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My Computer Likes Me When I Speak in Basic

by Robert Albrecht

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I read this 1972 pamphlet thoroughly in August, 1977, the same month that I placed my order for the first Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I Micro Computer sold in Knoxville, Tennessee. I hoped that by reading this book, I would be ready to start programming as soon as my TRS-80 arrived.

Alas, this booklet was not about the TRS-80. It was about programming in BASIC on a TTY (teletypewriter). TTYs were big, noisy, monstrosities. Output was sent clickity-clack to a roll of paper one character at a time, not silently and smoothly as happened on a video display monitor. I had seen and heard TTYs in operation, but it was never my "privilege" to use one.

The main benefit I received from this book is that it took away my fear of breaking something if I made a bad mistake at the keyboard. Albrecht encouraged his readers to experiment, gamble, guess -- then try it!

As it turned out, Albrecht used a primitive form of BASIC that was an almost perfect match for the tiny rendering of 4K BASIC embedded in ROM inside my TRS-80. I was ready to "experiment, gamble, and guess" as soon as I took my Model I home from my local Radio Shack store in October, 1977. Albrecht's book became my first teacher. ( )
  MrJack | Sep 25, 2008 |
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