In the Days Before Digital Downloads

Digging through some old papers I came across a letter that I wrote to the magazine Your Computer in 1981 when I would have been 16.

What’s interesting about this historical artifact is not that it was hand written and sent through the post on paper (although that is certainly unusual these days). No it is that it contains a submission for publication of a program that I’d written.

It’s hard to believe in these days of digital software downloads that there was a time when programs were small enough that they could be printed in magazines and people actually bothered to type them in.

Distribution of software in magazines has gone from printed listings to cassettes, floppy discs, CDs and now downloads in such a very short period of time – 30 years in fact. Who knows what the next step might be but the future of printed magazines seems bleak so as a method of distribution that might not have any future at all which is a shame.

My submission to Your Computer was a solitaire program written in ZX Basic and was complete in a grand total of 30 lines. What do you get in 30 lines these days? I have to admit that it doesn’t look a great program and the UI is awful and judging by the letter I received in return the magazine thought so too!

Do you type any programs in from a magazine into your Spectrum or BBC Micro?

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