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Like a lot of people who grew up during the 'home computer' period, I have fond memories of ZX81's, Vic 20's and the like.

My first computer was a ZX81, with its amazing 1K memory. It must have been a fair while before I had saved up enough pocket money to get the notorious 16k ram pack, the one that would loose all your work through its wobbly connection...

A lot of my mates had ZX81's, there was not much else available for spotty youths of the time (at sensible prices) but a year or so later the market was inundated with a plethora of machines to choose from. BBC, Commodore, Atari, Dragon, Texas, Oric etc.

The dearer machines, Texas and Atari had come down in price, and Sinclair released the Spectrum. So, at the end of one school term most of your mates had a ZX81, when you came back to school they all had different machines, VIC, BBC, Atari, Dragon. I got a Dragon 32, and I still remember the speed up Poke -POKE &HFFD7,0 which would put the machine into a whopping 1.7mhz, but only when reading from ROM. What great arguments about who's computer was better. Even the computer magazines were better back then.

My school had a number of Research Machines 380Z's, running CPM. Which was later upgraded to a network of 480Z's. Oh the fun we had writing basic programs to move a dot around the screen, or perform a bubble search.

A good mate had a VIC 20, with some fantastic games. Bunking off school to play Myraid, Omega Run and the wonder we ended up working with computers...

My next machine was a Dragon 64, with disk drives, and running OS/9 - a 'proper operating system' you could multi task, use long file names etc. All years before the PC had that. And it had a couple of decent languages - Basic 09 and Pascal. Mind you, the 64k was a bit lame....I don't think Dragon ever paid for the copies of OS/9 that it sold, and, I'm pretty sure you can still get a version of OS/9 today...

Then I got a Spectrum, for games, and an Amiga, and then the PC's. First a Amstrad PC 8086, then a Commodore PC 8086, then an Opus 8086, then another Amstrad this time a 80286, and on and on the PC's went, I had a lovely Opus 486, with a tiny footprint, my mate paid for half of that after I did a de-coke on his Opel Manta - those were the has not been quite the same since, but those old pc's just don't hold the same fascination as the old 'home computers'.

My first job was writing software for a group of insurance brokers, using an ABS Mini computer, the operating system was Simple 7E, and if I remember correctly the machine had about 128k memory. You stored your program on one disk, in this instance the disk was a CMD or SMD - one or the other, with multiple disks in each platter - 5 or so the size of albums - each of these platters stored 50Meg, one contained the o/s and programs, the other the data. Oh the good old days...a bit like .Net really.