Learning to Use the Oric-1

by Steven Blake

INTRO. This is a book I only managed to get hold of recently. It’s not the most common - (that would be the Sinclair one) - is it one that is worth getting though ?

THE BOOK Ah, I remember trying to draw those re-occuring picture things; you know, the mirror behind someone reflecting the image you are seeing and - there it is again a bit smaller - and that’s reflected again .....hours of fun. Well maybe not now, but back in the eighties we knew how to have fun !!!
Erm, yes well, I just mention it because this book makes use of this little conundrum. The book shows a bloke at his computer - I’m guessing the moustachioed fellow is Mr Blake himself ! - and there by his side is the very same book. And there his is again, the little Mr Blake, with a smaler book - and so on and so on ....
The other thing worth noticing on the cover is either Mr Blake is a tiny midget, or that is one huge enormous Oric-1.
Oh sorry, you wanted to know what the book is about (?) Well it’s basically another manual type written presumably when the Oric had but a leaflet to tell you how to use it and so many budding authors took to their type-writers to fill the gap.
Of course when the chaps at Tangerine produced a proper manual none of these books are really necessary.
WHAT’S IN IT ? Well OK, lets have a look. It’s a fairly small book with 110 pages including an index. There are only 5 chapters and 3 appendices, one of which is an example program - The Towers of Hanoi, which some of you may know !
The first appendix is a bibliography which is quite out of date and offers books which wouldn’t be too useful for the Oric user. One that it does mention is the Illustrating BASIC which was something of a classic back then. If the author admits that one is dated !!
The second appendix is a glossary of computing term, explaining what such words as ‘chip’ mean. So this is really aimed at the beginner, probably the first-time computer user.

The main part of the book then. It looks at what an Oric is and how the space race was important to the Oric (!) Then it gets stuck in to explaining how BASIC works. Here it’s actually quite good. If you are an absolute beginner this book would be useful. It explains what error messages mean at a point where you might come across them. It gives you a test at the end of the chapter to see if you have learnt the relevant points. Quite useful for a beginner. The trouble is there are few beginners now. People that use an Oric aren’t going to be too impressed by this book, which is a shame really , as it has it’s good points. But the reality is that only people wanting to add this to their collection of Oric goodies are going to be interested now. Those of you with kids may like to try and persuade them your hobby isn’t a useless waste of time and get them interested with a book like this - well, it’s worth a try!

Anyway, the rest of the book has some interesting bits, particularly the graphics section which shows some images which look a little like one of Dbug’s demos - I wonder if you saw this book and was inspired. Somehow I doubt it. Oh well, that’s about it - the graphics chapter is probably the most useful bit and perhaps makes the book worth buying if you struggle in that area - otherwise it’s just another book to add to the collection.
6/10 for trying..... could do better !



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