School Computers

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

Moderators: mknott, NickThorpe, lcarlson, Darran@Retro Gamer, MMohammed

Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:47 am

Re: School Computers

Post by pilgrim » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:28 pm

Milk two please. Cheers! Haven't seen Retrogamer since it was in WH SMiths back in, um, 2004! I did briefly get back in retro stuff then, well to be honest "again", but was overtaken by events at the time. I think I might have an old account too, though it didnt object to my email addy being in use already...

I still have some paper tape somewhere, think its my "Ultimate Cup of Tea" program I did for CSE Computer Studies. Also still have the TDK C90 casette with PET programs on it. The PET is (was) also in Kendal , I do need to retrieve them sometime if just to donate to someone.

User avatar
Posts: 1183
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:23 pm
Location: Ipswich

Re: School Computers

Post by liveinabin » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:51 pm

We had a solitary BBC Micro at middle school (1982) and we played a really great little trading game which had you sailing your (we thought it was a Pirate) ship around islands, buying and flogging stuff. No idea what it was.

At high school they had a couple of RM Nimbus's, a BBC Master (attached to the WInchester disc - ooh!) and a room full of Lynx 480Zs - I liked the Lynxs, good little machines and built like tanks.

User avatar
Posts: 5648
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:23 pm
Location: Middlesbrough

Re: School Computers

Post by necronom » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:35 pm

pilgrim, I liked your story :D I can relate to, and agree, with a lot of that, and I remember being told about our local Poly running our schools programs only a few years before I was there. I have a punched card and some paper tape somewhere.

I love PETs, and total agree with the bit about PCs being soulless. We were the lucky ones who were there at the beginning, and I feel sorry for everyone who has missed the beginning of computing. We will never have times like that again.
The Retro Gaming League _ -= My YouTube Videos =-
The eighties aren't over. I'll say when the eighties are over. The eighties are never over! You don't just turn off the eighties! - Jack Howitzer, GTA V

Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:47 am

Re: School Computers

Post by pilgrim » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:20 pm

necronom wrote:pilgrim, I liked your story :D I can relate to, and agree, with a lot of that, and I remember being told about our local Poly running our schools programs only a few years before I was there. I have a punched card and some paper tape somewhere.

I love PETs, and total agree with the bit about PCs being soulless. We were the lucky ones who were there at the beginning, and I feel sorry for everyone who has missed the beginning of computing. We will never have times like that again.
Was great, wasn't it. Though in another thread someone makes a very valid point that the reason we have such fond memories is that we were [probably] kids at the time, without the stresses of adult life. Which oddly enough I was thinking along similar lines earlier today; remember the Persil advert from 197early, with kids in white clothes running through woods playing 'war' and getting thoroughly dirty - we did that then, now 35 years later we recall that as "the good old days" when we could, and kids today cant because of the risk of molesters/abusers/kidnappers/murderers/hoodies/chocolate marshmallow men/whatever, when really we mean "I cant do that because I have to work to pay the mortgage/rent/car/insurance and isnt the phone bill due this month bugger and I hate my boss and the ruddy drive on the M6".

That said, it was a time also when you could explore a PC, and hack the damn thing, hardhacks and mods before hackhacks and modding were invented ;-) Well remember a mate running his Atom at 2MHz (!!!), building a VoxBox for the PET, RAM doubling by piggybacking RAM chips, hacking a USR Robotics modem to get 9600baud for free, building a SCSI interface! Or interfacing a BBC to a Meccano set, because we could, now that was fun. Allegedly ;-) When was the last time one did that with a PC? Circa 386-DX33 days, maybe? Older PCs werent quite so souless, there were some halfway decent ISA cards one could add like the Copy ][ PC options board, but these died out with the ISA bus. O/Cing was fun, but when200MHz speed bumps equate to <5% of the cpu speed, in turn leading to <3% performance boost, whats the point? Hmm, maybe turning an old laptop into a car MP3 player... cept that was 1998-ish!

Would love to remember the Poole TRS80 club name, and who ran it. Dave someone? First time I ever saw a monitor implode then explode when the Ford place got hit by lightning :O TOPIC! Tandy Owners and Programmers Information Club.... off to google!

User avatar
Posts: 589
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2005 7:31 am
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Re: School Computers

Post by Dizrythmia » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:14 pm

My primary school had Amstrad CPC 6128s, which introduced me to the machine. I was able to use the excuse "The school has them, I can do my homework on them" :)

A couple of years after I left they replaced them with PCs. In high school we were using BBC Micros (which weren't terribly common in Australia. That's the only place I've ever seen them) & later on Apple Macs.

User avatar
Posts: 136
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:21 pm
Location: Cornwallshire

Re: School Computers

Post by RB » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:06 pm

Our school had a Research Machines 380Z with a knackered green screen monitor that was so bright it could burn your face off. Not a great introduction to computing...

Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:12 am

Re: School Computers

Post by Cripper2 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:04 pm

At primary school there were no computers but we had a Speak & Spell. I remember we watched a TV program about computers once and the teacher passed round a plastic bag with some microchips in for us to look at

Junior school had 4 BBCs one of which was a model A. I only ever saw these computers used for playing games at lunchtime. One of the teachers used to bring in compilation disks of copied games. Most of the games were crap but I remember Chuckie Egg, Frak and a very good Scramble clone

High school had 20 BBC Bs networked with a 20mb 'Winchester'. We used to play a share trading game and the general election game The IT teacher had one Apple 2 and one Archimedes that he kept for himself. The nearest we got to it was when he let us see him playing that 3d game either lander of zarch. There was one Amiga 1500? that was used for art. I never saw it switched on. In the Sixth form we were sometimes allowed into another never used locked computer room full of brand new unused computers for teachers to use preparing lessons. There was a Macintosh with a hard disk, numeric keypad and a Laser Printer - WOW it was great, BBC Master Compacts, a few Amstrad PCs running GEM and an Elonex PC with a great keyboard

User avatar
Posts: 2507
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:42 am
Location: Derbyshire

Re: School Computers

Post by STranger81 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:53 am

At primary school we had a BBC in every classroom that my class never payed any attention to until someone bought games in and they used to leave them in their desk meaning that the machine suddenly became very popular.

At secondary school we only had about 10 machines for over 1000 students so we never really used them but after 2 years of us being there the school became Grant Maintained and sponsored by Thorntons ( they were based in our town ) and all of a sudden the school was a wash with the latest pentium machines. There were well over 150 computers in the school. New computer rooms sprung up everywhere and we loved it.

Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:29 pm
Location: Glastonbury, Somerset

Re: School Computers

Post by Tariq » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:18 pm

I have really fond memories of the RM Nimbuses at my old secondary school in the late 80s. I spent hours and hours playing text-based adventures when I was supposed to be working. I remember really getting into Telarium's The Scoop. Also played The Lost Frog. Not sure if this was an officially released game or one designed by someone in my school as we also had some adventure game designing software which looked responsible for it. I used it to design a fairly basic romp around Central London on the trail of some lost keys (well, it wasn't exactly Magnetic Scrolls but it was OK ;-) Also remember playing Martello Tower. All the literature on the internet suggests it was a BBC game but I'm certain I played it on the Nimbus. Great stuff nevertheless :-)

User avatar
Posts: 1439
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:17 pm

Re: School Computers

Post by learnedrobb » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:55 pm

At my primary school we had 1 single, solitary BBC model B.

At my secondary school we had about 20 Model Bs', 20 Acorn Archimedies (spent many a happy hour playing Lemmings in IT lessons), and about 6 PCWs. In my final year they got a 'fancy' new 386 pc with a CD-Rom!
PSN: learnedrobb

Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: glasgow

Re: School Computers

Post by smilertoo » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:01 pm

Science rooms had a couple of Apple IIs, computer room had BBCs.
yes i have a sig.

User avatar
Posts: 569
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:18 pm
Location: Italy

Re: School Computers

Post by Chinnico » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:09 pm

Videogame consoles and even computers were largely overlooked by almost everyone when I was a kid.
I knew only a couple of mates who had their own system at home. When I was about 10, the school bought an MSX and a Commodore Plus4. Wow. I was lucky: at home I had my trusted C64 and I had already learned on my own almost everything we would have studied in the classroom. Also, I impressed everyone with my fast typing skills!

User avatar
Posts: 666
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:14 am
Location: Torquay, Devon, UK

Re: School Computers

Post by EnglishRob » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:05 pm

I have vague memories at Primary school of them having BBC Micro's. I wasn't in to computers back then so I didn't take much notice. At Junior school though, I got a ZX81 and then my interest really started. I got a copy of ACE with Impossible Mission on it (can't remember if it was Impossible Mission or Impossible Mission 2) and along with a mate we spent an afternoon playing it :-)

I remember playing about and breaking into the listing of one of the educational programs and reading a BBC Basic manual which didn't help since I had a CPC at home.

When I moved to Secondary school they had a suite of 16 RM Nimbus PC's (186 jobbies with colour monitors). I remember I thought they were great (much better graphics compared to my CPC), but then I got an 520STFM at home so my interest wained a bit. They also had a room full of BBC B's and a couple of BBC Masters. None of the Beebs were networked though that was just the Nimbus machines.

Later on they got more Nimbus machines dotted around the school and extended their network. I remember they actually upgraded their main server and installed a VX286(?) server in one of the other rooms.

I also remember for a little while they had a Doomsday project machine although I never did get to actually play with it (I watched over someone's shoulder).

They also had an MSX in the music room, a 1040STE which made me popular when I took some games in, a room of Amstrad PC1512's for Wordprocessing classes (again this made me popular when I got some games such as Sopwith and Digger) and a couple of Nimbus 386 machines running Windows 3.0.

When I left they replaced the majority of the Nimbus machines with self built 486's running DOS 6 & Windows 3.1 (I helped build a couple as I used to go back to see the school technician there) and presumably now they're much more advanced (haven't been back in years). I do remember going back sometimes and playing death matches of Duke Nukem 3D (now that was fun!).

When I went to college they had a mixture PCs, some old XT's and 286's running DOS 3.3 (with things like Lotus 1-2-3 and Wordstar), and some 386's and 486's running Windows 3.1. One thing I remember was odd was the fact they ran Pagemaker on Windows 2.0 (I think) which ran on top of Windows 3.1!

Then I started working at a college as an IT technician, they had a load of 386's running DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1, some 486's and some new flashy Pentium 100's running Windows 95. Just before I left that job they started trying out Lotus Domino and Windows NT 4.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? - Guybrush Threepwood

User avatar
Posts: 496
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:34 pm
Location: N.W

Re: School Computers

Post by PanzerGeneral » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:27 pm

first machines we had (back in 1982/3) were bbc model b's and a couple of research machines 380z's, judging from the posts so far - these two sem to have had the market sewn up at the time.
understandable though - both machines were tough as old boots and likely to withstand a nuclear blast.

User avatar
Posts: 3303
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:24 am
Location: Bonnie Scotland

Re: School Computers

Post by rocky1980 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:31 pm

withstand a nuclear blast.
or kids for 8 hrs a day :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
King of The Quids 2011 Winner :D

Image Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest