July 14, 2019

My Third Computer - BBC Micro

BBC Micro

By BBCMicro.jpeg: Stuart Brady derivative work: Ubcule (talk) - BBC_Micro.jpeg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11672213_

While I don't remember after all these years the circumstances under which I obtained my BBC Micro, it was a good 30 years ago now, I do remember that I loved it and it saw me ably through the start of my Computer Science degree at the University of Plymouth.

The BBC Micro was not made by the BBC, rather it was made for them by a British company called Acorn Computers and the model used was the Proton. The BBC Micro was part of an ambitious project to teach computer literacy, especially in schools.

Mine was second hand. I believe that it was a model B, with the extra memory giving it a total of 32 KB. I was fortunate to have a 5.25" floppy drive that allowed me to store 100 KB of programs on a single floppy disk. While 100 KB doesn't sound like much, with most programs being written in the built-in BASIC you could fit quite a few programs on a single disk.

The built-in BBC BASIC provided with the machine was quite sophisticated for its time. It ran quickly and allowed multiline function definitions enabling some quite sophisticated algorithms to be coded. It also allowed inline 6502 assembly instructions but I never really explored that side of things too much, to my present day regret.

I was delighted that it had a real keyboard. Even though I do not touch type I could type much faster than I ever had on my previous Sinclairs.

Tags: Childhood Memories Geeky Personal