sifr's cyphers

A collection of thoughts, feelings, and other such things


May 07, 2021 — sifr

This post brought to you by hours of dark cyberpunk.


I've been into computers for a long time. As a young kid I had an Amstrad CPC 464 green screen. I don't know how popular those were outside of England, but I was so pleased with it as a child. It had a basic interface, and by basic I mean BASIC. The source of software was a tape drive attached to the keyboard. It was nice. If you wanted to play a game, you put a tape in, pressed play, and then typed run. Or something along those lines, it has been a LONG while. The best part of using an Amstrad was the time you had free! You could start a game loading, go outside, climb a tree or something, then come home to find it was still loading. Go climb another tree I guess? I remember as a kid that thing was amazing, and when the internet finally waddled into rural England I wanted in. We went to every tech store I could think of trying to find a modem for the amstrad, but by the time we were looking the Amstrad was so out of date the very idea was laughable. Eventually, I bought a cheap windows 95 computer. I think it was my first use of credit. It had a modem, and I quickly racked up thousands of dollars in debt using dial up. Another enjoyable way to spend ones time. Click connect, and go make a sandwich whilst it loads in! I was well prepared for this one coming off of the back of the Amstrad though, so it was less frustrating.

Things have progressed, clearly. Now I can spend hours waiting for my software to compile instead! But once it has done so it tends to run really fast and pleasant. I'm not sure where we're headed with tech. I feel like things get faster and faster, but at the same time less and less efficient in their use of resources. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. I mean. I have all this memory and power, I suppose we might as well use it?

In some ways, despite having used PC's and their like since the late 80's, I missed a whole chunk of early PC fun. The village I lived in wasn't much for modern tech. Not that it's a requirement I suppose, but I know a lot of people living their are still resistant to things like dishwashers and central heating, since they have hot water and a fire. I got in on the ground floor with the Amstrad and the Spectrum ZX80, but then didn't get any further until at least windows 95, meaning the whole DOS era, the windows 3.1 era, the early days of linux and the BSD's, they all passed me by. I really wish I had been available for them, but I guess it's good I didn't. I spent a lot of time outside avoiding trouble of the sort that can lead to some pretty terrible trauma. Although I did once fall into a mass of stinging nettles...

This was a long rambling waffle for no purpose, but sometimes it's important to just throw things at the wall.

Tags: amstrad, CPC464, ZX80, spectrum, PC, waffle, tape-drives