their BASIC yet again and supplying it to Spectravideo, as well as the MSX Consortium, but Commodore couldn’t have cared less!!!!
Because only a complete moron would consider changing a successful formula and the C64 was already one of the best selling machines in the international market with no signs of slowing down.
The Camputers Lynx seems to be an excellent computer, which the review explains has graphics commands of “Draw, ink, Move, Paper, Plot, Print and Window”, but no such command listing is given for any other computer, so I assumed they would all have commands which did the same or similar things to the Camputers Lynx.
Most sensible people would have assumed that, if something were singled out for mention in one review, it was unique or at least unusual to that product and not present in the competition; it’s like reading about an Audi having heated seats and cup holders, then buying a Renault on the assumption it would have the same despite the review not mentioning either.
As to how “excellent” the Camputers Lynx was, your correspondent feels that history has already answered that question for him – Camputers were out of business by the middle of 1984 and the attempts to resurrect the Lynx by subsequent owners of the IP failed to happen. The author has presumably never used a Lynx and probably won’t have even seen one “in the flesh” (the photograph above is of your correspondent’s sadly not functional unit) so it’s all complete and utter guesswork on his part anyway. And, once more dear reader, we are left guessing what the author would have been saying had he purchased a Camputers Lynx instead of a C64 in early 1984 only to find the rug unceremoniously pulled out from under him by fate a few months later.
 Some tell-tale signs of a program having been developed using a monitor include major subroutines starting on page or half page boundaries, NOPped or BRKed gaps between those subroutines to allow for future expansion and “spaghetti” code which weaves around like a boxer. An assembler doesn’t do these things unless the programmer specifically goes out of their way to force it to.