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17 January 2009

postage stamp received from newly discovered Planet Björkguðmundsdóttir / Bob will be programming in PowerBasic soon

Click image, see what it gets you.

The Very Strange Array Near Thud
Bulletin No. 4

Discovery, Imaging and
Contact with Planet

Following the recent discovery of a new planet in the Vleeptron-Hoon-Yobbo-Mollyringwald solar system, and successful imaging of Planet Björkguðmundsdóttir, TVSANT has received a postage stamp from Planet B. No letter, no card, no package -- just one stamp. Here it is.

However, several TVSANT researchers believe the stamp depicts 3 satellites or moons of Björkguðmundsdóttir. If so, this is the first imaging of these moons.

But at the moment TVSANT is pretty clueless what this stamp is all about or trying to communicate. It could be an advertisement for deodorants.


What also may be going on here is a stamp composed of images generated by code in the language or dialect PowerBasic -- generated certainly not by me, but posted on the programmer's website as examples of what PowerBasic lets the programmer do, and what it does for the programmer.

Last night when all the creatures of the house were deeply sleeping I went clickety click and bought

Items to be shipped now
PBCW500: PowerBASIC Console Compiler 5
1 copy at $169.00 each = $169.00
Shipping by UPS Ground / USPS = $10.00
TOTAL: $179.00
Paying by: CCARD

Once your order has been paid and processed, an invoice will be mailed to your billing address with a complete list of all charges.

And I guess it will get here Monday. Then I guess I will stick a CD into PowerCow and it will guide me through the installation process. And immediately I can pick up programing in a familiar dialect of BASIC, which was invented at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire USA in 1964 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz and (if this entity exists) God, so that morons like me could make a computer figure out a Hohmann
Transfer Orbit, so I can send a rocket to Mars in the most efficient possible way.

Or churn out
Lottery Numbers which are Untouched By Human Influence -- pure Lucky Numbers that have nothing to do with your niece's birthday or how many gallons of gas you filled up with today, or the number of the last train car that didn't fall off the bridge and into the river.

In other words, since 1973,


has permitted me to blunder through a lot of very interesting Number Crap -- well, any goddam thing the computer could possibly do, BASIC was how I told the computer to do it, and the computer would then do it.

So after Monday or thenabouts, I'm back in business, with the tool I need to realize my modest ambition of Understanding Everything, and then Ruling Planet Earth Benevolently.

I just really didn't want to have to learn a different lingo. Screw Pascal. Screw C++. Who needs them when you have BASIC?

The buzz is that when Aliens from Beyond the Solar System pop the hood on our Voyager probes, they will find BASIC doing the thinking and navigating and decision-making. And conclude from that that Earthoids make their Machines Dance in BASIC, with some Machine/Assembly Modules tossed in for speed.

That conclusion would be simultaneously Wrong and Very Flattering. It would show us to other sentients as Wise, Straightforward, not afraid of Simplicity, Direct, Blunt, Sometimes Crude -- but always getting the Right Answer.

Lo-Tek Rules.

Kemeny and Kurtz envisioned a high-level programming language which any clever person could figure out, and begin programming and solving his/her problems after only one night's study. Art historians. Model ship makers. Traders in precious stones. Economists and Accountants. Choreographers and Chemists. Nurses, wine and cognac producers, hydroponic gardeners who only visit the rented house once a month.

Rats, okay, let me see if I can find the name of the artist/programmer who made the Three Satellites of Planet Björkguðmundsdóttir. Ah, okay, it is Copyright (c) 2008 by Perfect Sync, Inc. of Traverse City, Michigan USA, and apparently they cranked out these bright, shiny, colorful Platonic Objects using PowerBasic. That was good enough for me.

I'm particularly grateful to Professor Emeritus J.C. Sprott of the University of Wisconsin for also advising me to leap on PowerBasic. He and his work on chaos and complex systems are mentioned in the PowerBasic Wikipedia wiki. (PowerBasic seems previously to have been Borland TurboBasic.)

It's been a year since I could scream at my computer and get it to jump to my tune. But, like The Brain, or Dexter in his basement Laboratory, soon I will use PowerBasic to Rule Planet Earth, and make it straighten up and fly right. Expect lower fuel/petrol prices around late 2011, and KFC will sell gizzards in its restaurants in New England.

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