1983's TRS-80 Model 100 is often hailed as the first portable computer, or at least the first laptop, and retains a cultish following, especially among the journalists who depended on it.
Wayne Lorentz was there, and still has the ancient Associated Press terminal software to prove it!
Is the TRS-80 Model 100 a good computer for a reporter to use? Today, absolutely not. But for its time, it was a revolutionary tool, and the best available for its intended uses. It is the Volkswagen Beetle of computing.
I’ve owned close to a dozen laptops from the GRiD Compass to the IBM PC Convertible to any number of Apple portables. I use my eight-year-old MacBook Air daily, and enjoy working on it. But there’s a lot of be said for a unitasker. The Model 100 allows a writer to just write. To focus on the words and the story they’re trying to tell without pop-ups, instant notifications, and the temptation to connect to the internet and get lost down a mental rabbit hole. And for that reason, when I want to write for the pure pleasure of writing, I take my Model 100 to a coffee shop, put in my earphones, and just get stuff done.
Those are his conclusions, but the historical anecdotes are most interesting.
It is a pain in the keister to get a worthwhile workflow out of one of these now. You'll end up with bulky RS-232 dongles for it and whatever you're plugging it into, and may well end up trying to wire a Pi Zero or something inside it and becoming lost to the void for weeks, not writing. Chances are, the vintage gadget you really want is a portable typewriter such as the Canon Typestar (just OCR it) or an early ultrabook-type thingy such as the NEC MobilePro 780/900 (wifi/flash cards, but too ancient to distract you with functional internet).
Hearthcabinet's "Ventless Fireplaces" use "pre-filled alcohol gel cartridges" -- that is, proprietary logs. When Drew quizzed the company's reps about this on Facebook, they danced around the question, but yeah, it's proprietary logs all right. The company notes that the design is patented (the founder, a product liability attorney named Michael Weinberger, has many related […]
It being 2019, you may now buy a portable cassette player with Bluetooth functionality. Meet Its OK, a ~$65 gadget currently firing up Kickstarter. Chaim Gartenberg: the It’s OK does the usual tape things, like playing cassettes or letting you record to tapes, it also bills itself as the world’s first Bluetooth 5.0 portable cassette […]
Eurogamer’s Will Judd flirts with heresy: “Are mechanical keyboards really good for gaming?” When it comes to PC gaming peripherals, stats and specs drive purchases. Gaming monitors became popular because they offered lower latency or higher refresh rates, while gaming mice boasted higher sensitivities and improved tracking accuracy. Yet this quantitative trend doesn’t seem to […]
They might be the shiny new thing, but AirPods aren’t for everybody. Maybe you’re looking for a new sound or you understandably lost those tiny buds during a brisk run. If so, here’s 10 headphones and earbuds that break out of the Apple mode with a return to quality and wearability. Klipsch R5 Bluetooth Neckband […]
When it comes to passwords, there’s no such thing as paranoia. You want them secure and complex, and you definitely don’t want to repeat them on all your accounts. The trouble is, the internet seems to keep growing. And so do those accounts. Just one lockout from an important email or banking site is enough […]
With the rising temperatures on tap this summer, the climate is going to be a frequent topic of conversation, and those conversations won’t be happy ones. Luckily, there’s a way to do a little climate change of your own – in a safe and sustainable way. When it comes to personal air conditioners, EvaPolar is […]