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Radio Shack's TRS-80 Turns 35 231

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the rat-shack dept.
harrymcc writes "On August 3, 1977, Radio Shack announced its TRS-80 microcomputer at an event in New York City. For the next several years, it was the world's most popular PC — but it never got the respect it deserved. (I still wince when I hear 'Trash-80.') Over at TIME.com, I'm celebrating the anniversary with some reflections on the machine and why it was so underappreciated."
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Radio Shack's TRS-80 Turns 35

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2012 @07:19PM (#40874383)

    They had a room full of Trash 80s in the local Boys and Girls Club when I was growing up. While other kids were playing fooseball I was getting into the BASIC code for the bowling game and hard coding myself as the all time scorer on the high score board. They caught on when I started having scores higher than 300. 1,000,000 just sounded better.

    Good times.

  • by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile@nosPAM.mindless.com> on Friday August 03, 2012 @07:21PM (#40874405) Journal

    What can you really do with a TRS-80 these days?

    As much as you could ever do with one, I'd say.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Friday August 03, 2012 @07:26PM (#40874425)

    Have fun with them?

    Entertainment is one of those ageless things if you find something you like. People like old movies, music, books, etc, why is it difficult to think about people enjoying old computers? Some like the games, some like poking at software some like hacking hardware, heck some like me like it all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2012 @07:32PM (#40874471)

    The TRS-80 model II was my very first computer, and I learned basic coding on it. I can't remember the language

    Yes you can.

    Oh God! Someone please PLEASE Mod Parent up!

    It's obvious he's referring to the "LEARNED" programming language!

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday August 03, 2012 @07:54PM (#40874593)

    What can you really do with a TRS-80 these days?

    Learn to appreciate the value of abstraction.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:13PM (#40874695) Journal

    The TRS-80 model II was my very first computer, and I learned basic coding on it. I can't remember the language

    Yes you can.

    Absolutely friggin priceless sir!

  • by HonkyLips (654494) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:14PM (#40875041)

    The Apple II was dominant in terms of income, if not sales units. If you're referring to Jeremy Reimer's article you'll read that in 1980 Apple's turnover was $200 million, Radio Shacks was $175 million and Commodore's was $40 million. It might not have sold as many individual units but they made Apple a lot more money.

    Sales figures for the PET weren't kept, but it is interesting that in 1982 Commodore sold more Vic 20s in 6 months than Apple sold Apple IIs in 5 years.

    Figures are here: http://jeremyreimer.com/postman/node/329 [jeremyreimer.com]

  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:47PM (#40875191)

    The TRS80 model 1 was my first store-bought computer -- I'd built my own "microcomputers" up until that stage.

    Compared to the Apple it had some real strengths: A BASIC with double-precision math, a Z80 processor (the 6502 is wicked-good but once Page 0 is used up you lose so many of those cool addressing modes so the Z80 works better in a "store-bought" machine with ROM firmware), plenty of support in magazines, and later, a brilliant disk OS in the form of NewDOS80

    I had most of the Tandy micros: The Model 1, the Model 2 (with 8" drives and later, CP/M), the Tandy 100, the Model III and later, the seldom mentioned Tandy 2000 with its Intel 80186 processor at 8MHz. That thing just blitzed all the 4.77MHz 8088-based PC clones that were around at the time.

    But those were different days.

    Before the advent of the IBM PC, every machine was wildly different and exciting. Once the "PC-compatible" virus hit, hardware became rather undistinctive and "samey".

    Good days!

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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