Intersection of old and new

Latest upload at American Radio Library is some 1978 issues of Practical Computing, the British equivalent of Byte. I was struck by the intersection of old and new.

The technical new in 1978 didn’t really go anywhere. Commodore, Atari, Sinclair, Cromemco, Z80, Basic, Pascal. Contrary to the official myth written by Jobs, none of those roads led to the real start of modern computing. The real start happened when IBM used the PC as a bait-n-switch to reinstall the mainframe, now called the Web.

The magazine showed a more relevant comparison of economic old and new, and literary old and new.


There’s old Harry selling trifles and trinkets for sixpence, while inside the store…

So what kind of people does Kick find attracted to his shop? “Anyone and everyone, really”. Casually he mentions, too, that Lord Rothschild goes in to browse round from time to time. “He has bought two calculators but has so far resisted the attractions of the Pet. He’s shown an interest in it”, says Kick, “but he’s not bought one yet”.

And the magazine had a Poetry Section, a surprising retention of an old literary form spiced with the new literature of opcodes:

There is a young fellow called Snow
Whose micro we can’t get to go
The contents of the Stack
We never get back
Just FF, FA and FO.

= = = = =

Incidentally, I’d bet a few guineas that Old Harry had a faster and sharper internal CPU than Lord Rothschild.

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