Yup, it’s a pretty catchy title for a book. It is a title that only a hard core computer geek would love.

For those people born in the 80’s and/or not computer geeks the title is meaningless. It is a very famous one line of the computer programming language BASIC. While it would run on virtually any home computer of the early 80’s that supported BASIC the most profound results were to be found on the Commodore 64.

I guess a good point to start the review would be to explain the title of the book (written by 10 brainiacs). The single line of Basic code produces a mesmerizing scrolling maze on your screen. A word of warning… Some assembly required if attempting this experiment on a Mac or Windows device!

10 Print is a very unique book. I was somewhat surprised when I discovered it was 330 pages long. How could anyone possibly write a book about a simple Commodore 64 trick and flesh it out to 330 pages?

10 Print turned out to be a delightful read that went far beyond the simple program.

Sure, I will be the first to agree that 10 Print is unlikely to make it to the NYT best seller list, but it is a delightful journey into the history, and maybe the future of programming.

As an old school kind of a guy, I loved the chapter on the dreaded GOTO statement. For decades GOTO has been a forbidden fruit. In fact I cannot think of a modern language that supports the function. The elegance of ‘loops’ and ‘If Then Maybe Try’ clauses have relegated the GOTO to the basement.

In reality the GOTO is still there, it is just harder to find.

Of equal interest is the discussion of Random Number generation. This subject at first look seems a pointless discussion that only geeks could love. Whats the big deal with generating a random number? Well actually it is a problem, 10 Print is a fine example. It doesn’t matter where you are, or what time of day it might be, you will get the same maze from 10 Print. Computers are just not very good at generating random numbers.

I enjoyed 10 Print and the discussion it evokes. While I might disagree with the authors on a few points. It is a well constructed exploration into the history of Home Computing and the programming language known as BASIC.

Oh, if you are a cheapskate you can download a PDF version for free. Personally I think the paper version is better, You can find that on the Amazon link above.

Simon Barrett

Be Sociable, Share!