School Computers

A place to discuss anything retro that isn't games related

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harlequ1n
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Re: School Computers

Post by harlequ1n » Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:02 am

I guess we had pretty "new" computers in Ecuador during my school days (1995ish) as we had 486 PC compatibles running Windows 3.1 upated next year to Pentiums with Windows 95...
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Commander Jameson
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Re: School Computers

Post by Commander Jameson » Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:11 am

We were quite a 'well-off' school, so we had a dedicated room with 32 Beeb 'B's with Econet in them, all LAN'd up to a...wait for it....32 Mb Hard disc in the 'back room'. Only one class Beeb had a floppy drive, we used to fight over it. This was 1984 (not THAT 1984!)

Later came a couple of Archimedes, one of which a teacher used to let me borrow in the school holidays - have great memories of a christmas spent playing Interdictor, Zarch and Pacmania! This was in return for my helping the teachers out with the archies whenever they went wrong (I read the manual - they didn't) and I ended up being 'that kid' who was getting called out of classes on the tannoy to go and fix the computers!

There wasn't a single IBM PC present even when I left in 1991. Strange eh? Now look....
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frood42
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Re: School Computers

Post by frood42 » Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:17 am

In secondary school there was a single BBC Micro kept in the cupboard. In my comprehensive there was a single classroom with a network of BBC Master machines.

At collage I got to use Amstrad 1512s and 1640s, there was one 386 which sat in the corner and was only used by the graphics and desktop publishing students.

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Doddsy
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Re: School Computers

Post by Doddsy » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:18 pm

We had BBC computers. A good but cowardly trick was to make fun of someone who you didn't like using the Econet system to send messages to their computer. The look on their faces and cries of "Miss, Miss what going on?" as they couldn't fathom why the computer was taking the pi$$ out of them! Sometimes; particulary the women cover teachers couldnt understand what was happening either!


example;

type: *NOTIFY Alan Partridge OH PARTRIDGE YOU WAN&*R! [return]

:lol:

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woody.cool
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Re: School Computers

Post by woody.cool » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:51 pm

Oh, the joys of the ECONET on the Beebs.
I used to do a similar thing, then when we got a Windows NT network (I think the servers were runnint NT 3.51 Server) with Windows 3.1 clients, NOTIFY was replaced with NET SEND

I prime example was:

NET SEND user "You're a tosser!"

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The Angry Jock
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Re: School Computers

Post by The Angry Jock » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:20 pm

[quote="stvd"]Primary School - nothing
Secondary school (1982) - nothing. Computer Studies was not available until your 3rd year.
[quote]

When I was in secondary school computer science (or whatever it was called) wasn't introduced until 1994, pissed me off as I missed it by 1 year, my brother took it though ... and now he doesn't know how to move files from a USB pen to the desktop :lol:

We did have a sh*tload of BBCs in tech studies, I couldn't get into programming at the time - just remembered we used them in Craft & Design too for programming lathes. When I was in 4th/5th year we got a few PCs in tech, did a bit of CAD and rarely got a shot of Doom, I remember having to type "park" to shut it down. IIRC there was also 1 MAC, I didn't have a clue about that. My primary school was big into computers but not if you were a pupil, strictly adults only. But then I was only interested in doing stunts on my BMX and smashing greenhouses.
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Re: School Computers

Post by TwoHeadedBoy » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:48 pm

Aye, it was BBC's and Acorns in my primary school, can't really remember how many. There might've been something a bit newer as well, cuz I remember playing Virus on one of them.

There were some funny little contraptions attached to the computers - one of them had a big plastic pad, with pictures on it that changed depending on whatever story we'd been read that week. Pushing the pictures or words would make that word come up on the screen, which was nice. Another one had a button on the monitor which let you change it from black and white to black and green, so you could pretend to sneeze and get snot all over the screen. Fun!

Anyone know what these two things were?

There was also a racing game, which helped to teach co-ordinates. You and someone else would put the co-ordinates in, and your car would move to that place on the track. A race!

In high school (starting in mid-1996), there were a lot of computers, all with Windows 3.1, and running such programs as Serif and Babbage. Some of them had 2D drawing on them too, so you could spend the whole lesson making contours, which was nice. Eventually we got to use a programming thing, which made lights on a circuit board light up. Thrilling stuff.
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Re: School Computers

Post by SpecChum81 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:18 am

My first year of school was 1986 so it would have been the BBC Micro.

We had those for both Infants and Juniors.

When I moved to Secondary school in 1993 they were running Windows 3.1.

Gradually they upgraded to Windows 95 and then Windows 98.

They were still using 98 when I left in 2000/2001.

I hope they've upgraded by now...
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rocky1980
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Re: School Computers

Post by rocky1980 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:29 am

Ah this takes me back :) it was all BBC until 3rd year of high school (around 1993) then it all went Apple
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Re: School Computers

Post by Katzkatz » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:07 am

At primary school we got a BBC model. Just one and we only got to use it once or twice. I remember playing a sort of adventure game where you had to collect dragon eggs and and hatch a dragon.

At secondary school we had RM Nimbuses, Acorn Archimedes, and an Atari ST. The RM Nimbuses were the main computers. We used them for word processing, DTP(Caxton Press anyone), I think they did have an early version of MSWord for Dos on them. Mainly we used Write. I quite liked it as the shortcuts were good and those old keyboards were good on them. There was Paint and that was fun. They did have a database program(I can't remember the name of it), and a spreadsheet. They were connected to a couple of Dot matrix printers. If you wanted a colour picture printer you had to log on the one computer which was connect to the colour dot matrix printer. There was an inkjet printer but you need a special log in to print on it, and it was only available for sixth formers!! There was the SMILE games as well. It did have BASIC and Pascal, but they hardly ever got used. All connected up on old coaxial cables!!! There was one machines which had a floppy drive but only the sixth formers were allowed to use it!!!

The Archies were in the CDT block(woodwork/metalwork, etc). They had a sort of CAD program on them. There was also a word processing program. A lot more advanced than the RM Nimbus one as you could include pictures and use the mouse. The teacher used to get a Archie magazine every month and we used to play the cover disk for games and such. We even managed to get a full copy of Lemmings for it!!! They were connect to dot matrix printers but on parallel port switch boxes, and there was one A4 plotter for CAD stuff(loved playing with that you could use it manually using the controls on it!). It didn't have a network on that system, you just had to use floppies.

The Atari ST got brought for the music block. It got used once. The problem was that the screen flipped rather than scrolled for the midi program on it!! It came with a mono monitor!

At sixth form college there were RM Nimbuses. This time they had a network with the old RM Net, and also the newer machines with MS Windows. The old machines were 286s, the later ones were 486 SXs. They all had HP Laserjets(3 and 4) great printers those!!! You could also use MSDOS if need be. I remember using MS Works for DOS a lot, MS Word for Windows(2.0 and 6.0), Excel 5.0 for Windows, Access, Turbo Pascal for DOS, Turbo C++ for DOS, and a Paint program for flow charts(I can't remember its name). There was a multimedia PC(one with a CDROM wow ;) ) and also a CDi in the library(used for the encyclopaedia CDs).

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Xesh
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Re: School Computers

Post by Xesh » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:25 pm

MattyC64c wrote:Does anyone know what that special computer was that I mentioned?

I'm pretty sure it wasn't an Apple and it definatly wasn't an IBM PC machine. It was either late 1989 or early 1990, and it must have had an early CD-ROM drive or laser disc. I'm realy curious as to what it was. Could it have been an Acorn Archimedies? One with an optical disc drive?
Are you sure that it wasn't a BBC Master with the Doomsday pack? We had one of those when I was in the 6th form in 1988. IIrc it had a Phillips laser disc player and a Genlock card in the Master to run it.

As for secondary school it was all Beebs on an Econet system with one strange machine called an RM Nimbus.

It was even better that I had a Beeb at home. The funniest thing I did was disabling all the break keys and then running a program that just went in an endless loop. Eventually the teachers had to turn off the machines to get them working normally again. :lol:

I don't know about anyone else but we had to learn basic machine code in computer studies as well as binary. :shock:

The good thing is my mum still has the Beeb with the twin disc drive/monitor stand thing and a 6502 second processor with all the original boxes. I grew up with Elite on the Tube. It was so slow when I played it at school! :wink:

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Re: School Computers

Post by Commander Jameson » Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:14 am

Xesh wrote:
MattyC64c wrote:Does anyone know what that special computer was that I mentioned?

I'm pretty sure it wasn't an Apple and it definatly wasn't an IBM PC machine. It was either late 1989 or early 1990, and it must have had an early CD-ROM drive or laser disc. I'm realy curious as to what it was. Could it have been an Acorn Archimedies? One with an optical disc drive?
Are you sure that it wasn't a BBC Master with the Doomsday pack? We had one of those when I was in the 6th form in 1988. IIrc it had a Phillips laser disc player and a Genlock card in the Master to run it.

As for secondary school it was all Beebs on an Econet system with one strange machine called an RM Nimbus.

It was even better that I had a Beeb at home. The funniest thing I did was disabling all the break keys and then running a program that just went in an endless loop. Eventually the teachers had to turn off the machines to get them working normally again. :lol:

I don't know about anyone else but we had to learn basic machine code in computer studies as well as binary. :shock:

The good thing is my mum still has the Beeb with the twin disc drive/monitor stand thing and a 6502 second processor with all the original boxes. I grew up with Elite on the Tube. It was so slow when I played it at school! :wink:
One of the Acorn crowd brought a working Doomsday pack setup to Byte Back, a thing of wonder, hilarious to think about how LITLLE it held by todays standards.

I did one of those endless loop programs too. It went something like -

10 Create directory on HDD called 'x'
20 Go into Directory 'x'
30 Goto 10

Every time it created a directory it reserved something like 8kb on the disk for it. Didn't take lonbg to fill up that old Winchester 32mb monster!
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C=Style
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Re: School Computers

Post by C=Style » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:42 pm

I remember back at my Junior School we had a BBC, which we used to play Granny's Garden! yay

When I got to High School we had Computer Studies for the first year, in this class there were about 20+ different home computers, but I cannot remember them all. There was a C= Pet, Acorns, Dragon's and a load of others. In I.T we used Archimedes, of course I used to spend my time playing the Lander demo (Zarch) when the teacher wasn't looking! :D
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Re: School Computers

Post by pilgrim » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:40 am

School computers, eh.

I'm not sure this counts, but our first might well have been the "Post Office" and "punched cards"...

Our first - at least, the first I was introduced to, was an ICL 2903 minimac. Actually, the school didn't "own" it, it was loaned by the local poly. The system was located at the local polytechnic (thats a 'college' to all you young'uns), and each school was loaned a teleprinter and acoustic coupler for a limited period twice a year. The terminal was a hulking great beast double the size of a typewriter, consisting of a "keyboard", 80col printer on a paper roll, and a paper tape device. Unless you've seen one, its impossible to describe. One set the machine to "full duplex", picked up the phone, asked the school operator for an outside line - yes, this even predates 'dial 9 for an outside line' - dialled the poly, then put the telephone handset into a wooden box and closed the lid... 110 baud connection. Login - for us - was LOGIN QT and our password was SUZY5 the pwd being the maths teacher's daughter and age... Didnt most schools assign Computer Studies to the Maths teacher? There are stories and stories about Mr Ford, ours.

Back to the beast. It played a great game of Star Trek, and Star Wars, although the later was tedious. Drag Racing was cool, you maxed out the co-efficients and did the race in 9.1 seconds or something. Off-line storage was via paper tape, on-line we had a 32Kb storage area on the remote system. A lot of space in 1978. Of course, we learned how to save programs in other schools area, and also save in such a way that programs were invisible, or could be seen but not LISTed. Inquisitive, us, in those days. We also learned a considerable deal about the phone system, and transatlantic calls... less said the better, as they were "free". In 1979, a school mate, Dave, took me down town to see some computers that had an inbuilt screen, and could list a program faster than one could read... this of course was the C= PET 2001. Love at first sight.

The keyboard on the beast was like no other keyboard today. Look at your keyboard; reasonably slim, flat rectangular keys, perhaps 1/4" travle on a laptop and maybe not much more on a desktop? Now imagine a keyboard where the keys are cylindrical, and about 1/2" long. Literally, little round cyclinders rising up, and which travel quite some distance. Grey-brown in colour, with white lettering in a font that evokes suggestions of Pathe Movienews and people wearing bowler hats and brandishing umbrellas, and the world "Imperial". I had no idea fonts could be so emotive ;-) You learned to type on this device, and by god you learned to type. This was an age when men were men and didnt measure smoking by packs/day, but by lighters/day. 14 years old, you pushed keys for an hour and had fingers like Charles Atlas's biceps.

The local poly - Dorset Institute of Higher Education (affectionately known as Dee-eye-aitch-eee for some reason) had a well equipped computer lab. Never been in there, but remember at age 14 or 15 gazing in the window at the rows of TRS-80s, complete with Tandy monitors. Lucky gits.

Around 1981, iirc, the school received a PET. Or rather, a CBM 4032. By this time, Computer Studies had been introduced at CSE grade, and ours was the first class studing it. CESIL, anyone? We were writing programs by drawing a flow chart, writing "code" which was entered on punched cards, run over night in batches, and the results returned. POh, and we had to dry run the program listting the variables and outputs. The PET removed this tediuos process, and allowed the use of BASIC. Still used flowcharts and dry runs though. By this time David lost his love of computers, but a "new boy", Mark, gained an interest after Computer and Video Games appeared, and we spent an hour typing in Nibblers on the PET. Mark and I also found that our Maths teacher was only 1 page ahead of the class in computer studies, and we far outpaced him with our knowledge. His answer? We had to type in listings for the class. Yeah - he would go round the class room asking "what do you think the next line of the program is" and we had to type in the code. The PET was attached to a TV. Mr Ford would then type "RUN" to see the results. On a PET, if the first line of code is REM L (REM shifted-L) the program will run but not list, or vice versa. Depending on the shifted letter used, you could get a ?SYNTAX ERROR when asking it to LIST.

Of course Mark and I had found an outside-school outlet for our fledgling computer prowess with another local company, but thats a story for another thread.

Around 1982 we got a RM-480Z. And this seems to cause confusion. The 480Z according to history is the LINKS 480Z self contained unit. NOT ours. Ours was the same system as a 380z (monitor, system box, keyboard unit) but with a 480Z logo, not 380Z. We know it was different, as we typed in a Missile Command listing for the RM380Z and it didnt work...And I also very clearly remember the black 480Z user manual.

Left in 1983, always wondered what happened to the CBM and 480Z. A couple of years later I visited, as I guess a number of ex-schoolies do, and there was a beeb or two there. My son's school had a PC per classroom (this is 1998 onwards) and a computer lab. My daughter, who started "reception" (what is that all about? We called it 'first year infants') last year, had a laptop. A year later, her 1st year class has three laptops. There again, she has a PC in her bedroom, never used. But these computers are soul-less. Ubiquitous, boring PCs running Windows. And the kids dont "use" them, they dont play with them, program them, hack them.

Maybe thats right - educational software is, and always has been, crap. And maybe thats why, it is not a means in its own end, but a tool - you dont use a computer to teach you to write/read/whatever, you use it as an interactive whiteboard, a storage/retrieval/playback device. I digress.

Apologies for the long post. I got the urge to play Galaxy Force and didnt fancy the drive to Kendal to dig out my old TRS80 (assuming its still there!), so I went looking for an emulator. Last night. 20 hours later I'm still immersed in nostalgia - and more so, upstairs is a cover DVD from Retrogamer 2004, full of Amiga stuff. Anyway, looking for some more Mike Chalk TRS80 stuff I somehow ended here! Had to join, and couldnt resist adding my tuppence, or two quids worth!

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frood42
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Re: School Computers

Post by frood42 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:18 pm

pilgrim wrote:School computers, eh.
I'm not sure this counts, but our first might well have been the "Post Office" and "punched cards"...
Oooooooh Punch cards, good Lord Sir I think you win this thread :lol: On holiday a couple of years back we went to Bletchly Park and was able to see Tony Sale do a demo of Colosus, with the paper feed rolling it is a thing of beauty I highly recommend a visit. They have a damn fine collection of retro home computers to.
pilgrim wrote: Apologies for the long post. I got the urge to play Galaxy Force and didnt fancy the drive to Kendal to dig out my old TRS80 (assuming its still there!), so I went looking for an emulator. Last night. 20 hours later I'm still immersed in nostalgia - and more so, upstairs is a cover DVD from Retrogamer 2004, full of Amiga stuff. Anyway, looking for some more Mike Chalk TRS80 stuff I somehow ended here! Had to join, and couldnt resist adding my tuppence, or two quids worth!
Welcome, come on in. Cup of Tea?

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