# Back to basics

Friday has become schoolday for me.

Our Puppychild has been having some trouble in school with mathematics so I had the bright idea of giving her a bit of a grind on Fridays. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So for some weeks now she has been coming here and I have been helping her out with her multiplication and division and addition and subtraction and percentages and decimals and ratios and currencies and I have discovered just how rusty I have become over the years.

I used to enjoy maths, geometry and algebra and only lost heart when it came to calculus. For some reason I could never get my head around that bit. The trouble is that with the passing of time some of the rudiments have somehow vanished from the old memory. Bugger!

Anyhows, yesterday I decided to change tack.

The problem with teaching maths is that you can't see it do anything. You calculate how fast water is running out of a tank, but so what? If you haven't actually got a tank dribbling water then the calculation is just a number on a piece of paper, that is fuck all use to man or beast. Maybe if I could teach her something that actually produced tangible results it would perk her up a bit?

Enter the world of computers.

Yesterday I taught her the very rough crude basics of designing a web page. It wasn't so much a lesson in web design as a lesson that actually produced something that she can see. She took to it like a duck to water.

Having got her interested in programming web pages, I am hoping to go one step further next week. I am thinking of teaching her a bit of *actual* programming.

Last night I had a sniff around the Interwebs and found myself a Basic programme that runs on Linux [not as easy a task as you might think]. I installed it and tried a few hesitant commands. Fuck me but I forgotten how to programme! I suppose that's excusable seeing as the last time I wrote a Basic programme was back in my ZX Spectrum days.

So now I have to go back to basics as re-learn Basic.

Who said being a Grandad was an easy job?

Perhaps Puppychild can teach

youhow to program?Probably.

Anyhows I dusted the cobwebs off my memory and I give you my first programme in about thirty years –

Database:

DATA 69,110,100,97,32,75,101,110,110,121,32,105,115,32,97,32,99,117,110,116

RESTORE Database

LOCATE 10, 10

FOR n = 1 TO 20

READ x

PRINT CHR$(x);

NEXT

I'm kinda proud of that. And it works.

Heh. programming, even in Basic. was like calculus to me. Right over my head. I could write small batch files to be executed at boot mostly to create a boot time menu to have easy access to various programs (Windows 3.11, Wolfenstein, Doom, Word Perfect, Norton Defrag, etc) Otherwise, I was pretty well lost

maths not my friend ever always struggled with the higher forms, add subtract multiply and divide and a few decimal things was about all I accomplished

That's OK. That's all I remember. Except that they do things differently these days – they "carry" numbers in a strange way that I can't fathom. I keep doing things my way which confuses the hell out of Puppychild.

You did BASIC on a ZX Spectrum! You, Sir, have my upmost respect.

Syntax error was always my favourite one. 🙂

You could try Scratch, it's available for Linux, it's an excellent programming/teaching tool. https://scratch.mit.edu/scratch_1.4/

Welcome Andi and thanks! Even more basic than Basic! I have it loaded and running. Now all I have to do us work out how to shift that damned rabbit.