Sneak was intrigued to read reports that the BBC is to screen a 'comedy drama' about the early days of the home computer industry in the UK, when men were men, computers were knocked up from kits that had to be soldered together at home, and software was almost invariably loaded from audio cassette tape.
The show is apparently to be called [bad pun alert] "Syntax Era", and will star comedians Alexander Armstrong as Clive Sinclair and Martin Freeman as Chris Curry, one of the founders of Acorn Computers.
Many of the reports Sneak has seen indicate the show's plot will centre on the rivalry between Sinclair and Acorn Computers for "home computer supremacy".
This isn't how Sneak recalls this period of IT history, it has to be said. Sinclair's ZX Spectrum and Acorn's BBC Micro computers were aimed at very different ends of the computer market.
The 'Beeb' was regarded as the Rolls-Royce of home computers, as it had a full typewriter keyboard, video outputs for a TV and monitor, and an array of ports, including analogue-to-digital converter, disk drive interface, and even a set of chip sockets for plugging in add-on ROM chips that expanded its built-in software. It was a hobbyists' dream.
By contrast, the 'Speccy' was cheap and cheerful, with a rubbery keyboard and a single expansion port that simply brought out the processor bus signals to a connector at the back of the case. It was great for learning to program, playing games, and an introduction to the world of computers.
It would be difficult to decide which of the two was best, however. While the Beeb was clearly technically superior, the Spectrum was far more affordable and had many more software titles created for it. Which would you choose?
As to the "Syntax Era", don't you think that it's great that the BBC went out of its way to find so obvious a look-alike for Clive Sinclair?
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