Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Micro Life (3) : BBC Micro B

The Commodore VIC-20 was a great little computer i played a lot of games on but my Dad (for some reason) wanted a computer he could actually do... like... stuff with so he bought a BBC Micro Model B. This was our computer for the next few years and a very fine computer it was too. It marked the end of me being part of the mainstream with video games though, while my friends had Spectrums and C64s (and even one weirdo with a Dragon 32) i had a BBC Micro and as no one else in my class so i couldn't share any games any more...

We could however expand the computer fairly easily (a key feature of the BBC) and could actually use it to do some useful things. We bought a printer for it (a Star NL-10), it was difficult to get anything decent printed out though. (Cynics might say the printer was working perfectly normally then!) We bought a word processor which loaded from ROM (the name i can't recall right now but it may have been a Word Star variant). My Dad wrote a HAM radio database program while i wrote some text-based adventure games and some other rubbish.

More excitingly we got a 5.25" floppy disk drive for the computer and were freed from the misery of having to load software from cassette tape!

The BBC was a great little computer which was in use for a long time especially with schools and universities, i know Birmingham City University for example still had them in its Engineering faculty up into the early 1990s, but ours died long before then. It suddenly conked out one day while i was using it (and i would like to emphasise not because of anything i was doing on it!) The 8-bit era was over in any case so our next computer was our first foray into the PC world but that is a story for another day...

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