Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lightsynth's History

From: Lightsynth's History

 

I typed RUN – and was completely blown away. It was a pure jaw-on-the-floor moment. As I've already mentioned, the same program in BASIC took a few seconds to run - you could see the characters appearing one after another in sequence as they were POKEd into screen memory. But when I typed RUN, here...

...all of the characters appeared on the screen at once. Instantly. They were just THERE. The same program that the PET took several lazy seconds to complete in BASIC ran in less time than you could measure in machine language. It was as good as instantaneous. Machine language had to be at least a thousand times faster than BASIC.

If you are a programmer you owe it to yourself to read this fascinating essay. It brought back memories (not many of them good) of my struggles with medieval computing systems like the Tandy Color Computer 2, the TRS-80 and the VAX 11/750.