I mean, other than changing their grades and playing global thermonuclear war...
April 20, 2010 8:21 AM   Subscribe

What are people using the TRS-80 for these days?

Friend of mine asked, I had no idea, so let's throw it over to the hive mind. What are people doing these days with TRS-80s? Links to art projects, fan groups, modding communities - anything is cool. Just trying to get a better sense for the general state of the field than Google is willing to give me.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I wish I had a good answer to this. My model 2 was holding a basement shelf down.
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:27 AM on April 20, 2010

Mine is unfortunately taking up space in a landfill.
posted by UMDirector at 8:30 AM on April 20, 2010

My very first computer. I had a Model III, which (thanks to a faulty power strip,) shorted out in 1986.

This isn't exactly an answer to your question, but Ira Goldklang's TRS-80 site is a nostalgic treasure trove. He has emulators that (among other things) let you play Scott Adam's text adventures (available for download, too) on Windows and MSDos-based machines.
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also, a PC port exists of Dungeons of Daggorath
posted by zarq at 8:37 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're talking about the CoCo, mostly they're still trying to push the limits of the hardware by inventing IDE and SCSI interfaces, writing impressive software and generally doing stuff that would make you doubt you're still playing with a TRS-80.

Oh, and they're also dissecting and building PC ports of The Greatest Game In The History Of The Universe*.

To me the (somewhat) thriving TRS-80 CoCo community reminds me of people modifying old stereos or ham radios. There's no practical reason for still using them (other then they're a lot of fun to use) but they're a great platform for playing with because you assembly language is still somewhat learn-able and you can modify the hardware with a soldering iron. I don't think the average hobbyist can do that with a modern PC.

*It's the original FPS.
posted by bondcliff at 8:39 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't have it anymore but I had a fishtank in my Model III for a few years.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:59 AM on April 20, 2010

My mom played backgammon (the board was burned into the screen) on hers until about 2002. She had not turned it off since 1996 because she was afraid it wouldn't turn back on. Then she discovered ebay, and sold the computer (sans monitor) for a bunch of money to help pay for my college, for which I am eternally grateful.

I think if she hadn't sold it, it would still be on. Simple games were her preference. All she plays on her fancy new computer is solitaire.
posted by juniperesque at 9:07 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by The otter lady at 9:14 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't have an answer to that, but I will say this. I got a job in 1989 in a small office that used mostly TRS-80 model IVs, and had one model II (with 8" floppies, and apparently cast-iron construction--the drive doors slammed shut with a klang). The boss had a DOS machine. I brought in my Mac Plus.

Those trash-80s were horribly dated even then.
posted by adamrice at 9:31 AM on April 20, 2010

posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 AM on April 20, 2010

My uncle probably has three TRS-80s of various Marks in his house. If he's not using them to compute Manual J loads, he should probably sell them on ebay.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:40 AM on April 20, 2010

Back in the day we did heat balance calculations on a trash 80, in visicalc. When Lotus 123 came out it completely stole the show and that TRS-80 was relegated to word processing duty.

http://www.trs-80.org/ has lots of goodies that you might find interesting.
posted by caddis at 10:49 AM on April 20, 2010

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