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host: Randy Kindig
email: floppydays@gmail.com
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Apr 30, 2020

The BBC Micro: History

Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode 98 of the Floppy Days Podcast for April, 2020!

I hope everyone is staying safe in these days of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.  One day we’ll look back at this as a strange time in all our lives.

Again, for the podcast, we are finishing up the tail-end of the year 1981 in the personal computer timeline and the primary topic of this and the next couple of podcasts will be the BBC Micro.  I talked with Steve Furber, one of the primary developers of the Beeb, in the last episode concerning his part in and thoughts about those heady times.  In this episode I’m going to cover a more general history of the BBC Micro to give everyone a view of why the machine was developed and its huge impact on personal and educational computer history, especially in the UK.  For the UK listeners, you’ll likely be very familiar with the Beeb’s history.  For the  US listeners, and listeners in other parts of the world, you may be less familiar with the story.  I know that until I dove into the research for this episode, I only had a cursory familiarity with this machine and had no inkling of its true place in computer history.

For future episodes, software, emulators, books, Web sites, modern upgrades, etc. will be explored.

I hope you enjoy this short excursion into the history of a machine that I’ve come to love and respect.

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Thoughts and Memories - Richard Broadhurst

New Acquisitions/What I’ve Been Up To

Upcoming Shows

References

  • There is a docudrama "Micro Men" about the early 80s and winning the joint government/BBC contract to produce a computer that would be the focus of the initiative.
  • 78 page PDF by Tilly Blyth of the Science Museum: "The legacy of the BBC Micro - effecting change in the UK's cultures of computing"
  • “Now the Chips are Down: The BBC Micro (Platform Studies)” by Alison Gazzard - https://amzn.to/2yLnYdf