March 31st, 2017

Hard Stare

The art of Sinclair -- in Agile terms, making computers that are "just barely good enough"

So in a thread on CIX, someone was saying that the Sinclair computers were irritating and annoying, cut down too far, cheap and slow and unreliable.

That sort of comment still kinda burns after all these decades.

I was a Sinclair owner. I loved my Spectrums, spent a lot of time and money on them, and still have 2 working ones today.

Yes, they had their faults, but for all those who sneered and snarked at their cheapness and perceived nastiness, *that was their selling point*.

They were working, usable, useful home computers that were affordable.

They were transformative machines, transforming people, lives, economies.

I had a Spectrum not because I massively wanted a Spectrum -- I would have rather had a BBC Micro, for instance -- but because I could afford a Spectrum. Well, my parents could, just barely. A used one.

My 2nd, 3rd and 4th ones were used, as well, because I could just about afford them.

If all that had been available were proper, serious, real computers -- Apples, Acorns, even early Commodores -- I might never have got one. My entire career would never have happened.

A BBC Micro was pushing £350. My used 48K Spectrum was £80.

One of those is doable for what parents probably worried was a kid's toy that might never be used for anything productive. The other was the cost of a car.
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