Model Engineers’ Workshop – April 2020
English | 79 pages | pdf | 17.4 MB

Welcome at Model Engineers’ Workshop magazine April 2020 Issue

A few days ago, I was watching a news report on my phone; and it made me remember seeing the Sinclair portable pocket TV, with its ‘bent’ cathode ray tube as a teenager. Haven’t things changed! I was reminded again of this when opening an envelope with a ‘reader’s ad’ inside – the stamp caught my eye. It was a screen grab from ‘Elite’, a 1984 game for the BBC Microcomputer. At the time it was revolutionary, with three-dimensional display and a huge number of planets created using a new ‘procedural approach’ – and excellent game play. It was so
successful that successor version of the game is still available today.
How well do you remember your first introduction to computing? We had one locked in a room at school that no-one hade ever used! The first one I saw properly was when my dad took to me to a ‘Computer Fair’ in Porth cawl, and a friend of his got an Acorn Electron. I was absolutely amazed at what I saw. I also remember a less successful session with a school friend when we painstakingly copied a program for ‘Life’ into his ZX80, which ran for several minutes before it overheated (or we knocked the RAM pack…).
I was fortunate to be able to learn several programming languages at university, including Algol, the wonderful Pascal and F0RTRAN 66, an abomination which ought never to have been inflicted on human brains. A friend worked in a computer shop, so got the chance to use all sorts of machines including the Dragon, ORIC and Sinclair QL as well as later coming across the Commodore 64 and Atari machines. Of all the home computers, the one I really enjoyed using the most was the BBC Micro, and I ended up having a Model A with extra RAM and still have a Model B and a ‘BBC Master Series Microcomputer’.
I suspect that most readers of Model Engineers’ Workshop magazine started a similar journey and have also gone through seeing computers at work and now at home go through various iterations (remember CP/M?), to the point where the phone in our pockets packs more punch than the computers we worked with in the 1990s!
Despite this extraordinary change, I feel it’s only over the last decade, or even the last five years, that new tech seems to be really taking root in our hobby, rather than being a specialised interest. What do you think

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