My Computer Anniversary

Using the Sinclair

I got my first computer about 30 years ago. I really don’t have an exact date but doing some research, I think am fairly correct. My first computer was a Sinclair ZX81 which I ordered via mail order after seeing an ad in Popular Science. It cost $149 and it was about 6.5 inches square and 1.5 inches tall. It connected to a standard B&W TV and used a standard cassette recorder to load programs and save data. It sometimes took 3 or 4 tries to load a program. The Sinclair had just 1kb of memory and a tiny membrane keyboard. Within no time I was ready to upgrade the memory but I had heard there were problems with the 16kb memory pack that Sinclair made. It plugged into the back of the computer but often wobbled and the computer would have to be rebooted. So I bought a 32k memory pack from another vendor that didn’t wobble. Then I added a printer but it only printed on 3 inch wide silver colored paper. The Sinclair computer was manufactured by Timex in Scotland. Very quickly Timex realized that it was selling well so by July 1982 there was a Timex-Sinclair 1000 which was the same as the Sinclair ZX81 except it came with 2kb of memory. The T-S 1000 was sold in department stores and also sold in Wegmans for a while.

Coleco Adam

By 1984 I was ready for a new computer. This time I bought a Coleco Adam. It was a big step up. It came with a tape drive but at the same time I bought an add on floppy drive. It had a full size keyboard and 80kb of memory. The display was a standard color TV. The best and worse part about the computer was the printer. It was a daisy wheel printer that printed some great quality text on regular 8.5X11 paper. But it was so noisy that I had to put on headphones to block the sound. The Adam was made in Amsterdam, NY. Coleco had made a fortune a few years before selling Cabbage Patch Kids dolls but the Adam sold so poorly that made Coleco go broke. That left my Adam an orphan. I realized that my next computer should be an IBM compatible computer. Then if my computer gets outdated I could transfer files to a new computer. Thus my next computer was a Tandy 1000 which was an IBM compatible. I still have some Word processing files that I created on the Tandy. I did have to change the format every few years from WordPerfect, to WordStar to Word documents. I lose track of the computers I have had since then but they were all IBM compatible and each had more memory and each got faster.