It was recently BASIC’s 57th birthday, the programming language many of us first used to do any computer programming on computers from the 1970s and 1980s like the Commodore PET, Sinclair ZX Spectrum or Apple 2. Worth remembering too that part of the team that created BASIC was Sister Mary Kenneth Keller, the first woman and one of the first people in the US to get a PhD in computer science.
I’d known for a while that there was a Japanese port of TinyBASIC for the BBC micro:bit. To be honest I thought it was a bit of a novelty as you need a computer to connect to it that will be more powerful than the micro:bit and able itself to run proper BASIC, but it’s actually very, very clever. It will allow you to access features of the micro:bit itself, like the LED display, the buttons, GPIO pins and so on, meaning you can do real physical computing with the micro:bit in BASIC. You don’t need any special hardware, just a micro:bit and some sort of serial terminal on a computer connected to the micro:bit by USB.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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