software via radio

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Sun Oct 24 11:36:03 2004

> Was it this list where people were recently talking about receiving
> software via the radio?
> Apparently the UK service was called Basicode - I'm just slogging my way

Yes. It was actually a Dutch idea (and there are therefore articles about
it in Elektor).

> The letter's dated 18th October 1984. Seems that the data was
> transmitted as part of a radio programme called 'chip shop'.

It was called (with the obvious pun) 'The Chip Shop Takeaway Service'
:-). 'The Chip Shop' was a programme on home computers that was
transmitted in the later afternoon of either Saturday or Sunday (I forget

> Now, I'm certain I remember seeing a manual about Basicode; I just left
> it in the pile at the museum that I'm yet to look through as it had
> 'basic' in the title and so didn't look immediately interesting :-) It
> was with a Dragon 32 machine (which also came with a lot of software),
> but whether any special hardware was needed I don't know.

I've never seen the translator program for the Dragon, but there's no
reason why there shouldn't have been one, and AFAIK no extra hardware
would have been needed. I think the only machine that needed extra
hardware was the TRS-80 Model 1 (and maybe, therefore, the Video Genie),
since the built-in cassette hardware was pretty much designed round that
machine's 500 baud scheme. The Model 3 did not need extra hardware, you
could use the 1500 baud hardware to handle basicode dignals with the
right software

As luck would have it, My only computer at the time was a Model 1. I
remember getting the translator tape, and the next weekend going up the
Edgware Road in London (back then it was full of shops selling electronic
components), buying the bits and soldering it together....

The other problem you may have with the Dragon, and which I had with the
Mdoel 1 is that Basicode sort-of assumes a 40*24 text display. It's not
supposed to (you're supposed to call a subroutine loaded as part of the
compatibilty routines which loads a couple of variables with the screen
size), but many programs didn't bother, or didn't do the right thing if
one or both of the dimensions was smaller than expected.

Received on Sun Oct 24 2004 - 11:36:03 BST

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