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What First Got You Interested in Technology?

I’ve been reading a post on Gizmodo.com which features interviews with People like Steve Wozniak and Alexis Ohanian who have shared what pushed them into this field. Last night, at the American Museum of Natural History, Neil de Grasse Tyson told us what got him hooked on space exploration.

This got me thinking what was it that got me interested in Technology.

My Love affair with technology began with a BBC B Micro, if your from anywhere in the world other than the UK, and are not between the age of 35-40 this probably means nothing to you however for me it was the difference in not being picked at lunchtime football and an interesting lunch time.

The machine was released as the BBC Microcomputer on 1 December 1981 The Model A and the Model B were priced initially at £235 and £335 respectively, but increasing almost immediately to £299 and £399 due to increased costs. And was manufactured by Acorn. Acorn anticipated the total sales to be around 12,000 units, but eventually more than 1.5 million BBC Micros were sold.

The Model B had 32 kB or RAM and the RAM was clocked twice as fast as the CPU (4MHz) The machine included a number of extra input/output interfaces: serial and parallel printer ports; an 8-bit general purpose digital I/O port; a port offering four analogue inputs, a light pen input, and switch inputs; and an expansion connector (the “1 MHz bus”) that enabled other hardware to be connected. Extra ROMs could be fitted (four on the PCB or sixteen with expansion hardware) and accessed via paged memory. An Econet network interface and a disk drive interface were available as options.

Considering this was 1981 one surprising feature was the ARM Processor.. 30 years later ARM finally cracked the big time on Tablets and phones..

This machine taught me two things the first was the magic of BASIC the second was maze games..

Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code or Basic opened up the world of typing something into a computer and running it, this in turn made things happen on the computer. For a 9 year old this was amazing even more so when you’ve been typing in from a magazine every lunchtime for a week and finally run the output to get a kaleidoscope program appear on the screen. Amazing.

The built-in ROM-resident BBC BASICprogramming language interpreter realised the system’s educational emphasis. Advanced programs could be written without resorting tonon-structured programming or machine code(necessary with many competing computers). Should one want or need to do some assembly programming, BBC BASIC featured a built-in assembler that allowed a very easy mixture of BBC BASIC and assembler for whatever processor BBC BASIC was operating on.

When the BBC Micro was released, many competing home computers used Microsoft BASIC, or variants typically designed to resemble it. Compared to Microsoft BASIC, BBC BASIC featured IF…THEN…ELSE, REPEAT…UNTIL, named procedures and functions, but retained GOTO and GOSUB for compatibility. It also supported high-resolution graphics, four-channel sound, pointer-based memory access (borrowed from BCPL) and rudimentary macro assembly. Long variable names were accepted and distinguished completely, not just by the first two characters.

The BBC B lead to a ZX Spectrum 128K+ as a teenager  and this opened me at home to the world of technology. Again very popular in the UK I’m not sure just how popular this computer was outside of the UK however it’s popularity in the UK was huge, games, magazines I mush have spent a small fortune. From Chucky Egg and Jetset Willy to Chase HQ and Ikari Warrors I was hocked on computers. I programmed things from magazines and learnt everything i could about computers..

The day i sold this computer my Dad actually said to me I was born to work with computers as i apparently gave a very spirited sales pitch to guy who bought it from me for his daughter.

I had Amiga’s, PC’s and now Mac’s however the ease of use of that device and the fiddling with it put me on this path…

What about you? What got you interested in Technology?

 

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2012 by in Gizmodo and tagged , , , , , .
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