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Old 20th Sep 2021, 8:02 am   #61
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

What a great story about how AMS came to own Sinclair ..

I have always been just as interested in the business side of the electronic industry as the technology ,, stories about the entrepreneurs involved in making money from the technology always warm my heart ..
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Old 20th Sep 2021, 9:45 am   #62
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

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Related, Alan has put up a page on how he acquired the Sinclair computer business and how he managed to save Sir Clive's dignity by doing so.

https://www.amshold.com/social_media...lair_story.htm
That's a good read! Thanks for posting.

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Old 20th Sep 2021, 5:33 pm   #63
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

Excellent read, thanks.

Sinclair did also file at least one patent application for a memory chip that would configure itself automatically to avoid any defective elements. It came across my desk when I was a patent examiner in the UK Patent Office examining semiconductor memory applications.By the time the file reached me it had been assigned to Anamartic via or Ternland (or possibly vice versa I can't now remember the order of the chain). I do remember the file did not contain the complete chain of assignment documents effecting the transfers of title and I had to ask for copies of the missing ones.

Belatedly finding you don't own the copyright is unfortunately not uncommon. If you pay someone who is not an employee (such as a freelance consultant) to design something for you, then the copyright remains their property unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. We had an example of this when I was with GEC, where one of the subsidiary companies had a consultant make them something without getting an assignment first, and then they had to buy the rights from him at considerable expense in order to go into production.
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 12:12 am   #64
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

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We had an example of this when I was with GEC, where one of the subsidiary companies had a consultant make them something without getting an assignment first, and then they had to buy the rights from him at considerable expense in order to go into production.
Ouch! Must be careful with due processes in the legal world!
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 9:03 am   #65
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

Please stay on topic one post deleted.
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 9:21 am   #66
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

Had loads of his gear, but what I found good were his q16 speakers. very low power but they were so crisp. And the Sinclair IC12. Think it was based on the SN76013 ic. For what it was it was a nice sound, 6 watts but it was clean.
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 8:53 pm   #67
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

1977 and the Sinclair Cambridge: 36 steps of programmable memory, but it was still possible to have a lunar lander program. For a 16 year old it was pure magic, and dictated the path of my life.

A dream maker.
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Old 24th Sep 2021, 8:23 am   #68
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

I used Sinclair audio amplifiers back in the day.

You had to be careful with the over-Marketing of their output power. I reckoned about 3 "Sinclair" watts = 1 "normal" watt.
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Old 24th Sep 2021, 9:17 am   #69
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

I made my then girlfriend, now my Wife, a Sinclair Calculator which she still has. Impressed with it, I made the Scientific. The good thing about that was no one else at work knew how to drive it with the Reverse Polish notation. I'm not sure what happened to that but in one of my component drawers is a solitary spare blue button for it. Later I made one of his amplifier modules which became part of my first home made TV. I still have a ZX81 and 16k RAM pack but was never a fan. I preferred the Tangerine Microtan. The ZX81 is however just the right shape for a door stop. It's good to recycle things.....
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Old 24th Sep 2021, 3:56 pm   #70
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

As anticipated in #57, Radio 4's 'Last Word' programme of 24th September 21 does have a spot about Sir Clive, with input from Jason Fitzpatrick from the Centre For Computing History and also from Chris Curry, the Sinclair colleague who went on to form Acorn.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000zv8y

The Clive 'spot' is from about 14:20 minutes in to 21:55 minutes in, but as usual the whole programme is worth listening to.
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Old 25th Sep 2021, 7:55 am   #71
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

The link in post 60 is fascinating and puts into sharp focus the difference between the amiable boffin and the ruthless entrepeneur.
Judging by the posts in this thread, many of us remember with affection our first calculator, ZX, Microvision or Spectrum. I wonder how many of us even remember the £139 Amstrad Sinclair, let alone with affection?
Perhaps I'm wrong. When Mr Sugar dies, maybe this forum will be packed with fond reminiscences of the AVS systems, unopenable tower music centres or perhaps the CTV2200. Perhaps.
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Old 25th Sep 2021, 8:11 pm   #72
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

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I wonder how many of us even remember the £139 Amstrad Sinclair, let alone with affection?
Perhaps I'm wrong. When Mr Sugar dies, maybe this forum will be packed with fond reminiscences of the AVS systems, unopenable tower music centres or perhaps the CTV2200. Perhaps.
That's a very interesting point. From what I've seen in the retro computing world, the "Amstrad" Spectrums don't seem to have a bad reputation - quite the opposite. They add useful features to the machine, though of course they don't have the cachet of the original Spectrum. However, they were produced in such vast numbers that they're relatively common.

As a snobbish technically-minded teenager at the time, of course I turned my nose up at the Amstrad/Sinclair computers. But looking back, the computers marked a real change for Amstrad. While the tower systems and TVs were unashamedly cheap and simple dressed up to look like something they weren't, the computers were the opposite. They were affordable machines that turned out to be capable, reliable (if you can excuse the hard card issues in the later PC1640 et al) and practical, and were wildly popular as a result.

I think we have Lord Sugar to thank for a reasonably happy ending to the Sinclair computing story, which could have been so much worse for all involved, including the hobbyists and users like me.

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Old 26th Sep 2021, 3:08 pm   #73
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

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...and the Sinclair IC12. Think it was based on the SN76013 ic. For what it was it was a nice sound, 6 watts but it was clean.
When old man Munns decided he needed some amplifiers to replace the worn out Philips 3312s stuck in pause which powered the booths in the record shop he owned and where I was Saturday/holidays lad, I built him three stereo jobbies around the IC12. They lasted until he sold up a decade later.
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Old 28th Sep 2021, 6:33 pm   #74
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

The Scientific Calculator as reverse engineered is interesting.

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Old 28th Sep 2021, 7:22 pm   #75
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

I did meet Nigel Searle (of the link posted in #74) once while at Sinclair, only at lunch, devastatingly clever. As a middle twenties engineer I thought I knew a lot, how wrong I was. Being sourounded by such people realy bucked my ideas up, if that was the only thing I learnt at Sinclair it was worth it.
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Old 28th Sep 2021, 7:45 pm   #76
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

Quote:
I wonder how many of us even remember the £139 Amstrad Sinclair, let alone with affection?
I have a boxed example, a grey 'Plus 2' which I bought when they were current machines, but I have never regarded it as a genuine Sinclair. I have the same attitude towards the Binatone branded version of the Mini TV and the Thandar / RS branded versions of Sinclair test meters like the PDM35 and the PFM200 - just not the real thing, even though they are virtually identical. (The Thandar / RS PFM200 frequency meter improved the design by using BNC sockets instead of 4mm sockets for the input connections).

On the Spectrum +2, Amstrad's trademark integral tape deck robbed us of the (often necessary) ability to fiddle with the loading volumes, but the thing which most offended me was the decision to replace the 48K mode power on prompt "<Copyright Symbol> Sinclair 1982" with "Amstrad 1986". That vain and wholly unnecessary change actually broke a few 'legacy' tape protection schemes which reconstructed the code as it loaded from tape by mathematically manipulating it against the original Sinclair 48K ROM content.

I wasn't impressed.

The (Original) Sinclair Spectrum 128, often called the 'Toastrack', is the machine I would prefer to have now, but for some reason I didn't get one of those when they were originally around. Both Sinclair and Amstrad's version of the 128 have useful features - RGB video out, and a dedicated three note channel + 1 noise channel sound chip with output through the TV - still quite primitive, but a lot better than the ghastly beeper on the original Spectrum.

There have been one, maybe two recent posts where people have bought old Amstrad tower audio systems purely on the back of their having been the first 'hifi' they ever owned, so maybe it will come to pass that people will have a degree of fondness for all things Amstrad at some point in the future. There already is a sizeable Amstrad CPC computer 'scene' but there I would say the love is for the computers, which were actually quite decent, rather than their manufacturer, whereas with the Sinclair scene the fondness for the gadgets and for their creator is all bound up into one.

Last edited by SiriusHardware; 28th Sep 2021 at 8:01 pm.
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Old 29th Sep 2021, 3:17 pm   #77
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

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There have been one, maybe two recent posts where people have bought old Amstrad tower audio systems purely on the back of their having been the first 'hifi' they ever owned, so maybe it will come to pass that people will have a degree of fondness for all things Amstrad at some point in the future. There already is a sizeable Amstrad CPC computer 'scene' but there I would say the love is for the computers, which were actually quite decent, rather than their manufacturer, whereas with the Sinclair scene the fondness for the gadgets and for their creator is all bound up into one.
I had one of those, the one with five moving-coil meters, which seemed for more techy than the LED barograph version, and never let it be forgotten that Mike Baldwin also had one in his flat, a man not known for suffering fools gladly (or presumably second-rate tech either!)

The cameras didn't linger on it though, because the large silver volume knob was missing.
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Old 29th Sep 2021, 6:53 pm   #78
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

I never really fell into Sir Clive's nasty unreliable home-computers with their typing-on-cold-liver keyboards and under-heatsinked voltage-regulators that would shut down after you'd spent 45 minutes typing-in hexcodes from a magazine article.... though their heritage extended into the Amstrad PCW series of 'integrated' word-processors which brought desktop-publishing to the masses, and by way of terminal-emulation software let loads of students engage in 1990s bulletin-board chats with their friends.

[BT 'surftime' and university-halls-of-residence deploying otherwise-obsolete CAMTEC PADs helped here].;.

Though it has to be said that the LocoScript and the Amstrad PCW entirely killed-off the historic "thesis-typer-upper" second-income stream for people in University/College-towns.
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Old 29th Sep 2021, 7:49 pm   #79
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

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I never really fell into Sir Clive's nasty unreliable home-computers with their typing-on-cold-liver keyboards and under-heatsinked voltage-regulators that would shut down after you'd spent 45 minutes typing-in hexcodes from a magazine article.... though their heritage extended into the Amstrad PCW series of 'integrated' word-processors which brought desktop-publishing to the masses, and by way of terminal-emulation software let loads of students engage in 1990s bulletin-board chats with their friends.

[BT 'surftime' and university-halls-of-residence deploying otherwise-obsolete CAMTEC PADs helped here].;.

Though it has to be said that the LocoScript and the Amstrad PCW entirely killed-off the historic "thesis-typer-upper" second-income stream for people in University/College-towns.
Hmm. I'm not sure they were 'nasty', and as for unreliable I can only say that although I never owned a Spectrum (I jumped straight from a ZX81 to a BBC-B), my younger brother had one and so did his schoolfriend. I don't recall either of them complaining of overheating or mysterious shut-downs. The keyboards were bad, certainly.
Our shop sold the Spectrum for a short period and we did get a fair number of returns, but almost all of them turned out to be working perfectly. Most failures seemed to be down to the inability of the customer to tune their TV into the Speccy's output signal!
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Old 29th Sep 2021, 9:02 pm   #80
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Default Re: Sir Clive Sinclair. R.I.P.

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Though it has to be said that the LocoScript and the Amstrad PCW entirely killed-off the historic "thesis-typer-upper" second-income stream for people in University/College-towns.
Same thing happened to my Step-Mum who had brought an Apricot computer and would type up letters and such-like for people/businesses who wanted something that looked more professional but once businesses could buy a PCW they could do it themselves and she lost an income stream, lucky that PPI ended up paying off the Apricot and later on she did have an Amstrad PC1512/1640 that we acquired much later on.
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