This is a little project I’ve been working off and on now for some time. It’s one of those efforts where you do a heap of work and then leave it alone for months on end while you go off and do something else entirely. Eventually you come back and do a little more, and then something else distracts you. But you know you’ll complete it in the end, and the journey is as much fun as reaching the destination.Continue reading
Almost all of the technology we use today is based on the microprocessor. There can be few electrical devices, really only the most basic, whose capabilities are not now defined by software running on a microprocessor chip within. Those chips’ designs are different, and some incorporate much more ancillary functionality than others, but their fundamental architecture is the same: a set of logic and arithmetical units operated in a predetermined sequence by a set of program instructions. The result: a general purpose machine that can be changed to do almost anything — you just keep feeding it different programs. Car engine management; central heating control; TV interface; games console; washing machine cycle… you name it, they use the same chips, just run different code.
In part one we saw how the young Clive Sinclair created Sinclair Radionics — twice — and built it into a successful business that launched hi-fi products in the 1960s and the first ever pocket calculator in 1972. In part two, we investigated the genesis of the Radionics microcomputer. Read on to learn what occurred when Radionics finally went under, and how the ZX80 came about…Continue reading
In part one, we saw how the young Clive Sinclair created Sinclair Radionics — twice — and built it into a successful business that launched hi-fi products in the 1960s and the first ever pocket calculator in 1972, but soon suffered badly as its digital watch efforts foundered and competition crushed its calculator sales. Read on to learn how Radionics met its end, but (almost) gave birth to a new microcomputer…Continue reading
Clive Sinclair formed the first company to bear his name in 1961 while he was a 21-year-old electronics journalist. He had received no formal education in the subject, but as a highly intelligent autodidact, he had developed a passion for electronics during his teens. He also had an entrepreneurial bent, and even in his youth spotted a business opportunity in designing and selling kits to fellow electronics enthusiasts.Continue reading
Nearly half a century ago, Clive Sinclair’s Sinclair Research made history. It released the ZX81, one of the key home computers of the 1980s, as the first low-cost micro available to High Street shoppers. And you can express your love of early 80s tech with my latest retro-wear: the ZX81 keyboard shirt.Continue reading
In the mid-1980s, I loved Phantom Slayer. Written for the Tandy Color Computer and made available for the Dragon 32, Phantom Slayer was a 3D maze shooter. Think a very basic version of Doom with colours but no textures. It wasn’t sophisticated, but it was quick and, more to the point, incredibly atmospheric.Continue reading