The creators of the BBC Micro computer got together for a reunion to discuss the impact of the technology. BBC News website readers sent in their pictures and comments associated with the "Beeb" which clearly left an impression on early computer users.
I still have a BBC Master in an attic. These machines, along with the Commodore 64 were what I cut my teeth on as a coder. I remember having fun using the tape motor relay long after we were using disks. It meant that where a game showed a ticking timebomb then the countdown could be marked with relay ticks. That generation of Micros had many similar quirks which were what made these machines so memorable. Anyone remember playing "Daisy Daisy" with 1541 disk heads?
The spirit of ease of creating these things has been captured in some recent apps, my favourite being "processing". I had some fun porting a number of my old graphical BBC programs to it.
Danny Staple, London, UK
Colin McDougall's BBC Micro. He says, "My beeb was never off up to about 1994"
I played Grannys Garden at primary school, and hence why my parents bought me the beeb. It was a tape based machine, then for my birthday in August, i got a 1770 FDC DFS2.24 and double 51/4" opus floppy drives. Then in xmas'85 (ish), i got the Watford 128k sideways rom/ram board, and fitted it myself!
The 'beeb' may have been great, and sold a lot, but all I remember of it was seeing it in schools. Nobody I knew had one; they all had C64s, Spectrums, and later on Amigas and Ataris.
David Rickard, Aylesbury, UK
Magazines used to print computer programs and it was exciting (though very laborious) to type them in to see what they would do and how they worked. The excellent interfacing capabilities made the Beeb particularly suitable for connecting it to other devices and before I was a teenager I had already hooked up the computer to monitor simple chemistry experiments. Unfortunately, this is much harder in modern computers.
So I'd like to thank the BBC and BBC Micro creators. The Beeb has largely been responsible for my career as scientist with a PhD in artificial intelligence.
PJ, Belgium (Expat from Kent)
Alt - Break, release Break, release Alt
Floppy disks that *were* floppy
Paul Bradley, Ipswich, UK
Colin McDougall's 'Beeb' circa 1991
My father taught at a university in the 1980s and bought home copies of his student's BBC Model B games for me: I had hundreds of them. All the BBC Model B owning kids at my school thought I was the coolest kid ever. Happy days!
Andrew stobirski, Manchester
My first ever computer was a BBC Model B, with a whole 32Kb of RAM. I sold stuff, saved my paper round money and raided my savings, plus got my girlfriend to chip in (she's now my wife, and still despairs at the money I spend on gadgets).
I tried my hand at writing programs and played lots of games. Then Elite came out, I've been a gamer ever since and don't think I have ever encountered anything quite like playing the original Elite on my Beeb. I even upgraded to the floppy disk controller so I could play the version with the secret missions in it! So many modern games have their roots set in Elite, I play World of Warcraft a lot these days, and the basic principle of adventuring and upgrading is the same.
On a slightly more productive note, I ended up going into computing as a career and am now a successful IT Manager, thanks in no small part to my good old Beeb!
Just looking at the pictures accompanying your article caused floods of nostalgia.
When I was about 12/13 (1983) I got given a BBC by my uncle. At the time I was falling behind at school, and I had trouble reading and writing properly.
My interest in the BBC Micro changed my life virtually overnight. I would program, take apart, create add ons, use it to turn my lights/stereo/anything I desired on and off. I even wrote some machine code on it to "listen and decipher" to the old morse code messages you used to be able to pick up on Short Wave Radio.
I went on to get a degre in Computer Science, and it is still my profession today. All thanks to that little box with an Owl on it.
Joe Adams, Bromley
I have fond memories of my beeb, used to spend hours tinkering away with it's line box graphics. Reliable entertaining and educational in one package. I still have mine and it's more powerful offspring the Archimedes but sadly my beeb is taking a rest and won't boot up anymore :-( Just that beeeeeeeeeeeeep when you switch on :-(
BBC Micro was the first ever computer I got to touch. It was back in 1989, in the 5th Standard at my school in India. We thought computers would know everything. I still remember myself as a starry eyed boy of 10, excited about sitting at a computer for the first time and typing- 'Is there life on another planet than earth?' and hitting the return button. The Beeb gave a perfect answer - 'Syntax Error'.
Apoorva Dwivedi, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Pod can jump!
Pod can fly!
Pod can sleep!
Rebecca Howes, Birmingham
My dad brought me a BBC B in 1982 when I was 10 years old. It was my first computer and lead to an interest in computers that saw me enter a career in IT and a life long passion for computers.
I'm 35 now and I still work in IT. It's because of my skills I was able to emigrate to the US and I now manage a team of technicians in one of the largest construction firms in the US.
All this thanks to the humble biege BBC B.
Nick Lancaster, Detroit, USA
My family clubbed together and bought me a BBC for christmas when I was a teenager, just after we started computer classes at school and not long after the launch of the Beeb. I spent hours and hours in my room writing programs and games. Later I
went on to do courses at college and eventually landed a job as aprogrammer at age 18 down in Hertfordshire (6502 assembly language was a useful skill apparently). From there I worked with ICL mainframes IBM mini computers and finally PC's when they came about. My Beeb quite literally shaped my life as it is today.
Kenny Brunton, Mayfield, Scotland
Kenny Brunton's BBC Micro
The school i work in still uses them in the science lab, for data logging, as it still has the best software to carry out the task, even today.... i think there is 10 currently in use
10 Mode 2
20 Colour RND
30 Print "Allen";
40 Goto 10
I think from memory quickly typing this into Acorn Electrons and BBCs in electrical shop on a saturday morning until we owened our own Acorn, good memories
Allen Shaw, Huddersfield
My first computer was a BBC model B - back when I was just four years old. Ever since I wrote that first "Hello World" program I've known that computing was what I wanted to do - and now I'm about to finish a computer science degree and move into the industry permanently.
James Muscat, Oxford
When we first got a BBC micro I have a very distinct memory of my sister saying excitedly "ask it something, ask it something..." as if it was all knowing like something off a sci-fi programme (and it was a very long way from that). But now of course we all expect to be able to do just that (to google) on our computers.
Rest in Pieces - Speccy Fanboys rule the micro's.
Chris Dalton, Derry, N.Ireland