A few posts ago I posted a video that Radio Shack ran during the SuperBowl. It showed how their stores are being updated so they were no longer like the old 80s stores. Well the 80s Radio Shack stores were incredible. I had a TRS-80 CoCo. I loved looking through all the small electronics parts they sold. I even had an Armatron. There is a great website that lets you look through old Radio Shack catalogs called radioshackcatalogs.com. While most everything they sold now simple is part of your cell phone it’s an amazing trip down memory lane for nerd like me.
“At this website you will be able to view these old 1939-2011 Radio Shack and Tandy Electronics’ catalogs, sale flyers, brochures, and more…year by year…page by page.” – radioshackcatalogs.com
For more info: radioshackcatalogs.com
My first computer was a TRS-80 CoCo. Short for Color Computer the CoCo had a Motorola 6508e microprocessor. The 6508e was in some ways the predecessor to the 68000 which found it’s way into the original Mac and Atari ST machines. I had my CoCo hooked up to a television and I wrote a few small programs using Basic. I remember I created my own address book that would randomly pick a friend to call. I still have some of the old cassettes to which my programs are saved. I can barely make out the handwriting on the tapes scribbled in my thirteen year old handwriting. I frequented a local TRS-80 user group run by a guy named Larry Bank who I believe today works at IBM. We would trade games like “Donkey King“.
Believe it or not I was going online way back then. There was a local BBS called Mnematics Videotext I use to log into. To be honest I can’t remember what I even was discussing or downloading. Whatever it was it could not have been all that thrilling because in the early 80s download speeds were at about 300 baud. A slow stream of text would jump out of multi-colored cursor across a bright green screen. I have fond memories of my TRS-80 with the exception of his chicklet style keyboard which was universally panned as being cheap. I think it’s pretty funny the new Mac Laptops have a similar keyboard but no one has made a reference to the old CoCo.
My flashback was all triggered by some photos uploaded today on flickr by rach_thegoat. Apparently her parents gave her some old CoCos. Included in the happy gift was a Cartridge for something called “Stereo Music Synthesizer”. I never owned that Cart and I sure am jealous! Her photos are set to “All Rights Reserved” so I won’t post them here but you can take a look at her score here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rach_thegoat/sets/72157610837576228/
photo credit: david_s_carter