Floppy ROM: distributing software on flexidiscs


Loading programs from vinyl records feels like actual Steampunk to me.

It really isn’t that big of a difference from the primitive cassette loading of the day, but it still feels like a wonderful marriage of the industrial era with the electronic era.


The disc was played on the turntable, recorded on the cassette deck, and then read in the shoebox style cassette recorder of the PC?

Not programs, but Tomita’s album “The Bermuda Triangle” has “secret” messages encoded in a similar fashion to how these programs are recorded.

There is/was no reason you could not just plug the output from your amp (attached to your turntable) straight through to your “cassette port” as long as you were a little careful with your line levels.

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You could have loaded it right off the turntable but PCs had so little memory back in the 70’s that the software had to be loaded every time, except for BASIC which was on the ROM. Putting it onto cassette would have been necessary for most people.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

http://earlytelevision.org/baird_recordings.html (okay, it’s a TV signal, not computer code. But we’re in the same territory. Only cc 1930. Only really possible due to the incredibly low scan-line count of the early (mechanical) TVs.)


This continued into the 80s, most participating musicians seemed to include programs for the ZX Spectrum on their albums. Thompson Twins Adventure Game! :expressionless:

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I take that back. We also had TV recordings for pre-hidef TVs on records in the 1970s (non-laserdiscs).

I think it was linked to even by BB at some point, but I can’t find back any citations…

Capacitance Electronic Discs or CED’s, a consumer video format on grooved vinyl discs that was marketed by RCA in the 1980’s

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While you didn’t have to transfer it to a cassette, I did it for the one I had simply because I didn’t trust the thin vinyl to last. Plus the turntable was nowhere near the computer so having it on cassette was simpler. It would have been nice if more computer magazines used this technology at the time but apparently the production cost was rather high. Think I would have been ok with an extra dollar to save so much typing but I suspect many others wouldn’t have been. I did learn more about programming by typing in programs myself, especially about debugging.

Interface Age is what Byte magazine was called before it became bloated and over-commercial.

It was great, back then, when one had to type programs in from magazines.
Happier, simpler times.

No, “Interface Age” and “Byte” were separate magazines. In the early 1980s when I first got into computers, both were around. Byte went from being a cool hobbyist magazine to a corporate clone of “PC magazine” in the late 1980s all on its own.

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