On flea markets you could buy latest games on packs of around 30 on one cassette. Yugoslavia had no copyright laws and breaking software protections became national sport.
Computer magazines weren't full of reviews like today but rather full of electronics, software sources (that you have typed to your computer - I still remember that some genius started to add checksum at the end of endless DATA statements and give you a message that you have done an error in line x).
My first computer (c64) was smuggled from Austria under fathers car seat, at age of 12 I have written my first software (due to the large amounts of cheap games I got bored) and one of the coolest things to see were pirate intros packed with games. At 14 I was fully proficient with Amiga and Atari ST.
Those were different times, we didnt have 30 types of chocolate bars, zillions of different toys but we had a lot of imagination. Now, my country... the consumption has completely destroyed public morale, innovation and will to actually do something else than be pretty (boys included) and fit and well dressed at youth time, having latest phone and likes on your FB account. I had unique chance to see two very different parts of how society functions and I think we, as humans, are on wrong path.
When I talk to people living in the balkans, I don't get the feeling that abundance in products is destroying their morale.
I don't consider myself old, but I'm no "modern kid" by any measure.
What I observe among today's people of these regions (I travel and keep contact with people all over ex-Yugoslavia - mostly Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia), regardless of their age, is defeatism and lack of confidence. Most don't beleive they can invent, build or produce anything on their own. Everything needs to be imported.
It saddens me because ex-Yugoslavia used to produce computers, cars, electronics, aircrafts, hi-fi audio stuff etc. back in the 80s.
Closing of all these industries in 90s had devastating econimical impact, but that was later recovered - they mostly reopened but now under new multinational owners, producing parts for global brands. Smart and industrious people got their salaries back.
What hasn't recovered so far is belief that we can again invent and build for ourselves, not sell knowledge and skill to big global players at low price and then buy finished products at much higher price.
But then again I think this is not specific just to ex-Yugoslavia, it seems to be global trend.
My personal experience (mainly from visits to Bosnia) confirms that.
In my opinion, the ongoing brain drain is a main reason behind it. It's a rational choice for talented and motivated young people to move to a Western European country, thus many do so. Unfortunately, the result is that those not leaving have a very hard time forming a critical mass which could break through the various deadlocks left behind by the war years.
EDIT: sorry, apparently it's also a misquotation:
Those old values are fading for better or worse, and it will be interesting to see what happens next.
I also think you're looking at Yugoslavia with nostalgic rose colored glasses. I understand it because I grew up in communist Eastern Europe and I have similar feelings about life back then, but let's be clear, everything was fine as long as you charted the expected course and had no major aspirations. If you had any sort of ambition, political, or economic, or if your personality trait tended towards contrarianism, you had to leave. It was also clear that European communist nations were being left behind by ever faster developing west. Had there was no market transition, you still would have had to import western electronics because our nations were never going to meaningfully compete in that sphere. During the time of Galaksija computer, the West was going through a much larger and much more broad and egalitarian PC revolution, and was only 10 years removed from the web. We were never going to catch up. The political structures of our nations, because they were monolithic an inflexible, were corrupt by the 80s. In my country the collapse resulted in social upheaval and very painful economic transition. In your nation, it resulted in many years of civil war.
But I will not go down that political rabbit hole or classical fallacy that every generation thinks the next generation is worse - no, not everything is better just for the fact that previous generation thinks it is worse.
I do believe that in your country was as you said it (which is imho normal - you lived there). For my country, let me judge myself (as I have lived "there").
You can't praise Yugoslavia, and then fall back on Slovenia when Yugoslav failures are mentioned.
>you would quite quickly figure out the war in Bosnia and Croatia was not due to change of system but due to cultural burden that was piling up for centuries
Both are true. I think there is universal agreement that Tito's death set up the conditions for the eventual civil war. And yes, it is also no coincidence that the civil war was along ethno-nationalistic lines.
>For my country, let me judge myself (as I have lived "there").
That's fair, but I'm not sure if anything I mentioned was actually untrue or even controversial .. even if I didn't grow up in Yugoslavia.
Yes. Egalitarian. The prices collapsed from a level where only the rich and businesses could afford them, to a level where EVERYONE could afford them. And to be clear, there were hundreds of different kinds of personal computers at all kinds of price levels. For example, the Commodore64 was priced at a very accessible $595 ($1600 inflation adjusted) in 1982.
>The entire space also quickly became a copyright and patent minefield.
Whatever problems or issues you can point to, you cannot deny the reality of broad adoption of computers in the span of a decade, a trend which continued through the Internet and Mobile revolutions. The copyright and patent issues clearly were not a hindrance.
>We in the West have a horrible habit of only looking at the upper echelons of our society
What are you talking about? My parents, who were recent immigrants at the time, working menial low-wage jobs, bought a personal computer in late 80s for our household. Trust me, we were not in the 'upper echelons of society', unless the 'upper echelons of society' pick strawberries to supplement income from another minimum wage job.
1. He was involved as a skeptic and wrote a well-received (among my friends at least) book debunking psychics and various kinds of nonsense. As a teenage boy in Serbia (in the late 90s?), I asked him to translate a portion of the book to English and put the translation on my website. He graciously allowed me to do so. Part of why I wanted to go through that massive effort was to convince an English-speaking girlfriend (whom I've met online!) that astrology is nonsense. You could say that relationship did not last long.
The book is now available as a free PDF on his website.  I don't know what happened to my website.
2. He moved to the US at 65 to work SV, and had some emotional things to say about the move.  It stuck with me.
(Both links are in Serbian.)
You sure you don't still have a copy of it somewhere? 0:-)
"In order to understand astrology well, it is necessary to know it from the very roots. It originated in ancient Babylon, around 1000 BC, although some
historians claim that astrology was conceived by the Sumerians, a whole millennium earlier. The precondition for the existence of large cities was well-developed agriculture, and
this required knowledge of a precise calendar, as agricultural
who had to know when to start sowing and how to adapt all agricultural work to the seasons. Establishing an accurate calendar is not
it was possible without a good knowledge of mathematics and constant astronomy
observations, and these jobs were most suitable for priests (the picture shows
a stone on which is a record of the movement of the Moon, found in Mesopotamia).
Thus the first astronomers were clergy, and it is logical that celestial bodies,
which they discovered, were named after the then Babylonian gods. We
we still use those names, actually theirs
Roman translations: Mars instead of Nergal, Venus
instead of Ishtar, Jupiter instead of Marduk and so on
Here we come to the first paradox which
is an integral part of astrology: although the names of the gods were assigned to the planets in the random order in which they were discovered, the meaning and
the significance that each particular planet carries with it
bears is firmly attached to the role of the god by whom it is
got its name, and it has remained unchanged to this day. For example, Nergal (Mars) is the god of war, so the summers that began with a stronger
the radiance of the planet Nergal in the sky was immediately
women as particularly suitable for military campaigns, and the springs in which the splendor of Ishtar (Venus, the goddess of love) was emphasized, were destined to be concluded
Same as for the planets, and for the stellar constellations
the rule was that people born in a certain sign of the zodiac were attributed traits derived
from the name of the sign. In the Babylonians, the number of characters that
consisted of constellations initially changing between 6 and
18, but stabilized at about 600 BC
12. Soon the first horoscopes appeared: the oldest
known dates from April 29, 410 BC.
By the way, the division of the zodiac into 12 signs is not even today
valid worldwide - Chinese and Indian horoscopes
have 28, and Toltec cultures (in Central America)
20 characters. However, he respects all these horoscopes
is the principle that the characteristics of people born in someone
character directly depends on the name of that character.
The oldest surviving critique of astrology was written by Cicero in 44 BC
new era. His philosophical skepticism could not relate human characteristics to astronomical parameters at birth. He states that he would
it would be more logical to establish the influence of meteorological conditions on the child at the time of birth, but not to notice any connection there either.
The Greeks learned about astrology when they conquered Babylon in the fourth century
BC, and the Romans took it from the Greeks. Before the end of the twelfth century
ideas were taken over by northern Europe, so astrology soon entered the then school system. Around the seventeenth century, the sudden rise of science (primarily astronomy) caused the expulsion of astrology from European universities, so
thus we come to another great paradox: its “golden age” astrology
not experienced during the Middle Ages, when people were deeply religious and knowledge was transmitted mainly orally, but only since 1930, when
British astrologer Naylor (R. H. Naylor) received an entertaining column in the daily newspaper in which he introduces an innovation: the horoscope! The interest of the audience in reading the fate was such that in record time all the papers got theirs
horoscopes, and astrology experts sprouted like mushrooms afterwards
rain. Today, for example, 96% of people in Europe know in which sign they were born, and only
34% know their blood type."
Do you remember if it was true that milspec had in general better tolerances than commercially sold components?
Standard laptop RAM = 8GB? So 2,000,000 “drops” of 4KB.
Standard bucket = 12l? So 120,000 100µL drops.
So considerably smaller than a drop in a bucket.
One needs to understand that at that time it was hard to buy a regular home computer in Yugoslavia because of market specifics and some import restrictions (in order to encourage local production and improve the local economy).
Many smuggled computers in personal luggage. Sinclair's ZX Spectrum was particularly target of jokes because of the rubber buttons, so people said it to the customs officer (when caught) that it was a programmer for the laundry machine (due to the use of rubber).
Later I bought a Commodore 64 via a official channel through the Commodore representative in the country. I waited several months for the import approval and shipping.
The article treats a lot of this stuff as more unique (and, it seems, ideologically inspired) than it was.
ZX80 - Sinclair ZX80 which predates the Galaksija by 4 years and has a remarkably similar system design including using the Z80A to drive the video output."
BTW, Voja Antonic left Belgrade few years ago, now living in US.
Has designed a replica system, with some minor mods to allow for newer easier-to-get logic chips, and better compatibility with newer Z80 CPUs. He offers up the whole design for download - so anyone should be able to build one. I've bookmarked it... I'm definitely interested in making one to add to my retro collection.
Often enough there wasn't any kind of a tape or disk device, so you had to type your program from a magazine, a printout, or handwritten notes. It took forever, and there were typos and glitches to resolve.
Once, I watched a guy painstakingly type a 200 line basic program. He stepped away for a minute to use the WC, and the joker who sat in his stead bird-pecked "new" and hit enter. That was the end of that evening.
There's a lot to be said for having a go to see how far you can get.
On a less off-topic note, checkout Bulgaria's wildly successful clone of the Apple II in 1979: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pravetz_computers
Just a simple comparison to western democraties. In a typical democracy the parties list candidates and you vote for them.
Here candidates for representatives were proposed by interested members of the public on larger gatherings, by simple shouting someones name.
“Soviet-installed governments ruled the Eastern Bloc countries, with the exception of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which retained its independence and changed its orientation away from the Soviet Union in the late 1940s to a progressively independent worldview.”
From the article:
“Along with Egypt, Ghana, India, and Indonesia, the country founded the “non-aligned movement,” a patchwork of developing nations aspiring to chart a decolonial “third option” of formal neutrality during the Cold War. This constituted one of the few genuine anti-authoritarian, anti-imperial international alliances of the twentieth century.”
That doesn’t mean that the leader wasn’t treated as the “unique and only.”
While Yugoslavia was east of the iron curtain, it was never actually behind the iron curtain. It was never an eastern soviet bloc state, and it was never a part of the USSR. This whole page deserves a read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cominform#Expulsion_of_Yugosla...
There were inherent flaws in the soviet system from the beginning, that would ultimately be Achilles heels. For example, the Yugoslavian passport allowed you to effectively travel freely (without visas, usually) back and forth on both sides of the iron curtain.
Also, while Americans refer to Yugoslavia's government system as communism, it was technically socialism. Yes, it was effectively a form of communism, and Tito was recognized as "benevolent dictator", but there were differences compared to the soviet bloc states. I am not excusing the horrors and the suffering that went on in Yugoslavia or the soviet bloc states either.
It should be noted that the US would give funds to Yugoslavia to stir up conflict east of the iron curtain. The Yugoslavian system was no more economically successful than the soviet bloc states. It was inherently flawed.
There are also wild stories that come out of the Balkans too: After Tito refused to align with the soviet bloc, Stalin ultimately tried to assassinate Tito 22 times (that we know of). Tito sends Stalin a letter and tells him to stop sending people to Yugoslavia to assassinate him. Because if Stalin does it again, Tito will personally send an assassin to Moscow to kill him (Stalin), and it will only take 1 try.
I only don't understand why "east of the iron curtain" when the country is on the west of the countries behind the iron curtain, as per Wikipedia link I've given?
It...didn't, though. It wasn't anti-authoritarian at all. Not was the NAM much of an alliance. Nor, as a number of countries closely aligned with the superpowers joined, was it even particularly even a group of non-aligned countries.
It is not.
> compared to the countries behind the so called “iron curtain” that land was indeed different.
Different, yes. Anti-authorian? A dictatorship? No.
The old government (king and families) capitulated and some fled. So the country was left on the mercy of the fascists. The people self-organized and self-liberated their country. Those who were the true leaders of this fight, got to lead the newly freed country in 1945. This is why people trusted all these leaders until they died. Tito was one of them but you have to have in mind it was a federation of several independent countries and each had their own local leadership, close to the people.
Unfortunately many of those who succeeded this initial leaders, and this occured during late 80ies and 90ies, in the end become too corrupt.
As for the socialism? All factories were owned by the people. All companies were owned by the people. Try to imagine that all workers in Google jointly owned Google and all major decisions (such as a new CEO, new politics, acquisitions etc) must be agreed upon by all workers (with a vote).
So, when someone preached that capitalism was better and more productive, he was essentially preaching to the workers that they should give away their own company to a single person that would benefit from their effort, or that their own company is stolen from them in the interest of a single person (or a handful of persons).
This system had many flaws and was not sufficently eficient to gain enough to support itself, but people were free. Had guaranteed jobs. Had guaranteed appartments when they formed their own families. Had guaranteed health care. Had guaranteed right of opinion (until they preached stealing other's property).
Communism always ends up the same way -- Soviet ties or not.
Do you have any examples of such people "locked away"? I don't believe you'd find any as soon as the years of breaking up with Stalin passed.
The politics of the country was such that it was really between NATO countries and Soviet-Union countries, and people from there were able to travel freely in both directions, so it was opposite of needing to "lock away" anybody for something.
Only Stalin's sympathizers were "locked away" at these post WW-II break up times, around 1948. There is enough material about that. But for some other ideas?
One of the most interesting story from these times and these places was "Purloined Yak":
"Tito believed that survival of his government depended upon getting the support of Western powers, particularly the United States. The US saw an opportunity to use a split in the communist bloc to its advantage, including gaining a foothold in the Balkans to help defuse the communist problem facing NATO member Greece.
Starting in 1949, Western nations began limited economic support to Yugoslavia. Two years later, the US began shipping weapons to Tito. Some unofficial sources claim that US military personnel were also sent to Yugoslavia in the early 1950s to help train the Yugoslav Air Force.
In October 1953, the opportunity to provide the US with a Soviet-built fighter aircraft—even temporarily—would have seemed a ready-made way to further cement US-Yugoslav relations."
First they would speak about the software (usually a game or utility tools), then they would emit the code.
There was no copyright till 1992 (and in practice till late 00s), so people just recorded that, copied, and then sold or exchanged on open-air markets.
BTW that's how CD Projekt (creators of Witcher and Cyberpunk games) started - 2 school friends selling pirated games - but they were a little older so they got their games by paper-mailing people in the west and not from radio :)
I remember in early 90s exchanging cassettes by mail was the way to go for C64 hobbyst in Poland. People advertised on teletext or in computer press and then sent each other several cassettes with software and empty cassettes to be returned with new stuff. Often they added their small demo program with personal stuff at the beginning of the cassette - it was some random sid music, bouncing balls and scrolling text with greetings and sometimes insults towards Atari hobbysts :)
Piracy was the rule for at least the next decade despite the law change. Nobody I knew at school had original software till 00s.