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 thread  Author  Topic: What Good is Just Basic?  (Read 9830 times)
Welopez
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xx What Good is Just Basic?
« Thread started on: Mar 17th, 2009, 11:51am »

I was at the car wash today, getting my Ol'Phart's mini-van washed and waxed. Tuesday is Senior Citizen's Day and we get a $4 discount, so it has become a weekly ritual with me. When a young man saw me whip out my laptop and began reading a novel he struck up a conversation about my tiny laptop (Win XP SP3, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB hard drive and 9 inch screen).

"Does that run windows?" he asked.

"It sure does, and it has built in WiFi so I can use it at hotspots all over town." I'm very pleased with my little toy.

"Are you surfing the web now?"

"No, this isn't a hotspot, but I could go down the block to Starbuck's or to the mall to Barnes and Noble, plus there are many other hotspots all over the city."

"I'm learning C++ at city college, and I've never seen a laptop that small. Could I run C on that?"

"Sure you could..." and I opened up a few programs I had written in Just Basic and showed him what I do for a hobby. "Do you write Basic programs," I asked?

"No... I'm just getting started."

I grabbed a piece of note paper and wrote down the URL to download a free copy of Just Basic. "You might want to try this. It's free, and you'll learn the basics of programming in a very simple manner. A programmer can use any language for programming; there is no 'best language,' however some languages lend themselves to fields better than other languages. C++ is a very powerful language, and when you feel comfortable with it, you'll find many job opportunities to work at Information Technology in any urban environment. But don't think of basic as a kid’s toy.

"All programming is similar, whether you want to sort a list, save data to a file, or make decisions based upon products sold or perhaps you want to consider raising or lowering the retail price of your product. Just Basic is easy to learn, and the same principles will apply whether you are using Visual Basic, of C++, only the syntax changes."

So I showed him a couple of graphics programs with animation; inventory control and sales for a car lot, and the ever popular 'Guess a Number' game.

"Wow, I didn't know you could do those things with such a tiny laptop!"

"You can, and more! This is only my hobby. I have a restless mind and cannot stand to let it sit idle when I am waiting, so I think, instead of playing Pac-Man or Snake on my cell phone."

"When I finish my course at school, what kind of jobs can I find?"

Now we're getting to the good stuff! I like to see a young fellow who wants to do something with what he has learned.

"You won't start out as the CEO of a large software company, but there are jobs everywhere. My fiancé works in the computer records office of a major hospital. Car dealers use computers and have networks to keep track of their inventory. Even restaurants use IT technology. Computers are not limited to the big corporations; they are also used by small corporations who want to become big.

"You'll probably start working in a small to medium sized business where you can get experience with your training. No matter what you learn in the classroom, there are shortcuts you will want to use, or had better stay away from, in the real world. You will always be learning!

"Eventually, you may start your own business, writing task oriented software for small clients or maintaining their computer departments. If you can provide computer services to 10 businesses at $250 per month, you're on your way to building a Fortune 500 company, but it will not happen over night. It takes work, work, and more work.

"You'll probably want to learn more than one programming language, which is where basic has its advantages. Blocks of code will always be similar, although some languages will do things automatically for you... as long as you have the correct syntax."

"So you think I should learn Basic?"

"You can learn the rudiments in a few weeks. You can master the capabilities in a few months to a few years. Procedures will become habit to you, and you can use similar procedures no matter what language you use for professional programming. The big advantage to Just Basic is it's FREE, but the knowledge you gain will be priceless in all your endeavors."
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xx Re: What Good is Just Basic?
« Reply #1 on: Mar 19th, 2009, 5:13pm »

I have to say, everything you wrote is true. I havn't really thought about it, but thinking back about 2 years, JB was my first programming language. I took it up, and after about 2 weeks, I had a strong grasp of the basics. Now, JB has, surprisingly, helped me to learn HTML, PHP, CSS and XML. I learned them all, particurly PHP, surprisingly easily and, thinking about it, it was probably because of JB. Your right, it is just the syntax that changes.

Also, your laptop sounds similar to my Acer Aspire One 150, it has the same specs. wink
« Last Edit: Mar 19th, 2009, 5:15pm by Sub12 » User IP Logged

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xx Re: What Good is Just Basic?
« Reply #2 on: Mar 19th, 2009, 7:47pm »

You're right! Acer Aspire One! Great little laptop. I also have a 17-inch laptop, but the Acer is much easier to carry around and boots in only 15 sec. Load it up with JB and LB, and you've got a major power-house where ever you go! I even have a 150 watt inverter to plug into the cigarette lighter of my car.

My fiancé likes it so much, I promised to get her one next month. Her office computer has "surf guard" on it, so she can't surf the web or send and receive email, but she will be able to log onto the wireless network with her little Acer and spend her break or lunch hour sending little love notes to me. At only 2 pounds, it's easy to carry and small enough to put in her big ol' purse. Ain't that cool? laugh
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xx Re: What Good is Just Basic?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 8th, 2011, 12:06am »

Very nice i am also a programmer stories like this and the free sites which helps in learning any language is good.
« Last Edit: Nov 8th, 2011, 04:00am by Stefan Pendl » User IP Logged

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xx Re: What Good is Just Basic?
« Reply #4 on: Jun 7th, 2012, 8:37pm »

Please forgive me if I'm posting in the wrong area. I've never programmed before but I'm very intrigued. A book that you recommend, 'Programming for the Absolute Beginner (No Experience Required)' by Jerry Lee Ford, was published in 2007. Would it still be valid today? I would like to read it if it isn't too out of date.
Out of curiosity, what kinds of practical things can a person program? I'm a graphic designer and would love to incorporate programming in some way at work.
Thanks for your time!
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Welopez
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xx Re: What Good is Just Basic?
« Reply #5 on: Jun 7th, 2012, 9:13pm »

Congratulations to you, Artistram3d1! To be a graphic designer shows that you have the capability of "thinking outside the box." Being creative, as well as being original, is a great benefit when programming.

I haven't read Jerry Ford's book, but I'm sure it would be just as applicable today as the day it came off the presses. From comments made by several users on this forum, as well as the Liberty Basic forum, Programming for the Absolute Beginner is actually used as the class textbook in many highschools!

Programming won't make you a better artist, but it will probably enable you to work more efficiently in your job. You can use it for cost estimating a project, billing invoices for your customers, tracking supplies and expendables for your business, maintaining a customer data base for your clients. Hey, you're way ahead of me. I'm 67 and would find it difficult to draw a straight line on paper unless you provided a T-square and straight edge!

Learning to program requires that you structure your thoughts with the beginning of a project, then solve many intermediate problems until you arrive at the finish. Structure your thoughts and you will avoid the frustration of half-completed ideas and the messiness of "spaghetti code." Working to solve small problems using linear thinking does not mean your program must flow like a water-fall until it reaches the bottom. You can set up a situation, make a list of the problems you recognize, and then solve them individually at your leisure.

With a small business, you are the programmer. With a larger business, you are the supervisor of the IT department. You keep individuals or teams on track as they work to achieve the final result.

Probably the largest problem solving issues taken in recent history were those which involved the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. You don't think Eisenhower did all the planning at the beginning of a project and follow it through to the result? He supervised, coordinated, and provided guidance to hundreds of personnel and depended upon them to carry out thier task. You may have to wait until another person or team comes up with their part, sort of like NASA waiting for a required piece of hardware or software to control a probe for a particular task in a mission, but you'll get there eventually.

Just make sure all the worker-bees are using MKS units or feet/pounds/seconds consistently. Don't encourage individual thinking in Tennessee and different thinking at JPL in California. ROFL! We all know how that turned out! undecided
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