It took less than 30 mins for my 11-year-old daughter to figure out how to draw basic rectangles and circles in various colors on the screen. She was hooked. And I was transported back to my childhood. I saw the same joy I experienced as she discovered new ways to have the computer do her bidding.
Today’s computers can do amazing things, but they sort of miss out on the whole human user experience bit. Maybe they need to go back to basic ;-)
It's partly because in 8-bit computers the programming environment was the first thing you were exposed to. You weren't force to program though, you could limit yourself to LOAD "*",8 - but also you were free to experiment with more commands if you wanted to.
In newer computers, the programming interface was replaced by something else, and then completely removed from the system.
Is your Play Station 2 PAL (UK) or NTSC (American)? The Spectrum +2 is (I would assume) PAL.
I'm reaching, but if your PS2 is American and thus already NTSC and works, then your converter may be expecting an NTSC input. If you convert the PAL to NTSC before feeding it into the HDMI converter, it should in theory work.
Think that analogue signals have a lot of tolerance. The Spectrum PAL signal was very far from followiing 100% the PAL standard.
I would assume nothing needed to be exact because you could fine tune on the fly. I remember when you tuned our 3 TV stations in the UK by dialing the frequency dial to the correct radio frequency. It's been a long time that I don't recall the radio frequencies by perhaps I recall ITV being 68 MHz(?)
This year I'll be doing a retro-exhibit at the MQ in Vienna, putting the machines up and getting them running for folks to interact with and explore. The idea is to show people that, in fact - old computers never die, their users do!
The key thing is that, even if you don't have a use for that old computer - there are a hundred million other human beings out there that might, and to some of them it'll be just as useful as it was the day it was taken out of the box and turned on for the first time. Consumerism requires participation in the fallacy that 'old things have no use' - but as we can see from the resurgence in interest around the retro- scene, this is just a lie.
One of the things that has made this so interesting to me is the experience of having to set up each machine, again, with all its requisite tools. As a developer, to me this of course means having assemblers, editors, compilers, and so on - and it is quite a challenge. But once its up and running, there is no greater joy than hacking on an old machine, with no Internet and only the tools in front of me. It has been one of the coping mechanisms I use to get over the pain, suffering and misery of modern software development, where it seems every month some kid has re-invented the tools we old folks discarded years ago, and for it to become fashionable such that there is no choice, to be current, than to keep up with the rat race of compilers and libraries and editors and frameworks, oh my ..
If you've still got an old machine somewhere, do yourself a favour and get it set up again. It can really help with developer funk.
I learnt BASIC through typing out listings from ZX Computing Monthly, Sinclair User, Your Sinclair, and others, borrowed from the local library. I forget the name of the magazines which had multi-platform listings, for the Electron and Vic-20 and MSX and others.
It gave me so much appreciation for native CPU instructions and efficient use of hardware.
I learnt the most important aspects of programming on the ZX81 with nothing more than 1k RAM, a small B&W CRT TV and a tape recorder.
(Largely because the tape-player in our bundle didn't work, so instead I was "forced" to read the manual(s) instead..)
You know, those packed with game listings back then.
I'd estimate at least 80% of the games I "owned", and my friends played, were copied. Though I'm hazy on how they arrived. I know my dad would bring some home from the post-office where he worked, and I'd swap taped copies of some games with friends at school.
It's cheapness and ubiquity turbo-charged the UK computer scene.
It's clones crossing the iron curtain also had a profound effect on Eastern European computing.
Really ought to have a HN meet up in the pub where the famous fight between Sinclair and Curry Happened.
I remember there was a semester long competition that he held wherein you would have to write a turtles program to generate an interesting output, I thought my tesseract was quite good, and then a student who spent most of time in lectures playing LocoRoco had animated an entire movie, of a turtle enrolling at the university, I realised then that I was a very average programmer.
review here: http://markfixesstuff.co.uk/review/zx-spectrum-omni-laptop-r...
He had quite a media profile at the time and one imagined that everything came out of a Sinclair building with all the magic happening inside that building, with Sir Clive very much hands on with his minions.
In reality though the product was as much about managing suppliers and contractors as much as it was about design.
The thing is that I would have thought that in those days writing your own ROM (all 8Kb of it) was core functionality and not something outsourced. Sinclair wasn't as 'vertically integrated' as I imagined.
Does anyone know if they outsourced the ULA design and even the printed circuit board layout?
(Incidentally, it's GFDL so you can also find a legal PDF of it, but only buying a physical copy will support the author.)
I cut my teeth on the 2068 and only just gave it up on eBay a year or so ago. I would have been glad to donate it to this museum had I known about it. Maybe a Wanted Items list could be posted?
"ZX Spectrum was one of most successful 8-bit machines of all time -- with still an active community! Relive the experience with a selection of homebrew games, using the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator."