back to article Your chance to win the world's only handheld ZX Spectrum

Youtube Video Many of you reading this will have had a Sinclair ZX Spectrum as their first computer [or second, anyway. And it was the first one that really worked. - Ed]. With 16k or 48k RAM and a Z80 processor it was the first mass market colour home computer. Now you can win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary …

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  1. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Pirate

    Arrr! Could we be having a C64 version mate?

    You have a woman's hands, Arrr

    1. Haku

      http://www.benheck.com/commodore-64-original-hardware-laptop/

      I wish I had the space & money for the cool shop tools he's got; 3d printer, huge CNC router, laser cutter etc...

  2. Matthew Smith

    If I win, I'm going to get a bit thick felt tip and write 'ZED EX' all across the front.

    1. ISYS

      Am I the only person who stopped watching the video when he called it a ZEE X Spectrum?

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Aye

        keelhauling be too good for such a scurvy poltroon. He best be hanged from the yardarm for speaking so strangely.

      2. Refugee from Windows

        Leeds and elsewhere

        Ben Heck paid a flying visit to our office in Leeds. He was careful to call it the "Zed - X" all day. We suspect he got it in the neck from our folk here. He was on his best behaviour.

      3. H.Winter

        Australian

        Having never heard it said aloud I would also pronounce it that way.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Swarthy Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    In order to stand a chance at winning

    Do we have to get the questions right?

    1. MikeyD85

      Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

      It's all of 5 minutes with Google...

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

        Who needs Google? Some of us can remember history...

        1. MikeyD85

          Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

          Those of us who are too young to remember such events! :)

      2. Wisteela

        Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

        True, but if you're geeky enough...

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

          What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

    2. Haku
      Facepalm

      Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

      You're asking if you have to get the questions right in a compeition to stand a chance of winning?

      REALLY?!?

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

        Admittedly it would be funnier if there was a bonus for the most entertaining combination in answers. With a short text explaining the choices of course, perhaps Fry-Style.

        Still entered the expected answers (I think) because, well, DO WANT!

    3. Cliff

      Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

      >> Do we have to get the questions right? <<

      This is a reasonable question - making assumptions about project requirements leads to waste and fuckups. Many of us are engineers, and as such have a duty to confirm the *real* requirements, not our assumptions. So let's examine the evidence -

      The article says "All you have to do is sign in with your Reg account (or sign up for one), and answer three questions." - no requirement for the answers to be correct there.

      Click through "All you have to do click below to sign in or create a Reg account, then answer the three questions on the next page..." - no requirement there then. You do have to accept the terms and conditions (fair enough) link is http://whitepapers.theregister.co.uk/tac/3500

      "By downloading any of the papers in this library, or by registering for any of the live or on-demand events, you agree that your supplied personal details will be passed on to the sponsor of the paper or the event, and that this organisation or one of its trusted partners may contact you in the future by phone and/or email, with further information about their products and services. In this instance the sponsor is The Register. You additionally agree that The Register may contact you regarding related products and services. You can request a stop to such communications from The Register at any time by signing into your account and altering your preferences."

      T's and C's appear to be completely unrelated, don't have any competition rules requiring correct answers, and do not exclude errors or omissions (so retrospectively changing the competition rules isn't covered by an E&O clause).

      As such, there is NO requirement for the competition answers to be correct and as such, l answered with the first option from each drop-down and the confirmation page says "You are now entered into the draw. The very best of luck!"

      There is nothing in the rules to exclude me from the draw, my chance is the same as everyone elses, despite being pretty certain I answered incorrectly :-)

      Engineers are a pain in the arse. Fuck assumptions.

      1. David Given

        Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

        IIUIC, the reason why this kind of competition always asks really noddy questions is because then it's a quiz rather than a lottery; lotteries are regulated by law, quizes aren't.

        I suspect that if they *didn't* check you'd answered them correctly then they might have trouble explaining to The Man that this is in fact a test of skill and not simply gambling. But that's assuming that the law makes sense (which is in itself a very dubious assumption).

    4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: In order to stand a chance at winning

      "Do we have to get the questions right?"

      Who approacheth the Bridge of Death

      Must answer me

      These questions three!

      Ere the other side he see!

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I was actually keeping up with part 1 based on my very limited electronics knowledge and what I could vaguely remember about the Spectrum but then when part 2 started the breadboard suddenly had about 5 more chips and a whole load of spaghetti underneath.

    I hated it when they did that on Blue Peter too.

  6. frank ly

    Can we be told ......

    ... how many accounts there are at The Register and (eventually) how many accounts were used to enter the competition. I'll eventually be wondering about levels of enthusiasm and what sort of competition I was up against.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Can we be told ......

      I assume you want these data to calculate your chances of getting your mitts on the sweet, sweet bo[ou]nty

      A good rule of thumb for this kind of questions is "not a fucking chance in hell".

      Didn't prevent me from entering the draw though.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Can we be told ......

        I would have entered had sign-up process not decided to try and squeeze some more PI info from me.

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: Can we be told ......

          Same here. From the 'Terms and Conditions':

          "By downloading any of the papers in this library, or by registering for any of the live or on-demand events, you agree that your supplied personal details will be passed on to the sponsor of the paper or the event, and that this organisation or one of its trusted partners may contact you in the future by phone and/or email, "

          So one lucky entrant gets the prize, everybody gets spammed silly.

          'Trusted partners' = paid for the list of suckers.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Can we be told ......

            "So one lucky entrant gets the prize, everybody gets spammed silly.

            'Trusted partners' = paid for the list of suckers."

            What is stopping you from providing false details then?

            Use a throwaway email?

      2. croc

        Re: Can we be told ......

        Snowball. It is 'snowball's chance in hell'. I'd imagine that the chance of getting a good fucking in hell would be pretty good. Possibly even into the over 100% range.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    Meh

    They want extra bits of your soul to accept an answer. I could make it up I suppose!

    But I'll leave it to someone more enthusiastic.

    Now to customise my PCW8256 (which already has a 1.44 3.25" 2nd floppy, extra RAM, dual Serial port and Mouse added by me) into a "netbook" using a separate WiFi to Serial port module. and nintendo / console style wobble stick. It also has franken tilt and swivel base. So seriously lacks value as vintage computing artefact.

    I also had a stupidly slow 1 bit scanner attachment that used the printer with ribbon removed.

    SuperCalc clone, New-word Wordstar Clone, X25 PAD modem SW, for 1987 email via Telecom Gold gateways to Telex and Bitnet. Spice & DTP, Prolog, Pascal and Modula-2 all on CP/M.

    I can't remember there being any games.

    I did buy a ZX Spectrum in 1982 possibly as a Test Card Generator.

    1. Wisteela

      Re: Meh

      I have a PCW8256 dated 1985, so it's one of the first. I must use it as a terminal to a Linux box.

  8. Riku

    As a former VZ200 owner (yes, a refugee from the antipodes)

    16 or 48kB of RAM? LUXURY!

    We had to make to with a WHOPPING (no, seriously, it said that on the ad) 8kilobytes of RAM.

    And you try telling the young programmers of today that.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: As a former VZ200 owner (yes, a refugee from the antipodes)

      Heh. The lowest RAM I've ever had to monkey around has been 64k. Though I still get to amaze the young'uns with my uber-short 14-byte "Hello World!$" program. Arrrrr!

    2. MisterD

      Re: As a former VZ200 owner (yes, a refugee from the antipodes)

      I had an Acorn Atom with 2K RAM, I remember paying a little over £120 for an extra 6K. Memory sure has dropped in price.

  9. Haku

    Android ZX Spectrum emulator

    So there can be only 1 winner, but for everyone else who has an Android device there's always Marvin for portable ZX Spectrum gaming.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cz.dejvice.rc.Marvin&hl=en_GB

    Works great with a bluetooth joystick such as the Zeemote JS1 along with the Bluez IME software.

    Plus you can make Marvin load the .tap save games in real time just for the nostalgic beeeeeeeeeeeeeee bip! beeeeeee bugfhwiuehfskjfsshbfjsbf shhhhhhhhh biwouhiwugiwurgu sounds :)

    1. Yugguy

      Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator

      Does it crash out right at the end after you've waited about 20 minutes if you so much as brush against the case of your ZX81, er I mean Smartphone.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator

        No, but if I were the author, I surely would have included an "insane authenticity" option for the lulz, which (if activated) requires you to hand-trim the "tape head" using your volume buttons during loading, guided only by your ears as you try to find the sharpest pitch, unless you want to end up with a "TAPE LOADING ERROR"...

        1. Wisteela

          Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator

          I developed great skill in aligning the heads of car boot sale cassette recorders for use on a ZX Spectrum. I bet I could still do it now.

      2. Chris Stanton

        Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator

        This happened when Ben Heck was demonstrating it to a BBC interviewer on the Friday of EMFCamp.

    2. Mayhem

      Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator

      No crashes, but it does have a tendency to get on your nerves by complaining all the time.

      Seems a bit on the paranoid side too by all the permissions it asks for ;)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator

      Spectrum games on a touch screen? Yuck!

      I've tried many emulators on Android and iThing devices. They never work. The games simply were never designed for touch screen use and the control systems these things use are never as good as a good old fashioned joystick or keyboard.

      Much better to run the original hardware and use the tablet as a tape recorder to play tape images off of the web.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator (@Mr C Hill)

        The relevant Android APIs are sufficiently low level that Marvin works excellently with a vanilla bluetooth keyboard.

  10. B-D

    To me it is a Zee Ex.

    Take a look a look at the teardown again and see how Ben clicks on to the design philosophy.

    From that moment on he hand builds a brilliant US nod to an EU classic.

    Great stuff.

    1. Malcolm 1

      I was previously aware of Ben Heck from his various portable console conversions that appeared on gadget blogs from time to time. But I just spent more hours than I care to admit to watching his show on You Tube. Compelling stuff even though I'm my electronics skills stretch about as far as replacing obviously blown components with identical parts.

  11. David Glasgow

    I am so confident....

    I am answering the questions without looking at them

    1) Dead Flesh

    2) Wafadrive

    3) Bugaboo the Flea

    And the answer to the tiebreaker is "yes, of course".

    Now, where do I collect?

  12. JP19

    I wish hackers and makers would...

    put as much time and effort into thinking of something useful to hack/make as they do into making these pet rocks.

    I think the dumbest thing I have ever seen is a digital clock which displays the time as a QR code on an LCD screen. To tell the time you have to take out your phone (which almost certainly has the time displayed as soon as you turn it on) and run an app to take a photo of the LCD so it can decode the QR code and tell you what time it is.

    1. Haku

      Re: I wish hackers and makers would...

      Are hackers not allowed to be creative and have fun just for the sake of having fun?

      Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djc8FPHs45o

      1. JP19

        Re: I wish hackers and makers would...

        "Are hackers not allowed to be creative and have fun just for the sake of having fun?"

        I think that making something which has more use than showing it to other makers and saying "look what I made" would be rather more fun and satisfying.

        Coming up with something useful that you can't already buy for less than it would cost you to make is where real creativity is required and lacking.

        1. Cliff

          Re: I wish hackers and makers would...

          @JP I think the point is that in the making, in the experimentation, in the sheer random hybridisation, you might discover new skills, techniques, approaches, or at least have a bit of fun.

          1. JP19

            Re: I wish hackers and makers would...

            "@JP I think the point is that in the making"

            I make electronic things for a living. It started as a hobby and remains so. The hardest part is coming up with something useful to make for the hobby. It used to be much easier when there were far fewer electronic things you could buy and they were more expensive. I know people who made their own colour TV sets for less than they cost to buy (not counting their labour). I made my own audio equipment, I made digital clocks when they were a novelty, I made a Z80 based computer before the spectrum came out.

            Today I could not bring myself to make something as pointless as a clock displaying time as QR codes and a hand held version of an ancient crappy computer isn't much better. I stand by my comment that I wish makers would put more effort into coming up with something useful to make.

  13. cheveron

    And if you don't win ...

    a Nintendo 3DS XL with a homebrew card and Patrik Rak's excellent ZXDS emulator works just as well.

  14. Carbon life unit 5,232,556
    Trollface

    Probably a reason why it's the only one ...

    Ooooh!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Uh? a ZX Spectrum?

    Wake me up when it is a handheld Amiga and handheld N64. (ok the last one is more a console but I don't care)

  16. raving angry loony

    ZEE Ex?

    ZEE Ex? Fucking ZEE Ex? Fuck him with a rusty chainsaw! I will not compete for a "ZEE Ex".

  17. Deadly Headshot

    "the first mass market colour home computer"?

    "the first mass market colour home computer"? The Beeb was released a year earlier!

    1. Wisteela

      Re: "the first mass market colour home computer"?

      But you couldn't get a BBC Micro until 1982, and the ZX Spectrum was way cheaper.

    2. Malcolm 1

      Re: "the first mass market colour home computer"?

      The Beeb was far too expensive to be mass market, only the rich kids had them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the first mass market colour home computer"?

      The Beeb may have been introduced 4 months before the Spectrum, but only managed about 20% of the Spectrum sales.

      I think that makes the Spectrum the winner of the "mass market home computer" Blue Peter badge ;)

  18. DropBear Silver badge
    FAIL

    Just got around to finally watch the vids - what can I say... calling that 'bodging' would be far too kind; it's the sort of thing one might cobble together on an alternate universe electronics-themed episode of "Scrapheap Challenge". FFS, 10-year-olds have already managed to figure out to how to order their ten-pack of custom PCBs for ten bucks from China whenever they make anything more complicated than a blinking LED! To each his own, but I for one prefer to take some pride in my work and quite frankly, having seen those vids, I have some urgent eye-bleaching to do. Now 'scuse me...

    1. Wisteela

      Can we see you do better then, oh great one?

  19. TwistUrCapBack

    AARRGH

    It's not a "Zee x" spectrum ..

    It's a "Zed x" spectrum.

    Bastard

  20. Steve Potter

    So Ben, your not sure why elsewhere its called a Zed X spectrum?... well over here WE invented the language, and we pronounce it ZED, does that give you a clue?

  21. splodge
    Trollface

    Zee Ex Spectrum? Never heard of it. I thought I stood the chance of winning a Zed Ex Spectrum.

  22. Spoonsinger
    Windows

    What are you waiting for?

    Erm, I was waiting for Sir Sinclair to pop and say "Hey! You! No! You can't go sticking my royally appointed name on any old horribly designed product. I could do that myself. Besides everyone knows that a PSION series 5 makes a cooler looking Spectrum Emulator even if it's on a black on grey screen." (His words probably not mine).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somebody shut those bloody vikings up!

    Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam ...

    Which is all I'll get if I enter!

  24. rajivdx

    Why destroy a pristine ZX Spectrum? The Z80 is still available today!

    The Z80 is still available today in tiny QFP package:

    http://au.element14.com/zilog/ez80l92az020sg/mcu-8bit-ez80-20mhz-lqfp-100/dp/2113949

    Use that, some external RAM, some CPLD for the video controller and flash the EEPROM into the internal ROM of the Z80 and you are done!

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