Objects: My first computer, but it was not mine.

Yeah, it was of my father. In 1982..(or 1983), my father bought this machine, I was 9 or 10 years old, I didn`t know for what is it when that box cames to home. (My “personal computer” in that moment was an videogame console Atari 260o )

Well, I`m talking about the Sinclair ZX81:

sINCLAIR zx81

My father used this small computer for make calculations about his business. I remember I thought “hmm..it`s a nice type writer machine”.
The machine it connects to a normal TV. The screen is white and the characters are black. For erase the things that you wrote in the screen, you must turn off the machine. Yeah, it`s true!

When the machine cames to my home, I did not had even not a little interest for the machine. “The machine is not for play videogames”. I remember the way to save data is recording on a audio cassette using a normal audio recorder with “Audio in” jacks. The programing language is “BASIC”. I didn`t understand “Basic” in the school, the computers in the school was a dozen of that Commodore 64

The special thing of the ZX81 it`s the keyboard. It has not a “normal keyboard”, it`s slim, that thing makes think…it`s witchcraft!!!!, you just slide your fingers over the little keyboard pad and it works!!. The software of the ZX81 is wrote in Audio Cassettes. When I played that software cassettes in the audio recorder, `cause I wanted to “hear it”, they had a sound like subtle beeps…and “hissess”. Sometimes you have to wait till 30 minutes for load a program, a calculator sheet, a word processing program, etc.The major problem of this device was the language, not available software in Spanish, so My father contracts a translator when he needs to make “something” on a computer.

Despite of living in a little third world asteroid like Colombia, since my first memories my family has involved with computers. My mom was one of the first persons that operate the first giant computers of the Policia Nacional de Colombia. (National police of Colombia), my father always was a FANATIC of technology. So this is a little example.
The following pictures shows the box and the incomprehensible Basic programing instructions book. The inventor of this machine and a large catalog of home computers was Clive Sinclair, he was kinda “Bill Gates” in the early 80’s.

This is the specifications of that futuristic machine:

CPU: Z80A
Colors: 2

3 Responses to “Objects: My first computer, but it was not mine.”


  1. 1 Danielle June 10, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Haha! What a coincidence! My father is computer guy for police here (but he is in the police). My dad is a big computer fanatic too, my first computer was Commodore 64 when I was very young, we had an ATARI too. I played Frogger. When I was about 10 or 11 we got a PC with DOS and I remember using Wordperfect 5. something to do my homework reports. I think we might have had something to plug into the computer to type, but I was too young to care about that.

    I really enjoyed this post Hernan, you are a very good blogger. You have good ideas for what to write about. I am happy that you decided to start blogging.

    How are you enjoying your new blog? Do you feel you are gaining something out of doing this?

  2. 2 Hernan June 10, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    DANIELLE!!!! I LOVE your comment! When I had my Atari I played River rider, ET, Demon attack, Phoenix and many more.

    Yeah, I like this thing of blogging and thank you very much for the compliment, but remember one thing my dear friend: you has teach me about this.
    Thank youu XOXOXOXOXOXOX

    Yes, I feel good when I write a post, `cause I have to “let it out”, I feel like I “won something”…and this is the perfect way for that. I love when you post any comment `cause I feel that ..woww…someone is knowing a bits of me and comment about it.

    All thanks to you Dani, my best distant friend!🙂

    P.S.: still worried about my English, I need to be in a ideal environment for practice :S

  3. 3 Danielle June 10, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    As you write you will get better, trust me. And really, I barely notice if you make mistakes because what I am reading is interesting so I don’t pay attention to spelling or grammar.

    I am glad that you are getting something from this, it is nice to have a place to put down your thoughts about just anything you want, because even if no one cares or wants to listen, your blog will always give you a place to speak your mind!😉


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