12 March 2011

[liff] Happy 30th Birthday, Timex-Sinclair 1000!

2580.It was thirty years ago, in Britain, that the niftiest personal computer ever concieved was marketed: The Sinclair ZX-81. In America, we knew it as …


The Timex-Sinclair 1000.

Now, don't get me wrong. It was a crap-ass computer, for those of us too poor to afford Apple IIs, Macs, and IBM PCs. It only had 2K RAM unexpanded, and while the European version could be expanded to 64K, Timex in America figured all us users could ever handle was 16K, so that's all the RAM they ever made for it.

But it was nifty in its way. No sound, rough graphic, and a BASIC that makes me cry inside the more I thought of it, but it was bought for me with love, and I had a grand time playing with it. Never had a disk drive (not that I could ever afford one anyway), but it was computing, and it was mine, and I had much fun with it.

I'll always remember the fun time, loading from cassette, playing Flight Simulator (yes, they  had one!), system crashes when the inside overheated or the RAM pack wiggled … oh, yes, good times. And learning elementary electronics (that I soon forgot), but one of the biggest projects of the TS owner was putting together a real keyboard for the thing.

A palmful of chips, a membrane keyboard, and Sinclair BASIC occupied many a late night when I was but a neat thing.

BBC has an article about it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12703674

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