Category: Retro


Goodbye, Ceefax…


The BBC’s pioneering service Ceefax is to be switched off in 2012. Not bad for a service that recently celebrated its 35th birthday. (Thanks to Mike Brown, you can even spend An Evening With Ceefax, as it was in 1982…)Read More »


Britain’s ‘oldest’ computer to live again…


I’m slightly behind the times here, but the Harwell computer, used by Britain’s Atomic Energy Research Establishment (based in Harwell, Oxfordshire, hence the computer’s name, I suppose) is to be restored to working order.Read More »


On Guard! The story of Sage


The Semi-Automatic Ground Equipment computer (known as SAGE) was a 1950s IBM product – computers as cold war weaponry! On The Internet Archivea 12 minute 1956 documentary about it… Don’t forget to read the comments too – some are fascinating!

Interesting footnote: some of the parts later got “recycled” to use as the computer in the cult sci-fi series “The Time Tunnel” 🙂


Grundig SVR4004


By the time my primary school bought a video recorder – some time in the late 1970s, if I recall correctly – I was already quite familiar with video recorders (I think we had a Betamax at the time, but I don’t remember correctly). I do remember, however, being fascinated by the fact that the tapes were square, rather than rectangular, meaning that the two spools were stacked one above the other, rather than being next to each other as VHS, Beta and Video 2000 tapes were.Read More »


Oldest known BBC recording


In the 1920s, the BBC was transmitting a single television channel (actually the only television channel transmitting in Britain) using the first system to be given an ITU letter designation. System A was positive modulation – meaning that dropouts were light patches rather than dark ones, as seen in later systems such as the 625-line PAL system currently in us (until 2012, at any rate) in the UK.Read More »




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