PC World opens the guts of a TRS-80 model 100, a vintage computer that was one of the first truly portable computers. Unfortunately, that’s not one I have in my collection, so if you happen to have one… There is also a link in this story to the most collectible PCs of all time, and it turns out I have only three of them, not counting pieces of some as yet unidentified Cray which I doubt is a Cray 1.
I remember seeing the TRS-80 model 100, and beeing unimpressed. What made it so popular among journalists, the set of built-in applications, to some extent lowered its value to young geeks. To me at the time, it looked way too much like a largely oversized business thingie. I was much more impressed by the Canon XO-7 at the time. It was not quite as “big” in terms of features (who needs 32K of memory or all these built-in applications?), but it could be connected to a TV and had this very cool plotter.
Back to the TRS model 100, I think that the most interesting part of the story is that this is the last time Bill Gates wrote a significant fraction of the software for a prodduct. And you can hear from the way he describes it that he was really excited about the business uses, about what you could do with the product. Of course, that software crashed from time to time…
Another thing to remember in these days of “green” is that this machine ran for 20 hours on 4 standard AA batteries!