In 1985 I was a British army brat with my parents stationed in West Germany. Just like you, I was surrounded by quite a lot of (big) hardware and yet life had to go on. My school probably had a few more bomb scares than yours thanks to the Provisional IRA but you probably had a few snags about what the Western powers were going to do to you.
The Cold War was not nice for you or me or anyone else.
I'd really love to hear about how a shitty piece of plastic with a rainbow on the corner with a Z80 inside and squishy keys got to Hungary.
Personal anecdote aside, it's safe to say that without the work of Rick Dickinson and his colleagues at Sinclair Research the UK computing industry would have been much slower to take off. The ZX Spectrum in particular was hugely popular in the UK (alongside its main rival the C64), and did more to push forward the UK computing industry than any other computer I can think of (and I say that as an Amiga fan). Even with the passing of Mr Dickinson his legacy lives on.
I thought each register, i.e. BC or DE, had its own stack. I couldn't understand why some programs crashed. Very frustrating when you had to reload everything from tape again, and again, and again...
Only after reading this news did I remember how much its external design and looks excited me and helped develop a deep interest in computers at a young age. I remember how its compact black form factor and silent keys made me want to switch it on three or four times every day and just type something or play something. Back then, to my young mind, it wasn't a mere tool to do something; it was much more - it was itself a source of satisfaction.
Although we had more powerful, more functional Apple IIcs and IBM PCs, their beige bulky looks never really had the same effect on me.
I had never heard of Rick Dickinson before but thank you very much for the beautiful ZX Spectrum.
Mine used to go wrong about every two months on average, and then would disappear for the next 6 weeks being repaired. Granted it was pretty heavily used, but still. I loved the machine but it's the most unreliable computer I've ever owned. Although, thinking about it, the +2A it was eventually replaced with was no better. My Commodore 64 and Amiga never gave me a hint of trouble and in fact, 29 years later, the only other computer I've had fail on me was an ageing and much abused 13-inch Macbook Pro (hard disk controller died; disk itself was fine).
Still, as you say, a beautiful machine.
It was not that rare for insufficient shielding to cause machines to start misbehaving from static electricity from the TV. Which would tend to cause lengthy repair shop stays as they didn't find anything wrong, eventually put it aside, tried it again later and found the problem had vanished.
I had that happen with a C64. The C64 was reasonably well shielded, but that one was stored right underneath a 26" TV and it wasn't shielded well enough for that, and after a while it started having weird lockups, and now and again it'd start "typing" on its own. Took us several annoying repairs before we realized what the problem was.
Man, if that's the reason... I feel irritated with myself even now. Thanks for possibly solving the mystery.
Some earlier models had a foil-covered cardboard wrapping it instead.
I think later models reduced the shield to cover just a small set of components instead.
So they survived better because Commodore failed to figure out how to make them produce less interference.
Ours was used heavily by three of us for programming, word processing and games from '84 to around '92, and after that just for daily games till the late 90s. Since the late 90s, I just switch it on fortnightly, play an old game for a couple of hours just for the feels, and pack it back. In all this time, I have never had any problem whatsoever. I expected at the very least a few blown caps but nope - starts right up like it's still '84. It has never undergone any repair. The original cassette player and CRT TV went bad but the Spectrum itself is fine. I had assumed from my personal experience that its reliability was a common experience, but just got lucky I guess.
They were notoriously unreliable. My mum had a full-on meltdown in Currys over it in 1988, and she's not a meltdown kind of person. My best friend also had one, which also used to go wrong regularly.
This is all anecdata, of course. Still, both the manager of the local Currys (Dorchester), and the owner of the nearest proper computer store - Compute-A-Tape in Weymouth - both said at the time they had nothing but trouble with the Spectrum..
Maybe something to do with the Dorset air but as much as I loved my Spectrum it caused me endless grief.
 A trip here was a rare treat, although sadly the place closed down sometime in the 90s.
Basically the edge connector was not sufficiently protected and a loose connection could fry the ULA or other components quite easily.
Not sure what the problem with the +2A would have been though, because it had proper joystick ports, and I'd stopped using the light pen by then.
My first computer was a ZX Spectrum, bought by my father shortly after he was permitted access to us again.
You see, my parents divorced a couple of years before the ZX81 was released, and my brother and I were constantly used as pawns by our (emotionally and physically abusive) mother against our father. She eventually relented and allowed him access, and so the ZX Spectrum he bought shortly after we moved back into his life became a symbol of the serious improvement in our lives.
I will always be grateful for those times.
I'm a bit too young and outside the UK to have had any personal experience with the Sinclair Spectrum computers, but I do love watching YouTube videos about old PCs and technology - Ashens, Techmoan, and LGR are my favourites. And I've always that specifically the design of the ZX Spectrum was great.
I'm an instant photography fan thinking of getting a digital one to complement my traditional instant camera, and I really wish the Polaroid Z2300 (which I briefly owned) had better functionality as I love the design - the black one almost looks like a a ZX Spectrum in camera form. The Snap Touch, which I intend to buy, is close, but more rounded. I'm not sure whether there was any design influence or if the timeline on that would even make sense, but the point is that some elements of that design can even look good today - specifically I notice the angled corners and high-contract rainbow on black colouring:
Notible software: I
had a copy of 'Hisoft Pascal' for programming, and my favorite game (of all time?) was Manic Miner  and the only hardware extention I had was a 'SpecDrum'  for music.
I never owned the original Bauhaus-ish rubber key version, although it was the first computer I played anything on (Jetpac, Manic Miner, Jumping Jack) because my cousin had one. Instead, a couple of years later my mum bought me my first computer: the plastic-keyed Spectrum 48K+.
Again, quite a nice looking device. I nearly picked up one, along with a box of tapes big enough that I'd have struggled to carry it, at the same retro event where I bought the above book. The only reason I didn't is that because although I loved my Spectrum it did break down all the time and I didn't particularly want to relive that part of the experience.
I just sold my TS on eBay for just under the price I bought it for in 1983.
Portugal had one of the Timex factories producing those computers, so we had quite a few of them across the country.
My first owned computer was also a TS 2068, bought alonside the ZX Spectrum emulation cartridge.
The extended BASIC was much better, and the three channels sound chip was quite nice, sadly most of the time the emulation stayed inserted, because there was hardly any 2068 specific hardware around.
The SAM Coupé years later was also a very nice machine, but in the end the Spectrum variants ruled our 8 bit market.
Always seemed like a nice guy to me and I still remember the very nice BMW (early M6 IIRC) he was driving at the time.
I remember seeing a Sinclair Spectrum and thinking how much more elegant it looked (the HC-85 was bulky and rather ugly).
That post was about his passing.
Maybe people will notice later.
He was traveling to the US for cancer treatments and suddenly died between treatments while in the US. There's no indication as to what killed him, you would presume the cancer but the title of the article would imply it was by virtue of the fact that he was on US soil.
Did I miss something?
Origin unclear but according to https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/English_language attributed to George Bernard Shaw.
I read the original and did not pick up the nuance until it was pointed out; then the alternative reading was also entirely reasonable even if it was not my first understanding. The cultural ambiguity of English at it's best.