THE WORLD INSIDE THE COMPUTER
A New, Improved Computer Friend For Your Apple
Fred D'Ignazio, Associate Editor
This column catches me in the midst of a move from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to Roanoke, Virginia. Most of my dozen computers are still in Chapel Hill being looked after by a trusted babysitter. My roof leaks, my shower floods the bathroom floor, my study is buried in boxes, and Catie and Eric just came down with ear infections.
In addition to their sore ears, Catie and Eric are going through something you might call "computer-starvation shock." They think they are still a multi-computer family, and they brag about it to all their friends. They gather a horde of neighborhood kids with the promise of a dozen beeping, flashing computers. They climb the stairs, peek into my study, and what do they see? One lone computer. A rather sad-looking machine, vintage 1977. It doesn't talk, doesn't make pictures, doesn't play music. What a letdown!
It's times like these when you readers come in handy. Thanks to one reader – Chuck Johnston of Manhattan Beach, California I can still provide you with a useful column this month.
Chuck recently sent me a program he wrote that modifies my "Talking Head" program for the Apple. In my opinion, Chuck's program is a substantial improvement on the original version. It's exactly the kind of feedback I'd like to get from my readers. Thanks, Chuck!
Below is Chuck's letter and his program:
Fred D'Ignazio is a computer enthusiast and author of several books on computers for young people. He is presently working on two major projects: he is writing a series of books on how to create graphics-and-sound adventure games. He is also working on a computer mystery-and-adventure series for young people.
As the father of two young children, Fred has become concerned with introducing the computer to children as a wonderful tool rather than as a forbidding electronic device. His column appears monthly in COMPUTE!.
I am writing in regard to your column which appears in the September issue of COMPUTE! Magazine. I found your article interesting, but the changes you suggest for the Apple II were, in my opinion, inadequate.
The Apple is incapable of printing a reverse slash (as is this ancient typewriter), so the head shape you designed does not work. Also, you suggest deleting the sound subroutine, but it makes the program much more interesting. I have revised your program to run on the Apple and thought you might like to see it. I also failed to understand why you didn't draw the head using graphics; as you can see, the resulting animation is much more effective.
Included also is a sound driver program for the Apple in line 20, since, as we know, the Apple is only capable of rudimentary buzzes and clicks in Applesoft. It is POKEd into memory at $0300 and the POKEs in the sound subroutines are as follows: POKE 768,x (where x is a number between 1 and 255) sets the tone frequency. POKE 769,y (y also between 1 and 255) sets the tone duration. In the program enclosed I used the same values as the original program; whether it sounds the same is unlikely, but with some adjustment it could come close. Well, I hope you like the program and thank you for your time.