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Job 19, Magicle

My First Software Product, July 1980 to March 1981
This page is part of my CV, Resumé or Work Record. It describes the time I developed a software package called Magicle during 1980 and 1981. To see this in context, look at my CV.
While working at the Opera House with Patrick Hardy we had the bright idea of devising a software product. I would write it and Patrick would sell it. It was to run on the ICL 1900-series mainframes and would be a system-resident utility that performed functions such as moving and copying files, renaming and deleting and a whole lot of things that I cannot remember now what they were. There was no single utility in existence that did these things, they were each done by a separate weak-featured program, or that is my memory of how it worked anyway.
I wrote the program in the ICL assembler language, PLAN; a quite low-level language, where you had to move bytes in and out of registers and push and pop things from stacks. I liked writing in PLAN.
Patrick struggled with the sales. We did sell a few but it was an uphill battle, though the software itself was presumably highly regarded by some as we saw it in use at ICL's demonstration centre in Harrow, running behind a hidden persona, someone there had edited the raw code so it ran as something called PAL1. They never paid us for a copy.
This was the first of a number of ventures into software writing, all of which have been unmitigated flops that have cost me money. I think I got excited by the design and programming, but had no enthusiasm for becoming a software house – that would have detracted me from my main purpose of being the performance; it’s just that I did not know myself well enough then.


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