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BBC releases a wealth of pioneering computer-based TV shows to stream

IF YOU are of a certain vintage, the names Ian ‘Mac’ McNaught Davis, Lesley Judd and Fred Harris will conjure up misty memories of trying desperately to make ten minutes of engaging live television out of making an 8-bit bat hit and 8-bit ball.

Now, thanks to the unique way the BBC has somehow not wiped them, you can access all of Micro Live! along with a whole bunch of other computer related series from the 1980s, which are yours to view once more as part of the BBC’s latest pilot – the BBC Computer Literacy Project Archive.

From ‘Making The Most of Your Micro‘ to ‘Electric Avenue‘ they’re all here – the shows you had to sit through at school, the ones you watched secretly at home so nobody thought you were a geek, and the ones you never knew existed.

Although the technology has moved on, the themes are still the same – hacking, health tech, education, and of course, the Acorn forged BBC Micro B – bought by schools and worthy middle-class parents everywhere.

To make the most, you’ll really need the software referred to in the programs, but don’t worry, Auntie has your back here too – all the shows come with browser emulations of the software.

Matthew Postgate, BBC chief technology and product officer, says: “Four decades ago the BBC’s Computer Literacy Project helped inspire a generation of coders, many of whom still work in the computer industry today.

“This archive offers a fascinating and nostalgic glimpse into an important milestone in the history of computing. The hardware may have changed, but the principles still apply – which also makes it a unique resource for teaching and learning that will hopefully encourage a new generation of computer users.”

Sometimes, looking to earlier computing can give us a barebones solution to the problems we face today, and so a look back to these pioneering times is a gateway into how to solve problems without over-engineering it.

In the earliest shows, you can see how the BBC Computer Literacy Project came about, way back in 1980, with the next decade seeing projects of all kinds to encourage early coders and projects like the reimagining of the Doomsday Book, which was eventually released on Laserdisc, because cutting edge is just how they rolled back then.

It has been a busy few weeks for BBC projects with World Cup and Wimbledon in 4K, a new music app and loads of other projects.

In total, there are 267 shows which if you don’t fancy watching through, are also chopped into 2509 clips sorted by topic or text search, along with 166 BBC Micro programs emulated.

Get stuck in, you crazy nerdy melancholy fool. μ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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