Monday, March 8, 2010


Unlike today, in the 1980s most computer magazines like BYTE, Compute!, and PC Magazine had lots of articles about programming and programming languages. BASIC, Pascal, Prolog, Lisp, Forth, assembly language; you name it. In 1987 C was a very popular language and a good C programmer made good money so I decided that I should learn it.

I found an magazine ad for MIX C headlined "C for yourself". They had a very special deal called MIX C Works and this included the compiler, a split screen code editor, and a source level debugger for only $89.90. The ad claimed that the included book would make learning C easy. I paid for this software myself, and it was so exciting to open the package when it arrived in the mail. Nice new crisp books and disks. It all felt very professionally done. It was a great investment.

It was very exciting to dig into the C tutorial and use the editor and the source level debugger. This was really well written software and book was as good as the ad promised. C is a nice, small language and well written C is actually quite pretty to look at with those curly braces.

We had some simple applications in engineering that were perfect for learning a new language. Open a file, translate the information in some way and write it back out to a new file.

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