TRS-80

My first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80.

My job keeps me on the cutting edge of technology, but once in a while it’s good to touch one’s roots.

trs80l

The keyboard also housed the CPU. Mine had an optional numeric keypad which was where the logo is in this photo. The monitor was a rebranded TV. Below that is the expansion interface which added 32K RAM and more ports. I also had two floppy drives. We would make single-sided disks into dual sided by using a paper hole punch to clip out the write protect. My drives actually had dual heads so they could address both sides as one large drive.

My friend from middle school, Jeff Sorensen had one and I was enamored from the moment I saw it. We used to spend hours and days at a time programming it. It inspired me with a voracious appetite to learn.

Then one day Phil McKenzie said that he and his dad were going to some distributor where they could get 10% off. So I asked if they’d get me one. I rode my bike to the bank and withdrew $780 in the form of a cashier’s check … without my parents’ knowledge. When they brought it over, my parents were shocked and furious. They wanted me to get my money back, but I said it was too late. Turns out, it was a good purchase.

I spent most of my free time through high school on it. I had it through my freshman year in college until my parents bought me an original IBM-PC.

Here is a screen shot from an emulator (xtrs). I somehow managed to get the ROM files.

newdos80

trs-80helloworld

trs-80formattedfloppy

Very special thanks to Tim Mann, Jeff Vavasour, David Keil, Roy Soltoff and all the good people who keep up web sites alive that support the TRS-80.

And now for something completely different …

For my next project, I just ordered a Micro-Kim, a modern-day clone of the classic KIM-1

EOF

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