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  • The TRS-80 turns 43 years old

    Home Forums AskWoody blog The TRS-80 turns 43 years old

    • This topic has 28 replies, 22 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago.
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      • #2285897 Reply
        woody
        Da Boss

        Released Aug 3, 1977.
        [See the full post at: The TRS-80 turns 43 years old]

        6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2285905 Reply
        Mike
        AskWoody Plus

        I sold these like crazy at my Radio Shack job. The only big item we sold more of were CB radios.  10-4 good buddy.

        • #2285963 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          Well, I am afraid that the TRS-80 predates my PC experience – I was still using IBM punch cards!

          But, do you remember the  Allied SX-190 receiver? I bought one in 1971 and it still works.

          SX-190

           

           

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Kathy Stevens.
          • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by PKCano.
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          • #2286080 Reply

            Yup…had one myself, along with many other rigs before and since, but that was a neat little rig. (Were you a SWL too? Too bad they blew up/tore down all the SWBC installations when the bean counters found out a rack of servers was cheaper to run than a 250KW power plant and an antenna farm…one day the Internet is gonna fall down and go boom, and then they’ll wish they kept those transmitters…)

            …had a Trash-80, too, at work!

            Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit ESU, Dell Latitude E6330, Intel CORE i5 "Ivy Bridge", Group "Patch List", Multiple Air-Gapped backup drives in different locations, "Don't auto-check for updates-Full Manual Mode." Linux Mint Greenhorn
            --
            "A committee is the only known form of life that has at least four legs and no brain."

            -Robert Heinlein

            2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2287387 Reply
            wavy
            AskWoody Plus

            Nice classic look too!

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2287432 Reply
              Kathy Stevens
              AskWoody Plus

              Yes, Radio Shack’s Allied SX-190 receiver was/is a classic.

              There was a time, before computes and  the internet, when Radio Shack was the go-to place for electronics from radios, televisions, telephones, speakers, etc. in the front of the store to the pin-boards in the back that were loaded with transistors and other components.

              And if you waned to know what was going on around the world their short-wave radios did the job.

      • #2285906 Reply
        RTWinzz
        AskWoody Plus

        I had one in 1980 that came with a whole 16K of memory and a cassette tape deck for storage.  After a year, I upgraded to 64K by adding 3 plastic tubes full of chips to the main board.  Learned assember and Basic on this machine and wrote some programs to turn on lights and motors with a  I/O interface hooked to the parallel port.  Great machine to learn on at the time.

        Today, I bought a raspberry PI 4 for less than a 1/10th of what I paid for the TRS-80.  40 years in computering is a lifetime.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2285928 Reply
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        I had one of the first ones off the line! Loved that little machine. I remember drilling a hole in the cassette drive so you could access the head alignment screw to get tapes from other people to read correctly. We also punched extra holes in the floppy disks to convert them from single to doubled sided once you got a double sided drive. Eventually, I had four 5 1/4″ drives hanging off the expansion interface at $600 a pop! New-DOS, R-DOS, etc. Not to mention a club (Capital Area TUG, a founding member I’m proud to say) group buy of an 80 character dot-matrix printer $800! We’ve come a long way baby.

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

      • #2285932 Reply
        Geo
        AskWoody Plus

        Young people of today ask,  whats a computer?

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2286200 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Agreed. And young people are surprised too, when they find out, that there are places in the world, where is no Internet. Young people should have more information about how our parents and grandparents lived, so they will appreciate more in which era they live and complain less. They do not worry about life itself, they take it for granted and that is simply not the reality.

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          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2285948 Reply
        skcusime
        AskWoody Plus

        I had one with the optional 32Kb Expansion unit that sat neatly underneath the monitor, increasing the available memory to a staggering 48Kb!

        Over time I managed to collect 4 single sided disk drive boxes that sat alongside, and it would sort files into alphabetical or numerical order taking most of the night to complete the task.

      • #2285966 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        TRS-80 Model IIIs in the Jr College Computing Laptop all later supplemented by Model IIs with the 8 inch Floppy drives. So that was used for a few years in the Lab along with the mainframe terminals and punch-card reader  large mainframe line-printer and keypunch machines and various other mini computers/TTY terminals and optical paper tape readers. But things quickly progressed to IBM PCs in the 80s as the Mainframes started to shrink, as well, to the size of a Mini Computer and before microprocessors finally started  to take over into the 90s/beyond.

        But really the Fine Art Of User/Technical Manuals has fallen into a poor state from the Time of the TRS-80 where the end user received a full set of OS/Software and the PC’s hardware Manuals with its complete motherboard schematic and Evey chip on the PC listed and documented as well.

         

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      • #2285981 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        But really the Fine Art Of User/Technical Manuals has fallen into a poor state from the Time of the TRS-80 where the end user received a full set of OS/Software and the PC’s hardware Manuals with its complete motherboard schematic and Evey chip on the PC listed and documented as well.

        That’s for sure! I remember when PCs would arrive with multiple 2-ring binders or thick paperback tomes describing everything you’d ever want to know about the computer. Nowadays we’re lucky if we get a single sheet of hieroglyphics.

         

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      • #2286014 Reply
        Mr. Natural
        AskWoody Plus

        I just happen to pull out an old Compaq Presario 486/66 from my basement and looking for a 3 volt coin size battery like the standard 5 volt 2032. I need to use the old solder gun to remove the battery so I want to be sure I have the right battery.

        When I first started in 1996 with the company I am still with there was one fellow that had an original 8086 pc that ran some scientific program on DOS that was tied and locked to the printer attached to the pc. We had to move the pc so I disconnected the printer and as soon as I did that the program would no longer work unless we paid the company for a new key….the company was no longer in business. I have a backup of the entire program still but have never recovered the data.  D’OH

        Red Ruffnsore

      • #2286097 Reply
        Philomene123
        AskWoody Plus

        If my memory is good, I played my first chess game against a computer on that machine. My oldest brother was pretty hi tech at this time and did crazy stuff with it. I was so  honored to be able to simply touch it.  So play on it!   Imagine, a 15 years old girl!  So proud!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2286106 Reply
        PerthMike
        AskWoody Lounger

        A schoolmate had a System-80, an Australian clone of the TRS-80, with the tape drive built into the main unit.

        Loved playing FS1 on it.

        No matter where you go, there you are.

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      • #2286117 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        My first home computer was a Dragon 32 (similar to the TRS-80 Color Computer) to which I have attached a color printer-plotter.

        I later upgraded to Apple IIc, Apple IIGS..

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2286266 Reply
          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          We still have ours (1982 model made in Wales UK). Tested it a few years back and was working then but took an eternity to do or load anything from the cassette player. lol
          the noisey dot matrix printer is LONG gone..

          Win8.1 Pro x64 + Linux Hybrids x86/x64 + Win7 Pro x86/64 O/L
      • #2286194 Reply
        Elrod
        AskWoody Plus

        A friend of mine in high school had one of these.  He also acquired a surplus teletype machine that a university was getting rid of.  He went to Radio Shack and bought some parts and a circuit board.  He used them to build a small tone generating circuit that he integrated with the TRS-80 somehow (I don’t remember the details).  He took a pair of over-the-ear headphones and plugged them into the circuit, then laid them atop the acoustic coupler on the teletype.  This allowed him to use the teletype as a printer for the TRS-80.

        10 characters per second.  That was so very cool.  And every time he printed something, it created the feeling that news organizations today try to generate when they label something “breaking news.”

        See the end of the movie “All the President’s Men” to get an idea of what this is like.  My friend’s ersatz printer sounded exactly the same.

        Group "L": Linux Mint

      • #2286203 Reply
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        I have functional Sinclair ZX spectrum. My father left me messages on it when I came home. I dont have suitable TV for it now, but I think it still works.

        I have also SegaMastersystem II 🙂

        And one non-funtional Commodore – astounding 21 MB HDD, operating system M602 and 5+1/4 inch floppy.

        I have old Pentium computer too at home (the tower is like 70 cm tall) and it still runs original Win 98. I played Worms Armageddon on it recently. There is TURBO button which releases the beastly wild power of 133 MHz 🙂

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      • #2286232 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        That TRS-80 was really the first (or at least among the first) “real” PC.  The Sinclair always seemed to me more of a toy.  Those were the days computer enthusiast mags printed out basic program listings that you could copy and type into your system.  At the time I was looking at doing a home-build of an S-100 bus system.  Then, home-build meant getting a circuit board and a bag of ICs to solder in.  But before I started buying for that build Intel announced the 8086 and 8088 which seemed like worth waiting for.  I ended up driving in to Chicago loop to find an IBM store that would sell me a PC.   But at the time PDP-11 (various models) running Unix was more fun / useful.

      • #2286307 Reply
        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        I was playing Space Invaders on an Atari in the 1970’s.  My brother loaned me his Commador 64 in the early 80’s and I typed Basic game programs into it and saved them to a cassette recorder.  I really wished I could have had a CDROM unit, but they were very expensive back then.  We even got machine language programs which required two people, one to read it and one to type it so it would take less time.

        Win 7, Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz, Linux Mint 19.1, Klaatu barada nikto

        • #2286366 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          The Old Burroughs TD-830 Terminal used the Motorola 6800 series Microprocessor and could be programmed by sending the Terminal Command Processing instructions via Escape Characters followed by a sequence of control characters and Data to be copied to its memory and program control transferred over. So there was a compiler for programming all sorts of Forms for Data Entry but someone took that and programmed an ASCII Space Invaders game and that’s was some fun to play in the student computing lab when things go slow.

          But the TRS-80’s BASIC had Peek and Poke addressable display memory so in BASIC one could create loads of ASCII games and with the ZBASIC(1) compiler the BASIC program’s execution could be sped up with smoother and more responsive game play.

          “ZBASIC is an “Interactive Compiler.” This means it is resident while you write your BASIC programs. You may compile your program and run it or save it, without destroying your resident BASIC program! In fact, jumping back and forth between your compiled program and your BASIC program is one of its best features!” (1)

          (1)

          “ZBASIC”

          ZBASIC

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          • #2286438 Reply
            doriel
            AskWoody Lounger

            In fact, jumping back and forth between your compiled program and your BASIC program is one of its best features!

            Sounds good. Id like to have such function everyhwhere.

            Recently, I have lot of fun while programming printers from Zebra – ZBI developer brings me lots of years back. You have like 40 commands, but you can do _ANYTHING_ with few loops and variables.
            And you print in ZPL, which is very simplistic too. For me, there is no greater fun than this last year.
            Also I loved pascal. Oh my… And then Delphi and object oriented programming came. And now .NET framework. So simple app has like 300 MB 🙂 nevermind, moving on.

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      • #2289145 Reply
        bharney
        AskWoody Plus

        My TRS80 Model I, III and 4 still work, although on the Model I, periodically I have to clean oxidation from the cable connectors with a pencil eraser.   I used zBasic to write several programs that I sold, made enough $ to pay for all of the Radio Shack stuff I bought, including their IBM PC/XT clone with 10mb HD on which I used TurboPascal, TurboBasic and FoxBase.

        Powerbasic, no software bloat programming for Windows.

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by bharney.
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      • #2289191 Reply
        WSRolandJS
        AskWoody Plus

        HCCtranscript1CanonAutoScan1

        IBM 5150, 8o88 proc, 8086 math co-proc, 5.25 FDs, 20MG HD, 640MB base mem (replaceable memory modules), 360MB EXT-EXP mem card, green or grey phosphorus monitor, serial keyboard, serial mouse, cereal Cheerios, and so on.  Purchased used for $500.00 I think 1986.  GW Basic, DOS 3.x, Lotus 123, Word, CCmail, dBASE I & II, etc.

        "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin, revisted

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by WSRolandJS.
        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by WSRolandJS.
        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by WSRolandJS.
        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by WSRolandJS.
        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by PKCano.
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      • #2289209 Reply
        WSRolandJS
        AskWoody Plus

        Word or Word Perfect?

        Both actually, back then, Microsoft had a simple Word somethingOrOther program.  And, later on, I added and used WordPerfect for DOS for some time.  Additionally, I also used DOS versions of  — dBASE II & III, EasyWriter II, Volkswriter, PC-Write 3.11 & 4.01, QuattroPro, FoxPro, etc., until forced into Windows 98 and 98SE.  Like my MSDOS cert?  🙂

        "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin, revisted

      • #2289248 Reply
        bharney
        AskWoody Plus

        Word or Word Perfect?

        I thought this thread was about TRS80?

        I used Radio Shack’s Scripsit as my TRS80 word processing program and it worked great.  Tried SuperScripsit, didn’t like it as well.

        https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=scripsit

        Powerbasic, no software bloat programming for Windows.

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by bharney.
      • #2289281 Reply
        WSRolandJS
        AskWoody Plus

        It is, however, we all remember our early days of TRS-80 and beyond!

        My only experience with TRS-80 was watching somebody else put a cassette into the input device for cassettes, and the cassette gave the computer some instructions, probably an evolution upwards and onwards from punchcards.   I can’t remember which school in Houston I saw that computer.

        "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin, revisted

      • #2289294 Reply
        bharney
        AskWoody Plus

        It is, however, we all remember our early days of TRS-80 and beyond!

        My only experience with TRS-80 was watching somebody else put a cassette into the input device for cassettes, and the cassette gave the computer some instructions, probably an evolution upwards and onwards from punchcards.   I can’t remember which school in Houston I saw that computer.

        My first experience with a TRS80 was a Model I with 16k RAM, Level 1 Basic Interpreter (only two string variables, what fun) and a cassette recorder for storage.   I recall that if you had a bad spot on a tape based file, you could skip over that record and read the subsequent ones, so not all was lost, but I spent a number of exasperating hours re-keying a program that had been ‘saved’ to tape, only to find that the file was corrupt.

        I worked at a Radio Shack and after I closed the store at night, I would stay and experiment with the TRS80.  My extra curricular activities paid off, for I sold the first Model I in my state with diskette drives (and 48K RAM with Level II Basic), even set it up for the business that bought it, no extra charge.

        Powerbasic, no software bloat programming for Windows.

      • #2289542 Reply
        Thomas Bigley
        AskWoody Plus

        Seems I have one of those rascals sitting in the attic…  along with a Model III with two floppy disk drives installed and maxed out RAM  (64k).  My wife says I never throw anything away – maybe she’s right.

      • #2289568 Reply
        bharney
        AskWoody Plus

        Ira Goldklang has an excellent TRS80 website

        http://www.trs-80.com

        He has a number of TRS80 emulators that allow you to run TRS80 software on an IBM PC compatible, plus a copy of just about every program ever offered for the TRS80, plus manuals, newsletters, Radio Shack catalogs, you name it.

        Powerbasic, no software bloat programming for Windows.

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      • #2289818 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Oh boy! Down to visit memory lane! I was 13 years old when I  managed to convince my dad to help me purchase (I made my own money, washing cars for the neighbors) a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 with tape deck, a and a small thermal printer. It had 64 Kb of RAM and I had a blast with it using its built in Extended BASIC programming language. I loved that little computer and it ran rings around my friend’s IBM PC Jr (actually, his dad’s).

        Radios Shack was my favorite place in the world those days.

      • #2289821 Reply
        LoneWolf
        AskWoody Plus

        I used a TRS-80 Model III in 7th grade for fun, I believe my teacher brought it in.

        I basically learned enough to type in programs from magazines and save them to the “tape” drive (shoebox recorder) plugged into or floppy drives on the unit. And to print things.

        It was fun to plink with, but the Commodore 64 was far more fun by then, and the TI-99 4/A with color and the speech synthesis module was too.

        And then I went to high school, where the computer lab was…a bunch of dilapidated Apple IIes… 🙁

        We are SysAdmins.
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        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by LoneWolf.
        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by LoneWolf.
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