BASIC turns 50 - and my headline needs to be debugged
Posted by David Brooks | Tuesday, April 22, 2014
My Telegraph column today is about Dartmouth's celebration of the 50th birthday of the BASIC computer language (read it here, you lucky Telegraph subscribers) includes a "clever" headline that a reader pointed out creates an infinite loop:
10: PRINT “BASIC Turns 50”
20: IF (old) THEN (nostalgic)
30: GOTO 20
Man, readers are so picky.
The column includes this tidbit of geek nostalgia:
Chuck Sherman, Dartmouth class of 1966 who lives in Vermont, heard about BASIC for the first time in a college course on psychology statistics.
“The professor said, here’s a language called BASIC. If you have any difficulty, I’ll be in my office at 3 o’clock. There was no manual, you just started,” he said.
“The idea that you’d ever buy software in shrink-wrapped packages, I would have laughed at it,” said the 69-year-old Sherman, adding (in a phrase you’d expect from a Vermonter who graduated in the 1960s): “We rolled our own software.”
Dartmouth pointed me to Sherman when I asked them for sources, describing him as something of a BASIC geek. He says his knowledge got him a great job with Pillsbury, the baking company, around the time it bought its very first computers.
“I was treated like a king,” he recalled. “I was given two offices, taught the vice-president how to use time-sharing and BASIC.”