by Art Ude
Novermber 1983 pp55-57
THE Audacity of it! The Pre-sumptive Nerve! The Disrespect, Gall, and Outright Indignation! To submit a TRS-80 review to Call-A.P.P.L.E. What is worse, they actually publish it! This deserves nothing less than an irate letter to the editor and a cancellation of your membership. But wait before you toss this issue in the bit bucket, hear me out. I am as much a dedicated Apple owner as you are, and until a few weeks ago the last thing in my mind would have been to review a Trash 80, much less buy one but then I saw the new Model 100. If you are a confirmed Apple devotee and “disdain” Radio Shack machines then please, don’t even glance at the TRS-80 Model 100; lest temptation be too great, and you, as I did, fall victim to its whims and wiles.
The 100 will provide you with one thing that your Apple lacks: Portability. For “portable,” the 100 truly is. Notebook size, measuring 11 5/8″ by 8 114″ and 2 inches thick, it weighs slightly less than 4 pounds, yet features a full ASCII keyboard. It fits naturally on your lap, which I have found to be the most comfortable typing position. The LCD screen shows eight lines with 40 characters per line, upper and lower case, an assortment of graphic symbols and foreign language characters, and the display is adjustable for easy viewing.
The 100 runs on four AA batteries and retains all that is in its memory when turned off. This is due to a rechargeable Ni-Cad battery that is automatically recharged when the machine is on, or when connected to an optional ($5.95) AC adapter. It comes with 8K of RAM at $799 or 24K at $999, and can be upgraded in increments of 8K at Radio Shack stores, for $119 to a total of 32K. I would recommend the 24K version. Included in the price is a soft vinyl case, a 224 page owners manual and a brief reference guide.
The manual is good, easily understood by the novice, contains an index and some technical information, but is far from being a complete source book on the 100. Tandy promises more information by the time you read this.
What is not supplied, but needed, are cables of various descriptions. You will want the modem cable, the RS-232 cable, and perhaps the parallel printer cable, the cassette recorder cable, the acoustic coupler or the bar code reader. Just mentioning all of these provides you with a glimpse of the 100’s built-in capabilities. Each of these cables and extras will set you back $19.98 or more.
There is also a large carrying case that holds the computer and cassette recorder with room left for “extras,” but I prefer just to stuff the machine in my carry-on suit case. As you can see, the 100 is not an investment to be made lightly. So, for the Apple owner. is it worth it?
I travel a lot. I do it for a living. My Apples stay at home and await my return. Now, with the 100, time spent waiting at airports or sitting in hotel rooms can be used writing, programming or communicating. When I return to the Apples, all 100 files are transferred to the Apple disks for storage. The 100 has a cassette port, but why use tape when disks are available?
Transferring files between the Model 100 and the Apple takes little effort and two short programs. The 100 has a built in modem, capable of 75 to 19200 baud and a built in telecommunications program. Set the Model 100 to 300 baud to match the Hayes Micromodem II (Stat: M711E is fine). The optional modem cable modular plug on the beige cord, (part #26-1410) inserts directly into the Hayes coupler. No need to go through telephone lines. Set the ANS-ORIG switch on the 100 to ANS. Now activate the Micromodem II in the Apple with an IN#2 Return, PR#2 Return (assuming slot 2 for the modem), [Ctrl-A], [Ctrl-F], [Ctrl-A], [Ctrl-Q]. The Apple screen will display
MICROMODEM II: DIALING:.
Now enter the Te1com program on the 100. Select option 4, Term, and then hit the Return key on the Apple. The 100 will emit a short tone and your computers will be linked together. If the 100 is in half duplex, type function key 4 to switch to full duplex.
I found it best at this point to issue a [Ctrl-R], Return, from the 100’s keyboard. You have entered BASIC on the Apple and have complete control of your Apple from the 100. You will find that you are not getting line feeds on the 100. To cure this problem type POKE 1912+2,18; again assuming 2 is the slot in which your MicroModem resides. The Apple’s keyboard is still active and you can use either keyboard for control. Notice, however, that you do not have lower case but you can type the left bracket. A [Ctrl-Y] will enter the monitor and 3DOG will return you to BASIC. If you should type a [Ctrl-S] from either keyboard, the “Wait” flag will appear by the function key F6 and you will have to issue a [Ctrl-Q] from the Apple to clear it. A [Ctrl-T] from the 100 will return you to the terminal mode.
There are several ways to upload files from the 100 to the Apple using the 100’s Telcom program. I have found that saving the files on the Apple disk as binary files, using the following program, is fast and avoids any missed characters. Enter the short BASIC program in listing #1 on your Apple. If your Hayes modem is in slot #3, change the Line 200 DATA statement. The second number, 194, should be a 195 for a slot 3 modem. When you want to upload from the 100 run the program. When it asks “Begin Upload” type function key 3 on the 100 and enter the name of the DO text file. After typing “132” to the “Width?” question, the “Up” flag will appear and the file will upload.
You can watch the output on the Apple’s screen. When the transfer is complete, the “Up” flag will go off.
Now type [Ctrl-E] on the 100 to signal the Apple that the upload has ended, and the file will be saved to disk. You may use this program within any other communication program that you have, but set HIMEM to 24575 in line 1 to avoid conflicts.
To download from Apple to the 100, use the program in listing #2. It will read the Apple’s binary file and, after you type function key 2 on the 100, read the file on the Apple disk and send it to the Model 100. This file should end with the reverse backslash character (ASCII 220). You could change this to any character you wish by putting a different number in line 110 of listing #2. A reverse backslash can be typed from the 100 by using the graph key and minus key.
If you are using one of the several communication software programs available for the Apple, you probably can use the features within these programs to transfer your files. Depending on the program, however, you mayor may not be able to activate the program with the cable from the 100 connected directly to the coupler. You may have to go through a telephone line.
If you are traveling with the 100 and want to access your Apple, you will need some type of a “pickup” program. I strongly recommend “The Answering Machine” program from Ed Magnin’s Telephone Software
Connection in Torrance, California (modem 213-516-9432). The program is written in BASIC, easy to modify, provides security from others dialing into your Apple, and costs only $35. The programs listed above can be merged (after some line renumbering) with “The Answering Machine” to provide upload and download capabilities.
“But,” you ask, “didn’t you mention an RS-232 interface? Why not use-that?” Why not, indeed! If you have a serial card plugged into your Apple, simply connect the two machines directly with the Radio Shack 26-1408 cable. Consult your serial card manual for the correct configuration. If you are using the Apple Super Serial Card position the jumper block toward “Modem” and place the switches as follows:
Switch 1; OFF, OFF, OFF, ON, ON, ON, ON.
Switch 2; ON, OFF, OFF, ON, ON, OFF, OFF.
The Model 100 Stat should be changed to 87N1E. Now do a IN#1 and PR#1 (serial card in slot #1) on the Apple, enter the TELCOM program on the 100, press function switch 4, and, wallah, you’re connected. To download to the 100, LIST a BASIC program, dump a text line, or use program #2 to read a binary file. To upload from the 100 use program #1, but note the REM line 205 and make the DATA statement changes as necessary.
If telecommunicating or writing are necessary to you, then the advantages of the portable Model 100 are obvious. But what about BASIC programming? It is not an Apple and does not use Applesoft. Is programming on the 100 worth the effort if the programs are to be run on an Apple? The Model 100 uses a version of Microsoft BASIC written especially for that machine. It is excellent and very powerful. Besides the normal BASIC commands the 100 has tone generation and 64 by 240 dot addressable graphics.
When writing programs on the 100 for the Apple, some care must be taken with certain commands. CLS is HOME. There is no HTAB or VTAB but a PRINT @ statement. The 100 has PRINT USING and IF THEN ELSE. File commands are quite different, the 100 using more conventional syntax. Any POKEs, PEEKs or CALLs are meaningless in translation. In short, you can now do programming, but no debugging. That must wait until you arrive home and swap files. Interestingly enough, going the other way programming on the Apple for the Model 100 I find to be quite easy. I use a word processor program which provides me with an 80 column screen and complete editing commands. When I finish I dump the file to the 100 and see if it runs.
]LIST 10 REM TRS-8O / APPLE UPLOAD BY ART UDE CALL -A.P.P.L.E. : NOV 1983 15 AD = 24576: REM FILE ADDRESS 20 FOR A = 792 TO 854: READ L 30 POKE A , L : NEXT 40 TEXT : HOME :D$ = CHRS (4) 50 INPUT "NAME OF FILE ";N$: IF LEN (N$) < 1 THEN END 60 PRINT: PRINT "READY TO RECEIVE." 70 PRINT "REMEMBER, END UPLOAD WITH A CTRL E." 80 PRINT "BEGIN UPLOAD PRESS KEY F3" 90 CALL 792 100 L=PEEK(8)+ PEEK(9)*256 + 1 110 POKE AD + L,220 120 PRINT D$;"BSAVE ^";NS;",A";A D;", L";L 130 PRINT "DONE." : END 200 DATA 169,194,133,57,169,7,13 3,56,169,96,133,7,160,0,132, 6,132,26 204 REM FOR MODEM IN SLOT #3 CHANGE 194 TO 195 IN LINE 200 205 REM FOR RS-232 WITH CARD IN SLOT #1 CHANGE LINE 200 :DATA 169,193,133,57, 169,5,133,56,169,96, 133,7,160,0,132,6, 132,26 210 DATA 169,0,133,8,133,9,32,12 ,253,32,240,253,230,8,208,2, 230,9 220 DATA 201,133,240,14,164,26,1 45,6,200,132,26,208,231,230, 7 230 DATA 76,48,3,169, 129,133,56, 169,158,133,57,96
10 REM TRS-8O / APPLE UPLOAD BY ART UDE CALL -A.P.P.L.E. : NOV 1983 15 AD = 24576: REM FILE ADDRESS 20 TEXT:HOME:D$=CHR$(4) 30 PRINT D$;"CATALOG" 40 INPUT "NAME OF FILE TO DOWNLOAD";N$:IF LEN(N$)<1THEN END 50 IF LEFTS (N$,1) = "^" THEN 70 60 N$ = "^" + N$ 70 PRINT DS;"BLOAD ";N$;",A";AD 80 PRINT : PRINT "PRESS THE F2 KEY ON THE MODEL 100" 90 PRINT "PRESS APPLE II TO CONTINUE "; : GET A$ :PRINT 100 A = PEEK(AD + I):I = I + 1 110 PRINT CHR$ (A);: IF A = 220 THEN 130 120 GOTO 100 130 PRINT "END OF FILE " : END
There is always some “cleaning up,” but using the full Apple screen with all the w/p help makes it worth while. I have come to admire the 100’s Microsoft BASIC abd wish the Apple’s was as good. Others will be bringing forth similar machines but Tandy has the jump on everyone with the 100.
Guesses range from 60,000 to 200,000 units sold the first year. I am very happy with the 100, find it highly compatible with many computers, not just the Apple, and (be it heresay) find using a new and better BASIC lots of fun.
One last item. There has been some speculation about the use of portable computers and electronic games on airlines. The major airlines have few hard and fast rules about computers and seem to be taking a wait and see attitude. Delta and Eastern have barred them without any tests. Just playing it safe and cautious (easy way out). United has not made any comment.
American says ok, if they don’t cause interference (isn’t that what we want to know?). Northwest and TWA say likewise. The FAA says they don’t think computers cause any problem but leave it up to the individual airlines (now that’s helpful). In actual practice, no one will say anything to you if you open your bag and start using one, except nearby passengers and flight attendants who will all want a look see. The airlines may soon be installing electronic games in the fold-down tray tables and that should end the matter.
As a commercial pilot and Model 100 owner, I was anxious to do my own evaluation as I certainly wouldn’t want them being used in the cabin if I thought there was any chance of interference up front. Onthe other hand, as a portable owner, I would like to use one on the airplane when just going along for the ride. As the FAA and individual carriers were avoiding the question, I took my 100 along for a trip. I checked it with a running program against radios and flight instruments: Heading and bank indicators, DMEs, radio altimeters, VHF and HF radio transmissions, ADF, marker beacons, VOR, ILS and glide slop indicators. No problems whatsoever. The instruments showed no difference with the computer on or off.
The era of the portable computer has arrived, and while I don’t think they will be a viable machine for the single computer user, anyone with a computer at home or in the office will certainly be able to make excellent use of one. Try it, you’ll like it. It’ll be your “Apple to go.”