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Krebizfan

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  1. Omniflop lists some of the Coco formats so if you have a fairly modern PC that can use the correct size floppy disks, it might just work. http://www.shlock.co.uk/Utils/OmniFlop/User Guide.htm
  2. The TPDD connected to the Model 100 and the other members of the Kyocera family plus the Z-88 and Husky Hunter 2. The Quick Disk was used by many machines: Nintendo and Smith Corona word processors most often but versions were offered for C64, MSX, Spectrum, and Dragon. The oddity here was that many models of the drive had extra pins to prevent the use of the wrong brand of disk which would have holes in the wrong places. DIP (the designer of the Atari Portfolio) offered a 720K external floppy drive that cost about $600 that would work with the Portfolio. Atari seemed to be pushing the memory cards and a PC card reader instead. There was software to allow usage of the Tandy PDD which seemed a bit strange.
  3. The serial port floppy drives didn't have much more capacity than the battery backed RAM cartridges. The Tandy PDD (Brother FB-100) stored 100K. The Mitsumi Quick Disk, the most successful spiral floppy, stored 64K per side. The 1984 NEC 8201 and the 1989 Atari Portfolio both support 128K RAM cartridges. The NEC cartridge cost $400; the Atari cartridge $199. The PDD started off at about $300 with the Quick Disk tending to be in the $100 to $150 range depending on what system it was attached to. Disks were where the savings mounted up. The PDD used the common 3.5" DD disks which were less than a dollar a disk. The Quick Disk should have been cheaper still but the only prices when new I can find are for the Nintendo version at $10 per disk. The serial port floppy undercut the external floppy controller cartridge plus external drive and cabling through much of the 80s.
  4. https://obsoletemedia.org/optical-disk-cartridge/ 5.25" optical sold by Plasmon and IBM Plasmon also offered a 12" version https://obsoletemedia.org/lv-rom/ used by the BBC Micro only https://obsoletemedia.org/5-25-inch-magneto-optical-disc/ https://obsoletemedia.org/syquest-5-25-inch/ It's a metal hard disk platter in a shell Obsoletemedia has pictures of most of the mass produced storage options done after 1980. A number of other choices to look up are mentioned in the media wanted category.
  5. The TI-99/4A was selling in quantity, even before the final sales. The TI-99/4A required the large and expensive PEB for a floppy drive at first but few PEBs were made. Americans weren't put off by the cassette nature of the TI-99/4A. Timex had put together reasonable price points for the TS-1000 (at $100) and TS-2068 (at $200) based on the $500 TI-99 and $300 Vic-20. But when both of those heralded the way to a massive reduction in prices, it was hard to Timex to cut prices as much. The TS-1000 wound up at $10 and still only sold because Commodore offered a $100 rebate to those that gave Commodore their old computer when upgrading. People would have needed to have been paid to take the TS-2068 leading to a massive inventory. This didn't just happen in the US. The unhappy story of the Acorn Electron shows that buyers would rather spend a little more to get a much better computer.
  6. Tape reliability with normal cassette decks improved between 1976 and 1980. Some of that was better QC at the tape manufacturer; a holiday in the coating would be enough to make any computer recording fail. Some of that was improvements to encoding scheme switching from pulsed modulations with frequencies in a similar band to the frequency shift key with a wide separation of frequencies. Those truly interested could read the online archives of Kilobaud magazine which focused on cassette tape interfaces more than any other US publication. The CUTS standard (BBC Micro, MSX, BASICode) and the "1500" bps standard (Apple II, TRS-80 Model III, Tarbell, IBM PC) were very reliable. The major UK computers to use cassettes were introduced after cassette interfaces were largely debugged. The TS-2068 was sold at the same price as the Spectrum factoring in currency conversion and the removal of the VAT. The problem for the TS-2068 was the incredible discounts to the TI-99/4A. It would have been impossible to cut the price of the TS-2068 sufficiently to challenge a $49 TI-99 let alone the $100 packages that include TI-99, cassette, and a complete software package. The 350,000 TS-2068s wound up being sold outside the US. Note that at roughly the same time, the Coleco Adam was able to sell every unit they could make at a much higher price. The Adams were returned soon after because of build issues but it does indicate that the US market was much more willing to stretch the budget than the European market.
  7. If you insist on the Spectrum, Timex's counterpart was the TS-2068 which added a sound chip and a cartridge port while retaining the low price. Not a success in the US. TS-1000 was the ZX-81; TS-1500 was the ZX-81 upgraded to 16K placed in a Spectrum shell.
  8. The US did have a ZX equal with the $10 TS-1000. The US market didn't want super cheap but borderline useless computers. The US had spent money on trainers like the KIM-1 available from 1976 and priced at a little more than $200 which got cassette add-ons in quick order. The audio cassette deck interface wasn't even thought of until late 1975 so many of the early trainers were designed before it came out. Trainers continued being designed with cassette interfaces through 1990 since one can't fit DOS in 4 KB. The trainers frequently were used to prototype industrial systems. The finalized equipment often had all the programming instructions inserted through cassette tapes attached to a serial port which replaced paper tape readers. I found a 1992 ISA card that was intended to program or read those cassette tapes through an audio connection indicating cassette equipment was still running though 2000.
  9. The Cassette Gazette is 14 pages of advertising designed to help TRS-80 users avoid what the brochure refers to as "di$ks." http://www.trs-80.org/cassette-gazette/ Businesses moved to disk quickly. Paying employees to wait for cassettes to load instead of doing work that could result in billing made the disk look like a money saver. Cassette survived even with disk focused machines for a number of years. Systems that had a number of different disk solutions in very modest numbers had most of the software shipped on cassette and it was up to the user to copy to disk. In Europe, there was a very low cost specialty mailer for cassette. I only found out about it recently but it helped make sense of some of the advertising for user groups that sold software. Recordable laserdisc was available in the 80s. At a cost approaching $10,000 each, it was largely reserved for large financial firms and law offices. The one that was in the office of a former employer seemed to have worked well until they ran out of discs for it. Discs frequently were only produced for a year or two before a new drive model needing different discs was introduced. Magneto-optical which spun out of related projects to create erasable discs suffered a different problem. The discs should last for centuries. Many drives only worked for 2 or 3 years. Newer magneto-optical drives could only read discs created 2 generations earlier rendering the disc library useless. It took the development of recordable CDs that could be read in any CD drive to push lasers to the forefront of storage.
  10. Anyone who picked up an early double sided floppy drive and had it eat a diskette had a very favorable impression of compact cassette. Indeed, there was a number of backup programs that took the contents of disks to cassette to protect from the numerous ways data loss was likely with a floppy drive during OS development. I could never imagine having the patience to do the East German stunt of creating two RAM disks and loading CP/M and application and data files onto those drives from cassette. Half hour before even starting work. When I started with computers, that would have been $10,000 worth of memory, hardly a good value to keep from buying $1,500 in drives and controller. The strangest use of cassette would have been the Amstrad 464+ which had an internal tape drive in 1990. It was 100 GBP cheaper than the 6128+ but the upgrade of extra memory and disk drive to match the 6128+ cost 35 GBP (from third parties) which is about the cost of just the tape drive. The Sinclair Microdrive was a rather unfortunate case. Had it been released in a working state in 1980, it would have been a world beater offering storage and data transfer levels that matched single density floppy disks. Seeks were slower but waiting a few seconds would have been worth saving 720 GBP. But by the time most of the bugs were finally corrected, the floppy drive had dropped in price and capacity had increased. Most of the other high speed tape options suffered a similar fate of being buggy at release and no longer cheaper when fixed.
  11. Maybe means the floppy tape era for backups. Capacity was huge and QIC was very cheap but it came very close to being a Write Once - Read Never device. Streaming tape wasn't much better though 60MB on a compact cassette was impressive enough.
  12. The problem for TI was not that they were cost conscious; it was the exact opposite. They chose to drop a low cost feature filled design using a Z-80 and use the much more expensive 9900 while waiting for a low cost 9900 variant to be produced. Texas Monthly's Apr 1984 article "Death of a Computer" is a historical overview of how the 99/4A changed and became more a chance to sell TI chips to other parts of TI than a working computer that could be sold for a profit.
  13. The last issues of Portable 100 had ads indicating that Disk+ was available for the M200. I don't know if OS-9 is among the supported ends. Try contacting Tri-Mike Network East for information. The TMNE website hasn't been updating for a decade though. TSDOS worked with the Model 200 but needs a PC compatible on the other end. There were also PDD emulators which should work with the Model 200. It is probably possible to create a PDD emulator that runs on OS-9 but all the ones I know of used a PC compatible.
  14. The Computing History website lists the Remote Disk as being a product of 1984 which matches its having support for Tandy models with disks prior to the Tandy 1000. In 1987, it was merely carried on the catalog thanks to Radio Shack's reluctance to run clearance sales. Remote Disk and the various similar products seemed rather limited in utility since that requires tethering the Model 100 to another computer.
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