I was a bit frustrated because all my friends had CPC 6168 and were constantly trading games.
At this time the PC games were a lot less common (and more expensive) it pushed me to start programming with GEM Basic.
The 128kbytes of RAM are bank switched, so it's better than a 64kbyte machine but not as much better as you'd hope.
On the family VIC-20 I basically reached the limits of what was practical to do with it. I ran out of RAM, my programs became too slow and unwieldy to use. I never got there with the CPC 6128 but I could certainly feel where the limits were, closer than you'd like, and it often caused me not to set off in a particular direction knowing I'd soon run into a wall anyway. I wrote some simple assembly language but never tried to run a real high level language (other than the built-in BASIC).
Whereas on my 486sx25 and subsequent machines it was only ever a matter of time and money, so that was always on me.
I still have the mouse somewhere.
Did you have dual floppy drives or one?
I lost years to Elite. Loved it. Haven’t been as engrossed in a computer game before or since...
I'll look for the Alan Sugar' autobiography as well.
From : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Spectrum#spectrum128
"In 1985, Sinclair developed the ZX Spectrum 128 (code-named Derby) in conjunction with their Spanish distributor Investrónica (a subsidiary of El Corte Inglés department store group). Investrónica had helped adapt the ZX Spectrum+ to the Spanish market after the Spanish government introduced a special tax on all computers with 64 KB RAM or less, and a law which obliged all computers sold in Spain to support the Spanish alphabet and show messages in Spanish."
When you were coding in BASIC, I don't think there was clipboard but there was a way to get a second cursor to appear that you could position with the (I think) arrow keys somewhere else on the screen. You could then press a "copy" key and it would copy one character at a time from the second cursor to your current editing position. It's weird thinking back to when you didn't have a proper IDE.
Has a similar UI been seen on a computer before this? There's a "copy mode" in Screen for Linux that has similarities.
The whole copy-by-character-recognition feature in the Amstrad firmware was such a weird hack that it seems unlikely anyone else has ever coded a similar solution for production use, except maybe in some application where the copy functionality had to be bolted-on later. Amstrad did it that way from the start.
Maybe I couldn't find a better way at the time, but to add a pause/delay to game code, I remember using "for" loops that just counted to an arbitrarily high number because the processor was so slow e.g. count from 0 to X to make it wait a few milliseconds.
Standard practice to do a delay on the CPC was a loop around CALL &BD19 - that paused until frame flyback, i.e. 1/50th of a second.
Also, Bill Atkinson, when making MacPaint, actually implemented something similar to edit text that had been placed into the bitmap with the text tool. Since he knew that it couldn't be perfectly reliable (as there might be non-text pixels in there), he got rid of the feature (https://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&stor...)
In particular, there's the following note about TXT UNWRITE in the Indirections section: "This routine works by comparing the image on the screen with the character matrices; therefore if the character matrices have been altered the routine may not find a readable a character"
The code from the BBC Micro version of the OS can be seen here: https://tobylobster.github.io/mos/mos/S-s9.html#SP1
On its own, this is a useless quirk, but you could also push Escape (I think) to temporarily disable this behavior, permitting the arrow keys to freely reposition the cursor on screen until you hit Escape again.
So if you wanted to "edit" a line, you would list it out to the console, press Escape, move the cursor up to the start of the line, press Escape again, move the cursor right over the stuff you wanted, press Escape again, move the cursor somewhere else, press Escape again, type whatever it was you wanted to insert, press Escape again, move the cursor back to where you left off copying, press Escape again, move the cursor right over the remainder of the line, and press Return.
And then Beagle Bros came out with GPLE and ushered us into the modern era of proper line editing. What a comparative luxury that was.
> You could then press a "copy" key and it would copy one character at a time from the second cursor to your current editing position
Each time you pressed the "copy" key it would literally advance both the main cursor and the copy cursor by one character, with the copied character appearing under where the main cursor just was. To copy multiple characters you would need to press the copy key multiple times or hold it down to trigger autorepeat (even then you would see this process gradually happening until you released).
Unfortunately, the story doesn't agree with the contemporary marketing literature that still exists, that calls it a 29-bit computer; or with the CPU reference manual for the ND-500 CPU that was used in the ND-505, which says that it used 32-bit logical addressing with 5 domain selector bits and 27 address bits, and 41-bit physical addressing with 2KiB pages and a 30-bit page number.
If you've lost the supply brick; that's strictly the AC side of things, it is just a transformer in a plastic wrapper.
The outputs of the transformer are connected to a DB-9, the pinout is:
Keep an eye on the large capacitor on the powersupply board, they tend to go bad, look for white stuff near the caps, if you find any replace them before trying to power it all up.
You can pull fairly decent composite video off the input to the modulator (on the PSU board).
(Sorry I know that seems tight but I'm out of work right now).
p.s. They are D plugs.. look like female joystick ports..
On the location, currently is right to "l", in the US
layout it prints ";".
I recall reading somewhere that, to give an artificial boost to the home grown market. The French introduce a law to ban the import of personal computers with less then 72kb of ram. The British got round this law by adding a small pcb to the main board, that did nothing at all. Unless it was the Spanish, funny what you mis-remember.
Some had 16 kbyte RAM. All Spectravideo had also 16 video RAM. But the version with 64 kbyte RAM was prominently marketed as having 80 kbyte RAM. (RAM + VRAM = 80 kbyte)
I guess that computer model could also have been imported without the high tariff.
(The Spectravideo 328, which formed the basis for the almost identical MSX standard.)
The US answer to the Spectrum was called the Timex/Sinclair 2068 and advertised as a 72k machine (48k RAM/32k ROM)
And yes, they even came with a mouse and a GUI (GEM by Digital Research).
Sugar used the technique in products from hifi's to computers as an innovation to save money and keep costs down. That's not necessarily meant in a bad way. Amastrad often used the savings to to bump up the spec somewhere consumers cared more e.g. memory or a bundled monitor or printer.
I think when commodity PCs became wide spread Amstrad ran out of corners to cut to get an edge and became uncompetitive.
It was when Amstrad dropped their own OS in favour of DOS that they became just another commodity PC maker. Actually first Amstrad moved to DR-DOS then MS-DOS to avoid potential compatability issues. Which I'm sure Microsoft would have eventually discovered.
So having their own OS wasn't the deciding factor. I think it's the more commodity nature of PC hardware even compared to CP/M machines that did for them IMHO.
And yes, by the time 286s and 386s came to the market there was really nothing more to cut, or even to add. Every part was standardized by then, profit margins shrinked and MS-DOS became ubiquitous.