Monday Apr 30, 2007

Och-aye-demy

Just noticed that KDE's Akademy conference is taking place in my old stomping ground of Strathyclyde University's Computer Science Department in Glasgow... pity there are no usability sessions on the schedule, might have been tempted to gatecrash for nostalgia's sake :)

Back in my day (1989-93), the Graham Hills building was called Marland House (we'd just bought it off BT), and its main function was to house a lab full of QLs that Sinclair had donated. Despite the stories in the press at the time, every student didn't get one to take home-- AFAIK they all stayed in the lab, and all we ever did with them was our 68k assembly language assignments (as set by Duncan Smeed, who's probably still setting them today...)

The top few floors of the Livingstone Tower, on the other hand, housed (as they still do) the staff offices and the 3rd and 4th year computer lab, which at the time had just been kitted out with smart new Sun terminals (ELCs, IIRC-- which looking back at them now were the forerunner of Sun Rays, I guess). Little did I know then...

Monday Apr 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, Speccy

No, it's not my own birthday today, but the 25th birthday of the groundbreaking ZX Spectrum.

I still remember the excitement as the bundled Horizons tape threw up a proper loading screen (rather than the psychedelic loading squiggles I'd grown used to on the ZX81), and later presented me with Thro' the Wall, a full colour Breakout clone. Which was written entirely in BASIC of course, complete with neat squashy visual effect as the ball hit the paddle... turned out to be nothing more clever than swapping UDGs when the ball hit row 21, but half the fun in those days was finding out things like that so you could do it yourself. If only making computers do things were still that easy...

Way too many favourite games from the Spectrum era to list here (feel free to add your own), but suffice it to say I still play many of them via FUSE on my PowerBook! Thanks for the memories, Clive.

About


I am an Interaction Designer in the Systems Experience Design team, arriving at Oracle via Sun where I've worked since 2000. I currently work on sysadmin user experience projects for Solaris. Formerly I worked on open source Solaris desktop projects such as GNOME, NWAM and IPS.

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