When I was five, my dad brought home a Timex Sinclair TS1000 personal computer. This computer cost $99 in 1982. I vividly remember him unfurling cables and hooking them up to the TV. This was my first experience with a computer. My dad had a few tapes that contained accounting and math software. I was never sure what I was doing, but I could replicate the steps to get Money Analyzer 2 up and running. Late at night, I would sneak down and load the accounting software which took about a minute to load. I would play around pressing keys on the keyboard, typing symbols and numbers, and reloading the software. I had no idea what I was doing but I was hooked.
The Timex Sinclair 1000 had 2K of RAM. Your phone that your reading this on likely has more than 2G of RAM. 2G of RAM is 2,000,000K of RAM. This is an incredible increase over 40 years. Software that came out for the TS1000 either needed 2K or 16K of RAM. All of the software that I wanted to try needed 16K. And, by software, I mean games. I traded my friend for 3D Monster Maze which need 16K! LOAD””
Timex Sinclair released a 16K RAM Module, the TS1016. This extra RAM cost $49.95 and unlocked all of the software, I mean games, that required 16K. I was an enterprising kid. I collected aluminum cans around the neighborhood and sold them at the recycling plant. After a few months, I had enough money to buy a 16K RAM Module.
And, I never used it to upgrade the computer or play 3D Monster Maze. I never tried it. I recently found it in my box of computer parts and it sparked a lot of memories of playing around with my dad’s accounting software. I didn’t know what I was doing but it sure felt important. I didn’t stop with computers – I had switched my focus to the Commodore 64 and Apple II computers. I loved the simple BASIC computers that my dad showed me how to write. In the same box of computer parts, I found some of my old programs. I will tell that story one day too. This story is about my first computer experience that kicked off my lifelong obsession and career as a software engineer.
Should I try to upgrade my TS1000 after 40 years? It’s never too late to upgrade.