March 7, 2012

Press Play On Tape

So last week I told you all about my first experiences with a computer working on DOS. But let me back up a little. I bet many people reading this do not know that DOS stands for Disk Operating System, and as I said last week I have been working with that since late 1991. So what did we do before that?
My first computer was a ZX Spectrum (picture below, because it looks kinda cool). My friend Tzachi, who died about 15 years ago, thus far too young, had a Commodore 64 (BTW, C-64 still finds it on Google, yay!).
Both the ZX Spectrum, and the C-64 worked with Audio Cassette Tapes (maybe I should put in a picture of one of these guys too, but in the mean time, Google it).
My ZX spectrum had a whopping 48K of RAM and the C-64 had, well 64.
So if we wanted to play a game we put a cassette in the player, and the computer 'heard' the program (sort of like the old modems).
This was a computer without a Disk Operating System, or indeed a Disk. It knew just one program when you turned it on, usually some version of BASIC. This meant that in order to LOAD your program you had to LOAD it, so we all knew BASIC (or at least the LOAD command).
In those good old days, illegal copying of programs was done with a double cassette tape...
So anyway, one fall day in 1984 me and Tzachi went up to his apartment and we told the computer to LOAD something (I think it was Fort Apocalypse). Whenever you told that to the C-64, it said: 'press play on tape'. so we pressed play on some other tape, and listened to some music. We thought it was funny.