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United Kingdom Hardware

For Sinclair Fans, The ZX81 Lives On 196

An anonymous reader writes "The ZX81 Museum was set-up to preserve and showcase a private collection of original Sinclair branded ZX81 hardware, software and literature. The museum has since expanded to include ZX81 software from other publishers of the time and a variety of other ZX81 peripherals and reference books. The collection dates from 1981 to 1983 and features the complete Sinclair-branded software series. The activities of the museum are regularly reported via Twitter, along with updates from the ever growing ZX81 fanbase. There is even a YouTube channel for the diehard 8-bit fans out there, of which there seems to be many!" This was one of the first computers I ever used; I suspect it's still buried in some deep stratum in my dad's basement. As is often the case, the old advertisements are great.
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For Sinclair Fans, The ZX81 Lives On

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  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @04:56PM (#38833267)
    I had one of these, and you couldn't pay me to to use one again. Well you could, but it would have to be a hell of a lot. I can understand why people would be nostalgic about a C64, or even a TI994/A. I had both of those too. But I don't really remember much to like about the ZX81. Even the keyboard/tiny plastic membrane was awful. It was sold by Timex in the US and the "keys" were about the size of calculator buttons. I shelled out the $200 (IIRC) for the 16K RAM pack too. I'm probably suppressing the memory, but I seem to remember there being some issue with it, but I don't remember what it was specifically. It was a big (in relation to the system) clunky thing that plugged into the back. It probably didn't seat correctly or something. Some things should just be allowed to die and be forgotten.
  • yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samjam ( 256347 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:12PM (#38833431) Homepage Journal

    I learned on a ZX81, and I still have one.

    I learned Z80 machine code by reading other peoples listings and comparing to the mnemonics at the back of the ZX81 manual.

    I programmed a cool morse-code decoder, and a music program that played sound out of the TV speaker (along with a load of junk).

    I also beat someone elses implementation of read, data & restore.

    Then I went on to a CPC6128, then BBC Micro with econet and advanced programmers guide. Then hacking MSDOS with debug and edlin. Then Windows 3.1 and Delphi; win95, then moving to winXP and Linux and sticking with Linux - for the freedom you know.

    For a while I had a ZX81 emulator on my android phone, but like the other guy said, you couldn't pay me to go back to it.

    It was awful. At the time it was great and helped make me, but I won't go back. You can't make me!

  • by na1led ( 1030470 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:19PM (#38833493)
    The Atari 800 came out in 1978 and was 10 times the computer! When I think of the Sinclair, I think of an oversized calculator, my Magnavox Odyssey could do more. I'm sorry, but the Sinclair was a POS back then and still is today!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:23PM (#38833537)

    It's not the most popular 8 bit computer made, and you couldn't do a whole lot with it. I'm sure there are fan sites for many different 8 bit systems, why make a big deal about the Sinclair? The Commodore 64 is the most popular 8 bit computer ever made, and I'm sure has about 100 times more fans.

    Yes the C64 was better and has more fans, but for a lot of people the ZX81 was the first affordable and usable home computer. I spent a lot of time typing in code from magazines and hoping the tape recorder would actual save it properly.

    Progressed to a VIC-20 - cartridge slot for RAM pack or even GORF, followed by C64 although my brothers got a Speccy for games.

    All that typing of code and debugging the typos in the magazine must have suited me as I went on to be a developer. Feel sorry for the kids these days - buy a game, plug it in - what are you gonna learn like that?

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN