…the world changed in 1983, when the TRS-80 Model 100 portable was released for sale. TRS stood for Tandy Radio Shack … the developer and the outlets where you could buy one.
Everyone called it the “Trash 80.’’ They were so reasonably priced that we could buy them ourselves if the newspaper balked. They weighed 3.1 pounds and could run for hours with four AA batteries.
There was no longer a class structure in the press box. The Portabubbles were gone (except for a few holdouts such as Roe). The Silent Writers were sent crashing to a well-earned graveyard.
We all were carrying Trash 80s. The question among the former underclass in the press box went from, “Hey, do you have an extra roll of paper for this piece of bleep?’’ to “Hey, do you have any extra batteries for our little buddy here?’’
There were drawbacks. Only eight short lines of copy were visible. The screen wasn’t backlit; it had a liquid crystal display. If you wound up in a poorly lighted press box, say an auxiliary location at a big baseball game, it was hard even for young eyes to see the screen.
Also, in the first days, you had to carry couplers that would be plugged into the machine. The connection between those couplers and the telephone in sending copy was maybe 80 percent (which beat 50 percent with the TI Silent Writer).
And then a couple of years later, here came the TRS-80 Model 200. It weighed 4.25 pounds, but that extra pound was well worth it: a pop-up screen and display of 16 short lines of copy.
By then, we were using cables to transmit copy to the office computer, and it was a 95 percent success rate. I stuck with the Model 200 as long as possible, until the Internet was fully upon us and the bosses wanted us carrying laptops with more sophistication.
I had three or four Models 200s in my basement for a few years. Occasionally, when my laptop was balking, I would break one out and take it on a road trip.
The Tandy Radio Shack-80 Model 200 was the greatest machine in the history of the press box. I weep for all those Radio Shack outlets that were such friends to sportswriters, where you could get AA batteries in bulk at a good price and new cables when you accidentally left the last set in a press box in Atlanta.
As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage
Wearables — Monster-inspired costuming!
Electronics — How to make your own magnetic field probe!
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: New Releases of MicroPython and CircuitPython and more! #Python #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2021 in Recap!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 1/19/22 Feat. Adafruit 7-Segment LED Matrix Backpack – STEMMA QT / qwiic!
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