ZX81 Feedback

When I was about 12 years old, I started to program on a little computer called the ZX81, an amazing machine that had just been released. It was the first really popular home computer and by today’s standards it was ridiculously limited. A modern computer has about 4 Gigabyes of RAM or more, and often has a hard disc of 1 Terabyte. In contrast, the ZX81 had the tiny RAM working memory of 1K and no hard disk at all.

Now, a RAM of 1K is tiny, so small that the computer had to compile each line of code as you entered it. On a modern computer, you would enter all the statements of the code and then compile it using today’s enormous RAM. You only know that you have made a mistake in your syntax when you compile it.
On the ZX81, if you made a syntax error in a statement, the computer told you as soon as you pressed the Enter key! And it told you very clearly with a big “SYNTAX ERROR” message.
Life is like that, too, you know. You always get immediate feedback, even if you don’t notice it at the time. When you really begin to notice the feedback that you get after each step, you’ll realize that those things that used to seem to be limits were actually not so limiting at all.

I loved that old computer. It ran a version of Microsoft Basic, probably the best Microsoft product that I ever used and certainly the most reliable 😉
It didn’t seem limiting at all. On the contrary, we wrote whole games within that 1K and had such fun and creativity flow.

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