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Fire in the Valley, 3rd Edition by Paul Freiberger, Michael Swaine

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Getting Down to BASIC

If anyone had run over Bill Gates, the microcomputer industry would have been set back a couple of years.

–Dick Heiser, early computer retailer

While it’s true that the microprocessors and the crude microcomputers built by hobbyists/entrepreneurs gave computing power to the people, it was the BASIC programming language that let them harness that power. Two professors at Dartmouth College, seeking a better way of introducing their students to computers, used their grant from the National Science Foundation to give birth to BASIC in 1964. The language John Kemeney and Thomas Kurtz created was an instant success. Compared with the slow, laborious, and complex process of programming in FORTRAN, the comparable computer language ...

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