Teaching kids about computers...

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Mon Nov 26 17:09:37 CST 2007

> I'd have suggested something running "BBC BASIC" but the Beeb is a fairly 
> formidable system to understand and the Electron, ISTR, has most of the 

Is it? Why? Are you talking abotu understanding how to program it, or 
understanding the hardware?

For the former, yes, BBC BASIC does allow local variables, named 
procedures/functions, recursion, etc. But you don't _have_ to use them 
when you're starting out. You can write spaghetti code if you want to.

For the latter, I necer had any problems understanding the BBC micro 
circuit diagtram in the back of the Advanced User Guide (a totally 
essential book, BTW). There are 2 ULAs, but they;re both quite simple 
functiions (video dot path amd cassette encoder/decoder, basically). The 
rest of it is very well documented.

> electronics inside a ULA so you wouldn't really learn anything useful about 
> it.

Yes. A ULA, CPU, ROM and _4 bit wide_ RAM, basically. Yes, the Electron 
has 64K*4 RAM, which is fiddled by the ULA to look like 32K*8 to the 
processor. I am not joking.


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