Anybody else remember this ?

Although my first computer was the famous and popular Sinclair Spectrum, the first computer I actually used was this..


The Research Machines 380Z, was designed by RM for the schools market, it was never a good looking machine, or anywhere near as successful as the BBC Micro or Apple II, but I will always have a soft spot for it.

This example is from the UK National Museum of Computing based at Bletchley Park, and as highlighted by, it is in typical British fashion once again running out of money.

The British establishment has never really appreciated technology or our heritage when it comes to the development of computing, please if you can visit the site and make a donation.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

4 replies on “Anybody else remember this ?”

I remember it, I think it must have been the first computer I ever saw, probably around 1982. It was the only computer in the school, and a thing of wonder. However, the idea you could write software to make a computer do what you wanted didn’t occur to me until I saw a friend typing listings into the ZX81 his father had bought.

I was hooked, and wanted one, but as Christmas drew nearer I coveted the Sinclair Spectrum as it started appearing in glossy ads. Then it was the Dragon 32, as it had a proper keyboard. Despite it being waaay over the budget I figured Santa was able to spring for, I got one.

From the moment I unwrapped it and devoured the manual, I was a programmer 🙂

The first PC I ever used is at the back left of your pic – a Commodore PET.

Back in 1977 as a school boy in Newquay, we would write programs in BASIC on paper grids, send them to Cambourne School of Mines where they were run on their main frame, and a week later, we would get a chance to de-bug them when we got a report saying that it had fallen over on line 15.

The PET gave us our first ever chance to develop programmes to completion in less than a term.

We had labs full of them for Geography teaching at Middlesex University, which sadly has been subsumed into the School of Health and Social Sciences. At the time RM seemed set to take a significant slice of the academic computing scene. I well remember the distinctly floppy large size floppy discs and clunky (literally) performance. But they allowed us to run some mightily impressive, for the times, software developed in-house by one of our academics.

The University of Bath also have a Museum of Computing at Swindon that was featured a few months ago on the video podcast. To find the episodes go to and then click the ‘feature episodes’ tab at the top (zzzzz) and then hit the next key at the bottom right until you land on “Retro Gadgets part 1& 2” April 18th. Quite a good watch if you are over 30.

(Just heard your bit on the WTP Ed, very smooth and professional!)

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