Rick Dickinson, ZX Spectrum designer, RIP

Adrian Graham binarydinosaurs at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 12:26:36 CDT 2018

> On 26 Apr 2018, at 13:47, Liam Proven via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> I think if you ask virtually any British person in their late 30s, 40s or
> 50s, in anything connected with IT, what their first computer was, the
> answer would be a ZX 81 or a ZX Spectrum. It was the single range of
> machines that drove the entire computer revolution over here, and also in
> the form of a myriad clones in the Communist Bloc.

My first was a ZX80 which my Dad borrowed from my physics teacher at school. That spurred me on to get my own ZX81 which had just come out, then the Research Machines 380Z at later school, then the 48K ZXSpectrum. Amazing little machines for the money but I never discovered the name of the designer until much later.

> Later, imitators came along -- the Oric (6502) and Dragon (6809) ranges,
> for instance. And of course there were many machines that aspired to be
> better: Memotech. Camputers Lynx, Elan Enterprise, etc. All flopped to some
> degree.

You could’ve stopped after ‘flopped’ though the Oric went on to do very well in France and the Dragon still has a good userbase today. Strictly speaking they all do apart from the Lynx, but the Dragon is alive and well. The biggest Enterprise group is still in Hungary where the unsold machines were dumped after Enterprise Computers went bust in 1986.

> And that was down to Rick Dickinson, who only discovered years later how he
> had inspired whole generations of people.

Yep. RIP. I missed him doing ‘an evening with…’ last year at the Computer Museum in Cambridge, naturally I thought there’d be another one.

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