An OutoftheMain Activity 3790
An OutoftheMain Activity
It was the same in Australia a little earlier. Late 60's, early 70's The only modem you could lease was Swedish. I was a brat working...
Charles Richmond There are two separate issues here, which should not (imho) be conflated: namely DIY computing, and Z80s. There were other ways to roll your own. As I recall (& I was part of it), there was a disorganised group of people in the UK in the late 1960's, working toward building their own machines. Doubtless other countries had theirs, too. I never heard of one being completed, but hey, we had fun trying. No two were alike, as their design was dictated by whatever each of us could lay our hands on. The time-span of that activity might have been 1965-1975, very roughly. The game changed dramatically in the early 1970s, when the first MOS RAM chips came out (at affordable prices). If you think first-generation DRAMs were hard to interface, you haven't worked on ferrite cores :)
Once it came out, the Z80 spawned a whole new ballgame. Of course the driver here was the standard architecture: there was now enough critical mbutt to get people interested in producing both software & hardware commercially. I would put the Z80's heyday as 1977-1982: basically until the PC scooped the pool (which it would never have done without the Asian clones to drive the price down).
The CPU-architecture people are still very much with us, but they mostly use FPGAs these days. DIY hardware is far from dead.