Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Oct 2006 22:00 UTC, submitted by anonymous
OSNews, Generic OSes "When it comes to computers, the average person usually believes that 'newer is better'. After all, you can get more memory, a faster processor, and a larger hard disk, merely by waiting a few months. Old hardware is usually shunned as being of little value. In contrast, the elementary education sector has consistently found traditional educational methods to be superior to the newest, latest, and greatest methods. Some of the most knowledgeable and capable children are produced by the schools that use seemingly antiquated techniques. So what happens when the world of technology collides with the world of education? Why, the Commodore 64 makes a comeback!"
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Interesting & Curious Article
by jack_perry on Tue 17th Oct 2006 22:49 UTC
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

In contrast, the elementary education sector has consistently found traditional educational methods to be superior to the newest, latest, and greatest methods.

Yet the point of the article is that the author goes out & buys a Commodore 64, justifying it to his wife as, um, "educational". Hmm. He follows this up with a sort of OLPC advocacy, only with a C-64 based system rather than a Linux-based one. To boot, the author is disturbingly obsessed with BASIC:

Iím hopeful that heíll be able to grasp the concepts of old-style BASIC. ...[O]ne of the key purposes of the machine would be to teach BASIC programming...

ACK! Logo would be better, as he wouldn't pick up all the bad habits that come with BASIC (especially on a C-64). While C and Java might not be appropriate, there do exist alternatives that are far better than either BASIC or Logo. Check these out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_programming_language

...and I've seen others as well. But, we do need more real computer science available to children.

Reply Score: 3

transputer_guy Member since:
2005-07-08

After that comment, I am saved the trouble of reading, just a few snips, .

Okay there may be something to be said for using older computers that one can actually get ones hands around. For an engineering computer minded student a Beeb or old Apple or ancient Mac is something you could understand almost in its entirety, even at the hardware level. A modern PC is allmost completely beyond accessible even to an engineer these days, signals too fast, too much complexity in hardware and software, too many people behind it. The old stuff was usually done by a handfull of people. If I were 30 years younger I doubt I would learn much today, too much noise.

Reply Score: 2

StychoKiller Member since:
2005-09-20

BASIC was really the only language available for the C64.
I even had an extended BASIC cartridge for my C64, when I had one. I know that there are other programming languages available for the C64, but BASIC was the best supported (by "Compute!" magazine for example).

Reply Score: 1

djohnston Member since:
2006-04-11

There was a logo cartridge and a forth cartridge available. You could even turn the C64 into a CPM machine with a plugin cartridge.

Reply Score: 1

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

He didn't learn them to think for themself. He learned them to think along the lines of the "good ol'" communist.

If he truly intended the students to think independently, he should have asked the questions in a much different way.

The way he asks the questions there is no doubt he is indoctrinating the students. He is so out of line.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

And in related news there are good teachers and bad teachers and people who disagree on which is which.

Reply Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Yes, but subjective criterias are irrelevant. Only objective criterias are relevant. And this teacher stepped over the line. The idea was excellent, but the approach was wrong - also from a legal point of view. But the idea was excellent.

Reply Score: 1

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

"And in related news there are good teachers and bad teachers and people who disagree on which is which."

Yeah, so this is why all the posts above were modded -5 ? Hell, I like this place less every day.

Reply Score: 1

C64 taught me well
by Valhalla on Wed 18th Oct 2006 00:37 UTC
Valhalla
Member since:
2006-01-24

well, say what you want about the C64, but it sure introduced alot of people to programming, me included. I never really used it's integrated basic, but I ended up being quite proficient in 6502 assembly. and also learnt about memory layouts, interrupts, graphics and sound generation which gave me a good base in programming and understanding hardware. this has served me well in my later years as a professional programmer.

hell, I even remember some 6502 machine code, anyone knows what this does? ;)

a9 00
8d 21 d0
8d 20 d0

Reply Score: 1

RE: C64 taught me well
by wowtip on Wed 18th Oct 2006 01:16 UTC in reply to "C64 taught me well"
wowtip Member since:
2005-07-14

Poke 53281,0
Poke 53280,0

Right? ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: C64 taught me well
by lunddal on Wed 18th Oct 2006 09:48 UTC in reply to "RE: C64 taught me well"
lunddal Member since:
2006-02-09

SYS 64738

If I remember correctly ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: C64 taught me well
by chrisr on Wed 18th Oct 2006 02:27 UTC in reply to "C64 taught me well"
chrisr Member since:
2005-08-26

Screen background and border go black ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: C64 taught me well
by djohnston on Wed 18th Oct 2006 06:25 UTC in reply to "C64 taught me well"
djohnston Member since:
2006-04-11

Actually, the Apple II used the 6502. The C64 used the 6510.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: C64 taught me well
by kramii on Wed 18th Oct 2006 12:41 UTC in reply to "RE: C64 taught me well"
kramii Member since:
2005-07-22

Internally, the 6510 was essentially a 6502, so the machine language was the same.

Reply Score: 2

C64 micro tower
by Tyr. on Wed 18th Oct 2006 01:06 UTC
Tyr.
Member since:
2005-07-06

This guy should look at the c64 micro tower ( http://www.64hdd.com/projects/hardware/c64-dtv64.html )
No need to build it into a keyboard - you can carry it in your pocket ( 100 x 55 x 30mm ) and attach to any ps/2 keyboard. Cheap, small and able to use commodity hardware !

Having cut my teeth on a c64 both at home and at school when I was young I absolutely love the idea of using them as educational machines (again).

Reply Score: 1

RE: C64 micro tower
by djohnston on Wed 18th Oct 2006 06:10 UTC in reply to "C64 micro tower"
djohnston Member since:
2006-04-11

I was going to post that link. You beat me to it! I'd use one of those towers in a heartbeat.

Reply Score: 1

Great fun!
by bservies on Wed 18th Oct 2006 02:58 UTC
bservies
Member since:
2006-05-27

I recently had my Apple ][ Plus up and running in order to transfer some disks to Virtual ][ on my mac. The keys were a bit sticky, but a bunch of key presses cleaned them up and then everything still worked great.

I have thought for a long time that the generation of engineers after these machines missed out on a treat. Being so close to the hardware and having good documentation with the machine was a great experience, as the article points out.

Always wanted to build a Sinclair, but never had the chance. I did write a finite element analysis program using Apple Pascal my last year on college, just because I could. That was 1989 and the ][ was kind of long in the tooth, but it worked with small data sets (completed the assignment run on a VAX ;) . Ah, the memories.

Reply Score: 1

What's wrong with an emulater:?
by binarystar on Wed 18th Oct 2006 03:08 UTC
binarystar
Member since:
2006-06-15

If he wants his kids to have a C64 .. why cant he just do what everyone else does and just download an emulator ;)

On the conservative rant ... it seems conservatives want everyone to have the same absolutist view of the world .. sorry folks .. the cat was let out of the bag a long time ago on that one .. from Protagoras "man is the measure of all things" to Nietzsche et al

Reply Score: 0

C64 rules
by Xaero_Vincent on Wed 18th Oct 2006 05:04 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

I have a Commodore 64 and Apple IIe and they really sweet machines.

Programmable out of the box with 16 color VIC II chip and "state-of-the-art" SID chip with three voices and nine octaves of sound.

I went overboard with my C64 and added an expantion card with 16 MB of RAM, 20 MHz 16-bit SuperCPU (1 MHz bus though), JiffyDOS chip that speeds loading 15x, FD-2000 1.6 MB 3.5" floppy drive. It is already 40% faster than a slow 1541 5.25" floppy drive without JiffyDOS, but 15+ times faster with it.

Oh yeah baby... my C64 will smoke any machine of that time period in a second; including some Amiga systems.

To bad there isnt much software to utilize all this power. :-(

Reply Score: 1

RE: C64 rules
by DigitalAxis on Wed 18th Oct 2006 01:08 UTC in reply to "C64 rules"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Well, there's Metal Dust from Protovision.
http://www.protovision-online.de/md/mdstart.htm

That's right, there's actually a company selling games for the Commodore 64.

Reply Score: 1

RE: C64 rules
by djohnston on Wed 18th Oct 2006 06:22 UTC in reply to "C64 rules"
djohnston Member since:
2006-04-11
RE: C64 rules
by tunkaflux on Wed 18th Oct 2006 13:57 UTC in reply to "C64 rules"
tunkaflux Member since:
2006-01-25

Or if you are into music, check Prophet64. ( http://www.prophet64.com )

Reply Score: 1

RE: C64 rules
by Doc Pain on Wed 18th Oct 2006 15:15 UTC in reply to "C64 rules"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Programmable out of the box with 16 color VIC II chip and "state-of-the-art" SID chip with three voices and nine octaves of sound.

In addition, graphics programming on the C64 is a PEEK & POKE - not good. I just remember the HC900, KC85/2, KC85/3 and KC87 built by robotron / RFT in the former GDR. It had KAOS and a better BASIC with implemented graphic atoms and algorithms, from PSET over LINE up to RECTANGLE and even CIRCLE. :-)

I like the C64 to be run by directed current from a battery and the RGB and antenna video output. It is very useful as an amateur television (ATV) control and test system here.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: C64 rules
by jack_perry on Wed 18th Oct 2006 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE: C64 rules"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

In addition, graphics programming on the C64 is a PEEK & POKE - not good. I just remember the HC900, KC85/2, KC85/3 and KC87 built by robotron / RFT in the former GDR. It had KAOS and a better BASIC with implemented graphic atoms and algorithms, from PSET over LINE up to RECTANGLE and even CIRCLE. :-)

The TRS-80 Color Computer's Extended BASIC (by Microsoft! back when they were the good guys) had that, PLUS:
+ PUT and GET commands that allowed one to implement some simple animation fairly easily;
+ a PLAY command that allowed you to play one-voice music using a simple string (e.g. PLAY("CDEFGABC") would play a scale in quarter notes; one could modify with flats, sharps, and length of notes);
+ artifact colors that allowed you to get around Tandy's obsession with black and white at higher resolutions (it's not a bug, it's a feature! :-)).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: C64 rules
by SamuraiCrow on Wed 18th Oct 2006 17:04 UTC in reply to "RE: C64 rules"
SamuraiCrow Member since:
2005-11-19

There was an Extended Basic cartridge you could get that would add those routines to Commodore Basic. You could even do structured looping.

Peeks and pokes were better, though, if you wanted to learn Assembly language because that was what you had to work with in Assembly.

As for the best educational programming language for the C64, there's always Commodore COMAL which was a hybrid between Basic, Pascal, and Logo. European schools based on Comal had better turned-out programmers sooner becuase they didn't have to teach three separate programming languages.

Reply Score: 1

First... have fun
by dimosd on Wed 18th Oct 2006 07:33 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

IMHO: The first thing that a parent/educator should make sure is that children are enjoying the subject, at least to some degree. Don't make it a chore (as much as possible). Throw in some (mild) competition and encourage creativity.

I doubt any of us would have learned as much as we know about computers if we didn't *like* them.

First sparkle interest, then gently direct the child to oportunities to learn more about the subject. (For this reason I doubt C64 can interest the child as much as those impressive shiny new machines. I am pretty sure the author was impressed, well, *in love* :-) with his machine when he was a youngster...)

As we grow up, pressure and demands increase of course, but we can keep up if we have received positive feedback in the past.

Edited 2006-10-18 07:36

Reply Score: 1

RE: First... have fun
by dylansmrjones on Wed 18th Oct 2006 08:32 UTC in reply to "First... have fun"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Well, if the child is five or six years old, a C64 just might work well. But it wouldn't work with - let's say - a 10 year old child. I can't see a child that age going nuts over the C64. And going nuts is quite essentiel.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: First... have fun
by Tyr. on Wed 18th Oct 2006 09:32 UTC in reply to "RE: First... have fun"
Tyr. Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, if the child is five or six years old, a C64 just might work well. But it wouldn't work with - let's say - a 10 year old child. I can't see a child that age going nuts over the C64. And going nuts is quite essentiel.

I don't know - I think kids respond better to the bright easy recognisable graphics and real gameplay of the old time computers. My nieces and nephews used to love simple things like Deluxepaint, Galaga and Frogger on my Amiga.

All the new consoles seem to want to overwhelm with flash/bang. Making games complicated and so busy you don't even feel you are controlling the character anymore. In old games the link how they use the controller and what the character does is much more evident - I think kids like that.

Besides kids dig cartoon frogs getting squished more than stealing cars and beating up people.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: First... have fun
by dylansmrjones on Wed 18th Oct 2006 10:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: First... have fun"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

You may have a point there, but is it also true for more grown up kids or is it mostly for the smaller kids? That's where I'm in doubt. But using a C64 as an education tool (for kids) seems to me to be a quite good idea.

I'm just in doubt about the upper age range.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: First... have fun
by Square on Wed 18th Oct 2006 06:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: First... have fun"
Square Member since:
2005-10-01

I don't know - I think kids respond better to the bright easy recognisable graphics and real gameplay of the old time computers. My nieces and nephews used to love simple things like Deluxepaint, Galaga and Frogger on my Amiga.

I think It would depend on what the kid was used to seeing in games. If the kid was playing the ps2/gamecube sence the age of 6 by age 10 they would probably look at the c64 like how most people view the 8-track, something not worth messing with.

People seem to have forgoten just how bad most of the games and programs from the 80s were. I don't meen the grafix, most games had massive playablity problems most notibly movement problems like pushing right on the joystick and nothing happening insted of going right. For every pacman there was 50 that were unplayable

As far as teaching kids programming via the c64 is kinda pointless, not so much in a BASIC is bad way, but in c64 basic isn't portable way. In order to do interesting things with the c64 you had to access the hardware memory adresses directly. Something you don't do on modern PCs, So even if you mastered c64 programming you couldn't apply it outside the c64.

If you and/or your kids enjoy old-school games and use windows xp, you might want to check out http://www.gametap.com I tried it out a few months ago but canceld once the nostalgia fealing wore off. Its a subscription based emulator that plays games and education software from systems from the 80s+ includeing the c64, sadly no nintendo stuff ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: First... have fun
by mesomaan on Wed 18th Oct 2006 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: First... have fun"
mesomaan Member since:
2006-01-04

>>In order to do interesting things
>> with the c64 you had to access the
>> hardware memory adresses directly.
>> Something you don't do on modern
>> PCs, So even if you mastered c64
>> programming you couldn't apply it
>> outside the c64.

I seem to have kept myself very well employed for the last three years programming 8051 based USB devices. They are really no different, direct hardware memory registers, 1KByte of RAM and a USB port. Almost everyone here owns these types of devices. They just don't know it. Check out the C8051F320 or similar processors. They even have C compilers or use ASM if you like.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: First... have fun
by Square on Wed 18th Oct 2006 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: First... have fun"
Square Member since:
2005-10-01

I seem to have kept myself very well employed for the last three years programming 8051 based USB devices. They are really no different, direct hardware memory registers, 1KByte of RAM and a USB port. Almost everyone here owns these types of devices. They just don't know it. Check out the C8051F320 or similar processors. They even have C compilers or use ASM if you like.

I assume you don't use c64 basic, or any type of basic for that matter. I'm also gona assume that you had some training to program said devices, and din't just get the job becouse you know how to use the c64s peek and poke commands.

I'm well aware there is still asm based programming going on, my point was that c64 basics dependancy on hardware tricks doesnt translate to understanding progamming modern PCs, note I said PCs not micro-controllers. You may as well teach them how to use the old punch card systems for all the good it will do.

Sure theres some things people can learn from the c64s BASIC, but why? You can learn the same things on a modern PC and programming language and might actualy walk away with a skill thats still useful

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: First... have fun
by mesomaan on Wed 18th Oct 2006 17:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: First... have fun"
mesomaan Member since:
2006-01-04

Not sure I see much difference between peek/poke and the PortIO used on many microcontrollers. When I hire new programmers, seems they are often very unaware of this lower levels existance. As for BASIC, haven't used that since early AmigaBASIC.

Reply Score: 1

Moderated.
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 18th Oct 2006 09:06 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

I massively moderated this thread back to topic. Please keep political crap or educational system worries to your personal weblogs.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Moderated.
by Tyr. on Wed 18th Oct 2006 09:18 UTC in reply to "Moderated."
Tyr. Member since:
2005-07-06

I massively moderated this thread back to topic. Please keep political crap or educational system worries to your personal weblogs.

I protest. The article itself raises the point : "So what happens when the world of technology collides with the world of education?" - which is also raised by the "Jay Bennish"-case one of the other commenters brought up.

It might be tangential to the original article but hardly off-topic. After all the article IS about education.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Moderated.
by hobgoblin on Wed 18th Oct 2006 09:19 UTC in reply to "Moderated."
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

heh, you just reminded me of the shadowrun roleplaying game. in some of the books the shadowland sysop would post similar things ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Moderated.
by dimosd on Wed 18th Oct 2006 09:40 UTC in reply to "Moderated."
dimosd Member since:
2006-02-10

But daddy, it's not fun any more.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Moderated.
by Morgan on Wed 18th Oct 2006 15:44 UTC in reply to "Moderated."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Ahh, censorship. You moderated several mostly-on-topic, rational discussions (and yes, a couple of trollish posts) down to -5, and then you denied the rest of us the ability to decide if they really were worth seeing by making them unmoddable. All because you don't agree with what they were saying? Really, Thom, if you don't like what people are saying on "your" tech website about an article linked by you (you did read the original article, right?), why even allow comment posting at all?

If you link to a politically-charged article and some of us go off on a tangent that is still within the scope of the article, that's called discussion and it's a normal process. I really feel you have let your personal opinions on these education issues take over your good judgement. I've stood up for you in the past, but you make me sick with this needless and heavy-handed censorship. Mod me down if you wish (I know you will), as that will only further prove that you have a personal agenda here and you use your power to enforce it.

Edited 2006-10-18 15:45

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Moderated.
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 18th Oct 2006 16:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Moderated."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

All because you don't agree with what they were saying?

Get a grip. I moderated EVERYONE, I did not moderate only one viewpoint, now, did I?

This is an article about the use of the C64 in educational settings; NOT about indoctrination and whatever other politically charged nonsense.

From our posting rules:

"Political diatribes, criticism of US or any other country's foreign policy, ..."

Mod me down if you wish (I know you will)

You knew wrong.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Moderated.
by Bit_Rapist on Wed 18th Oct 2006 22:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Moderated."
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

Mod me down if you wish

I sir was inclined to mod you back up to 1 ;)

Reply Score: 1

dead? no!
by mmu_man on Wed 18th Oct 2006 10:41 UTC
mmu_man
Member since:
2006-09-30

8bit machines aren't totally useless.
There are even new OSes for them...
I've been porting LUnix NG to my ORIC Atmos recently... (6502 too).
There is also Contiki ( http://www.sics.se/~adam/contiki/ ), and some others.
For Amstrad/Schneider CPC and MSX there is SymbOS ( http://www.symbos.de/ ).

I tend to think ppl who learnt BASIC then ASM on those limited architectures understand the ties between hardware and software much better. There were no drivers back then to hide things, so you had to understand how it worked.

I recall funny programs running on the 3 ORICs at the back of the class long ago... "remember the word" like stuff, "find where this city is on the map"...

Edited 2006-10-18 10:44

Reply Score: 1

new commodore
by csynt on Wed 18th Oct 2006 13:09 UTC
csynt
Member since:
2006-03-19

The author of that blog did not mention the c-one (commodore-one or c-1) it is a ATX reconfigurable computer (using FPGA chips) .. (http://c64upgra.de)

Reply Score: 1

childhood memories.
by denizkaan on Wed 18th Oct 2006 13:55 UTC
denizkaan
Member since:
2006-10-18

always a pleasure to hear some news related with commodore and amiga. my favourite computers till now. i'm using windows currently, i find it quite soulless and cold when i compare it with commodore or amiga. don't get me wrong, i like windows, i've been using it for such a long time, i think it's been a very successful os, but i will definitely go for a mac next year in spring, waiting for leopard to be released. i like stylish things. : )

Edited 2006-10-18 14:06

Reply Score: 1

Disk drives..
by Brendan on Thu 19th Oct 2006 14:40 UTC
Brendan
Member since:
2005-11-16

Given that one of the key purposes of the machine would be to teach BASIC programming, some sort of long-term storage media would be a necessity. SecureDigital Cards would be an excellent option, although they would also be an overkill for the C64ís limited memory. The main advantage would be that these cards could transfer files between a PC and the eC64.

I'm wondering how this could be interfaced to the C64 without rewriting the ROMs and breaking compatability.

The original disk drives were "intelligent" (had their own CPU) and worked more like a file server than the "stupid" hardware we get today. Asking the disk drive to open the file "foo" isn't something a memory card (or modern disk drive) can handle on it's own.

Reply Score: 1