Anecdotes – Micronet 800

Started in Peterborough, moved to Herbal Hill, London EC1R 5EJ

Memories from my time c. 1986-1988.

Telephone and terminal on every desk necessitated a lot of internal telephone lines. PABX had 4-digit extension numbers for few dozen staff. Single direct leased line to DUKE editing server. Otherwise most access was via PSTN dialup.

THD (Technical Help Desk) and Editorial on 2nd floor. Accounts etc on 3rd. Sales on Ground. (Motor Cycle News on first, Mainline Telephone Services in basement.)  Scary goods lift to front of building that opened to outside on ground floor just at vehicle-unload height.

New carpets at one point, glued down, gave me a terrific headache for absolutely ages!

Lots of big old terminals around 2 sides of the perimeter of THD, wall mount 700 series phone on the wall behind each one.  Perimeter desk was kitchen worktops atop spaced out kitchen cabinets.

Most editing was done on dumb terminals connected directly to a pdp-11.  Not sure what the server software package was.  Backups done daily by swapping disc packs and copying up or down. This was being replaced by a “unix based system” about the time I left; never saw it working properly.

Mails to THD were fetched at the start of the day using a script running on an RML-380Z that accessed via normal interactive means, and printed off all messages on a Micronline 80 printer.  Replies to messages were hand written on the printouts, then keyed in at the end of the day.  Printouts were filed in desk for a while, in case of responses.  Eventually they were archived in filing in the fire escape stairwell – fire exit from THD was out onto roof of adjacent building via top of that escape stairwell which led UP from floor below (occupied by Motor Cycle News.)

Gallery, Chatlines (initially), Celebrity Chatline, ran from a BBC Micro accessing Duke via bulk update port.

Denise, Jo. Pat, me in THD.