Book Review: Diary Of An 80s Computer Geek

There are quite a number of books on the market these days about the emergence of home computing and the PC in the 1970’s and 80’s and the people that had a major influence on this development and shaped the industry. Little has been written so far from the point of view of the kids on the other side of the business model that dreamed about getting their first personal computer, what they’ve done with it apart from playing games and how it shaped their future lives. A wonderful exception is ‘Diary Of An 80s Computer Geek: A Decade of Micro Computers, Video Games and Cassette Tape’ by Steven Howlett (not with a ph!).

Written in 2014, Steven tells about his adventures and misadventures as a young teenager in the 1980’s, his first computer and subsequent computers, programming, impressing his friends, trying to sell the result, about clueless teachers and lots of other things over 90 pages in a very humorous and easy to read style. While I would have been a (C64) ‘Commie’, he was firmly entrenched on the Sinclair ZX ‘Speccy’ side of things, a school ground battle that was probably fought much harder in Britain than it was in my home country (were we only had proper school ground battles over computers in the Amiga vs. Atari age. But I digress…) I couldn’t put the (e)book down as the story had so many elements I could immediately identify with as it reminded me of my computing adventures in the 1980’s.

A great book, fully recommended and a wonderful story from the ‘other side of the fence’!