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This section of the website describes my introduction to
computing through the early days of "home computers" of the 1980s,
as well as my forays into "retro-computing" as I have acquired a
few legacy machines in recent years. The menu bar at the left
lists the computers in chronological order of their production,
not necessarily when I obtained them.
My first Home Computer was the Sinclair
ZX81 which I bought pre-assembled in,
I guess, 1981! This came with a whole 1kBytes of RAM but I added the wobbly
expansion module which fitted (loosely) to the edge connector at the rear. This
kept me amused for a while, but I soon upgraded to the
Sinclair ZX Spectrum -
which came with 48kBytes RAM and colour graphics. Around this time, I was using
some relatively powerful
computers at work so wanted to upgrade to something a little more powerful for
home use and came across the MTX series from a UK company called
had previously made an early entry into the home computer market producing add-ons for the
The MTX had the "look and feel" of a "proper" computer, built in a sleek
anodized black case and sporting a full size keyboard with function keys and a
Having used a system at work that ran CP/M 2.2, when Memotech brought out the
CP/M based FDX unit, I just had to have one! At the time, I was full of good
intentions, such as learning Z80 assembly language (with Microsoft MASM ) and "C"
(with the Small "C" Compiler). I also had the "latest" business software -
NewWord (Word Processor),
Supercalc (Spreadsheet) and the ubiquitous
(Database). I'm sorry to say though, that I did not use the tools to their best
effect and ended up using the system to play games most of the time :-)
Around 1988, my FDX system developed a fault which made the system unusable.
At the same time, I had started a new job which involved a lot of time away from
home and reduced the amount of time that I had to pursue my hobby. Coupled with
the fact that my job now involved more hands-on with "real" computers, including
mini computers such as the
Honeywell/Bull DPS-6 and process control systems, my MTX fell into
disuse. However, I always hoped to revisit it at some point in the future and was
always on the look out for replacement hardware that I could use to rebuild my
system but never really made strenuous efforts to do anything about it.
The Memotech MTX section is
by far the most comprehensive area of the site, this is where my main
interest lies, and given the comparative rarity of this machine and
corresponding shortage of Memotech resources in the internet, I am
trying to make the Memotech information on this site as comprehensive as
Others sections will be updated and expanded as time allows.
||Memotech MTX512 FDX expansion unit with
||Viglen VigII Elite - my first "PC" - an IBM Clone
Personal Computer with an
Intel 286 CPU
||Things became much less interesting after that, 286s
became 386s, which became 486s and Pentiums etc. etc. Whilst I have had
(and still own) a wide range of these machines, none of them
inspire me to add their details here.
||Computers got much faster and far more capable,
software grew at a pace to keep up with them - or in
Microsoft's case, grew faster than the hardware that was
capable of running it!
||Sure, computers today are far more powerful than in
the early 80's but not nearly as much fun ! These pages
hark back to a time when computers really were breaking
new ground - I hope you enjoy this window (not that we
had Windows back then) into a bygone
||I had forgotten about the PDA's that we used before
iPhones and the like, an e-mail conversation with DKW on
the MTX500 Facebook group has prompted me to add a few
pages about the small number of PDAs (Personal
Digital Assistants) that
I have owned.
Psion Series 5
Compaq (HP) 3970
||Back to "proper" computers . . . .
||DEC Alpha 3000 Model 600 - my VMS stuff will get
added in due course
|History Revisited ?
While I was
trying to resurrect my Memotech collection, John
Masterman introduced me to the
Atari ST range. I was aware of the Atari ST in the
early eighties, but didn't actually use, never mind own
one. John let me have a working 520 STFM which I am having fun "discovering".
|Back to the future?
Cheap, single board computer based on an ARM processor.
It seems like everybody wants one and I have
two three (- darn it,
another purchase) ! One is
pretending to be a Memotech system !
|Going backwards again?
I've never had a
based computer but had thought about picking up a
BBC Micro from eBay if one came up that was cheap
enough, although I never did anything about it. Thanks to a
generous soul on
Freegle (it's like
FreeCycle), I have just picked up a Model B. That's
something else to add to my growing list of "things to
do"! - It's priority is probably somewhere just after
|Even further back
Back in the '80s, I really liked the
look of the
Commodore PET and, like the BBC, had harboured some
thoughts of trying to pick one up at some point. The
early versions with the integrated tape recorder and 40
column screen did not appeal to me too much, but when an
80 column one with disk drives came up on ebay,
relatively locally to me, I put in a bid and much to my
surprise- won it.
I have absolutely no time for taking on other projects,
but I persuaded myself that I needed an Commodore Amiga
- another machine that I know little about, but fancied
the look of in the '80s.
Aarrgghhh, yet another vintage computer has been
added to the collection - this time, there is a slight
justification, I needed a C64 to be able to test the
with Commodore computers having an IEC serial port.
There is a huge quantity of information available on the net
covering most of the computers that you'll see here. The
information here is not intended to complete with the many sites
specialising in one or more of these computers, these pages show
some highlights from my early computer experiences. To really do
these machines justice, please make use of the other excellent
sites available - many of which I have referred to for the basic
information contained here. The links on this page will take you
to some other sites that I have used :-
Andy Key's Memotech site, a great resource for
technical info on the MTX range
REMEMOTECH (hardware) emulator projects amongst
||Chris Owen's comprehensive archive of Sinclair
related information, including the Sinclair range of
||Grant Searle's Homebuilt Electronics pages - some
really neat stuff, including the ZX80
||ZX Software UK, a good source of information for
Sinclair ZX computers
|| The free online encyclopaedia written by users