Site Map - skip to main content

Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes every weekday Monday through Friday.
This page was generated by The HPR Robot at

hpr2731 :: My 8 bit Christmas

I got a new, old computer for Christmas - an Acorn BBC microcomputer model B.

<< First, < Previous, , Latest >>

Thumbnail of Andrew Conway
Hosted by Andrew Conway on 2019-01-21 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
retro, BBC, 8-bit, assembler. 6.
The show is available on the Internet Archive at:

Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Play now:

Duration: 00:26:19


For Christmas 2018 Santa – well, Mrs mcnalu – gave me a BBC Model B which was my first computer back in the early 1980s. This request was heavily implied in TuxJam 70 - Gift for Geeks.

I can highly recommend the seller who, as you will hear, was extremely helpful when this 36 year old bundle of 8 bit loveliness became very poorly on Boxing Day. It came with a Turbo MMC installed and you can see it in action on another BBC Model B in this video.

The noise you hear at the start - the beeeeee BEEP - is the sound of me turning on the BBC. I mention in the show that mode 0 of the Beeb, as it is affectionately known, has 80 columns and 40 rows. This isn’t quite right, there are only 32 rows in mode 0.


Subscribe to the comments RSS feed.

Comment #1 posted on 2019-01-23 17:26:40 by tuturto

amazing memories

I never actually owned BBC, but read about them a lot when I was kid. Especially Elite was touted as the best space game ever and BBC version being superior in every possible way. Thanks for making the episode, it sure resurrected bunch of old memories.

Comment #2 posted on 2019-01-23 17:46:27 by Dave Morriss

This was a real treat

Great episode. I'm jealous. So much nostalgia.

I actually bought a BBC Micro in about 1981(?) having previously owned an Acorn Atom (I think). What's more I still have the Beeb, though it's mouldered away many years in the attic. I bought the Z80 co-processor, the "Prestel adaptor" (modem in a beige box), a dual floppy disk drive and a bunch of other stuff including the RGB monitor. It was my main computer for many years.

It's been something I have been meaning to do for some time - resurrect these devices. The replacement of all the dead electrolytic capacitors might be more than I can manage, but I'll have a go. If not then I know I can buy a properly refurbished one off eBay ;-)

I hope you'll do more shows about your experiences with this magnificent machine.

Comment #3 posted on 2019-01-23 21:25:30 by Jon Kulp

I love legacy hardware

I LOVED this episode! I like anything about retro equipment, making old stuff work again, using legacy equipment/formats. This was great. My own interest is mainly audio, but it's great hearing about any of these old tech products that are still usable or are being refurbished and loved again. Thanks. :)

Comment #4 posted on 2019-01-23 23:00:11 by timttmy

first contact

Thanks for the show Andrew. My first contact with any computer was the BBC in the "Big" class (Final year) at primary school. I can vividly remember playing Granny's Garden [1] when I was 9 or 10. Then at secondary school while everyone was messing around with the new windows 3.1 i386 machines I spent _days_ on the only BBC left in the school typing code in from a magazine called quest [2]. The code was some sort of database programme but it never ever worked and so far above my skill set to debug it just sat on my 5 1/4" floppy destined to stay in my school bag until the end of time. I actually gasped and swore when you jogged, well set a nuclear bomb off in my memory with the two words "Star dot". I had forgotten how simple the commands were. Anyway please please do a follow up show. I would love to hear more about the BBC and see how much I can remember.

[1] [2]

Comment #5 posted on 2019-01-25 12:13:39 by rtsn


Thanks for this wonderful episode. The bbc seems like pretty cool machine. more episodes on this please!

Comment #6 posted on 2019-01-25 23:22:31 by Mike Ray


I spent probably most of the first half of the eighties playing Elite on the BBC micro. Or Donkey Kong, or writing code for it.

Last time I used one, or was it two, was to calculate the position of the Moon and steer a huge VHF antenna array to point at it, late eighties and early nineties. Wasn't ideal since the ADC port was only 11 bit, so no great accuracy with the Moon's position, could not have pointed Jodrell Bank with sufficient definition.

I could see back then.

I am very jealous of all of those classic 8-bit classic games at your fingertips. And all loading fast.

You must have been sick when the PSU blew up.

Last question...where can I find a wife like that?

Leave Comment

Note to Verbose Commenters
If you can't fit everything you want to say in the comment below then you really should record a response show instead.

Note to Spammers
All comments are moderated. All links are checked by humans. We strip out all html. Feel free to record a show about yourself, or your industry, or any other topic we may find interesting. We also check shows for spam :).

Provide feedback
Your Name/Handle:
Anti Spam Question: What does the letter P in HPR stand for?
Are you a spammer?
What is the HOST_ID for the host of this show?
What does HPR mean to you?