Computer Nostalgia

Via the BBC: ZX81: Small black box of computing desire .

I remember wanting one of these as a kid.

I had fallen in love with computers due go exposure at school to an Apple ][ and then a Commodore Pet with 4k (maybe 6?) or memory and a cassette drive.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Tlaloc says:

    I had a TRS(“trash”)-80 as a young kid. It had a tape drive that literally used cassette tapes for data storage. Probably 1 out of every 10 times it tried to access the drive it failed. Later I had a commodore 64 that I loved dearly. There are games from the C64 that I’d love to get a modern version of (Archon 1/2, Mail Order Monsters, a bunch of others).

  2. John Burgess says:

    The first computer I played around with was a room-sized IBM that was used to handle an Air Force Detachment’s payroll in Ankara, Turkey, when I was about 17. The computer was located on a floor above the ‘base’ library and teen club. One day, I met the Airman who mentioned that he ran a computer and I, as an SF freak, asked to see. I ended up learning to program–in COBOL–and the first program I wrote (along with the airman) was one to play 21. It was buggy as hell, but it worked, more or less. And what’s a couple thousand punch cards to play a game with 52 cards, anyway?

    I considered going into programming after I left university, but though I passed the exams for entry into a couple of jobs, decided against it. About five years later, Apple ][ was out and reasonably-enough priced. I picked up Assembly, Basic, and Pascal, but was working too hard in another line to keep up after that. Now, aside from some macros to make my life easier and putting in peripherals, I’m strictly a user.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    You kids, what do you know? My first computer was two fingers. I called them “One” and “Zero.”

    That’s all we needed back in my day.

  4. @Michael:

    What, no abacus?

    And did you have to calculate in the snow? Up hill?


  5. @Steven L.

    No, no. He had not only was it uphill, but it was uphill both ways if three feet of snow!