Friday, July 16, 2010

Blast from the Past

Years ago - way before the Internet - I had a Tandy 1000 TL computer.  This featured an 8086 processor, less RAM than my old calculator watch, and two floppy drives - for 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch disks.  In its day, it was a very trendy and innovative computer.  Tandy monitors could display sixteen colours using their proprietary technology while IBMs still maxed out at three colours.  It had a bootable ROM, which could launch Deskmate, a program which arranged all your Deskmate applications like the text editor, drawing software, games, etc into windows on the screen.  The actual individual programs needed their floppy disks inserted before you could run them, however.

If you installed a serial port card, you could even hook up a mouse to make navigation easier.  If you didn't want to have to keep swapping discs out when you ran programs, you could install a "hard card" - which was an expansion card with a 20 MB hard drive stuck to it.  I had two of those hard drives, and they both stopped working years ago, when I was still actively using the machine.

This Tandy has been one of the few things I've managed to hang on to since my bachelor days.  I did a lot of writing on it back then, and it was on this machine that my old buddy Phil Chajkowski at Aldersgate College saw me doing journal entries and came up with my nickname "Doogie" which has stuck to this day.  I must have moved sixteen times in my unstable and gallivanting bachelor days, and it came with me every time.

While tidying up the garage, I dusted off the old beast.  On a whim, I hooked everything up and tried booting the computer.  Here's what happened:

So it looks like I'll have to consign this dear old electronic friend of mine to the scrap heap.  It's a pity, but life goes on.  Although I wonder if it's so old that it's become a collector's item...


  1. James, I had an old BBC Micro-computer, and as the 5.25 floppy drive aged, I had to partially unlatch the door to get it to spin the floppies.

  2. When the hard-cards were in the process of failing on the Tandy, I used to have to open the case and physically turn the cylinder with a screwdriver to get it kick-started again. That was a pain.


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