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The year was 1980. In England you could get the lowest priced computer in thezx81close.jpg (18593 bytes) world for 250. I didn't have the $300+ so I waited. It paid off because in 1981 Sir Clive Sinclair introduced the ZX81. And in July of 1982 it was being sold mail order as a kit for only $100. Dream come true. Got a box of parts and some instructions and pulled out my soldering iron and a few days later I had my first working computer.


In the middle of the summer what better place to be than in a nice cool basement. From the looks of this picture I should have been out in the sun :) It didn't take long to try out all the example programs and want to try writing new stuff but the machine only had 1k ram. 1024 bytes of information was all this little thing could store. I begged and borrowed an extra $50 to get the 16k ram module and then I was set. Now what? This thing only did basic. It had a few games available on cassette tape but not much. Then I found this book.

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Started typing stuff in and saving them all to cassette. Learned some more basic but to really get into the heart of programming you had to get down to machine level. Then I found another book.

I just came across a notebook I have had since high school. I used this to help me write programs back when I had the zx81. Look at these scans. I have pages and pages of what is now meaningless machine language code.

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The Z80 processor was so much more advanced than the 8080 processor I learned to program in school. Speaking of 8080.

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The price on this is $17.99  :) Why do I have an 8080 chip now?  Wait this is my ZX81 page. Never mind that. I have a few Sinclair programs on tape that I might be willing to trade. Frogger being one of them. Email me if you are interested. And now a pic that almost gets me misty eyed. The shot of my first computer and my current computer together in cosmic harmony.

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And yes that is a 5 1/4 combo drive in my P300 :)

Umm, this has been replaced by a PIII 1000mhz. But I do plan on running this machine as a server or something.

Change of plans again. It's now a shell. I made the mistake of buying cheap memory that caused so much grief. And only 5 months later the top of the line Micron CL2 memory was the same price. Someday I'll get the machine back up because I am finding more and more games not running on Windows 2000. Such a world of difference between my Sinclair and this PIII 1 GHz with 512 meg ram and two 20 gig drives...

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