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What it was like to actually use the TRS-80 Model 100 as a journalist on the go

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1983's TRS-80 Model 100 is often hailed as the first portable computer, or at least the first laptop, and retains a cultish following, especially among the journalists who depended on it. Wayne Lorentz was there, and still has the ancient Associated Press terminal software to prove it! Is the TRS-80 Model 100 a good computer for a reporter to use? Today, absolutely not. But for its time, it was a revolutionary tool, and the best available for its intended uses. It is the Volkswagen Beetle of computing. I’ve owned close to a dozen laptops from the GRiD Compass to the IBM PC Convertible to any number of Apple portables. I use my eight-year-old MacBook Air daily, and enjoy working on it. But there’s a lot of be said for a unitasker. The Model 100 allows a writer to just write. To focus on the words and the story they’re trying to tell without pop-ups, instant notifications, and the temptation to connect to the internet and get lost down a mental rabbit hole. And for that reason, when I want to write for the pure pleasure of writing, I take my Model 100 to a coffee shop, put in my earphones, and just get stuff done. Those are his conclusions, but the historical anecdotes are most interesting. It is a pain in the keister to get a worthwhile workflow out of one of these now. You'll end up with bulky RS-232 dongles for it and whatever you're plugging it into, and may well end up trying to wire a Pi Zero or something inside it and becoming lost to the void for weeks, not writing. Read the rest

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