Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 21/05/99

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Living la vida Logo

If you attended school during the 1980s and got near a computer for more than 10 seconds, then the image to your left should stir some vague memories. (Incidentally, if you didn't attend school during the 1980s, there are probably quite a few parts of Gusworld that don't make a whole lot of sense.)

The vaguely Spirograph-like design is, of course, the product of Logo, the computer language that was flung at many an innocent 10 year old to help them learn the wonders of abstract thinking back in those days. (Actually, I suspect it may still be used now.) Logo was quite a powerful language (based on a subset of LISP), sporting complex recursion and list properties features, but what everyone remembers it for is turtle graphics, the ability to get an onscreen turtle to move around the screen and draw shapes. The turtle often looked less like a turtle and more like a triangle, but then that's the Apple IIe for you.

Being then (as now) a certified, card-carrying geek, I was well into Logo. We had a version on our home computer (Dr Logo for the venerable CPC 6128), and I spent many happy hours writing and debugging code while listening to records by Wham!, ABBA, the Eurythmics and the Mary Jane Girls. The time that I spent learning BASIC was probably more useful to me, but the time I spent with Logo was at least as much fun.

I hadn't thought about Logo in years, but an office discussion sent me hunting for a Windows interpreter. I soon found a freeware version online at Softronix, and before you know it, hello, new order. (Sorry, I just channelled Mel Brooks there.) I wasted a stupid amount of time last night refreshing my Logo memories, and if I'm not careful there'll be a stack of Logo listings up on this site before long. But I make no promises.

Incidentally, if you want to draw images like the one above, you'll need the following code. Type it into any Logo system, then type the command spirograph 72 (you can replace 72 with whatever number you like).

to spirograph :times
repeat :times [square 100 rt 360/:times]

to square :length
repeat 4 [fd :length rt 90]

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