[BBC-Micro] Advocacy...

Rick Murray rick at rs432.net
Thu Jun 25 02:02:33 BST 2009

This was originally going to be a tagline on my "malware" post to make 
you smile after all that non-Beeb stuff, but it kinda grew... :-)

If you like this, feel free to cut'n'paste it whatever you like.

Rick's first, final, and only argument in support of the Beeb:

I still have a 32K Acorn BBC Micro. You wanna get in an advocacy war, 
huh? Okay, show me your I/O and show me your BASIC interpreter.


Sod off and buy yourself a Beeb on eBay and discover how the '80s could 
have gone if only your parents hadn't bought you that horrid machine 
with an unimaginably grotty keyboard and a BASIC designed to actively 
discourage any attempt at structured programming. Oh, and we won't even 
mention the peeks and pokes required to be able to do anything out of 
the scope of the built-in so-called BASIC...

What d'you mean you only have "text" or "color" display? What
d'you mean you have to press special key combinations to write
software because you can't type in the program? What d'you mean
you can't tell if you actually pressed that key? What d'you mean "TAPE 
ERROR"? What d'you mean you can't install third-party ROMs to enhance 
the machine right from switch-on. What d'you mean you can't add a 
harddisc? What d'you mean it has no LAN capabilities? What d'you mean it 
has a built-in joystick - wasn't that a hint as to how useful the thing 
would really be?

That's not all. There's more. No, no, sit down and listen. This is good 
for you. You have to know all of this. It will prevent years of therapy 
when you hit your fifties... There are people nowadays who are making 
IDE interfaces for their Beebs. Why? Partly "because they can" but 
largely because the design and philosophy of the system encourages 
things like that. If cheap IDE discs had been around in the early '80s, 
they'd have been a hit on every Beeb in the land. But that's not enough. 
Others have hacked the filing system to talk to an SD memory card 
instead of any actual disc unit. Same philosophy at work.
Ever looked under a Beeb? You might see scary rows of connectors and a 
few hundred shiny copper pins. I see potential. Potential that has not 
been expressed, to my knowledge, in ANY computer aimed at the domestic 
market in the two decades since.

THAT, my friend, is why the Beeb marches on while your Oric-1's are 
rotting and the Speccy is landfill and we won't even discuss that Tandy 
thing or any computer/company named after a fruit...


Rick Murray, irregular internet access at local library.
BBC B: DNFS, 2 x 5.25" floppies, EPROM prog, Acorn TTX
E01S FileStore, A3000/A5000/RiscPC/various PCs/blahblah...

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