Debunking Buyers’ guide liars!!!! (part 5)
Don’t forget that Commodore BASIC V2 on the Commodore 64 wasn’t just lacking commands for colour, graphics, and sound, but also popular commands such as CLS to clear the screen, INSTR to search a string for an occurrence of another string, INKEY$ to read the keyboard more easily than GET$, KEY to define its function keys, and PRINT AT x,y/PRINT TAB(x,y). It didn’t have an ELSE option for IF…THEN statements either!
Don’t forget that the author just reads about most of this on the internet, doesn’t actually use them in practise and willfully ignores the bits he doesn’t understand. And no, the C64 didn’t have IF/THEN/ELSE but many of the other machines at that time didn’t as well so singling it out merely demonstrates the author’s flawed logic and bias.
When I heard that people were CELEBRATING the 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64, it was as bad as celebrating the anniversary of a big disaster such as me getting mugged, failing an exam, or being kicked off a training course due to discrimination, so that’s what pushed me into speaking out by starting this blog.
The reason why people were celebrating the C64’s 30th anniversary is because they liked the C64 and the author “speaking out” is merely him climbing to the top of his personal ivory tower and attempting to preach his personal opinions as though anybody else out there should really care in the slightest what he thinks.
Translation: You won’t get massive stress and anguish coming back to hauht you years later if you buy a computer that costs twice as much as the Commodore 64, or a computer not by Commodore! Ask any Apple ][ buyer and they’ll confirm it!!
The author has never been an Apple II buyer himself to know if this is anywhere near the truth or just complete garbage. We also have to remember dear reader that the Apple II’s original BASIC lacked all of the graphics commands the author whines about the C64 not having as well, so if the author had gone down that road instead he would be running a blog called “Apple II Crap” instead.
Of course, the Commodore 64 review failed to point out that its built in BASIC was crap, 5 years behind the BBC Micro, Sinclair Spectrum, Acorn Electron, Dragon 32, Oric, Memotech MTX, Camputers Lynx, etc, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it.
Again the author assumes that his personal motivation for buying a home computer tallies with everybody else’s; this isn’t the case and the majority of people who purchased any home computer didn’t do so in order to program it so the BASIC dialect is completely and utterly irrelevant to them.
As for the programmers, as repeatedly noted by your correspondent and arrogantly ignored time after time by the author, there have been more amateur programmers on the C64 than for all of the machines referred to. People learnt programming on the C64’s BASIC so the author’s claims are debunked by the sheer weight of people who did what he couldn’t.
They didn’t bother to mention that some so called 48K computers, including the Sinclair Spectrum, had more RAM free to BASIC than the Commodore 64 either.
And it similarly doesn’t mention that the 64K Atari 800XL has less free RAM for BASIC than the C64.
Another thing they covered up was that some computers (e.g. Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum, Oric) used a system of attribute modes, dot creep, or colour bleed, which meant that any pixels plotted in the same 8×8 character mapped cell would cause any pixels already plotted in the same cell in a different colour to change colour to the same colour as the latest pixels to be plotted.
Here we have another example of the author not understanding what he’s reading about computers and making false assumptions. The Oric doesn’t use 8×8 pixel attribute cells like the Spectrum or C64, instead it has a system where colour commands are stored “inline” within the bitmap data; this means that colour changes horizontally are less common because there needs to be at least one byte between graphical elements for the change to be signaled but they can be changed on a scanline-by-scanline basis.
They didn’t point out that other computers (e.g. BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Atari) used a different system called “individual pixel clarity”, meaning that in any of their display modes. which had higher resolutions with fewer colours, or lower resolutions with more colours, the user could plot any points or lines in any colours available, followed by some more points or lines in a different colour, but the latest points or lines plotted wouldn’t cause the colours of any points or lines plotted to change, unlike on the Commodore 64!
Note dear reader how the author has conveniently “forgotten” that he’s just said that the C64 and Spectrum both use the same attribute-based system and decides to use this feature as another stick to try beating just the C64 with.
It’s worth noting that the C64 can get sixteen colours on screen in its 1:1 pixel ratio mode and the Spectrum can handle fifteen, but the BBC Micro only gets four and the Atari 8-bit only has two luminances of a single hue. Switch to 2:1 ratio pixels and the C64 still has sixteen whilst the BBC has eight (since that’s where the palette ends) and the Atari 8-bit only four. Which is the better system? That’s a question which has been discussed for decades with no satisfactory conclusion, but it basically boils down to what a programmer wants to do really – your correspondent leans towards attribute-based displays personally since they’re at least as colourful and don’t require as much memory or indeed processor time to deal with.
Issue 1 of “The A-Z of Personal Computers” even has a two page interview with the then Marketing Manager of Commodore UK, that probably didn’t appear in Issue 2, which I read in 1984. This interview is spread over two pages, but about 50% of the space is taken up by photos of the Marketing Manager himself, or actually the same photo twice, but with one copy flipped horizontally! I suppose that at least the conned Commodore 64 buyers would have known from the pictures that here was someone partly responsible for their plight, who they could mug for at least £300 if they saw him walking through places where Commodore UK had offices, such as Slough, Maidenhead, Corby, or at a computer show.
And yet that never ever happened, so we have to assume that the “conned Commodore 64 buyers” who were disgruntled enough to physically assault someone over their purchase are merely a figment of the author’s fetid imagination. And, again, we have to note dear reader how moronically bloodthirsty the author appears to be.
What’s left of the space is taken up with fairly irrelevant questions for potential C64 buyers, about deficits or profits, vertical integration, advertising, the future of the Commodore 500 and 700 business computer models, the availability and price of the SX-64, domestic and small business markets, and asking him to try and predict the future.
“Marketing man talks about marketing in interview, film at eleven!”
 There’s ways to do more of course, but none of these options are available from BASIC. Similarly, both the Spectrum and C64 can get around their attribute cell limitations but only from assembly language.