BOOK REVIEW #7
Machine Code for the Atmos and Oric-1
by Bruce Smith
|INTRO. Another machine code book for me
to look at - and as you may have gathered from last time,
I aint the best guy for the job! But then who else is
going to do it? We dont seem to have anyone out
there willing to write in - excluding the few that have.(NB
this refers to when the original article appeared in the
Rhetoric magazine.) Have all the experts left us ?
Anyway, with no-one else willing to waffle on about
books, its up to me to make the usual hash of
things - so here we go.
THE BOOK. Its green - not many Oric books like that !!! I like green ... www.foe.co.uk Erm, the content is rather like the Sinclair one. It uses BASIC to demonstrate how machine code works and tries to show the way around stacks and accumalators. I reckon people wanting to learn machine code should check out Peter Braggs excellent articles in OUM. Rhetoric now have the first 70 available on disk for the PC
WHATS IN IT ? Oh right, back to the plot. Yes, there are 15 chapters and 6 appendices with an index. Thats quite a lot of chapters for a book this size. The beginning explains why it is a better way to use assembly, that you have some chance of understanding as opposed to machine code, which is just a load of hex. Then it goes in to the usual explanations of how you can count in differnt ways
|Look, theres binary to decimal
conversion, binary to hex conversion, hex to decimal -
and Im off snoring like a trooper ! Maybe this
stuff is vital, but it kind of kills enthusiasm going
through it every time. Is this the only way ? Well I know
it isnt , because Ive seen better books and
better articles !!! It seems many computer books were
written by maths fans though and here Bruce Smith goes
through the usual exercise of showing you cures for
Numbers are certainly important in any digital system. A computer works via numbers but it also works by what numbers go where. I wish more books would tell you about what is doing what rather than boring ritualistic droll meanderings about how you can count in different ways. I wish books that want to show you how to use machine code would do so and not revert to using BASIC. What is the point of showing you how to use a faster way of programming and then showing you how to do it in the slowest possible way ?
So does the book do any good at all? Well I reckon it depends on if you can stay awake long enough. If this book does it for you and actually shows you how to program then fine. It didnt help me but then I probably didnt give it chance. I am probably being way too harsh though. this does look like the sort of book that could teach you enough about machine code to get you started. The necessary information is there and I would have loved this book if Id had it at the right time in my life. Its just so frustrating finding these thigns now, when I havent even got time to be doing this article really, and I should be in the workshop up to my arms in saxophones.
Not many people seem to bother with programming nowadays. Not many people even use the Oric, so this sort of book is really one to interest collectors, I guess. You can learn from it if you read the thing. It isnt very rare but there arent too many machine code books available and this is well worth adding to the collection. Id recommend something like this alongside the Advanced User Guide, Geffers book and Getting More For Your Oric. Rating is about 7/10
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