Hardware Time Line

The hardware I used personally from my office between 1967 and 2017 starting with Computer Time-Sharing moving onto first generation microcomputers, the MSDOS and finally to Windows Computers. Over these years I move from a computer where I could use 15k of RAM to one with 8 Gig of RAM. Moving from an ASR33 teletype terminal to a full colour screen and a colour laser printer.

Computers (desk top, portable and home), Peripherals (Input Devices, Printers, Displays, etc), Storage (offline and online), Communications and Other Technology (calculators, watches etc).

Wherever possible I show costs at the time and (in square brackets) cost today.

Desk Top Computing Timeline

The table below shows the list of the main desktop computers that I have purchased and used extensively. For each I show the year of purchase, key specifications and the cost. I also used and describe some other desktop computers and although not detailed in the table they are described later.

Year Computer Processor System   RAM Offline Storage HDD Display Printer Ports Cost
1967 Mark I Time Sharing       15Kb Paper Tape N/A Teletype RS232 10/hour
1980 TRS80 Model 1 Zilog Z80A   1.77MHz 48Kb 5.25" 85k Floppy Disc N/A 16 rows 64 character monochrome Parallel & RS232 2000
1983 TRS80 Model 3 Zilog Z80   2.03MHz 48Kb 5.25" 170k Floppy Disc 5Mb 16 rows 64 character monochrome Parallel 1450
1984 Tandy Model 1000 Intel 8088 MSDOS 4.77MHz 640Kb

5.25" 360k Floppy Disc

N/A monochrome Parallel 915
1988 Epson PCAX40 Intel 80286 MSDOS   640KB 3.5" - 320Kb & 1.2MB 40Mb Eizo Colour Parallel 1998
1994 Tiny Pentium 60 MSDOS 142MHz 7808Kb CD ROM 428Mb 14 inch colour Parallel 1535
1998 Fujitsu Myrica AMD K6-2 98 400MHz 64Mb CD-ROM 10Gb 17 inch colour Parallel 900
2006 Dell Pentium 4 XP 2.80GHz 1Gb CD-ROM/DVD 71Gb 14 inch flat screen colour Parallel & USB 550
2012 Zoostorm Pentium G840 8.1 2.80GHz 6Gb CD-ROM/DVD 457Gb 21 inch flat screen colour USB 330

1967 - Mark I Time-Sharing Computer

This involved users phoning a remote computer over ordinary telephone lines. In my office, I had a Teletype (typewriter-type terminal) and a modem. When I wanted to use the time-sharing computer I dialed the number of a remote computer that was shared with a couple of dozen others. (The Mark 1 logo below was scanned from a user guide.)

I communicated with the remote computer at 110 bits per second (10 characters per second)/ On the remote computer I had about 15k of RAM for my software. I stored software off-line on paper tape. Yet despite this I managed to do a huge amount of significant work! In fact I reckoned that in my first six months of (infrequent) use I did five years of calculations.

The first Time-Sharing Computer that I used from Pittsfield MA was located in Schenectady, NY - about 50 miles away. It consisted of a GE235 mainframe with a Datanet 30 multiplexor handling the phone calls from individual users. The GE235 used (magnetic) core memory and required air conditioning. The air conditioning need was illustrated in winter 1969 when it failed. The operating room staff then opened the windows to use "natural" air conditioning. Unfortunately, they did not close the windows and overnight the outside temperature went well below zero. It then took a couple of days to thaw out the computer and put it back online!.

Time-sharing was charged for on a usage basis with connect time and central processor time charged for separately. Together, typically, at the time these cost 10 per hour [ / hour today] (You may wish to consider how many hours you spend each year using a computer and calculate what this would cost if you were charged at 10 per hour). Besides the connect and processor time, you had the cost of telephone usage and were charged for online storage!

1970 - Mark III Time-Sharing Computer

Although Mark 1 Time-Sharing was in use in the UK until about 1975, a more powerful system (Mark II and then Mark III) was available from the late 1960s. Mark II ran on GE 600 (subsequently Honeywell 6000) computers. You had, substantially, more memory for software (if I remember correctly 36k bytes). Communication speed trebled (from 10 characters per second to 30 characters per second). As hardware was very expensive and because time-sharing use was during the working day (9 to 5) it was attractive for GE to setup two "Super Centers" to serve the whole world. One of these was in Bethesda, Maryland and the other in Cleveland, Ohio. Users in Europe would phone a (reasonably) local phone number and communicate across the Atlantic by satellite and undersea cable. A downside was that television traffic took precedence and, occasionally, the transatlantic links disappeared! The Mark III service offered a cloud computing service and it could be used for e-mail. Unfortunately, the telephone companies took action to prevent e-mail and threatened to remove computer links if the e-mail was between different companies.

As for Mark 1 Tine-sharing charges were on a connect and processor time useage and typically this was 50 per hour. (By 1980, my part-time, infrequent use was costing me about 2500 per year!)

1977 - Nascom Computer Kit

My initial attempt to move into micro-computers was the Nascom Computer Kit. The Nascom microcomputer was a primitive single board computer that you bought as a kit for 197.50 and soldered together, added a keyboard and a power supply. It was based on the Zilog Z80 chip running at 2MHz and had 2k RAM (with 1k for the screen display and 1k for your program). I was promised that I could buy an additional RAM card. But, when this did not arrive I asked for my money back. When this did not happen I sued in the County Court and won! Later, when Nascom tried to get the BBC contract, I mentioned my problems in the computer press - Nascom did not get the contract. My Nascom board is on display at the Museum of Computing .

<manual cover - scanned copy of the manual

1978 - Research Machines RM380Z

The first microcomputer I used was the Research Machines RM380Z with 64k RAM, a 5.25 inch floppy disc with a Z80 microprocessor running at 4MHz. But, with Moore's Law and the fact that in a few years my own "personal computer" had increased from 15k RAM to 64k RAM it was obvious that microcomputers would soon surpass Computer Time-Sharing

A picture of the Research Machines RM380Z microcomputer.

Research Machines RM380Z

1980 - TRS80 Model 1

The second computer I bought in 1980 was the top-of-the-line TRS-80 Model 1 with 48k of RAM, two 85k Floppy Disc drives, a green screen with 16 lines of 64 characters and a BASIC interpreter - a veritable snip at just over 2,000 ($3,700). In software terms a dream but the hardware was not - especially the connection between the keyboard and the expansion interface.

TRS80 Model 1 Computer

My computer was top of the line. Entry level had 4k of RAM, stored software on tape cassettes and could only display upper case characters on a TV set. My TRS80 Model 1 is on display at the Museum of Computing .

1983 - Tandy TRS80 Model 3

The problems with the TRS80 Model 1 hardware led me to upgrading to their Model III. Basically, this was a Model 1 repackaged into a single unit with the same specification except it had larger floppy discs (178k). However, the Model 3 could read Model 1 discs and this made software transfer a doodle. My TS80 Model 3 is on display at the Museum of Computing .

Picture of a Tandy Model 3 computer

1983 - Apple II Clone

As several of my customers and prospects were using Apple IIs I needed to buy one. Happily, there was a clone available at about 400 rather than Apple's 850. This was only the mainframe (keyboard, mother board and RAM), I had to buy a disc interface, disk drives, a printer interface and a display. I rather went off Apple when I discovered that graphic memory was in the middle of program memory and wiped out a program that I had just spent three hours typing in!

1984 - Tandy 1000

Since 1980, I had worked closely with Tandy In the UK and so it was natural for me to go to them to purchase my first IBM Compatible PC after they launched their compatible (the Tandy 1000) in 1984. Over subsequent years, I bought other Tandy 1000s including the Hard Disc version (Tandy 1000HD) and Tandy 1000EX. A big plus was the ability for the Tandy 1000 to read Tandy Model 3 discs and with translation software (that worked) eased my transfer of software from my Tandy Model 3 to MSDOS. A big negative was that the expansion cards where shorter than the IBM PC standard and this limited choice. I upgraded one of my Tandy 1000s by adding a 30Meg Hard drive.

198? - Epson PCAX

This computer was an AT (Advanced Technology) based on the Intel 80286 chip with maximum MSDOS memory (640KB) and a 17 inch colour montitor. However I eventually had to add 2 Megabytes of extended memory for proper desktop publishing using my laser printer. Also, later, I extended the life of the computer by adding an IIT Math Co-Processor. Also, with this computer I bought a mouse and software to enebme me to use it with MSDOS..

<add scan of manual>

1994 - Tiny

This computer had a first generation Pentium chip that had a design fault and was changed by the supplier..

1998 - Fujitsu

This computer was in place of the PCS Direct computer that was supplied with a faulty floppy disc drive. As the advertisment below shows I bought it from Tesco! The computer worked well until 2006 when virus protection software bought from PC World destroyed the computer.

2006 - Dell

I bought this computer to replace my Fujitsu computer that had been destroyed by McAfee Virus software.

2012 - Zoostorm

As I needed to check that my simulations ran on Windows 8 and my XP desktop computers were getting a little long-in-the-tooth I decided to buy a new desktop - with 6 gig RAM and a 457 gig Hard disk and a CD/DVD drive.

Portable Computing Timeline

Year Computer Processor System   RAM Offline Storage HDD Display Ports Cost
1985 Apricot Portable Intel 8086 MSDOS 5 MHz 256 Kb 3.5" 720k None 25 lines 80 characters monochrome Centronic 753
1989 Tandy 1400 Laptop NEC V20 MSDOS 4.77MHz 640 Kb 2 x 3.5" 720k None 25 lines 80 characters monochrome Centronic  
1995 Olivetti Laptop   MSDOS           Centronic  
  Toshiba Laptop   Windows 98     3.5"     Centronic  
2007 Dell Laptop   XP     USB & CD/DVD ROM     Centronic 690
      Vista             412
  Dell Netbook   Windows 7     USB       199
  ASUS Intel Celeron Windows 10 1.6GHz 8 Gb USB & CD/DVD ROM 1 Tbyte 1600 x 900 colour   229

1970s - Portable Terminals

Besides teletypes, portable terminals (like the Silent 700 terminal) became available. Some of these had an integrated acoustic coupler. The Silent 700 printed on thermal paper and hence was quiet. Unfortunately, the printout faded and if heated (for example by resting a coffee cup on printout or leaving in the sun) it blackened!

1980 - 1986 Portability!

Although in the early 1980s there were some (luggable), mains portables These were like a sewing machine in terms of size and weight and I found it just as easy to have custom cases made for my desk tops that I could put in the back of my car. One of these went with me to Bahrain for the first Benson & Hedges Management Challenge final. (I got a hernia in 2005 caused by carrying these computers.)

1986 - Apricot Portable

Having carried a desk top computer in several boxes around the Arabian Gulf as part of the Benson & Hedges Management Challenge I was faced with doing the same thing running the Grand Final in Hong Kong and so I bought an Apricot Portable Computer.

This was a mains (rather than battery) portable with 256k RAM, a 80-column/25-line LCD display, a 3.5 inch floppy disc and came in its own carrying case. The keyboard was separate from the mainframe and communicated with it using an infrared signal - great until you placed something in the way of the signal.

1989 - Tandy 1400 Laptop

In 1989 I bought a Tandy 1400 Portable Computer. Unlike the Apricot Portable this was a true portable with a battery pack. It had two 3.5 inch floppy drives, 640k RAM, a 640 x 200 monochrome display. The really nice feature was that the floppy drives faced forward. Eventually, after heavy use, the display failed.

1995 - Olivetti Laptop

On winning my Churchill Fellowship, I replaced my Tandy with an Olivetti Laptop. This failed soon after purchase and hade to be repaired. More annoying was the fact that the video output socket was not standard and this caused an embarrassment when speaking at an ASTD conference. The computer ran MSDOS, had a 3.25 inch floppy drive and a monochrome LCD display. Instead of a mouse it had a trackball.

???? - Toshiba Laptop

This had On

2006 - Dell Laptop

XP laptop - cost 690comp

2007 - Laptop

I bought this to see if my business simulations would run on Windows Vista.

2010 - Dell Netbook

I bought this to see if my business simulations would run on Windows 7 - small, light but incredibly SLOW!. It did not have a CD ROM drive but it did have USB Ports and it only cost me 199.

2015 - Asus Laptop

I bought this to see if my business simulations would run on Windows 10. The wireless card failed after 11 months but I was able to get a replacement under warrantee from Argos.

Home Computer Time Line

1980 - Sinclair ZX80

In 1980 I bought two microcomputers - the Sinclair ZX80 - really a "toy" with 1k of RAM, integer BASIC but costing less than 100. It helped me get a job at the prestigious Ashridge Management College.

1981 - Sinclair ZX81

In 1981 Sinclair I bought out an up graded version - the Sinclair ZX81 - really a "toy" with more of RAM, better BASIC but still costing less than 100. Besides the extra RAM on board you could buy an additional 16k RAM to plug into an expansion port.

1982 - Sinclair Spectrum

This year I bought a Sinclair Spectrum. With colour graphics and 48k of RAM is was a bargain at 175 (the Apple II at the same time with the same amount of RAM cost 800 (albeit with a better keyboard!)) Later I bought an expansion interface with "stringy floppies and a ZX printer for 155.

1983 - Various Home Computers

As part of the TEMEwork national engineering cost I provided decision support software running on a range of home computers..

1983 - BBC Microcomputer

I obtained a BBC Microcomputer as part of my national engineering contest (TEMEwork). As for other home computers you stored data on cassette tapes but could use floppy discs and later I purchased a floppy drive.

1984 - Sinclair QL

The Sinclair QL (Quantum Leap) was the last Sinclair computer I purchased - I'm not sure why I bought it. It cost me 399. It had 128Kb of RAM, an OK keyboard and two (virtually useless) 128k tape drives. Arguably. the QL was an attempt for Sinclair Research to get into the office computer market but by then the IBM PC had become the defacto standard. FUD Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

Input Device Time Line (Keyboards, Mice, Etc.)


Teletype: The initial Time Sharing Terminal was the Teletype. and you could only enter upper case letters, numbers, punctuation and some specail characters (see below).

Atthough the Teletype Keyboard resembled the QWERTY typewriter keyboard it had several keys that were appropriate when using the telegraph - ESC (escape), CTRL (control), BREAK. BACK UP (Backspace) that migrated to the Personal Computer keyboard' ASR stood for Auto Send and Receive - that is to say besides the keyboard and mechanical printer there was a paper tape punch and reader to eable software to be stored and loaded.

Ergonomic Keyboards: In the early 1990s having used Personal Computers for about a quarter of a century I began to suffer very badly from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) and Carpet Tunnel Syndrome because of my use of the standard keyboard. I could only use the computer for an hour od so until my arm started aching badly. I wore splints at night, was on pain killers, had steroid injections, physiotherapy, acupuncture and my GP even suggested cutting my hands off (medical humour?). Eventually I decided to try an ergonomic keyboard - within days the problem was solved and ever since I have used a keyboad where the keys are arranged in a shallow V rather than in parallel lines. I'm currently writing this on a Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard (below).

When using a Laptop for extended periods. RSI reoccurs unless I plug in an external keyboard.


I'm ambivalent about mice and have stated "if I was meant to use a mouse I would have been born a cat (and lying in the sun being stroked by my mistress would be nice! The problem I have with mice is that positioning and unwanted actions. For example when repositioning a Window on the screen, if I get it too close to the top Windows automatically makes it full size causing me to swear and the resize down to the size I wamted,  I bought my first mouse in 1988 for about 35 (90 today). This year I bought a wireless mouse for  2.45.

Touch Pads

I HATE Laptop touch pads and the first tihing I do when I use a Laptop is to plug in a mouse.

Printer Timeline

1967 - The Teletype

The initial Time Sharing Terminal was the ASR33 or ASR35 Teletype. ASR stood for Auto Send and Receive - that is to say besides the keyboard and mechanical printer there was a paper tape punch and reader. A teletype could only print uppercase characters, punctuation and other characters associated with telegraph communication. They were heavy and noisy. The noise problem was partially ameliorated with an acoustic cover that made it very heavy rather than just heavy!

More information about the teletype

1980 - Base 2 Printer

My first printer was a Base 2 dot matrix printer with an RS232 and a Centronics interface. Mine failed in a few months and the retailer (Watford Electronics) refused a refund.

1981 - Epson MX100 Printer

In I purcashed an Epson MX100 printer and eventuall a second - both worked reliably for many years. The MX100 was a nine pin dot matrix printer, capable of printing on A3 multipart paper with a tractor mechanism. The tractor allowed me to print on three part paper allowing several copies of results to be printed for participants. As the printer was a bottleneck another advantage of the Epson was that I could add buffer memory so the computer could continue working rather than wait for the printer to catch up. However, these buffers were not cheap costing about $150. Quality was not great as it printed at 60 dots per inch horizontally and 72 dpi vertically. But printing on A3 papare and photo reducing to A5 produced acceptable quality for documentation.

Epson MX 100 dot matrix printer.

1981 Desk Top Publishing Example

1984 - Juki Daisy Wheel Printer

Although my dot matrix printer for most printing I wanted higher quality for letters and so bought a Juki Daisy Wheel Printer. It worked well but was exceptionally noisy and this limited my use of the printer. Info about page feeder

<scanned advert here>

1987 - HP Laserjet II

In 1987 I bought an HP Laserjet II for about 2,600 (equivalent to about 7,200 today). This was a monochrome printer that printed at 150 or 300 dots per inch. It is worth mentioning that today (24/12/2016) I can buy a 600 dot per inch printer for 43 - relatively speaking 7% of the 1986 cost.

<picture here>

1995?? - Epson Stylus Color 600 Inkjet

In 1.

199?? - Epson EPL-5600 Laser Printer

When my HP Laser Jet II finally failed I replaced it with an Epson EPL-5600 printer.

2003 Epson Photo 950

I bought this printer because it could print  directly on CDROMs. all in one as a m


20?? - Panasonic Laser Printer

This worked fine until I needed to replace the drum. The printer refused to recognise the new drum and when I contacted Panasonic "customer service" they did not reply - and so I avoid Panasonic products..

20?? - Brother HL-5250DN Laser Printer

This is my currrent laser printer and is the best as it has automatic duplex - that is to say it prints on both sides of the paper without me having to either print one sided or print all the odd number pages and the reload them to print the even number of pages (and hope pages do not stick together). The downside is that there is a separate drum nd when this needs replacing it may be better to buy a new printer.

2011 Epson SX235 Inkjet

29 wireless all in one as a m

<picture here>

Display Timeline

Right from the beginning of desk top computers you usually bought the display separately from the computer.

1967 - 1980 Video Displays

During this period I used printing (typewriter like) terminals. Only when Desk Top Microcomputers arrived in the late 1970s did Video Displays become the norm.

1980 Standard Television

Home Computers and many office computers made use of standard (usually Black and White - Monochrome) Televisions. These used a cathode ray tubes and were large, heavy and fragile.

1980 Monochrome Monitors

The next step up from standard televisions was to use a monchrome cathode ray tube monitor with a white, green or orange display. In 1985 I bought a monchrome monitor for 44..

1986 Colour Monitors

The next step up from monchrome monitors was colour cathode ray tube monitors. I delayed moving to these for two reasons. First when using my simulations was output was black printing. Second, my documentation was printed in black. Thirdly, colour monitors were much more expensive than monochrome monitors and being frugal I resisted spending money uneccessary, In 1986 a small colour monitor for my BBC micocomputer cost me 295  

2000 Flat Screen Monitors

In the naughties desk top computers moved on from using cathode ray tube monitors to using flat screen, color LCD displays and as the price was reasonable (150-200 for a 17 inch display I replaced the cathod ray tube monitor on my Fujitsu compuper with a flat scrren motitor and this freed up a lot of disk space.

Offline Storage Timeline

1967 - 1980 Offline Storage

Throughout my Time-Sharing years I stored programs and data off-line on one inch wide paper tape with 8 rows of holes.

<paper tape picture here

1980s Cassette Tape

As noted above the entry level Tandy TRS80 Model 1 (as with most office computers (including the entry level IBM PC) and all home computers) used Cassette Tapes to store software offline. However, the main use of Cassette Tape usage was for home computers rather than for business use.

1980 5.25 inch Floppy Disk

The 5.25 inch floppy disks used by my Tandy Model 1 stored 85K bytes on each disk. This limitation was particlly addressed by allowing up to four drives to be connected (I had two). This increased to 170k Bytes for the Model 3 and 360K bytes up to 1.2M bytes for later MSDOS based computers. Before hard disks became standard (and cheap) the disk operating system was loaded from a floppy disk. (The computer had a basic operating system in ROM (read only memory) that was enough for an entry level computer.) Where the the computer used floppy disks the ROM based system allowed the DOS (Disk Operationg System) to be loaded. If I remember correctly, in reasonable volumes each floppy disk cost about 3 <check> Today, a 4GB flash drive costs the same and a 16GB drive 7.

1985 3.5 inch Floppy Disk

The next step forward was the 3.5 inch floppy disc where the media was protected by a plastic case and could store ???? bytes. I n the mid eighties I was spending about 300 a year.

1990s CD ROMS & DVDs

r that I got good quality.)

2000 Flash Drives

r that I got good quality.)

Online Storage Timeline

1967 - 1980 Online Storage

Throughout my Time-Sharing years

1984 - Hard Drives

This year I bought a hard disc to plug into my TRS80 Model III. It cost 1147 and stored a massive 5 Meg.

Currently I use a laptop with a 1 Terebyte hard disc and a slightly older desk top with a 459 Gigabytes. Also, I can buy external had drives with capacities up to 8 Terabytes with 1 Terabyte had drives costing about 50.. The ! Terabyte drive is has half a million times more storage than my original hard drive at just over 4% of the cost - with the cost per byte less than a billionth.

Communication Timeline

1967 - 1980 - Time-Sharing

Communcation speed for Mark 1 Time Sharing was 110 bits per second. This increased to 300 bits per second for Mark 3 Time-Sharing..

1997 - 2008 - Dial-up Internet

Until I set up my website on the internet and email became prelevant I had no use for communications and so none of my computers used modems. By 1997 dial up communication speed had increased and the Internet was becoming a force and so I started to use communications again.

2008 onward - Broad Band

Cor Mark 3 Time-Sharing..

Peripherals and Other Bits

1996: Scanner

I bought my first scanner - a Umax Vista SE6E LE for about 250 (my latest scanner came bundled as part of a printer).

1980: Expansion Memory

????: External Drives

I bought my first scanner - a Umax Vista SE6E LE for about 250 (my latest scanner came bundled as part of a printer).

????: External CDR/DVD Writers

I bought my first scanner - a Umax Vista SE6E LE for about 250 (my latest scanner came bundled as part of a printer).


Central Processors

This section explores  how the central processors used by my desk top computers changed over time.  Memory is the amount in my computers - the CPU chips could handle more. The cost for the  CPUs are from magazine adverts at the time,

Year 1980 1985 1988 1994 1998 2006 2012
Processor Zilog Z80 Intel 8088 Intel 80286 Pentium 60 AMD K6-2 Pentium 4 Pentium G840
  8 bit 16 bit 16 bit 64 bit     64 bit
Speed 1.77MHz 4.77MHz   60 MHz 142MHz 400MHz 2.80GHz
Memory 64Kb 640Kb 640Kb 7.8Mb 64Mb 1Gb 6Gb
Cost             56

Other Technology - Calculators, Watches, Etc.


I bought my first electronic calculator in 1974. It was a Sinclair Cambridge. This was a very basic four function - that is to say you could add, subtract, multiply and divide. It only cost me 30 (equivalent to about 280 today). A remember clearly an article at the time in the Financial Times suggesting that pocket calculator prices would never drop below 30 - whereas, they now cost 1.

<picture here>

On changing jobs in 1976 I upgraded to a Commodore SR-1800 scientific calculator that allowed me to do statistical calculations.

<picture here>

Once I got my own desk top computer I used it to do calculations (initially by writing a simple BASIC progeam and latterly using a spread sheet)the arithmetic. However, in 1986 I bought a PB-410 Casio Personal Computer that could program in BASIC and 1568k Bytes of RAM. It had a QWERTY keyboard and a numeric keypad. It measured 3 inches by 6.5 inches by .5 inches. The PB-410 cost 39 (equivalent to 80 today).

<picture here>


I bought my first electronic watch costing me about 8.50. It had a LED rather than an LCD display and as a result ate batteries. Also in 1976 I escaped from Honeywell to set up my own firm and work at a college, My department principle at the college noticed my digital watch and asked me how much it cost - I said eight fifty this upset him as he said he had spent four eighty. Except he though we were speaking in pounds with his watch costing 480 and mine costing 850 (but my watch cost 8.50). I did not correct his misunderstanding!

I bought my second digital watch in 1979 and it is still my favourite. Not only did it tell time but had three other functions - calculator, alarm and (most importantly) a pretty girl lure!. It was a pendant/fob watch and beautiful. II normally wore it as a pendant around my neck and regularly, young women cane up to me to admire and fondle it (alas rather than me). But, if I was wearing a waistcoat I would wear it as a fob watch and people's expression when I took it from my pocket was amazing (as they expected a normal round mechanical fob watch! It stopped working in 1977 but I was able to to replace it in 2016 on Ebay.


I replaced my pendant watch with a Casio Data Bank digital watch calculator in 1987. Besides the time and calculator functions this allowed multiple alarms to be set for up to a year ahead and had a stop watch function. The year ahead alarm was actually useful as associated with the alarm was a short text. This meant that when the alarm went of the text told me why you set it. The stop watch function is great since I do not do waiting in a queue or in line and when ever I get into a line I start the stop watch. (For example timing my wait in Heathrow's "Fasttrack" [sic] immigration line for more than half an hour! - Heathrow is so NOT ready for a third runway.)

My Cassio  Watch


Up to the early 1980s your phone had a rotary dial and was tethered by a cable. You could move the phone around your home or office if it had a long cable or you had several "jacks" fitted allowing you to unplug the phone and plug it into the new location.

Also, in the UK the telephone service was expensive so in the 1960's and 1970's normal communication was using postal service. If you needed to communicate very quickly you sent a telegram or walked to a phone box. Land line phone penetration is illustrated by what happened when my office to East London In 1989. Initially I had an number with an 01 prefix, this then changed to an 071 prefix and now has an 020 7 prefix! (As you travel around London you may see some signs with 071 or 081 numbers. Also, these number changes meant that I had to update and reprint letter heads and business cards. These changing prefixes were necessary because of the increase in the number of land line users.

picture here

In the early 1980s I began using a cordless phone with push buttons - I still do not understand why a phone's buttons are positioned in reverse compared with a computer's number pad. Today you can spread multiple cordless phones across your home and office and so I have phones by my work area and where I relax. This means that I can answer the phone without getting up and running across the room.

Mobile/cell phones now mean that you can phone (AND BE PHONED) where ever you are, Initially I used, cheap Nokia Phones but now have graduated to a Huawei smartphone that gives me internet access, allows me to take pictures and do lots of other things (provided I remember to keep it charged).


Still Cameras: I bought my first SLR still camera in the 1960s but cannot remember the cost. I upgraded in 1985 to camera with interchangeable lenses. The basic camera with a 1.4 lens cost me aboout 150 [445] and added telephoto an wide angle lenses when visiting Hong Kong in 1986. Both of these recorded on film that you had to get developed and this was a problem area. In 1967 I returned to England for a holiday at Chrismas. To allow me to take photographs in low light I used 1000 ASA colour film. Unfortunately, the drug store in Pittsfield, Mass thought the high speed meant that the film was a black and white film. Today you can get a reasonable, digital SLR camera that for less than 300 including a reasonable lens. And, if you just want to take snaps you can use your phone.

Movie Cameras: I bougnt an 8mm Movie Camera in the late 1960s but having to get the films developed was a hassel as was having to set up a projector to to show the movies.

In 1996, on winning my Churchill Fellowship I bought a digital camera costing nerly 900 [1600) that recorded pictures on a cassette tape. In 2015 I bought a digital movie camera that recorded on a memory card for about 30 [31].


(c) 2017 Jeremy J.S.B. Hall

Most recent update: 24/04/17
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