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Good/Bad memories of typing in a BASIC listing...


palmheads
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Was looking through some old 99'er mags, and found a TI-BASIC/Mini Memory listing called "Lightrace" (99ner8309.pdf). It was a game showing what you could do with POKEV/PEEKV calls etc.

 

Anyway, started typing it in using an emulator (js99er). Remembering to be careful, would save to a DSK etc. Got to a point that was gonna stop and finish the next day. Wasn't thinking, and forgot to download a copy of the DSK I was writing too. Refreshed browser. Boom. Saved file gone.

 

Definitely not a critiscm - was my fault.

 

Afterwards I thought it was hilarious! Brought back so many memories as a kid spending hours typing in a program, only for it somehow to go tits up. Either could not save it too cassette, someone accidently turns power off etc etc.

 

Next morning I vaguely remembered I might have seen the game on an old DSK i had - sure enough it was there! See attached file of mini mem programs

 

MMLIGHTRCR- A TI BASIC game program from 99'er Magazine that requires the Mini Memory to run. All you need to do is insert the MM cartridge, load the program into TI BASIC then type RUN.

 

cheers

Daryn

mmprogs.dsk

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I still remember spending days after work typing in a program, only to spend the next week trying to track down all the bugs and typos in the rather lengthy program... only to find that the program still did not run properly! It was so frustrating trying to debug programs on the TI that it finally forced me to buy a printer (which were not cheap back then).

 

Oh, the feeling of excitement when I found that the listing in the magazine was wrong! :ponder: Anyway after consulting the printout, I found the problem in record time, fixed it and went on to use the program for a couple of years after that.

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I only had a console for the first year or so, with no cassette or disk system to save my programs. It was rough typing in some of the longer magazine listings, hoping I'd get to run the program before the computer reset, or I pressed QUIT accidentally, or someone pulled the power cord out of the wall...

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I've had mostly good memories of typing in BASIC listings. Mostly on TRS-80 Pocket Computer 1 and Apple II - as that's what I was into at the time. I had a TI, but it was late in the game so I never got into that system much.

 

It was always an adventure & challenge to devise methods of getting others to do it for me, I offered like a penny per line. Or special cutout paper tokens to buy time on one of my other systems. If you typed in 5 programs you could borrow cartridges or a system from me for the weekend - starting Friday after school. And return it on Monday after school.

 

When I was doing the typing I rather saved things piecemeal as I progressed. So any mistake or cockup only set me back a little bit and not a huge 200 line typing session.

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Worst memory typing in programs on the TI, some of my key presses produced repeated characters, even though I'd only strike once. Soooo damn infuriating back then, either editing on the fly, or trying to catch afterwards. Must say the TI is about the only computer I've ever experienced that kind of goofiness with the keyboard. Seems they had at least two different manufacturers of keyboards back then and my beige (non QA) model happened to have the shittiest of them. :lol:

 

Other than that, had a blast typing things in, running, debugging, playing and all that good stuff. Very gratifying back then and really learned quite a bit.

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Probably one of the more frustrating experiences on the TI was typing in a long program, entering the RUN command, waiting for the pre-scan to complete, and then being presented with the message * FOR-NEXT ERROR with no indication where the missing NEXT or extra NEXT was. Those took forever to find. At the same time, the syntax checking that occurred as you entered program lines was much better than Microsoft BASIC.

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For me, it was mostly bad memories.

 

I had an Atari XL, and that version of Atari BASIC had a bug where it would freeze on occasion after entering a line. You had to remember to save frequently. Lost lots of Basic code that way.

 

And my friends and I had some of those generic BASIC program books. I don't know what dialect they were written for, but it wasn't Atari basic, and we didn't have the knowledge at the time to translate the differences.

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I spent a summer 'learning BASIC', then typing in things from magazines... not knowing that they printed corrections in following issues... I spent a week on one game, couldn't figure out why it wouldn't run ( all on the 4A. )... Finally I explained what I've been doing all week to my Father, and he just laughed... And then showed me that he had all the diskettes that went with those magazines in the locked file of 'original' disks under the desk... OMG.

 

I never tried typing magazine code again, until a friend had a C64, and wanted to learn some programming... So not knowing C64 BASIC, I suggested we start with a magazine example and type it in... It was all poke this and poke that with zero explanation. Machine code, printed in BASIC syntax. Couldn't learn anything from that. At least not as a starting place.

 

-M@

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I loved BASIC and learning to program. Then hated how slow it was, hitting FCTN instead of SHIFT when trying to get a plus-sign, and saving to tape (so error prone and slow). Then loved it again when I got the XB cart (sprites, faster, could disable FCTN-QUIT). Then hated how slow it was when I tried writing games. Then loved it again when I got a PEB (saving to disk, more RAM). Typing in programs from magazines and books was tedious but very rewarding when I finally got it debugged and working. Then hated how slow it was. Then loved learning assembly and having all the speed and power to do whatever I wanted. Then I got a PCjr...

 

So it has really been a love/hate relationship, ending with satisfaction by ditching BASIC/XB and just using assembly. :-)

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My worst experience, still well remembered, was one afternoon about 30 years ago when I spent the whole afternoon typing in an Extended Basic program from a computer magazine. I already had many issues with the contacts in the cartridge port, so I did not dare to run the program when I finished but intended to save it first. So after some hours of concentrated typing, I wrote OLD CS1.

 

The problem is that Extended Basic clears the memory first, unlike TI BASIC where you could abort the OLD command and still have your program. I don't remember whether it was with or without memory expansion in Extended Basic. Whatever, I still saw the last lines of my program on screen, but LIST gave me this "NO PROGRAM PRESENT" ...

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Exactly why I created CALL USER("DSK#.TEXTFILE") so you could use TI Writer or FW to make your programs and when USER was loading it just note the errors as it loaded.

Much faster way to enter programs.

 

Same way Classic99 works for loading programs.

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My fondest memory goes all the way back to 1981 when I got my Vic 20. I was so new to computers. I knew nothing. There was a program listing in a magazine for a game called 'Blakes' 7'. I think it was a clone of the classic Star Trek game but using the characters from a BBC 70s Sci-fi show. I never found out. Why? Well I got home from school at 4:30 and went straight to typing it all in. By 11:30pm I was done but so tired I decided to run it the next day so I turned my Vic-20 off and went to bed. Imagine my dismay the next day when I turned on my Vic-20 and was unable to find the program. That was when I learnt about RAM and saving programs to cassette... The next weekend I got a Datasette but never typed the listing in again.

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When I first got my TI for Christmas we only had 1 TV in the house, so I would sit on the floor while everyone else watched TV and I would blind type in either code I had written or a program in a magazine and carefully try to focus on every key press, only when shows would go to commercial, could I then throw the switch on the TV modulator and check what code I had typed in. I would say at the time it sucked, but I also look back on it fondly because it showed how excited I was to have a computer and try to understand it. I think it started my insomnia too because I would stay up late after everyone else went to bed. Consequently, my mom got me a cheap 12" B/W TV for my birthday the next year. I guess she got tired of not being able to watch TV without electrical interference. ;-)

 

This is the family TV and a 12 year old me with my grandpa on his birthday

 

1W05Ld0.jpg

Edited by LASooner
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99'er had the muddiest font with vertical lines between characters to make it even harder.

 

So many syntax errors and bugs....

Even worse was when they changed to Home Computer Magazine. If you had to type in a Commodore 64 listing with the keyboard commands, their listing format was the absolute worst of any of the magazines of that era.. Those pointed fingers....

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I don't know if this has been mentioned or if other people did this...but, the TI-99/4A was my first computer (age 9) and, being the dumb kid that I was, I spent HOURS typing in some BASIC programs. I save them to tape and everything worked.

 

Then one day I thought I would "enhance" my program. So I typed "part 2" of my program and hit save. I guess I thought the tape would MERGE the two programs. Nope. I overwrote my only copy with part 2. LMAO.

 

Hard lesson to learn.

 

But MAN I wished I still had that code. I would be awesome to see what my 9 year old self wrote back then.

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I had a TI 99/4a as my first computer but never typed in programs from magazines for it. I later got an Atari, and I did type in several programs for that, but the magazine(s) I read for Atari had a small checksum program that you ran first so as you entered each line of the new program you would be presented with a checksum value to compare to the magazine listing and you would know instantly if you had goofed. Did none of the TI magazines use such a system?

 

Bob

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I had a TI 99/4a as my first computer but never typed in programs from magazines for it. I later got an Atari, and I did type in several programs for that, but the magazine(s) I read for Atari had a small checksum program that you ran first so as you entered each line of the new program you would be presented with a checksum value to compare to the magazine listing and you would know instantly if you had goofed. Did none of the TI magazines use such a system?

 

Bob

Most all of those checksum programs were machine language routines that hooked into the BASIC main loop some how to produce the checksum when the program line was entered. It wasn't possible to run machine language on a stock TI without memory expansion and some other cartridge. Since TI BASIC was in GPL and not assembly, I'm not even sure you'd be able to hook in such a routine even if you had memory expansion and some means of entering machine language. Not sure it would be possible in Extended BASIC either.

Edited by Casey
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