Binary Dinosaurs Computer Museum
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Chris Solly conversation
Conversation with Chris Solly.
Chris Solly was Tech. Director of Satellite Computing.
Satellite did PRESENTER, ACTION DIARY and the Basic Telephony Interface.
Chris started in computing with the job of computerising the
production line of Maltezers for Mars in 1980.
started on the OPD when asked to test the software for bugs.
As they found so many, they got dragged in to implement QL
BASIC on the OPD. All the QL basic calls have been translated
to OPD calls. Graphics vectors have been 'zero-ed out' as on
a standard machine the 32k store required to save the screen
image left no memory in the machine when basic was running.
The effect was that the image was not there when 'Resumed'.
This can be seen sometimes when using designed screens in Archive.
ICL were desperate to produce software for the OPD and were
offering Satellite 200.000-250.000 p.a. to develop.

Satellite used the Tutor Board and later the SDU to write and
de-bug the programs. They run it on an Apricot Xi PC and
later on IBM PC XT. For the Apricot they wrote their own
comms prog for use with the SDU.
They wrote the 'Make ROM' program for the SDU. They also had
a program called 'Pirate' that copied ROM to disk and
vice-versa.
They produced Rom copies of software for MGB.
Action Diary started as a project for ICL with an initial fee
of 5,000. On completeion, Satellite asked ICL what
marketting, price and manual they had in mind. None. So
Satellite paid the 5,000 back and did the job themselves.
The Profile SAVE program was about 30 lines of code and was
produced as a 'freebie' for Tioxide. Chris gave the job as a
project to a 'lad' in the office.
They did see the Hard Disk but it never worked for more than
10 mins at a time and PCML went bust soon after. PCML were
spending lots on adverts for a project with Brit. Aerospace
then suddenly 'went'.  
For the NAD (North American Unit) the calls were changed in
some cases. This explains the Profile Store only defaulting
to microdrive instead of disk.       

All images and text © Adrian Graham 1999-2017 unless otherwise noted using words. Also on