10 June 2012

Personal Computer World Magazine, November 1982...

Personal Computer World, November, 1982 - 75p. Personally, I couldn't give a toss about computers in 1982...

They just weren't "happening" round my way. Too expensive. Too complicated. And the Gas and Electricity people were always blaming their computers when domestic utility bills were wrong, so they were obviously bloody unreliable.

And anyway, these things didn't even look like computers. Where were the flashing lights? The knobs and levers? The whirling tape spools? What a swizz...

And nobody I knew even had one of those Atari TV games thingies until 1984. And then I quickly gave up, letting Pac-Man be caught by the ghosties. It was inevitable anyway. Just as it had been on the machine at the local boozer a couple of years earlier.

But in the 1980s we entered the IT age, and many things were happening in the world of computing, whether I was interested or not...

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

16K or 48K RAM...

full-size moving-key keyboard

colour and sound...

high-resolution graphics...

From only £125!

First there was the world-beating Sinclair ZX80. The first personal computer for under £100.
Then the ZX81. With up to 16K RAM available, and the ZX Printer. Giving more power and more flexibility. Together, they've sold over 500,000 so far, to make Sinclair world leaders in personal computing. And the ZX81 remains the ideal low-cost introduction to computing.

Now there's the ZX Spectrum! With up to 48K of RAM. A full-size moving key keyboard. Vivid colour and sound. High resolution graphics. And a low price that's unrivalled.

Professional power - personal computer price!

The ZX Spectrum incorporates all the proven features of the ZX81. But its new 16K BASIC ROM dramatically increases your computing power.

You have access to a range of 8 colours for foreground, background and border, together with a sound generator and high-resolution graphics.

You have the facility to support separate data files.

You have a choice of storage capacities (governed by the amount of RAM). 16K of RAM (which you can uprate later to 48K of RAM) or a massive 48K of RAM.

Yet the price of the Spectrum 16K is an amazing £125! Even the popular 48K version costs only £175!

You may decide to begin with the 16K version. If so, you can still return it later for an upgrade. The cost? Around £60.

Ready to use today, easy to expand tomorrow

Your ZX Spectrum comes with a mains adaptor and all the necessary leads to connect to most cassette recorders and TVs (colour or black and white).

Employing Sinclair BASIC (now used in over 500,000 computers worldwide) the ZX Spectrum comes complete with two manuals which together represent a detailed course in BASIC programming. Whether you're a beginner or a competent programmer, you'll find them both of immense help. Depending on your computer, you'll quickly be moving into the colourful world of ZX Spectrum professional-level computing.

There's no need to stop there. The ZX Printer - available now - is fully compatible with the ZX Spectrum. And later this year there will be Microdrives for massive amounts of extra on-line storage, plus an RS232/network interface board.

Broader Horizons

The BBC Microcomputer System

'Whether your interests lie in business, educational, scientific control or games applications, this system provides a possibility for expansion which is unparalleled in any other machine available at present,' comments Paul Beverley in the July 1982 edition of Personal Computer World.

The BBC Microcomputer can genuinely claim to satisfy the needs of novice and expert alike. It is a fast, powerful system generating high resolution colour graphics and which can synthesise music and speech. The keyboard uses a conventional layout and electric typewriter 'feel'.

You can can connect directly* to cassette recorders, domestic television, video monitor, disc drives, printers (dot matrix and daisy wheel) and paddles. Interfaces include RS423, inter-operable with RS232C equipment, and Centronics. There is an 8-bit user port and 1MHz buffered extension bus for a direct link to Prestel and Teletext adaptors and many other expansion units. The Econet System allows numerous machines to share the use of expensive disc drives and printers.

BASIC is used, but plug-in ROM options will allow instant access to other high level languages (including Pascal, FORTH and LISP) and to word processing software.

A feature of the BBC Microcomputer which has attracted widespread interest is the Tube, a design registered by Acorn Computers. The Tube is unique to the BBC Microcomputer and greatly enhances the expandability of the system by providing, via a high speed data channel for the addition of a second processor. A 3MHz 6502 with 64K of RAM will double processing speed; a Z80 extension will make it fully CP/M** compatible.

The BBC Microcomputer is also at the heart of a massive computer education programme. The government has recommended it for use in both primary and secondary schools. The BBC Computer Literacy Project includes two series of television programmes on the use and applications of computers.

There are two versions of the computer. Model A, at £299, offers 16K of RAM and Model B at £399 has 32K of RAM.

*Model A has a limited range of interfaces but can be upgraded to meet Model B specification.
**CP/M is a registered trademark of Digital Research

The BBC Microcomputer is designed, produced and distributed in the UK by Acorn Computers Limited.

A few games here...

Spectres for the Speccy -

... more mystery and excitement on your Spectrum as Eddy the electrician tries to thwart the ghosts in the mansion with his secret light generator. (from the developers of 'Spectral Invaders').

Eight quid to you, guv'nor!

There's also the BBC Dragon Quest, and BBC Chess (£11.50), Spacewarp (£9.00), Spaces Pirates (£8.00), Polaris (£5.50), Multifile (£25.00), Backgammon (£8.00), Golf (£5.50), Airlift (£5.50) and Fruit Machine (£5.50).

If you were interested in computers in 1982, but didn't fancy forking out for one, you could always try and win the "NEW GENERATION DRG VICTOR 9000".

The DRG Victor 9000 is a new generation 16 bit micro with the power to rival many minicomputers.

Designed to meet the need for more powerful business applications, its 1.2 MB of floppy disk is expandable to 2.4 MB of floppy disk creating the flexibility to cope easily with longer customer files, company records and word processing.

The Commodore VIC 20 - The best home computer in the world

How to make the best home computer in the world even better.

Peripherals to turn a powerful computer into a super-computer for the professional.

With VIC, you have the finest home computer money can buy. And the more you use it, the more you will ask it to do.

Pretty soon, you'll want to extend VIC's vast potential to the full; and there is a wide range of VIC peripherals to help you do it.

Disk drives, disk-based software, a printer, cassette unit, joysticks, paddles - with these VIC computing becomes total computing: giving you true professional power and capability...


A Daisywheel printer that thinks it's a computer!

The RICOH FLOWRITER is the most intelligent Daisy Wheel printer on the world market. Equipped with an internal micro computer and a large memory it will intelligently handle all printing and word processing operations; hence relieving the host computer for simultaneous use.

The Flowriter is fully compatible with software written for any intelligent printer and is plug compatible with all popular hardware...

Professional microcomputers from only £16 per week!

The new Dragon 32. So well designed, you'll even understand this ad.

If you're already a computer expert, may we refer you to the box of technical specifications displayed opposite.

If you're not, may we refer you to the new Dragon 32 family computer. A computer so easy to understand, you won't understand why all the others seem so difficult.

And the new Dragon 32 costs under £200...

BBC Dragon Quest - an exciting adventure game based on 'Dungeons And Dragons'... by the look of the flag on his front, that's St George in there facing up to his old enemy...

NEC turns 28 years of computer experience to your personal advantage.

It takes a great computer company to make a great personal computer. And from the start, NEC has been a pioneer in computer technology. In fact, we invented the all-semiconductor computer in 1959. Now, hundreds of innovations later, we've made it personal.

We present the PC-8000, a powerful and friendly business tool that can help you get more done in a day than you ever could before...

3.7 million reasons why the Atari Home Computer is something to see. The display screen used with our computers is composed of 192 horizontal lines, each containing 320 dots. Delivering colour and luminosity instructions to each dot for a second requires 3.7 million cycles... a lot of work for the normal 6502 processor.

That's why the Atari computer has equipped its 6502 with its own electronic assistant. It's called ANTIC, and it handles all the display work, leaving the 6502 free to handle the rest. What this means to you is uncompromisingly spectacular display capabilities without loss of computer power needed to carry out the demands of your program.

That's a quality you just don't find in ordinary home computers. And it's one of the reasons some computer experts say that Atari computers are so far ahead of their time...

More from the wondrous world of 1980s computing soon!


Anonymous said...

This is such a great blog, but why yellow text? Of all the colours, yellow on white is terrible, black does the job!

Drew said...

The Blog was designed years ago - before the age of accessing the web on portable devices, with a colour design based on Tetris/Rubik's Cube (colours on a black background). I am working to now make the older posts easier to read for those not using PCs. Please feel free to flag up any further posts you encounter with this problem. I appreciate it!