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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 PotatoHead ( 12771 ) <doug AT opengeek DOT org> on Saturday April 21, 2012 @08:35PM (#39759391) Homepage Journal

    Great curio. It runs forever on a set of AA batteries, and I've written a few BASIC programs to show it off. Once in a great while, I'll take notes on it, transferring back to PC via serial cable.

    Love the keyboard, and the BASIC environment is the last OS type code that Bill Gates wrote.

  • by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @08:41PM (#39759431)

    The Model 100 had a number of features that modern computers lack. If you need a simple computer to make notes, its battery life was in the 20 hours region. It was many many long years before the modern PC laptop was "portable" and had a battery life greater than 3 hours. (I'm thinking of some of the old transportables, which weighed 35 lbs and had no batteries.)

    At long last, with the advent of the OLPC, the Eee PC, the smartphone, and a few of the smaller laptops, battery life has reached the 6 to 12 hours. However, for taking a piece of equipment to strange places with no power, being able to use AA batteries to power your computer is a really helpful feature.

    Really wish the modern laptop could run from batteries longer. It's sad that a 30 year old PC is still competitive with regards to battery life.

  • by neurocutie ( 677249 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:26PM (#39759661)
    well the Pocket PCs such as the HP 100/200LX had CGA screen with full 80x25 text and graphics and could run for at least 30 hours, with almost any DOS program you wish, include TCP clients (browsers, telnet, ftp, etc).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @10:01PM (#39759841)

    And I did more on that 4khz processor than you will ever do on a 20 core 22thz 90tb machine.

    People today dont know how to use computers, they know how to run a toaster.

  • Good times... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @12:40AM (#39760393)
    The Model 100 came out about the time I turned 18 and got an inheritance from my grand-father's estate. It was about five thousand bucks. Money was really tight and my new wife and I went round after round "discussing" whether it was more important that I get one of these devices or pay for something more "realistic" like things for the baby soon to arrive. I got one, but it wasn't pleasant. I still remember driving home from RS - had my wife drive so I could play with it - and being utterly enthralled with my new purchase.

    Yes, the money probably could've been spent more prudently, but that computer helped launch my career in technology which has been, for the most part, very rewarding - my wife's not complaining about money, at least. After nearly 30 years, my wife doesn't argue so much about what I buy, my son has grown up and is doing just fine on his own, and my Model 100 is on the shelf right behind me. Still works, just like the day I got it.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama