It was late in 1977 when I spotted the Radio Shack ad for something new called a "microcomputer" - and it was named the TRS-80 Model I.|
I couldn't wait to get to the local store to check out this $600 wonder. It had a black and white monitor that displayed 16 lines of 64 characters each (with capital letters only). It had 4K of RAM and came with two programs: Craps and Backgammon.
There was also a manual which gave instructions for learning to write your own programs in something called BASIC. There was no disk drive of any kind -- an audio tape recorder was used for loading and saving software. My wife couldn't believe I actually wanted to buy one of these crazy things.|
Here's a little poem that tells the story...
I can't believe it's been this long
since I first saw that ad.
"Six hundred dollars for a what?"
My wife said I'd gone mad.
"Computer thing? What does it do?
This surely is a joke.
You type in stuff - it's on a screen.
For this we should go broke?"
Our TV set was getting old.
How could I be so dense?
A bigger screen, a stereo...
now these would make some sense.
Of course I said, "You're right, my dear
you always know what's best."
Then headed downtown to the Shack
to give it just a test.
My eyes lit up to see the things
that this device could do.
I simply couldn't turn it down -
could not resist - could you?
I took it home and set it up...
I knew just what to say.
We'll use it in our business -
it soon will pay its way.
"Yeah, right!" was all my wife could say
I'd have to show her proof
that this new toy could do some work...
or she'd go through the roof.
Well, that was not so easy then...
of printers there were none.
You'd have to write the screen results
to use what you had done.
There were no disks! A tape machine
was what you had to use
to save your files and, frequently,
the tape would just refuse.
But this is where it all began...
this crazy new device...
This toy which nearly wrecked my home,
was somehow worth the price.
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Ch.1 Alameda—Los Angeles 1939-40
Ch.2 Echo Park 1943
Ch.3 Virgil Jr Hi 1944
Ch.4 Le Conte Jr Hi 1945-46
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