Saturday, April 14, 2007

Make a few bob

Have you got one of these lurking in the loft?

Apparently they are now collectible and fetch up to £400 on EBay.

My first computer was a 48k Sinclair Spectrum. You had to connect a tape player to the computer to load the programs. Often the process would fail and you had to start again. It had horrible rubber keys and worked in 16 colours. I had the little thermal printer that went with it. That burnt a copy of my programs onto a roll of silver paper. Three weeks later the image had faded away to nothing!

I bought a joystick that connected via an interface you had to program for each game. Eventually I also bought a Sinclair microdrive and a proper keyboard to house the computer in.

Then I had a Sinclair QL, an Amstrad PCW, four Apple computers before moving to Microsoft Windows.

It is hard to imagine the progress that has been made since my Spectrum. My new computer has over 40,000 times more memory than the Spectrum but will still be obsolete in a few years time.

1 comment:

Pete said...

You're a bit late in the game there Keith, our first was a Sinclair ZX81! Same processor as the Spectrum, but 1kb RAM and monochrome graphics. What a machine! It didn't even have rubber keys, it was a horrible touch sensitive membrane.

As to the stuff at the back of the cupboard? I don't have any specrums but I can boast ownership of an Acorn Atom!

The progress made since then has been incredible, but has it led to lazy programming and development? I think so. There was a version of Sim City (albeit slightly cut down) for the BBC Model B. That has 32kb of RAM. It ran the entire game in the same resources that the PC version used to calculate the street lighting. Now, if routines don't run fast enough just add more RAM or a faster CPU. Forget optimisation. A terrible shame.