55 advance computer programs in Basic. (book reviews) Stephen Gray.
55 Advanced Computer Programs in Basic
The back cover promises a variety of goodies: "Now, at last, here is a source for Basic programs that are advanced enough to meet those more sophisticated needs, yet simple enough to run on an average microcomputer! . . . You will appreciate the many valuable programming hints and tips included in this volume . . . The programs themselves . . . cover both miscellaneous and specialized topics like fractional math, biorhythm cycles, decimal-to-base, and base-to-decimal conversion, metric converter,' and so on, naming a bunch of programs you might have use for, and perhaps not.
A short Chapter 1 introduces the book, and says all the programs were written on a TRS-80 16K Level II computer, but "this does not exclude the users of other microcomputers,' Chapter 2 provides 10 pages of "Programming Hints and Mechanical Magic': how to recover a killed program using I/O port 255, disabling the BREAK key, using the INKEY$ function, working with PEEK and POKE, how to increase speed (delete REMs, use integer variables in FOR/NEXT loops, etc.), and how to cut down memory requirements (delete unnecessary spaces, use multiple statements, and so on).
Chapter 3 briefly lists the Basic statements used, with definitions. The programs are divided into three chapters: Miscellaneous and Specialized (trig functions, metric converter, days between dates, fraction math, and so on; Business and Personal Management (depreciation, internal rate of return, present value of an annuity, and so forth); and Games and Simulations (Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe, Soccer, and so forth). Four appendixes cover: internal codes for Basic ASCII codes, number-base equivalents (seven pages), and reserved words in Level-II Basic.
This collection is no better and no worse than similar assortments, although few readers will have any use for Calculating Dairy Cattle Feed Rations or, for that matter, for most of the others more than once a year at most. Except perhaps the games in Chapter 6, of which there are over a dozen, including several common ones, plus Spacerace Fungus Versus the Moldmen, and Christian Versus Lion ("a rather brutal game in concept, but I like it just the same,' Watson notes).
Each of the 55 programs comes with a short introduction, list of variables, suggested variations, sample run, and a full listing. Even if you use only three or four of the programs, at 18 cents each you can't go far wrong, even if you have to key them in yourself. Although, come to think of it, if you never use more than five programs from the book, that is $2 each . . .
Review Grade: B