Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Commodore 64 Twenty-fifth Anniversary

Here is a YouTube video of a 90 minute presentation celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64 home computer. The C64 was a groundbreaking machine and I know I'm not the only one who learned a lot from this wonderful machine and similar ones like the TRS-80, the Apple II, the Atari 800, and the TI-99/4. I programmed Commodore computers in BASIC, 6502 assembly language and Forth. Great stuff.

Go check this out for a fun romp into the past. The presentation touches on much more than just the C64. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3754836267385299753

The Definitive Guide to SQLite, a PDF Download

Notice: I'm not sure anymore that this is a legally available file, so I've pulled the link until further notice. You can still purchase the book online at http://apress.com/book/view/1590596730

Here is a link to a PDF for the book The Definitive Guide to SQLite by Mike Owens. This looks like a great resource for Run BASIC programmers. :-) The download seems to take a while, so I wonder if their fileserver is swamped. I guess this is a very popular download.

[link removed]

Followup: For those who have been unable to download the entire file. It took me a few tries, and you may even try some other browser. Safari worked better for me than IE.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Net Neutrality

I'm not an especially political person, but Net Neutrality is an important idea that deserves all of our attention. Essentially since the Internet was recently deregulated, broadband providers are now allowed to prioritize and block traffic. Imagine if suddenly you were unable to Skype your best friend in another country, or if Google became inaccessible to you. What if the online community in a message forum you came to know and love was destroyed because access to it was now impractical to certain key members? What if an online business was suddenly destroyed because they no longer received the visitor traffic they once did?

Net Neutrality is a movement to protect free and unhindered access to Internet resources.

Ethan Poole wrote an excellent article about it here:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Think programming is too hard, or boring? Think again!

A couple of days ago I was at a Starbucks. I sat down around a large table to enjoy my coffee and a pastry. There were several other people there. I pulled out my iPhone to check my email. There was a fellow across from me with one of the new Macbook Air laptops, and a few minutes later a young man also sat down and pulled out a black Macbook. This concentration of Apple equipment made it easy for us to begin talking.

When it came to what sort of work we do, I shared about my business selling programming tools. I moved over to the fellow with the black Macbook and told him I wanted to show him my website so he could understand my business. When I showed him the Learn tab on the Run BASIC site and began to walk him through the examples the other people at the table came over to watch. As we went from simple "hello world!" to some easy graphics examples the reaction from onlookers was amazement! They clearly were not aware that programming could be so simple and cool. To them this was something way above them, and very dry.

What I took away from this is that people don't know that programming can be fun. They can do it, and years ago the average computer user did his own programming, in BASIC. Nowadays what gets promoted as programming is too hard, and it's no surprise that people don't want to do that. This is a misapplication of technology that makes things harder, and not easier.

We need to turn back the clock in this important area of programming.