Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Aug 2012 04:17 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Quick - name the most important personal computer of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Those of you who mentioned the legendary Apple II - that's fine. I respect your decision. Forced to think objectively in 2012, I may even agree. But if you just named Radio Shack's TRS-80, you made me smile. Your choice is entirely defensible. And back in the TRS-80's heyday, I not only would have agreed with it but would have vehemently opposed any other candidate."
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RE[2]: Were TRS-80 clones legal?
by rklrkl on Mon 6th Aug 2012 08:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Were TRS-80 clones legal?"
rklrkl
Member since:
2005-07-06

You'll note that I said "serious" 8-bit users - yes, the BBC was expensive (and poorly marketed, IMHO), but did *anyone* do anything on the Spectrum, Commodore 64 etc. than play games? The lack of a decent keyboard and no disk system on the Spectrum was a disaster and the frankly abysmal OS/BASIC (not to mention its joke of a disk system) on the C64 stifled it too.

If you wanted to anything but play games, the BBC Micro was the machine of choice. The best OS, the best BASIC, the best disk system, the best ROM/sideways RAM system and the best keyboard of any 8-bit micro ever.

Reply Parent Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Errr...In the 80's, coding was far more popular than it is today. All my mates were capable of using BASIC. The C64 has a pretty terse and hard to learn BASIC, what with all the Peeks and Pokes, but it had hardware sprites... and once you understood it, it wasn't that hard to code for. The BBC did not have any decent graphics hardware, in fact BBC didn't even really have a decent colour mode (not that the spectrum was any better..) The Atari 800XL had a better basic than the C64 and the Sprites were simple to code (If I remember correctly.) The Oric had a nice BASIC that was pretty buggy. The best computer I ever owned was the Amstrad CPC 464. The BASIC on that had a lot of features missing on the BBC - crazy interrupt driven stuff. The Spectrum was okay to program for in basic.I had a microdrive too, so I didn't worry about tape.

Unfortunately you're speaking to the "original" collector of 8-bits. From 1983 to 2004 I owned a shedload (Spectrum, ZX81, Oric Atmos, Amstrad CPC 464, Atari 800XL, C64 and a Commodeore PET.) Most were bought at the time they were popular. I coded on all of them. I used to walk in to Dixons and write a small game (usually a UDG with a cursor or QAOP control system) on a semi regular basis. (usually to piss off my friends who were more the 10 Print"hello": goto 10 level.) I wrote a word processor on the PET and used it to write a paper for school.

I never owned anything Acorn till the Archimedes range (A3000 then much later an A7000.) And it really had nothing other than built in assembler and procedures that really excited me.

Reply Parent Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I'd like to second that. Even the dumbest kids could and would at least code a few lines.

Most, if not all, home computers allowed you to start coding the moment you turned it on. And they came with a manual!

Reply Parent Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Errr...In the 80's, coding was far more popular than it is today. All my mates were capable of using BASIC.

In a way, depending how you count; it really wasn't. Many more people code now than in the 80s ...only, the numbers of non-coders (drawn in by new possibilities, expanding diverse things you can do on a personal computer) growing at even higher rates masks that a bit.

And anyway, either you had quite unusual mates, or you give them too much credit. probably the latter: as you say further down, "my friends who were more the 10 Print"hello": goto 10 level" - do we really want to describe such as coding? (plus likely typed-in when the primary activity of games got momentarily boring, and there was not much else one could do on 8-bit micros)

My BASIC efforts weren't far above that ...but still relatively the most "advanced" among my dozen+ buddies having micros (who AFAIK didn't ever peek outside games; except for one who got customised Workbench floppies once, marvelled at the GUI for a while).
Some time later, when my school got five Pentium PCs, they were used mostly for gaming... yes, during classes (that is of course also the fault of, well, weak teacher; but still). Luckily, no gaming-occupiers on the later addition of a surplus 386 (without CD-ROM and anyway too slow for the games that were in circulation, I guess), which mostly just stood there neglected - hence available for exploring.

a small game (usually a UDG

UDG?

BTW, overall, WRT to your listing of various British micros and their fortunes - what about Enterprise 128? ;p
(also, why would anybody launch and buy SAM Coupe in 1989 - when, as you mentioned, Amiga was already all the rage...)

Reply Parent Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

If you wanted to anything but play games, the BBC Micro was the machine of choice. The best OS, the best BASIC, the best disk system, the best ROM/sideways RAM system and the best keyboard of any 8-bit micro ever.


I don't think so. All of that is wonderful, and I remember using some of it in school. Unfortunately, it doesn't alter the fact that the BBC was unloved and really only ever used inside schools. It's not like the Apple 2 at all. The Apple 2 is pretty much adored in the US - if you are of a certain age, even if you now hate Apple, you have sweet memories of the Apple 2 (or so it seems..) But the BBC just reminds me of sitting in Computer Studies and being bored. Or the disappointment that was the Doomsday project. Or some really crap educational software. Very few average kids outside of affluent areas owned a BBC. Most owned a Speccy. I think enough of the old school innovators made a tonne of cash back in the day writing Spectrum software to disprove what you're saying.. or are you claiming they didn't write "serious" software? Unfortunately, the BBC was a niche throughout the entire run, and the Arc was much the same. The fact the A3010 failed so hard is a testament to that. The problem is really that old school BBC users have a superiority complex. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2