My first..?

By rah | rah | 23 Jul 2022

It's the weekend so today's post is lightweight and fun. It's actually a short article I wrote some time ago as a classroom resource but you might enjoy it anyway...

When I was 11 years old I got my first computer as a Christmas present.  It was 1982 and computers were completely different to what we have today.

My first computer was a ZX81, it was black and white (no colour) and it used a television for a screen.  It had a touchpad keyboard that had to be pressed (typing was almost impossible.  It was smaller than most modern laptops and it had … 1k of memory. This memory was RAM, which meant when the computer was turned off everything was lost.  It could not be saved.

To help the reader understand how small this really was:


Most modern laptops come with at least a 500 Gigabytes of hard drive memory (this is actually reduced in recent years due to a big push on cloud storage) and multiple gigabytes of RAM which makes my tiny 1k of RAM even smaller. As RAM it also meant that everything had to be programmed onto it using a language called BASIC.  Everyone who programmed in BASIC knew the following program and the result shown in the screen on the right.


This was very simple and most programs were a bit more complicated than this (especially when we understand the REM line doesn’t add anything to the program).

I remember spending an hour typing in a program that was actually a game of a bird chasing a butterfly.  It has been a long time, but I think the butterfly was an M on top of a W that moved around and the bird was an M that changed to W to show its wings flapping.

One mistake and the whole thing did not work anyway.

Compared to modern computers it had almost no power, but at the time it was groundbreaking because it delivered affordable computing in the home. Soon after I got it, it became obsolete when Sinclair introduced their groundbreaking Spectrum, one of the best selling computers of the early 80s with a massive 16k (expandable to 48k) of memory, colour interface and rubberised keys similar to those found on a calculator.


The Sinclair Spectrum had two more upgrades.  The final version, the Spectrum+3 had 128k memory, a full sized keyboard and included an integrated floppy disk drive.  This was the last computer I had before I got my first PC.


What was your first computer?

As always stay safe and stay well!

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I love reading and technology as well as history. I teach English and Business to professional clients as well as soft skills with a focus on communications. I am a big fan of both Sheffield Wednesday and Lincoln City Football clubs


Experienced Business Owner and Coach and Tutor who now trades in Crypto. It is proving to be an interesting journey with so much technical language involved. Follow me as I learn the trade (and how to trade). Made some howling mistakes to begin with, but still learning and will share what I learn as I learn it for the benefit of the community. - RAH

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