Rick Dickinson, ZX Spectrum designer, RIP

Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Thu Apr 26 16:03:53 CDT 2018

On Thu, 26 Apr 2018, Liam Proven via cctalk wrote:
> A lengthy interview with the later great Rick Dickinson, product designer
> of basically every Sinclair computer, who sadly died of cancer on Tuesday.
> https://medium.com/@ghalfacree/an-interview-with-rick-dickinson-3fea60537338
> He not only did the ZX 80, ZX 81, ZX Spectrum and the QL, but also the Z88,
> the Spectrum Next and others -- along with a lot of other stuff.
> I know this is a rather USA-centric list, so probably most of you started
> off with things like the Apple II, the first sub-$1000 home computer.

Neither "first", nor "sub-$1000"
Apple][ was $1298, and discounts were very rare.
TRS-80 at $599 was less than half the price.
Pet at $795 was barely more than half the price.

Two price factors need to be considered:
MSRP V street price
entry price (VERY significant for US) V price by the time it was fully 
By connecting a CCTV monitor, I got my TRS80 new for $399.

"First" of course, involves date of announcement, date of working 
prototype, date of release (and order acceptance), date of first 
deliveries, date of first availability without pre-order.

Apple, TRS80, PET overlapped on all of those, and should reasonably be 
considered to be simultaneous.

> But in Britain and Europe back then, we were a lot poorer, and $1000 was 
> an impossibly large amount of money -- many months of pay in a good job.

Not all americans are nor were idly wealthy.
The day before I bought my TRS80 was a typical 14 hour work day, with rice 
and beans for dinner.
I had to choose between buying not skimping on groceries V a Mini-Cooper-S 
(needed a little work) V Honda 600 V TRS80.  Did I make the right choice?

But, exchange rate in those days was about 2:1!
You dealt with extreme markups, with many machines selling there for the 
same number of pounds as their dollar price in USA!
~$500 GBP for TRS80, >1000 GBP for Apple
are twice what the MSRP should have been.

> In the UK, the revolution was the first sub-£100 home computer, the ZX 81.

Timex/Sinclair was $100, in keeping with the same industry specific 
exchange rate that was gouging y'all.
It was amazing how much they accomplished with so little.
It had a picture of a keyboard on top, (as a suggested expansion?)
I got my assistant ("VP Of Marketing") a Timex.

Later, I bought a used Yamaha MSX (from Mitchell Waite) for him.
Then he bought a Mindset.

Here, also, Sinclair was a popular first computer for people who didn't 
want to spend a significant part of their income for a computer, (and for 
kids without wealthy parents)

Some Macs have been made into aquariums.
PCs can have individual parts upgraded for decades.
But, the Sinclair needed no work to be repurposed as an elegant doorstop.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at xenosoft.com

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