compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
Michael Grove remarked to Kenneth Baker M.P. in 1982 -
THAT the archives of the BBC were worth more to the British nation
than all the country's coal deposits. He further remarked that in order
to "mine" this wealth, an appropriate industrial infrastructure and
facilities would have to be established - before the information could
be put into IT (Information Technology) and subsequently distributed
in a form which would be useful to all potential users.
Various add-ons to the BBC Micro - such as the Teletext Adaptor - were developed during the first year following its launch and at the first annual update of "The BBC Project" - @ The World Trade Centre, Tower of London - the world's first PAL Interactive Video System was demonstrated - based on the Model B version of the BBC Microcomputer - driving a Pioneer Laserdisc player utilising pulse code modulation (PCM) via the User Port and displaying to dual-screens ( PAL /Mode 7 teletext).
30 years down the line we are mining that wealth - so to speak -
and THE tech industry is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the
BBC Microcomputer and the BBC Computer Literacy Project.
"The BBC Micro was pretty fundamental to how my life turned out,
in that it was the first computer I ever owned."
"The Beeb introduced a generation of British children to the power
of programming and indeed I want to see this return in a modern form,
part of my computerbasedmath.org agenda."
"The BBC computer was central to the whole revolution because it added
two veneers of respectability, firstly because it carried the good name of
the BBC and secondly because it was used in schools. There was an explosion
of creativity, most of it coming from self-taught young men like us working at
home. Everything was possible, the potential was infinite. At Codemasters we
rode the crest of a wave creating games very quickly then selling millions of
them, mostly in the UK and the rest of Europe."
"We certainly produced a versatile machine as able to do things like control the
BBC's very own robot as well as create a handy spreadsheet. We helped to enthuse
a whole generation of people who now are in senior positions in the IT industry.
The UK lives or dies by innovation."
"There were many other machines around, all capable of being programmed, like
the Commodore Pet, Sinclair ZX80 and ZX81, Apple 2, and then in the following
years Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, even curios like the Oric Atmos,
Tatung Einstein, and MSX. But it was the BBC Micro that had the impact - mainly
because of its spread throughout UK schools. The impact it has had 30 years on
is amazing. Just look around places like Cambridge's Science Park to see the results.
Many of these companies were founded by people whose thorough introduction to
technology came through the BBC Micro. I hope machines like the Raspberry Pi can
go on to do something similar for today's kids!"
"My first computer was a ZX81, but it was my BBC Model B that really got me into
computers. Here was a real computer, satisfyingly chunky and with a proper
keyboard. The BBC Micro was where I learned my trade. To do anything you had to
use the Basic programming language, so you learned the essentials of programming
just to play a game or use a word processor. It was a very open system with
excellent documentation and the accompanying TV series was very encouraging.
A great community grew up, with magazines such as Beebug, and user groups
across the UK."
"The BBC Micro was hugely influential in my life. Because of its expandability and
capability, it was probably responsible for more small start-up companies than
any other computer of its time. My mum could see that I was hugely interested in
computers and although a single parent at the time, she scraped together the
money to buy one for me. I was so grateful. It wasn't long before I had it wired
up to disco lights and then promptly blew its chips off! She then had to pay the
repair bill too - thanks, Mum!"
- Jason Fitzpatrick Chairman of The Centre for Computing History
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