LOGO’s comeback

After not thinking about LOGO for years and years, it appeared to me twice this week.

The first time was when we were taking a tour of a school my older son might go to next year. They had computer generated drawings in the hallway and someone pointed out that they were teaching LOGO in the computer lab.

The second was in a Wired article this week called Forward 40: What Became of the LOGO Programming Language? The article covered the history of the LOGO programming language and talked about the only thing I remember from using LOGO in fourth grade.

In LOGO you’d type in commands and then a little turtle would carry them out. The turtle was just a triangle and as it moved it would draw out lines with its tail. If you told it this:


then the turtle would draw a square. Of course my favorite was:

FORWARD 99999999999

or whatever the highest number was that it would accept. I think you could only tell it to move something like 9999 and then you’d have to follow that with a REPEAT 9999 command. that would cause the turtle to turn slightly and then speed up the screen drawing these overlapping lines across the screen to the right — sort of like messing with the horizontal hold on an old black and white television. It was a trip.

The Wired article invited people to share their own LOGO stories, but I figured I’d put mine here since I hadn’t heard of LOGO since fourth grade and now I’ve heard it come up twice in a week. Wild.

Published by Brian Alvey

I build software that makes creative people more powerful.

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