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About Turbo-Torch

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  • Birthday 06/06/1970

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  1. Videotext from Radio Shack was basically communications software. The actual Videotext machine had the software built into its ROM instead of BASIC, as mentioned above. I had the cassette version for my Model III as I didn't have floppy drives yet. It was a very simple communications program that didn't allow downloading. Eventually I upgraded to disk drives and Videotext 4.0. The white binder simply says CompuServe and the file name on the disk is VIDTEX. I was able to start downloading programs, mainly a lot of Orchestra 90 music files which I still have today. I have the original white binder for disk 4.0 in front of me. I don't know where the cassette binder went...I may have used it as a cool 3 ring binder for school. If you had a 300 baud acoustic coupler in the early 80s, you were hardcore and living a dream. 1200 baud? Yeah, maybe if you were a large corporation. A DC1200 with autodial from RS would set you back $850 in 1983 ($2,200 today). How many home users had that kind of money to toss away on a peripheral? CompuServe was accessed through a Telnet #, and if you were lucky (as I was) it was a local call. Going from memory here...I would call the # and connect. Enter a string of numbers which would then bring up the login for CompuServe. Enter your name and password and you'd be online. It was $12 an hour and eventually $6 an hour evenings and nights. If you used 1200, it was way more per hour. GEnie was a new service that started years later in 1985 and I noticed in magazine ads that its access phone number was the same as CompuServe, but the login numbers were different. At that point, I found that by punching in random numbers, I could log into other computers from God only know where. Some with simple passwords, some with none at all. Coolest was a NASA switching packet station with brutal warnings about accessing it illegally. I still have the login codes written down for it. Eventually I went to using XTERM software on the Model III for hacking and accessing BBSs, and I still use it till this day.
  2. I think I saw one at Tandy Assembly. It's a rare system that's sort of a mystery. It seems to be a CoCo that boots to a terminal program refined for Compuserve and Dow Jones. It has a built in 300 baud modem, color graphics, a 6809E processor and 4K or 16K RAM, yet no cassette port, joystick ports, serial port or cartridge slot. I don't think it was capable of running software, yet the one PDF mentions dumping and executing a binary program? At $399 it was the exact same price as the 4K CoCo, but if you wanted to go online with the CoCo, you had to fork out an additional $200 for the acoustic modem and $30 for the software. I bought the Videotex software on cassette for my Model III and got online around 1983 with Compuserve. The service was originally $12 an hour. Software was only $30 but I had to add the RS232 board and a 300 baud DC Modem I. I basically had to mow 2 lawns for every hour I spent online. http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/html/catalogs_extra/1981_rsc-04/hr035.html https://colorcomputerarchive.com/repo/Documents/Manuals/Hardware/TRS-80 Videotex Terminal Owner's Manual (Tandy).pdf https://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/2016/07/102727143-05-02-acc.pdf
  3. My TRS-80 Model 2000 had a 186. It was so close to being a compatible, yet so far away. Graphics were the biggest issue as it wasn't CGA or EGA compatible. Floppy drives were also 720K each instead of the standard 180K or 360K. It was a Radio Shack corporate computer that had every single option in the catalog added to it. The RS in my local mall sold it to me for $100 bucks...hi res color monitor and modem included too. At one point I added everything up and it totaled $10,000+, and it wasn't even a discontinued system yet. If it was being used in a business environment or for an engineer using CAD, it was the ultimate system (600X400 color graphics in 1984). I was a teenager at the time...and well, it didn't run games. My entry level 1000EX was 1000 times better because it ran everything and all software was free on local pirate BBSs. The 2000 was like a Lamborghini crippled with skinny bias ply tires. All that power with no good way to make use of it due to limited software. If I still had it today, I'm sure I would appreciate it much more. I let my best friend use it so we could play Trade Wars on the local BBSs and never bothered to get it back. He thinks it's still stashed away in his parents' house. Might be cool to get it back one day and experience it again in my 50s.
  4. I'm picturing a full out bomb squad with their robot (extra points for a Tomy Omnibot lol) transporting it to the explosion containment chamber on the tarmac and the poor Microvision getting detonated. Then an ungodly amount of money is spent on detective work and having forensics reconstruct the "device", only to find it was a 1970s toy that was being sent to the other side of the planet to have a new part made...all so a group of nerds can have theirs working again. Oh man...and then the details of the pressure vessel to keep the screen from getting depressurized. Guaranteed to make international news and there would be a big run on Microvisions and replacement screens! In all seriousness, that would be a perfect way to transport it as long as it was approved somehow and properly labeled. Add some insulation around it and get it out during the fall when it's not too hot or cold.
  5. That's an awesome idea, but I'm laughing my ass off at the thought of it getting caught in airport security. Think of this large white capped off tube with a stem sticking out of it...and then they x-ray it and see electronics inside. 💣
  6. RS probably stuck whatever overstock they had at the time in that box. I think I bought a Coleco Adam keyboard from RS for a few dollars. Since there's a few unlabeled keys, they were probably assignable for a data terminal. It would be interesting to see a key cap removed. The key shape and large character font looks just like a Model I Hi-Tek version.
  7. 1977 catalog page 94. Generic keyboard for projects.
  8. Your photos always look great. I bet you could do a killer 1980s style Sunday sales flyer.
  9. Here are the Kay-Bee games I picked up sometime in the mid 80s. Cosmic Intruders isn't too bad. It's a clone of Atari's Star Ship/Outer Space. Sound is ok too. Blitzkrieg is sad. You just move your guy back and forth trying to avoid the bombs. Sound is basic beeps and it doesn't even keep score or time you. It was compiled in Z-Basic.
  10. Kay-Bee actually had games for my TRS-80 Model III on disk in the 99¢ bin which really surprised me. I bought a few and they were worse than most BASIC games I typed in; although, the plastic cases and artwork were very nice. I still have them and I bet the rarity is way up there. That 99¢ bin also had software for Apple, Commodore and Atari and the dreaded 2600 Mythicon games (which I also bought that day). I miss the great deals on failed systems at places like Kay-Bee, Big Lots and EB. 7800 bundled with 5 games for $30, Virtualboy for $20, Dreamcast for $50 and Jaguar for $25. I think the first virtual bargain bin would be O'Shea. Site is still up and you can still see the 2600/7800 remnants from over 2 decades ago.
  11. Remember back when I was looking for ways to transfer files onto my Tandy 200, and you warned me about those cheap chinese usb to serial adapters and I got one anyways because they were cheap? Guess what: mine just broke.

    1. DragonGrafx-16


      They make PCI-e serial interface cards. I know cause I have one.

    2. Turbo-Torch


      If you're close to a Best Buy, they usually have them in the store.  I've been using mine for years with no problems.  I think they're around $20 bucks.

    3. bluejay


      Well, sad thing the nearest best buy is a 45 minute drive away. For now I've just ordered another one for $4 off ebay because I need one again as soon as possible, but when I happen to be near a best buy sometime in the future I'll see if they have one. Thanks!

  12. I guess at that point you remove drive 1, make a nice face plate and mount the Gotek inside as 1. Popular mod at Tandy Assembly. If both floppy drives are wanted; replace drive 1 with a half height, assign it as drive 2, add a terminating resistor and loop the cable to the external connector. Then mount the Gotek in the open half space, assign it as drive 1 and connect it to the internal controller connector. Looks goofy but it's a self contained reversible mod. Actually you can leave both full heights in place, get creative with the cables and still have the Gotek outside. It'll be weird having drive 0 internal, 1 external and 2 internal but I think LDOS will let you reconfigure the drives, so it may be possible to have drive 0 lower, drive 1 upper and Gotek 2. Optional...leave both full heights in place and cut an opening between the two drives (after removing the TRS-80 emblem) and mount the Gotek there. It looks ok and yet it's cringe worthy at the same time...once you cut the case, there's no going back. Or just go with a FreHD and keep your 0 and 1 floppies as usual, drives 2 through 7 will be super fast hard drives. win/win situation and you don't even have to open up your computer.
  13. How are you assigning drive numbers? Stock from the factory removed pins from the cable. Aftermarket used standard cables and drives 0 to 3 are configured with jumpers on the drive itself. If hooked to the external port with a full cable, you'd need to assign it as drive 2. External drives also need a terminating resistor on the last drive. I've never used a Gotek, does it have a terminating resistor option? I also think floppy emulators need a proper bios flash (d/l costs a few $$) for the TRS-80.
  14. That made me scratch my head too. In '78 and '79, I knew the VCS existed from seeing it in the Tepe's catalog. At that time it appeared to be a $200 deluxe Pong system that I had no interest in. When Space Invaders was released in 1980, I think the world realized that Atari was something special (that's when I became obsessed). From '80 to '82, most kids would have murdered Santa Claus to get their hands on one and the sales figures prove that. Also the whole 8 bit scene exploded in the mid 80s with lower cost systems, disk drives, Happy mods, user groups, BBSs, etc. If Atari closed their doors in 1978, the 80s would have been far less exciting.
  15. He's probably too busy at the moment. I heard he personally flew his private jet out to his firm's east coast location to assist his people in finding a cure and vaccine for covid-19.
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