Much has changed since Michael Zabinski, a professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut, founded the first such camp, the National Computer Camps, in the late 1970s, featuring the likes of RadioShack TRS-80
and Apple II microcomputers.
Depending on the tower and the associated TRACON, these displays could be a monochrome unit salvaged from a Tandy TRS-80
and installed during the Reagan Administration or a color LCD showing the same images as the most updated Automated Radar Terminal Systems (ARTS) that form the backbone of our Approach-Control radar.
The first installment featured a test of a Radio Shack TRS-80
Model I (with 4 kilobytes of memory when introduced in 1977 and later upgraded to 16KB), which was used to compute ephemeredes for Jupiter through Pluto from 1653 to 2060.
With the release of systems like Radio Shack's TRS-80
, Commodore's PET, and Apple's Apple II in 1977, modders also had mass-manufactured computer systems to dissect, study, and transform--usually in violation of the manufacturer's warranties--all in search of increased processing speed and power.
This was how most of us wrote on a computer in the early 1980s, and it's resurfacing a quarter of a century later.These spare working conditions rely not on an '80s-vintage TRS-80
, IBM PC or Apple II, but on a laptop built less than a year ago.The software, called WriteRoom, seems to have cast a shiny new Mac laptop back to the dark ages of DOS.
Even back then we did have crude, portable word processors called the TRS-80
made by Radio Shack that had transmitting capability, and I was able to use acoustic "couplers" that fit on the two ends of a phone and enabled the text to be transmitted.
The magazine noted the advent of personal computing, offering a business buying guide examining the virtues of such competitors as the Radio Shack TRS-80
, the Apple IIe and IBM's entry.
Greasy-haired and red-eyed, he types late into the night on an old TRS-80
workstation, trying desperately to get your American Express account number for nefarious purposes.
We keep telling him the Radio Shack TRS-80
computer he's using needs to be updated and it's getting hard for us to read his 5 1/4" floppy discs, but he usually just growls something about loading a big bore sixgun, so we quit talking about it.