Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Apr 2014 18:16 UTC, submitted by KLU9
General Development

I find the "everybody should learn to code" movement laudable. And yet it also leaves me wistful, even melancholy. Once upon a time, knowing how to use a computer was virtually synonymous with knowing how to program one. And the thing that made it possible was a programming language called BASIC.

Invented by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, BASIC was first successfully used to run programs on the school's General Electric computer system 50 years ago this week - at 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, to be precise.

It's the only programming language I was ever somewhat proficient in (when I was about six years old). I never moved beyond it, and now, I know nothing about programming. BASIC has played a huge role in the history of computing, and its birthday deserves to be a thing.

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RE[2]: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic...
by Doc Pain on Thu 1st May 2014 09:36 UTC in reply to "RE: ZX Spectrum 48K Basic..."
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

Remember when computer magazines came with complete code listings of games? Those where the days.


Or code published via vinyl records as add-ins for magazines? Or even broadcast? Yes, that was "state of the art" when I started programming microcomputers in BASIC in the 1980's (started whilt in 3rd grade at school). The devices available at my school at this time were the KC87, the first I programmed on, with the terrible keyboard, later replaced with a KC 85/3. It was a time when the term "IT" wasn't invented yet, and having access to a computer (even a small home computer) was a privilege.

Here you can see some pictures:

KC 87:
http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/kc_dresden.h...

KC 85/3:
http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/kc_muehlhaus...

BASICODE-based vinyl record:
http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/komponenten/datentrae...

Even though BASIC today seems to be "ugly old stuff", it was the thing that convinced me to learn more about computers, learn how to program them, and move to other languages in the end. It's still kind of fascinating that it still lives on in "modern" products such as "Visual BASIC" and "VBA script" which are considered "enterprise-grade software". It'll look more funny when you emphasize that the "B" in "BASIC" stands for "beginner", especially when being confronted with self-proclaimed "professional programming experts (certified!)" who actually don't know shit about computers. ;-)

50 years... makes me feel old... :-)

Reply Parent Score: 5

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Or even broadcast?


BBC Radio!

Reply Parent Score: 3