Retrochallenge 2010
      Winter Warmup
      Mark Wickens
      4-Jan-2010

                                        Comp-tronics

      THE MAGAZINE OF TOMORROW, April 1982, 50p

      * Review of the Acorn Atom
      * also the ZX81
      * Lots of programs, circuits and Ads
      * Also a review of the 'Computer Programme'

      CompTronics Magazine

      Can you tell I was into computers as a kid? At the tender age of 13, myself,
      Nigel Rainer and Andrew Sharp penned this literary genius for a class
      assignment. It was completely lost in the mist of time - when I turned 14 I went
      to a different school to the other two and wasn't to meet Andrew Sharp again
      until some 18 years later. Nigel Rainer has eluded the both of us - neither of
      us have a clue where he's got to. Andrew, unlike myself, had moved relatively
      little and was therefore afforded the luxury of keeping hold of such little
      gems. I'd thrown my school work and college work away years ago. Although the
      school work would be fun to look back on, I've really missed the college notes,
      program listings etc. as I used VAXen and M68K kit which have been the
      technologies I've dabbled in the most since I started getting all retro.

      Of all the content I think the most interesting is page 19:

                                   Computers on the Market

                      The best liked computers out.
                      Acorn Atom      - £150 built
                      ZX81            - £69.95 built
                      Apple II        - £549
                      BBC Micro       - £195 - £210
                      ZX80            - £99.95

      It's no wonder Sir Clive sold so many ZX81s when you consider how much he was
      undercutting the rest of the market. Apple II may have been a fantastic bit of
      kit, but boy did you pay for it! There's also an Acorn Atom order form stapled
      to the rear cover.

      Here is my review of the ZX81:

                 Sinclair's new computer made a breakthrough at the
              computer fair this week. The Comp-tronics stall at the
              fair sold over 5,000 ZX81's in two days.
                 The ZX81 comprises of only four chips and a handful of
              components. This simple program illustrates the use of
              loops.

              10 PRINT "*"
              20 GOTO 10
              30 END

                 It also illustrates the unique syntax-check which
              stops the program after its filled the screen. One of our
              readers described it as simply "Magnificent". It is true,
              this is a remarcable (sic) computer for under £70.
                 Although it only runs on 1k, it out runs most of the
              more expensive computers. It has over 50
              statements/commands and can be boosted to 16k (with the
              16k plug-in memory pack).
                 Some people are set back by the touch-pad keyboard but
              after a while I got used to it and then it wasn't so bad.
                 The one button command entry soon made the keyboard's
              problem obscelete.
                 The programming manual is full of information and some
              of the problems do stretch the computer to its limits.
                 It tells you what to do if the program does not work
              and a lot of other useful information. The manually
              operated graphic give brilliant pictures and are very
              easy to use.
                 The computer can also runs (sic) in machine code which
              gives very fast graphics in animated displays for games.
              Who needs an Atari when the ZX81 has so much software to
              offer. Tapes, listings, control ports, music. You name
              it, and someone can write a program about it.
      
      You can see the full 20 page magazine (including the teachers stapelled-on
      comments on the back page) here in PDF format:

      Comp-tronics Magazine, April 1982