When I was a youngster growing up, there was a computer that intrigued me. Unfortunately it was hideously expensive. Also when one thinks of my disturbing obsession with my PalmPilot, my interest in this computer was a scary precurser for my sad, sad life now!
This computer shared alot of the similarities with the PalmPilot now. It has an Address Book, a built-in Text Editor, an Appointment Book. What it had that a PalmPilot doesn't is a built-in modem (at a frightning speed of 300 baud), & a full travel keyboard. It also only had 24K (expandable to 32K) & an 8-bit processor! Chuck in 20 hours battery life on 4 AA batteries & you can start to see its advantages over modern laptops.
This computer was released in 1983, and a thinner, lighter model was released in 1986 (with no change to the hardware).
Time marches on, and this computer is no longer worth the NZ$1690 it was in 1987. In fact they stopped being made in 1991.
What is the name of this wonderous little computer? Its name is the Tandy 102! It is the only Microsoft OS computer I currently own!
So how on earth would one get hold of something so old? eBay of course!!! For US$25 I recently picked one up. If you want a Tandy with more guarantee's about its ability to function, then buy a reconditioned one from the Club 100 site. It is a magnificent little machine!
Some cool sites with software and information about the Tandy are:
Just how useful is the Tandy 102? Well for starters everything I have written so far on this page was on the Tandy and transferred to my Linux desktop using Minicom and the XModem protocol!
I've even posted a review of my Tandy 102 on the Gadgeteer site here or click on logo below!
If you want to support Club 100 , then buy some branded merchandise from the CafePress.com store! I brought the T-Shirt & its great!
Connecting to Linux using Teeny/Desklink
The stock standard way of transferring files to & from a Winblows desktop is described on the Club 100 site. Its called the "HOT Set-Up". Involves installing Teeny on your Tandy, and using Desklink to transfer files through a serial null modem cable cable. Goto the Club 100 catalog to purchase a cable & view installation instructions.
Us Linux & Tandy users have looked at envy *cough* at all those Winblows users who are able to use the above. UNTIL NOW!!!! Teeny & Desklink have been ported to Linux!! WOO HOO! Thanks to the skillful programming of a few Un*x gurus, and the help of the original author of the Win32/DOS version, everything works great.
To get the software, download dlpus. I won't explain how to install Teeny. That is fairly straightforward. Just download the Linux binary provided & unpack it. Go into directory, run it (./teeny-linux) & follow the instructions onscreen. Read the manual also! (RTFM).
You need to compile Desklink first. Unpack the download, cd into the directory, then simply type:
This creates a binary called "dl" which is the Desklink software. To run it type something like this (assuming you are connected to COM1):
This runs Desklink in a daemon type mode. Now just read the Teeny manual to figure out how to "save" & "load" files to your Linux Desktop! The files that are transferred end up in the directory in which "dl" is installed. Works great!
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As you can see, the Tandy 102 is a remarkable little computer. Considering it is nearly 20 years old, to think that it can still interface with so many modern PC systems, and still be useful, speaks volumes for its design. It was definitely way ahead of its time.