Techno Archeology

1201 Alarm – Recordings of the moon landings

In 1969 Mark Wrigley was 16 years old. The Apollo moon landing was in full swing. The previous Christmas had seen the crew of Apollo 8 orbit the moon and record the icon “Earth rise” photograph. In May Apollo 10 was to skim the surface of the moon with Snoopy (the Lunar Module) and return to dock with Charlie Brown (the Command Module) before returning to Earth.  Before the days of domestic video recorders it was only possible to capture and record the television coverage of these events using reel-to-reel tape recorders, still and movie cameras.
Now, 50 years later, Alternative-Photonics has an archive of standard 8mm film and reel-to-reel audio tapes recorded by Mark at the time. These recording will be digitised as part of the 1201 Alarm project.

Full details on the 1201 Alarm web site.

Retro Computing – The Commodore 64

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Alternative-Photonics is enthusiastic about showing just what can be done with retro computers. The Commodore 64 being one example. In 1983 Mark Wrigley became increasingly frustrated with the amount of time it was taking his (then) company to acquire a computer. He was working on the infra-red measurement of gas turbine blade temperature and need a computer for ray tracing and numerical integration. At the time, most companies used main frame computers, but low cost home computers like the Commodore and Sinclair Spectrum were disrupting markets and offered BASIC programming as well as games. So Mark bought his own computer with 5.25″ floppy disc drive and used it to design aircraft instruments.

Today the Commodore 64 has a big following. With 13 million units manufactured it is possible to buy them and many are listed on Ebay.  There are also a number of specialist groups on Facebook, for example:  Commodore 64/128 Facebook Group

Alternative-Photonics has acquired some Commodore 64 computers, disc drive and printer plotters which will be part of one of our future projects.