Friday, July 31, 2009

Radio Caroline

Radio Caroline live on Sky 0199!

Way to go...playing some great stuff on this digital, internet and satelite station. At the end of August they go live from the old Radio Caroline ship 'Ross Revenge' that has been renovated and moored at Tilbury.

Gosh...what memories of Radio Caroline on 199 back in 1966 and 1967. We had a GEC transistor radio and could pick it up during the day if my dad sat the radio next to the electric socket which acted as as an aerial. Radio 1 had not been thought of yet and Radio Caroline along with Radio Luxembourg at night was the only station that played POP MUSIC. I used to have a tape recording of the last programme when the pirate stations became illegal on 1st September 1967.

Well, I have just ordered a Radio Caroline T-Shirt that I will wear with pride when it comes. The website is super and you can listen live on-line!

The Black Stuff!

After 32 years the council have FINALLY decided to re-surface our road and estate!
Even Melissa can't beleive her eyes!
What was it John Lennon said...."Four Thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire" well I can beat that...we have five thousand just on our estate!
My poor cars have suffered for many years, I lost count of the council men that come every year and stamp a bit of tarmac into the bigger holes, then dissappear for another year.
At last common sense has prevailed...welcome to the digital world!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today's my Birthday!

Gosh...hasn't time moved on!

I'm 55 years old today, living in the digital age and having a new mobile phone for my birthday from Kath. I must admit that I can't remember many birthdays apart from my 18th (at Camber Sands) and my 21st...

Here I am at my 21st Birthday Party cutting the cake and wearing my really expensive denim waistcoat and cheesecloth shirt that Kath bought me from Manchester. I'm also wearing my St. Christopher chain that my mum got me and a new belt and jeans.

Today we went to the 'Sparking Clog' pub for tea and I really enjoyed it, the sun shone!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apollo 11 Launch 40 years ago!

So where was I 40 years today?
Well at 2.00 in the afternoon on July 16th 1969 I was sat on the grass banking outside the gym building listening to the Apollo 11 launch! It was a hot sunny day and I was 14 years old. It was the last week of school before the long Summer holidays and my birthday was next week. I can remember it vividly, listening to the launch on a transistor radio and a whole load of us getting excited as we listened. Peter Holt had brought in the pack he got from W.H. Smiths which outlined the times and events of the mission (mode one charlie!)

This was the begining of something really special that I have never forgotton...the Moon Landing!!
Here is the complete launch...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Lunar Lander Computer

As we approach the 40th anniverary of the Apollo 11 mission, BBC 2 and BBC 4 are putting on loads of programmes to celebrate this event. The best has been 'Sky at Night - A Night to Remember' - superb! I have bought lots of books, a DVD and even a copy of the 'Daily Mirror' on July 20th 1969.

Back in the 1980's I swopped my Belcom Liner 2 for a Sharp 4 bit handheld computer with an LCD display... my first ever computer! This little beast was probably equivalent to the computer used in Lunar Landing Module (LEM) The computer used BASIC programming and ran simple and complex routines in BASIC.

I actually wrote a BASIC programme for landing a Lunar Module on the Moon. I took the calculation routine from a magazine, but wrote all rest and it worked! You had to enter the thrust, check your height and fuel and land on the Moon.
A couple of years later I adapted the programme and wrote some graphics to play the game in real time on a Sinclair Spectrum computer. The Lunar Module separated from the orbiting command module and you had to land visually with the graphics on screen.

Gosh ... I couldn't write a programme like this again any more!

I know that I had a print out of the software on silver heat sensitive paper in a roll ... I wonder where it is?

Sharp PC-1210 Pocket Computer

Display - 24-digit alphanumeric dot matrix Liquid Crystal Display, with yellow filter.In calculator mode it can display in scientific format 10 digits mantissa and 2 digits exponent.
Functions - Calculator and 400 step BASIC language programmable computer.Up to 50 Flexible memories (shared with program memory).Battery back-up of CMOS memory.A cassette recorder can be connected using an adapter cradle, allowing programs to be saved to audio cassettes. Also a printer & and cassette adapter was available, see photograph below, thus providing the full needs of a pocket computer.
Power supply - 3x Silver oxide button cells. The power consumption is 0.009 watts.
Semiconductors - CMOS LSI, including:
Two CPUs (Central Processing Units):
CPU 1 - SC43157.
CPU 2 - SC43158.
One TC5514P, 4 K-bit RAM.
Size 175 x 70 x 17 mm (6.9" x 2.75" x 0.7").
Introduced - 1980.
Made in Japan.

The Apollo guidance computer (AGC) with the Display / Keyboard (DSky)

Now compare this with the specs of the Lunar Landing Module Computer ... interesting reading!