Basic Four / was Re: Microdata disk/tape images

jwsmobile jws at
Sun Feb 8 03:37:38 CST 2015

On 2/7/2015 4:28 PM, Brent Hilpert wrote:
> On 2015-Feb-07, at 4:00 PM, jwsmobile wrote:
>> On 2/7/2015 3:51 AM, Armin Diehl wrote:
>>> On 02/05/2015 10:19 PM, Ian McLaughlin wrote:
>>> <snip>

>>> I programmed for a Microdata/REALITY system as a teenager ca. 1977 
>>> (business accounting applications), and I remember Basic Four as 
>>> another competitor / minicomputer company in the business market, 
>>> but never knew much about them. Can you (or anyone) briefly describe 
>>> what distinguished Basic Four in the marketplace? What were they 
>>> offering that was particular or special or 'interesting'?, esp. if 
>>> they were using the same CPU initially? 
Microdata Reality or Pick reality was not marketed by Pick or Microdata 
with any domain specific support.  The systems were sold originally by 
MD thru a network of about 30 dealers, who added  or developed software 
systems to support all sorts of fields.

MAI was closer to the different software specialties, and I think took 
ownership early on selling MRP and so forth, systems.

I knew of a lot of contractors that worked for MAI Basic 4 and they 
wanted to have MAI to have a product that was a complete solution. They 
also built up / acquired Sorbus which did service on a lot of systems to 
further that.  Sort of a small IBM type company, since they never came 
close to the size and scale of IBM.

I don't know if a lot of customers programmed the Basic 4 systems, or go 
them installed and went on with whatever they delivrered to their core 

Since I worked for Microdata, and also was and am in the Pick world, i 
saw a lot of people buy systems and since Pick systems all came with a 
nice manual, ended up sucked into the software development world, some 
to the detriment of their original day jobs.  Pick has a sort of siren 
song type of aura around it, especially in the 70's when you didn't have 
a zillion languages, and what you have today.

Though it was proprietary, Pick was and in its generic form, for 
instance D3, or Open-QM (you can download and run that) is very easy to 
program.  Problem in today age is it is still the old timeshare terminal 
model.  Most pick systems are wrapped in code to make them all web 
capable and all that.

Glen, Basic 4 and Pick are completely isolated from one another and have 
no bearing whatever on each other.

I see that Armin has an excellent page on the B4 systems, and you might 
notice his photos of the BB2 systems have only the 1.2mb front loading 
disks.  I don't know if he has any data from them of if anyone does, but 
that would be necessary to have before working on any way to run an 
emulated system.


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