I can remember the excitement of visiting a friend’s house in the early eighties and seeing an actual home computer. It was a ZX81, and he was typing in a program from a magazine. He was programming a home computer!
This was a feeling you might get if you popped round to your neighbours house tomorrow to check out their jetpack which could also take you to the moon.
Before that moment, computers seemed futuristic, exciting, exotic, but…unattainable. But after? It’s all I could think about.
During autumn 1982, I was devouring every computer magazine my pocket money would allow. After much heated playground discussion, I made my choice. My parents scoured the shops in December to find the object of my affection, and on Christmas Day I found myself the proud owner of a home computer – a Dragon 32.
It came with a manual which didn’t just tell you how to connect it to your television, it also detailed how your make the computer do your bidding by writing BASIC programs.
Cut to a year or so later and I’d upgraded to a BBC Model B. Devouring manuals, writing software, making simple electronics projects to interface to it. I even got a modem (top speed 1.2Kbps) and got online for the first time.
There’s a whole generation just like me. Hooked by computing devices they could truly control.
That’s why the Raspberry Pi is so exciting to me. I hope it succeeds in inspiring a generation, and I’ll certainly try to help. I ordered mine a few weeks ago.
Its low cost makes doing potentially risky projects much more palatable. Its small size and low power requirements are also interesting properties to exploit.
My Raspberry Pi hasn’t arrived yet, which harks back to the old days of “please wait 28 days for delivery”.
Just adds to the retro excitement