Posts in the “General” Category - page 3

The Assembly Line

“The Assembly Line” was a column about assembly language programming which first appeared in the April 1980 issue of 80 Microcomputing. It was written by William Barden, well known for his books about assembly language such as the Z80 Microcomputer Handbook, TRS‑80 Assembly Language Programming, and Programming Techniques for Level II BASIC.

An Exatron Stringy Floppy Primer

I recently added emulation of the Exatron Stringy Floppy to my TRS‑80 emulator for Windows. This has created some new interest in the Stringy Floppy, a storage device which was a popular add-on for the TRS‑80 back in the early 1980’s.

The Stringy Floppy is one of those items that many people remember, but they remain a little fuzzy on the details. Here is more information about the commands used on the Stringy Floppy.

New version 1.19 of TRS32 Model I/III/4 emulator

I have upgraded TRS32, my TRS‑80 Model I/III/4 emulator for Windows, to version 1.19. In addition to a few bug fixes, the primary addition is a new Model III, Level I mode that works with the ROM image recently extracted by David Cooper. If you are interested, you can download it at my TRS‑80 emulator site.

April New Products

The “New Products” section in the TRS‑80 magazine 80 Microcomputing was a listing of new product releases, described this way:

The New Products section is intended to inform our readers of new products on the market. All information in the section is taken from product releases sent by manufacturers.

But starting in 1982, every April issue included several gag products mixed in with the usual announcements. Here are just a few of those “April Fool’s” new products.

Irvin Mike Schmidt (1932–2009)

I was saddened to learn that Irvin Mike Schmidt passed away on February 16, 2009. Usually credited as I. Schmidt or Mike Schmidt, he was the founder and driving force behind 80-U.S. Journal, the TRS‑80 magazine that he published from 1978 to 1984. He was the editor-in-chief for most of its run and his influence was very evident in the magazine.

You can read an obituary for him here.

The Next Step

“The Next Step” was a popular column written by Hardin Brothers that began in the February 1983 issue of 80 Micro. Originally conceived as a five part column about integrating BASIC and assembly language, “The Next Step” went on to become one of the longest running columns in the magazine.

The focus of “The Next Step” was programming the TRS‑80 in assembly language. It covered the Model I and Model III at first, but had largely switched to the Model 4 by 1984.

Christmas 2008 issue of TRS8BIT newsletter

If you haven’t stopped by trs-80.org.uk lately, then you might not know that Dusty has released a new Christmas edition of his TRS8BIT newsletter. Among other things, this issue includes a Sudoku creation program converted to the TRS‑80 by Peter Phillips. If you’re interested, you can download the current issue or any of the seven other issues.

The Gamer’s Cafe

“The Gamer’s Cafe” was a column about TRS‑80 gaming which ran in 80 Micro magazine. It first appeared in the November 1982 issue near the height of the TRS‑80 game market and ran until April 1984. “The Gamer’s Cafe” had some similarities to “Captain 80,” a column written by Bob Liddil that premiered in the first issue of 80 Microcomputing in 1980 and later appeared in 80-U.S. Journal.

Model II Warning from 1980

This somewhat alarming warning appeared in the June 1980 issue of 80 U.S. Journal:

The video controller of the Model II is mapped to I/O port 255 (FFH). If an output is made to this port with a value of less than 25, there is a very good chance that YOUR VIDEO WILL BE DESTROYED! We don’t know why this happens yet, but we do know that about a dozen of them across the country have been blown in this fashion, resulting in an expensive repair bill.

Tandy Corp. v. Personal Micro Computers, Inc.

In February 1981, Tandy filed a lawsuit in the state of California against Personal Micro Computers concerning the PMC‑80, their Model I compatible computer. Personal Micro Computers was the United States distributor of the PMC‑80 but the computer was manufactured by EACA International in Hong Kong.

The case, “Tandy Corp. v. Personal Micro Computers, Inc.”, was an important precedent in computer copyright law. Along with “Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp.