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Clive Sinclair (or Sir Clive Sinclair if you are in a Commonwealth realm) passed away today.

While he may be widely known for the Sinclair C5, the failed three-wheeled electric vehicle, I would like to recognize his contributions to home computing.

At £79.95 in kit form and £99.95 assembled, it was about one-fifth of the price of other home computers at the time.

The Guardian

His ZX80 computer brought computing to the masses, as it cost about a fifth of what other home computers cost. Its successor, the ZX81, brought the price of home computing down even further – to a low £49.95 for those willing (and brave enough) to assemble the ZX81 from a kit. The ZX81 made such an impact that it was ranked as the 9th most influential computer in history by TechRadar back in 2010 (with the original IBM PC being #8 and the original Apple Macintosh being #10).

His ZX Spectrum computers brought affordable personal computing to the masses and sold in their [sic] millions across the world.

Yahoo! News

In all, millions of Spectrum ZX computers were sold world-wide, giving millions of people a start in computing.

Thank you, Clive.

Sad news coming from the maker community:

Maker Media, publisher of Make: Magazine and producer of Maker Faire, ceased operations late Friday, June 7, 2019.

I’ll miss Make: Magazine. Even though most, if not all, of the projects were freely available on their website, I subscribed to the magazine due to its high-quality production. Reading their magazine still is an enjoyable experience, though my collection of back issues will now have to suffice.

I would like to thank all of the former Maker Media employees for their dedication to the maker community, and wish them the best as they pursue the next steps in their career.

And if Make: Magazine ever restarts publication with the same high-quality production values, I’ll be among the first in line to subscribe.

This was originally a speech that I gave at a local Toastmasters club, as part of the Pathways "Communicate Change" project, two days before Computer Reset closed.

Computer Reset is located in Dallas, TX. It’s a relic of the pre-to early Internet computing industry, one of a dying breed of computer surplus stores. It apparently also served as an independent U-Haul dealership… and due to the ill health of its owner, Richard Byron, its existence is now ephemeral.

To some, the store looks like the mother hoard, containing nothing but the jetsam of others. To others that see past the disorder and chaos, valuable pieces of computing history are buried treasure for the right discoverer. To the family, it’s the beginning of the end of a generation, a business they must close, and real estate that must be emptied by whatever means to maximize their return.

I was unable to find a website for Computer Reset, but was able to find Richard Byron’s sparse LinkedIn profile, which states that he has served as Computer Reset’s “General Counsel” since June of 1986, and describes his responsibility as to “Oversee a Used Computer and recycling business and an Independent U-Haul Dealership”. 

YouTuber TX DJ, who is a friend of Richard, did a live stream from Computer Reset just a few days ago. DJ has known Richard since the 80s, when Richard ran a BBS in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and in fact first met Richard at this very store.

DJ described Computer Reset as a 38,000-foot warehouse that is a treasure trove of all kinds of old computer technology. He admits that while there’s a lot of junk inside that most people are not going to be interested in, he says that there are treasures buried inside as well. There is technology that you’re not going to be able to find anywhere else for the same prices.

I would love to be able to see if there are any accessories for the Yamaha CX5M Music Computer available in this treasure trove. However, it appears as if I will never have the opportunity.

Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of Richard’s health, the family has made the difficult decision to close the business and sell the real estate. Their agent has advised them that the building will be worth significantly more if it is sold as an empty building than if they sell it as-is. This treasure trove of vintage computing history will soon close and may become literal buried-in-a-landfill treasure in a matter of days. If you want the opportunity to hunt for treasure here, you need to go to Dallas now, for tomorrow could be too late. Even today could be too late.

For now, Computer Reset is still open normal business hours. According to the U-Haul website, those hours are Mondays 10AM to 5:30PM, and Tuesdays through Saturdays 9AM to 5:30PM. DJ says to just go, as they are not answering phone calls to the store. But go ASAP. While Computer Reset is open while they solicit disposal bids, once they pick a company, the store will close, and everything will go and be disposed of however that company sees fit.

We empathize with you, the vintage computing enthusiast, who is unable to make it to Dallas before Computer Reset closes and is now helplessly watching another computer surplus store close from afar. We also wish Richard Byron the best at this time and ask that you respect the decision that his family has had to make.