It’s true, isn’t it? Those life defining moments, parked permanently in your memory, when you did something for the first time you will never forget. They generally make you smile, hopefully make you happy and instantly transport you back through a portal to be right there… so much so that you can even smell the moment.
That, my dear friends, is why I own 16 Sinclair ZX81’s!
Yes 16 of that wedge shaped, sleek, shiny and sexy little black 1K beauty. This week added that 16th to the collection. I can’t help it, I see them on eBay and if I have a spare £20 in my pocket then I just buy it. Mad? Obsessed? I admit to being a little bit of both.
It takes me back to the days before I even owned a PC. I remember the Summer of 1981 like it was yesterday. My local W.H.Smith had a new display, a black and white TV and a Sinclair ZX81. Everyone could play on it, create on it, announce to the World that they were alive. Of course, the first thing we all had to learn was quite simply the 1st real program every created.10 PRINT “HELLO WORLD”; 20 GOTO 10
We simply substituted “HELLO WORLD” for our name and suddenly you had full control of this little black and white TV and this little black, white and red miracle of technology. It was advertising our arrival to the PC generation. Parents gasped “Did you do that!” and proudly you would smile and nod. So simple, but everything was back then.
We had 1K of RAM to play with, far less than that digital watch you are wearing, and masterpieces were created. Gain the dizzy heights of 16K RAM and the World was your oyster.
I received my 1st machine for Christmas 1981 and didn’t put it down for 14 days. I barely slept, hardly ate and toilet breaks were for wimps. The only thing stopping me was having to go back to school. Returning to school led to the inevitable “What did you get for Christmas?” conversations. Those of us that received similar marvelous gifts rallied to tell the tales or our programming prowess: The geek was born, and long may we reign 🙂