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Sir Clive Sinclair - Rest in Peace

09/19/2021 10:51 PM

With the passing of Sir Clive this week, it certainly takes me back to my beginning of understanding computers. I bought a kit of the ZX-81 and soldered all the components to the PCB. Even hooked up my Radio Shack cassette player for (hit and miss) data storage. Extra excited when I bought the 16k memory extension pack!

40+ years later, I am amazed of what has been accomplished! But thanks Sir Clive for getting me started!

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#1

Re: Sir Clive Sinclair - Rest in Peace

09/20/2021 6:04 AM

A similar story here.

I got a rather late start in computers,but I was inspired by a cheap paperback.

The first book I read about digital was by Forest Mims,"Understanding Digital

Computers" purchased at Radio Shack;I think that was the title,but not sure.

After reading that,I could trace any key on the keyboard from it's source to it's

result,bit by bit.

I cannot find that book in my library,so it must have gotten lost in a move.

This was many years before the internet,and knowledge was not as easily obtained as it is now.(Remember Books?)

The knowledge gained from this little book piqued my curiosity to dig deeper and

eventually led to a degree in computer science,and electronics engineering.

I have learned more since college by self study than I learned in college.

Things are changing so quickly that universities cannot keep up.

A student entering college today does not know what his eventual degree will be.

A degree is not required to gain knowledge if one has an insatiable hunger for

knowledge,but you will not get far without that degree.

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#2

Re: Sir Clive Sinclair - Rest in Peace

09/20/2021 6:21 AM

I remember the TRS 80 and to double the memory,you simply piggy backed another memory chip on top of the existing one,and you cut off one lead of the piggy back chip.

The Trash 80 did have some advances ahead of it's time.

It had a 16 bit computer,16 K of memory, and voice synthesizer module,and several

other good modules.

The weak link was saving work to a tape recorder;And one key that would erase everything you had programmed up to that point.

One typo,and you had to start all over again.

It was a stern teacher to be very precise with the keyboard.

Not many people understand how much programming went into making an icon on

screen; And making it move was another tedious matter.

Modern computers are truly amazing if you understand what goes on internally.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Sir Clive Sinclair - Rest in Peace

09/21/2021 1:16 AM

When I worked at the North Platte Nebraska Radio Shack, (1978-1979)

I sold the first TR-80, but then again....sold it two more times because it kept getting returned! The teachers buying them (it) were not satisfied with the minimal programing.

Much later. i started learning about computers, At the time, I was a bad (poor knowledge) salesman at the time!! We had the TRS in the box, but pretty ill-equipped to sell it.

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Sir Clive Sinclair - Rest in Peace

09/21/2021 5:44 AM

Why are #2 and #3 off topic?.

My first PC was a SuperBrain - with 2 x 5" floppy drives - bought in 1980 to help run my business - because it came with 'business software' (whatever that was?) - but was essential to use it.

Bit used mainly for letter writing - printed on an early IBM adapted Golfball typewriter - then later on a dot-matrix.

I abandoned the accounts accounts because I could not make sense of the instructions (...has nothing has changed in 40 years here! ...is it me or them?) - made harder because my 'Accountants' refused to accept 'disc based computer accounts'.

I found out I was not able to understand programming enough to be competent at it, when it took over an hour to write a machine code programme to make the 'X' key 'bleep' when pressed...it was only about 7 lines of code, and that was under supervision of the teacher at a special evening class on computing.

I gave up...!..and still struggle to this day!

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#4

Re: Sir Clive Sinclair - Rest in Peace

09/21/2021 2:05 AM

Ah, I'd forgotten about the ZX-81! We used it to make a controller to manage excess regenerative energy in the rail industry. Some external boards to isolate from 3kV DC and clever BASIC programming (yeah, I know, that industrial programming language - not!) by my colleagues. All done in-house in the late 80's early 90's, no Arduino starter kits back then...

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