Sinclair’s classic first computer was also my starting point in computing. Having thrown mine away in a (deranged) fit of house clearing in the early 1990s, I’ve missed it more and more as time has gone by. I could have bid for one on eBay, but they’re rare and for the same money I thought I could do better by building a new one!
Flat out, the original Science of Cambridge MK14 ran at 0.2 MIPS, it had a maximum of 640 bytes RAM (standard was 256), a tiny LED display from a pocket calculator and an iffy keyboard. It had to be programmed in hand coded assembler, typed in byte by byte. With no mass storage as standard, any programme you did enter was lost the moment you switched the power off. Still, it taught me to programme, and I love it more than the multicore, 2 GB RAM Windows box I am typing this at.
I'm clearly mad to want to make a reproduction MK14, but if you're also mad enough to want to know how I did it or are maybe just nostalgic about this classic computer then read on ...
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See it live at the Vintage Computer Festival Europe 2009