media what died a'bornin'

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Thu Oct 7 17:48:45 2004

> There were discussions on the list years ago about programs being sent out
> over the radio as in the UK so you would plug your radio output into your
> computer's cassette input to receive the program: mass software
> distribution!

You're thinking of 'Basicode', which actually started in The Netherlands.
The thing was that the programs were sort-of universal, and could be run
on most home computers of the time (TRS-80, PET, Apple ][, BBC micro,
etc). You got a translator tape that was machine-specific (actually, it
was one tape with machine-specific programs recorded one after the other
on it, you loaded the appropriate one for your machine), then you could
load and run any Basicode program. The audio format was essentially CUTS
1200 baud, and machine-specific commands (like 'clear screen' which was
CLS on a TRS80, HOME on some other machines, etc) were replaced with
GOSUBs to particular line numbers -- part of the translator was a set of
BASIC subroutines.

And you didn't normally connect the radio to the computer. It was better
to record the programs on tape, the load them into the computer later.
That way you had a second chance if you got the volume setting wrong or
something :-)

There was also a scheme to transmit BBC BASIC programs on teletext (a
text service trasmitted on normal TV signals, sent during the field
blanking interval). The BBC micro had a couple of teletext decoders
available for it (one from Acorn, a rather better one from Morley), and
you could directly load these programs into your Beeb and save them on
tape or disk.

Received on Thu Oct 07 2004 - 17:48:45 BST

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