The author’s logic fails once more

Debunking Debunking “What’s that coming over the hill?”

The Commodore 64 is made up of mismatched parts. The reason why the parts are mismatched is that the BASIC and Kernal ROMs have no commands or routines to deal with the VIC-II graphics chip or the SID sound chip. To sum up, the Commodore 64 ROMs are hardly any different to the Commodore PET ROMs, so on that basis the Commodore 64 thinks it’s a Commodore PET. This makes it “Frankenstein’s Computer”.

This is of course garbage; by the author’s “logic” the Atari 8-bit or Texas TI-99/4A should also be classified as a “Frankenstein’s computer” since their BASICs don’t fully support the features present in the hardware.

Commodore started a price war against all other computer manufacturers. This was partly in revenge for Texas Instruments selling cheap calculators instead of just selling chips to other manufacturers.

The author can’t back up this claim of the price war being about revenge. Feel free to ignore it, dear reader.

I think that instead of this, they could have made a deal, by setting up a cartel like in the series “Dallas”, to roughly fix the prices of their computers. This shows that even JR Ewing wasn’t as ruthless as Jack Tramiel.

And the author has forgotten yet again that we’re talking about businesses here and, had any of Commodore’s rivals been in the same boat, they would have done exactly the same thing as Commodore did. Your correspondent is also reasonably sure that there are antitrust laws in place to prevent cartels like the one described by the author but has never claimed to be a lawyer.

The term “off the shelf components” just means chips that were available to any manufacturer, so they didn’t have to develop their own custom chips. One of these chips was the Texas Instruments 9918 video display processor, which was used in lots of computers and games consoles. It was used in the Memotech MTX computers, the Tatung Einstein, and the original MSX standard computers. The way it was used in those computers was by the manufacturers providing their own BASIC commands and ROM routines to use it, so this meant it wasn’t mismatched.

The way BASIC handled these stock parts varied from computer to computer, so again there is grounds to consider them as “mismatched” .

TIMEX is a company which changed its name, as well as taking over previous companies, but its origins are firmly in the USA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Group_USA .

Your correspondent puts his hands up and admits to having made a mistake here; that was down to poor research on his part and he apologises to you, dear reader, for it. The original point about the author’s claims of “trade protectionism” still hold true however, since Sinclair were Timex’s partner and originator of the hardware being sold. The original post has an extra paragraph below the offending one reflecting this.

Of course, the Amstrad CPC range of computers used “off the shelf components”, which were already tried and tested technology

The author’s abilities to follow logic have failed him again dear reader; Frankenstein’s monster was constructed from body parts taken from various sources in the same way that the Amstrad CPC used components from a number of manufacturers so the term “Frankenstein’s computer” can also be happily applied here.

The reason why Commodore BASIC V2 doesn’t accept hexadecimal numbers is that it’s an 8K BASIC and this facility was only built in to later BASICs with at least 16K.

It would be far more likely that hexadecimal numbers were seen as something that assembly language programmers needed and, since BASIC was meant to keep things simple, introducing base 16 would probably have been considered not being in keeping with what BASIC was meant to achieve. This is, of course, just supposition on your correspondent’s part but the same is true of the author’s original claim.

Of course, some C64 programmers triumphed in the face of adversity, but some of these programmers had learnt 6502 Assembly Language on other computers, such as the Commodore PET, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 400, 800, or XL, Apple ][, Acorn computers, or even Microtan or Oric computers.

The author has previously tried to make this “argument” dear reader that it magically becomes easier to learn programming on something else and then transfer those skills to the C64 and it’s no more valid now than when he tried the first time; if you’re learning BASIC those skills only partially translate between 8-bits so there’ll always be further learning required, if you’ve learnt assembly language on something else it’s pretty much the same as learning on the C64 anyway and in both cases there’s no advantage gained from taking a more circuitous route. This is just more hyperbole from the author and should be ignored.

TMR has confessed to learning on a VIC-20. Other programmers read books by authors who had the benefit of learning 6502 Assembly Language on other computers. These authors include Jim Butterfield, David Lawrence, and Paul Roper.

There is a blindingly obvious reason as to why some people (including your correspondent) learnt on other computers rather than the C64 of course; anybody who started learning before the C64’s release in 1982 had to do so because there was no other option without a functioning time machine.

But let us play with the author’s childish “logic” a little more dear reader; earlier in the same post we’re examining (and again at the end) the author erroneously claimed that “the Commodore 64 ROMs are hardly any different to the Commodore PET ROMs, so on that basis the Commodore 64 thinks it’s a Commodore PET”. Granted he hasn’t actually compared those ROMs to be making that call in the first place, but if we stick to this “logic” it follows that learning on a PET or indeed a VIC 20 is exactly the same as learning on a C64.[1]

It’s always nice when the author saves everybody the trouble and debunks his own claims in the same post.

So, to sum up, the most important paragraph in this article is repeated below.

The Commodore 64 is made up of mismatched parts. The reason why the parts are mismatched is that the BASIC and Kernal ROMs have no commands or routines to deal with the VIC-II graphics chip or the SID sound chip. To sum up, the Commodore 64 ROMs are hardly any different to the Commodore PET ROMs, so on that basis the Commodore 64 thinks it’s a Commodore PET. This makes it “Frankenstein’s Computer”.

If merely repeating a statement without providing actual evidence automatically made that statement true your correspondent has referred to the author as an idiot on several occasions now.

[1] As your correspondent has probably noted previously, the C64 is actually easier to learn than the VIC 20 in some respects since it has hardware to make things that novice programmers try to do like moving objects around the screen easier; doing the same thing on the VIC requires more learning and effort.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Debunking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.