Introducing me

General Chit Chat about Sinclair Computers and their Clones
angus
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:28 pm

Introducing me

Post by angus »

Hello, my name is Angus (duh) and I'd like to indroduce myself.

My introduction to computers was via a friend's 16K ZX81, way back in 1981. I just had to have one, and thankfully my parents (especially my dad, who'd done a little programming way back in the late 60's) shared my vision. I don't remember which month but I am sure it would have been January 1982 I was bought a 1K ZX81....Smiths were out of RAM packs that day and I had to wait a few weeks. I would have been 8 at the time.

How many times must I have loaded JK Greye's 1K Gamestape? Then with the RAM pack I bought Catacombs, followed by 3D Monster Maze (still a favourite) and various other games. I remember ICL had a range of cassettes with multiple 1K games on them which seemed good value. I have always been a geek and already owned a couple of cassette recorders (thanks again, dad)...I honestly thought I had invented software piracy when I hooked them together and copied tapes for friends.

I was an avid reader of Sinclair Programs, I think my dad appeared with the March 1982 issue one day when he came home from work. I learned BASIC from those and had some help from my dad writing games. My best friend at the time and me seriously looked into publishing them - I had a meeting with a guy who worked for one of the software houses and sorted out a supply of wholesale C15's and a printing company....but bottled out at actually selling anything. Some of my early games have made it onto the internet and more may in the future as I dig out my old listings and cassettes!

I must have been lucky, I never experienced RAM pack wobble. My dad was an engineer by trade and he replaced the ZX81's feet with something more sturdy and also suggested blu-tack between the RAM pack and the rear of the machine. Worked a treat!

When I got my Speccy in December '82 the ZX81 was semi-retired apart from trying to write a few games for both machines, or when Sinclair Programs or C&VG carried a juicy looking listing. Sometimes in 1986 when I upgraded to the toastrack 128K Spectrum the '81 was permanently retired...and I later discovered to my horror that my dad had used the casing for one of his home DIY projects (he was making a remote controlled boat). Dead '81 :(

BUT....I discovered emulators circa 1990 with the Atari ST I owned at that time, and later on the PC....and even as I type a 2nd hand ZX81 is on its way to me by way of eBay. No idea if it works as I only paid £9 for it, but looking forward to finding out.

I shall never forget my '81. I learned the QWERTY layout on it, and BASIC programming gave me a wonderful grounding in logic which has stood me in good stead during my academic career and later work. It was so well designed, physically and electronically...it was so versatile - if slow! And much like a modern PC, you could add on cards to achieve virtually anything. I only ever had the RAM pack, and used it heavily for less than a year....but it did receive a LOT of use!
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Paul
Posts: 1135
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 8:15 am
Location: Germanys west end

Re: Introducing me

Post by Paul »

Welcome on board!

From the £9 you paid I count that you live in the UK.
My ZX81 was my second computer - I am a bit older than you.
When I used an AtariST I also found Emulators very interesting, I had MagicSac, a Mac Emulator.
Since that I hardly used anything else on my ST, until I got my first original Apple.
Now I use Eightyone for debugging purpose, and a ZX81 as a main Computer since loading times have singnificantly decreased since I have a ZXPAND.

If you like soldering, it will most probably be a good first thing to implement a video out, as nowadays TVs don't like Zeddy's RF signal anymore.
You can solder it into the Modulator case having RF and Video at the same output connector. If you are interrested, I have a short description of how to do it.

I hope you stay while with us

Greetz
Paul
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.
sirmorris
Posts: 2811
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 5:45 pm

Re: Introducing me

Post by sirmorris »

Hi!
angus
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:28 pm

Re: Introducing me

Post by angus »

Thanks for the replies. Yes I am handy with a soldering iron, another thing my dad taught me! If the ZX81 works I shall probably add the composite mod, depending on how it looks on my TV. I've never actually used the RF tuner on my TV! Another alternative is to route the ZX81 through the DVD recorder (RF input also not used) which hooks into my TV via component video.

I'll let y'all know if the Zeddy in the post works.
Moggy
Posts: 2375
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:00 pm

Re: Introducing me

Post by Moggy »

Welome Angus :D

I think You will find this a nice and very knowledgeable forum to be a member of.

A word of warning though, avoid mad Sir Morris who has a habit of getting up in the middle of the night to wreak havoc with His latest wild idea.
When He whips His iron out (pardon!) the local power station cuts in another turbine to make up the power shortfall, ever noticed Your houselights flickering? Mad Sir Morris :lol:

Welcome again Angus have fun!!


Regards Moggy

(Sorry Charlie can We still be friends?)
RWAP
Posts: 1337
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 8:42 am
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Contact:

Re: Introducing me

Post by RWAP »

It is great to see more people looking to try out the ZX81 again after all this time - there are plenty of hardware projects in the offing, and both 2010 and 2011 have seen some excellent software and hardware .

Welcome to the forums Angus, I am sure that if you need any help, someone will try their best to help you.
angus
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:28 pm

Re: Introducing me

Post by angus »

Thanks very much for the kind welcoming messages.

I shall watch out for Sir Morris whipping out his iron...

Hopefully my 'new' ZX81 will arrive today :)
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BrunoFlorindo
Posts: 289
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 2:46 am
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA

Re: Introducing me

Post by BrunoFlorindo »

Welcome!

In this forum you'll find a little bit of everything: nostalgia, friendly and knowledgeable people who share a common interest, new software and hardware projects and much more. A lot has happened in recent years, so we invite you to "catch-up" with the latest in emulation and real hardware. :)
angus
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:28 pm

Re: Introducing me

Post by angus »

Well it arrived today.....wasn't expecting much for £9 including post.



BUT.......it works! Fired it up and got a K cursor immediately. The keyboard works, I've run a couple of simple BASIC programs to display moving text to my work colleagues (I had it delivered to work)...and the venerable computer is working fine.

Only problem is the image is very difficult to tune and the picture is almost inverse video. On the left it starts out with black text on a white background but this tends towards inverse by the middle of the screen. This is on a CRT television, I haven't tried a flat screen yet. I thought 10 year old CRT would give the ZX81 the best chance.

So....composite video mod is in the offing methinks.
sirmorris
Posts: 2811
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 5:45 pm

Re: Introducing me

Post by sirmorris »

Congratulations! A working keyboard is a very rare thing!
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