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Before you start using your computer check that you have received the following items in addition to this User Guide
Guarantee registration card
An aerial lead about 2 metres long which connects the computer to your television
The Welcome package - containing a cassette and an introductory booklet.
If you are short of any of these items then write immediately to your supplier quoting the number given to you when you placed your order. The number also appears on the despatch label.
You will also require a lead to connect your computer to an ordinary cassette tape recorder. If you ordered the appropriate lead when you placed your order, check that it has arrived. If you didn't, take your cassette recorder, the computer and this book to a dealer and ask if he can supply a lead or make
one up for you. In many cases a standard audio lead will be suitable. The most common, useful type is a 5-pin DIN to 5-pin DIN(see page 13). Alternatively, order the appropriate lead from the supplier of your BBC Microcomputer. Unfortunately, as there are a large number of different kinds of connections, it has not been possible to supply a lead to fit every machine.
The BBC Microcomputer is a very versatile machine. On its own, connected to your television set, it can respond to programs which you yourself type in, to produce numbers, words, lines, movement and sound on the screen. Connect a suitable cassette tape recorder and you can then save your own programs for future use or run programs which have been written by other people. The WELCOME cassette which comes with the computer contains sixteen programs specially written
for the machine. Others will be made available in increasing numbers as time goes by. These will include programs linked to hobbies, games and programs for the home and for business and educational use.
The early sections of this book will show you how to load and save programs from tape, how to write simple programs and how to create certain graphics effects on the screen. There are also some complete programs to type in yourself. However, this is not a step-by-step course in BASIC programming (for details of courses write to the address given below).
Most of what follows in the later sections forms a reference guide on how to use the various commands and keywords of the BBC BASIC language. If you are an absolute beginner then much of this will not be very easy to understand. However, as you get more experience of programming, this material will prove invaluable. To help matters, throughout the book we have used a second typeface to show what appears on your screen or what is typed in at the keyboard.
This book is not the last word on the BBC Microcomputer. Other more specialist books will appear describing the use of its more sophisticated features and how the machine can be expanded in various ways to make it increasingly useful. You will also find other 'fun' books appearing providing programs for you to type in yourself (in the same way that you can with the programs we include in this Guide). Pages on the BBC's
Ceefax service will also be broadcast with programs for copying by hand into the machine. (It will also be possible to load these directly into the computer via the special Teletext decoder which will be made available as an extra in 1982. This facility is known as Telesoftware and is one of the most exciting possibilities opened up by the BBC Microcomputer.)
For details of courses in programming, books on the BBC system, software programs in the BBC Software List, including Telesoftware, write to:
BBC Computer Literacy Project
PO Box 7
London W3 6XJ
David Allen (Project Editor)