Feelin’ my age (part 2): Retro Shack

If you've got enough years under your belt you'll know the feeling. Someone describes an item as "retro" or "vintage" and you had one when it was new. All of a sudden you're feelin' your age.

A while ago someone was looking at one of my guitars and asked where I found such a cool vintage instrument - Bob Dylan played one, ya know. I had to confess that I just walked into a shop in 1982 and bought it new!

Bob borrows my guitar

Well that nice guy who runs the rather excellent Retro Shack YouTube channel does it to me every time he puts out a video about a Commodore 64, or a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, or a BBC Micro... 

Retro Shack restores a Beeb

He reminds me I owned a Tandy TRS80 model I, a PC XT with 5.25" floppies, a Psion Series 5 PDA (remember them?) and a Sinclair QL (of which more in a later post). Oh yeah, and my first "portable" was like a suitcase - think it was an Amstrad PPC 512 - eek!

Tandy TRS-80, Model I. Photo by Dave Jones - EEVblogCC-BY-SA 4.0

Nostalgia Corner

A quick word about my first micro - the TRS80 that I bought around 1978. It originally had 4KB of RAM and a BASIC on ROM that had 26 single character numeric variables, A to Z, and two, yes, two, string variables named A$ and B$. I later upgraded it to a better BASIC with more variables and 16 whole KB of RAM for a price of about £300 (over £1,500 in 2022). A few weeks back I bought a 32GB RAM card for £7.50!

So what was your earliest kit? Fond memories or horror stories?

Dunce's corner: Being wrong about the PC

I have to confess to missing the variety of home computers available during the UK home computer boom of the early 1980s. You could wonder through a department store (really) and play with test several different machines.

At the time the PC XT managed to be both the most expensive and the least inspiring machine out there IMHO. It seemed so dated and dull I never thought it would catch on!

Funny old world. I know, reliability, expandability and the ability to clone it won out. Boring but true.

Trivia corner: Taking a RISC

Is good old Auntie Beeb responsible for the existence of the mighty ARM processor architecture?

The BBC funded Acorn Computers to build the BBC micro, along with the later RISC based BBC/Acorn Archimedes. As many people know, Acorn stuck with RISC and eventually spun off ARM, which was, shall we say, quite successful.

So does my my phone only work because of the BBC?

That "vintage" guitar in action

Finally, for anyone who can accept merely adequate guitar playing, here's me and that "vintage" Washburn Tanglewood in 2019. I'm taking a stab at Elizabeth Cotton's version of Vestapol - a tune much older than I.

Alo Phogg? Well, would you put this out under your real name!?


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