Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Computer Inventor Finds Computers "Annoying"

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 58 comments

Sir Clive Sinclair won't even read his email from family and friends.

In a recent interview with the UK newspaper The Observer, computer inventor Sir Clive Sinclair said that he finds computers annoying. In fact, Sinclair said that he doesn't use a computer at all. Emails are read aloud by his assistant, as he finds emails just as annoying.

"I'd much prefer someone would telephone me if they want to communicate," he said. "No, it's not sheer laziness – I just don't want to be distracted by the whole process. Nightmare."

That's surprising given that he co-created the Sinclair ZX80 back in 1980, opening the door to personal mass-market computing in the home like the TSR-80 and the Commodore 64. He admits that the computer-- along with the follow-up ZX81-- made him loads of money. The former computer sold around 50,000 units whereas that newer ZX81, released in 1981, sold around 250,000 units.

Given today's hardware standards, both machines are primitive. The ZX80 had a membrane keyboard, 1K of memory, and used a cassette player to load programs. The ZX81 had a bit more to offer, allowing peripherals such as daughterboards for added memory and external keyboards.

With that said, it would seem that Sinclair would actually embrace the simplicity that today's technology provides. That's not in case. In fact, he blasted the designs of today.

"Our machines were lean and efficient," he said. "The sad thing is that today's computers totally abuse their memory--totally wasteful, you have to wait for the damn things to boot up, just appalling designs. Absolute mess! So dreadful it's heartbreaking."

It's no wonder he avoids the PC. Perhaps he should re-invent today's PC.

Discuss
Display all 58 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    redplanet_returns , March 1, 2010 4:36 PM
    homelesssThe computer is useless, I don;t know why whould any one use a computer


    how did u post this article again? :) 
  • 22 Hide
    ktasley , March 1, 2010 4:34 PM
    I am down for the re-invention!

    Maybe we should pool a grant and let him go to town.
  • 12 Hide
    wbogart , March 1, 2010 4:41 PM
    Quote:
    "I'd much prefer someone would telephone me if they want to communicate," he said. "No, it's not sheer laziness – I just don't want to be distracted by the whole process. Nightmare."


    I find it funny that he finds emails themselves distracting yet he uses his assisstant to read them outloud... because thats not distracting or time consuming in the least...

    Though if he made another PC I'd be more than happy to read about it and possibly try it.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    foody , March 1, 2010 4:31 PM
    He could use Asus' Express Gate. It doesn't take hardly any time to boot up and he could still read his emails.
  • 22 Hide
    ktasley , March 1, 2010 4:34 PM
    I am down for the re-invention!

    Maybe we should pool a grant and let him go to town.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 1, 2010 4:34 PM
    Very few people use computers to gain - 00 for most people it's just a waste of time like for 99% of us. ha ha
  • 1 Hide
    ktasley , March 1, 2010 4:36 PM
    ^whoa this is not to say in anyway that computers are useless, I can't believe I just read that.

    I think a little re-invention anywhere isn't a bad thing. (or at least a good attempt)
  • 25 Hide
    redplanet_returns , March 1, 2010 4:36 PM
    homelesssThe computer is useless, I don;t know why whould any one use a computer


    how did u post this article again? :) 
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , March 1, 2010 4:38 PM
    That's why ARM based computers are the future of mass computing. It's basically 'back to the roots', when Smarbooks gonna hit the market and hopefully succeed we will see the raise of different form factors maybe also oldschool computer within a keyboard. System on a Chip is a way to go!
  • 7 Hide
    dogofwars , March 1, 2010 4:41 PM
    It's perfectly understandable. The guy paved the way for some standard but it did not go as he foresaw. It's just like if you have have a really good company that work on solid a solid foundation but then get sold into pieces and they all go with different design. With all the licensing crap that goes on, the computer industry should be way beyond what it is today and we should not have to deal with the crap like SLI licensing and such.
  • 6 Hide
    agnickolov , March 1, 2010 4:41 PM
    Quite misleading title. At first I thought the article was about John Atanasoff, and he's been deceased for 15 years...
  • 12 Hide
    wbogart , March 1, 2010 4:41 PM
    Quote:
    "I'd much prefer someone would telephone me if they want to communicate," he said. "No, it's not sheer laziness – I just don't want to be distracted by the whole process. Nightmare."


    I find it funny that he finds emails themselves distracting yet he uses his assisstant to read them outloud... because thats not distracting or time consuming in the least...

    Though if he made another PC I'd be more than happy to read about it and possibly try it.
  • 4 Hide
    davendork , March 1, 2010 4:46 PM
    The inventor of the computer hates the way they've infiltrated daily life. The inventor of the cubicle hates his invention.

    They should have to live my life in a cubicle, at a keyboard. And I'm upset at both of them. But really I'm upset at my father for not letting me be a professional sky-diver!
  • 1 Hide
    davendork , March 1, 2010 4:47 PM
    Oh shizzle the "Add an URL" button removed my URL.

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/09/magazines/fortune/cubicle_howiwork_fortune/

    *trashes his cubicle*
  • 2 Hide
    hakesterman , March 1, 2010 4:50 PM
    He maybe the inventor of computers, but they do far more now than he ever invisioned. The Pc
    now is far more complicated and requires a totally different mindset. The Pc he made was practiacally
    useless, but his idea was terrific.

  • 11 Hide
    acadia11 , March 1, 2010 4:51 PM
    I think the comment about the phone makes sense, in that you have to constantly check your e-mail, as opposed to the phone rings you. People spend hours a day looking at their crack berries, you don't spend hours a day looking at your phone waiting for it to ring. Unless, in fact, someone you want to hear from.

    I get the logic, I personally, am coming to hate this super connected world, it's like an electron forced to share it's orbit, it's just not good. YOu don't ever seem to have a moment to yourself through this constant flood of information, the TV, radio, cell phone, smart phone, black berry, berry black, phone i, i pad, i pod, you are always connected, constantly, it's like the Borg, ... or that Japan Anime Serial Experiments Lane, social networking will morph into reality and the real world, essentially becomes just a back drop to living on the net.

    It's actually quite scary. My most peaceful moments now a days are when no one can contact me, it's damn near exhilirating...

    And look at Tiger, if it wasn't for that darn, Text messaging!!!
  • 6 Hide
    deadlockedworld , March 1, 2010 4:51 PM
    If I was super-rich I would have people read me all my emails too! Duh.
  • 3 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 1, 2010 4:52 PM
    Good luck getting programmers to be efficient.
  • 2 Hide
    dman3k , March 1, 2010 4:53 PM
    Asynchronous computing is the way to go. Computers should just load the programs we want without background wastes, unless we want a program to run in a background.
  • 9 Hide
    jellico , March 1, 2010 5:30 PM
    First of all, he invented A computer, not THE computer. Secondly, the Sinclair was a toy... a hobbiest computer at best (not that the Z80 processor wasn't a decent piece of hardware). Third, back in his day memory was extremely expensive and computer didn't have very much of it. It was necessary to take compiled programs and have assembly language experts thoroughly optimize them. They were relatively small and didn't do much. Today, software coding is a major undertaking. With the complexity of the applications and all of the features they incorporate, it takes nothing less than a small team working full time to put out anything of note. With computers having memory in the gigabytes, you code for performance, not size. Finally, if this guy had been a major player in the computer revolution, I suspect his outlook would be considerable different (sour grapes).

    Bottom line: this guy is 20 computer generations out of date and his opinions reflect that.
  • 4 Hide
    skittle , March 1, 2010 5:30 PM
    my TI-89t is more powerful than the ZX81, and it turns on instantly :) 
Display more comments