80-Bus News

  

November-December 1984, Volume 3, Issue 6











Page 24 of 55











24

80-BUS Independence

There seem to two contrary views being expressed at present (no, expressed is the wrong word, it’s only an impression I get) with regard to the editorial independence of 80-BUS. Some of these impressions have been aired in the letters columns, some I’ve gleaned as a result of the survey. The first view is that 80-BUS is becoming the “official” Gemini mouthpiece, and from this I get the feeling that this is mildly disapproved of. The second is that as 80-BUS IS the Gemini mouthpiece, why don’t Gemini take a firmer hand in the organisation and running of the magazine, particularly with regard to getting it out on time. Whilst 80-BUS indeed owes a debt of gratitude to Gemini for use of office facilities and to a small degree, for subsidizing the magazine by making use of the distribution list to mail price lists, etc; no demands are made on 80-BUS to reciprocate with a any sort of “plug Gemini’ deal. Personally I do not like the periodicals related to some other computer manufacturers which spend their time fawning over their favourite toy to the-- exclusion of almost everything else. I think a reasonable balance now exists, where, if I have something rude to say about Gemini (or anything else for that matter), then I can say it without much fear of the offending piece having the blue pencil put through it provided it isn’t likely to land us all in court.

The Survey

I understand that the survey went well, I’ve read some of the replies and these in the main are productive and interesting. How to improve the magazine from the results of the survey is more of a problem; certainly one statistic is that the large majority of people who responded have various sorts of disk systems. As the response has been a bit less than 30% of the distribution list, does this mean that the response is representative and nearly all readers have disk systems, or perhaps it means only those with disk systems reply to surveys. I don’t know, and it will be a problem to discover how representative the survey has been. None the less the survey has been revealing both in the equipment used by the readers and also comments about 80-BUS in general.

IMP Ribbons

A quick commercial: Mr. Cooper mentions refilling Imp ribbons with Epson refils, nice one. For those who break the cartridge trying to get the top off, Henry’s have new Imp ribbons (at a price).

BBC BASIC

Oh dear, I knew I would be skating on thin ice having ago at the BBC computer and BASIC and the way they are used in education. I have had several letters (not for publication), variously addressed to me at home, work and through 80-BUS which generally endorse my view that all is not well when it comes to computer education in junior schools. A number of people I have met have also mentioned the subject with similar views to my own.

As to my comments about the BBC BASIC, and the defence of by Mr. Hellen. Yes, I feel my comments were somewhat scathing, although I feel my remarks to a degree justified by Mr. Hellen’s own comment about the BASIC, in that he, "Found it easy to use, powerful and challenging.". The operative word I feel is, "Challenging". At the age that young people are introduced to the BBC BASIC, a challenge is perhaps not the best thing they need. Rather it is the need to be able to grasp quickly and soundly what the language in the computer is capable of doing. BASIC is recognised by those who are supposed to know, as being a bad first language for young people, or at least, so I’m told. I am in no position to judge, as I’ve never tried any that are recommended, (LOGO, et


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