Early programming on the great Oric-1

"Anti-glare screens to prevent eye strain ??? In my day, you didn't need an anti-glare screen. With the power they consumed, when you turned your computer on, the whole building darkened  !"    — Buy at Amazon.comSimon Travaglia (the B.O.F.H.).

Well, I was just astounded to discover an Oric mailing list (put JOIN oric you@your.address in the subject), an Oric newsgroup and plenty of live Oric web pages.

My Oric has been gathering dust for about 10 years and I truly didn't expect any of them to be still alive, but that brings back goood-oooold memories.

OK, now for some tear-bringing (hi)story...

I got my Oric-1 as soon as it came out, as an upgrade to my TI-57 (yeah, 50 steps of program is definitely not enough, especially to run Win95). I was 12. The 1st year I barely used it due to monitor trouble (I had to use the neighbor's TV).

Then it really started: Basic of course, and Rodney Zack's 6502 book. I soon got tired of POKEing some DATA, so I got a monitor...

From: Rob Nicholson
To: alexander@araneum.dk
>> The game was developed using Lightning assembler (I think that was the name)
>> in 100% machine code. I taught myself assembler from a series of articles

> WOW!!!! I wrote Lightning assembler, published by Mr. Micro.... It was my first
> assembler programming task on the Oric. Having spent hours (days) hand assembling
> code for the ZX81, I decided to write an assembler first. It was a bit primitive
> but better than a monitor :-)

...I just wish I had known your Assembler. Anyway, I computed 'e' and 'pi' to 65000 decimals (in DCB) in assembler (nice stack of paper, but not very useful to impress a date). Still in assembler I wrote a nicely optimized game of life and game of life 3D (this one worked at the 1st try, believe it or not), some fractal programs...

By that time my father would let me use it only on week-ends. So basically my WE were spent 48h straight on the machine. The only pause was for the 3s reboot after each assembler run ;-) At least reboots were fast at the time. I had wired the NMI button to the outside so I wouldn't waste time turning the computer over each time. I also had an external cold-boot button so I didn't have to unplug it (I remember there were so many wires on the Oric that it was hard to find the power cord). I once burnt my front hair while working on the mother board, I plugged the power wire in the wrong place, sparks raised out and my hair caught fire. The Oric was fine, thank you.

Like everybody else at that time I published some programs in magazines (SVM and Hebdogiciel), and I truly though it was the beginning of fame when 2 guys recognized me in the street from the picture they put in SVM !

When the Atmos came out, I bought its ROM, welded it on the Oric-1 one with a switch to commute between both. I also added 2 keys to the keyboard and another chip but I don't remember what this one was for.

Then I got the disc drive with the great SedOric system. I still wonder why does UNIX look so primitive compared to it... With a friend we did an adventure game with tons of graphics (never published). I also wrote a DiskDoctor, a.k.a. LockSmith. I could get any protected tape on disk...

Sorry for you guys who were making (some) money selling programs. I've redeemed since.

The last time I touched it was about 5 years ago, I saw a post of a guy desperately looking for a disk drive; he had all his company's accounting on his Oric and his drive broke. I sold him mine making some benefit ! But I powered it up to check it first and was feeling really sad playing with that great little machine for the last time. Sniff...

So you're a computer geek ? Look at the computer quotes.