Radio Phone

Dad loved this phone. I used to get in trouble for borrowing it. Before there were “cordless” phones and well before many people had mobile phones, this was an early “I’m in the garden” device.!


Cambridge Algorithm Fun

Immersed in the wonderful world of historical tech at The Centre For Computing History, in Cambridge.

My thanks to Anjali and Chris for a fascinating insight into engaging techniques for the teaching of algorithms.

Their delivery of this NCCE Accelerator course was inspirational, in every sense!

Also rather enjoyed the chance to explore the adjoining facilities at lunchtime and then to have the immense space, crammed with humming / beeping / clicking tech to enjoy – until it was time to catch the bus back.!





Apple IIc reboot

The continuing mission to seek out new ways to get my Dad’s old Apple IIc working – an update.

Looks like a capacitor on the main board might be the culprit. All chips now re-seated (first time using ‘spodging’ tools!)






Pond probe

    What every discerning newt desires: a pond probe to illuminate the deepest reaches of the wild with:


sample bottle, spikes, absorbent foam, Velcro and a magnet to collect deep water samples and:

a {on-borrowed-time} bulb, lump of fool’s gold and a cat’s eye to shine / reflect so that location can be determined.


sorry newts!




Calculator reboot


    What to do with a calculator that has sustained damage resulting in some missing buttons?

Remove most of the remaining buttons then create a game with a complex dossier of rules that seek (not entirely successfully) to put the ‘fun’ into ‘functionality’!




Early gaming

    It doesn’t get much earlier than Pong – my thanks to my sisters who, on occasion, let me loose the family gaming system. This required:


a/ nobody being able to watch tv for the next hour

b/ a hunt around for new C size batteries

c/ twiddling the tuning button with extraordinary patience until the flickering on the tv resolved into white lines on a black background

  • tis still a mesmerizing prospect!



PS there is an Apple Watch pong now!


Honorable mentions must go to Tomy and Nintendo for these gems too (albeit 10 years later):



286 / 486 beginnings

    here’s one from the archives: my first PC, a 286 running at 16mhz

(Turbo, 8mhz otherwise) a full 1 MB of RAM and a whopping 10MB RLL hard disk! In 1992 the KB was still a thing.

Once the hdd got too full it was time to run ‘Stacker’ which compressed that precious space to squeeze more on.

After some upgrading fun, this hulking machine became a 486 (sx) with 4 MB of ram and 420 MB IDE of storage. Not much by today’s standards but quite a transformation, resulting in the ability to run Windows 3.1 and, eventually even Encarta ’96 !