March 19th, 2013
A slice of prime early 1980s computing nostalgia, served up for British computer geeks of a certain age by The Register:
They would, Clive Sinclair claimed on 23 April 1982, revolutionise home computer storage. Significantly cheaper than the established 5.25-inch and emerging 3.5-inch floppy drives of the time – though not as capacious or as fast to serve up files – 'Uncle' Clive's new toy would "change the face of personal computing", Sinclair Research's advertising puffed.
Yet this "remarkable breakthrough at a remarkable price" would take more than 18 months more to come to market. In the meantime, it would become a byword for delays and disappointment – and this in an era when almost every promised product arrived late.
Sinclair's revolutionary product was the ZX Microdrive. This is its story. [...]
It was a pity that Sinclair botched the ZX Microdrive so badly: it was a tragedy that the QL relied upon Microdrives.1 I tell you, with floppy disk drives, a decent keyboard and a finished operating system, the QL could've been a contender.
- And an inadequate keyboard. And firmware that required more space on the built-in ROM than could fit on that ROM, leaving early users with no choice but to to plug in an external ROM card holding the remainder of their computer's operating system. ↩