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Excellent Early 80's series on microcomputers from the BBC


Kyle22
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I just found this wonderful series about early 80's micros (produced in early 80's) on the BBC. You will need a UK IP address to watch it. Most VPNs should work. I use privateinternetaccess.com.

 

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p03064m1/the-computer-programme-1-its-happening-now#group=p031v2bg

 

In the 1st episode, I saw a banner in the computer store with "ATA" on it. I am guessing it was Atari. They haven't showed any Ataris yet, although they did have some Commies. I saw a VIC 20 and a PET. I'm watching the 2nd episode now where they show BASIC programming on a (god forbid) Sinclair. :)

 

Interesting series.

 

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Don't disparage the Sinclair ZX80/81. Their minimalist design and clever BASIC are triumphs of engineering.

No disparagement intended. It was very minimalist with 1K RAM and that awful video. Considering it was a fraction of the price of an Atari 400, it's not too bad :)

After it evolved a few years it became quite nice. (Speccy+)

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I'm glad I was not tempted by the ZX-80, ZX-81, Dick Smith 80 (TRS-80 clone), Vic-20, BBC computers and such like.

 

My life today would have been completely different today - had I gone down any other route?

 

Harvey

In my case had I went to that computers I'll for sure had found some way to get money and soon I'd gone to other...

Because of here all my friends were ZXs/Timex 2048|2068 compatibles I'm sure will end up buying one of these.

Indeed what make me bought the Atari 800XL was I went to the store with my mother, had I went with a friend and for sure was a ZX 48K because it was my 1st computer and I didn't know anything about. What really make me like it was the keyboard and what I would then show and say to my friends: "Hey look, my computer has a keyboard keys similar to those at the bank!...". At this time I only ever saw was the ZXs at the friends home and what we talk was the ribbon keys and not had a keyboard that we called here 'professional' and only saw at the bank.

Indeed I was very lucky that the total money my mother together with my stepfathers got was around 35.000$00 that was enough to buy the 800XL, XC11 tape recorder, one Spectravideo joystick and a green monitor when a ZX 48K was around half the money I had and people at the start didn't even buy/need to a joystick and because those simple/universal tape recorders could be used most of us already had one to listen music.

I also lucky because there was also an MSX and a Sharp MZ-700 at the store that had the tape recorder on the machine. These ones with a joystick had a similar price as the Atari but then no money remaining for the monitor and my family don't want to use the tv, they thought that computers brooke the tv.

Had I gone these and later when I start to visiting stores and seeing magazines I would had sooner lost the interest because there wasn't games anywhere for these machines. In all those I only ever knew two guys with each a MSX and a MZ-700.

And because my family don't had money and also no games I would probably lost the interest for computers.

But lets say that I bought a ZX I think that I wasn't today doing gfxs and games for it because they had all the games back then, there aren't sprites, gfxs modes and a colour pallete like ours ;).

The same as ZX if I had bought a C64 and here even more because with all their great coders and artists that are still active today I would probably still visit the websites.

There are still great and large C64 games coming out so I would still be a part of the community but will never do gfxs or try to post 'ways of' or try to find coders. If I had been a C64 owner I think that I don't even have ideas :grin: !...

What makes me be here started with the internet and our lack of the old games versions for the A8. Many here remember my appearing here and my first posts about Last Ninja and I have to thank Tebe for G2F, wasn't it done and I probably hadn't done soo many or learned so easy and quickly the A8 architecture. And of course that so many colours, gfxs modes and priors, some strange ones that get me to have to use the head is another reason to be here because I like and always think the A8 as a challenge that takes me most of the times hours and no sleeping to have something.

Yeah I'm crazy and like me the way I am! Thank you A8!...

:grin:

 

:thumbsup:

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Don't know if it's off topic but, about TV show, I loved "Les petits génies" (French title). The English title was "Whiz Kids".

I am sad that no company published the show as a DVD. It would be great to see it again.

For those who do not remember, it was the story of 4 teenagers (with their bikes) who were investigating on some cases with the help of a reporter.

But the important point is that there was a "geek" (the word did not exist at that time !) who had a room full of computers of that time (Apple, Atari,...)

Anybody liked this show in 83/84 ?

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My own personal story is somewhat different. In 1982 - I was doing a one year course - what is called Level 3 Data Processing, in which you have a go at BASIC and COBOL programming - which I found I was not good at, along with touch typing (which I already knew how, learning from a booklet with a manual typewriter), accounting and Communications English. It was to make you work ready for the data processing industry. I did visit a workplace with a data processing department - the local council, where a former high school friend, was working as a computer operator. Found out he enjoyed playing Donkey Kong. I did like playing arcade games with their colourful animated graphics - Galaga and Zaxxon especially - and wrote about such games for an English assignment. Being somewhat artistic, I was only interested in a computer system, that could deliver decent graphics quality - so the early computers did not interest me at all. Years earlier I read about the very first microcmputers that enthusiasts soldered and pieced together - but what they exactly ran on them, was a mystery to me. The appearance of the Apple II seemed appealing, since it was already assembled - but reading about home computers in 1982, the Atari 800 did stand out. I was able to check one out, at a local computer store - but there was nothing to run on it - so I typed in a few BASIC listings from Compute! I can't remember seeing Star Raiders there, that I read about in a review about the Atari 800.

My main hobby at that time was 35mm still photography, having purchased a Nikkormat SLR when I was 16. Ten years later, it would be home commputers. For 1983 I decided to have a year off - and go on an OE (Overseas Experience) that typically some New Zealanders do. I decided upon Northern England for personal reasons, stopping off at Maplin's Hammersmith store to purchase my Atari 800 set up there - it's pricing was reduced slightly, which told me it was time to buy. Probably a very wise decision, like with my Nikkormat - go for quality and decent specs. While in Hull, I did find 2 other enthusiasts there, also with Atari 800s. One had an 810 disk drive, which I became rather envious of.

I was on a very tight budget - and so could not purchase new games easily - so, I resorted to making use of a hire library for games on cassette - and copied them through one method or another. Though I did purchase about half a dozen titles originally - that included Star Raiders, Pac Man, Shamus... It would be a year later that I would finally get around to using Micropainter, and started drawing some cartoon like graphics. I was into computer videogaming - with arcade games especially. The thought that I would eventually be able to design some graphics for an arcade quality game(s) did not enter my mind in those early years of Atari computer usage. And when the opportunity to do so, finally eventuated - I was very keen to see what could I do? The term "beyond your wildest dreams"... comes to mind - has happened a few times in my life.

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I only glanced at the iPlayer link, but it seems only a couple of episodes are available there. Below are some links to the Internet Archive with more episodes of the referenced series. From memory (I've watched all the videos in the first two linked sections below), video quality is patchy in places, but certainly watchable on a tablet/phone size screen.

 

https://archive.org/details/computer-programme

https://archive.org/details/makingmostmicro

https://archive.org/details/microlive

 

Only series 1 of MicroLive it seems.

 

The parent page looks to have some other interesting stuff as well.

 

https://archive.org/details/computersandtechvideos

 

Jeremy

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Don't know if it's off topic but, about TV show, I loved "Les petits génies" (French title). The English title was "Whiz Kids".

I am sad that no company published the show as a DVD. It would be great to see it again.

For those who do not remember, it was the story of 4 teenagers (with their bikes) who were investigating on some cases with the help of a reporter.

But the important point is that there was a "geek" (the word did not exist at that time !) who had a room full of computers of that time (Apple, Atari,...)

Anybody liked this show in 83/84 ?

 

Yeah, definitely remember watching this show as a kid. It was a spin off of Simon & Simon that weas popular at the time. Sigh, it was a time when teenagers that used computers were actually "smart"...

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One of these days I will get a BBC Micro to play with. It's an interesting machine.

 

Now, a question for everyone, and especially Dr. Who fans. I have installed the iPlayer Downloader, but have the 30 day DRM problem. It downloads .MP4 files and plays them perfectly (for 30 days from release date), but..... Does anyone know of a good program that can remove the DRM from the files and allow me to convert the video format? There are many things that turn up in a Google search, but most of them seem like fakes who only want money.

 

New Dr. Who this coming Saturday :)

 

Thanks.

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A wonderfully wacky British TV show for us 'boffins' was The Secret Life of Machines. Try it - you won't be disappointed. You might have seen it in the US on TLC or Discovery, back when they showed good TV.

It is a wonderful TV series - I videotaped a lot of it. But my videomachines have died on me and have not got a working replacement. It's quirky cartoons are more interesting to me, than South Park, or Family Guy, etc.

 

Harvey

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