expansion differences (was Re: Micro$oft Biz'droid Lusers)

From: Richard Erlacher <edick_at_idcomm.com>
Date: Sat Apr 27 02:38:58 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeff Hellige" <jhellige_at_earthlink.net>
To: <classiccmp_at_classiccmp.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 7:02 PM
Subject: Re: expansion differences (was Re: Micro$oft Biz'droid Lusers)

> >This thread has become shanghaied down a path different that the one I
> >intended to take.
> Likely due to too broad of a blanket statement concerning
> what constitutes a computer. A few machines that I do feel fall more
> into the realm of 'toys' vice true computers, mainly due to their
> total lack of built-in I/O interfaces are extremely lowcost systems
> such as the ZX-81 and the Aquarius. Both have bus extensions but the
> only built-in I/O they have is their video out and cassette
> interfaces. The ZX-81 takes another step back by not even offering
> program loading by way of ROM cartridges, which the Aquarius does but
> by the time the Aquarius was released it was well behind everything
> else out there. There's certainly no disputing the impact that
> machines such as those from Sinclair had as far as introducing people
> to computers through their availability though.
> >My point was that you didn't have to write code when you bought a computer
> >that was intended to be used as a computer in order just to get it to run
> >OS and applications.
> Personally, I consider the SS-50 bus boxes to be some of the
> better designs as far as being able to start using the machine with
> minimum fuss or additional requirements. As early as 1976 they
> included a ROM monitor, from Motorolla, and enough I/O to connect a
> serial terminal.
I don't know why they didn't become more popular, except that I never
encountered anyone who had a complete system built on the SS-50. One thing
that helped interest me in S-100, initially, was that, provided I was running
CP/M, I could buy a vast supply of used floppy diskettes with things like
Wordstar, various compilers, various interpreters, ... you get the idea ...
I'm not sure that was possible for someone using SS-50 hardware. What OS was
popular on that hardware? Which CPU's?
> >When you opened the box with your COCO, what useful work would it do with
> >$399 you had just spent? Could you write a letter? Could you write and
> >compile a Fortran program? Could you save your work in any meaningful way?
> >Given that you had a printer, could you attach it and use it? What
> >was there, that you could install and use? How and where would you install
> >it?
> A base CoCo, without any type of expansion, could run
> non-game applications such as the following:
> - Audio Spectrum Analyzer (real time waveform display of audio input)
> - Color Scripsit for the Color Computer (word processing program)
> - Typing Tutor
> - Videotex
> There are plenty more but these are the ones that I own that
> I can think of off the top of my head. All are in cartridge format
> so they don't require a disk drive. Of course, there's always the
> internal BASIC. Without that addition of the disk drive, you could
> always use the cassette interface. There was even a version of the
> CoCo1 that was sold as a terminal with the Videotex software in it's
> ROM vice BASIC.
Normally, in '80-'82. if you wanted a game, you went to a toy (or discount)
store, while, when you wanted a computer, you went to a computer store. You
could tell what you were buying by looking at the sign in front of the store
as you entered. That was not so easy with the Radio Shack, since their niche
was the overlap. As time has passed, the distinction has become less obvious.
> >nearly similar actual capabilities. RS never did build something genuinely
> >intended for expansion though, did they?
> Yes, RS liked to do odd things so that you couldn't expand
> thier systems. They didn't do it to all of their systems though.
> Except for the console cased 1000EX/HX, most of the 1000 series are
> pretty expandable, nearly equal to any other XT-clone as long as you
> knew some of the odd quirks to watch out for. The Model 2000 has 4
> 16bit expansion slots, though unfortunately few boards were made to
> work in it. Others such as the Model III and 4 had minimal expansion
> options internal but came standard with cassette, serial, parallel
> and external bus extensions. RS was actually one of the earlier
> adopters of built-in I/O ports while other micros still required you
> to purchase them seperately. Their SL/TL series even had built-in
> DAC's for sound input/output about the time the SoundBlaster and
> AdLib cards were becoming popular.
> Jeff
> --
> Home of the TRS-80 Model 2000 FAQ File
> http://www.cchaven.com
> http://www.geocities.com/siliconvalley/lakes/6757
Received on Sat Apr 27 2002 - 02:38:58 BST

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