Personal computing took a big step forward in the early 1980s with the introduction of Sir Clive Sinclair's small Z80 processor based 'micro-computers'. Arguably these affordable little computers represent the very beginnings of personal and home computing in numerous countries. This was undoubtedly true for myself living in the UK. The Spectrum rapidly became the most common and accessible computer and was the only choice for my archaeological PITCALC program.
The Spectrum's huge popularity and success is largely due to it's role as a home electronic games machine, not because of the opportunities it affords the serious home computer hobbyist. This is not so surprising to us now when we see the effect 'gamers' are still having on the ever increasing speed and capacity of the modern personal computer. Although perhaps 'gamers' is no longer a suitable description since PC games have converged with numerous new home interests and entertainments.
With such availability of emulators, games and other programs on the Internet the Spectrum is likely to be around for some time. Spectrum 'stuff' has never been easier to obtain and search engines will return thousands of pages with Spectrum material. I am very pleased to acknowledge the recent help I have received from contributers to the World of Spectrum site and forum. Thanks especially to Steve Brown for transferring my original PITCALC tape to tzx format.
Twenty years on there is now a surprising number of PC Spectrum emulators available. Visit World of Spectrum for a good introductory list.
SpectrumAnywhere is a freeware emulator which gives an option for a very realistic impression of loading and running a real ZX Spectrum cassette tape while viewing on an old TV screen. Great fun for those seeking a nostalgic trip back to early days of home computing.
Having equiped your PC with a Spectrum emulator and mastered PITCALC you might like to explore a Spectrum Web Ring....or perhaps browse through the pages of Sinclair User, the longest running commercial Spectrum-related magazine. You might even find your way to a 1984 PITCALC article .