BBC releases computer history archive

on-topic Acorn-related news and discussions not covered by the other forums
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Elminster
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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:07 pm

I had forgotten about the live hack on the program, the surealist bit is in the next section they talk about computer security with no mention of what has just happened. In fact I would say the talk about computer security could have been on a tv program today, although a lot has changed the issues are much the same.

Other things they are just so far off the mark. Like not getting free software or cheap software as you pay for what you get. Don’t think they saw open source coming.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Commie_User » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:48 pm

While downloading a bunch of these, I found the Ant downloader in Firefox caused regular audio pauses for a few microseconds on playback, as the video didn't seem to keep the same speed.

JDOWNLOADER 2 solved my problems there, if anyone else had trouble too. I have all I wanted now. I wonder how long the BBC will keep them online yet.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Commie_User » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:59 pm

Watching some of these was genuinely interesting. The Electronic Office showed life at that interesting middle point between computers used for databases, file storage and word processing and just before DTP and multimedia, hence the New York Times still gluing articles to master sheets of paper before printing the newspaper edition from the negatives.

Electric Avenue taking a trip to the recording studio was very interesting as Martin Rushent often came into our branch of Maplin while I worked there.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by BigEd » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:38 am

Commie_User wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:48 pm
I wonder how long the BBC will keep them online yet.
I'm glad to hear two or three people have made 'personal' archives. It seems that TNMoC have got a safe copy of all the video and will make it available to visitors - that's much better than nothing but not as good as an online website. There's a hint there that the BBC minisite will be gone within a month or two.

The Internet Archive have a good policy: anyone can upload anything, and it will be on the web until it gets a legitimate takedown notice. It will remain in their archive in any case.
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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Coeus » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:04 pm

Micro Live, Series 1, Episode 4: Which? decided to challenge supermarkets and chain store by asking for advice on buying a computer to solve a business problem which they deliberately chose such that no off-the-shelf solution would suffice. It seems they were surprised to find themselves served by game-playing youths. Mac challenged them as to whether they were being reasonable. I wonder what they were expecting. Presumably what they should have got is lots of "That's much too specialised for what we do here, you'll need to find a proper consultant".

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:11 pm

Just got to this episode. My dad would have been a which? member then and I have been one for 25 years. They still do those sorts of investigations they days but there software requirement would be a bit more reasonable, I.e. what you average employee would know, I.e. basically office and anti virus.

But generally not much has changed, high street shops don’t train employees enough, be it a washing machine or a tv. On the job learning, much like working for an IT company really.

I remember as a teen when I worked in Texas Homecare (RIP) as a weekend job, 40 year olds used to get quite cross that I had no idea what sort of fitting I should use for x or y. Never seemed to cross there mind I neither owned many tools, or a house, or any experience of such things. Be easy now, would just google it. But then these days I own many exciting tools, I might go to a DIY store and pick on some random teen and ask them whether I need pozi, Philips or torx screw heads to fit a mirror to the ceiling.

Edit: although I think the article in that show about the introduction of cellular radio phones by companies like vodaphone, is probably the most interesting. Computers are getting into the phones, who knew that in the coming decades the cell phone would be the computer for many people.
Last edited by Elminster on Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Coeus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:47 pm

Elminster wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:11 pm
Just got to this episode. My dad would have been a which? member then and I have been one for 25 years. They still do those sorts of investigations they days but there software requirement would be a bit more reasonable, I.e. what you average employee would know, I.e. basically office and anti virus.
BTW, I wasn't suggesting that doing this kind of investigation was a silly idea. Testing salesmen to see if they honestly say they have nothing that suits your requirements rather than try to sell you something unsuitable is a worthwhile thing to do, it was more that I was surprised that they were surprised at what they found.

There was a scheme, whose name I have forgotten, back in the 1980s to encourage those at school to run a "toy" business and through that scheme I visited a small business that sold machines and software, both off the shelf and bespoke, to other business which was radically different from the home computer shops and chain stores. It seemed completely obvious to me that if you wanted business IT you would go somewhere other than a consumer electronics chain store.
Elminster wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:11 pm
I remember as a teen when I worked in Texas Homecare (RIP) as a weekend job, 40 year olds used to get quite cross that I had no idea what sort of fitting I should use for x or y. Never seemed to cross there mind I neither owned many tools, or a house, or any experience of such things. Be easy now, would just google it. But then these days I own many exciting tools, I might go to a DIY store and pick on some random teen and ask them whether I need pozi, Philips or torx screw heads to fit a mirror to the ceiling.
I remember B&Q made a big thing about hiring older employees who may have had some DIY experience and were keen to score points at a time when there was concern about employers becoming agist, i.e. preferring younger employees whether because they could pay them less or because they hoped they would be more energetic.
Elminster wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:11 pm
Edit: although I think the article in that show about the introduction of cellular radio phones by companies like vodaphone, is probably the most interesting. Computers are getting into the phones, who knew that in the coming decades the cell phone would be the computer for many people.
The appearance of the iPhone, and the following rise of the smartphone does seem to be a revolution but it is interesting to be reminded of the fact things developed over several years and this kind of revolution is almost never "a bolt from the blue". I think at the time of the introduction of the iPhone the mobile phone had got to the point where very many people usually carried one and, while PDAs were nothing like as popular as the phones, it was an expanding market. The genius was to realise that people would appreciate having the two functions in the same device, and therefore have only one thing to carry, and also the ability to be able to use data from the mobile network seamlessly.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:21 pm

Coeus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:47 pm
Elminster wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:11 pm
Edit: although I think the article in that show about the introduction of cellular radio phones by companies like vodaphone, is probably the most interesting. Computers are getting into the phones, who knew that in the coming decades the cell phone would be the computer for many people.
The appearance of the iPhone, and the following rise of the smartphone does seem to be a revolution but it is interesting to be reminded of the fact things developed over several years and this kind of revolution is almost never "a bolt from the blue". I think at the time of the introduction of the iPhone the mobile phone had got to the point where very many people usually carried one and, while PDAs were nothing like as popular as the phones, it was an expanding market. The genius was to realise that people would appreciate having the two functions in the same device, and therefore have only one thing to carry, and also the ability to be able to use data from the mobile network seamlessly.
And between episodes 3-5 you get talk about:

- The psion handheld to find your way around (the computer show)
- Fibre Optics
- Digital TV
- Electric cars (okay so it was a C5)
- Cellular phones
- Computer animated film (last star fighter)

I kind of forgot they were all about in the 80's. The explosion is more about the cost and miniturisation as much as the actual theory.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:23 pm

I remember B&Q made a big thing about hiring older employees who may have had some DIY experience and were keen to score points at a time when there was concern about employers becoming agist, i.e. preferring younger employees whether because they could pay them less or because they hoped they would be more energetic.
I worked mainly Sundays and Bank Holidays. I.e. the days the permanent employees didnt want to work. It was still illegal to open on a Sunday in them days. Think I got £1.99/hour which paid for my Amiga 500.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Kazzie » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:26 pm

Coeus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:47 pm
The appearance of the iPhone, and the following rise of the smartphone does seem to be a revolution but it is interesting to be reminded of the fact things developed over several years and this kind of revolution is almost never "a bolt from the blue". I think at the time of the introduction of the iPhone the mobile phone had got to the point where very many people usually carried one and, while PDAs were nothing like as popular as the phones, it was an expanding market. The genius was to realise that people would appreciate having the two functions in the same device, and therefore have only one thing to carry, and also the ability to be able to use data from the mobile network seamlessly.
To my eye, the significant advances of the Iphone were using a capacitive touchscreen with (next to) no buttons, and using the kudos-clout of Apple to negociate unmetered data in subscription contracts from the networks. That and they used their already established payment system (Itunes store) for buying apps, lowering the threshold for people to decide to spend money on their phone.

A lot of things were already there. The " smartphone" idea was already well established, Nokia and other phone manufacturers (and carriers) already had their own nacent app stores, and both capacitive (finger-based) and resistive touchscreens (which need a stylus) were already in use, but carriers charged so much for cellular data that few people used it while out and about. Wifi was not as universally available back then either. Nokia had released a number of pocket computers that developed into phones, approaching the market from the other end (Nokia 770 through N900), with full slide-out keyboards. Remember that the first Iphone was GSM-only: no 3G data speeds!

So yes, Apple's Iphone introduced a touch-based UI sacrificing almost all buttons for more screen space, and made it (incrementally) cheap and easy for users to download new programs on their phone, and for those programs to send and receive data. Achievements mainly in design, payment systems and corporate negociations, rather that in-phone technology.
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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Richard Russell » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:55 pm

Coeus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:47 pm
There was a scheme, whose name I have forgotten, back in the 1980s to encourage those at school to run a "toy" business
Sounds like you're describing Young Enterprise although that goes back well before the 1980s. I was a member of a YE company in my schooldays, no later than 1972.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:58 pm

I only (Edit: oops typo) had digital mobiles from Nokia for a good 10-15 years, until I defected to iPhone 2 (edit: must have been iphone 3G) . Been on iPhones ever since. As you say the iPhone just worked, where as the Nokia smartphone (based on Symbian) never worked as smoothly.

Edit2: Based on comments below ... I waited until the iphone opened up to other providers other than o2 and had 3g
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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Coeus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:32 pm

Kazzie wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:26 pm
To my eye, the significant advances of the Iphone were using a capacitive touchscreen with (next to) no buttons, and using the kudos-clout of Apple to negociate unmetered data in subscription contracts from the networks. That and they used their already established payment system (Itunes store) for buying apps, lowering the threshold for people to decide to spend money on their phone.
The point about the network contract is certainly important and I had overlooked that. Over here, IIRC, they signed an exclusive deal with one network and no doubt that was their trump card, that although the network concerned would have to provide more data for less money than they had been previously, people would want the iPhone and that would more than make up for this in signing up new customers.
Kazzie wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:26 pm
So yes, Apple's Iphone introduced a touch-based UI sacrificing almost all buttons for more screen space, and made it (incrementally) cheap and easy for users to download new programs on their phone, and for those programs to send and receive data. Achievements mainly in design, payment systems and corporate negociations, rather that in-phone technology.
I think it is also easy to underestimate the effect of UI design both in its function and what it looks like and this has, historically, been one of Apple's strengths. AFAIK, it was also not completely new with the iPhone though it may have been improved but, like the iTunes store, it started life in the iPod Touch.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Coeus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:33 pm

Richard Russell wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:55 pm
Sounds like you're describing Young Enterprise although that goes back well before the 1980s. I was a member of a YE company in my schooldays, no later than 1972.
Yes, that was the one and I didn't mean to suggest it had been freshly introduced in the 1980s, only that it was around then for me to be part of it.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:00 pm

Coeus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:32 pm

I think it is also easy to underestimate the effect of UI design both in its function and what it looks like and this has, historically, been one of Apple's strengths. AFAIK, it was also not completely new with the iPhone though it may have been improved but, like the iTunes store, it started life in the iPod Touch.
I think the iphone was out before the ipod touch. I couldnt have an iphone becuase of the lock in to O2, but due to jealouy I got an ipod touch when they came out (to replace the ipod mini I had) and I am sure some collegaues already had iphones. i.e. the ipod touch was an iphone with out the phone.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by BigEd » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:08 pm

Indeed, touch came out second. I do wonder though if it might have been developed first. There's a lot of cleverness in the on screen keyboard, disambiguating big fat fingerpresses.

Something which perhaps wasn't quite clear at that time is how pervasive wifi would become. You can nearly get away without data service, if in a city or on public transport or in someone's home.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Richard Russell » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:18 pm

Elminster wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:00 pm
the ipod touch was an iphone with out the phone.
I'd rather say 'is' than 'was'. I bought a 6th generation iPod Touch, brand new from Apple, only a few months ago and it's still a current product AFAIK. I needed a 'modern' (64-bit) iOS device for testing BBC BASIC, and the iPod was significantly cheaper than a new iPhone (I much prefer Android anyway).

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Coeus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:53 pm

BigEd wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:08 pm
Something which perhaps wasn't quite clear at that time is how pervasive wifi would become. You can nearly get away without data service, if in a city or on public transport or in someone's home.
How smoothly do you find that working? For me there are a few places, where I spend most of my time, where my phone will use WiFi but out and about it is not so smooth. Each network wants you to log in so you either have to visit a web page before you have service or install an app to logon for you and then hope it works properly.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:57 pm

Richard Russell wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:18 pm
Elminster wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:00 pm
the ipod touch was an iphone with out the phone.
I'd rather say 'is' than 'was'. I bought a 6th generation iPod Touch, brand new from Apple, only a few months ago and it's still a current product AFAIK. I needed a 'modern' (64-bit) iOS device for testing BBC BASIC, and the iPod was significantly cheaper than a new iPhone (I much prefer Android anyway).

Richard.
Would be a was as I is referring to the 1st gen iPod touch as that is the only one I did have.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:58 pm

Coeus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:53 pm
BigEd wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:08 pm
Something which perhaps wasn't quite clear at that time is how pervasive wifi would become. You can nearly get away without data service, if in a city or on public transport or in someone's home.
How smoothly do you find that working? For me there are a few places, where I spend most of my time, where my phone will use WiFi but out and about it is not so smooth. Each network wants you to log in so you either have to visit a web page before you have service or install an app to logon for you and then hope it works properly.
If you visit enough coffee shop chains you eventually reach critical mass. My main annoyance is it often works on rains and tubes but only in stations, so you get a few seconds of fre3 WiFi.
Last edited by Elminster on Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Kazzie » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:23 pm

BigEd wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:08 pm
Something which perhaps wasn't quite clear at that time is how pervasive wifi would become. You can nearly get away without data service, if in a city or on public transport or in someone's home.
At that time, bearing in mind that this was seen (or was it also labelled by Jobs?) as a merger of an Ipod with a mobile phone, Ipod users were already used to docking their device by cable to their computer. Were Iphone apps distributed via the Itunes store at first, before the app store? I wouldn't be surprised, given the limitations of GSM/EDGE data rates: fine for apps to send/receive info and messages, but maybe not so good for downloading whole apps. I don't know myself, as I was firmly ensconced in the world of Nokia at the time.
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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by BigEd » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:30 am

Coeus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:53 pm
BigEd wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:08 pm
... how pervasive wifi would become. You can nearly get away without data service...
How smoothly do you find that working?
Just about well enough, with the exception of when I use the phone as a satnav.

There are quite a few components to the attractiveness of a modern smart phone, and I'm not sure which is the killer feature which caused such take up, and such dominance of the no-keyboard interface. The ipod touch was a music player which happened to have wifi and a browser and apps. For me, the browser was the killer feature, but at that time apps could be much smoother and more featureful than web pages, and of course they work when you're offline. I dare say apps were the killer feature for most - and the sheer usability of a no-interface interface.

Obligatory links to the Computer Literacy Project archive, a couple of relevant episodes of the excellent radio series Computing Britain, a 2015 retrospective: Edit: make that three episodes - only 15min each.
Last edited by BigEd on Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:05 pm

I think intially you didnt need to carry a phone and an mps at the same time. Something lots of commutors and students did. Plus benefit of a browser and email if you didnt have laptop on your, and then gradually got critical mass as phone replace other devices like, home control, tv remotes etc. And then explosion in electronic fitness inductry where things could connect instantly to phoen rather than wait till you got home and sync with PC etc. And eventually replacing the PC.

Then look at remote places in the world, they never had telephones line or broadband in the ground, and went straght to mobile. Suddely youhave places on the earth that never had phones or broad band before. I remember being in Sarah desert 20 years ago and I had mobile and GPRS, or on top of mountains when snowboarding. With a mobile I could call for help whereas before you might have needed a walkie talky or flares and such like.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Coeus » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:32 pm

BigEd wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:30 am
There are quite a few components to the attractiveness of a modern smart phone, and I'm not sure which is the killer feature which caused such take up, and such dominance of the no-keyboard interface...
That reminds me of a discussion with someone at work who said he couldn't see why anyone would want to buy a smartphone because, he said, for every thing it did there was some other device that was better suited to that job. A mobile phone was available smaller, cheaper, with longer battery life. Better pictures could be had from a DSLR. One could browse the Internet in greater comfort from a PC. etc.

To me the whole point is that it is a jack of all trades and much of the time you don't need a master so you can use the thing in your pocket. How many pictures would people miss because they hadn't taken their proper camera with them? Many of those that appear in our local newspaper and some of the video that appears on the BBC news. I can be talking to my dad, some question can arise and I can search the Internet for it faster on my phone that he can walk into another room and find suitable reference book. etc.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by SteveBagley » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:40 am

Kazzie wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:23 pm
Were Iphone apps distributed via the Itunes store at first, before the app store? I wouldn't be surprised, given the limitations of GSM/EDGE data rates: fine for apps to send/receive info and messages, but maybe not so good for downloading whole apps. I don't know myself, as I was firmly ensconced in the world of Nokia at the time.
Neither. The first gen. iPhone and iPod Touch didn’t support apps at all (well, third-party apps) until the launch of the iPhone3G and iPhoneOS 2.0 in 2008, and the launch of the App Store which was always available on the phone.

Steve

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by EdwardianDuck » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:14 am

Just a quick heads up, as of today this is now showing as having 25 days remaining on the BBC "taster" site.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by BigEd » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:25 am

Could anyone who's snarfled the data from the site let us know how much data it is? Terabytes?

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Elminster » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:25 pm

Hmm only on second micro live series, better get a move on

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by BigEd » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:55 pm

Hint: if you re-upload to the Internet Archive, there's a good chance they'll leave it up for everyone to enjoy.

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Re: BBC releases computer history archive

Post by Commie_User » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:12 am

BigEd wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:25 am
Could anyone who's snarfled the data from the site let us know how much data it is? Terabytes?
About 61 gigs.

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