Microsoft open sources GWBASIC

Fred Cisin cisin at
Mon May 25 13:49:38 CDT 2020

I apologise for offending you.  Sloppiness and insnesitivity on my part, 
not a deliberate attempt.

>> PETSCII/PETASCII character graphics were almost as good as TRS80 character
>> graphics!    :-)

On Mon, 25 May 2020, Liam Proven via cctalk wrote:
> So, yes, PETSCII lets you draw some stuff, but I was only about 12. It
> really wasn't enough to grab me for long, not for the price of a car.

Character graphics were never an acceptable substitute for bit-mapped.

> American computers were all super-expensive in Europe: apparently, in
> the USA, people felt that a $1000 computer was affordable. As Peter
> Corlett notes, that wasn't even a joke in 1980s Britain. A computer
> 1/4 of that price was something a rich family could consider, but a
> computer for the masses over here had to be a tenth of that price.

I was alarmed, even then, about the discrpancy in marketing.
Here, the default TRS80 was $600, which was about 300 pounds,
but you could get it without the [ordinary] cassette recorder monitor 
(which was a tuner-ectomied RCA TV) for $400, which was about 200 pounds.
But, instead, it looked as though they just replaced the dollar sign with 
pound sign, and ignored the exchange rate!  So, you paid about twice as 
much for the machines.  I have heard prices of PET: 600 pounds (V $600), 
Apple: 1200 pounds (V$1200), and TRS80: 500 pounds (V $400 to $600)

> I never saw a single working Apple ][ when they were current. I never
> saw a working TRS-anything except in Tandy shops (we didn't have
> "Radio Shacks" because "shack" isn't a commonly-used word here, I
> suppose, and has negative connotations.

ham radio shack was slang for wherever a amateur radio hobbyist set up.
Other than that, "shack" referred to an improvised/impromptu dwelling, 
such as ones made of tar paper, so it had similar negative connotations to 
everybody but amateur radio.  When they wanted to move upscale, they set 
up "Tandy Computer Centers/Stores" to start to get away from the "Radio 
Shack name.  It was ABOUT 1983 that they discontinued using the "Radio 
Shack" name.  Transition is apparent betwen models of the Model 100 and 
the "Color Computer".

> All the machines that the American magazines talked about were unknown
> to $REST_OF_WORLD, basically.

And, the USA market was oblivious to any offerings elsewhere.
I was able to get two used Epson HC-20, which was later marketed in USA as 
HX-20 (with beige instead of grey case, and removal of Katakana from 
keyboard aand character ROMs.  It had an impressive Microsoft BASIC for 
its time.
Then, I got a friend going to Japan to get me an Epson RC-20 (wrist watch 
with Z80-like processor, RAM, ROM, and a serial port)  NEVER sold in USA.
I bought a used Yamaha MSX from Mitchell Waite, and it was the only MSX 
that I ever saw.  Well, I barely saw it - within an hour of getting it, my 
assistant, who was into music borrowed it permanently.
I bought a Sony SMC-70 (3.5" drive, obviously Italian case design, and had 
had some amazing demonstrations, without actually becoming readily 
available for sale.
I never got an Amstrad, but I was impressed with the 3" disk design, and 
had some 3" drives.
. . . , and a couple of Toshiba T300s (fairly ordinary NON-PC-DOS MS-DOS 
machine with 720K 5.25" drives; I patched PC-Write's video segment to run 
on  them).  At one point, I loaned them to the local USA Toshiba Nuclear 
Magnetic Resonance Imaging group.

> So...  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
>> That was a keyboard??
>> I thought that it was just a picture of a keyboard glued on, as a
>> suggestion of a possible accessory to purchase.   :-)
>> Besides, the bottom of the door scrapes it.
> In your joke, you highlight what I mean.
> You're thinking of a ZX-81. It had a flat keyboard (i.e. just like an
> Atari 400) and was wedge-shaped.

You are absolutely right.  I screwed up.  BIG TIME.
I apologise.  again.

My assistant bought a few of the ZX-81s.

> This total ignorance of $REST_OF_WORLD's computers is sadly typical in
> a mainly-US community like this, but come on, Fred, I know you can do
> better. You sadden me, sir.

We have a national culture of ehtnocentricity and arrogance.  "We're 
number one!"  (particularly in COVID-19!)

We have a spectacular level of ignorance and gullibility sometimes!

The Monster Raving Loony party gave up on establishing in USA, because we 
can be TOO loony, and elect candidates beyond their jokes.


We wouldn't know humour unless you remove the 'u'!  Our FAVORITE COLOR is 
GRAY.  And we use 'z' instead of 's'

Our TV "Sit-Coms" can not compare with what are called "Brit-Coms";  Ed 
O'Neill is quite goos as Al Bundy, but not as good as Richard Wilson as 
Victor Meldrew.

For light reading, I have most of the published writings of Douglas 
Adams and Terry Pratchett.

>>> keeping obsolete versions of these vast monolithic OSes (which nobody
>>> fully understands any more) maintained and patched for 5, 10, even 15
>>> or so years after release.
>> BUT, if any ever achieve stability, support is discontinued, to try
>> to force purchase of a newer, even less reliable one.
> No, you're thinking of Windows.

The more that I use Windoze XP and 7, the less that I hate them; so they 
want to force me to switch to 10, and probably have to search to find 
suitable software for what I want.

>> I was tempted to get one of Jeri Ellsworth's knock-offs.
> I have one. Cost me £10 on clearance. Very clever little device.
I have always been impressed by her silly sense of humour, such as her 
flip watch and her cup holder.  But even more impressed at her 
demonstrations of homemade transistors and ICs.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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