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10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 (Software Studies) Hardcover – November 16, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Software Studies
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (November 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819426520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262018463
  • ASIN: 0262018462
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

10 PRINT CHR$ (205.5 + RND (1)); : GOTO 10, a new book collaboratively written by 10 authors, takes a single line of code -- inscribed in the book's mouthful of a title -- and explodes it. That one line, a seemingly clumsy scrap of BASIC, generates a fascinatingly complicated maze on a Commodore 64.... Though 10 PRINT CHR$ (205.5 + RND (1)); : GOTO 10 is occasionally whiplash-inducing in its headlong rush through history, the connections it makes over 294 pages are inspired. One of the most compelling sections of the book discusses the cultural history of mazes, relating 10 PRINT's maze back to the labyrinth of Knossos, where, according to the great Greek myth, Theseus waged battle with the terrifying Minotaur.

(Geeta Dayal, Slate)

10 Print is a creative adventure in reading source code as a technical object and cultural icon, as well as a window onto the ways in which technical and artistic practices mingle. Wildly imaginative and boldly collaborative, it sets a high bar for the emerging field of critical code studies. It celebrates the 'Maker' philosophy and the DIY spirit of home computing at its best. A romp, a scholarly exposition, and an experiment in writing in a collaborative authorial voice, it is a delight not to be missed.

(N. Katherine Hayles, author of How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis; Professor of Literature, Duke University)

To see the world in a grain of sand -- or a slice of silicon -- has always been the great hermeneutical project. Here we find that project disassembled and recompiled by Nick Montfort and his collaborators, who focus their diverse training and intellects on a single eponymous line of vintage computer code. The result, 10 PRINT, is an executable that is also an open source for a powerful new mode of collective and cooperative scholarship.

(Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, University of Maryland; author of Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination)

Well before the Web browser and even the desktop metaphor came to be, there was the blinking cursor of the command line. It sat in silence, submissively waiting for the incantations of the programmer. Until the C64--a VW Beetle equivalent in its affordability, reliability, and simplicity--only a precious few had access to the command line and the order and chaos it could produce. Through an investigation of one line of code, this book reveals what happened when the C64 opened coding up to 'test driving' hobbyists and began to reveal itself as a platform for true creativity.

(John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design)

This microscopically close reading of a one-line BASIC program opens to reveal, fractal-like, the breadth and depth of critical code studies. Taking what the authors refer to as a 'variorum approach' allows 10 PRINT to explore not just the multiple forms in which this line of code circulated, but the rich array of its cultural resonances and technological offspring. Blending ten scholarly voices in one coherent, collaborative text, 10 PRINT itself produces a new kind of code, a working system that points the way to one viable future for scholarship.

(Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication, Modern Language Association)

About the Author

Nick Montfort is Associate Professor of Digital Media at MIT and the coauthor of Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System (MIT Press, 2009).

Patsy Baudoin is Digital Humanities, Media and Film Studies, and Women's & Gender Studies Librarian at MIT.

John Bell is Assistant Professor of Innovative Communication Design at the University of Maine.

Ian Bogost is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC, and the coauthor of Newsgames: Journalism at Play (MIT Press, 2010).

Jeremy Douglass is a postdoctoral researcher in software studies at the University of California, San Diego, in affiliation with Calit2.

Mark C. Marino is Associate Professor (Teaching) and directs the Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS) Lab at the University of Southern California.

Michael Mateas is Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Casey Reas is Professor of Design Media Arts at UCLA and coauthor of Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists (MIT Press, 2007).

Mark Sample is Associate Professor of English at George Mason University.

Noah Vawter is a sound artist.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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It's one of those books that leaves me feeling a lot smarter than when I started.
josefski
There have been many books written about mazes, and whole careers built upon studying randomness, and this is a short little book.
James Bumgardner
10 PRINT completely and entirely dissects its titular one line of code in every sense possible.
Admiral Ozymandias

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By James Bumgardner on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is an exploration of it's title: A one-line BASIC program that was intended to run on an early 80s Commodore 64 computer. The program produces the maze-like pattern shown on the book's cover, and inner sleeves.

Each chapter explores a different facet of this program, and by doing so it covers an incredible amount of ground. There is a chapter on mazes, a chapter on randomness, a chapter on grids, a chapter on the BASIC language, and so on. If you think this is a lot of pages to devote to a one-line computer program, you are mistaken. The book barely scratches the surface of each of the diverse subjects it touches upon, from Falcon looms to flying toasters. There have been many books written about mazes, and whole careers built upon studying randomness, and this is a short little book.

It is the surprising depth and far-reaching ramifications of little useless programs like these that got me into this game, back in the early 80s. After my Timex Sinclair, my second computer was a Commodore VIC 20, the precursor to the more successful C64, and I fondly remember writing one-liners like these, staring into the glowing phosphors of a little television, until I could barely keep my eyes open in the early morning light. During the months that I manipulated those phosphors, the symbols they represented were manipulating me. My fevered brain underwent more intellectual growth during that period than any time in my life since my early childhood.

The book was written by a team of what my colleagues call "unicorns" - cross-disciplinary people who straddle the worlds of creativity and technology. I was expecting a set of disconnected essays from different voices, but I didn't get it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By josefski on February 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I rated this a five because it does what a collaboratively written book should do: The analyses of each element are deep and thoughtful and each author is really able to drill deeply into the subject of computer programming with the best tools of their respective disciplines. I've learned a lot from this book and I think it's a really good read for either engineers/programmers with an artistic side and liberal arts majors with a technical side. There is just so much insight in this book I can't even begin to do it justice in this review. It has even made me a better programmer just because it provides background into how certain methods came to be and why things are the way they are. It's one of those books that leaves me feeling a lot smarter than when I started.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robin H. on September 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
Short version: a great book that I'm surprised exists, that combines my interests in programming, classic computers, and art. Strangely, page 229 has lots of technical errors that probably don't matter to most people, but considering the precise and in-depth nature of most of the book, and that it's presented as an academic study, I think it's worth examining and correcting.

Long version (from my blog):

I should start this by saying I love the book 10 PRINT; reading it was a great way to start 2014 and inspired some of my own projects.

It was written by ten or so people, a smart bunch it seems. So I was really surprised when I was reading the chapter about the Commodore 64, page 229 in particular, to find several errors. I was even more surprised to find no one discussing these errors online, and the errors remain in the .pdf version available on their website as of this writing. I tried to contact a couple of the authors (Ian Bogost in particular, because I'm a fan and I found him on Twitter easily) but didn't catch his attention. I realize he's a busy guy. So I'll write about it, in the hopes it'll be corrected before the paperback version is released.

Error 1: "1,000 characters do fill the entire screen--in what might be considered an illusory consummation of the maze--before the text scrolls upward, leaving two more twenty-five-character rows to fill."

This should, of course, be "two more forty-character rows to fill". The Commodore 64 screen is 40 characters wide, and 25 characters tall; 1000 characters in total. When the screen scrolls upward, the bottom two rows are left empty, requiring 80 new characters of maze to be filled in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Admiral Ozymandias on January 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
10 PRINT completely and entirely dissects its titular one line of code in every sense possible. Technically, aesthetically, historically. An excellent examination of an at-first seemingly inconsequential footnote of computing.
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By Gunnar Wolf on December 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time — Of course, I write this being a geek that had his computer-infested childhood in the 1980s, and that now works as an academic, walking the tightrope between social sciences and technology.

The book might not be for everybody. But if you happen to be in my demographic, or to have similar life history to mine, you will really enjoy it.

A big plus: As the book is Creative Commons-licensed, you can download a full copy from the authors' website. If you like what you see, you can proceed to buy the (beautifully printed) book.
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