February 21, 2016

Chapter 2 - 1981

My first computer, the Transam Tuscan languished unused in the attic, my new toy the BBC Micro model B sat proudly on my dining room table.

BBC Micro B ComuterBBC Micro B Comuter

Connected to small tv and a cassette player as the program loader and storage, I diligently entered list after list of code from magazines as I grappled with learning the Basic language.

After many nights, I was finally ready to code my own program, and that was to be The Football Pools Predictor”, I was convinced I could predict the draw results in the Saturday football (Soccer) games, and at a stroke become rich.

I spent weeks coding, debugging and testing, it was based on giving each team a weighting factor for previous results, whether it was a home or away fixture, and if key players were injured.

I will never know if it would have ever worked because it took so long to enter all the results for each team in the four leagues I gave up, back in 1980 the BBC basic did not have a database I could store previous results in so they all had to be re-entered every time I wanted to run the program.

The process taught me a lot about programming in Basic and would prove to be invaluable in the future.

The BBC Micro was a great little computer, it had a good selection of peripheral add-ons

* Joysticks
* Tape recorder
* Floppy drives (single and double)
* Econet networking upgrade
* Winchester disk system (Hard Disk)
* 6502 Second Processor
* Z80 Second processor (with CP/M and business software suite)
* 32016 Second processor
* ARM Evaluation System
* Teletext adapter
* Prestel adapter
* Speech synthesiser
* Music 500 synthesiser
* BBC Turtle (robot)
* BBC Buggy
* IEEE 488 Interface

The other great feature about the computer was a wide selection of games, my favorite, which I became quite addicted to, spending long hours into the night playing was Elite the space trading video game, which has been re-released for modern platforms called Elite Dangerous.

The Transam & then the BBC Micro were my introduction to personal computing, it was a revelation to me, as my day job was as a systems engineer for ICL (international Computers Ltd), I was used to mainframes in computer halls the size of a football pitch and you were constantly aware that dozens of users were logged onto the system.

But more of that on my next trip back to the future…………..


Previous post
Chapter 1 - 1980 The year was 1980 I had just purchased the beginnings of my first computer, the Transam Tuscan it was based on the Z80 processor, with 8KB of
Next post
Chapter 3 - 1976 The month is June the year 1976, I have just got married and I am saying goodbye to my new wife as she and her best friend leave for our