Super Duper BASIC v2.02
28467 bytes free
This was the most typical way a computer would start up. You are then in BASIC, ready to explore programming more or less instantly. There was nothing to download or install. There was no antivirus software to harass you before you could proceed, and you did not need to boot your computer from a hard disk, log in, and then use a menu system to launch your programming language.
Your computer came with a book (yes, really) that started you on your programming journey in friendly terms, and happy looking cartoons.
In a few minutes you could have a simple example program from the book typed in and then typed RUN to see it in action. A couple of hours into the book and you were a budding programmer.
With computers today? Forget all that. I guess you could say that only the most determined people will learn to program now because they have to go exploring into the expanses of the Internet to figure out how to start.
Home computers. Yup, we called them that before the term personal computer became popular.
The built in BASIC language in these machines is like clay in your hands.
- Turn on the computer and start coding in seconds.
- Execute code without a program. Just type some code by itself and press Enter.
- Add code to your program one line at a time and just type RUN to try it.
- Stop and restart a running program. Change it and resume running.
- Type a program in from one of many popular magazines. Learn to program by changing the program to make it your own. Copying and pasting code from the Internet is just not the same.
I think that there are lessons to be learned from all this. The kinds of computer literacy that we have today is only enough to use the computer to consume. We only think that we know how to use the computer, but we really only know enough to run apps.
How do we make the real power of computers accessible again? How can we restore the immediacy and interactivity of a BASIC interpreter to the end user?
You know what? You can go on ebay and just buy one of these computers. Prepare to be charmed. :-)