|★ LITTÉRATURE ★ ENGLISH ★ Start computing on the Amstrad CPC6128 ★|
|Start Computing On the Amstrad CPC6128 (The Amstrad User)||Littérature English|
The title of this book indicates straight away that it is not meant for experts. "Real experts in computing often take the simplest things for granted" writes Judith, a self-confessed advanced beginner.
With the theory that even explanations need explanations if you are a beginner, the book attempts to cover as much of the basic groundwork to programming the 6128 as possible, without talking down to the reader. The first chapter talks about connecting up the machine and continues with an explanation of the position and function of the keys on the keyboard. It is then followed with some examples of performing calculations through the keyboard.
The second chapter moves briefly into the disc copying facility (DISCKIT3) of CP/M for the purposes of formatting new discs and making that all important back-up of the CP/M disc. It erroneously refers to CP/M as being a language (it is in fact an operating system) but the distinction at this basic level is not too important. This section needs to be read carefully as it tends to switch back and forth between CP/M and Basic too easily. It would have been better to have treated each subject separately.
More Basic commands are discussed in the next few chapters with plenty of examples to key in. If you suffer with 'multi-finger and thumb syndrome' you will find the disc supplied with the book most useful. It contains all the programs that appear in the book.
Chapter Four covers menus and associated commands and Chapter Five extends this into merging and renumbering. Six and Seven talk about the graphics aspects (windows, borders, colours, plotting, fill, drawr and so on).
The next chapter contains a few type-ins which push the beginner a little further in understanding the potential of the 6128. There's a function key defining program, a program to calculate the area of a rectangle (with pretty pictures) and an extension of that program demonstrating the use of PEN and INK and RND (with more pretty pictures). The latter two are comprehensively explained. Chapter Nine looks at writing one of the previous programs in a different way.
I am now about halfway through the book. Rather than continue to itemise each chapter, I can say that the rest of almost everything a beginner would want to know is eventually covered in the last ten chapters - including loops, geometry and sound. There is also an answer page at the end to a few simple tests appearing in some chapters.
The book is a genuine attempt by an Amstrad user to help other beginners over the hurdles of first-time computing. It consists of over 100 double-sided A4 sheets of text produced on a 6128 using Amsword and originally printed on a DMP-2000. It is ring-bound with a plastic cover.
You could easily argue that it is not professionally presented - but then Judith Thamm has not got the facilities of a major publisher behind her. You could also argue that it sometimes looses direction - but read on - it alll links together. It is a personal effort to be applauded, and should help the struggling user either in the cornfines of his/her home or as the basis of courses run by user groups.
Robin Nicholas, TAU