Thirty Years Ago Sir Clive Changed My Direction

I was looking for something on my bookshelf today and came across an old friend, my ZX81 Basic programming book. It doesn’t seem that long ago since I received my kit in the mail. It was an easy build, there were only four chips, so it was only a few days before I was able to hook it up to my old nine inch B&W TV and type in a program.

10 PRINT “HELLO WORLD”

20 GOTO 10

It may seem funny and stupid now but I wish someone could have taken a picture of my face when I ran that program and saw the column of HELLO WORLD scroll up the screen. It was about 1 A.M. but I woke my wife up and showed her the glory I had discovered. She was not impressed. Undaunted, I changed the program to print DAVE LOVES SHARLENE! and she smiled but still went back to bed.

Many late nights followed and many different machines but nothing would ever equal that moment. In hindsight, it was pretty corny but I don’t care. I still have my ZX81 and will never get rid of it. It just strikes me that I came across that book tonight. The ZX81 was introduced in March of 1981. I got mine in early October. My hand just rested on that book almost thirty years to the day after I got it.

Thanks for the memories Sir Clive.

Zx81

 

R.I.P. Steve

Yesterday a bright light in the tech world flickered out. Steve Jobs was about a year younger than me so I can really say that we were from the same generation. Not that that means much when it came to Steve. His reach was across generations, cultures, and religions. He had a simple goal, “To take over the world,” no wait that was Pinky and the Brain. Steve just wanted to make the beige box, which we all had under our desks, look better and “just work.”  I have never been a form over function type of person. I’ve had computers that didn’t even have cases, just a motherboard sitting on my desk with wires attached to it. As long as it did the job, I could care less what it looked like. I am of course in a minority as usual. Steve made beautiful and functional devices. They were premium priced but looked the part. Good-bye Steve. The tech world and the world in general will miss your style and dedication.