An anonymous reader writes "David Brin is an award-winning science fiction writer who has often written on social issues such as privacy and creativity. Now, he's written an essay for Salon.com titled 'Why Johnny Can't Code'. He discusses his son's years-long effort to find a way to use his math book's BASIC programming examples. All they were ever able to find, however, were either children's versions (on the Mac) or 'advanced' versions which attempted to support modern programming requirements (and which required constant review of the user's manual). Ultimately, they ended-up buying an old Commodore 64 on Ebay — Yes, for those of you under the age of 30, 'personal' computers like the Apple II and C64 used to all include BASIC in their ROMs."