Australia’s answer to the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro, the Microbee, is back. Former Microbee employee Ewan Wordsworth has acquired the company’s intellectual property, stock and trademarks, started his own outfit called Microbee Technology, and is hard at work preparing 100 new-generation assemble-it-yourself Microbee kits. All …
m68k doesn't get many column inches these days. Good to see it's still alive and kicking. Though it wasn't that long ago that I installed Gentoo Linux on my Amiga 1200. (-;
While warm and fuzzy nostalgia is nice....
... did the Mircobee really need exhuming?
Yes, I did my 1-unit 'Computing' in high school with Microbees; I wanted to do Motor Maintenance, but it was full up. I would have learned more in Motor Maintenance; the structured Microbee course - learning BASIC for heavens sake, was laughable to kids like us who had more powerful C64s at home, which we happily coded away in Assembler - mostly to crack and copy games (the shock! the horror!) - but I also taught myself stuff like how to generate fractals (from trying to mimic the zoomable maps in Microprose Silent Service), procedural generation (trying to mimic the planet names in Elite), printer control commands (getting WordStar to print Mum's thesis properly), and even basic computer maintenance and troubleshooting (working out why I could only play Wizball for 25 mins before the 64 locked up - overheating CPU - built my own alfoil heatsink to fix that).
Having a teacher try to teach us "10 Print "HELLO WORLD", 20 GOTO 10 was a joke. Unfortunately our school (state, selective though) could afford ONE Apple IIc, and 16 horrid little Microbees.
Please let all this old junk die
Somewhat in sympathy with Wombling_Free:
I am a deep computer nerd: Computer Scientist, Engineer, and ordinary dogsbody System Janitor. I have done everything - assembler to scada, word processor internals to AI, games programming to web wank. And this is over decades, not just out of the computing womb.
I have NO interest in old computers.
I'll just say that again because it felt so good.
I have NO interest in old computers.
They are boring. BORING.
Unless they are *very* old, like the ENIAC - anything that uses tanks of mercury to get the job done has a lot of groove.
Not again ...
The Microbe(e) has few happy memories for me.
I was very much in the thick of it when the Microbe was a favorite toy in the NSW Department of Education. It was unreliable, the company was unreliable, and dominated by amateurs. All it had going for it was its cheapness, which meant that you could afford to more computers for when the others had failed yet again.
One of its serial weaknesses was the two-tiered design which created poor electrical contacts and was very much subject to problems with heat and just simple movement.
In principal, the whole thing was a good idea. In practice, very poorly implemented.
We had one at our school
Only the 'smart kids' were allowed to use it (under strict teacher supervision).
Us dumb kids were very graciously allowed to watch it in operation, but only from a 'safe' distance of about 10 feet.
Good to see! I never had one, but a friend did and it was always intriguing to fiddle with.
I am actually excited about this. They were admittedly limited and temperamental (and many models even lacked colour) but I actually find I sometimes miss having a computer that you can know inside and out exactly what was going on and you had bare-metal access to the hardware.
I wouldn't use one for word-processing or anything however!
A great toy in it's day
I had a Microbee. I hacked the hardware to run on a "D" cell battery pack I made with tape and a soldering iron. It ran for two years on batteries, without replacement. My wife used the inbuilt ROM Word Processor for all her projects for a Post Grad Diploma, printed on a Gemini 10 dot matrix printer with a custom cable for the Microbee. Then one day around 1984 I bought an XT PC and that was the end. I was made an offer to sell it to a Ham radio hobbyist who used it to control his radio gear, because it ran on D cells it emitted virtually no RF. It continued in that role for a few years, all the time running on ordinary batteries.
Would I want a new one? Unlikely. But, good luck to the project. Someone out there must need a CP/M machine. Maybe Bill gates should get one for a laugh
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