The other night I threw a strop when my internet connection fizzed out for a few minutes, and I was forced to use my iPhone’s 3G connection to look something up online. It struck me just how far we’ve come since the early days of the internet, when you were amazed even that a page took minutes to load. I smiled, because I then remembered my first computer.
That was a ZX Spectrum +2. It was an amazing piece of kit at the time, even though it could take up to half an hour for a program to load up. For anyone wondering how bad it was when you wanted to play a game, this is what you had to cope with – I recommend turning your volume up for the full goodness.
Think of that when you turn on your Xbox 360. I still can’t believe you had to insert a cassette and press play for this to happen. Games were so shite, that there was a small side-industry of books and articles on how to program your own computer games in BASIC. I’ve moved on a lot – I now use a MacBook Pro, let other people make the magic, and things happen a lot quicker and crash a lot less.
At the weekend I was speaking to Dan Abnett, super-talented writer of SF and comics, who mentioned a typewriter that syncs with an iPad and runs entirely on win. Dan explained that using a typewriter is actually better for a writer, because you don’t get RSI – the keys have resistance, unlike on a computer keyboard – which means for health reasons, all writers should have this set-up.
Who else was a kid of the 80s and grew up with crap like the Spectrum?