80-Bus News


January–February 1983, Volume 2, Issue 1

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read. They are also not cheap, costing about £20 each, although there is a paperback of Vol 1, and possibly also of the others. I’m in the process of reading them, and mention them here to draw your attention to them.

If you are into Statistics, you might wish to look out for:

Basic Statistical Computing by Cooke, Craven and Clarke,
published by Arnold (circa £6.50)

This is a book to show how microcomputers can be used in the analysis of statistical data. It gives fully documented listings of many statistical procedures in BASIC (the shame of it!) and claims that they have been proved on four common micros. If you are into statistical analysis, this might well save you a lot of work.

Without wishing to cast aspertions on Knuth’s master work, I have kept the good wine until last.

The Mythical Man Month by F.P.Brooks,
publ. Addison Wesley, costs cirea £7.

This is a series of 15 short humourous essays on various aspects of writing large complex computer programs. It is based on Brooks experience as director of the team which wrote the operating system for the IBM 360. I first heard of this book some five years ago, but only recently came across a copy. It has been reprinted earlier this year (by popular demand, I think). Brooks deals lightly and humourously with his subjects, but gets his point across – possibly the better for the light touch. If you enjoyed reading Browns ‘Interactive Compliers and Interpreters’ and ‘Pascal from Basic’, then I’m sure you will like this, more particularly if you are involved with communication and management. It must rate alongside Kernighan and Plauger’s ‘Software Tools’ as one of the seminal books.

So much for the rave review. As I’ve said before, many of these books are textbooks and not ther lightest reading in the world. Don’t rely only on my reaction to them. Look for them in your local technical bookshop and browse through them before you purchase.

I realise that the foregoing reviews offer very little for the beginner. I’ve been asked to suggest a good starting book on Assembly Language. Looking through my bookshelves, I keep coming back to “The Z80 Microcomputer Handbook” by Barden, published by Sams (distr. Prentice Hall), cost about £7. This was one of the first books on programming the Z80. It taught me much of what I know on the subject. It is readable, and accurate, which cannot be said of all Z80 books! This is the book I recommend whenever I am asked for something on assembly language for Z80 users.

To show that I am not utterly involved in computers to the exclusion of any trace of the humanities (as in Arts and Humanities), I have also been reading (inter alia):

The Sources for the Early History of Ireland – Ecclesiastical. by Kenney,
published by Columbia University Press 1929, and recently reprinted (c. £20)

This is very nearly to the early history of Ireland as Knuth is to computing science. It surveys the extant literary sources, giving useful synopses and references to previous publications on the subject, so that you may follow historical lines of enquiry quite easily.

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