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The Computers That Made Britain

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The home computer boom of the 1980s brought with it now iconic machines such as the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Commodore 64. Those machines would inspire a generation. The Computers That Made Britain tells the story of 19 of those computers – and what happened behind the scenes. With dozens of new interviews, discover the tales of missed deadlines, technical faults, busine The home computer boom of the 1980s brought with it now iconic machines such as the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Commodore 64. Those machines would inspire a generation. The Computers That Made Britain tells the story of 19 of those computers – and what happened behind the scenes. With dozens of new interviews, discover the tales of missed deadlines, technical faults, business interference, and the unheralded geniuses who brought to the UK everything from the Dragon 32 and ZX81, to the Amstrad CPC 464 and Commodore Amiga.


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The home computer boom of the 1980s brought with it now iconic machines such as the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Commodore 64. Those machines would inspire a generation. The Computers That Made Britain tells the story of 19 of those computers – and what happened behind the scenes. With dozens of new interviews, discover the tales of missed deadlines, technical faults, busine The home computer boom of the 1980s brought with it now iconic machines such as the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Commodore 64. Those machines would inspire a generation. The Computers That Made Britain tells the story of 19 of those computers – and what happened behind the scenes. With dozens of new interviews, discover the tales of missed deadlines, technical faults, business interference, and the unheralded geniuses who brought to the UK everything from the Dragon 32 and ZX81, to the Amstrad CPC 464 and Commodore Amiga.

30 review for The Computers That Made Britain

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mick

    With lots of video game and computer history books focusing on the USA / Silicon Valley, it's always nice to read tech history from the perspective of another country (See Tristan Donovan's Replay: The History of Video Games The Computers That Made Britain wasn't crazy in-depth, but it was still well researched, and gives a great cliff-notes version of the 19 most popular computers in the UK during the 80s. An easy read and a good launch pad if you want to discover some other computer history book With lots of video game and computer history books focusing on the USA / Silicon Valley, it's always nice to read tech history from the perspective of another country (See Tristan Donovan's Replay: The History of Video Games The Computers That Made Britain wasn't crazy in-depth, but it was still well researched, and gives a great cliff-notes version of the 19 most popular computers in the UK during the 80s. An easy read and a good launch pad if you want to discover some other computer history books eg Brian Bagnall's Commodore series Even though the book is available as a free/name your price .pdf, I ordered the hardcover version and it's well printed and a great book to have on the shelf. I look forward to more books from Tim & Raspberry Pi Press.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Artiss

    Loved it! As a child/teenager of the 80s, these were the computers that I was bought up with (and regularly used). Knowing the stories behind them all is fantastic. Each chapter is a different computer but they vary in size, based on what information there is about them and, to be honest, how interesting their story actually is (hint: some are pretty boring). They're written very clearly and it's obvious that a lot of work has gone into researching it all It's clear that Tim didn't write the chapte Loved it! As a child/teenager of the 80s, these were the computers that I was bought up with (and regularly used). Knowing the stories behind them all is fantastic. Each chapter is a different computer but they vary in size, based on what information there is about them and, to be honest, how interesting their story actually is (hint: some are pretty boring). They're written very clearly and it's obvious that a lot of work has gone into researching it all It's clear that Tim didn't write the chapters in the order that they're presented (or, if he did, didn't intend for then to be read in order) as he often makes reference to things, as if they're new to us, but have already been discussed in past chapters. But that does mean that you can dip into a chapter at any point. I hope Tim followed this up with a second volume, covering all those computers which he mentions missing out in his introduction!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mush

    Loved this book. I started off with a 48k spectrum while still at school and then went to an Atari ST, then Amiga 500 and finally a Amiga 1200. Good to read about the history and how they all came about. Fascinating read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Traxler

    Tim Danton, editor of the UK PC Pro magazine, gives us a rundown of the most popular 19 computers in the UK from the dawn of the personal computer era. These range from 1977's Research Machines 380Z (which I wasn't aware of) to 1987's Acorn Archimedes, but the majority cluster around 1980-1985. There's a chapter on each of them, with interesting background on the inception of them (e.g. prototyping in bedrooms and garages). Danton's usual wit is there, but the homework has been done (interviews wi Tim Danton, editor of the UK PC Pro magazine, gives us a rundown of the most popular 19 computers in the UK from the dawn of the personal computer era. These range from 1977's Research Machines 380Z (which I wasn't aware of) to 1987's Acorn Archimedes, but the majority cluster around 1980-1985. There's a chapter on each of them, with interesting background on the inception of them (e.g. prototyping in bedrooms and garages). Danton's usual wit is there, but the homework has been done (interviews with key people, etc.), with about the right level of depth to make for a fun and informative read. For those who seek more detail, there's plenty out there online. As a Brit who grew up exactly at the time of the rise of these things, and who owned and learnt to program on a Sinclair ZX81 (and went into a computer career) and then owned a ZX Spectrum and Atari 520ST, this book struck a chord with me and I enjoyed it very much. If this is similar to you, then you'll enjoy this book. Anyone who didn't experience this era/didn't own machines at the time probably wouldn't be so interested. Here's the list of computers the book covers: 1977 Research Machines 380Z 1977 Commodore PET 2001 1977 Apple II 1980+81 Sinclair ZX80 + ZX81 1980 Commodore VIC-20 1981 IBM Personal Computer (5150) 1981 BBC Micro 1982 Sinclair ZX Spectrum 1982 Dragon 32 1982 Commodore 64 1983 Acorn Electron 1984 Apple Macintosh 1984 Amstrad CPC 464 1984 Sinclair QL 1985 Atari 520ST 1985 Commodore Amiga 1985 Amstrad PCW 8256 1987 Acorn Archimedes The CPUs in the above started out as 8-bit Zilog Z80 or MOS Technology 6502, and then from 1984, they began to evolve to 32-bit Motorola 68000 and ARM. There's the notable exception of the 1981 IBM PC which had a 16-bit Intel 8088 with an 8-bit bus.

  5. 5 out of 5

    EAtkin

  6. 5 out of 5

    TG Cartmill

  7. 4 out of 5

    Antonis Plevrakis

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darren Fuller

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hubert Figuière

  10. 5 out of 5

    Magnus

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bradshaw

  12. 4 out of 5

    ZoBlitz

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Yeager

  15. 5 out of 5

    Francis Augusto Medeiros-Logeay

  16. 5 out of 5

    Louis

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dean Taylor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  19. 5 out of 5

    AJ

  20. 5 out of 5

    Adam White

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Roscoe

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mario Schlosser

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark Edwards

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Burgess

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Hansen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Cameron

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

  30. 4 out of 5

    Simon P

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