Commodore Meeting set for Vienna this Sunday

Picture courtesy Computer Collection Vienna
Picture courtesy Computer Collection Vienna

This year’s Commodore Meeting Vienna is all set to take place in the spectacular city of Vienna (Wien),  the world-famous capital of Austria, on Sunday, 17th May 2015.

The event provides an opportunity to meet each other in person , to exchange experiences and news and to work together with great machines or to play.

The event is aimed at users , fans and collectors of Commodore computers, say the organisers, Computer Collection Vienna.

Interested visitors who just want to take a look at cult computers, of course, are also welcome.

This meeting takes place annually , usually in the spring. Participation is free , but registration to attend the event is required.

The event is open between 4pm – 11pm.

The location is :

Wiener Freiheit

Schönbrunner Straße 25

1050 Wien

The Facebook event page is: https://www.facebook.com/events/734937869948377/

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Historic UNIX film released online

From 'The UNIX System', 1982 (Courtesy AT&T Archives)
From ‘The UNIX System’, 1982 (Courtesy AT&T Archives)

The AT & T Archives have released an historic film produced at Bell Laboratories in 1982, entitled ‘The UNIX System: Making Computers More Productive’.

This is bound to be of interest to computer historians and fans of UNIX, one of the world’s most important operating systems.

The film, which is introduced by Victor A. Vyssorsky, then Executive Director of Research Communications Principles, is just short of half an hour long, and is viewable on YouTube in the AT&T Tech Channel.

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc4ROCJYbm0

New AT&T archive films can be found every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at: http://techchannel.att.com/archives

Going retro down in Wolvo – again!

Becky and Craig Turner get retro
Becky and Craig Turner get retro

Thanks to a public-spirited couple who just happen to be arcade games fanatics, youngsters and families in Wolverhampton had the chance to play in the past like there was no tomorrow on Saturday last. Craig and Becky Turner, of Turnarcades and Revival Retro events fame, had managed to materialise a mad medley of sci-fi shoot-em-ups and chop-sockey champions at the Corpus Christi Church Social Club, all in aid of the local under-8’s football team, Ashmore Park Rangers FC.

Classic console meets modern hi-tech with the Super Everdrive for Super Nintendo
Classic console meets modern hi-tech with the Super Everdrive for Super Nintendo

And throughout the afternoon the sound of lasers blasting, kung-fu fighting and Simpsons skateboarding mixed with the rest of the community hubbub coming from the bouncy castle, sponge-throwing, penalty shoot-outs and disco dancing – and much more – to add a colourful soundtrack to what otherwise might have been a grey day on Ashmore Park estate!

Youngsters go old-skool gaming under the watchful eye of Craig Turner
Youngsters go old-skool gaming under the watchful eye of Craig Turner

RCN Editor, Stuart Williams, took the opportunity to beat a path from Bloxwich across the borders into Wolverhampton to have a long and interesting chat with Craig and Becky, and he was impressed, but not surprised, to see how much fun the youngsters were having with the mix of classic consoles and arcade cabs  laid on to aid the footie fundraising.

Continue reading Going retro down in Wolvo – again!

Caught in the Micronet

Micronet 800

Some things in life seem lost in the mists of time, but since I returned to my roots by taking up retrocomputing a few years ago, so many fond memories have come back to me, often with a feeling of regret that the subject of those memories is no longer with us.  One such subject is Micronet 800 – and my own active involvement in that much-loved and much-missed online system, as a co-editor of one particular section – 16/32.

For those who have never heard of it, Micronet 800 was an early online information provider on Prestel, British Telecom’s interactive Viewdata system, which, beloved as it was by travel agencies and public libraries, was in many ways Britain’s web before the World Wide Web.  Micronet 800, which was provided by Telemap Group, a part of EMAP, was aimed at the 1980s personal computer market, and was an online ‘electronic magazine’ that gave subscribers computer related news, reviews, general subject articles and downloadable ‘telesoftware.

It coexisted with dozens of independent and mostly free text-based ‘bulletin board’ systems which were dotted about the country.  But unlike these boards, Prestel and therefore Micronet 800 was usually available at local call rates – in the days before cheap telephone calls and broadband internet!

Prestel

Users would log onto the Prestel network and enter the Micronet 800 home page by entering *800# (hence the name) on their modem or computer. Most Micronet 800 members would have their default main index page set to page 800 automatically.  The Prestel system used an asymmetric 1200/75 system – 1200 baud download speed, 75 baud upload.  As there was no high resolution graphic content on Prestel (it was all done in text and special characters, the display was just 24 lines of 40 characters, with seven colours and very simple block graphics), the slow data rates mattered little.

By May 1986, I had become an Atari 520STFM user (I later also owned the original 520ST), and my enthusiasm was such for this wonderful computer (the poor man’s Macintosh!) and online communications, that I decided I wanted to give something back to the Atari community, and so I decided to offer my services in editing on Micronet 800.  And so it was that, with my assistance, a whole new area for ST users began to open up on Prestel.

16/32 Micronet Directory Entry, from members magazine Logon, issue 12, Summer 1990

Continue reading Caught in the Micronet

Legendary Oliver Twins to appear at Play Blackpool

Philip and Andrew Oliver with games old and new, Dizzy and SkySaga (Pic: The Oliver Twins/Radiant Worlds)
Philip and Andrew Oliver with games old and new, Dizzy and SkySaga (Pic: The Oliver Twins/Radiant Worlds)

Great news for anyone heading for the PLAY arcade, indie and retro gaming show at Blackpool next month is that they’ll get the chance to hear and meet that dynamic duo of retro and modern gaming, legendary British programmers and businessmen the Oliver Twins.

Not only is Andrew Oliver going to be on hand to talk about the forthcoming game SkySaga from the twins’ own current company, Radiant Worlds, but the latest news is that he will now be joined by his brother Philip.

The popular and wide-ranging event features the first public UK preview of SkySaga, which looks to be a hit in the making, but most importantly for retro fans is that Andrew and Philip will be giving two talks on the Saturday at 1pm and 3pm, the first being a nostalgic glance back at their past games and their remarkable life programming in their bedrooms in the 1980s!

The second, bringing their long and successful careers into perspective, will focus on their important new project, SkySaga: Infinite Isles (definitely not a bedroom job!), and some of the production team from Radiant Worlds will be there, offering show attendees the chance to play the game in the exhibition hall itself.

Andrew and Philip became British gaming legends as ‘The Oliver Twins’ in the 1980s when they developed, amongst other hugely popular series, the equally legendary (and still very popular amongst retro gamers)  Dizzy adventures and the Simulator games, which were published by Codemasters.

PLAY Blackpool

Retro fans and new gamers alike will also have the chance to get their collectables signed by the twins – reason enough to beat a path to the Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre for what looks set to be another great PLAY expo.

So don’t forget to bring your Dizzy games and other items for the Oliver Twins to autograph!

Continue reading Legendary Oliver Twins to appear at Play Blackpool

Project Odyssey is a smash for computer museum

Jason Fitzpatrick shows off rows of BBC Micros's and Raspberry Pi's at Gadget Show Live (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)
Jason Fitzpatrick shows off rows of BBC Micros’s and Raspberry Pi’s at Gadget Show Live (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)

The Centre for Computing History, the popular and fast-growing museum in Cambridge, England, is popping the corks in celebration following the massive success of their recent ‘Project Odyssey’ fundraising campaign!

The first stage of the project was launched on 10 March by museum patron Dr Hermann Hauser (of Acorn fame) and is now finished, having raised £100,000. What’s more, as this figure was reached within 30 days, it will now be matched by the generosity of Cambridge-based Redgate Software, bringing the total amount to a staggering £200,000!

The aim was to raise £110,000 to complete the refurbishment of the Centre’s main gallery and create a new core exhibition – ‘Tech Odyssey’ – which will chart the global impact of the computing revolution.

Computing education is fun - retro or otherwise! (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)
Computing education is fun – retro or otherwise! (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)

Continue reading Project Odyssey is a smash for computer museum

Our Facebook page is moving!

Retro Computing News new Facebook page

RETRO COMPUTING NEWS is moving – to a new Facebook page!

The new page has been named ‘Retro Computing News’ alongside this renamed online magazine and Twitter feed.  It’s all part of our reboot.

A new page had to be set up because Facebook wouldn’t allow the renaming of the original page.

All future RETRO COMPUTING NEWS magazine posts, retweets via our Twitter feed and Shared posts from other relevant pages we follow on Facebook will be redirected to the new page, as of from now.  Of course you can still subscribe to our regular magazine posts via this website using the FOLLOW button on the right of this page.

Twitter and Facebook are also additional places where you are very welcome to interact with RETRO COMPUTING NEWS, apart from emailing us.  You can also communicate with our other readers and followers there – it’s all part of the community we like to encourage.

All our readers, present and future, are therefore invited to click on the following link and please Like the new page, as it’s part of the future of Retro Computing News. I know this will take time as not everyone will spot this right away.

If you’re not so much into Facebook, why not follow us on Twitter instead? See the column on the right for details and recent posts there.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Please see: https://www.facebook.com/retrocompnews

Stuart Williams

Editor & Publisher

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Booting up…

Booting Up

As part of our ongoing reboot following the hiatus late last year, today we are changing the name of this magazine slightly – from the mouthful that was Retrocomputing News to the more byte-size Retro Computing News.  This might not seem much difference, but it allows us to work in in a slight change of emphasis while making the title a little easier to read.

The site’s masthead has been tweaked slightly to reflect a broadening of coverage which has become pretty much essential to enable us to increase the flow of news from now on, and to reflect topics of broader interest to retro and other computer enthusiasts.   This will also be seen in our Twitter and Facebook output.

Moving forward, we’re aiming to cover old-school home computing and collecting, computing history, retro gaming (now including classic consoles),  and more broadly, computer languages, programming (coding!), classic software and abandonware, emulation hardware and software (especially the popular Raspberry Pi, direct descendant of and spiritual heir to the BBC Micro), literary/tv/movie science fiction, events – and of course one of our top priorities, supporting computer museums in the UK and beyond.

RCN Header Revised

As our new subheading says – ‘computer history, gaming and computing today’!

Continue reading Booting up…

computer history, retro gaming and computing today