Web Development

Brush up on your TRS-80 Basic skills

The Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I was one of the first popular home computers. Here's a Web site with a Java-based emulator of the TRS-80 Model I's BASIC.

The Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I was one of the first popular home computers. Here's a Web site with a Java-based emulator of the TRS-80 Model I's Basic.

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The first computer I can remember seeing was the Radio Shack Model I. I was in middle school at the time, and one of my teachers bought it and brought it in for students to play with. It had the monitor and keyboard and that's it. Programs had to be stored on cassette tape.

I don't remember, and wouldn't have known at the time anyway, all the technical details of the machine. I'm sure it was the base unit. At the time the base TRS-80 Model I sold for $599, which is over $2,000 in today's money. A base unit came with a whopping 4K of RAM and a Zilog Z-80 processor that ran at 1.77 Mhz.

It was a fun little machine, but pretty much useless by today's standards. About all we could do with it was write our own little Basic programs, but even that was fun at the time.

Simulating the TRS-80 Model I Basic

I found a site where you can kick the tires on the Model I's Basic without having to buy a unit on eBay. The TRS-80 Level I Basic Emulator Web site has a full Basic emulator running in Java. Naturally you can't load any programs into it, but it's certainly fun to play with.

Check it out and see what state-of-the-art looked like in the Jimmy Carter era.

6 comments
ken_dyer
ken_dyer

Ha! I have two original units, still chug chug chuging away!

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

I found a Web site with a Java-based TRS-80 Model I Basic emulator. You'll find the link to it on Classics Rock: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=179 I got to play with one way back in Middle School when a teacher brought one in. When I was in college, I knew someone who ran a BBS on TRS-80 as well. Did you ever work with one of the old TRS-80's? What's your memory of them?

sidekick
sidekick

Didn't have a microwave nor a VCR, but we had the trusty TRS-80. Hooked right up to the TV. I think it's still in my Mom's attic. I might have to pull that sucker out and fire it up. I can only hope the Zaxxon tape and the various program packs are still usable.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

Good old TRash-80 Instead of having to put together a kit or buy a plaything commodore 64, I was able to just walk into a Radio Shack and buy one instead! Then the basic was in ROM! no need to deal with lengthy loading... Plus later they had the slate version, the M-100, also with the TRS basic in ROM. I could walk around holding the thing like a book, unlike today's laptops which you'd drop if you tried to use them while walking and holding them with one hand. Those were the good old days! Built character! Drove 7 miles to school's math / computer center on the campus bus thru the snow, uphill both ways, and wrote our lessons on a slate computer! The math center had a dift computer, an IBM micro/mini with tape drive and BASIC in memory, along with the IBM 360 mainframes, and a secured ARPA-Net terminal. The whole 'net at that point consisted of 100 nodes, mostly in US, universities, corporations plus a couple in England.

klaasvanbe
klaasvanbe

An ex-co-worker had such a machine at home and showed me the possibilities with some pride. A few years later I bought a TI99/4a ("peripheral box" - Wycove Forth - etc). We used them basically to play. For serious stuff we had a "huge" mainframe. The latter had like 128K memory. The real work was done by people at 'dumb' terminals back in the early eighties. Indeed: Those were the days...