Hanneke du Toit

You had me at “Hello World”

The Sinclair ZX81 – with all of 1K of RAM.

The Sinclair ZX81 – with all of 1K of RAM.

What a wonderful 80’s headline. Power. Apparently that’s what everyone was into in the 80’s: power dressing, bouffant power coiffes kept in check by nuclear powered hairspray leaving a sticky film on power padded shoulders. Whether you were an American Psycho-esque inner city slicker with a corner office, or the teenage geek next door screwing around with bits of computer, the cats on Madison avenue figured that power was what you were after. And they were going to offer you that, whether it was actually present in the advertised product, or not. Because the funny thing about the ZX 81 is that it had 1K of RAM – remarkably underpowered even for its time. I’d imagine the guitarist of Kiss could negotiate more functionality out of his instrument (if you count trashing hotel rooms) than a prospective computer geek could extract from this basic little PC with 1 K of RAM. But as it turns out it was not power, but something closer to – dare I say it – love that afforded the ZX 81 its cult following.

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