I never got it to work, because the programs were (mostly) for Commodore computers. Didn't stop me from trying. Also tried to make my own "modem" by connecting wires from the serial port directly to an old phone. (No schematics or anything... Just red to red, blue to blue, etc.) Looking back, it would have been nice to have had an adult around to help me out a bit.
Considering the crackles, pops, etc. that are normal audio artifacts of record players, I'd be surprised if the records worked for anyone, actually.
And yes, I would spend hours typing them all in. Even before I got my tape drive. :p
You'd get 90% of the way through and someone walking down the next road would cause the RAM pack to wobble and your Spectrum / ZX81 would reset itself. Or it'd be a page of hex printed at 72dpi dark grey on black 6pt font and you'd misread one of the Es as an F and nothing would work but you'd spend hours trying to figure out which one it was.
Ah, kids of today, they've got it easy.
There was an Thompson Twins game distributed as a flexidisc for the Spectrum. Never got it to work - just couldn't get the disc to play reliably.
Years ago I found a bunch of my old CoCo tapes and loaded them up in an emulator. It was cathartic to say the least: https://www.russellbeattie.com/blog/letter-defender-my-big-p...
Ways of 'downloading' in my childhood, in decreasing order of unreliability:
* Via the television, holding a cassette recorder microphone to the tele speaker, after staying up till after midnight to catch it.
* Buying a magazine with a bendy plastic 45 record stuck to the cover and playing it on a record player, again probably using the microphone because you didn't have the right leads.
* From the radio. Woohoo, straight to the integrated cassette recorder. Although even then I don't think I ever got even that to work. Mind you it was pretty hit and miss loading an 'original' tape on the ZX Spectrum.
* Typing it in from a magazine. It took an afternoon, but at least you got to correct your mistakes. Unless it was a particularly crashy mistake.
And, wow, out out nowhere I've suddenly recalled having one of my own, a wordsearch solver, published in one of them. My first upload! Those were the days, I'm welling up!
After that the radio host was intrigued, and the caller said he could play the program over the radio, too, so people with TRS-80s could record the program and load it into their computer. So for the next few minutes over New York's WBAI, listeners heard the sounds of a TRS-80 cassette program being broadcast over the air.
I was so interested in these computers that I did some sleuthing and found the caller, Nat, who introduced me into an entire seedy underworld of phone phreaks, hams, pirate radio station operators, and electronics hackers. Back in these days, my parents didn't think it was odd for a 14 year old kid to hang out with people in their 20s and beyond. And that's how my 35+ year career in computers and electronics, in New York, Silicon Valley, and Israel, started.
Except when I first got my Vic20 as a child the tape drive was half a year away. When I got it: Pure bliss. I could save my programs.
In a weird way I feel sorry for my son who never gets to experience such wonders. But then again maybe it is just good that IT will never again be the obscure, ostracised (from a child's popularity in social groups point of view) thing it once was.
I recently had my childhood C64 fixed up by one of my employees (turns out they are good for something). It now has virtually every game released on a SD Card via a rather modern interface to the cartridge slot. This beast used to have a floppy drive and I remember how amazing that was compared to the tape drive.
Here's the PDF of the report written by Dr.Voelz himself:
( This is one of the few ways to transfer data to a vintage computer without additional hardware, at least until devices started showing up without a headphone jack :^P )
I added a similar feature to my 8bitworkshop IDE that lets you upload your own C/asm programs to your Apple ][ via cassette port: http://8bitworkshop.com/v3.2.0/?platform=apple2
Basicode programs came on cassette, floppy disk, records (not vinyl, but flexible plastic you put on your record player and play once or twice only to get the program off and then store it on cassette or floppy), magazines (you had to type it in yourself) and radio. There were multiple weekly programs that sent over Basicode.
I used to get them and put them on my BBS if I didn't get them elsewhere yet.
I wonder if there's lingistic study that could be done on modern programmers working in today's standardised languages that could identify differences in their coding style stemming from the local language they played with at school.
Here you go:
I never got a single recording to work on my computer. Never would even find the program let alone load it.
Turns out that there was a vulnerability in the transmission format, so this can also be used as a way of running unsigned code on the DS.
I recently tried to explain some of this period to my kids and did poorly.
It does make me wonder if every period has these exciting times and are also hard to relate to future people. We get a very low fidelity recounting of history compared to real life.
It's been a long time, but I believe the one that carried it in New York was WNBC (now WFAN).
There were also hifi and voice quality categories of blank cassette tapes.
The voice quality stuff was generally good enough for 8-bit computers.
FM radio was probably somewhere between the two, at least given good conditions. So it seems like it would have worked fine. I never tried it myself. I did hear a news story about it, but it never became available in my area.