Linked by Kroc Camen on Mon 21st Jun 2010 19:49 UTC
General Development "For three years [my] son Ben, and I have engaged in a quixotic but determined quest: We've searched for a simple and straightforward way to get the introductory programming language BASIC to run on either my Mac or my PC. Why on Earth would we want to do that, in an era of glossy animation-rendering engines, game-design ogres and sophisticated avatar worlds? Because if you want to give young students a grounding in how computers actually work, there's still nothing better than a little experience at line-by-line programming." Looking beyond the immediate fear-inducing acronym BASIC, this article delves deeply into what it means to simply be in control--via a basic understanding of under the hood--of your own computer, and how our whiz-bang world of technology today is failing to bestow this understanding on this generation of would-be hackers.
Permalink for comment 431034
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
1988
by jweinraub on Tue 22nd Jun 2010 05:26 UTC
jweinraub
Member since:
2009-06-22

Man, back in '88, I first coded in GW-BASIC using my Epson Equity II, with two dual 5¼ inch floppy drives, no hard drive, monocrhome monitor. Yeah it was great. It had nothing useful to do on it, so I learned to make it myself.

With the computer, had a huge three ring binder book with GW-BASIC reference material. More or less, a corporatey textbook which at 8 years old, I read, studied, did the examples, learned how to do things and made programs I thought were cool.

I made a text adventure game at a carnival where, usually, the person died several times where it would play the funeral march - which thinking about it, for an 8 year old is pretty impressive. I used the chart from notes to Hz in the book, found the notes by humming it a thousand times and writing down the correct notes from using a piano (no midi files to look up yo!) It ruled.

Unfortunately, my love for it waned as I got a Nintendo soon after. Though as an adult now I do still program now in C++, I wish I kept up with that love (other than at a hobbiest level since I made programs every so often but weren't terribly complex).

Author is right, if I had started at C or C++ I would be flustered and would of quit. I waited until 1992 to learn C - then C++.

I think from learning GW-BASIC first, but learning by example, playing, hacking code away is what did it for me. It was still a full featured BASIC language set. While Small Basic seems cool when I played with it, it seems stripped down, especially because learning to code in DOS mode is much easier than GUI- smallbasic does it right, but by stripping down .net might not been the best approach.

It is a shame Pascal isn't used much anymore as structured language to teach students, as I learned C++ much better because of it.

Reply Score: 2