Posts in the “History” Category

The Kill Command

The KILL command was probably the most unusually named command in the TRSDOS disk operating systems for TRS‑80 computers. KILL was used to delete a file, for example: KILL FILENAME/EXT.

The KILL command was supported by versions of TRSDOS for the Model I, Model III, and Model II, as well as the BASIC interpreters for all those machines plus the Model 4, Color Computer, the Model 100, Model 102, Model 200, and the Model 2000.

The Apple Bill and the Tandy Bill

Almost as soon as microcomputers became widely available to consumers in 1977, there were efforts to place them in classrooms. Both Apple (with the Apple II) and Radio Shack (with the TRS‑80 Model I) concentrated heavily on education and school sales. By 1982, it was unclear which company had the edge when it came to computers in schools. There was a great deal of conflicting information, some showing Apple ahead and some with Radio Shack as the leader.

The Introduction of the TRS‑80 (Part 1)

August 3, 2013 marks the 36th anniversary of the introduction of the Radio Shack TRS‑80 Microcomputer System, a significant date in the history of personal computers. The TRS‑80, later known as the TRS‑80 Model I, was one of the first mass-marketed, fully-assembled computers and it dominated the early microcomputer market.

To Copy or Not To Copy?

Software piracy and copy protection were hotly debated issues during the early years of the TRS‑80 software market. Piracy was blamed (not entirely fairly) for lost sales and the decline of the TRS‑80 games market in 1982. As a result, a good percentage of TRS‑80 games were copy protected.

The Introduction of the TRS‑80 (Part 2)

Now that the Radio Shack computer project had been approved by Charles Tandy, the question was how many computers to build. Steve Leininger and Don French both felt that 50,000 units was a reasonable number. That figure was considered laughable (literally) by those in charge, who felt that 1,000 units was more reasonable. (A number that seems absurdly low when you consider that MITS sold 1,000 Altair computers in February 1975 alone.)

The 1,000 target was later increased to 3,000.

The TRSDOS “rummy buzzard” release

Jim Pickett wrote with an interesting question:

I seem to remember that you could look through some of the early TRSDOS disks with SuperZap (a wonderful program) and in some of the blank spots, i.e., unused disk space not holding part of a program, and it had a message like "You rummy buzzard, you" or something like that. The "rummy buzzard" part was the only sure thing.

I did a Google search on "rummy buzzard" but didn’t get any hits.

Why was the Model I uppercase only?

One of the biggest weaknesses of the TRS‑80 Model I was the lack of lowercase characters on the screen. Although that omission was hardly unique to the Model I (many computers at the time lacked lowercase, including the Apple II), it was still a notable limitation that affected many applications, especially word processing.

The two people most responsible for the Model I (originally known as the Radio Shack TRS‑80 Microcomputer System) were Don French and Steve Leininger.

Model 4 emulation card: Fact or fiction?

After Radio Shack introduced their MS-DOS compatible Model 1000 series, there were persistent rumors about a Model 4 emulation card that was being developed. Such a board would have been an clever way to help migrate Model 4 customers to the newer MS-DOS computers. Some people were even told at their Radio Shack stores that a Model 4 emulator would be released soon. But it never happened and no type of TRS‑80 emulator was ever released by Radio Shack.