INMC 80 News


October–December 1981 · Issue 5

Page 42 of 71

Z80 Guide

The Kiddies Guide To Z80 Assembler Programming

D. R. Hunt

The Crossroads of personal computing

Part: The Fifth

Getting stuck in
Please note, book your place at the funny farm now.

To date, these little insights into the Z80 processor, and my somewhat sordid little life in general, have been liberally scattered with some of the most awful puns and cracks imaginable. Well, if you think I intend to sober up and do this job properly, I’m afraid you will be very disappointed. You see, as the title of this piece suggests, by owning a home computer you are already a suitable candidate for the local nut house. You don’t think so? You go and ask the wife, or any of your aquaintances who knew you in quieter and saner days!!!

Of course, this is nothing really new. It’s a strange fact of life that electronics, (and in the sense I’m talking about, home computing) has always had some doubtful mystique about it. Now everyone has a hobby of some sort, whether it be getting your enjoyment on the allotment, or the keeping and breeding of pet boa constrictors. It’s a further fact that the hobbies which are the joy of the perpetrators bear little or no relation to way in which those people earn their bread and butter. You can have people like main line train drivers clocking off and rushing home to an evenings basket weaving, or, like my old man, the bursar of a hospital, doing his thing by building pipe organs in his spare time. All this is the normally expected thing. Not only are people willing to discuss their variant hobbies, but others are equally interested in listening. Talk to an accountant about cars, and you will probably find he is well into things like ‘dwell angle’ and the merits (or otherwise) of upper cylinder lubricants. Yet, mention you are into electronics or computing, and the other will be struck dumb and regard you with the suspicion normally only reserved for tax inspectors. If this is not enough to give you a complex, then the lack of comprehension and instant boredom of the other is guaranteed to make you think that you are some sort of social pariah and that you are in need of treatment. At the very least it makes you rapidly resort to talking about your job, pointing out that you are really the bloke who fits the doors in the local fridge factory, so you really must be sane and a member of the human race. That your affection for home computing is only a passing abberation, and that next week you’ll probably be into collecting brass doorknobs or some other more normal leisure time relaxant.

When I started work as an electronics development engineer (trainee) at the grand salary of five pounds ten shillings a week (and that wasn’t in the middle of the last century either, just in case anyone under 30 reads this), my lab boss, Alan, once said, “They say that by the time an electronics engineer is 25, he will be either totally sane, or totally, round the bend.”. Now Alan was only 24 at the time, so he hadn’t quite made up his mind. He did get married the following year, so I guess he succumbed in the end. Mind you, he was only preparing me for the cruel facts of life, which I would learn during my time of endless night classes, day release, and all that rot. (Not that it did me a lot of good anyway, I’ve forgotten 95% of it). Well I passed the dreaded ‘25 year break” about 10 years ago, and I know what happened to me. If you’ve managed to plough through the last four episodes of this never ending cesspit of scattered and disjointed thoughts, and not worked out which way I went, well, you just haven’t been paying attention.

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