[E3-hacking] Ever turning

linux at things.org.uk linux at things.org.uk
Sat Jun 18 09:36:05 BST 2005

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on a never ending reel
Like a snowball down a mountain or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.
 - "Windmills of your mind", Bergman & Legrand

"The real beginning of home computing all started with the ZX Spectrum.
Introduced by Sir Clive Sinclair in 1982, it proved to be a huge hit in the

The machine was small, smaller than any laptop available today. It plugged into
a standard television set and used a standard tape recorder for storage. It was
equipped with 48K of ram which was plenty for what it needed to do. A 5.25" disk
drive was available for those that needed it (programmers and the like). It was
a machine tailored for home use."
- Alt-Tab: A Brief History of the Sinclair Spectrum

"It'd basically be a box (maybe
pressed steel or something) with an E3 board at the heart (maybe with modem
section depopulated) and the LCD/backlight module fitted into the "roof" - a
trailing cable would go to the PS/2 QWERTY as found on the E3. So it'd just
look like a generic little computer in a box - nothing like a telephone. I
think we probably would put a JTAG header on it for those interested in such
things (though maybe this isn't such a necessity now that Linux is ported)"
- Cliff Lawson


Do you see what I see?

Sinclair produced a computer built from parts. No amazing powerhouse, no magic
abilities. Just a little box that a kid could buy and put together, and
discover the magic of computers.

So I see before us the possibility of another little box, "smaller than any
laptop available today", "a machine tailored for home use". Perhaps this time
with another great British entrepreneur's company name printed on it. Make it
simple, provide decent documentation and a little spiral bound manual. Make it
available to kids, to affordable computing initiatives, and perhaps Mr Sugar
could capture far more than he expected.

"For 10 years the ZX Spectrum was a mainstream computer. Nothing before or since
has matched it. Just think how obsolete the Pentium III will be in 10 years
time. The spectrum was incredibly well designed and it is the amazing British
design which put it in good stead for an entire decade. No computing machine
could match that today."

Phil H

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