A the last remaining titles from the Newman College BBC micro software
archive have been added. These include;
- Our School - a concept keyboard driven program working within a
virtual world of s school.
- Pip's Island Adventure - an adventure game in three parts aimed
at primary children.
- FunFair - a simulation of a visit to a Fun Fair. This works from
the keyboard or concept keyboard.
Missing documentation for the Northern Micromedia package, Pip Goes to the
Moon, has been added to the download.
A number of SEMERC concept keyboard titles from the Newman College Software
Library were added. These include;
- Picture Play - a simple matching program that uses a concept
keyboard or switch box. This title contained a lot of documentation
including overlays. The ink on the documentation had become sticky over time
and the archived pages need much restoration.
- Click - a framework program which reveals a picture one square at
a time. This is a massive program spanning 4 floppy disks. The manual was in
very poor condition due to sticky ink being ripped from pages and needed
extensive restoration. Works with a variety of input devices.
- Infant Disc - a version of the MEP Infant Disc 1 updated to use a
- Toy Cupboard - stock your toy cupboard using English commands;
also works with a concept keyboard.
- What's That Picture? - match and display pictures using a concept
The following packages have been added from Amateur programmers;
- Making Sense of My Words - this need documentation to work out what it
- Traffic Light Simulator - explaining how traffic lights work for
young children. Caution: the sequence is out of
in the twin traffic light demo.
- Chopper Maths - a primary school compilation of games and maths
- Life - a version of the game of life.
A number of programs designed for the concept keyboard were added;
- Catchup - from SEMERC aimed at improving literacy skills for
children with special needs
- List Explorer 3 - a simple database controlled by a concept
Issue numbers 35-36 of Micro-Scope were added.
The following packages have been added from Amateur programmers;
- Easyspread - a simple spreadsheet for young students,
- Additional Fun - a compilation of early years maths programs,
- Educational Adventures - two simple adventure games for young
- Magic Maze - a 3D maze for players to traverse,
- Cinders - a simple adventure based on Cinderella.
And from Acornsoft;
- Peeko-Computer - the Electron version in German (Thanks due to
Roland of the StarDot forums for the kind donation).
Issue number 34 of Micro-Scope was added.
Issues up to number 33 of the MAPE magazine, Micro-Scope, have been
added to the magazines section of the website.
A number of packages produced by teachers or independent programmers were
added. These include;
- Maths with a Story 2,
- Morag's Mosaics,
- Boys and Girls
- MAPE tape V - Owl Pack
Documentation for MAPE tapes III and IV was added.
In addition there has been a major restructuring of the downloading aspect of
the website. To make it easier to download and save several packages in
sequence, the default name of "Download.zip" has been changed so that the file
is prefaced by the package name.
The MAPE software section has been updated with the addition of documentation for the MAPE Tapes and the addition of MAPE Tape 5 -Owl Pack.
Following an update to the Archive's Gotek drive, HFE files now behave just
as the originals.
These Sherston titles have been added from HFE sources from the StarDot
- Phantom of Fleet Street,
- Toby at the Seaside,
- Vowel Digraphs.
With the addition of the most recent titles, the backlog of educational
packages with documentation has been cleared and archived! There are still the
MAPE magazines to scan and this is progressing steadily. There is also the huge
mass of disks without documentation to check through.
StarDot Forum members have been working towards a method of archiving BBC
software to include the protection details and recently have created an archive
of such discs. These archives are in .HFE format files. The archive promises to
be a treasure trove of missing educational titles although without the often
necessary documentation. Thanks, guys.
The Sherston title, Fleet Street Phantom, was investigated and archived as an
SSD file after deprotecting the disc. A system has now been set up which uses a
dual GOTEK drive, to read the HFE files, and a real floppy drive to create the
SSD images. HFE files load really well on the GOTEK although sometimes
extracting the data from a virtual disk is a bit flaky and the files do not
actually work from the GOTEK itself.
Whenever a piece of software, which has been converted from an HFE archive,
has been included on the website from now on its download will also include the
HFE file so that the actual protection mechanism can be later studied. Fleet
Street Phantom is the first of such software.
Last week the Archive obtained three tape-based titles;
- Calisto Mathematics O-Level
- Letts Chemistry revision
- Silverlind Biology
For archiving the titles were copied to disk. The Letts Chemistry title
proved to be very difficult to do. The programs on the tape were unprotected in
that they could be copied to disk easily. Some, however, were encrypted and
needed to be decrypted before they could run from disk.
The title screen was saved as a screen image and loaded once only, rather
than being individually created for each component program. A menu program was
written to allow each program to be loaded and a !BOOT file was written so that
the software could be loaded from Shift-Break.
Whilst testing the programs it was noticed that they would only work properly
on a BBC model B computer. On a BBC Master the user-defined characters were
incorrect. The characters had been defined correctly by the programs but had not
been programmed correctly by the original programmer. The programmer had used a
character with an ASCII code 96 less than the correct one. This actually works
on a BBC micro but is sloppy programming!
All the programs had to be checked line by line and the correct ASCII codes
inserted. DATA statements also contained these ASCII codes but they appeared as
BASIC keywords due to not being enclosed in quotes. Whilst checking the DATA
statements a number of errors in the chemistry were corrected as well.
If the package is run at PAGE=&1100 it could run on both
a BBC Master and a BBC model B. Otherwise this is for BBC Master computers only.
Archiving of the MAPE members' magazine, Micro-Scope, continues.
Three titles from Fernleaf Educational Software Ltd. were added. These are Shields, Auntie's Gift Shop and Think Ahead, a collection of games and puzzles.
More Micro-Scope magazines have been added along with several amateur titles for switch-input software.
Recent activity at the Archive has been centred around digitally preserving
Micro-Scope, the members' magazine produced by MAPE (Micros And
Primary Education), and some Micro-Scope special editions.
The magazines section of the website was re-organised to reflect the number of
magazines now being hosted.
Titles from Educational Software Sales, Let's Play with Numbers and
First Numbers, were added to the archive. Let's Play with Numbers was
missing its disk, unfortunately. The only program available for that title was
found on another compilation in the Archive. It is hoped that other compilations
may later provide the missing titles.
A collection of special needs software and documentation for use with a
concept keyboard, joysticks and switch input devices was obtained from a very
helpful seller on eBay. Publishers include Widgit Software and Brilliant
Computing. There were also a number of amateur titles. In addition there was
also an A3 concept keyboard, complete with overlays, produced by AB Electronic
Components Ltd and this augments the Archive's existing A4 concept keyboards.
The discs had been stored badly over the years and were mouldy and had some
physical damage. Careful cleaning and the use of several disc drives allowed all
the software to be recovered intact.
Further documentation for the Linear Graphics range of plotters was added.
Activity at the Archive this month has largely revolved around changes to the
UK101 section with a view to adding a software archive of UK101 programs. The
archived software will be in the form of WAV files. Saved programs at 300 baud
can be digitised by a PC as WAV files. These WAV files can be loaded directly
from the PC into the UK101 or can be recorded onto cassette tape and loaded from
a cassette player in the usual way.
A number of Computing Today issues were scanned and uploaded. Only March 1983
and September 1983 of the Archive's collection remain to be scanned. That will
leave July to September 1985 still to be acquired and archived to compete the
full set of issues from number 1, November 1978, to number 83, September 1985.
A LOGO resource was added to the Books section following a kind donation of
the scanned booklet by StarDot Forum member Klintworth.
The Fishing Game from Netherhall Software has been added. Unusually
this title had very little protection. Hotel, a management simulation of
running a hotel, was added to the COIC section of the website
Several more issues of Computing Today have been scanned and uploaded to the
website. These cover most of 1982 from February to September. It was also noted
that a number of previously uploaded issues from 1984 and 1985 were incomplete.
This was due to downgrading issues when moving from Windows Vista to Windows 10;
the Windows 10 printer spooler kept missing pages when printing PDF files and
has now stopped completely following an automatic Microsoft update. Moving back
to Windows Vista to create the PDF files resolved the problem. "If it works,
why fix it?"
Let's Play with Money, a title from the publisher Educational Software
Sales, is now archived. This is one of a number of titles from a publisher
specialising in literacy and numeracy for young children.
A compilation of titles from Technomatic on 80T ADFS was added. This is an
unusual format for a software release. It has a custom front-end and contains a
number of BBCsoft titles, including Vu-Type.
Computing Today for January 1982 has been added and the December 1981 issue
has been replaced with a new version to correct the missing pages in the
The PIP floor robot section has been updated with a PIP program editor, which
allows easy editing of existing PIP programs or easy creation of PIP programs on
a BBC micro before they are uploaded into PIP.
The Archive has taken delivery of a new scanner. It is still an A4 flatbed
scanner but is about 20% faster and has a much better image result at 300dpi
than the previous scanner, which after 10 years continuous use had taken to
sporadically stopping and whining in protest.
Further activity this week has included adding the Computing Today magazines
for 1985, adding the Cambridge Micro Software title, Watts in your Home, scanning the documentation for Xavier
Educational Software titles and Chalksoft Reversals and Puncman 1-4. The Xavier
documentation was in a very poor state, being photocopied, and will need
typesetting before adding to the website.
The website has been re-organised slightly adding the News section to the
PIP, a floor robot, has been added as a section in the Oddments page and
there have been updates to the RISCOS software.
The Archive was lucky to obtain a BNIB specimen of the
Commotion Control Box complete with BBC software and Archimedes software.
The BBC cables were present but unfortunately the Archimedes cables were
missing. These, however, can easily be made up. The software and documentation
are now archived.
The March 1985 edition of Computing Today has been scanned and uploaded to the
The TI59 section of the Calculators area has been updated.
This has been another busy week in "lockdown" at the archive. January and
February 1985 issues of Computing Today were scanned, indexed and added to
the website as was December 1981, a massive edition with 156 pages!
The following BBC educational software packages have been archived;
- Maths 9 - 13 a compilation of Anita Straker titles from ESM. Three new
titles were found here:- Looping, Pascal and Roller.
- Secondary Science: Microtechnology from BBCsoft
- Make Sam Smile from Garland
- Dart from Resource
Another edition of Maths in Space from Cambridgeshire Software House was
discovered. The software seems the same but this edition is in an A5 plastic
wallet with a folded A5 cover as opposed to the previous edition which was 5.25"
disk-sized. The disk labelling is also different.
All of the outstanding issues of Computing Today for 1984 have been
added to the archive and indexed.
The following BBC educational software packages have been archived;
- FADS from AUCBE
- Games for Dyslexic Children from IEC Software
- Let's Explore London from Cambridgeshire Software House
- Sellardore Tales from Sherston Software
The Covid-19 Lockdown is still in place at the Archive and gives lots of time
for updating the website.
A recent, generous donation from a reader, Jim Hearne, of a number of
Computing Today magazines from 1984 and 1985 has allowed many of the missing
issues of this publication to be added to the website. These issues complete the
collection up to June 1985 and are currently being scanned.
The Archive would love to hear from anyone who has any issues from July
Stardot member VectorEyes has loaned a large number of educational
software titles so that they may be preserved. These are currently being
processed and added on a daily basis.
Added more Cambridge Micro Software titles from the Newman College
1914 - A simulation of the events of August and September 1914 in France and
Picfile - A graphical analysis add-on for the Factfile database
Making Ends Meet - a personal finance program for students
The latest updates are from the Newman College Computer Centre software
library and include additions to Cuthbert Catches a Cold from Selective Software
and Pathfinder from CSH; missing manuals were scanned
and added to the archive.
The following titles were also added;
- QMap from AUCBE - This will plot geographical data from QUEST searches
onto user-designed base maps.
- Archaeology from CSH - A simulation of an archaeological dig.
- Rapid Display from AVP - A title to produce large MODE7 letter displays and
- Caption from MESU - A creative writing package.
- Junior Find from HUMMEC - A simple version of the Find database.
The ability to search for package titles in an age range has been added.
The SmartMove package for the BBC Master to control the Economatics
Smartbox Sb-01 was added along with a ROM-based package designed to work with
Wordwise Plus. This latter is the Continuous Processing ROM (CP-ROM) from
Norwich Computer Services, who are noted for software that enhances Computer
Concept's Wordwise Plus word processor.
Whilst searching for this ROM amongst the literally thousands of disk images
held by the Archive, the vast number of ROM images cried out for cataloguing so
that ROMs are easier to find. As a result of this work a new section was added
to the website - BBC ROMS. This is a full catalogue of the ROMs held by
the Archive along with a short description of the function of the ROM. The ROMs
can be downloaded as 80 Track, double-sided SSD images. Each download contains
over 20 ROMs.
Several updates have been made recently to the Acornsoft section.
A new mini-website has been added, Oddments.
This contains information about computer related items that do not fit into the
main BBC software archive or the RISCOS archive. This has been started by a look
at the Economatics Smart Box (SB-01). Thanks to StarDot Forum members the
Smart Move package for the BBC Master has been obtained and this has been
added to the Economatics section of the Archive
BBCSoft's title Toolbox has been archived. This is a suite of
programs/procedures aimed at programmers. The substantial manual is a very good
resource for programmers and has bee included in the books section of the
All the CommunITel floppy disks have now been archived and are currently
being catalogued. There were 146 disks of material, many of them including
incremental changes to the CommunITel Viewdata System, which show the
development from the initial DFS stand alone version to the multi-file-system
Level 2 version, which also allows communications via a MODEM. Included was a
set of seven discs of the final source files from 1985, when the system was
finalised. These have been added to the dedicated
The latest addition here is a description of the prototype, proprietary
random access filing system procedures and functions along with a DSD image of
the archived disk.
It has been a busy time here at the Archive. Towards the end of January the Archive gratefully received a donation from
Bill Olivier the Technical Director and Chief Programmer of CommunITel Limited,
the publishers of the CommunITel Viewdata System. Not only did the donation
include the hardware used to develop the CommunITel Viewdata System but also it
included a mass of development documentation and floppy discs.
The hardware has been restored and updated and is now working perfectly
except for a Microvitec Cub monitor, which needs more extensive repairs.
The Projects section of the website has been updated to include the
restoration/upgrading of the Acorn Winchester Disc Drive from the donation.
A new CommunITel page has been added, linked from the CommunITel Package from
the main archive. On here are several items of documentation. As the material
from CommunITel is catalogued and preserved this section will increase in size.
This is a massive project to preserve all the source materials from the
development of this title. It appears that the effort is being made just in time
as many of the floppy disks are very fragile and losing their magnetic coating.
There appears to have been little activity since before Christmas 2019 but
much has been going on behind the scenes.
A new section - Books - has been added to the website. In this section
will be found downloadable pdfs of educational and Acorn/RISCOS related books,
booklets and pamphlets. The section opens with a number of the books from the
Pirates reading scheme used during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, a large
workbook for use with Granny's Garden, a workbook about Islamic Art
using LOGO and a booklet published by Mullard
Ltd., Educational Electronic Experiments.
The June 1984 edition of Games Computing was added and the Projects
section has been enlarged.
In addition several tweaks have been made to the website structure and
updates made to a number of the archives.
The archive was contacted by Steve Flintham who kindly donated a number of
disks of software including Concept Writer from the Manchester SEMERC, a
DFS version of Teacher's Cupboard from Sherston Software, Front Page
Special Edition fonts by Newman Software, Advanced Folio Fonts by
Tedimen Software and a set of Touch Explorer
disks, numbers 1 - 4, from NCET.