04-07-2009 09:00 PM
Ah....Compute! magazine....That was the life. Spend 4 hours typing in a program and another two hours debugging it just to play a knockoff of pacman.
What was really funny was my first word processor was the one from Compute! By that time, they had a small program you could type, save and run that was like a real time MD5 sum checker. They would publish the "sum" at the end of each line of code. As you typed each line into your computer, a number would appear highlighted in red in the upper corner, and if your number matched that at the end of the line of code, your line was good. This allowed you to debug in realtime and save a BIG hassle.
That word processor, I think, was one of the few programs that was SO BIG they offered it as a disk (for a fee), but "real men" typed it in. I had 5 copies of that thing saved out and it served as my word processor for over two years in college.
The word processor was also one of the few programs they printed in machine code, so that MD5 checker was really a necessity. The program would not have fit nor performed fast enough in BASIC.
04-07-2009 10:34 PM
Agreed on that. Still have a copy somewhere in the mess...
04-07-2009 10:57 PM
Radio Shack sold a tape-based game called 'Defense Command' that used the cassette output to create recognizable speech synthesis at 300 baud. Halo, Schmalo! =) Or string packing in 'Dancing Demon'. Or having to load 'kbfix' from tape when you first booted up to sstopp tthhe ddannnggeed kkeey rrepppeaat...
I bought an LNW expansion interface to bring my TRS-80 up to 48 kb RAM and into the 5.25" floppy era. Only $4 for a whopping 90 kb of rewritable storage! (plus the $400 drive with a solenoid that could knock pictures off the wall.)
Still have a mostly complete set of '80 Micro' somewhere in the mess. For a while a writer named David Busch (I think) had a humor column titled Kitchen Table Software that was the computer equivalent of Dave Barry. (Goggling...) OMG...
...I actually remembered the name ~and~ the spelling! Close to three decades my brain cell can hang on to that, but can it remember where I just put my glasses or why the cat is yelling at me with her bowl in her paws?!? Boheimers...
04-08-2009 12:06 AM
What a walk down memory lane this has been! What a treat. Dancing Demon! Defense Command! Those games where little blobs moved across the screen firing slow-moving pellets that gave me more nightmares than DOOM ever did. the expansion box that helped you connect printers, add memory, connect disk drives, and that one connnector I never did figure out what it did. In today's dollars, that was close to a six thousand dollar rig.
Remember Pillbox? The game that exploited the Model I's unshielded case so you could tune into an AM radio and hear the screen redrawing itself? (Couldn't watch television when the computer was on for similar reasons. Ah, the frontier days of home computing...) "it's not a bug, it's a feature!" Folks exploited it to make music on that little box - I even had a piano app - long before there were sound cards.
Relive the glory: TRS-80 emulators! http://www.discover-net.net/~dmkeil/index.htm
04-08-2009 03:03 AM
A TRS-80 was my first computer as well. I was 6 y/o at the time and even I was able to read and follow that programming book and then learnt how to modify the examples to do what I'd like to with it.
It's just a shame that (at least in Australia) the available software and games and support from Tandy (we didn't have Radioshack in Australia) was so bad. I only had it for a year and then traded it in for a Commodore C64 with disk drive etc.
04-08-2009 07:01 AM
Don't mean ta' burst yo' bubble, but you guys are getting quite off topic. Might want to move your discussion to another thread.
Ni! A terrifying word.
04-08-2009 12:13 PM
No, not yet. But we still have some time. It's not here yet.
"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity."-Douglas Adams
04-08-2009 01:32 PM
Well, it being Wednesday, 1:30pm PDT (SanDisk time) the early part of the week is officially over...
...Adding, Internet forum tech geeks being patient? Hahahahahahaha! That's a good one...