One frequent criticism of the TRS-80 (especially the Model I) was the quality of the screen. Many complained of eyestrain and headaches after staring at the screen for a long time. Another frequent complaint was noticeable flicker, especially under poor lighting conditions.
One popular solution was the Soft-View replacement CRTs from Langley-St. Clair Instrumentation Systems, available for the Model I, Model III, Model 4, and Model 16. Their replacement CRTs used a slower-phosphor tube that was much easier on the eyes and virtually eliminated flicker. Here’s a quote from one of their advertisements:
MICRODOS, later known as OS-80, was the only TRS-80 disk operating system that made no attempt at TRSDOS compatibility. It was written by James W. Stutsman and released by Percom in 1979. Rather than using a command shell like Model I TRSDOS, MICRODOS used extensions to BASIC. It implemented most of the Disk BASIC commands added by TRSDOS. Also unlike the other operating systems, MICRODOS had no file system. All disk accesses were made using the starting sector and length. As stated in the manual:
I ran across an interesting news article by Chris Brown in the July 1981 issue of 80 Microcomputing, titled “Dutch to Air BASIC Program.” From the article:
In what may be a first, an international shortwave broadcasting station will soon broadcast a machine readable computer program around the world.
On Sep. 10, the Dutch World Radio Service, Hilversum, Holland, intends to broadcast a brief BASIC program in computer ready, CLOADable form as part of a weekly science segment called “Media Network”. The show features microcomputers as its topic, and the BASIC program broadcast will be a housekeeping program. It will be broadcast in TRS-80, Apple and Pet compatible formats.
The broadcast may herald a new era in information exchange for microcomputerists. Should the reception of computer programs over the shortwave bands by listeners equipped with ordinary receivers turn out to be a straightforward process, the dissemination of software for popular microcomputers could take a large leap forward.
TRSDOS 2.3 Decoded and Other Mysteries was written by James Lee Farvour and published by IJG in 1982. It was volume six in the TRS-80 Information Series.
In a way, this book was a companion to James Lee Farvour’s earlier Microsoft Basic Decoded and Other Mysteries. That book analyzed TRS-80 Model I BASIC in great detail, describing how each part of the language worked. At the end of the book, it included the commented portion of a disassembly of the BASIC. It did not include the complete disassembly because Microsoft never gave permission for that to be published.
The Newclock-80 was a clock/calendar add-on for the TRS-80 released by Alpha Products in 1983. It replaced their TIMEDATE 80 clock/calendar but remained software compatible with it.
The Newclock-80 plugged into the expansion bus and required no hardware modifications. The price was $59.95 for both the Model I and Model III versions, a significant reduction from the $95 price of the TIMEDATE 80. The Model III version also worked on the Model 4. In 1985, the price of the Model I version was reduced to $39.95.
The MicroMerlin (referred to in some advertisements as the µMerlin) was a MS-DOS compatible add-on for the TRS-80. It was released by Micro Projects Engineering in 1982 with a starting price of $1,195.00.
The MicroMerlin connected to the expansion bus of a computer and required no hardware modifications to the computer itself. It originally supported the Model I and Model III, but later also the Model 4 and LNW80. There were two hardware requirements:
Deathmaze 5000 was the first of the “Continuum Series,” a set of 3-D adventures sold by Med Systems Software. The other games in the series were Labyrinth, Asylum, and Asylum II. In addition to the TRS-80 version of Deathmaze 5000, Med Systems also sold both tape and disk versions for the Apple II.
Deathmaze 5000 has many similarities to Rat’s Revenge, an earlier Med Systems Software game also written by Frank Corr. Both games feature a 3-D view with the player using arrow keys to move through a maze. Unlike Rat’s Revenge, which focuses on finding the cheese within a maze, Deathmaze 5000 falls somewhere between an adventure game and puzzle.
Back in 1981, the TRS-80 was the best selling computer and 80 Microcomputing
magazine was bursting at the seams. Wayne Green, the publisher of 80 Microcomputing
, envisioned a new set of books: the Encyclopedia for the TRS-80
. As the first advertisement for the Encyclopedia
TRSDOS 2.0 was the first version of Model I TRSDOS to be released to the public. All earlier versions had been used for testing within Radio Shack only. It came with a preliminary instruction manual, with a final manual promised for the near future. Not many people used TRSDOS 2.0 because it was replaced by TRSDOS 2.1 after only a short time.