Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Newspapers…of the future!


A news report from 1981, detailing how people might one day read their news in electronic form, online. Like that’ll ever happen. More importantly, these cats are rocking the TRS-80 Color Computer, my first compubeast.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

3 Responses to “ Newspapers…of the future! ”

Cam C. says:

Pffft, all the cool kids had an Apple II. And so did I. 🙂

I Am Steven says:

Bah – whatever. I’m gonna file that story next to the flying cars we’ve been promised for so many years. Ain’t gonna happen.

My favourite part of that story is the caption. “Richard Halloran. Owns Home Computer.”

J.P. Samson says:

The TRS-80 Colour Computer (CoCo) beat the snot out of an Apple II in a couple of ways:

1. The Motorola 6809 used by the CoCo was the most powerful of the 8-bit CPU’s. It even included some 16-bit features such as a 16-bit data register and associated operators. The other common machines of the time (Apple II, Commodore 64) used a MOS 6502, itself essentially a clone of Motorola’s earlier, less powerful 8-bit 6800 CPU.

2. The CoCo had the most robust BASIC interpreter. Microsoft’s full BASIC used up 16 kB of ROM, providing a rich array of commands including high-resolution graphics support (lines, rectangles, circles, arcs, fills, block copying). In contrast, Applesoft BASIC was a stripped down version of Microsoft’s interpreter made to fit in 10 kB of ROM. This meant that it featured only a subset of commands that the CoCo’s BASIC included. The Commodore 64 BASIC had no graphics support to speak of (thus relying on those endless peeks-and-pokes to get anything done).

The big weakness of the CoCo was its graphics unit, as it was somewhat more low resolution than the other computers at the time and had a very limited palette of colours. Indeed, the colour choices made were outright bizarre, such as the infamous nuclear green background used by the text screen.

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