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May 9th, 2000

Programming by the Book

Do any old-time computer people here remember in the 1980’s how the more recreational magazines (like Compute, Nibble, Home Computing, etc.) used to have program listings in their magazine? They were always for great little utilities or games, usually written in some flavor of BASIC, but they required you to actually type in the code yourself? Now it would be unheard of to have a program listing for a PIM for Windows in PC Magazine, for instance — it would take days to enter the code alone! Thank goodness for the Net, I guess.

But I did learn a lot about computers and programming because of those program listings. I learned to debug (as much as it could be done in BASIC) and picked up a lot just by tinkering with the code. I do remember one time, though, I was entering a five or six page program (I think it was just an address book) and there was an error in the program. I checked that stupid thing line-by-line a number of times and finally concluded that the error was in the original program listing. Unfortunately, I never got that program to work. -ram

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