27) Your Letters: Acorn’s Hermann Hauser accuses Sinclair of false claims; program gremlins
28) News: Casio’s PB-100 personal computer; Vic double-Dutch memory; phoneme speech pack
31) Computer Club: Our man with the binoculars and spy camera visits Cheltenham’s computerniks.
34) Tomorrow’s Technology: Meirion Jones traces the shape of computers to come which will put today’s micros in the antique shop.
40) Vic Add-Ons Three ways of making the most of your Vic-20 reviewed by Ken Ryder
46) Graphics Tablets Now you can feed pictures straight into a BBC or Spectrum. Simon Beesley finds out if direct input is worth the money.
50) Spectrum Software Latest releases reviewed – including a Hobbit adventure which claims to use artificial intelligence.
54) Vic Space Runner Can you escape cosmic oblivion and outrun the flying saucers?
56) Spectrum Cross If you can evade the juggernauts and man-eating spiders, Stuart Nicholls will still set his crocodiles on you.
61) Frogger The elusive last program of our ZX-81 games writing series.
62) Dragon Maze Enjoy this Keith and Steven Brain teaser on its own or incorporate it into your own labyrinth adventures.
64) BBS Turtle Graphics Not only the first full Logo graphics listing published in a magazine but also on page 69 several turtle demonstration programs.
73) Atom Word processor Geoff Byrns presents yet another useful program for the Atom.
75) ZX-81 Life A fast, machine-code version of the generation game.
78) Atari Characters The software to produce the games characters and alphabets of your choice.
81) ZX-81 Chess Part 2 of David Horne’s series on writing a full chess program in 1K.
85) Vic Multi-Colour Graphics Martin Howse looks at the Vic’s potential for special graphical effects.
88) Zxtra-Wide Text Add extra character to your ZX printouts.
91) Basic Dictionary Tony Edward’s Basic lexicon
93) Spectrum ROM David Horne shows you how to make real use of the disassembled ROM.
96) Control The attention focuses on standard interfaces in John Dawson’s study of control.
101) Response Frame Your technical queries answered.
103) Fingertips Our pocket computer and calculator column.
107) Software File Ten pages packed with programs for the ZX micros, BBC, Atom, Vic and others.
121) Competition Corner The result of November’s puzzle and a new £15 competition. The Oric competition falls between pages 26 and 27.
Cover photograph by Steven Oliver
So that was IT 82. If the most impressive failing of the Government’s year-long £2 million crusade to promote new technology was that very few people were aware of its existence, at least we can rest easy in the knowledge that “information technology” — the woolly jargon coverall apparently invented for the occasion — never quite made it into everyday vocabulary either. The organisers claim that IT 82 was a success; after all, a recent MORI survey showed that 62 percent of the population had heard of IT. A similar proportion of the country may have heard of quantum mechanics but few will have any idea of its effects on current or future life.
That a few people did notice something going on can probably be put down to Information Technology year’s incongruously low-technology methods for seeking publicity. Those whose memories have not been too badly shot away by machine code may recall, for example, the wind-powered yacht launched in the summer and symbolically named Information Technology, or perhaps with less of an effort remember last autumn’s inordinately long postage stamps which made use of their extra length to fend off electronic mail and put over a brief hi-tech slogan.
In a few years time, when antique dealers are bidding fiercely at Sotheby’s for a pristine ZX-80, certain professional historians will undoubtedly try to make a living out of computing as their specialist subject. One of these academics may well try to make out the case that IT 82 was responsible for the boom that took place in home computing the same year. It is the sort of mistake that historians should be forgiven for making — especially when one looks dispassionately at the astounding progress that has been made in the last year. A year ago home computers were silent, black and white, low resolution, twice as expensive, had half as much memory and — as a result of all that — were three times rarer than today.
Now home computers are something worth having and at a price that is within the reach of the ordinary person. In 1982 computing moved out of the hobbyists’ domain and into the consumer market. That transformation has far more to do with the demystification of computing and the new technology than a whole decade of Information Technology years. The process of educating the public about the benefits and dangers of the new technology must continue indefinitely. If it does not, those historians of the future may remember IT 82 rather as they remember the Great Exhibition of 1851 — a magnificent display of all that was latest in science and technology followed by years of neglect and a rapid decline.