Author Topic: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"  (Read 1711 times)

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Offline Morn

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"Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« on: 21:25, 29 June 15 »
Apply now and save those poor students from Python's indentation rules.  :D



Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers - BBC News



The exhibition at the museum gives schoolchildren a hands-on lesson in 8-bit computing

A public appeal for people who can repair BBC Micro computers has been launched by a museum.

The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) needs help to maintain the stock of BBC machines it uses in education programmes and exhibits.

It is looking for people familiar with the computer and its peripherals including monitors and disk drives.

The 8-bit BBC Micro was launched in 1981 and gave many people their first taste of home computing.

The museum, which is located on the Bletchley Park estate, has about 80 BBC Micro computers, said Chris Monk, learning co-ordinator at the organisation. Some of these are in display cases, he said, but the majority form part of an interactive exhibit that recreates a 1980s classroom.

Many times a week school groups visit this exhibit to find out about the social history of micro computers and to get a taste of what machines could do in the days before tablets, smartphones and laptops, said Mr Monk.

"We want to find out whether people have got skills out there that can keep the cluster alive as long as we can," he said. Anyone with appropriate skills can contact the museum via its website.

Some students studying computer science get a chance to use the machines and programme simple games in BBC Basic, he added, saying that using the language can be a revelation.

"A lot of the students are used to using Python and they know how fussy that can be when you do not put your indents in the right place," said Mr Monk. "But BBC basic does not care as it was designed to be quite tolerant of spacing and it tries to give them sensible error messages."

Valerie Quaye, an ICT teacher from the Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar, Somerset, who regularly takes students to TNMOC to try the BBC machines, said the hands-on experience was "invaluable".
A replica of the Colossus computer is also at the National Museum of Computing

"We do teach programming but it is much more text-based," she said. "They do not see the output until they have written a lot of code."

By contrast, she said, working on the BBC Micro was much more immediate.

"It hooks them in even though it's quite basic," said Ms Quaye. "They get over the basic graphics very quickly."

Owen Grover, a volunteer at the museum who currently helps maintain the cluster of BBC Micro machines, said they held up well despite being more than 30 years old.

The BBC Micro was "pretty robust", he said, because it was designed to be used in classrooms. This meant that refurbishing machines for use in the hands-on exhibit was usually fairly straightforward.

"The main problem we need to sort out is the power supply," he said. "There are two capacitors that dry out and if we do not replace them they tend to explode and stink the place out. So we change them as a matter of course."

General maintenance on the machines includes replacing keys that stick and the occasional component that fails. Thankfully, he said, there were few custom-built components in the machine so getting spares is easy. Harder-to-obtain parts are cannibalised from broken or faulty machines the museum has in its stores.

"The good thing about them is that they are repairable," said Mr Grover. "We are not going to be repairing power supplies in modern equipment in 30 years' time because they are not designed to be opened up and replaced."




Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers - BBC News


Offline CraigsBar

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #1 on: 21:35, 29 June 15 »
I nominate a certain Mr @Bryce!
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Offline Bryce

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #2 on: 23:08, 29 June 15 »
Thank you, but Bletchley Park is a bit off the beaten track for me. The commute would be difficult. Bas (The Corfiot) on the other hand is much closer and knows a lot more about BBCs than I do (although I own a BBC Master 128 and an Elk :))

Bryce.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #3 on: 23:14, 29 June 15 »
Ahh well, Never mind. I have not seen a line up of Beebs & Cub monitors like that since I was at school. I have fond memories of playing Frak, Repton, Revs, Elite, Commando (on the one available Master) and others instead of moving the turtle in Logo!


What a mis-spent youth
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Offline Morn

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #4 on: 00:01, 30 June 15 »
Thank you, but Bletchley Park is a bit off the beaten track for me. The commute would be difficult.
Too late, Bryce, the SAS has already been dispatched to your home. You will mysteriously wake up at Bletchley Park tomorrow and have lots of time there to share your BBC Micro secrets. You will never see your CPC again, Number 6, mua ha ha.  :laugh:


Offline Bryce

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #5 on: 01:36, 30 June 15 »
Too late, Bryce, the SAS has already been dispatched to your home. You will mysteriously wake up at Bletchley Park tomorrow and have lots of time there to share your BBC Micro secrets. You will never see your CPC again, Number 6, mua ha ha.  :laugh:



Awe not again!

Bryce.

Offline Morn

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #6 on: 02:14, 30 June 15 »
Awe not again!

Bryce.
Actually, your recent successful "escape" from BP was part of our incredibly elaborate scheme to get you to talk about your secrets, so I'm afraid this is still the first time, Number 6.

Just wait till you finally meet Number 1 at the Park; I promise you it will be a complete and total letdown.  :P


Offline Bryce

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #7 on: 13:44, 30 June 15 »
I am not a number! I am a free man! (que - Iron Maiden, Number of the beast).

Bryce.

Offline EgoTrip

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #8 on: 13:48, 30 June 15 »
I am not a number! I am a free man! (que - Iron Maiden, Number of the beast).

Bryce.

Yes you are, user 225.
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Offline Bryce

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #9 on: 14:55, 30 June 15 »
Yes you are, user 225.

Hmmm. I think I preferred being No. 6 :(

Bryce.
« Last Edit: 14:57, 30 June 15 by Bryce »

Offline Morn

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Re: "Computer museum seeks BBC Micro fixers"
« Reply #10 on: 15:43, 30 June 15 »
Hmmm. I think I preferred being No. 6 :(

Bryce.
Aha, EgoTrip's clever use of reverse psychology seems to be working already. Excellent! He's the newly appointed Number 2 now, as the previous Number 2 had an unfortunate workplace accident involving piranhas and sharks. Not ordinary sharks mind you, but sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!