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Demonstration "BB4W" Programs

Please feel welcome to contact me at richardweston@onetel.net.uk

Before you start......
Home Accounting
How are you doing?

"Arty Stuff"

Programs are given as.......
  1.  "Exec." files, which anyone can download and run without having BB4W, but also as
  2. BASIC listings, which show the easy-to-read computer instructions of BBC Basic, which I will explain to you on this site
    • If you want to see a particular  program in action, just click on the title (e.g. Stardance) below
    •  the "exec" file will be downloaded 
    •  it can then be saved onto your hard disc or onto a floppy in only a few seconds
    •  (You will have to trust*** that I'm not sending you any viruses). 
    • When you are asked to do so, save the program in your chosen location, say the desktop initially - you can tidy up later. 
    • double-click on the program's icon and see it run.

    *** If you do not wish to download an "exec." file then you can copy and paste the "Listing" into BB4W to run and subsequently edit it as detailed here.

With "BBC Basic for Windows" you can get the computer to do all sorts of wonderful things. You can almost make it dance and sing! Talking of dancing, try....


This program can give really beautiful results - give it lots of opportunities (say 50!) to show what it can do. The stars are positioned randomly in three dimensions and given random initial speeds, Isaac Newton's Laws of Gravity and Motion are applied to the stars and their subsequent motions are shown, albeit in only two dimensions. You have to imagine the motions towards and away from you. To move onto a new start with a random number of stars, just  press the Space Bar (that long thing on your keyboard). . Being able to do this sort of thing is why I enjoy programming.  Being able to program sets you free from being bound to commercial products. Here's one I did recently  (Here's its Listing   )

NEW! Colour version of Stardance with "step back in space and run again" facility

Coming shortly: 3d version (to be viewed through red/green glasses) has already been written in QBASIC by a guest - shortly to be translated back to BB4W!

For some superb java animations of double stars and related aspects of gravitation see the webpage from University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Jupiter's Moons This program simulates the apparent movements of the moons Io, Europa, Ganynede and Callisto about the planet Jupiter as we look at their orbits edge on. These moons can be seen as pinpricks of light close to the disc of Jupiter using ordinary binoculars and the simulation shows that what you will see will change from hour to hour. Listing

Ecliptic, Sun, Moon and Planets This program (listing) is able to show you (at each key press) the positions of the sun, moon and the planets (mercury to neptune) as they appear today in the zodiac, using ecliptic coordinates. Just keep the space bar down for a few minutes and you will see the fascinating looping motions of the planets over the next few years together with  the subtle regression of the nodes of the moon which is the basis of the eclipse cycles.

When the program first starts you see the position of the sun for today (always on the ecliptic since this is defined as the path of the sun in the sky) and its ecliptic coordinates (alpha, beta) corresponding to ecliptic longitude and latitude. Note the aloha scale runs "backwards" (in the direction in which the celestial bodies seem to move from the earth's northern hemisphere). Also the constellation in which the sun is presently found is shown in abbreviated form. When you press any key (eg the Space Bar) the display shows similar information for the moon and subsequent presses show the positions of the planets today. If you keep the space bar down the display will show how all the bodies move in subsequent days and reveal the fascinating retrograde motions of the planets, which so baffled astronomers until they were explained by Johannes Kepler in 1609. Please note that the vertical scale is much exaggerated compared to the horizontal scale. (If you make an (enlarged) photocopy of pages 302-303 in Donald Menzel's excellent "Field Guide to the Stars and Planets (say at A3 size) you can join the strips to make a beautiful ecliptic diagram and see where the sun, moon and planets are in relation to the bright stars of the zodiac). This program uses procedures extracted from a  full planetarium program written in BBC Basic which will appear on this site shortly (whose author generously donates it to us anonymously. He wrote it for the BBC Model B computer in the early 8Os starting from scratch using astronomy texts). I have used it with great joy ever since then - its predictions are spot on when you look out at the night sky.

Ecliptic View - Single Planet  allows you to see just one planet -  fascinating retrograde  motions soon become apparent. Listing

Moon Phases shows how the moon wanes then waxes. This program is a slight modification of one published in a book called Quality Programs for the BBC Micro by the mysterious Simon , a lecturer in computing science at Exeter University. When I first saw this program run, I realised that what we see over a month (clouds permitting) of the moon is representable by a hollow hemisphere, painted white on the outside and black on the inside, rotated about the axis through its poles. Listing


Slug - not for the squeamish! This program was developed with the help of school pupils in a Computer Club. Leave it to run for a few minutes (or hours) while you go and do something else.(Or just minimise the Slug.exe window and come back to it later to see how our little friend is getting on). The slug does a "random walk" (or in this case a slither), the subject of one of Albert Einstein's first scientific investigations.The program which makes this happen is very short. Here is its Listing   - or set of computer instructions - which in this case creates the impression of our slug and its trail of .............

Slugchase uses Richard Russell's Menu Program to generate coloured versions of the above. Listing

Red v Green - Here you can (pretend to?) test your will-power against that of the computer...Give the program lots of goes with different sized grids. This sort of scenario has been called the "Game of Life". The red organisms struggle against the green ones. Their world is really like the surface of a sphere - the top of the screen wraps round to the bottom and the left of the screen to the right, as did the world of the slug above.Click on Listing to see how it works.


Reminder Timer - turn up the sound and this will help you remember to do that vital...... what was it? I wrote this recently. Its quite fun - shattering if the volume's turned up on your soundblasters Listing 


Dayfinder You input your birthday and it works out which day of the week you were born.
Don't forget .....

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay. 


Date of Easter contains a cunning algorithm which enables you to find the date of Easter up to 2099.

Easter Day occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon which occurs after the Spring Equinox.

For example in 2003 the equinox occurs at 0100UTC on 21st March; the full moon has just occurred on the 18th March and the next full moon is on  16th April, a Wednesday; so that Easter Day is on the following Sunday, 20th April.   Listing


Lunar Lander - the classic game ( Listing ) provided by another enthusiast for BBC Basic, Zyra . Can you land and stay in one piece?


Running Averager useful to see how you're marks are stacking up at school. Useful for teachers and pupils!Listing 

Teacher's Pet calculates percentage marks from any total mark e.g. in a test. Listing 


Factors will find the prime factors of numbers up to 999999999. Listing

Throw 3 dice 5000 times and see the results tabled and graphed in a trice. Listing

Circles in BBC Basic has its own page

Ellipses in BBC Basic has its own page

Kepler's Elliptical Orbits has its own page for science and maybe even art

Spirals in BBC Basic has its own page

Lissajous Figures - originally produced by Jules Antoine Lissajous (1822-1880) using tuning forks, mirrors and light beams - now more often demonstrated with an oscilloscope. Listing


Show how Empirical Formulae are calculated in Chemistry. Listing

Gas Chromatogram Simulation - the analytical method to separate gases and volatile liquids. Listing


Adding Machine- really useful and easy to see. I've used this for years - very simple but just what I need every few days. Now, thanks to Richard Russell, I can use it on my PC as well as on my "old" Acorn Archimedes, dating back to 1990. My first computer was the BBC Model B purchased in 1983.Listing

Direct Debit Manager Keeps your finances out of the red. Listing


Painting This little program lets you easily create cartoon faces using colour-pick and a broad brush at the tip of your mouse pointer. Right-click selects the colour and left click and drag gets you painting. For Listing see Tutorial 012

Spirals uses a home-made algorithm to make a spiral then uses it many times to give gorgeous coloured pattern which stays attractive indefinitely. Listing

Balloons  arose out of a spiral drawing program quite unexpectedly! (Listing)

Ellipse Art uses the routines of ellipse drawing detailed in the maths section to produce evolving coloured displays. Here is the Listing. When the program is running and you have something you want to print out just press Alt / Print Screenkeys to copy the screen to the clipboard then just paste the image into your graphics program (such as Paint). Here's a sample.

Enjoy! And please feel welcome to contact me at richardweston@onetel.net.uk

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