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Sir Clive Sinclair Snubs ‘Appalling’ Modern PCs

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As well as touting the greater efficiency of early computers, such as the Spectrum, Sir Clive Sinclair is also planning a new electric car

Sir Clive Sinclair, British inventor of the ground-breaking Sinclair Spectrum and the less well-received C5 electric car, has admitted that not only does someone else write his emails but he hardly uses a computer any more, which he describes as hugely inefficient compared to earlier machines.

In an interview with The Guardian published this weekend, Sinclair admitted that he hardly uses a computer any more and even has someone to write emails for him. “I don’t use a computer at all. The company does,” he told the newspaper.

When pushed on whether he uses email, Sinclair admitted that he was just too “lazy” to do it himself. “No. I’ve got people to do it for me,” Sinclair said. “Well I find them annoying. I’d much prefer someone would telephone me if they want to communicate. No, it’s not sheer laziness – I just don’t want to be distracted by the whole process. Nightmare.”

Sinclair also slammed modern computers for their use of memory and general efficiency compared to machines such as the ZX Spectrum released in 1982. “Our machines were lean and efficient,” he says. “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.”

As well as his huge successes in the early days of the personal computer, Sinclair famously launched the C5 electric vehicle in 1985, which proved to be a commercial flop. But amid growing interest in electric vehicles driven by efforts to curb climate change, Sinclair appears to be working on a follow-up of sorts, but said it wouldn’t compete with mainstream car makers. “But they won’t be doing what I’m doing, I’m sure. As usual I hope I’ll sell lots of them. But who can tell?”

Last year IBM announced that it had joined the Edison research group based in Denmark. The consortium includes Denmark’s largest energy company DONG Energy, the Technical University of Denmark, Siemens and the Danish Energy Association. The project – which stands for Electric Vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated Market using Sustainable Energy and Open Networks – has also received funding from the Danish government.

In June 2009, the British government announced that two other leading computing pioneers had been recruited as advisers. Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Amstrad founder Sir Alan Sugar have bee helping the government better engage with the Internet and boost its business credentials.