Clive Sinclair: hero or zero?

Y'know, other stuff, Sinclair related.
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Re: Clive Sinclair: hero or zero?

Post by MonkZy » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:34 pm

@beanz Maybe I am way too harsh on the Microdrive. I had a Waferdrive system which is very similar in operation and had many hours of joy with it. Killing my buddies 3D Ant Atttack microdrive cassette was an absolutely awful experience, so it might have tainted my view of the device. The setup belonging to my friend was quite likely a very early version. I guess many people have fond memories of microdrives. Compared to all of the floppy based systems they were very affordable, which was always Clives goal.
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Re: Clive Sinclair: hero or zero?

Post by AndyC » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:16 pm

Mike Davies wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:02 pm
The thing is, Sir Clive was right about the QL from a technology curve perspective. Switching from the Z80 to the 68000. Where is the Z80 now in mainstream computing? Why did it stop being a viable processor? Hindsight says computing had to evolve. Amstrad realised this too, when they introduced the PCW with the Intel 8088 processor. Intel's path from that 8-bit chip, led the evolution through the 16-bit (80286/80386/80486) and 32-bit computing (Pentium), and eventually 64-bit computing.
The PCW was a Z80 based system, and Intels chips were fully 32-bit from the 386 (the 286 being 32-bit ish), but the general point is right. Choosing the 68000 line was not a bad decision by Sinclair, but going with the 68008, an 8-bit variant, was a genuinely terrible choice as it basically crippled the performance and didn't really cut costs enough overall. And a lot of the other aspects of the system design, right down to assuming a 64K ROM would be "enough", were horribly short sighted choices that weren't really paying attention to where computers were going.
Mike Davies wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:02 pm
I will note, in the CRT vs LCD, I feel Sir Clive was right at that time. I recall I was still using a 19-inch CRT monitor in 2004, LCDs took a long long time to become the de facto standard. Gosh, I remember trying to play WEC Le Mans on the Z80 emulator on a laptop with a Passive Matrix LCD display in 2002 (one of those £700 Novatech laptops), the ghosting of sprites, far far worse than a trusty CRT.
CRT made sense for plugged in systems for some time to come, but again it was a poor choice in a portable system. It needed too much space and and required far too much power, LCD was a more obvious choice although arguably not really up to the required quality for a portable TV. Which should have been a good reason to shelve the idea temporarily or divert resources into making better LCDs. I think Clive's biggest flaw was occasionally not spotting that he needed to give a bit of time here and there for technology to improve (or drop in cost) before pushing through his ideas. And probably a need to see that he'd backed the wrong horse - by the time the QL launched it was so obvious that backing floppy discs of some description (even if it had been 3" discs like Amstrad did) made way more sense that messing around with microdrives.
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