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30 Years of the TRS-80 Model 100 143

An anonymous reader writes with this "interview with John R Hogerhuis, one of the key players in the still suprisingly active community for the TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer. As the Model 100 approaches its 30th birthday, John talks about what has kept the machine popular for so long, current software and hardware work that is keeping it relevant, and what modern developers could learn from spending some on a computer from 1983."
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30 Years of the TRS-80 Model 100

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @08:47PM (#39759469)

    TRS-80 Model 100: Interview With John R. Hogerhuis
    Tom Nardi April 21, 2012 2
    TRS-80 Model 100: Interview With John R. Hogerhuis

    Last month, on something of a whim, I wrote up an introduction and guide to working with the TRS-80 Model 100, one of the first ever “notebook” computers, released in 1983. The Model 100 was something that had always interested me, and I thought I would share some of my experiences with getting software installed on it, and maybe introduce this nearly 30 year old piece of hardware to a new audience.

    Much to our surprise, the Model 100 guide quickly became one of the most popular pieces the site has ever run, completely dominating the site traffic in March. Clearly there is a lot of interest in this device, but why? We’re talking about a machine that’s older than many of this sites readers (and indeed, a few of the writers).

    To try and get to the bottom of the Model 100s continuing popularity almost three decades after its release, we spent some time talking to John R. Hogerhuis, a key player in the Model 100 community. John’s unique perspective gives us an inside look at this extremely dedicated and knowledgeable community.
    Getting Involved

    John Hogerhuis

    The Powerbase: John, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. Why don’t you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself?

    John: First of all Tom, thank you for your initial introduction to the Model 100.

    I’m happy to answer your questions, and gratified at the interest in the Model T and our community.

    I grew up fascinated by computers. I had a TRS-80 Color Computer, and later a Tandy Coco 3 (still have the Coco 3). I learned to program by reading books and typing in BASIC program listings which, once upon a time, appeared in hobbyist computer magazines. I went on to get a degree in computer science from Cal State Fullerton. After working as a programmer I went back to school and got my MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship. I make my living by doing contract software development.

    I’m married and have three kids which get most of my free time. What is left goes to reading and my retrocomputing hobby, primarily Model T discussions and projects.

    The Powerbase: How are you involved with the Model 100 community?

    John: I run the mailing list and the web site and wiki. I write and maintain software for the machine and share it with my friends in the community. I try to maintain the friendly list culture that has developed over the years on the mailing list. Via the list and private email, I work with other folks across the globe to encourage new projects and assist with testing and development when I have spare cycles.

    "Fun and Useful Stuff"

    I am the author of DLPilot, LaddieCon, HTERM, and TBACK.

    DLPilot and LaddieCon are “external storage” services that simulate a Tandy Portable Disk Drive.

    HTERM is a terminal program that implements hardware flow control, UTF-8 character set mapping, and baud rates up to 76800bps. It is my first major bit of 8085 assembly, with some of the code (a perfect hash function for the UTF-8 mapper) generated by a Perl script. My current goal is to add Zmodem support to it.

    TBACK is a command line swiss army to manage a Model T’s RAM file system without having to install a disk service on it. Very much a work-in-progress.

    HTERM and LaddieCon are available in source form via Git repositories hosted at TBACK is not currently shared other than with those who have asked to see it.

    The Powerbase: Between the mailing list, Wiki, and your Model 100 software projects, it seems pretty safe to say you are a serious devotee to this nearly 30 year old computer. What’s kept you interested for so long?

    John: Well I didn’t actually own a Model 100 until about 2004. As a Coco kid, I salivated over Model 100 ads in the magazines and Tandy catalogs. I thought it would be great

  • Trash-80 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @08:53PM (#39759497)

    In those days everyone called it the "Trash 80", probably including unit owners (as typical techie deprecating humor). TRS stood for "Tandy-Radio Shack", Tandy being the original name of the company that is now known as Radio Shack, and which would like to be known as "The Shack".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:05PM (#39759551)

    Actually no, that's the sad part. We use Dreamhost and pay for their premium services and they can never handle the heat. We are switching to HostGator and we were hoping to finish the move before we got Slashdotted again!

  • Emulator (Score:4, Informative)

    by Omineca ( 2623253 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:32PM (#39759699)
    Here's a link to the emulator: []
  • by OakDragon ( 885217 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @11:46PM (#39760215) Journal
    Like humanclock's : []

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson