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Sinclair And Clones Computer Show

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the lovely-keyboards-too dept.

Emulation (Games) 218

Anonymous Coward writes "The Sinclair ZX Spectrum seems to be alive and well with 'Your Sinclair' magazine being relaunched at WH Smiths newsagents, and according to this, there is a Spectrum and clones computer show in Norwich, England, (the other Sinclair formats and clones include the QL, SAM Coupe, Timex/Sinclair, ZX81, Z88 etc). It looks like it could be fun. I must get my Spectrum out and play some games."

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The next time ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610516)

I smack you mom, it'll be with feces! (Pronounced Feckes)

I wish i can have a computer gf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610520)

Cause my dog's ass is getting sore.

ooh does anyone remember this (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610521)

When you're LISTing a program on the Speccy and it asks you to scroll go into extended mode and press a key... the screen scrolls up lots of garbage. Bug or easter egg?

Re:ooh does anyone remember this (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610564)

does anyone remember this When you're LISTing a program on the Speccy and it asks you to scroll go into extended mode and press a key... the screen scrolls up lots of garbage. Bug or easter egg?

I remember it every time I read Slashdot and constantly scroll lots of garbage on my screen.

Re:ooh does anyone remember this (5, Interesting)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | about 10 years ago | (#10610584)

or the all time favorite..

poke 23659, 0


poke 23613, 0

Scary that I can still remember them.

So... (4, Funny)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | about 10 years ago | (#10610524)

Am I the only one who thought that T'zer was no hottie? That magazine was years ahead of its time, by the way...

Re:So... (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 10 years ago | (#10610866)

True... but she was a she, and in those days there weren't too many of them interested in computers!

I loved 'Your Sinclair'... (2, Informative)

Denyer (717613) | about 10 years ago | (#10611162)

...still have a pile of decaying copies somewhere. Crap games corner, loads of software on the cover tapes, Linda Barker being the girl everyone wanted as their best mate, Julian Gollop's "Chaos"...

Some of the magazine's original content is archived here: The Your Sinclair Rock'n'Roll Years [] . Go easy on the server, people.

More info about Chaos (one of the most addictive eight-player games ever) here: The battle of the wizards [] .

It's almost as if the last fifteen years never happened.

obligatory question (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610530)

does it run Linux?

obligatory answer (2, Funny)

FyRE666 (263011) | about 10 years ago | (#10610637)


Re:obligatory question (4, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 10 years ago | (#10610640)

I *did* write a task-scheduler for the Spectrum once, which could sequence eight different tasks. I incorporated something derived from it into some embedded controller code (running on a Z80) for a company that did, well, embedded stuff. I heard a bit later on, that the company had been bought by a large electronics manufacturer, and the simple scheduler I'd written while off my tits on magic mushrooms one night while I was in 6th year at high school, has since been incorporated into the braking system controllers of a very high-end automobile...

In related news... (-1, Troll)

Benwick (203287) | about 10 years ago | (#10610540)

A bunch of kids discovered how much fun you could have with a pile of rocks.

What fun! (4, Interesting)

reality-bytes (119275) | about 10 years ago | (#10610542)

I must have a dozen Spectrums of various iterations kicking about here - including 2 of the early blue-key types complete with microdrives and microprinters.

I even have a couple of 'docking bases' which allowed (IIRC) you to network up to 16 Speccys together in series.

It just really suprises me that there is enough interest still going in the spectrum to actually warrant a magazine relaunch.

'Back in the day' I used to own my spectrum primarily for gaming. The magazine to have was 'Crash' (complete with cover-mounted cassette). Now there was a real magazine; it wasn't even glossy ;)

Re:What fun! (2, Interesting)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | about 10 years ago | (#10610602)

The docking bases were called "Interface 1" and were one of the most amazing hardware at the time. I also remember having a huge box housing a 3.5'' drive (oh yes!) and a composite monitor port - Opus Discovery I think it was called. The joys of loading a game in 3 seconds :->

Also, please, Crash was vastly inferior to YS. It was not funny. YS was.

Re:What fun! (2, Informative)

JimStoner (93831) | about 10 years ago | (#10610651)

Always preferred Crash myself (not that it matters much after 20+ years). I always dug the cover art by Oliver Frey (I think was his name) - he also did the "the terminal man" comic strip inside. For a reminder...

Re:What fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610803)

Thanks for that URL!

Ahhhh. Nostalga.

Re:What fun! (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | about 10 years ago | (#10610666)

Wasn't it the 3" disks?

(Actually 3"x3.5" or something like that).

Things like the spectrum +3, Amstrad CPC etc used the 3" disk format; I forget the capacity now but it wasn't huge.

Re:What fun! (1)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | about 10 years ago | (#10610732)

No, you are confusing it with the abominable Amstrad made Spectrum +3. The Discovery had 3.5 inch, single sided single density, about 200Kb per disk irc...

Re:What fun! (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | about 10 years ago | (#10610864)

Suprisingly, in all my Speccy ownership, I never came across that format.

Did they look just like the 'modern' (now legacy) 3.5" disks?

Re:What fun! (1)

ploppy (468469) | about 10 years ago | (#10610978)

The Opus Discovery 3.5" disks *were* the modern 3.5" disks. Of course in those days they had just been developed, that's why the disks were single sided, single density, rather than the later double sided double density capacities. The Opus Discovery disk could store 180K formated. Not very much these days but much more than the mircodrive's 85 - 100K and much faster and more reliable.

Re:What fun! (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | about 10 years ago | (#10611018)

Once again, I forget the detail.....

Weren't microdrive disks sequential-only? - The ones I have while being in good asthetic condition, must have stopped functioning many moons ago.

You've seriously suprised me that the 3.5" standard started so early (I must have led a sheltered life ;) )

Re:What fun! (1)

ploppy (468469) | about 10 years ago | (#10611047)

When the Amstrad made Spectrum +3 came out, 3" disks were already an almost 'dead' technology, having been beaten by the superior 3.5" disks. 3.5" disks were "proper" disks with tracks, 3" disks used a single spiral track going from the outside of the disk to the inside. 3" disks had to be explicitly ejected and turned-around to use both sides, where true double sided capable drives were becoming available for 3.5" disks. 3.5" disks, as mentioned, were therefore obviously superior to the 3" disks.

There was a claim in the Spectrum magazines at the time of the Amstrad Spectrum +3 release that Amstrad had done a deal with a manufacturer/distributor of 3" drives and had got a "job lot" at bargain basement prices. Though I don't know if there was any truth in this story, there was no technical reason to have used 3" disks.

Re:What fun! (-1, Redundant)

ploppy (468469) | about 10 years ago | (#10611061)

When the Amstrad made Spectrum +3 came out, 3" disks were already an almost 'dead' technology, having been beaten by the superior 3.5" disks. 3.5" disks were "proper" disks with tracks, 3" disks used a single spiral track going from the outside of the disk to the inside. 3" disks had to be explicitly ejected and turned-around to use both sides, where true double sided capable drives were becoming available for 3.5" disks. 3.5" disks, as mentioned, were therefore obviously superior to the 3" disks.

There was a claim in the Spectrum magazines at the time of the Amstrad Spectrum +3 release that Amstrad had done a deal with a manufacturer/distributor of 3" drives and had got a "job lot" at bargain basement prices. Though I don't know if there was any truth in this story, there was no technical reason to have used 3" disks.

Re:What fun! (-1, Redundant)

ploppy (468469) | about 10 years ago | (#10611084)

When the Amstrad made Spectrum +3 came out, 3" disks were already an almost 'dead' technology, having been beaten by the superior 3.5" disks. 3.5" disks were "proper" disks with tracks, 3" disks used a single spiral track going from the outside of the disk to the inside. 3" disks had to be explicitly ejected and turned-around to use both sides, where true double sided capable drives were becoming available for 3.5" disks. 3.5" disks, as mentioned, were therefore obviously superior to the 3" disks.

There was a claim in the Spectrum magazines at the time of the Amstrad Spectrum +3 release that Amstrad had done a deal with a manufacturer/distributor of 3" drives and had got a "job lot" at bargain basement prices. Though I don't know if there was any truth in this story, there was no technical reason to have used 3" disks.

Re:What fun! (1)

BenjyD (316700) | about 10 years ago | (#10611150)

3 posts about 3" disks on the spectrum +3?

Anyway, I'm sure the Amstrad PCW 9512 (the one with the daisywheel) had a two sided 3" disk drive, so you didn't have to turn the disk over. They were great machines, only limited in lifespan by the elastic band in the disk drive.

Re:What fun! (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | about 10 years ago | (#10610682)

I remember my first speccy (my first computer) - I had to save up my wages from a paper round, and then could only afford the 16K version. I couldn't make much use of the colour, as I only had a b/w tv set with a stick-on green overlay so it looked "professional" - yeah, I know ;-) Man I wrote so much code on that thing, starting with basic, and typing in whatever appeared in the weekly copies of whichever computer mags I could get hold of. Then moved on to assembler - and learning almost zen-like patience as my code would lock up the machine and I'd have to wait for a load back from tape again ;-) Wrote loads of games for people to play at school, and maybe wrote the first computer "demo" - it was a graphic demo that I painstakingly timed to sort of sync up with "Close to the Edge" by Art of noise ;-) The wierd thing was that it would only sync up the first time I booted the speccy, loaded the prog and ran it. If I re-ran it, it would run more slowly...

Of course now even my mobile phone has 100 times the CPU power and 256 times as much RAM, but I was still glad to have been around when the early affordable home computers were born; when computer courses were all about programming and understanding how the machines worked instead of how to use Word and Excel in the MS sponsored "education" (or rather, training) of today.

I feel your pain. (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | about 10 years ago | (#10610708)

I feel for you with the zen-like patience while 10k of code loads from an audio cassette.

Unfortunatley, I just can't resist giving you nightmares tonight;


Do you remember those hypnotic lines around the restriced area of the screen too?

Re:I feel your pain. (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 10 years ago | (#10610976)

... oooh, I remember the pain of trying to get some games to load and then, just when it gets to the end, it either says "Tape loading error", or for the newer, fancy, _Turbo Loaders_, it would just reset.

What I find interesting (3, Interesting)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | about 10 years ago | (#10610548)

is why doesn't anyone massively manufacture faster CPUs basing their underlying design on the ZX Spectrum architecture which while being notably simple algorithmically (low count of transistor gates and intergate connections) would be significantly more effective considering the heat and power they would produce as compared to the legacy 386 architecture we use now. That might be something we all wait for: battery powered, silent PCs with no moving parts. Could that be the ironic future of computing: simplicity?

Re:What I find interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610560)

They do [] .

Re:What I find interesting (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610568)

There are a numbers of Z80-compatible processors, still sold by the company that made the original processor: []

Why Buy a Z80? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10610634)

Just create on in a FPGA..

Hell, you can re-create an *entire* spectrum in a single FPGA, and a couple of support chips..

Re:Why Buy a Z80? (1)

kfg (145172) | about 10 years ago | (#10610649)

Why Buy a Z80?

Because you can just buy one for a few bucks.


Re:What I find interesting (2, Informative)

faragon (789704) | about 10 years ago | (#10610606)

Simplicity, at GHz clock rates it is not enough. Let me explain it, on the KHz and MHz era was quite easy to have a "omnipresent" main clock signal, nowdays, at GHz clock rates that it is almost not possible to achieve: you have to do "sync on target" tricks, alas "hyper transport", "net burst", "usb", "1394", "serial ata", and other syncrhonization protocols. The GHz rate clocks are only feasible on small regions of a micro circuit die, as example, on your favourite GHz processor (say Intel's P4 or AMD's Opterons), there are a nightmare of clock arrangements.

In the other hand, not all "uP in a library" can be scaled up to 500Mhz, i.e., as example, you can not push to 500Mhz a 4Mhz designed Z80, may be just up to 32 or 50Mhz.

Simpler is good and nice, but the simplest isn't ;-)

Re:What I find interesting (1)

Detritus (11846) | about 10 years ago | (#10610718)

There are some relatively simple things you can do with multiphase clock generators to solve clock distribution problems. You can have each circuit block tied to one of many outputs from the clock generator. You select the phase based on the propagation delay of the clock line and local timing requirements. It's a way to precompensate for propagation delay across the chip. It may not get you to 1 GHz, but it scales better than a single clock.

Re:What I find interesting (1)

pkhuong (686673) | about 10 years ago | (#10610655)

I think we'd all rather have a simple but modern architecture with a boat load of registers.

Re:What I find interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610700)

I think we'd all rather have a simple but modern architecture with a boat load of registers.

Intel? Boatload of registers? You have *got* to be kidding! Do you know the architecture of MMIX? Now *that's* a boatload. But Intel? Please!

Re:What I find interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610845)

Silent PC (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10610720)

Well, you can get that today with an ARM based unit..

Extreme low power, and they run really cool... Just check out your PDA if you doubt that...

Re:What I find interesting (2, Funny)

rco3 (198978) | about 10 years ago | (#10610782)

What I find why doesn't anyone massively manufacture faster CPUs basing their underlying design on the ZX Spectrum...

Oh, I know this one! It's because they're all stupid, right?

I'm certain that the engineers and scientists at Intel, AMD, VIA, Transmeta, Motorola, IBM, SGI, etc. (many of whom with EARNED Ph.D's) are all sitting around reading Slashdot so that they can harvest your pearls of wisdom, and learn from the master how to build faster microprocessors. If they would just clock a Z80 at 2 GHz, they could run BASIC programs REALLY fast!

No, wait - that's not it. They're not building the fastest, most efficient architectures they can BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO. Same reason Microsoft won't release the secure version of Windows XP, and Linus won't allow a user-friendly version of Linux. They're deliberately denying YOU your god-given right to run small, efficient code at high speeds so that they can maintain control over your brainwaves... no?

Oh, yeah. Maybe it's because IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE, and pretending to have a Ph.D. doesn't actually confer any knowledge or intelligence. Hmm?

Your post(s) smell of Amsterdam Vallon.

Re:What I find interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610854)


Re:What I find interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10611001)

A desktop computer with a high clock speed and low transistor count on the processor would suffer more from over-heating, not less. More transistors with a lower clock speed may actually dissipate more heat (if you have a lot, lot, lot more transistors but only crank down the clock speed a bit) but the heat would be spread over a bigger die, so the actual die temperature would be lower. Plus the hot area of the package would be bigger (i.e. as big as the die) making it easier to get all that heat out onto a nice big heat sink or cool it with a huge fan.

Besides, who the hell wants to play manic miner on a 4GHz ZX Spectrum with a 800 MHz FSB?? It was too bloody hard on the 4MHz Speccy. I used to hate that stupid game, it took longer to load off of a tape than it took me to die about 100 times.

Popularity? (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | about 10 years ago | (#10610549)

This brings up a question that I've been wondering. Sinclair machines were very popular over in Europe, right? Could anyone tell me why they took off over there and not over here?

Either way, neat show. Wish I could go.

Marketing (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10610589)

Poor Marketing

This is what prevented them from being a really big player here.

It's also what killed the atari comptuer products..

Re:Popularity? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610593)

Because we have a culture

Re:Popularity? (1, Funny)

spectecjr (31235) | about 10 years ago | (#10610846)

Because we have a culture

Only if yeast infections count.

Re:Popularity? (1)

modernbob (558981) | about 10 years ago | (#10610599)

They did take off here. Timex marketed them. I remember seeing these in such places as Fred Meyer and many other dept stores. I had a few of these as they were cheap and easy to program. quality wasn't all that hot. I remember putting a 16K memory card on the extender and having issues with the thing overheating. This was my first case mod as I cut a big chunk of plastic out and went to norvac and bought a fan for it. Last one of these timex machines I had was used as a door stop some years ago in my office. Oh no, I've shown my age!

Re:Popularity? (1)

MBCook (132727) | about 10 years ago | (#10610614)

Well I knew they were here, but they were huge in Europe right? I meant if they got so big there, why didn't they get up there with Commodore and Atari here in the states?

Was it just that they came in too late (Commodore and Atari were already here, while they didn't have much stiff competition in Europe?). Or was it something else?

Re:Popularity? (4, Interesting)

pesc (147035) | about 10 years ago | (#10610731)

Sinclair machines were very popular over in Europe, right? Could anyone tell me why they took off over there and not over here?

The first machine I bought was a Sinclair ZX-80. I bought it because it was very inexpensive. It was the first complete system to sell for under 100 pounds, which was revolutionary cheap for the time.

The circuitry was amazing. It had 1 KByte of memory which also serverd as video memory! I remember that someone crammed in a chess program into that. The original BASIC interpreter was 4K. (Why are all program so damned big nowadays?)

To make the system very cheap, it had no dedicated video circuitry! You stored characters in RAM and ended each line with 0x76. (The less text you had on display, the less memory it used.) To display the text on the screen, you set a special bit in hardware and jumped to the RAM character buffer. The CPU would start to fetch instructions from the text buffer, but the hardware would clear all bits fed to the CPU (00=NOP). Instead the RAM output was fed to the BASIC ROM which now served as a character generator. When the end of line was reached, the 0x76 code was fed to the CPU which interprets that code as a HLT (halt) instruction. So no more bits were fed to the display until horizontal sync, which gave the CPU another interrupt. So with a minimum of 74xx logic gates video text could be generated at low cost and extremely low memory requirements. Of course, the screen went blank when executing BASIC code.

It was an amazing machine and I have many fond memories playing with it. The schematics was included so you could do some hardware hacking as well.

Re:Popularity? (1)

Zangief (461457) | about 10 years ago | (#10611131)

The circuitry was amazing. It had 1 KByte of memory which also serverd as video memory! I remember that someone crammed in a chess program into that. The original BASIC interpreter was 4K. (Why are all program so damned big nowadays?)

Sheesh...They have to fit all those bugs and security vulnerabilities somewhere!!!

Re:Popularity? (1)

Fallen Andy (795676) | about 10 years ago | (#10610770)

Probably a combination of money (you only wanted a speccie if you were terminally broke) and the fact that "Uncle" Clive (Sir Clive Sinclair) was kind of famous in the UK. But, my first home computer was a VIC-20 (eventually when they were sort of dying I bought a QL, mainly because the guy sitting next to me did the UCSD p-system port for it :-;). Oh, and I had a pre-production 512K RAM
card (somehow I forgot to return it when I left
said company above (accidentally honest !)).
(To those who know, adding the Sinclair RAM card
made the machine 2x faster because it preferentially used the lower wait state memory you'd just added. For some benchmarks, the QL was about half of a Sage II (an 8MHz 68000 "super" micro)) with the added card. Without (bare 128K) it benchmarked like an ACT Apricot (Victor 9000ish to you US folk).

But, Heck, be aware folks that travelling to my (parents) home city of Norwich is *not* fun. Has anyone fixed up the east rail lines yet so it doesn't take godzillion hours...

(The M11/A11 is a well known death trap, although
we used to have endless fun in the old days playing spot the Lotuses (in days gone by based at Hethel aerodrome) being road tested...

If you go there (Norwich) be sure to check out the neat norman castle keep which is the museum, stranger's hall, and the cathedral (spire roughly the same height as a Saturn V rocket). If there's
an organ recital *go*. You won't regret it.

Cheers from (sunnier) Athens Greece.

Re:Popularity? (0, Offtopic)

BenjyD (316700) | about 10 years ago | (#10610969)

Has anyone fixed up the east rail lines yet so it doesn't take godzillion hours...

Two hours from Liverpool street, approximately forever from anywhere else.

Two hours? (0, Offtopic)

Fallen Andy (795676) | about 10 years ago | (#10611180)

Seems improved then. I always hated that run from
LS to Norwich (thorpe station), because the other
bit (from Bristol Temple Meads to London) was a wizzy 125MPH (about 1.5 hours). Back in my student
days (in Bristol, SW England), I always favoured the
sedate Bus approach (Bristol->London (victoria)->Norwich). But someone clearly had a sense of humour in the numbering schemes for busses, because the "747" (cackles hysterically)
used to run between the end points of Norwich and Bristol (and visited most of the (un)known universe in between). Still, it had the great taste to visit *both* cambridge and oxford, so
if you were broke (most students always are) and
not in a hurry was sort of fun...

(should point out that the 747 wasn't the fast
via london bus, but the one most of us poor dumb
idiots ending up using because it was a wee bit

Go kiss the singing postman for me (big grin)

Re:Popularity? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 10 years ago | (#10611064)

I don't think they where all that popular in Europe. In the UK yes but not in the rest of Europe. Part of it probably have to do with the fact that it where "English". They where cool machines but frankly the Vic-20 was better than then ZX-81s, the C-64 and Atari 800s where better than the Speccy, and the Amiga, and ST where better than the QL. Later the Microsoft/Intel monster killed the all the interesting home computers. Intel/Microsoft created the Kudzu of computers.

Mod me funny! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610557)

'cause everything else is getting modded funny!

Video Playback off an HD... via a spectrum (5, Informative)

kilf (135983) | about 10 years ago | (#10610569)

Video of the hardware panel at NotCon '04, showing a demonstration of the current speccy DemoScene, and playback of a music video off an HD.

This is not a clear cut world (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610577)

"To say that someone who is anti-war is not supporting the troops is like saying people who are anti-crime aren't supporting the work of prision guards. People do recognize the necessity of their work, but you also hope for a world where their services aren't needed, and when they are needed, you certainly don't send them out to die because of some preconceived notion that it's their job to die."

Sending solders to war and your quote are different. Think it as following. There are hostages in a warehouse filled many thugs and such. So, the police send in the SWAT team to remove the bad guys, but while doing so people are yelling that that it was wrong to send in the SWAT team in the first place.

What your quote is about is having a military force to begin with. You may be anti-war, but agree to needing a military while hoping it is never needed. Having a military and using it is a different concept.

Also, it is not the "preconceived notion" that solders can be sent of to die. But being in the military, I know it is my job to fight war. Also, you must understand that while people are protesting the war, that gives the people we are fighting hope to stick it out longer. The longer they stick out, the more of my buddies they blow holes into.

It may seem that there is no problem with openly having angst to an armed conflict, but the people who are in Iraq at this moment, bad comments, although indirect to you, affect then directly.

If America was really pro-war, the troops would get more equipment, and our enemy's moral would break sooner. I am not saying that you should not be able to talk against the war, but the sad truth is when an insurgent reads on the internet that half of America hates the war and political parties want to just "up and leave", well that gives him the hope to shoot another few people in camouflage, and abduct a few more reporters because if it lasts long enough, America might just "up and leave" just like Vietnam.

This is not a clear cut world, and this is certainty not a clear cut issue. What everyone says effects this conflict as a whole, and the people in Iraq (the troops, and the people who want the insurgents to give up) are the ones who feel it the most.

Last time I checked... (1)

Osrin (599427) | about 10 years ago | (#10610592)

My 16k Speccy still worked... it came down from the Attic about 3 months ago, I was amazed.

I don't have a cassette player that I can plug in to load any games though. :(


POKE 35899, 0

Re:Last time I checked... (1)

payndz (589033) | about 10 years ago | (#10610701)

Jet Set Willy won't live forever if you only have a 16K Spectrum!

Re:Last time I checked... (1)

Osrin (599427) | about 10 years ago | (#10610711)

You can work that out from the address that is being POKED.

Re:Last time I checked... (1)

spectecjr (31235) | about 10 years ago | (#10610894)

My 16k Speccy still worked... it came down from the Attic about 3 months ago, I was amazed. .. and you and it didn't get Attaked at all?

I'm impressed.

Re:Last time I checked... (2, Interesting)

germanbirdman (159018) | about 10 years ago | (#10610979)

POKE 35899,0 is the poke I also still most remember. Even 20 years later, wake me up in the middle of the night and ask me "How do you get infinite lives in Jet Set Willy" and I could tell you :-)

The neatest one liner:
FOR n=1 TO 80:CIRCLE n,n,n: NEXT n

The DevPac Assember was also cool.

Anyone remember the teach-it yourself programming course, where one issue came out every week called INPUT? I still have them.

My speccy setup:

Spectrum 48K (sometime along the line: upgraded to a Plus, then replaced with a 128K version)
Interface 1
Timex thermal printer
AMX Mouse
Epson FX80 with serial port.

I wrote most of my school assignments with Tasword 2, if I ever needed any artwork done, I fired up Artstudio...

Artsudio - it used a Lenslock.... I hated those damn things.. This was a piece of plastic with you put on the screen, pressed buttons until the box was as big as the piece of plastic, and then looking through the lenses, you could see two characters which you couldn't see without it.
3 wrong entries and you had to load the app from cassette again... 5 minutes wasted.

Jet Set Willy, Tasword 2, Artstudio, Elite, Attic Attack, Sabre Wolf.

I never really read Crash, because I was more into writing my own software rather than playing games, but but I never missed an issue of "Your Sinclair" - they had a cool style of writing and I also never missed "ZX Computing monthly" which focussed mainly on writing your own programs.

Perhaps some new games will come out for it? (1)

muntumbomoklik (806936) | about 10 years ago | (#10610600)

Maybe ID will release Doom3 for the Spectrum? What about Halflife 2? And here's hoping for UT2K4..... Sp3ctrUm PwnS j00r 4MD!!!

TK85 (3, Informative)

stm2 (141831) | about 10 years ago | (#10610617)

In Argentina there were some authorized clones made by a local motor company (Czwerny). Here are some pictures: czwerny [] (these are not mine).
Also in Brazil, I got this model imported from Brazil:
TK85 [] .
I also have some CZ1000 and CZ1500 (were called TS in US).

Great learning machine (5, Interesting)

jon514 (253429) | about 10 years ago | (#10610619)

I got a Spectrum when they first appeared (aged about 13). I found it was a great machine to learn about computing - you had a Sinclair Basic interpreter as the main interface & Z80 assembler underneath. I spent many happy hours coding & hacking games on it. It & its predecessor, the ZX81, were what got me hooked on IT & software development. One of the great things was full manual it came with & fairly straightforward books you could buy detailing the full ROM disassembly!

I wonder whether those at that age now find it as easy to learn as much about the basics of computing? How hard is it to understand the fundamentals of how the machine really works, when most teenagers probably have a PC & Windows OS to play with?

Re:Great learning machine (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 10 years ago | (#10610654)

Yeah. I mean, a lot of people who have graduated with good degrees in Comp Sci don't actually understand what is going on internally. Arguably, it's not that important. But, just as knowing how the mechanical bits of your car works can make you a better driver, knowing how the internals of the CPU (not just a rough idea of what's inside, but actually understanding what's going on) can make you a better programmer. Even in high-level languages.

Re:Great learning machine (1)

clandestine_nova (620998) | about 10 years ago | (#10610672)

I would love to have something like that to learn about the basics of computing, mostly because I got my start with high-level software. Like a sibling post said, the knowledge isn't necessary, but it could definitely be useful.

I started getting into computers when I was around 13 as well - however that was only two years ago. My knowledge is limited to mostly high-level languages and the like.

Re:Great learning machine (2, Interesting)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 10 years ago | (#10610740)

Since there is a java based emulator of it, (it even runs on a Sharp Zaurus) you could freely distribute the emulator and point people at the right resources for programing the Z80/1.

It's the same concept as has been used at a lot of universities in teaching Assembly. Since a lot of professors teaching when I went to school cut their teeth on the PDP-11, guess what platform we coded in Assembly for. Did anyone have a PDP-11 to run that code on? Nope. It was nearly all run on a vax-vms system.

A lot of instructors today probably cut their teeth on the Apple II, or early AT/XT computers. I doubt that they will actively promote working with ZX80 instructions, or basic, but who knows.


Boycott Sinclair (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610632)

Those dispicable partisan hacks!!!

Did any one else... (1)

eLoco (459203) | about 10 years ago | (#10610636)

... see the name Sinclair and think:

"Great, what did those bastards do now?"

LOL! Eugenia trolls OSNews! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610657)

LOL! Eugenia has been caught trolling the forums at!


Dear old N orwich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610675)

I studied Computing in Norwich (hello City College!) and there's something rather sadly appropriate about Norwich being the venue for a show about, well how shall we put this, "dated" computers.

Alan Partridge (Aha!) had his radio show in Norwich. And loved the place. 'Nuff said.

Don't forget about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610676)

...The hidden "debug/test" mode.

Norwich? (3, Funny)

ollie_ob (580756) | about 10 years ago | (#10610683)




Re:Norwich? (1)

BenjyD (316700) | about 10 years ago | (#10610944)

Norwich? They're probably gathered round the ZX81 gaping, pointing and threatening to burn the "man with the magic black box of lights".

Why I Hate Niggers and Especially Nigger-Bitches (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610694)

Why I Hate Niggers and Especially Nigger-Bitches Even Though, Technically, I Am One

by Miss Ann Thrope

Don't think you can afford to laugh nowadays as the Jews drag us into their Shemitic family feud with their fellow dune coons! Breathe. Inhale. Hold it. Now release. And stop bogarting and pass it, fer chrissakes! Did you flunk sharing in Kindergarten? Stop watching the Tel-Avivision for a minute. It will only make you feel even shittier, watching The Zombies wave that limp, used Kotex sanitary pad formerly known as the Stars 'n' Stripes.

Have you ever had relatives that embarrass the phuck out of you? That made you wonder if this is God's idea of a sick joke; some sort of undeserved karma that makes you wince every time you're reminded that you share the same family tree with these cretins? You know the ones I'm talkin' about. That's right. THEM. And unfortunately for you and me, THEY LIVE.

No one would suggest that you "hated yourself" for admitting that these types exist, right? No one would infer that you are trying to "deny who you were" merely for pointing out your family's pathologies, and their attempts to out-do each other in the pissing contest for putting the "funk" in dysfunctional.

Well, it seems that I have earned some sort of cosmic retribution, although I'm driving myself crazy these days, trying to figure out what I could've ever done to win this spot on God's shit list. Aside from being born! I'm so desperate for answers, I've stooped to asking the Van Impes to put me on their prayer list. INDEFINITELY. Extreme measures, indeed. WAIT -- I found Jesus! Do you know he's been hiding behind the sofa the WHOLE GULDURNED TIME?

That em-BARE-ASS-ment that I described, my friends, is very similar to the feelings I have currently for many of my fellow "African-Americans" during these days of: jacking Whitey's gravy train for more gub'ment cheese; and reverting to blood-frenzied savagery in the urban jungles. Friends of Niggas don't let niggers buy gold teefes and Glocks on layaway.

I am the daughter of '60s black intellectual artists who flirted with Black Nationalism (and each other, obviously) during the heady days and purple haze of the Summer of Love. My father was a teacher at New York's City College; my mom was one of his students, a starry-eyed black hippie chick refugee from the North Shore of Chicago. Why do the Jews want Israel, anyway? Aren't the North Shore and Florida enough?

My mother dragged me to the S.F. Bay Area (the belly of the P.C. Multi-Kulti beast) when I was entering Kindergarten to chase her Utopian rainbows of social justice, 'wimmins rights,' and all the weed she could toke. I have baby photos of me in our former growing room! I was weaned on a figurative and literal hybrid diet of grits AND granola; corn bread AND tofu, and was exposed to the counterculture of black and White artists, intellectuals, musicians, and lefty-type political activists before I was teething. I was probably one of the very few black girls in my very integrated public school who learned how to walk on hardwood floors while my mother played Sun Ra records, and read Tarot cards in clouds of dense incense and Columbian smoke.

You get the picture. I was a freak even before I was conscious of it. I defied all conventional labels, and to make things worse, I was part of that gun-point-granted 'freedom for diversity' otherwise known as bussing. That would be code for "Pickaninny Potluck." Only "Guess Who's goin' in da pot?" And guess who's shit outta luck, Whitey? If I was that White bus driver, I'd have put on my best Miss Prissy accent and said, "Miss Scarlevitz, I don' know nuthin' 'bout bussin' no Bebe's kids!"

My mother should've known that I was going to have problems when I came home from nursery school crying, because the project bunnies were calling me "white girl." Now mind you, they weren't getting this perception from my skin, as I was a light-bronze-complexioned child with a thick, long shock of wavy black hair. Clearly a black child, albeit somewhat light-skinned until summer, anyway. I was too young and innocent to even know what being a "white girl" was. I just knew by the way that they were taunting me that it wasn't the thing to be.

I asked my mother through sobs if I was "white," and my mother looked at me, horrified, trying to figure out who and why anyone would torment her child with such dumb-ass nonsense. My mother is dark skinned and mixed with some Irish blood; my father is pretty light complexioned and a straight up black Seminole of Afro-Indian descent from Florida. Yep. THOSE Seminoles. Crazy MoFoes who engaged this country in the longest, most expensive and fiercest battle EVER against Whitey.

I came out with light-bronze skin, almond-shaped dark eyes, Tomahawk-chiseled cheek bones, and symmetrical, sharp features to rival those of any ski-jump-nosed, potato-chip-lipped, freckle-faced White child. That's why I've never been jealous of White girls, unlike most Chimpettes. Thank God. Genes are funny like that. I am definitely a chip off my father's block. I have the reddish-brown skin to qualify as a bona-fide mongoloid negress, yet the racial phenotype of my White and Indian relatives is undeniably visible in my face. So Nigger Bitches, don't hate me because I'm beautiful. Hate me because yo' NIGGA thinks I'm beautiful! Oh, wait -- THAT'S why you called me "white girl" in the first place, huh?!?

So why were these kool-aid-drunken Bebe's kids torturing me with accusations that I was "White"? It certainly couldn't have been my medium red-brown skin. Strangers of all races would stop my mother and comment on what a pretty child I was, and my peers asked me constantly what I was "mixed with." Adults of all races were always bewitched by my huge brown eyes, bronze skin, small lips, tiny button nose, and precocious, sassy charm. I never gave any of this multi-racial attention to my ethnic Afro-ambiguity much thought, as I knew I was just a li'l black girl too busy to care; setting up lemonade stands, going to summer camp, gorging on Now 'n' Laters, and raiding local plum trees with my integrated neighborhood's kids.

There were maybe two or three White families still stuck in our newfound working-class "changing" neighborhood, and these White kids befriended me. They told me in hushed tones that I was "different from those other Blacks," and their supposedly "racist" parents invited me into their homes, whereas the project jungle bunnies did not get extended the same birthday and sleep-over invitations. Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah! Seriously, I don't say this out of some twisted exclusivity, this is just a fact.

It should be pointed out that in retrospect, maybe these White kids' families were "racist," yet they trusted me over the rest of the little savages to be civilized in their homes. These Whites may or may not have been racist, but they were discriminating, as they recognized that I had what's referred to in Ebonics as "home trainin.'" Meaning that they knew I wasn't casing the house when I looked for my kickball in their shrubbery. So if they were in fact "racist," it couldn't have been just because of "brown skin." If they were so-called "racist," then why did they make an exception for me? Because they knew they'd never have to worry that I'd stain their furniture with Jherri Curl Juice, that's why!

Mongrel's purgatory... This is when my life became a mongrel's purgatory. On the one hand, here I was, being raised bi-culturally by my hip swingin' sixties Afro-mama steeped in Afrocentrism; yet told by the niggers on the school bus that I was a "White bitch" at the tender age of six years old by monkey bitches who were repeating the third grade for the third time. It was surreal, to say the least. I wasn't even a White girl, yet I was being made to pay for their 'sins' just because I resembled Jane Goodall more than I did her furry friends!

My fellow "brethren" would try to sexually assault me, and beat me up when I resisted, and the "sistas" would spit in my hair one day, and then volunteer to braid my wavy, thick "good hair" they coveted the next. Confusion doesn't even begin to do explain what I was going through. Add to this volatile mix the fact that I had to learn ESL (that would be Ebonics as a Second Language) just to survive at school, and my lil' White buddies tried valiantly to protect me in vain from the jealous wrath of my "own people." I would ask my mother "why?" All she could say was, "They're just mad because they think you have something they don't." And what would that "something" be? An ATM card instead of a check-cashing card? Sense enough to know better than to lease furniture and DVD players on a weekly basis from Mr. Schwindler?

It only got worse by the time I was nine years old. My public elementary school was now a festering witch's brew of savage, gub'ment cheese-eatin' 'hood rats, PCP "loc'd out" Mexicans known as 'nortenos,' glue-sniffin' poor White kids, and upper-middle-class Birkenstock-clad White kids. A sprinkling of Asians kids who had sense enough to stay the hell out of everyone else's way.

Upon entering fourth grade, I was given a scholastic assessment test, and for one hour a day, I was spirited out of the class with almost exclusively White and Asian students, except for one other black boy and girl. I heard whispers that this was "the gifted class" from my fellow peers, and felt the burning hatred of the rest of the niggies left stewing behind, so illiterate they couldn't even crib notes if they tried, poor things. We "gifted kids" learned about "hypotheses" and "theories" and other scientific, esoteric sounding mumbo-jumbo, and I went about my business, reading and writing, absorbing information constantly. Although I will confess, math has never been my strong point. At least I know how to count change back, unlike most of these retail retards! The teacher was impressed with how quickly I mastered English vocabulary, articulation, comprehension, and grammar. My fellow pickaniggies were not, unfortunately for me.

I tried to adapt to my new environment, saying things like: "I'm finna buy some Lemon Heads at da sto'," and "I'ma axe you a question." My mother would ask me, "Do you think you're going to get a job talking like that?." To which I would respond, "But Lateesha's cousin got herself a GOOD job stealin' checks from da post office!"

The knee-grows started figuring out that I was a closet thinker, and they always "axed" me things like, "Why you be readin' so much, guhl? You thank you smart? You thank you White, huh, bitch? She thank she betta den sum'body jes' cuz she kiss up to dem white folks." I started hiding my books in between the pages of Ebony magazine just so they'd get off of my shit.

So I started adding things up: It was not just my racially ambiguous look but apparently my budding intellect that got these knee-grows' underoos all bunched up. Hmmmmm... Ok... So it was bad enough that I looked like a "White bitch" with a really dark tan, but I also had the nerve to actually try and learn something!

The worst ones were the light-skinned project niggers with features that wouldn't win a beauty contest in a simian compound at the zoo. C'mon, even if you're a liberal Whitey, you know what I mean. I think they hated me the most, because deep down, they knew that just because they had light skin, they still looked like Albino King Kongs. Huge, soup-cooler lips and nostrils spread so far across their face, you have to do a double take to check the hands for a little screaming blond chick slipping out of their opposable thumb-less grasp. They hated me with an intense passion, a passion more white-hot than any white-trash blind-hater could loathe me with!

It was, and still is one of the most bizarre aspects of my life, this warped mixture of hatred, envy, admiration, and desire from ghetto chimpazoid niggers.

I was raised to expect and be prepared for Liberal-White and closet-racist supremacism, but coming from "my own kind"? I knew I was fucked when I realized that getting good grades and being a thinker meant you were a "sell-out to da Black race," no matter how well one spoke or spelled Ebonics amongst the Afro-sheen and cake-cutter set! This reaction stung the worst, and it was these experiences that made it clear to me I was being forced to choose sides, as it were.

Hence, the nigger hatred began to take root deep within the bowels of my hard heart. If the only choices were to be a 40 oz. malt liquor-slurpin', gold-dookey-chain-wearin', ignorant, shit-talkin' Kwaneefa ghetto cunt, or "a White bitch," then I was ready to register as an honorary "White bitch." Like, Kewl! Where could I sign up? Would my honorary "White Bitch" pass get me into Oreo Paradise and away from Nigger Hell and Mongrel's Purgatory? If so, I promise to do the Carleton all the way there!

The Berkeley Jews and guilty White liberals mainly look upon a nigger's jungle-boogie antics with awe and reverence, and turn a blind eye to black juvenile violence, crime, illiteracy, and general rowdiness, so I hold them accountable. See no evil, hear no evil, smell no evil, NO. I hold them liable for making smart black kids choose between dumbing themselves down, or being ridiculed by niggers as "selling out to Whitey." They created these hell-holes known as inner-city public schools, and they know exactly what they're doing when they excise tracking programs from school curricula in the name of egalitarianism. Trying to feed us bullshit, and telling us it's just chocolate gelt left over from last Channukah!

Nigger bitches have a fetish with hair, probably because the majority of them can't grow any past their ears. I have experimented with all the different hair styles and lengths, natural and "faux" colors, and textures ever since I grew up singing along to Madonna as a teeny bopper, like most young girls in big cities and suburbs have done and still do. That is one of the privileges of being a "girly-girl," right? (Most people don't realize how many White and Jewish actresses and actors do the same with their hair in Hollyweird.) I didn't cut my own hair for five years once, I just kept it braided, and it sprouted past the middle of my back beautifully.

Whatever, right? WRONG. I had nigger bitches coming up to me cooing, "Ooooh, you must got dat Indian in you wid' all dat haaar!" (So? What's your point? What the hell does that have to do with the price of food stamps in Oakland?); or, "Is all dat yo' haaar!? (Again, WHY DO YOU CARE? SHOULDN'T YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT WHERE YO' BABY'S DADDY IS? OR IF YOUR REPARATIONS WILL COME IN TIME FOR THE NEXT FUBU SALE?).

You want to know why I hate them? Let me tell y'all something. "The Dozens" is a time-honored tradition in the Black community. Niggers have killed the art of the dozens. You guys have bowling, squash, skiing, hockey, rugby, mini-golf and such. Ghetto niggas have perfected the sport of the quick comeback, the cruelest insults about "yo' mama," the cold-hearted "diss." In the old days, the dozens was a relatively harmless way of blowing off intra-racial steam, and preparing one for the petty indignities of post-integration's White-liberal and Jewish supremacism. It honed your edge, and prepared one to be ready with the quick comeback when necessary. I love it, and I think it keeps one's wit sharp. It is cruel, but hilarious. Nowadays, it can get you killed, regardless of race. So in other words, if you are a knuckle-dragging, shit-talkin' nigger, you can verbally abuse and humiliate ANYONE without expecting to get tongue-lashed in return, based on sheer intimidation alone. If you say something back like "Why don't you get a job instead of waiting for Whitey to break you off some reparations, Tyrone"; or, "Can you buy Magic Shave for those nasty razor bumps on credit?" that is grounds for you to get free, crude cosmetic surgery with a rusty, dull box-cutter. I have seen these bitches slice each other up in the hallowed halls of our divershitty- filled public schools. Come to think of it, that primitive surgery is an improvement on some of these ugly-ass African-booty scratchin' nigga bitches! A lot of these Nigger dudes are nuthin' but bitch-made bitches on the "down low," too. They probably buy AIDS cocktails on lay-away, shit!

Nowadays, nigger-bitch egos are too fragile to bear the brunt of a smart-assed, sassy comback. I never venture into Niggerville, USA, without a HUGE can o' pepper spray, because the guilty White liberals' hands are voluntarily tied by Jews who indulge, no, encourage nigger savagery to terrorize the local gentry. To remind everyone of how powerless you really are when it comes to the criminal justice system. Most likely to cause division amongst Blacks, alienating the civilized few, and making folks in general justifiably leery about ALL BLACKS. Can somebody please tell me why the KKK is still around? They can hang up their robes now, because the niggers are doing a fine job of taking up where they left off! I'm less worried about a cross burning on my lawn than I am about a broke, dope-fiend nigger burning me with his empty crack pipe until he gets his next hit from the dope-man! Shit.

The prettier you are, the more nigga bitches itch to slice you up, or otherwise ruin your face and hair. Nope, Latrina bitches don't hold a monopoly on the razor fetish. Nigger bitches can't stand the sight of symmetrical beauty, because it reminds them of what they will never have, unless they sell enough food stamps to be able to afford Michael Jackson's plastic surgeon! Or at least his chimp's vet.

A nigger bitch is apparently big 'n' bad enough to say or shove her ghetto booty into whoever she wants; say whatever the hell she wants to anyone, and wherever, be it on the subway, or in the good part of town, (Especially there! Wouldn't want the niggies to know...oops, I mean think we're racist.), at the movies, but she is too fragile to absorb the verbal insult she provokes, so she lashes out violently. With minimal or no consequence. She maybe be as slow and stupid as the ignorant, nigga-bitch heifers who work for the government (I don't know about you, but I'm convinced that civil servant nigger bitches got their jobs only because they were too retarded and lazy to fill out welfare forms), but she's smart enough to know that her behavior wins the favor of the Jew Birds. You wanna talk about a "sell-out"?!? These nigger bitches sold themselves out to the Hebes for enough shekels to buy a few gold teef and some foot-long, fake-diamond-encrusted nails. Hey, are gold teefes, .99-cent-store hair-braid extensions and nails exempt from Kosher taxes?

The worst of the nigger bitches is the one who jumps her flabby, ashy ass up and down, flailing and screaming "GENOCIDE!" on Ricki Lake if someone suggests she get her tubes tied, instead of cranking out dozens of fatherless, neglected, and abused crack-head babies. Um, excuse me, but somebody forgot to tell me that crack is a pre-natal vitamin supplement. Oops, my bad. I must've dozed off again during the federally funded program, "Nutrition for crack-head nigger bitches in the first trimester"...The liberal judges and Jew lawyers who refuse to permanently sterilize and JAIL crack-head mothers deserve to have THEIR OWN children taken away and raised by these nigger bitches, so they can better appreciate the "love" these women apparently have so much to give.

So, White Folks, I have a news flash. Black folks hate niggas, too! No matter how much I hate niggers and niggeresses, I reserve the brunt of my hatred for liberal Whites and Jews who encourage nigger pathology at the expense of civilized Black folks. The Tel-Avivision tries to convince the youth of the gentiles that you ain't "keepin' it real" unless you act like a savage ape on a steroids and Red Bull cocktail. The creators of Tel-Avivision use nigger pathology to advance their agenda, then toss it out like three-year-old gefilte fish at their will. They grind up impressionable, gullible minds like so much expendable matzo meal with their vampire fangs, then projectile vomit it back at the thinkers, and cry "HATER!!" if you have even a halfway functioning gag reflex or bullshit detector.

So, White Folks, my family tree is being pruned, too. As is yours. I'm sorry that the people who are terrorizing you all over the globe currently share similar DNA with me. Oh, but I am the Black sheep of my Afro-herd in the in the worst way! So before you assume that we Blacks are all baaaaah-bing along to the raps of "our" sheep doggy-dogs like Al "Do-Rag" Sharpton and Jesse "Baby Daddy" Jackson, remember the relatives (that you're reluctantly related to, too) that embarrass YOU by trying to convince your friends to buy those Amway water filters and diet shakes. You can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends, but...)you know the rest).

If it gives you any consolation at all, take note that Niggers, White Trash, Liberal Xtians, nebbish neo-cons, Extortionist Jews, and anyone else acting along in this Theatre of the Absurd who defies Nature's Laws are being separated like the wheat from the chaff. And never forget that "today's mighty Oak tree is just yesterday's nut that held its ground."


WTF?!? A new issue of Your Sinclair? (1, Funny)

spectecjr (31235) | about 10 years ago | (#10610716)

A new issue of YS?

And nobody even emailed me?

Gah! I've been robbed!

I found my old ZX80 a little while back (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 10 years ago | (#10610751)

I was pleased to find it still functioned. But there were two disappointments. (1) It's turned yellow. That plastic needs care if you want to to stay looking white. (2) It doesn't smell the same. I miss hat heady aroma of fresh new electronics. Now it smells of absolutely nothing.

Re:I found my old ZX80 a little while back (1)

grolschie (610666) | about 10 years ago | (#10611000)

I was given an old ZX81 with 16k expansion pack a few years back. Some of the spongy keys don't work to good anymore. Is there any way to resurrect the keys on these things?

How to spot a _true_ zx fanboy... (1)

tinla (120858) | about 10 years ago | (#10610788)

I keep telling people that you're not a real spectrum nut unless you've got your pride and joy hanging on the office wall, with the original manuals and a signed photo of sir clive himself [] .

The chap at the gallery claimed they don't get many computers in to be framed. I find that hard to understand...

Re:How to spot a _true_ zx fanboy... (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 10 years ago | (#10611099)

The original manuals were great.... I *really* like the the cover design.

However, I note that your manual uses white-ring bindings. The original mail-order speccy used black ring bindings!


And my old teacher said I was wasting my life.... (5, Funny)

TAZ6416 (584004) | about 10 years ago | (#10610797)

In my last year at School I got caught reading Crash magazine and Sinclair User in English class a few times and my teacher said I was throwing my life away by not paying attention to O'Level English. But now, I have a job supporting over 800 Windows XP Desktops, all because of that little rubber keyed bugger. Oh hang on.. supporting XP is hell, bollocks he was right, I'm wasting my life ;) Jonathan

SAM Coupe (1)

BenjyD (316700) | about 10 years ago | (#10610801)

They sold 12,000 Sam Coupes? I had no idea it was so many.

I remember I got one of the early models with the dodgy ROM and the shop I bought it from tried to charge me £25 to replace it until we complained.

They were great machines - still played speccy 48K games, 3.5" disk drives, 256Kb RAM. The SAM BASIC was great: it had an EDIT command, for writing self-modifying BASIC programs. I wonder where I put the thing...

Re:SAM Coupe (1)

carou (88501) | about 10 years ago | (#10610886)

If you can't find it, try this [] instead.

Re:SAM Coupe (1)

BenjyD (316700) | about 10 years ago | (#10610920)

I'd just found it - thanks. I'm now horrified to find that years of C++, Prolog and Java have seemingly completely overwritten my knowledge of SAM Basic. Apart from ZAP and BOOM.

flame war to end all flame wars (0, Flamebait)

hine_uk (783556) | about 10 years ago | (#10610806)

Well it looks like its settled 8-) The speccy is Definitley BETTER than the C64 and here is the proof! We won the war only about 15 years too late Now if you will excuse me time to sit back and hopefully toast some marshmallows on the heat

Why no 'simple' computers like this today? (3, Insightful)

payndz (589033) | about 10 years ago | (#10610815)

Forget even the Z80 and 6502/10 computers of the Eighties - 68x00 chips must be going for pennies by now. (Hell, the 6502 is still being made!)

Why isn't there a 'starter' computer system around any more? I went from self-taught Sinclair and C64 BASIC to minor levels of assembler on both systems before life shifted me away from computers for a while, until I came back to C++ on a Mac more than a decade later - and I think learning assembler properly would have made C++ a snap!

But the way systems are now, there doesn't seem to be anything to get people into programming easily. Anyone could piss about in BASIC for a couple of hours and get things moving about the screen that actually respond to their inputs, but in C++ on a GUI-based machine?

For that matter, why isn't there a BASIC interpreter built into modern machines? I mean, jeez, how fast would *that* run? 64-bits at 4Gh compared to 8-bits at 1Mh? For a program I could write myself in an afternoon for a particular job, I'd quite happily sacrifice GUI elements and go back to 'Enter value here_' options.

Kind of makes me wonder if you could take the gameplay refinements we take for granted today and apply them to an old machine. I'd love to see a (top-down, obviously) C64 version of Crazy Taxi! Or going the other way, how about a totally real-time version of The Sentinel powered by a G5 or 4Ghz Pentium?

Re:Why no 'simple' computers like this today? (1)

spectecjr (31235) | about 10 years ago | (#10610868)

Kind of makes me wonder if you could take the gameplay refinements we take for granted today and apply them to an old machine. I'd love to see a (top-down, obviously) C64 version of Crazy Taxi! Or going the other way, how about a totally real-time version of The Sentinel powered by a G5 or 4Ghz Pentium?

There was a Playstation and PC version of The Sentinel (called Sentinel Returns [] ), with music by John Carpenter.

A good friend of mine (Chris White [] ) worked on one of the ports.

Re:Why no 'simple' computers like this today? (1)

wmorrow (16909) | about 10 years ago | (#10610992)

Why isn't there a 'starter' computer system around any more?


for example. All you Forth fanatics can come out of the woodwork now:)

Re:Why no 'simple' computers like this today? (1)

geg81 (816215) | about 10 years ago | (#10611068)

Why isn't there a 'starter' computer system around any more?

There are lots of them, depending on what you mean by "starter":
  • MiniITX machine for under $200
  • PIC-based microcontroller for $20
  • PIC-based microcontroller with Ethernet for $55
  • Palm with Quartus Prolog and Keyboard
  • PC Forth on FreeDOS running on MiniITX or another modern PC
  • Any old SPARC or Mac (boot PROM contains Forth interpreter)

OOh (1)

cuteseal (794590) | about 10 years ago | (#10610843)

Ooooh... I'll get out my Apple IIe and we could have a LAN party!

And the new YS can be found... (2, Informative)

posternutbaguk (637765) | about 10 years ago | (#10610848)

Bundled with this month's RetroGamer magazine, for those of you in the U.K.

More information and a review can be found at []

If you liked... (4, Informative)

jd (1658) | about 10 years ago | (#10610862)

...Bill Gates' 640K remark, you'll just love Sinclair's thoughts on 32-bit systems. Yes, Sir Clive Sinclair was convinced that nobody needed more than 8 bits. :) The QL used an 68008 processor, which was largely a 68010 that could only shuffle 8 bits into out out of the processor at any one time.

Sinclair was notorious for over-hyping his products, advertising them long before they ever came to market, and aimed much more for numbers than for quality. (If he hadn't built that stupid C5, Sinclair might well today have the kind of grip Microsoft has. Clive had been inventing and marketing products from radios to metal detectors for several decades before the ZX80, so he was very well established. In the early days of home computing, he very probably had more cash on hand than Bill Gates and Paul Allen. If the QL had been true 32-bit, and he'd not gone bust over building an electric car from washing machine motors, there is every reason to believe that the industry today would be bowing to him.)

Legend has it that one reason his computers were so cheap was that he'd buy defective parts. His argument, apparently, was that home users were never going to put industrial-sized loads onto their computers, so there was no point in buying chips up to that grade. Consumer electronics barely existed, back then, so the cheapest alternative was to buy stuff that had failed QC. The stuff would likely still work well enough for home use, you just didn't want to use those machines to control nuclear reactors.

(Maybe that explains what happened at Chernobyl...)

Re:If you liked... (1)

DrVxD (184537) | about 10 years ago | (#10610975)

> The QL used an 68008 processor, which was largely a 68010 that could only shuffle 8 bits into out out of the processor at any one time

Just like the 8088 used in the original IBM PC, which (if I may quote) could only "only shuffle 8 bits into out out of the processor at any one time".

I suspect you'll find the reason that Sinclair chose the 68008 for the QL was largely the same reason Motorola offered it - cost. It's FAR cheaper to design and manufacture boards with 8-bit buses than with 16- or 32- bit ones.

Re:If you liked... (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 10 years ago | (#10611139)

Didn't Linus T. cut his teeth on the QL ?

Re:If you liked... (1)

AstroByte (718093) | about 10 years ago | (#10611177)

The 68000 wasn't truly 32-bit until the 68020 was introduced. The programmers model may have been 32-bit internally (i.e. registers) but the 68000 (and 68010) had a 16-bit data bus, meaning all loads and stores were done in two lots.

As you said, the 68008 had an 8-bit bus, meaning all loads and stores took 4 operations! Strangely enough, it was actually introduced after the 68000, to try and encourage its adoption at a time when 8-bit systems, and their cheap boards ruled.

Incidently, the 16/32 bit split of the 68000 was supposedly where the ST came from in the Atari ST range (e.g. 520ST). That or Sam Tramiel (son of the CEO of Atari Jack Tramiel)...

The Sinclair vs. Sinclair Broadcasting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10610988)

It's a damn shame that the political antics of Sinclair Broadcasting are dragging the Sinclair name through the muck... I'm sure I'm not the only one who sighed and went 'ANOTHER Sinclair story?!' -evil bastards-

ZX81 + ZX/Spectrum Owner (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | about 10 years ago | (#10611017)

Still have the ZX81, sold the speccy to buy a BBC Model B, sold the beeb to buy a PC. Then started working on mainframes, System/36, System/38 and AS/400, RS/6000 etc etc etc. That Clive Sinclair fellow has a lot to answer for!

Currently I have a P4 thingy and an old AS/400.

Also, I'm building some 8bit single board machines. Z80, 6502, 8086, 6800. Good fun, though running them at 1mhz doesn;t really get anything done.

Sam Coupé, with an é (2, Informative)

carou (88501) | about 10 years ago | (#10611028)

the other Sinclair formats and clones include the QL, SAM Coupe, Timex/Sinclair, ZX81, Z88 etc

Just to be pedantic, the Sam Coupé wasn't manufactured by Sinclair, nor was it exactly a clone as it had many capabilities in excess of what the Spectrum could do. Some links:

The Sam Coupé Scrapbook [] - all-round comprehensive information

Shameless plugging of my own site [] - mostly software rather than hardware information

SimCoupe [] - a free and legal Sam emulator for Windows, Linux, MacOS X etc.

To anyone not involved in the scene, it probably seems very odd to be holding a show for such old computers. But I spent very nearly ten years using that old 8-bit computer, which means it lasted longer than any other computer I've bought since at many times the price, and in that time I've met a lot of people who also used it, and who have had much influence on me in various ways. Most obviously, my interest - and now my job - in programming can be traced back to the days I spent trying to squeeze every drop of performance out of the Z80 that I could possibly get (and back then, every t-state counted!)

Obviously it's interesting to go to these shows and see what new things people can still do with the old technology. But even more than that, I'm hoping just to have another friendly chat with a few of the people I've known for about the last decade and a half.
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