About Introduction To BASIC – part 3

Debunking An Introduction To BASIC: Tramiel torture – part 3

I won’t bother to write a separate article to de debunk any posts by TMR on the blog http://www.c64crapdebunk.wordpress.com , but I will say that as a former Amstrad CPC user who never owned a Sinclair Spectrum, I was confused by this when I wrote that Spectrum users could select colours with the command PEN n. On the Amstrad CPC the command INK n1,n2 assigned the actual colour n2 to the logical colour n1.

And, as noted previously dear reader, that’s a problem with feature-rich BASIC dialects for the beginner; even the commands that look simple to someone with a bit of experience are still arcane the first time they’re encountered and there isn’t any standardisation even when commands exist on more than one platform. It’s very easy to be “confused” by that.

I also need to point out that back in 1984 I was paying great attention to each unit in “An Introduction to BASIC”, because I was keen to learn programming in general, but especially how to program music on my Commodore 64.

And this directly contradicts the author’s previous comment that he was “keen to get through” Introduction To BASIC – Part 1 and a couple of other similarly impatient remarks in the same post.

The video posted by TMR shows Commodore BASIC V2 programs playing 3 note polyphonic music, but these programs contain more POKE commands than I care to count!

So when the author said that he said that he was “keen to learn programming in general, but especially how to program music” he wasn’t actually enthusiastic enough to actually learn how to program music because those POKE commands are how it’s done regardless of if the author likes the fact or not; unlike the author, someone truly keen like the people whose programs were showcased the YouTube video would have soldiered on.

The whole course “An Introduction to BASIC” seems to be written by Andrew Colin, based in Glasgow. As the first book was written in 1982 when the Commodore 64 came out, as well as him mentioning the “VIC Super Expander”, I assume he learnt how to program on the Commodore VIC-20 or even the Commodore PET.

And your correspondent would hope so too, because anybody who tried writing a book about the C64 in 1982 would have needed prior experience to produce anything of note.

Only a few of the 26 units making up this course are anything to do with C64 specific features, such as the screen memory, colour memory, the SID chip, and the VIC-II chip with its sprites.

And, since it’s an introduction to BASIC that’s pretty much what it should be doing, introducing BASIC. The topic in hand doesn’t actually have to involve graphics or sound use at all since none of that is actually necessary to learn BASIC programming and the author’s constant fixating on how it was omitted again demonstrates that he wasn’t giving the book his full attention despite recent claims to the contrary.

height was never measured just in inches, which were obsolete before this book was written in any case, so this was part of a massive conspiracy to persuade people not to use metric measurements. This is why people now talk about tablets and ereaders with the screens measured in INCHES!

The author’s claim that inches were “obsolete” despite them being in regular use (which is, of course, the opposite of being obsolete) in the UK between 1984 and 1985 just makes him look like an idiot even before we get to the truly laughable idea that a programming book is somehow part of a “massive conspiracy”. The author’s tinfoil hat is, apparently, slipping off again.

The syntax of using OR in BASIC is explained, compared with its use in normal English. Another example is shown of combining AND with OR to check whether applicants are old enough to to get a licence to ride a motorcycle, a car, or a bus. After this, the operator NOT is demonstrated. Commodore BASIC V2 requires these operators to be used a lot more than numerous other versions of BASIC, due to the lack of the command ELSE, although the Sinclair Spectrum lacks the command ELSE as well.

If Sinclair BASIC lacks an ELSE command (as do most other 8-bit dialects like those from Apple or Atari) it must be using similar operators to the C64 and yet, magically, the author claims that only BASIC V2 “requires these operators to be used a lot more”.

Of course, Commodore BASIC V2 lacks the DEF PROC, END PROC, and PROC commands for procedures found in the vastly superior BBC BASIC and similar commands in the excellent SuperBASIC on the ill fated Sinclair QL.

And, again, that functionality is missing from almost every other BASIC dialect out there as well.

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