locked Re: Splash Screen Poll #poll


On Sun, 4 Feb 2018, at 12:22, Paul Marshall wrote:

I fear the time has passed. Never again will children experience the joy
of going into Currys and typing  10 PRINT "Hello"  20 GOTO 10  on
whatever machine was on display!   Programming has come so far it will
only ever be of interest  to a very  limited number of highly
technically minded individuals who pursue it as a career and even then
Basic will not be one of those languages. As a hobby in itself where is
it? I dont know how you can make it appeal to young people in the way it
did to us. What was it that captured our imaginations? 
One of my hobbies as a child was to build, & operate remote-controlled
models. I couldn't afford new ones so mine tended to be mechanically
clapped-out. Sometimes as an adult I look back on those days and
wonder if I want to try again now that I can actually afford it. And I
decide not; I get the thrill of creating something that does precisely what
I want from programming. Being able to design a program, then tweak it
to make subtle changes to its behaviour is, for me, far more exciting. (And
cheaper & safer than finding that that 'good idea' made a plane unstable in

I was slightly too old to have any form of microcomputer as a toy;
instead I met a Commodore Pet, Apple ][ and BBC micros when in
a student holiday job (the Pet was an engineers' toy at a fertiliser
works), the other two part of a teacher training college's teaching
equipment - and I wrote code for all three.

There ARE useful programs that the interested can learn from - pretty
much anything written in an interpreted BASIC, or eg perl or Python
(provided not obfuscated) should be amenable to being taken apart
and fiddled with. Perhaps part of the problem is that few people
expect that a useful application might actually be in a form where
they can do that? Eg (albeit as a retired professional programmer) I
learned quite a lot about perl by developing patches for the get_iplayer

Javascript too... but understanding what's happening on a typical
modern website is very hard - code tends to be compressed and un-
commented, and website creators use sets of libraries that don't
necessarily co-operate well together... and if that's combined with
a server generating pages dynamically I find debugging other people's
site errors ... difficult.

Jeremy Nicoll - my opinions are my own.

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