my first computer

by on 15/03/2011


Can you believe it?

I can’t, but the Sinclair ZX81 was launched 30 years ago in March 1981.

Along with most of my generation, I sat huddled over the tiny membrane keyboard typing in machine code or trying, often in vain, to load something that worked from cassette.

It had many many faults. It had a tiny 1 KB of memory, had no colour or sound and didn’t even have an off switch. But it was a revelation. A breath of fresh air that introduced computers and particularly programming to the masses. It cost just £70 and over 1.5 million were sold.

The demise of Sinclair Research, the manufacturer of the ZX81, has been well documented, not least by the wonderful BBC drama “micro men”. It culminated in the ignominy of having to sell the rights to the computer products and the brand to Amstrad. But for instilling many a small child with a love of computers, we have a lot to thank the ZX81 for.

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