The Sinclair ZX Spectrum

6 07 2008

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum

The year was 1982 and I was 15. That was the year I first encountered a machine slightly more advanced than a calculator. Even then electronic calculators were something of a luxury to own. I first saw this computer sitting on my friend’s table in his room. To my knowledge, he was the only guy who owned a computer in the whole school and the only person I know who owns one. I only owned my first calculator when I went to college 3 years later.  And even then the few computers the college had were only slightly more advanced than the ZX.

Based on the Zilog Z80A CPU which had a processing speed of 3.5 Mhz, the ZX Spectrum had 16 kilobytes of ROM and 48 kilobytes of RAM. My friend used a black and white TV as a screen and a cassette player to store programs! Most of the programs he had then were simple games. Since the only thing we were taught about computers was basic computer architecture, I did not benefit much from having a friend who owned a computer. Besides, it took something like 10 minutes for the cassette player to load a program that allowed us to play Pacman.  Slightly more than 25 years later, computers running hundreds of times faster are now  an indispensable tool of a modern society. But I will forever remember my first encounter with the ZX Spectrum.

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