jgharston wrote:It always felt that the natural time to have encountered BBCs and become used to programming them was at school in 1982-1985 or so, which would result in you being 45-50 now.
Oh, everyone feels that the way they did it is the only natural way. I encountered BBCs — and wrote my terrible BASIC programs — at infant
school in 1982–1985, so I'm not yet 40.
Indeed I am one of the bunch that was at secondary school when the home computer started to become a reality. I started secondary school in 1980 and I think it was during that first year that a maths teacher, who had to be close to retirement, had a XZ80 which we did very simple things on including the guess a number game that uses the binary search algorithm. I don't know if this guy had his ear to ground more than most and could foresee micros taking off or whether it was just a hobby but IIRC this was before the BBC had screened any of their TV programmes on the micro. It was seeing the XZ80 that made me pester my parents for a computer and, by the time I succeeded, the XZ81 was Sinclair's current model. He then upgraded to an Atom and sometime later I upgraded to the BBC Micro.
I had no experience of micros in primary schools. When I was in primary school the height of new technology was a transistorised colour TV with a push-button tuner for watching the schools broadcasts. That had to be live, too, as the primary school had no VCR. We also listened to some radio broadcasts on an old valve radio that had a distribution facility with speakers in each classroom. I am guessing this was probably the 100V line system but I can't be sure.
As for starting to program, I think we did examine the programs behind the simple number games on the XZ80 and Atom but I also remember reading the user guide and trying things out, typing in programs from magazines and working out how they worked etc. Like most things, I think, you don't start off a master but if you're interested enough to persevere you improve.
tautology wrote:I'm just the wrong side of 40; but we saw our first beeb in the last couple of years of primary school (only the one for the whole school) - though this was in deepest, darkest Yorkshire (full of inertia for change: I still remember doing maths exercises in £'s, shillings and pence, even though currency was decimalised years before I was born). My class was one of those that had articles on the Domesday book. (I'm also pretty certain my mother is in one of the pictures.)
Reminds me of the comment supposedly made by the Mayor of New York at the time of Alexander Graham Bell's demonstration of the telephone in response to those who saw no use for it when he was supposed to have said "On the contrary, I can see a time when every town will have one!"
tautology wrote:In secondary school, there was only one room of BBC Bs, with a manky old 380Z at the end. Later the school got more computers: a Master and Torch in the CDT technology and a room of master for business studies, which had, gasp, a modem!
We had a 380Z too. They were older than the BBC micro so it had probably been around for a few years but the casing and keyboard both seemed to be built to withstand lots of abuse so lasted well. Then we got 480Zs at school which seemed like RMs equivalent to the BBC presumably put together after the BBCs started to appear in schools, i.e. their market as, at the time of the BBC's commissioning, they had effectively said "you're having a laugh".
So my choice of the BBC micro wasn't due to being exposed to it at school but because I had to the bug, was looking to upgrade, and the BBC was recommended by the father of a friend of school who worked for ICL.