Laptops

Dinosaur Sightings: Tandy Model 100

16 comments
john.rogers
john.rogers

I had developed commercial software on this piece of equipment in 83. Worked quite well. Would link up to a Radio Shack desktop to download the day's schedule and upload billable treatments.

Elmonk
Elmonk

Well back in the eighties I was a consultant for a small news agency. Think what a beauty the Tandy 100 was for them road warrior journalists - using acoustic couplers in phone cells to get the some 500 words over into the central newsroom system. They adored it - and us techies had to cope with minimum storage for some enhancements to the word processing (in Basic of course :)

Scholia
Scholia

The Tandy 100 was more like the Asus Eee PC of its day, except the Tandy had a usable keyboard. And it never let you down, because when it needed "recharging" you just replaced the AA batteries.

ab.thompson
ab.thompson

Mine is a little newer than yours, serial no. 303014064. I don't fire it up very often, but it still works great.

jeffdodd
jeffdodd

I found my 102 in the garage last week. I spent a lot of time traveling to customer sites on a plane and used my time to compose my reports. It was/is durable and the keyboard had a great response. I wish there was some way to still use it.

yooper
yooper

I have a fully functioning model right next to my chair. I downloaded and typed in some some programs from http://www.club100.org/ works great! The keyboard action is solid and smooth, very durable portable for sure! I did something to the computer last week and ended up erasing all the programs I typed in! It wasn't the computers fault, I was messing around with the power adaptor and it froze up, I thought it was fried, but just had to do a hard reset. There's many other wonderful things about the model 100 to mention.

boccabellad
boccabellad

I remember these. I was programming stock control systems onto them and they were perfect for doing stock take captures etc. Ah - back in 87 if I remember. Just shows.. Old programmer never die. They just become OO orientated :>

James.Koopman
James.Koopman

I still have one! Fully functional with a whopping 24KB of memory (carry bag, cables, the works). Note that these are from '83, and when you boot 'em up, look in the top-right corner of the screen; (C)Microsoft :)

vhelmbreck
vhelmbreck

I was a reporter on the road with one of these. Had to file using acoustic couplers that we called "mouse ears" ... a truly horrific experience most of the time because the thing would just shut down without warning -- always on deadline!Life's so much better now.

ibsteve2u
ibsteve2u

...and then I remembered how mad I got when I found out that a 1000 TX I bought had been intentionally crippled so that the 80286 could not be put into protected mode....last Tandy. Funnier, now.

pgit
pgit

...for the trip down memory lane. I was just talking about this unit (my first computer) the other day, now I have a visual reference to point to. Thanks. You couldn't beat that keyboard. Didn't EVER misfire like laptops do these days. I really wish I still had that thing. Gave it to a TV engineer friend. Last I saw, it was propped up on those little feet (you could easily lose) watching a phone line, for what I don't know. Everybody is into "thin" these days. I'd pay extra for a metal spring-loaded keyboard like the 100 has. I upgraded to the 102, then rapidly went for a Tandy 2810, a 80286 machine with a whopping 20MB hard drive.

stefanes
stefanes

Great unit. I used one just a few months ago in the Arctic, as a dumb terminal with RS-232, to configure a satellite earth station. Most PCs today have lost RS232 capability, so the Model 100 was a real life save in 2008. Alex, Montreal, QC, Canada

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

One of my first "professional" programming jobs was on the Epson HC-20 (http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=143) The job was for the captain of a oil exploration rig who wanted to automate the complex trim calculations required to keep the ship stable. Although it had a much smaller screen than the Tandy, it had a built-in microcassette drive and even a printer.

RexWorld
RexWorld

I wasn't sure if I'd done a good enough packing job for this to survive the gentle hands of the USPS. Glad to see it made it to Louisville in one piece, and still operational.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

I used to have two of them. In the 80's as a programmer, I would take notes on them. Unlike a clamshell PC you could actually walk and type on it at same time, holding it in one hand. Had a silvered paper printer that was thin, not much wider than a cash register tape, thermal printer. I'd use the rs-232 to transfer the notes files or program listings I worked on to our main computer. We even used one as a controller on a packaging line. Finally saw an ad years later when had not used it for a while, some company actually came to pick up and pay cash for it, they were using it in some training program. I think it had the same basic in ROM with string functions. Loved that, didn't need to load the compiler it was always there and booted instantly. Even loaded a Dvorak keyboard on it once. And some other nifty stuff. "Used to take the campus bus 12 miles in the snow, uphill both ways to the math center where we wrote our lessons on a slate computer" [sic] revision of the grandparents trudging thru the snow to school :)

C-3PO
C-3PO

I used to work for Radio Shack in the 80's (while I was going through college). I think I sold a few of these. I remember reading an article by Bill Gates where he was saying that he actually wrote code for the Tandy 100 - the challenge was to build the code small enough to be highly functional and yet fit in the small package - oh if operating systems were designed that way today - imagine the power and speed of a compact operating system! Anyway, it's kind of appropriate that you should showcase some of Bill's work shortly following his "retirement". I wonder if he still has one? Perhaps Bill reads the posts and would pipe in with a note... :)