How Things Have Changed

I like to keep my old 8-bit BBC Master 128 on my desk alongside my more modern workhorse (a Mac Pro). Here’s my setup, taken a few days ago:

Desk @ 2010-05-04

Keeping it there and occasionally dabbling in a spot of 6502 / BBC Basic coding reminds me of a couple of things:

  1. Just how far we’ve come. If you’re coding in Basic you can easily fill its memory (you get easy access to 32k) in an afternoon and if you use 6502 then everything is insanely raw which is both liberating and terrifying at the same time.

    And of course there’s no GUI, but GUIs are for wimps right?

  2. How much we’ve lost. Turn it on and it boots into its OS in a second. Literally. Cold start and you get a command prompt less than a second later. You can be in a word processor a second later.

Of course I’m not advocating throwing away our iPhone’s, powerful laptops and desktops and reverting back to the tech of the early 80s but its interesting to keep around as a reminder of how things have changed both for better and for worse.

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