Sir Clive Sinclair passes, aged 81

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by callan, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. callan

    callan Member

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    Father of the Zx80/81, and Speccy - purveyor of calculators and portable TV's and that weird C5 electric "scootery-thing", Sir Clive (Uncle) Sinclair has died.
    I was always on the Commodore side of things, but it's arguable that he did as much to bring computing to the masses as Jack Tramiel and Jobs/Woz.

    His passing marks another signpost of the birth of home computing.
     
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  2. HyRax1

    HyRax1 ¡Viva la Resolutión!

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    Another great computing pioneer, gone.
     
  3. kbekus

    kbekus Member

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    Growing up in the UK in the 80s the ZX81 was huge and largely the mainstream computer of the time, not to mention the Sinclair which was massively popular. RIP Sir Clive, your impact was enormous.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  4. BiggusDickus

    BiggusDickus Member

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    Yeah the Zx80 was massive allover Europe and I imagine that quite a few games on the C64/Amstrad had Spectrum roots. No doubt he made a tremendous impact on the industry.
     
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  5. Tinian

    Tinian Member

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    One of the few people you could say was a genius ahead of his time. A man whose work changed how we lived.
     
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  6. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Loved the Speccy, as it was known in my circles. Imagine if they would have released a low cost version with a proper keyboard.. I mean the keyboard... That really was its Achilles heel.. cheap because of the keyboard (among other things) but also off putting because of the keyboard..

    At any rate, such a cool little computer.. with definitely influenced games on other platforms..

    RIP Sir Clive

    Thank you for your vision
     
  7. OP
    OP
    callan

    callan Member

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    They did - the Spectrum 128 had proper keys.

    Indeed[/quote][/QUOTE]
     
  8. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    I've never experienced a Sinclair computer beyond pictures in magazines. Maybe it's time I tried an emulator but I'm sure that wouldn't be at all the same.
     
  9. breech

    breech Member

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    RIP Sir Clive.

    Web emulators make it easy - take a look at the game REX on here https://jsspeccy.zxdemo.org
    File -> Find -> REX. Set some keys and enjoy :)
     
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  10. Schred

    Schred Member

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    My first computer would have been a ZX-80, except that the computer was subject to a hefty serve of the Australia Tax and the UK retailers wouldn’t ship to Australia, so there was no way to avoid paying it.

    My experience with Sinclair products was that they were always just that little bit to the “nasty” side of “cheap”.
     
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  11. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Yep that great, but only gives you half the Speccy experience. Still fun though.
     
  12. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    ZX80 1st computer I ever owned, not to mention my pride and joy Black Watch from a few year earlier.

    RIP my good man.
     
  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    While I appreciate nostalgia is a huge drug that we're all addicted to (I'm not immune to this either), don't be afraid to emulate if you want to learn about a piece of computing history.

    We can't watch the Beatles live in concert in person. It's very unlikely that any of us will see the Mona Lisa in person, or watch an original Hitchcock film in a cinema. But we can still experience all of these via new media and still gain an appreciation for what was.

    Emulation is critical for *most* people to experience computing history. I'm certain Sir Clive, with all of his curiosity and willingness to experiment, wouldn't mind if we experienced what he gave the world via an emulator, rather than not at all.
     
  14. adamsleath

    adamsleath Member

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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
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    callan

    callan Member

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    Elvis: I could not agree more.
    I've recently read an in-depth history of the PLATO network. I'd not heard of it, and it is physically impossible now to experience/appreciate it now. Emulation is the only way to grasp a small part of what it was, and experience a small part of the unique hardware of what it comprised: emulation is the only resort left.
    Now I'm one to far prefer the original metal to emulation: I've a room in our house dedicated to just such an indulgence. But I'm happy to fire up the soldering iron, logic analyzer and CRO, scour the world for spare parts and technical information, and rebuild old gear. To me for all it's exasperations, it's part of the charm. It won't last forever, however.
    I'm very much in the minority, both in technical ability, and in time and competence. More of note, in 50 years or so pretty-much ALL the hardware will have failed, with no way to repair it: emulation will be all we have: us old hacks are living in a golden age of retro-computing where we can still enjoy the original hardware, however flakey. This will not exist for much longer, however snobbish us hardware elitists wish it to be (I won't be, particularly if I believe my doctors). If we're lucky FPGA devices (I guess emulations n their own right) might fill the bill, but emulation will be the norm in some 20 years or so, save museum pieces - and only some of those.
    Rubber keys go sticky and fail. chips fail, from electromigration to just plain oxidation, by virtue of poor encapsulation. Shit just gets thrown out. Plastic goes brittle and fails. Electro-mechanical devices fail. Mag tapes coatings fail. But most critical of all: the knowledge that created such devices, and the people who made these anachronistic miracles - die.

    So don't be snobbish about emulation: instead embrace them. All too soon emulation will be all we have left.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
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  16. flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Clive, your electronics were temperamental and your bizarre looking electric vehicle was a bit impractical, but you were a pioneer that was a part of computing history as we know it today.

    I don't have a Sinclair machine, in fact I've never even seen a Sinclair machine in real life - But I worked out how to get BeebEm running under TwisterOS on my Pi400 using a combination of Box86 and Wine and the results are quite impressive.

    Acorn may have been your competition, but at least my heart's in the right country.:thumbup:
     
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  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    With all the electric scooters whizzing about Brisbane, it's clear to me that Sir Clive was just ahead of his time.
     
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  18. flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    100% agreed!
     
  19. flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Out of curiosity, has anyone actually used a real ZX81 in Australia before?
     
  20. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    Nope I've never seen one in the flesh.
     
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