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Type-in programs and data-entry speed

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I had a Coco BITD and, like many others, my main source of games was type-in BASIC listings from various books and magazines.

 

Both because I was just learning to type, and because of the lousy "chicklet" keyboard on the Coco, it took a LONG time to enter a program. I remember that it would take me about an hour per page (including breaks, etc.) to enter the program, plus additional time to fix the inevitable typos. Consequently, for really long listings, I had to decide if the enjoyment that I would get from playing the game was worth the time that it would take to type it in. There were even a few really large programs that I started entering but just never finished.

 

Did anyone else "benchmark" their typing speed, and make similar cost-benefit decisions about typing-in long program listings?

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By far, the most annoying thing for me typing in CoCo programs was not the horrible "melted" keyboard, but the fact that after 8 frigging hours of typing, a power failure could ruin the whole damn thing.

 

That did teach me a valuable lesson though. Save often! Of course even that didn't help when reading from the tape would give "?IO ERROR". (another valuable lesson: tape SUCKS!)

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Chiclet keyboard sounds like a DREAM! I had a Timex Sinclair 1000 with a membrane keyboard, each key mapped to multiple functions. So no feedback except for a screen flash when you pressed a key, and typos were super easy to make.

 

What a heap of poop. But it's what I had.

ts1000.gif

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I had a chicklet CoCo as well. I learned to type very deliberately (the best why I can describe it) and disassembled the keyboard to clean it regularly.
At least until I got an HJL keyboard... problem solved.

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I really don’t think keyboard quality mattered that much. I spent amazing amounts of time typing in programs on my 800...and then another eternity trying to find the typos in what I had entered. It got better as the checksum programs were developed, but it still took forever to enter in those ATASCII special characters. Even with the 800’s excellent keyboard.

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My family's first computer was a Mac Performa from 1992 so I was kina spoiled by having a real keyboard. Kinda wish we we had a PC at the time, Windows 3.1 was barely out and DOS would not have been friendly to the 2 year old me.

Edited by TravisHuckins

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we had a TI 99/4, and the chiclet keys on that i thought were pretty terrible. I learned to type actually on the 4A and I always felt the black/silver keyboard was a really good one- except for if you accidentally pressed FN-= and rebooted your dang computer lol

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I used to get my buddies to type in stuff. A penny per line. After a couple hours they could rack up a buck or two. Which I then got back by charging them to play my "arcade quality" consoles like the Colecovision or Atari 800. A penny for every reset/restart, or nickel to change cartridges or load a new disk. And a whole dime to swap systems.

Edited by Keatah

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we had a TI 99/4, and the chiclet keys on that i thought were pretty terrible. I learned to type actually on the 4A and I always felt the black/silver keyboard was a really good one- except for if you accidentally pressed FN-= and rebooted your dang computer lol

 

Yes, if you got a General Instruments or Alps version of the TI-99/4a, they were great. The Hi-Tek/Stackpole ones weren't as good. (I have both types)

 

The thing I really hated (and the reason I returned the first TI I bought from a friend) was the awful non-standard layout. FCTN-I for "?" !?! It was impossible to type properly on it. Even with the excellent switches, typing on it could produce even more errors than with a crap keyboard.

 

 

I used to get my buddies to type in stuff. A penny per line. After a couple hours they could rack up a buck or two. Which I then got back by charging them to play my "arcade quality" consoles like the Colecovision or Atari 800. A penny for every reset/restart, or nickel to change cartridges or load a new disk. And a whole dime to swap systems.

 

Wow, I never even considered using my friends in that way. My childhood could have been so much more profitable. ;)

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