Friday, February 06, 2015
Radio Shack final throes bring back "first personal computer", "first personal printer" memories
This week, there has been an interesting outpouring of nostalgia regarding the final days of Radio Shack. One of my favorites is by David Pierce in Wired, How RadioShack Helped Build Silicon Valley.
Obviously Radio Shack has, among other proponents, lots of baby boomers who can track their relationships with the stores (and catalog) to their childhoods. There are also younger aficionados (lots of memories these days of "learning to program on Dad's TRS-80" and the like), and I can remember my own original TRS-80's final days (after having survived two cross-country moves), when my curious youngest son, during his childhood, "took it apart to see what's inside" - with permission I might add. I believe my very first "personal printer", the QuickPrinter II (see above for example) to go along with that first personal PC, met a less memorable end.
(I add the modifier "personal" to distinguish between the computer and printer I had at work, a very early "microcomputer" called the Sol Helios and green-bar-paper printer whose manufacturer escapes me. These were supplied by the Byte Shop in downtown Portland, but we are getting into a whole other story with this.)
For more Radio Shack, Tandy, and "Trash-80" memories, there are some amazing websites out there, and a great Wikipedia article on the TRS-80 I recommend as a starting point.