Nah, there was stuff before that; like the PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) and the IMSAI 8080. Maybe the IMSAI waas the first but I think the PET came after the first Apple. That gets you thinking back to the minicomputer era of the 70s. Glad I missed that.
The Sinclair ZX81 was pretty bad, especially compared with contemporaries. The keyboard was almost unusable. The tape drive was pretty useless. And I also hated the Vic-20. I think it was 6502-based, like the Apple-II, but so much inferior. The Apple-II was pretty great. Even though all the Trash-80s were disparaged, I liked the TRS-80 Model III. Especially the space-age styling. I mostly used it to write BASIC programs. The screen was OK, though just B&W. I sort of remember the PET being really bad. I had a computer with Windows ME which was terrible. It had a sleep mode but it never woke up from sleep mode a single time the entire time I owned it. I had some friends that owned Amigas and swore by them and others that loved the Tandy CoCo. Every Dell laptop I owned was mechanically a piece of junk. The keyboards always failed, the power connectors, and the hinges. After a year the batteries were only good for 30 seconds (no exaggeration).
The most infuriating products are the 'almost-nearlys', I had an Amstrad 8086 Portable with full size keyboard, 3:2 contrast flipout LCD and twin floppies. Very innovative in so many neat ways.
It was so nearly right - light and self-contained, it ran GEM just fine, but ultimately let down by that LCD, no hard drive option route and if you bumped it, the batteries lost contact and it lost its NV settings.
But it went on the road with me for 18mo and with its serial and parallel ports successfully installed many embedded systems (which did work perfectly for decades afterwards!).
Thanks for reminding me!
Ahh, fond memories! Here in the states it was called the Timex Sinclair (yes, Timex the watch company).
You should've gotten the 16K ram expansion and an aftermarket housing that gave you a real keyboard to replace the membrane keyboard.
Program & data load and store via audio cassette was slow and painful, but for the price, a Sinclair couldn't be beat!
I learned BASIC and Zilog assembly language on that little machine, and also thoroughly impressed my E-M professor when I chose to implement an assigned computer simulation project on my little "toy" computer :)
Wegematic 1000 was similar to Alwac III-E and was manufactured by Bo Nyman AB in Bollmora, Sweden. The Wegematic 1000 processing unit comprised of a an operating unit and some six meters of racks holding a vertically oriented magnetic drum memory (3 600 rev/min) with 261 channels (tracks), about 10 000 diodes and about 500 electron tubes on laminate circuit boards, se picture below. Wegematic 1000 module (Part of the Helsinki Wegematic at display in Jyväskylä at a computer show in 1995) The energy consumption was about 15 kW.
The worst computer I ever used was the Sinclair ZX-80. It had a whopping 1K of RAM, which you could easily exhaust writing the most elementary of programs. It couldn't even display text while executing code. It was so bad I hesitate to even call it a computer.
How could the VIC-20 be a bad machine if it was the 1st make/model to sell over one million units?! The article is mostly frivolous and tries to find faults with mostly older machines which were still fairly new given the amount of integration and technology for the time. Not fare! By the way, when my father bought me the VIC-20 from Germany (I was in Egypt at the time), it was a German version called VC-20 (for Volks Computer)!
Also, as far as I know, the 1st commercial computer in space was actually the GRiD Compass laptop, used on the space shuttle starting somewhere between 1982-1985.
I actually had that emachines unit. It did its job, but eventually the power supply did burn up on me. At the time, no standard PC power supply would fit inside the case, so I just lashed one to the case frame with hose clamps. The outside cover wouldn't fit anymore, so I just ran it open. I still have the case... it is mini-ATX compatible, and it houses my current home PC.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.