[torontocbm] Re: Archives of 'Bits and Bytes' and 'The Academy'

  • From: Peter Dreisiger <prd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: torontocbm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2012 16:24:59 +0800

Hi Mike,

> From: "Mike Stein" <mhs.stein@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: <torontocbm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2012 11:42:57 -0400
> On 11/08/2012, at 9:29 PM, Peter Dreisiger wrote:
>> The original series of 'Bits and Bytes' also aired back in the 1980s on the 
>> Australian Broadcasting Corporation (roughly, our equivalent of your CBC) 
>> and it's the show that really got me into computing, so it definitely holds 
>> a special place for me.  But in addition to the nostalgia, I still think 
>> that the first series, at least (I haven't seen the second), does an 
>> excellent job of explaining quite a few key concepts in computing — a view 
>> that's been reinforced by quite a few of the messages and comments I've 
>> received since making the 1983/4 series available online at 
>> http://youtube.com/user/bitsandbytestvo (it's even been included in college 
>> course notes on compilers and interpreters, and computer music).  Add to 
>> this my interest in learning about, preserving, restoring and sharing 
>> knowledge about the history of computing (including physical machines that 
>> can be used and interacted with) and, well, here I am.
>> Anyway, I guess I'm writing to see if I am able to get a hold of a copy of 
>> this DVD set (I am, of course, more than willing to pay for time and 
>> materials plus shipping), partly to satisfy my own curiosity (I've seen 
>> neither 'The Academy' nor the second series), and partly to add to 
>> collection (unless someone else wishes to make the other series available).  
>> Near as I can tell from the messages and emails I've been able to track 
>> down, this show is no longer available for purchase from TVO, and that the 
>> episodes they've made available at 
>> http://archive.tvo.org/program/120129/Bits%20and%20Bytes are, likely, all 
>> the episodes they have in their archives.
> I gave my tapes to Steve and he copied them to DVDs; I'll probably see him
> this weekend but I imagine you'll hear from him anyway when he reads this
> message.

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, and I'm looking forward to hearing 
from Steve too (when he gets the chance).

> Gratifying to see there's still interest in these old shows; I had a lot of
> fun working on them, especially with Jim B..

Well, as the first person I've corresponded with who actually played a part in 
creating that show, thank you, and I think it says a lot about the consultants 
(as well as the presenters and animators), that a 30 year old show on computers 
is still as relevant and useful today as it was back in the day.

> Which machines are you preserving/restoring ? Looks like there may be a DEC 
> in there somewhere; are you on the CCtalk list or the VC forum by any chance?

Yes, that's a reasonable guess :-) --- the DEC section comprises the largest 
part of my collection, but I also have representatives of almost all of the 
common *NIX workstation families, plus a decent sampling of 8/16/32-bit 
Commodore, Amiga and Apple machines.  (Unfortunately, I've not been able to 
spend nearly as much time on this hobby/project during the last two years, but 
I still hope to prepare a few interactive, temporary exhibits that show the 
development of computer graphics, music, user interfaces, etc., as well as what 
things looked like at specific points in time.)

Thanks again,


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