Sinclair ZX Spectrum from only £125!

It seems many of the visitors to retrogeek are spectrum enthusiasts, for your delictation here is the original 2-page spread advert from 1982. Notable not only for the hyperbole of the descriptions, but also the glamorous assistant shown squelching his way into the world-of-tomorrow on his tiny rubber keyboard.

Also of note is the ‘coming soon’ ZX Microdrive, a strange early storage device with a loop of cassette tape stuffed into a plastic cartridge. Holding up to 100k with a seek time of 3.5 seconds it promised simplicity and speed, but delivered tangled tape, data-loss and despair.

ZX Microdrive

ZX Microdrive

The Print’n'Plotter Jotter

In a world where ‘Photoshop’ has become a verb, it’s often hard to remember the lengths one had to go to to generate an image on an early home computer. When you’re working with a machine with only a few K of video RAM the options are quite limited, and of course there was no drawing or painting software available, which meant your masterpiece had to be poked and plotted onto the screen pixel by pixel.

This little gem comes from a November 1982 issue of Popular Computing Weekly and is unique in that it’s neither an ad for hardware nor software, but a pad of paper and a set of pens (“set of seven pens for each computer colour”). Effectively this is a book of gridded tracing paper, which claims to help convert your “illustrations, maps, charts, photos etc” into a set of pixel locations on your 256×192 screen. I never bought one myself, preferring to draw my 8×8 sprites in the back of my maths homework book…

every numbered co-ordinate for the 45,056 pixels!


If you spend any time following technology news on the internet, you’ll know it’s over-run with rumours of new products [particularly in the case of a fruit-named company from Cupertino]. In the 80s it was just the same. Check out this News page from PCWs debut issue. Here we see the first rumour of the ZX Spectrum, referred to here as ‘the ZX82′ *and* the Commodore MAX.

I particularly like the claim that the new Sinclair machine will have ‘a mechanical keyboard with ‘feel’ similar to a typewriter’. When the machine came out, with it’s squishy rubber keyboard, many pundits claimed it had the consistency of ‘dead flesh’…

School For Software

I really don’t know where to start with this one, it really speaks for itself. Part Jackie part Grange Hill, with the highly implausible premise that there’s a “girl” into computers. Mr. DIckerson is particularly troubling, dodgy jacket, moustache, cheap wig – yup. pretty much how I remember my teachers from the 80s…

Rebel Pupil Bev Jeavons has had her program for the school software competition wiped out by the form computer creeps. but she has chosen the wrong moment for revenge…

fighting over time on the school zx spectrum

fighting over time on the school zx spectrum

Nice product placement from Imagine Software

Nice product placement from Imagine Software

"Are you sure this is what you're looking for?"

Are you sure this is what you're looking for?

"try and be a bit more user friendly will you?"

try and be a bit more user friendly will you?