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Radio Shack's TRS-80 Turns 35 231

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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  • Model 100 (Score:5, Informative)

    by pdawson ( 89236 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:31PM (#40874457)

    The model 100 was a great machine. Got me through HS and college in the 90's. Lightweight, runs forever on 4 AA batteries, stores 32k text worth of class notes. And the key for me, no distractions like sol.exe, no network access. Transfer the notes to PC vis serial port at home and you've got room for the next day's notes.

    And its even still available and supported at www.club100.org

  • by cstec ( 521534 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:34PM (#40874485)

    Most people do. The Apple II didn't even have production tooling for the case until December 1977/early 78. Some early units were kits that were assembled and hand-sanded. Meanwhile the TRS-80 sold 10,000 units in the first month and a half.

    Don't get me wrong, the Apple rocked. But it wasn't really a production machine like the TRS-80 was. If you're going to call Apple the first consumer PC, then it's not. If you want to include Apple's kit days, then include all the kits like the Apple I (go Woz!) and the Ohio Scientific Challenger, the Exidy and of course the legendary Altair, which might truly be first.

  • Re:vintage computers (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @08:49PM (#40874571)

    The TRS-80 model II was my very first computer, and I learned basic coding on it. I can't remember the language, but there was a way to create your own games, like Snake and Pong, by using a cartridge, that only loaded the language and a basic compiler.

    If it took a cartridge, you probably had a TRS-80 Color Computer [wikipedia.org] and not a TRS-80 Model II [wikipedia.org], which was the version targeted at businesses. I had great fun learning programming on the Model III and 4 [wikipedia.org].

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:12PM (#40874673)

    I never thought the Apple ][ was first. But the TRS-80 wasn't either. The PET was available before either of them.

    Why would you mention Exidy (the Sorcerer)? It came after all these computers. Where I was you could get an Apple ][+ before you could get a Sorcerer.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:58PM (#40874959)

    >>>visicalc- and elevated Apple from being insignificant to being the dominant selling machine.

    Interesting revisionist history. Here are the top selling ("dominant") consumer machines according to ars technica:
    1977 TRS-80
    1978 TRS-80
    1979 TRS-80
    1980 Atari 800
    1981 Atari 800
    1982 Atari 800
    1983 Commodore 64
    1987 Commodore 64
    1988 IBM PC + clones
    and so on.

    Now do you see any place where Apple II was dominant? No. It was always 3rd place behind the other brands. (Mainly because the pricetag on the Apples and Macs was too high for average people.)

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.