TRS-80 Fragmentation

Geoffrey Oltmans oltmansg at
Fri Apr 27 09:08:31 CDT 2018

On Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 10:53 PM, Carlos E Murillo-Sanchez via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> I see that the actual fragmentation is about how each and everyone got in
> touch with computers, personal or mainframe or whatever! Me, I was in
> junior high and usually understood everything in the math class by the
> first 15 minutes, after which I would become restless (bored) and the
> teacher would send me several buildings away to inquire about the room
> temperature of the computer room, which hosted an HP3000 system with
> several terminals (that included primitive graphics capabilities via serial
> connection!).  It was 1978, and I learned BASIC right there. Afterwards, it
> was Apple II and their Franklin clones as a freshman, running UCSD
> Pascal... in 1982.  Later it was the Z80 card in the same computers,
> running CPM, but just for the sake of using the Z80 assembler tools.  And
> we were using also the said Apple II to impersonate card readers that would
> send jobs to the IBM 4381, as a sophomore... My dad bought me an HP71B
> calculator in 1984, and that really was when my numerical math skills
> progressed.  I still do that for a living.  And the height of my BS
> years... getting to run MATLAB in an IBM-AT with a math co-processor.
> Later, as a teacher, getting my first BITNET email account in 1987,
> learning XENIX, wiring phonenet for the Mac network at the university, then
> as a grad student (1989) using VAX machines at UW-Madison, but also Apollo
> machines, Sun 4/50  machines, and HP-300 machines... and in1990, I
> telnet-ed to UCSD to run jobs in a Cray at UCSD...  whoa, such memories...

Don't get me wrong. Like you I learned a lot due to all the variety of
differing machines that were available in the market early on. From a
business perspective I don't think it made a lot of sense however to have
so many internally competing models.

Of course then, I guess you could argue that Atari probably had the most
cohesive set of computers, but that didn't necessarily translate to great
success. I guess that did mostly work for Apple with the II line, save for
the major III distraction.

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