Binary Dinosaurs Computer Museum
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Sord was established in 1970 by 26 year old Takayoshi Shiina and his mother to write computer software for the ever-so-slightly popular Digital PDP series of machines - previously Shiina had been a DEC salesman. Later in the 70s Sord released a series of PC-type machines such as the M23 and M35 for the Japanese market, and once the home computer boom began in the 80s they came up with the M5, which was intended as a rival to the humble Spectrum. Like the Speccy it was powered by the Zilog Z80 CPU at 3.5mhz and unlike the Speccy it had 32K of memory. Bizarrely for a home machine of the day the M5 didn't include BASIC in ROM, instead there were 3 different flavours of BASIC available in plug-in ROM cartridges. The system came with the basic (*cough*) BASIC-I ROM and if you had the princely sum of (then) 35 English pounds you could avail yourself of the BASIC-G (enhanced BASIC) and BASIC-F (Scientific) carts too. Woo.
Computer Games Ltd, an importer of hand held LED console type games, took it upon themselves to distribute the M5 in Europe as the CGL M5, but lack of support and the surprising and rather quick untimely death of SORD at the hands of unknown industrial saboteurs (I'm not making this up! Shiina had to sell the company to Toshiba and then left to form a hardware company called Preside) meant the end of the little rubber keyed machine. Despite the fact the M5 used a similar dead-flesh keyboard to the Spectrum it was actually a lot easier to type on because of the reduced travel.....maybe it might've stood up to the demands of Daley Thompson's Decathlon (spectrum game revered for causing bust keyboards)...who knows.
Sord can still be found to this day, but what happened to it after Toshiba took it over is another story. I was actually given an opportunity to help rescue a warehouse full of unopened M5's a couple of years ago in Gothenburg, but we were a week too late and all but a handful had become landfill :(

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