Finding my first cassette recorder

When I was about 11 or maybe 12 I really desperately wanted a tape recorder, and for Christmas I got one. It was a fergusson and it looked like this.

I found it again at a very weird museum a few weeks ago. It took me right back. I used to use it for recording myself and later on it was very handy for use with a ZX81 and then with a ZX Spectrum.

Starting 2017 in retro mode

Timex 1000
Timex 1000

I’ve been a fan of all things ZX, especially the 81 since they first came out and I’ve always been drawn to them ever since. I realise that as a computing platform they are really ancient, retro, vintage even. But even so I think that these are somewhat lovely old computers. So when I saw this today I thought that it was something I’d love.

My ideal would be a ZX device that was portable. A bit like the retro gaming devices made with raspberry Pi, but I haven’t heard of anything like that. So the Minstrel ZX80 Clone is currently the nearest thing, and looks pretty spectacular too.

There is a ZX81 emulator on iOS, but that’s not the same at all. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t the same as having some hardware to play with. I’ll be keeping an eye on the ZX80 clone.

And then I got this (Timex 1000)

Timex 1000
Timex 1000

The Timex 1000 is the US equivalent to the ZX81. I was given it when in Canada last week and it looks like it’s in pretty good shape actually. I’m going to be very careful about firing it up though as I don’t want to get the power supply wrong in any way. When it’s all up and running I’ll post some stuff about what I’m doing with it.

That’s what happens when you find a vintage computer

My name in lights
My name in lights

This is what used to happen when you found a computer anywhere. Of course sometimes the actual words were less appropriate, if you know what you mean.

What you do when you see a vintage computer running basic
What you do when you see a vintage computer running basic

Simple but effective …

A bit of vintage computing
A bit of vintage computing

A nice collection. I wouldn’t mind that lot myself!

I had one, and yet, I still want one

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But I have to ask why? It isn’t like there’s anything you can do with a ZX81 that I can’t do elsewhere, and so I constantly battle with myself, sometimes wanting to get one, and other times deciding that it really is a bad idea and I just wouldn’t use it, and that is really a lot closer to the truth as that happens with stuff I buy, I’m sorry to say.

I also sometimes think about some of the things I could do with one, and then try and use an emulator, and don’t really get into that and that also tells me that getting an actual ZX81 would be a bad idea. Even though I think they’re awesome.