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JohnnyRockets

Tandy MC-10 / Alice

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Hi all,

 

Just starting playing around with the MC-10 Color Computer.

 

This is the one that I think I would have bought in addition to my VIC-20 way back in the day.

 

I could have afforded it.  :)

 

Anyone play with one of these?

 

I might try to buy one.

 

Thanks!

 

 

JR

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I have a couple MC-10s and a Alice Matrice.  They are fun but I have to say, in today's world I mainly use my CoCo3 for everything.

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I looked at the MC-10 back in the day. Although, I had already had a CoCo 2, I passed on the MC-10 because of it's limitations versus the CoCo. I have the emulator for the MC-10 on my laptop. And I played with it a little. However, I always went back to using my CoCo 2, and now my CoCo 3.

 

If the MC-10 is your first look at the Colour Computer line of computers, definitely play with the emulator and see what you think about it, before you buy. The software for the Colour Computers are archived at www.colorcomputerarchive.com. Perhaps you have been there already.

 

Some people pick up the MC-10 to add to or complete a collection.

 

There are times that you will see a MC-10 listed on eBay for less than a CoCo 2. Other times for more. If you're looking for the "best bang for the buck", and you deciding between getting the MC-10 or the CoCo 2, go for the CoCo 2 or even the CoCo 3. They have a lot more capabilities. A SDC controller is today's perfect replacement for disk drives, and the archive is your oyster.

 

The question is: Have you played with the Coco 2 or 3 lately? If not, the MC-10 will get your feet wet. If you have to make a choice and funding is low, go for a CoCo 2. It will do all the things the MC-10 does and much more.

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3 hours ago, Michael Kline said:

I looked at the MC-10 back in the day. Although, I had already had a CoCo 2, I passed on the MC-10 because of it's limitations versus the CoCo. I have the emulator for the MC-10 on my laptop. And I played with it a little. However, I always went back to using my CoCo 2, and now my CoCo 3.

 

If the MC-10 is your first look at the Colour Computer line of computers, definitely play with the emulator and see what you think about it, before you buy. The software for the Colour Computers are archived at www.colorcomputerarchive.com. Perhaps you have been there already.

 

Some people pick up the MC-10 to add to or complete a collection.

 

There are times that you will see a MC-10 listed on eBay for less than a CoCo 2. Other times for more. If you're looking for the "best bang for the buck", and you deciding between getting the MC-10 or the CoCo 2, go for the CoCo 2 or even the CoCo 3. They have a lot more capabilities. A SDC controller is today's perfect replacement for disk drives, and the archive is your oyster.

 

The question is: Have you played with the Coco 2 or 3 lately? If not, the MC-10 will get your feet wet. If you have to make a choice and funding is low, go for a CoCo 2. It will do all the things the MC-10 does and much more.

Hi Michael,

 

I appreciate your thoughts greatly!  The Coco 2 is very nice as well.  I'm trying to grab a childhood "wished I had it" moment here and I specifically remember going to my local Radio Shack and "ooohing" and "ahhhing" over the Tandy Color Computers.  I ended up with the VIC-20, cause that was what I could afford with my Christmas money when I was 13 years old.  Now I can afford it ALL!  ;)  But I want to limit the technology, so the Coco 2 I will definitely look very close at, and I am intrigued with Assembly Language and do enjoy playing with that as well.  So we'll see how it all pans out....

 

100% agree with the SDC controller idea, that is key if I make the jump from emulator to physical...  And, oh man yes, the color computer archive is a GREAT site!

 

Thanks again Michael, and just curious if you had the Coco growing up or are just getting into it now?

 

 

JR

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Hi JR,

 

Yes I did. I received my first CoCo 2 when I was about 15 for Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't afford disk drives at the time. So, I was stuck using cassettes. We had a CoCo users group back then. So, we got to explore a lot of titles back then. 

 

Later in my 20s, I was able to build out a full setup, including getting and upgrading a CoCo 3 to 512k.

 

Times got very challenging in my late 30s. And I lost the entire collection. 

 

I have started to rebuild. I have a 64K CoCo 2 and 512k/2MB CoCo 3. My CoCo 3 will automatically go to 2MB when I am able to get the CPU daughter board, that will give me 2 more address lines that I need for 2 meg. 

 

The 8 bit computer era were the best times for me. So, now I can relive and enjoy those times again. 

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8 minutes ago, Michael Kline said:

Hi JR,

 

Yes I did. I received my first CoCo 2 when I was about 15 for Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't afford disk drives at the time. So, I was stuck using cassettes. We had a CoCo users group back then. So, we got to explore a lot of titles back then. 

 

Later in my 20s, I was able to build out a full setup, including getting and upgrading a CoCo 3 to 512k.

 

Times got very challenging in my late 30s. And I lost the entire collection. 

 

I have started to rebuild. I have a 64K CoCo 2 and 512k/2MB CoCo 3. My CoCo 3 will automatically go to 2MB when I am able to get the CPU daughter board, that will give me 2 more address lines that I need for 2 meg. 

 

The 8 bit computer era were the best times for me. So, now I can relive and enjoy those times again. 

 

100% agree!  We sound about the same age, and those were awesome times  to  play with computers and now there are SO many great emulators out there you get to "try before you buy" so many of them!

 

On that note I shot you a PM with a specific Coco2 question.

 

Thx!

 

 

JR

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1 hour ago, JohnnyRockets said:

That Alice seems kind of cool, but is it only French or English too?

The Matra Alice has an AZERTY keyboard and RGB output. The operating system (BASIC) is standard English though. The fact the keyboard is AZERTY may affect some MC-10 programs that read the keyboard based on the characters the keys generate rather than the position in the matrix, i.e. movement WASZ gets weird on French systems.

 

There's also the Alice 32 which has more memory and may be partly incompatible, and the Alice 90 which is hen's tooth and strives even further away from the CoCo series.

Edited by carlsson
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It could be added that if you have a MCX-128 and run it in MCX BASIC mode, the machine outputs QWERTY anyway.

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I think you mean "Except Tandy wasn't able to push costs far enough to compete with Sinclair". The home computer market in the beginning of 1983 and the same market in the fall were two rather different places. The MC-10 might have made sense at its launch price if it had been out in Jan-Feb and the big price wars led by Commodore never had happened in the summer. Sure they already had begun cutting margins and forcing competitors to follow but it is like Tandy could not foresee what would happen. The CoCo line probably could've been cut a little, entry models at 16K. For that matter, apparently Mattel didn't know what would happen as well with their Aquarius. The same can be said about a number of brands in Europe, though it always was a more diverse market over here.

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On 11/10/2020 at 6:33 PM, Bruce Tomlin said:

The MC-10 was Tandy's ZX-81. Except even Tandy couldn't bring themselves to make something crappy enough to compete with Sinclair.

 

When I was a kid, I always assumed the MC-10 was a repackaged version of a wind-up toy Timex Sinclair.  I was tempted to buy an MC-10 when they were on closeout for $20 bucks.  Seems a lot of people did as it's the only computer ever made that's easier to find in the box vs loose on eBay. :lol: I think one of two things happened...someone who had no interest in owning a computer buys it because "hey only $20!" and never opens it.  Others actually try it out and think "What the hell did I buy? Oh well, it was only $20."  Either way, it gets tossed in the closet the same day and sits for decades.

 

Sinclairs lol...Ribordy Drugs down the street was the only place I recall seeing them sold.  They couldn't move them at $49.99 with free accessories.

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On 11/11/2020 at 1:33 AM, Bruce Tomlin said:

The MC-10 was Tandy's ZX-81. Except even Tandy couldn't bring themselves to make something crappy enough to compete with Sinclair.

Oh, Atari Age... 😁

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12 hours ago, Turbo-Torch said:

easier to find in the box vs loose on eBay.

You're forgetting the TS1000.

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Neat little machine , and a they just made a little device that plugs in and gives you sd storage and extra ram :)

i might have one for sale..

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On 11/10/2020 at 5:33 PM, Bruce Tomlin said:

The MC-10 was Tandy's ZX-81. Except even Tandy couldn't bring themselves to make something crappy enough to compete with Sinclair.

Pretty sad when a power switch becomes a feature. :P
The MC-10 has color, sound, it's a lot faster, etc... so it didn't have to compete directly with the ZX on price, it just had to be in the neighborhood of the magic $100 that people liked.
A handful of changes would have made it a much better machine, many of which would have cost nothing, and the better changes might have cost under $5 in Tandy's quantities.
Don't get me wrong, it's a cool little computer that runs rings around the TS-1000/ZX-81, and it's BASIC even benchmarks well against 1MHz 6502 machines out of the box.
 

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4 hours ago, JamesD said:

A handful of changes would have made it a much better machine, many of which would have cost nothing, and the better changes might have cost under $5 in Tandy's quantities.

 

I had a Coco and a buddy of mine had an MC-10. He wrote this massive game that he wanted to share. We assumed that the two systems were generally compatible and, indeed, the cassette tape loaded just fine on my system. We were both tragically disappointed to discover that BASIC was tokenized differently. and so the program would not run.  

 

This is a small change that could have made the MC-10 so much more useful, and created a logical upgrade path to the Coco.  

 

 

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5 hours ago, jhd said:

 

I had a Coco and a buddy of mine had an MC-10. He wrote this massive game that he wanted to share. We assumed that the two systems were generally compatible and, indeed, the cassette tape loaded just fine on my system. We were both tragically disappointed to discover that BASIC was tokenized differently. and so the program would not run.  

 

This is a small change that could have made the MC-10 so much more useful, and created a logical upgrade path to the Coco.  

 

At the very least, it needed to be able to save/load BASIC programs in ASCII like the CoCo can.
 

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15 hours ago, jhd said:

 

I had a Coco and a buddy of mine had an MC-10. He wrote this massive game that he wanted to share. We assumed that the two systems were generally compatible and, indeed, the cassette tape loaded just fine on my system. We were both tragically disappointed to discover that BASIC was tokenized differently. and so the program would not run.  

 

This is a small change that could have made the MC-10 so much more useful, and created a logical upgrade path to the Coco.  

 

 

The listing could be captured through an emulator as a listed and re written to work on other basics as a port. I've dug out some old games and ported them to other systems. Some basics had the option to save it as staright ascii text as an option too.

 

I wrote a massive game for a sanyo mbc 550 which was 2 full 360kb disks in the 1980's. The graphic system & sound was completely different from ibm though. So I had the same problem.

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A 64k Coco2 is a great machine for learning machine language and you can even run the 6309cpu in there which makes it more fun for ml .. but i prefer to write code on a coco3 emulator for it because of the clear 80 character wide screen and fast compiling.

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The MC-10 was my first computer. I also bought the 16K ram expansion after some months later. Used the MC-10 for about 2 years before swapping it with an 16K Atari 600XL.

 

anyhow, I learned programming in BASIC on this nice computer and translated many BASIC adventure games from the C64,BBC-B, TRs-80 model 1/3 to the MC-10.

Edited by Stormtrooper of Death
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If Tandy made the MC-10 more like a cut-down but compatible CoCo, it may have affected sales of those. That is always a difficult line to draw, does a system benefit or suffer if a cheaper model that mostly is compatible is released. I suppose the closest comparison I can make is the Acorn Electron which to some degree is a cut-down BBC Micro but I'm not sure it was priced to really undercut the competition. The Commodore 116 was intended to be very cheap and in the end was rather affordable but just like with the MC-10, it differs enough from e.g. the C64 to not being a compatible alternative.

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The Alice started as a clone of the MC10, but later models evolved from it. Here's some context:

 

 

Edited by Newsdee
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