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Archive News 2020

02/12/2020

Further titles from AVP Computing were added. These include;

  • The Cathode Ray OScilloscope (COM70) - a teaching aid to explain the theory of how the CRO works.
  • Matrices (COM80) - revision/teaching notes about matrices and tests on the theory.
  • Rabbit Read (COM146a) - a reading game for young children. It was interesting that this disc had the AVP reference COM146 which was identical to the Chemical Analysis package. For convenience of the archive this has been re-designated COM146a.

Also added some more RISCOS material;

  • Blank disc images - an 800K ADFS image and a 1600K ADFS image in ADF format suitable for Archimedes and RISCPC emulators.

BBC micro Gotek blank images were added to the Oddments archive.

   
29/11/2020

Added SeaFAX, a local teletext emulator from City of Sheffield Education Department, thanks to billcarr2005 of the StarDot Forums for supplying the disk images. The documentation is still missing, unfortunately.

Further titles from AVP Computing were added. These include;

  • Pixel Perfect - a disk-based Desk Top Publisher. This contained a new protection mechanism, which was fun to bypass. This title needs the documentation to be used properly. Unfortunately this is missing from the Archive.
  • Revise Mathematics - a massive title covering at least 13 separate discs which covers the GCSE mathematics specification. Only 4 out of the 13 possible discs have been archived. The others are still missing.
  • Sound and Ripples (COM30) - Revision material about sound waves.
  • Measuring: Temperature, Volume and Mass (COM61) - Virtual measurement using various simple laboratory equipment.
   
22/11/2020

Part 2 of the adventure game Magic Telephone has been discovered and restored by Lurkio of the Stardot Forums. This has been added to the download for MAPE 4.

Further titles from AVP Computing were added. These include;

  • Waves (COM66) - an early title looking at the addition of sine waves,
  • A-Level Matrices (COM141) - all you need to know about using matrices,
  • GCSE Chemical Analysis (COM146) - practice your chemical analysis skills,
  • GCSE Chemistry Topics (COM186) - learn about some common topics for the GCSE examination.
   
17/11/2020

It has been a busy time again at the Archive. Thanks to a kind donation from StarDot Forums member, Dreamland Fantasy, four missing titles have been added;

  • Pondlife - from Granada. This deals with identifying pond animals and modelling a pond. Disc 2 of the title is still missing unfortunately. Disk 2 found thanks to billcarr2005 from the StarDot forums,
  • Sketch - a simple drawing package from an amateur programmer,
  • Four Rules, OK? - some maths/logic games from Shiva,
  • Signwriter - a program for printing large signs; part of the Logotron Pendown family.
   
16/11/2020

Thanks to a kind donation, the Electron version of Arithmetic 1, an O-Level revision guide from Ampalsoft, was added. This was originally a tape-based title but has been converted to run from DFS.

Further titles from AVP Computing were added. These include;

  • Maths CAL Disc (COM137) - a package of programs for A-Level mathematics students,
  • Colour Optics (COM29) - an early program from 1982 and unprotected,
  • Maths (COM63) - an A-Level mathematics title about the Binomial Distribution,
  • Measure (CYG004) - a program about measurement in Science from Cygnet Software,
  • Dynamics Simulations - an A-Level Physics title.

Also added some RISCOS material;

  • Textease V5.34 - a text/document processor for the RISCPC (will also work on RISCOS3.11) along with the support disc; this works with RISCOS 3.71 and appears to work with RISCOS 3.11
  • Cleator Moor - a TextEase presentation about the town of Cleator Moor in Cumbria
   
10/11/2020

Added a number of tape-based packages from the publisher Microchallenge Ltd, based in London. These programs are all matching programs to help learn English vocabulary and/or grammar, simple mathematics, Geography and French vocabulary.

Thanks are due to Arcadian of the StarDot forums for obtaining these titles and sending the resources in a form that could be archived.

   
29/10/2020

Now starting on archiving the mass of disk images held in various collections. These titles are all missing documentation, which means that some are very difficult to use without it. Titles include;

  • Basic Sound and Graphics - the tape cassettes to accompany the book "The BBC Micro BASIC, Sounds and Graphics" by Jim McGregor and Alan Watt.
  • Primary Art - a drawing package from Alligata software.
  • Secondary Mathematics with Micros In-Service Pack - A collection of secondary level mathematics programs used during In-Service training sessions with AUCBE. This included an Anita Straker title hitherto unknown.

A number of AVP Computing titles from the StarDot HFE archive were added. Unfortunately several of the HFE images were damaged (whether this reflects the original disk is uncertain) but the data was able to be extracted to form the SSD images archived here. These include;

  • Trigonometry O-Level - aimed at teaching O-Level Trigonometry,
  • Transformations and Graphs - a teaching package about reflections, rotations, etc. and graphs of trigonometrical functions,
  • Vectors - a teaching/revision package for A-Level students.

Also added Games Computing July 1984 issue. The only one missing now is February 1985. If any reader has that issue, please contact the Archive. Micro-Scope issue 37 was added. If anyone has  issues 11 -24, again please contact the Archive.

   
18/10/2020

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.
   
11/10/2020

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 concept keyboard.
  • 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 keyboard.
   
04/10/2020

The following packages have been added from Amateur programmers;

  • Making Sense of My Words - this need documentation to work out what it does!
  • Traffic Light Simulator - explaining how traffic lights work for young children. Caution: the sequence is out of date in the twin traffic light demo.
  • Chopper Maths - a primary school compilation of games and maths programs.
  • 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 keyboard

Issue numbers 35-36 of Micro-Scope were added.

   
24/09/2020

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 children,
  • 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.

 

   
20/09/2020

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,
  • Archer,
  • Builder,
  • 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.

   
17/09/2020

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.

   
15/09/2020

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 Forums;

  • Phantom of Fleet Street,
  • Toby at the Seaside,
  • Vowel Digraphs.

 

   
11/09/2020

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.

   
07/09/2020

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.

   
03/09/2020

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.

   
29/08/2020

More Micro-Scope magazines have been added along with several amateur titles for switch-input software.

   
17/08/2020

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.

   
05/08/2020

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.

 

   
19/07/2020

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.

   
30/06/2020

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

   
20/06/2020

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.

   
04/06/2020

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 original upload.

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.

   
31/05/2020

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 home page.

PIP, a floor robot, has been added as a section in the Oddments page and there have been updates to the RISCOS software.

   
26/05/2020

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 website.

The TI59 section of the Calculators area has been updated.

   
24/05/2020

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.

   
18/05/2020

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

 

   
15/05/2020

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 1985 onwards.

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.

   
10/04/2020

Added more Cambridge Micro Software titles from the Newman College collection.

1914 - A simulation of the events of August and September 1914 in France and Belgium

Picfile - A graphical analysis add-on for the Factfile database

Making Ends Meet - a personal finance program for students

 

   
05/04/2020

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;

  1. QMap from AUCBE - This will plot geographical data from QUEST searches onto user-designed base maps.
  2. Archaeology from CSH - A simulation of an archaeological dig.
  3. Rapid Display from AVP - A title to produce large MODE7 letter displays and notices.
  4. Caption from MESU - A creative writing package.
  5. 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.

   
26/03/2020

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.

   
16/03/2020

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

   
27/02/2020

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 website.

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 CommunITel section.

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.

 

   
09/02/2020

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.

   
21/01/2020

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.

   
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