BOOK REVIEW #6

The Oric-1 and How to Get the Most From It
Oric and Atmos Machine Code

by Ian Sinclair

INTRO. Another look at the Oric library. this time we have a look at the work of Ian Sinclair. He was a well known author in the early eighties, writing for magazines such as Personal Computer World and Computing Today. He wrote several books of the same type for different machines. The vast majority are written as a manual substitute.

THE BOOK. I reckon this must be the most common Oric book after teh manuals. Why ? Well the early Oric-1 manual was a rubbish pamphlet with little information so there was a big demand for a decent manual. Ian Sinclair filled the gap. Oric soon had it’s own manual out though whihc pretty much makes,The Oric-1 and How to Get the Most From It, a redundant book.

WHAT’S IN IT ? There are 10 chapters and 4 appendices and an index which is rather useful ! (Some Oric manuals didn’t have one).
I won’t say much more execpt that if you don’t have the Oric manual this is great. If you do it isn’t much use as it covers the same ground in the same sort of fashion. Decent stuff, but nothing new.
What’s this, a machine code book ? Oh Yes !
There is great demand for decent books on machine code for the Oric. The Advanced User Guide and Geffer’s book are vital resources, but to learn I think you need something a bit more basic. Sinclair introduced this book just as the new Atmos came out.
THE BOOK. Oric and Atmos Machine Code is aims to introduce intrigued Oric users to the shady world of machine code.

WHAT’S IN IT ? You know , I always wanted something like this back in the eighties but never had one, so I never really got around to learning machine code, so I’m probably not the best judge of such a book. Many of these books seem to spend ages talking about different ways of numbering things and waffling on about Hex, then all of a sudden it’s boolean logic with stacks - first in , last out put that over here and the other over there stuff. So how does it print stuff on the screen ? You know, why not show us some proper stuff like doing the equivalent of 10 PRINT “ATARI - WHY OH WHY ?” 20 GOTO 10 You know, the sort of stuff that isn’t so, erm, abstract.

Maybe it’s just the way my mind works, but I found this book a bit unhelpful. There is a lot of information in there and I’m sure it will help some people, but it uses BASIC an awful lot to show how to program in machine code which seems a bit self defeating ! If it works for you then I guess it is great - it didn’t do it for me though.

 

 

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