[BCAB] Technology reminiscence, was, Eureka!

Jackie Cairns jackie.cairnsplace at btinternet.com
Wed Feb 15 14:36:35 GMT 2012


Hi Graham

What they did was gather volunteers and train them to show users of the
service how it could be achieved under the DOS prompt in Windows.  But, by
then, it was more trouble than it was worth, so we gave it up.  Also by that
time, Talking Teletext was a part of our household, so we had to put it down
to experience.


Kind Regards,

Jackie Cairns

-----Original Message-----
From: bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk]
On Behalf Of Graham Page
Sent: 13 February 2012 18:20
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] Technology reminiscence, was, Eureka!

Hi Jackie.

They could have written a program to run under windows but as you say, at
that price, the service just was not that viable.  A few home users had it
but due to the price it was very few.

By the mid 1990s quite a number of home users were starting to think
seriously about the internet though at that time the internet was also
fairly expensive.  For organisations such as libraries, colleges and
computer clubs email was very much used as a communications channel.

Email would have been a decent way of distributing the files in the early to
mid 1990s even.  Organisations like RNIB and Action for Blind People were
however rather late in recognising the value of the internet.

I was on a course in 1993 run from Preston.  The guy in charge of the
technical aspect of the course was able to get the domain name www.afbp.org
for action for blind people which was one of the first .org domains to be
issued after the united nations but for whatever reason AFBP seemed unsure
about it.  some rnib staff also expressed some doubt and I don't quite know
why since it was plainly obvious back at least as far as 1990 that the
internet and email in particular was going to be very important once a
critical mass of people started using it.

What I am saying is that I think RNIB missed a trick by going for the
expensive method of transmission over teletext rather than  looking at email
and other methods of delivery.

Maybe some of the problems related to difficulties with licensing
restrictions but I'm not convinced that these difficulties  were not
resolvable if there had been a bit more will power.

-----Original Message-----
From: bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk]
On Behalf Of Jackie Cairns
Sent: 13 February 2012 15:06
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] Technology reminiscence, was, Eureka!

Hi Derek

Actually it was a clever idea.  We saw it once at an exhibition and decided
to buy the ISA board that you had to insert inside the machine.  Yes, I did
say ISA board, takes you back a bit for those who know them doesn't it?

You had to leave your machine on overnight or, as we did, set it to go on
with one of those Cobolt timers.  If you let it go on at about 2.00, the
Guardian came in, and all you had to do in the morning when you got up was
unzip the files.  The clever bit was that it put it into sections.  At the
time, it was brilliant.  Now, you just jump headings and read it, but the
concept of reading say Home News, or City News, or Sports News, etc, was
just amazing back then.

You are right Derek in that it was never a well marketed service.
Consequently, it was very expensive at about £695 or something ridiculous.

When Windows came out, they came up with a botched alternative of getting it
to work under the new DOS prompt, but it didn't work, so they had to abandon
the project altogether.


Kind Regards,

Jackie Cairns

-----Original Message-----
From: bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk]
On Behalf Of Derek Hornby
Sent: 13 February 2012 14:07
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] Technology reminiscence, was, Eureka!

Hi  Jackie
Yes the service for  the Guardian was great.
Sadly  RNIB failed to  fully market the service.
If more  customers had  joined up,  costs would have Been lower per
customer.

~Regards,  Derek
-----Original Message-----
From: bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk]
On Behalf Of Jackie Cairns
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 11:25 AM
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] Technology reminiscence, was, Eureka!

Hi Derek

I had a Teletext package for the BBC Master, where you stuck a ROM into one
of the slots and then connected up the aerial.  It was a bit hit and miss I
thought, and not worth the dosh in those days.

But the Teletext RNIB sold, where you could unscramble the Guardian
overnight on a DOS machine, was brilliant, even though it was very
expensive.  I used it for a long time, until the service came to an end in
fact.


Kind Regards,

Jackie Cairns

-----Original Message-----
From: bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk]
On Behalf Of Derek Hornby
Sent: 13 February 2012 11:13
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] Technology reminiscence, was, Eureka!

Des  anyone remember being able to  read teletext Using a BBC  micro
computer.  

This was part of the  package  to access the Guardian each morning.

Regards,  Derek  


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