gmcmusicGMC music editor. Is this programming or using?

TMR of the blog has claimed that most people before buying a computer had already decided that they didn’t want to do programming, but I’m afraid they didn’t actually know or understand enough to know what they wanted to do with it.

I remember now that before I got a Commodore 64, I thought that whatever people did with a computer was called programming, with the possible exception of playing games and that everyone who worked with computers in an office was a computer programmer. Before this time, lots of people, including me, had been “programming” washing machines or the timer on video recorders to record TV programmes that were on when we were asleep or had gone out. It didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t actually “programming” the VCR timer at all, but just using a program built into its ROM which someone else had already programmed. It was the same with computers. Games consoles were already available for prices cheaper than computers, but they could only play games, while the big difference between them and computers was that computers could actually be programmed.

Unfortunately, as I wrote in my post about the language LOGO, it seems that some people were put off by the language BASIC, but you can’t please everyone! I think that most computer buyers wrote a program such as the following…

20 GOTO 10

Lots of people in this day and age may have forgotten, or never even knew that the program above first of all, in order of line numbers, prints “STEVE WAS HERE!” on the screen in line 10, then executes line 20, which tells the computer to GOTO 10, meaning go back to line 10 and print “STEVE WAS HERE!” again. The semicolon at the end of line 10 means don’t start a new line. This makes the effect more noticeable compared to the version without it after the screen fills up printing “STEVE WAS HERE!”, but the Spectrum would keep asking “Scroll? (Y/N)” whenever this happened. It continues printing the message until the user presses a key. The key to press could be RUN/STOP on Commodore computers, ESC, or BREAK on other computers. I think that after writing the program above, most people may have written a few more programs, then lost their way or been brainwashed by computer magazines they read. A very useful short program to write is just a few lines of READ, DATA, PRINT, and INPUT commands which can read questions and answers in DATA statements, which may even have been typed in by the user, then ask the user what the answers are. People can keep running a program like this until they’ve learnt all the answers to the questions, then type in a new list of questions and answers. I used to do this a lot on my C64 and Amstrad CPC664.

Of course, it should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that before buying any item such as a computer you should first of all read some reviews of it. People who don’t read reviews before buying are asking for trouble. Sales assistants have a vested interest in selling customers something that their shop actually stocks, as well as in preventing them from going to another shop. My Dad believed a sales assistant he’d only spoken to over the phone who told him “The Commodore is a better one than the Atari”. What this actually meant was “The Commodore is better for me, because I’ll get paid commission and/or keep my job, but the owners of my shop have decided not to stock Atari, so if you buy an Atari, then that’s not good for me”. Let the buyer beware!

Posted April 27, 2014 by C64hater in Uncategorized

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