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WYSICRAP – The Tandy WP-2

WYSICRAP – The Tandy WP-2 Back when we had to start the car by hand, walk 4 miles to school uphill…both ways and the milkman was still blamed for kids that didn’t quite look like mom “or” dad, computers sat on a desk. Portability meant fitting in a backpack (first baby Macs) or, in the case of early laptops something that weighed about nine or ten pounds. So, as a young college student in the early 90’s the only options you had for taking notes was a pen and paper and any typed assignments required you either owned your own computer or hunkered down in one of the campus computer labs and made damn sure you didn’t forget your box o’ disks. Then one day while flipping through a circular for Radio Shack I saw an ad for the Tandy WP-2 Word Processor.  I immediately thought “dude, you HAVE to have this!”. It was on sale and I believe if memory serves it was $199. It had a full keyboard, 32K of memory with an expansion slot for extra memory, a monochrome LCD screen that displayed about 9-10 lines of text at a time and full word processing capability including spell checker and a dictionary. It also had parallel and serial ports. In sum, for the time if you needed a small, light, full-featured word processor that was no larger than a standard textbook this was pretty much your only option. So, I got one.  Here she is: The first time I took it to class I remember all the weird looks from classmates and my professors. Everyone wanted to know what the hell it was and where I got it. The budding inner geek in me (I say budding becuase it would be a few more years before I achieved full geekhood) was like, “oh yeah, this is cool!”. I used it for the last year and a...
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An Ode to Physical Games – Tales of a Dying Medium

An Ode to Physical Games – Tales of a Dying Medium Nostalgia plays a big part in why gaming is important to me. Those moments as a kid were only highlighted with some of the warm memories attributed with the challenging gameplay, characters, and music associated with the classics on consoles such as the NES and Genesis. Getting a new game, even to this day is a blast! Yet, holding that brand new box in your hands, then popping the cartridge or disk into the system and starting it up for the first time was, and still is its own reward. This is something that could very well have its days numbered, when physical copies will be completely phased out by an all digital marketplace. Even though the direction the industry will go in is still undetermined, it doesn’t look to good for our physical games. Regardless of how games are played in the future, I will always have fond memories of first getting that brand new game and the anticipation to play it. Though getting a new game when I was a kid wasn’t a regular thing, it was only that more special when I did. At the time, there were not many stores for me to go and browse new selections of games. No Gamestop, no FuncoLand, no Electronics Boutique. Just places like Lechmere and Target; which had an ok selection to choose from, but not the greatest. Though it was almost a half hour drive, Toys R’ Us was always a favorite destination for me when picking up something new, especially when it was popular and might sell out fast. It’s the kind of place you would want to go just to play around. Even the fliers included with the daily newspaper would provide a warm sensation prompting you to reach for a pen to highlight stuff you wanted, even if it wasn’t anywhere near the Holidays....
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BBS’s : Social Media and File Sharing in 1987

BBS’s : Social Media and File Sharing in 1987 The most dramatic “future” I ever lived in, was 1987. There was no public accessible internet. No WiFi. Laptops were suitcases. If you had a computer, you were one of the few. And that few used computers to load the totaly awesome original “California Games”. I was one of the few. But like Neo on his search for Morpheus, I knew there was more. I needed to expand my reach on the tech grid in its infancy. Selling my second computer, a Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer 3, I went mainstream and bought a used Commodore 64. It came with a box full of pirated 5.25″ floppy disks and a 300 baud modem. 300 baud means painstakingly slow. You would use the modem to dial into other computers through the telephone land line.  After you hear the audible handshake of computers in a fury of staticky computer tones, you watched the text stream in front of your eyes.  That’s data streaming through copper wires at roughly 500 bps. Electronic sounds played through the telephone line so that a modem can translate into digital input that the computer could understand. 500 bps – bits per second A character on your keyboard will simply take one byte – it takes 8 bits  to create1 byte Doing the math, thats 62.5 characters per second Factor in error correction, old copper lines, and latency – you were getting no where near even that speed At this very second, I am averaging 25 Mbps, or 25,000,000 bps, on my home WiFi. So you can see, things have changed a little. Just imagine the amount of data that had to stream through that 300 baud connection to download a game. It often took all night – just to fill a floppy disk.  Or if it spanned multiple disks, we would use a new technology called zipping....
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