Type-ins and cover tapes/disks
I'm only vaguely familiar with the situation in Europe, where I understand "cover disks" and/or cassettes were common in the mid-1980s. Here in the States, there were magazines offering type-ins into the early 1990s (I sold a type-in to a Commodore-oriented magazine in 1991). U.S. magazines offered their type-ins on disk for a higher price, and often included a bonus program or two that was too big to fit in the magazine so you got something extra for your money, but type-ins for the 8-bit computers survived for a very long time over here. And the magazine/disk combination wasn't very common on newsstands.
I didn't want to make the change until we talked about it though. --Dave Farquhar 16:07, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- Hmm, I just might have been a tiny bit too quick with my time periods. Nevertheless, the fact remains that cover tapes, typically containing 3--6 backlist games, were commonly included with European home computer mags from the late 80s and into the early 90s. The amount of 'full length' type-ins subsided as the 80s came to an end. From my collection of RUN and Compute! ('s Gazette), however, I do know that type-ins survived for a longer time in the States. With the hindsight I get from your comment I openly admit to having thoughtlessly committed an act of Euro-biased writing in 'my' initial article. :-) Therefore, please feel free to alter the contents as you see fit.
- BTW, the practice of the serious US mags, such as C!s Gazette, of featuring a checksum program to use with their type-ins, was not at all common (if at all present) in Europe IIRC, probably due to the publication of type-ins not surviving as long as in the US, where the type-in concept seems to have been around long enough to have matured to a higher degree. Another practice corraborating this is the more common use of pretty-printing the screen control codes, which I'm quite sure I noticed occurring more often in the listings in the US mags. Many Euro mags didn't even bother to ensure decent print quality for all the listings, thus ending up with almost illegible type-ins. --Wernher 21:35, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- I've added a US perspective, hopefully without trashing the European perspective. I remember spending many an hour keying in programs, especially from Gazette, up until about 1991 though by the time I discovered modems and BBSs it's funny how much that declined. We'd split up typing duties, or someone would just buy the disk and share it with the rest of us. But the longest program you ever managed to type in all by yourself remained a bragging point. --Dave Farquhar 18:06, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- I don't have experience over the whole Europe, but I'm inclined to think that "in Europe" should probably be "in the UK". At least in Finland (where I'm from), cover tapes or disks were extremely rare, pretty much non-existent, and the major computer magazines offered type-in programs instead. What's the situation in Scandinavia? Germany, the Netherlands, France Spain, Portugal, Italy? Eastern Europe? 10:16, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- IIRC the earliest "cover" tapes were usually reserved for subscribers of the magazine, those, like myself that bought through a newsagent had to wear out our keyboard. They became more common in the late 80s and, by the 90s, cover disks and/or compact discs were practically mandatory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 15:10, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
- Speaking for Norway, we usually bought the ever abundant UK home computer mags, which were sometimes imported including the tapes and sometimes w/o the tapes (to the great disappointment of us teenage computer geeks with sore fingers...). IIRC, the tape import issue improved somewhat over the years until the demise of 8-bit home computers altogether). ST, Amiga, and PC mags never had tapes of course, they had 3.5" disks (I seem to remember that PC mags didn't start including cover disks until the 3.5" ones had taken over from the 5.25" floppies, probably due to the 5.25" disks' low endurance for generally rough shipping treatment).
- However, like in Finland our domestic home computer mags never came with cover tapes -- all typing by yourself there. :) --Wernher 02:55, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- So the situation in Norway was the same as in Finland: Only imported British magazines had cover tapes or disks, and domestic magazines only had type-ins? 7:55, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Actually, Finnish computer magazines did have cover disks of sorts: Annual publication of all type-in programs published that year (separately for each platform, of course) on disk and tape. Of course, this isn't a "cover" thing because you had to order this separately by mail and it cost money. At least MikroBitti and C= did this. (I have a couple of these, for 1988 and 1990, though the disks may have gone bad and I don't know if I can find the cable-transferred .d64 copies - too bad I also lost the docs that came with these...) --wwwwolf (barks/growls) 16:02, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I remember a lot of magazines (well, the Amstrad CPC ones anyway) often had a "10-line type-in" section, consisting of short (10-line or less) type-in programs, usually reader-submitted, in addition to the longer ones. Presumably the idea was to have some short, easy to type programs. In practice, they were often very long programs squashed into 10 lines, making them harder to type out and encouraging bad programing habits. In particual I remember one (actually quite fun game, once you got it working) that consisted of 5 lines of as much code as Locomotive BASIC would let you fit in one line, followed by 5 massive lines of machine code. (Still, that wasn't as bad as a type-in I found in a French CPC mag, that consisted of several pages of machine code). Were these "10-liner" type-ins notable (and citable) enough to be mentioned here? Wardog (talk) 09:21, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Micro User checksum trivia (possibly mis-recalled)
If I recall correctly, and I may not, when Micro User magazine introduced checksums and the program to generate them, they listed a short BASIC program to generate them (but didn't list the checksums for it, since they were no use without a working program to generate them). They also listed a longer assembler checksum program, with checksums - so users could type in the simple BASIC program to generate the checksums for the longer, more-tedious-to-type but much faster assembler version. David (talk) 18:33, 5 January 2013 (UTC)