back to article Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release

Rock deities Radiohead have snuck a program for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum into a re-release of their seminal 1997 album “OK Computer”. Dubbed “OKNOTOK”, the re-release can be had as £100/US$130/€120 boxed edition that includes three vinyl records, books galore and “a C90 cassette mix tape compiled by us, taken from OK COMPUTER …

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Not saved as an autorun program?

Shoddy work. Go back and type it in again.

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Re: Not saved as an autorun program?

Given the quality of Radiohead's musical output, you'd have thought they could have paid a developer to write them a decent megademo for their Easter Egg, rather than this sub-school-playground nonsense. Bad effort, Thom. Bad effort!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Not saved as an autorun program?

Having read that comment I had to go back and watch the video.

Jeez! "sub-school-playground nonsense" indeed!

That is terrible. You cant even tell if its doing what its supposed to (without analysing the code ) as the output does , well , i dunno i'm lost for words . Is it a "Crashed spectrum program" simulator?

or an "audio visual experience designed to offend both senses to the max" (not a wise move for a "band")?

It's akin to Joe Pasquale's song "I know a song that will get on your nerves" except more efficient.

The surviving spectrum community will be heaving into Miner Willy's toilet!

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Re: Not saved as an autorun program?

SAVE "MY_PROG" LINE 10

Still remember...!

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LDS
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Joke

Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

... .instead of the much superior audio output of a C64....

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

If the track was written for the C64 it would have been four times the length.

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

"..Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music..."

"Only a British"? WTF kind of language is that??

Try "Only a British group" or "Only a Briton" or even "Only a Brit".

Gotta love Simplified English (aka 'Murkan English)

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

To be fair, it actually sounds better than some of their actual tracks mainly because it doesn't have the usual annoying whiny vocals.

Not a radiohead fan, can you tell?

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

' whiny vocals' Blasphemy! As Noel Gallagher said:-

“Me and my missus, we were at the Coachella festival a couple of years ago [2012] and Radiohead were headlining. We were like, ‘Right, let’s give them one more chance. Let’s go and see them.’ Beautiful, sunny night. We walked out through the crowd as they came on, and they were playing this post-techno: ‘de-de de de’. We were a bit pissed. Fucking great. And then he started singing. No. Not for us. We’re party people.”

He also said, “I’m aware that Radiohead have never had a fucking bad review. I reckon if Thom Yorke fucking shit into a light bulb and started blowing it like an empty beer bottle it’d probably get 9 out of 10 in fucking Mojo. I’m aware of that.”

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

A Commodore 64? Show me one of them in the early 80s for £125. I would have taken a BBC Micro for the price anyway, if I could afford it.

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

I'm not one of your downvoters but, maybe it was because you didnt specify wether or not you were guessing that LDS wasnt a native english speaker?

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

Some New Wave band[0] had a 12" out with a BBC B program on the flipside that, when run, provided a simple wireframe animation to go with the music on the A side.

[0] Fiction Factory, IIRC, but The Web has no knowledge of them releasing such an item.

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

@vic

Now i've got my own 2 downvotes for speculating why you got your 2 downvotes.

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

The somewhat obligatory :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYRQOXzLgOI

Cheer up Thom Yorke - Lancashire Hotpots.

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

@ TonyJ - isn't a Murkan a wig for a burger bap or other cheesy comestibles?

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Re: Only a Britisher would use a ZX spectrum for music...

Dear Messers Vic and Jeltz,

I have come to the conclusion there is a random downvote generator on El Reg.

Maybe it is controlled by a beaded man called Clive and his 8-bit bot army.

Roll with it, and have a corresponding up tick from yours truly.

MyffyW (16-bit on a good day)

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

If the track was written for the C64 it would have been four times the length.

Ah, so Radioheads later work

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Re: Only a Britisher would use a ZX spectrum for music...

The 8-bit bot army exists.

It is activated when 'downvote' is mentioned in a post, when the preceding post received downvotes.

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

Except when they're Australian. (I still have this little gem in my record box)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thompson_Twins_Adventure

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

I'm an Australia and I used the ZX81 and Spectrum. My keyboard suffered from the conductive membrane being above the heat sink, I had to do repairs. So sad that the Spectrum got lost. My favourite program was a talking clock: my voice was sampled by the Spectrum to build the vocab, it was recognisable. The C64 was much more sophisticated but the Spectrum was arguable more educational because producing sound and doing something else required understanding multitasking, either using interrupts or co-operatively. The C64 had a real sound chip.

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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

The Thompson Twins singer was from Sheffield. So, at least part Brit.

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C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

C90 was a pain - took too long to find the start of the program and wasn't reliable enough.

Soon switched to C15 - normally enough for one program on each side.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

Yes, C90 was only dominant for LPs, as usually though not always, you could put a whole Album on each side. A C60 only allowed one LP with awkward winding and C120 was always more prone to jamming or chewing, the C120 also was only good for higher quality machines and compilations.

I think the C60 and smaller were for dictation, as the format was originally for dictation or audio notes in 1962 approx. The size and cost made it more successful than earlier RCA cassette (which is why it was a "Compact Cassette) or later Sony Elcaset (about 12 years too late). The 8 track was only starting to appear in UK in 1970s when Compact Cassette wiped it out. More common in USA with home players too, I have seen home 8-track players twice in UK. The 8 track would have been useless for home computers.

I remember the pressed records for home computers on magazine covers, like the inside of a 5.25" floppy with a groove. It was easier to make a tape from them than use them directly.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

The 8 track would have been useless for home computers.

Too right. I worked in radio when "carts" were the predominant playback media for things like jingles, stings, intros and adverts. Carts were physically the same format as 8-track, but had a three tracks; one pair for stereo and a control track to cause the player to cue (i.e. fast-forward back to the beginning*), stop, or trigger another player.

The trouble we had keeping those things running to speed and without too much wow or flutter made my tribulations with Compact Cassettes for my Spectrum and later my BBC Micro look trivial, and we used Sonifex units which were probably the best in the business (anyone want a Sonifex cart machine? I have a couple in the garage).

The Spectrum's notoriously fickle circuitry would never have coped. The BBC Micro would likely have done better, especially if you just left the cart to run in a loop. The Spectrum (and most other home computers of the era) needed to load the whole program in one go, and an error near the end of 20k of code would mean starting from scratch. The BBC Micro loaded programs in (IIRC) 256 byte blocks. An error in one block would simply pause the loading so that you could re-wind and try just that block again. This saved an awful lot of time. You could have just left a cart running unattended, and the Micro would have picked up a bad block the next time it came around. Actually, didn't Sir Clive appropriate that idea with the "Microdrive"? :-)

M.

*For those who don't know, an 8-track cartridge was a tape loop. There was no "rewind", you had to fast-forward back to the beginning. The 7½ips cartridges we used at the radio station came in lengths up to about 10 minutes, IIRC, but since fast-forward was done by the same capstan and pinch roller that was used when playing the tape, and since the tape loop relied on decent lubrication for smooth running, you couldn't fast-forward all that fast in reality. In other words, you used the shortest cart suitable for the job, and for things like 5-second or 10-second jingles you might actually use a 30-second cart and record two or three copies.

Where's my 'nostalgia' icon?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

Ah young padawan a tape deck with a counter is what you should have had. They were great for such problems.

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LDS
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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

I usually used C-46 or C-60 cassettes for albums, depending on the albums length, many fit on the former (the original LP capacity was 23m per side). C-90 only for dual LP albums, cassettes I could play on a smaller hi-fi system in my room which had not an LP player.

Saw very little reason to have two different albums on the same cassette but for car or walkman use, where it saved space. Otherwise, smaller cassettes meant less wear.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

"The 8 track would have been useless for home computers."

Although that is exactly what Sinclair went on to do with their Sinclair QL computer - using same, but smaller tape looped cartridge as its data storage - Plagued with problem !

ICL even sold that computer as the 'One Per Desk' colloquially known as the 'One Per Bin' after a short while

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

'C90 was only dominant for LPs'

It was also the dominant format for people who copied games from their mates, and enjoyed / endured the 'will it wont it' tightrope of loading games. The hours I spent waiting for Daley Thompson's Supertest 128 to load, just to get to the very end then crash.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

Apparently the Microdrive format got much better once they'd ironed the bugs out of it, but by that time the reputation had stuck. (From what I've heard, it was a similar story with the QL as a whole, due to it having launched prematurely).

Weren't there problems with mass-production of the Microdrives anyway?

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

Anyone interested in obscure audio media and playback devices could do far worse than check out Techmoan.

http://www.techmoan.com/blog/category/hifi

He has many YouTube videos where he discusses the history things like Elcassette, RCA Victor tape cartridges and many others. He usually buys the playback kit off eBay and then dismantles on video to make it work again.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

(From what I've heard, it was a similar story with the QL as a whole, due to it having launched prematurely).

"We've got to stop taking orders, Clive! Half the memory's still hanging out the back!"

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIcAyFVK0gE , of course)

* waves at @Ace and the rest of the #general crew...

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

Or use your ears.

Perhaps displaying a misspent youth I could identify the program from its opening warble, no sissy counters for me.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

Until you changed to different tape deck and found the tape counter counted at a different speed on the new one....

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

WHS did a C15 cassette for Speccies and the like and also did a great tape deck that was probably the most reliable around as it was tuned for loading games rather than playing music.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

Damn you! Now I'll have to watch Micro Men again! Brilliant film for nerds like myself!

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

good old OPD/QL

We had one briefly in our office, as our junior operator 'inherited' one from an uncle in BT [cough]

we had a lot of fun with it - the precursor of things we take for granted today, but do via our pocketslabs

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

A famous Finnish programmer also had a Sinclair QL ///

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05pgVwzAZ6k

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Trollface

C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

Who was a naughty boy, then?

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

Surely SA90

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

SA stands for Still Available.

I dread to think how much £29.59 would be in 80's pocket money.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

Who on earth was using expensive chrome TDKs for computer programs?!

C60, C90 etc. was the commonly-accepted generic term for cassette length, though it was more commonly abandoned by manufacturers in favour of their own designation (e.g. SA90) from the 1980s on.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

TBH I used them more for albums, helping home taping kill the msic industry, but only the good albums, the rest went on C90s.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

I used to find that AD90s actually worked better for programs than SA90s on my Atom (which had a similar tape filing system to the BBC). But the tape player I used with the computer back then wasn't optimised for chrome.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

If I remember correctly, inflation between 1980>now is about 3.5.

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

If I remember correctly, inflation between 1980>now is about 3.5.

Bank of England Inflation Calculator (also available as an XLS)

£1 in 1980 would be worth about £3.94 in 2016

HTH

M.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

what do you mean if you remember?

How are you working that out?

The first Inflation Calculator website i tried says 4.66%

It also tells me I havent had a pay rise in real terms since leaving college in 1995 :(

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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

The Bank of England's inflation calculator says I would have paid £9.13½ (remember those?) for that in 1982 if it were the same price.

I guess that would have been one way to wipe out piracy.

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