Friday, June 16, 2006

At the London Review of Books

John Lanchester on Wal-Mart and an extremely charming essay by Thomas Jones about the early days of home computing:

I soon also took out – or had taken out on my behalf – a subscription to Micro User, a magazine vast swathes of which were entirely incomprehensible to me, but which every month included the code for a BASIC game. The monthly game, and other software, later came free with the magazine on a floppy disk. But if you didn’t have a disk drive, you would have to type in the code for the game yourself. So I would come home from school, settle down at the computer with a plate of Marmite sandwiches, and spend much of the evening, not entirely unlike a medieval monk, absorbed in transcribing pages of code. Peering at the screen through my NHS spectacles for hours on end can’t have done my already poor eyesight any favours.

Shades of the Davidson family's TI99/4A, the unbelievably addictive Munchman and the tragedy of typing in huge long programs in BASIC (programs you didn't really understand, needless to say, and could certainly not have written yourself) and then losing them to some power-related problem (do you remember the wretched cable-and-tape-deck arrangements from those days?)....

1 comment:

  1. now there's a book that i can buy for my mother - about the history of walmart..i've never known someone to spend so much time in one store, and i know she'd love to read about the man who created it..

    thanks for the book idea!