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Reid, Neal E. and Stanley L. Wilson.

Toronto, Wiley, c1985.468pp, paperbound boards, $27.95, ISBN 0-471-79730-8. CIP

Grades 11-12
Reviewed by Jean Farquharson

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

This text serves a dual purpose, the first three sections to teach BASIC programming, the last section computer technology, at the senior high school level.

The authors, two Ontario secondary school teachers, have introduced each chapter with objectives and vocabulary. Important terms are identified in bold print. Useful examples and uncluttered illustrations clarify the text. Exercises include questions, programming problems, keyboard investigations, and experiments. Summaries, review, and review exercises end the chapters.

As in most computer texts, errors and weaknesses have crept in. Although the authors have attempted to avoid favouring one brand of computer, the reader using any machine but Commodore may have problems. Machine-dependent tricks include the use of the colon. An example is the concatenation of a line with a GOSUB on page 228. Concatenation should be completely avoided. On page 229, GOSUB's are illegally labelled, but in a way the Commodore interpreter ignores. This is misleading to the reader. Another weakness is the mixing of standard and structured BASIC. On page 134, a structured loop contains an unstructured loop. Completely structured BASIC should contain procedures rather than subroutines. On page 40, the use of "a" as an operator to represent exponentiation is very unusual practice. On page 43, the explanation of a "destructive read-in" is not accurate.

The technology section is flawed in a number of places. For example, a statement and diagram on pages 301-302 show current flowing from positive to negative, a concept that has been outdated for many years. Attempts to explain machine language are less than satisfactory and incorrect in places. This book is not recommended until serious errors have been corrected.

Jean Farquharson, Brantford C.I. & V.S., Brantford, Ont.
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