"My first computers" forms a muddled history, I had some toy computers, some Micros, and some PCs before I started building my own desktops.

For a while I thought my first toy computer was this, a "VTech PreComputer 1000". It was a Christmas present and cost around 50 brand new:

I remember enjoying this computer a lot. It required batteries until my mum accepted that it wasn't practical to keep supplying me with these, so she relented and bought me a power adaptor. I still have that universal power adaptor to this day!

I remember working my way through general knowledge quizzes, trying to remember all of the answers so I could improve my score, there was a typing tutor which went a long way to teach me how to touch-type, and there was even a BASIC programming section where I could write programs, either from the instruction manual, or my own, typically by editing the pre-written stuff; I think mostly I got the computer to play tunes from sequences of beeps. All this from a single-line display.

However, I came across a photograph not too long ago, taken before this time, of me beavering away on one of these:

I can now remember the process of typing out commands on that keyboard... it was terrible! All too easily a press wouldn't be recognised, or it would input twice, grr! But like the Pre Computer, and other computers that would follow, I thoroughly enjoyed getting these devices to do "clever things".

After the PreComputer 2000 I finally got into Micro Computers. I got one or two second hand Acorn Micros from the car boot sales we attended back then, but sadly these old things were problematic and frustrating faulty; I made no progress with them.

Perhaps realising my despair and my desire to be programming, for another Christmas my mum got me a ZX Spectrum+, likely a job-lot from another car boot. This was one of my most memorable presents ever!

Other ZX Spectrums would follow, along with a Commodore 64 I was given, and some BBC Micros, but I think this one was my favourite.

- BMH Online -