Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

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Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by Commie_User » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:08 pm

Here's my little list. I don't think this is all of it but it's what I recall.

1. The BBC, obviously. Though those were curiously the perepheral machines at our schools. Though not so curiously with the one Acorn Archimedes at our secondary school. I thought it was a nice Amiga-type computer but it had little but Zarch and some vanilla productivity disks. I went back to the Beeb as at least they had a couple of proper game disks with Pole Position, Frak, Manic Miner and others.

2. RM Nimbus computers. We had standalone, mostly 186s in primary school and the 286-based networks in secondary. For most of us, our Windows for Workgroups baptism were on these. I enjoyed the BBC BASIC on them and enjoyed accessing my frivolous type-ins anywhere on the PC network. All our work got wiped each term but those weren't touched.

3. Ricoh Synchrofax. Already dead tech when I rummaged in the cupboards, this ferric oxide machine played a sheet of coated paper. Blanks were available and I could even play them backwards. It came with its own mike so you could make your own action right away.
The hen is getting ready. the hen is getting ready to lay an egg.

4. A pile of 1960s/70s language lab gear I was allowed to discover. I can't remember what they were called, nor can I find one on Google. But the units resembled smaller Dansettes of varnished wood which opened to reveal a tape cartridge system and typical 'control tower' headset. I recall basic stop and start controls and maybe record. I was told there was one on each desk, connected to the master console.

Who knows if anyone remembers this vague description of a particular model but just look how space age it was in 70s:

You know, we'll never know the joys of this again. The late 20th Century was a goldmine of breathtaking formats and concepts, all jumbled together in this rush of fashion and obsolescence. Each new idea resembled a miracle.

In these technology cupboards, there was a range of little open reel tape decks, a 1970s music centre (?), CBM PET and other little bits which were long unwanted by the early-90s. I was given a lot of it or the others were chucked out anyway. Like that PET and music centre I kept.

5. Ferguson telly equipment.

And of course, those huge trolleys. I remember our mid-80s teachers trooping us to the darkened TV room to play incredibly noisy videotapes turned up loud. They ended up breaking machines, doubtless through enthusiastic jabbing of the buttons and forcing cassettes through the ZIF mechanism of the later ones. Good days.

There was also, in the 90s, a TV-VCR combi based on the standalone 4700 video at my next school. Bit nicer by the 90s but still the same thing, though I recall no use of it.




Look at this baby. Lucky to stumble on it during this search.

This was never at school but the dud or part-ex appliance depot when my dad worked at the Southern Electricity Board. He brought home one of these on the grounds I could have it if it worked. But there seemed something wrong with every component and my 11 year-old self was crushed.

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Re: Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by VincentVega » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:58 pm

Here's mine:

1. Beeb (Model B). I first used these at school in 1985 or so, when at junior school in the third year. My dad had brought one home from work (another school), so I'd seen one before. I remember typing *. once to list a disc's contents and people being amazed. One of the Beebs even had a light pen, though it was a heap of junk and smelt weird.

My secondary school used Beebs as the main machines for a couple of years after I joined (there was a room just full of them). They were still in use after that in random departments of the school, such as modern languages (the "Granville" program), the library (I used to type in games (naughty!) for people to play, e.g. one liners from the back page of Acorn User) and CDT. We actually had computing lessons (or "periods", as they were called), and the first thing we did was some Logo. We had some homework to design something; my dad helped me with mine (it drew a Master Compact) and I took it to school on a floppy disc and loaded it in. All the other children had to type theirs in manually.

There was a Logo turtle floating around at secondary school, though it never worked.

2. Master Compact. Still at junior school, but in my last year there. They had a delivery of two Compacts - one with colour monitor and one with monochrome (green). I got tasked with setting them up, despite never having seen one before. They were very strange to me and I found them difficult to set up. I managed to plug in the monitor plug incorrectly at the back of the Compact with the colour monitor, which messed up all the colours. This confused me greatly. I eventually resolved the issue by disconnecting everything and starting again.

3. RM Nimbus 186. Even stranger than the Compact, but not nearly as impressive and actually rather dull. This was my first exposure to MS DOS and Word 5(?) for DOS; the Nimbus machines replaced the room of Beebs. I remember pirating Word 5 for my dad, who by that time had an Olivetti 286 PC and being very disappointed to find that it didn't work. These machines must have been one of the first I'd seen with a mouse.

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Re: Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by martinw » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:33 pm

We had wood work when I was at school :lol:

No computers :shock:


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Re: Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by leenew » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:13 pm

Oooh! I must be a bit younger than Martin :D
We had a Research Machines 380Z on the obligatory trolley and a Pet 2001 with the terrible chicklet keyboard.
Great memories of Nightmare Park... probably the first computer game I ever played.
Our first programming assignments were sent off to a mainframe in Leeds to be run (mainly being returned a week later with the word ERROR printed on the sheet :lol:)
We soon upgraded to a classroom full of beebs... And an obsession was born...

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Re: Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by CMcDougall » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:15 pm

in 1983 at primary school I had the beeb, monitor, disc drive & Grannys Garden on the trolley :D
when i never had a beeb <1984
wodden toys.jpg
still got
in 1985:
garbage Pail Kids
& this car:
air blaster

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Re: Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by vanpeebles » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:10 am

I can't remember having computers at infant school, but they had a telly that got wheeled out for Basil Brush :lol: (When TV stations showed school programs on a morning)

At juniors there was two BBC micros for the whole school, and one became a Master the year I left.

Seniors had A3000s in first year which turned into A3020s.

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Re: Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by DutchAcorn » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:49 am

I had to work with the Aster CT-80 in school. These were bought in large quantities by the Dutch government for computer education. They were TRS-80 clones on nitro: better and faster.

To me, having a BBC micro and Sinclair spectrum at home, they were just very boring machines.

The only other electric equipment I can remember were the lights and the school bell.

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Re: Which gadgets and computers do you remember from school?

Post by Commie_User » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:21 am

That looks mighty! Imagine how eggheady the average kid would have felt to make his own programs on that thing. IBM 5150-like and doubtless more versatile for kids.

If we're talking foreign schools, I like the look of the Elwro:

Communist Poland's Spectrum knockoff for schools seemed a very canny choice, especially in a land of constant austerity. I wonder if Uncle Clive noted the irony. And for anti-capitalists, they certainly hopped on the market bandwagon.

Proper keyboard too. And no Microdrive! The Reds improved on it.

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