I think that referring to any Sinclair product as hifi would require significant redefinition of that word!
We all know Sir Clive Sinclair, the sometimes eccentric British boffin whose early simple, cheap and often kit-assembled devices helped usher in the UK's home computer revolution. You may also have seen the irreverent 2009 BBC drama Micro Men, which chronicled Sir Clive's failed battle with his own ex-employee and Acorn co- …
The Sinclair Neoteric 60 was very highly rated by HiFi News and The Gramophone at the time.
I've been trying to find one for ages but not many were made. Apparently they were very difficult to make because of their small size and that caused reliability issues with overheating.
Still. I'd have one if I could find one.
This post has been deleted by its author
Indeed we should celebrate Westwood instead of Sugar. I often wish people would remember that Sugar's talent was employing bloody good engineers, namely Roland Perry, and Cliff Lawson, as well as people like Richard Clayton at Locomotive.
Like Westwood it was these guys who sat in the background doing the hard work that made their bosses very rich indeed.
So Jim Westwood we salute you, and all the other guys who sat in the background doing all the hard work that gave us so many wonderful computers and electronics. I may now carry around a iPhone, tablet and a laptop but computing just isn't as fun anymore.
"Now you can watch a little TV everywhere" very similar font and text to Apple's current advertising. Wonder where they got that idea from - imitation is the biggest form of flattery. And wonder if apple's marketing veep ever knew/will know this - what was I reading here earlier about apple and innovation/lack of it hmmm...
Sinclair's IC12 Audio amp started life as a Plessey low-wattage audio output chip. Seconds were sold off to Radiospares, who sold it as a 6 watt audio amp; their seconds were passed to Sinclair, who stuck the big finned heatsink on top and passed it off as 12 watts. Can't for the life of me remember whether it was RMS, peak or "music power", though. I had a Sinclair FM radio, which was also matchbox size; it ran on 2 mercury button cells. His calculators were RPN, just like the early HP calculators, I think. Can anyone confirm?
Sinclair's ability was not only to employ bloody good engineers - but to let them get on with it.
He's quoted in one of the books about British industry that "employs an engineer on a salary of 20,000 but quibbles over buying them a 20quid tool to do their job" .
Unfortunately this attitude eventually sent the TV outfit bust when everybody in the village could apparently bill anything to Sinclair withotu question
It is indeed commonly written that the Sinclair calculators used RPN. I have also seen it written, and find it plausible but can't find the reference again, that the RPN they used wasn't proper formal RPN but some slightly bastardised form of RPN required to work around some limitation or other in the calculator's chippery.
Although pictured there was no mention of the Sinclair Cambridge assemble-it-yourself calculator which retailed, if I remember correctly, for 29.95 pounds.
After several false starts I finally had mine going and - due to an accident of birth date - I was the first person in my school with a real electronic calculator.
Four functions, the possibility of spelling SheLLOIL and BOOBIES, and instructions for iteratively calculating square roots using Newton-Raphson - my fingers generated a motor memory so I could calculate square roots in seconds, just like today's youth can send an SMS faster than I can make a phone call.
Just two or three years later I could buy a CBM calculator that did everything I ever needed at university for about the same price - but the Sinclair was the only calculator I was ever proud of.
Sadly I had no sense of history so although I still have my slide rule - which I must bring out sometime to frighten my children - my Cambridge has long disappeared
Yes it was small but it was also.
1) Multi-standard. Designed to operate *anywhere* in the world. The core seemed to be some fiendishly clever Ferranti ASIC or PLA (There was speculation but I don't think they ever opened up the design even as far as block diagram level. It seems impossible that it could have been entirely digital and I'm not sure people were producing analogue PLA's at the time.
2) The CRT using a 3rd set of electrodes to bend the picture 90deg which (IIRC) was patteneted by Denis Gabor around the time he was inventing holography.
3) The glass was vacuum formed. This is normally only associated with plastic (probably because the softening temperature of the plastics of the time were about 1/6 that of glass).
People speculated it could be the basis of a *projection* TV as well but that never went anywhere.
On the upside it seems to have given the team PLA (or as Ferranti called them ULA's) which got them set up for doing the ZX80.
Incidentally from some of the comments it would seem his hardware design was sound but (and I think this is a *recurring* theme in UK engineering) the *production* engineering (especially quality control on PCBs and other stuff) was at times a bit s**t.
Note that he had *no* degree.
It seems impossible for *any* future UK generation of engineers to come up as he came up. Essentially hardware hacking *lots* of circuits and studying how they worked by twiddling with them.
Not very *formal* but it seems to have been quite effective.