Other 8-Bit Computers

Updated April 2005 (Tandy Model 100)

Here are some other classic computers I have...

 The Interact home computer. 
 Originally, this was to be my very first
 computer almost 20 years ago. However, when
 I called Protecto Enterprises to order it
 (from a magazine ad), I was told they had
 already sold out, but were just about to
 start selling another computer called the
 "APF Imagination Machine..." So, I wound up
 getting the APF instead. Now, thanks to Jim
 Agar, I finally have an Interact Computer to
 tinker around with! From what I've found out,
 Interact Electronics (formerly of Ann Arbor MI)
 supposedly went bankrupt before the computers
 even hit the market, and Protecto (and another
 company, MicroVideo) bought the computers to
 close out. MicroVideo supported the machine,
 making a 32k Upgrade and stringy floppy drive.


 The Interact Computer: 8080A CPU (2Mhz), 8K or 16K of RAM, 2K of ROM,
 Graphics of 112x78 in 8 colors, 17 characters of text per line,
 a built-in 1200 baud cassette deck, and two combined joystick/paddles.
 There is only 2K ROM in the machine. Everything (including BASIC) must
 be loaded from tape. Power is 110-120 volts AC, with average power
 consumption at 5-8 watts. Connection via an RF modulator (TV channel 3).
 Microsoft Level II BASIC was an offered program cassette, and when
 loaded, the opening screen shows:
              I N T E R A C T
            M I C R O S O F T
        B A S I C   V E R .   4 . 7
        C O P Y R I G H T   1 9 7 8
          B Y   M I C R O S O F T

    4 6 9 8   B Y T E S   F R E E

   Height:  4.0 in.
   Width:  10.5 in.
   Length: 18.25 in.
   Weight: 12 lbs.

The Interact came with a 90-day warranty, and was FCC & UL approved.

NOTE: I no longer have my Interact computer. After seeing what I missed
by not having one as a kid, I donated it to someone who keeps an extensive
collection of old computers, knowing that it will live on and remain a part
of early microcomputer history.

The Radio Shack MC-10 The Radio Shack Micro Color Computer is a small cousin to Radio Shack's larger Color Computers. Not as powerful, but still quite fun to use, this 6803-based, Made-in-Korea unit came with 4K of RAM standard (20k with the optional 16k RAM pak), and was a great way to introduce a novice to the world of personal computers. More popular in Australia than the U.S., Radio Shack marketed only a few programs for the unit, including a term program, and a great pinball game ("Lost World Pinball", still available through Radio Shack for $2.59). The same exact computer was also sold in France by Matra-Hachette as the "Alice", and was a popular entry-level computer there. The unit offers a 64x32 semi-graphics mode with 8 colors, as well as an officially undocumented high-resolution mode (which requires the 16k RAM pak) in four colors. The "Lost World Pinball" game above is programmed in this hi-res mode. Sound (through the TV speaker) is one-voice and five octaves. The unit has DINs for a cassette recorder and serial I/O port, but not for joysticks. Standard is 8k Microsoft BASIC, and tokens could be used for BASIC commands to help save memory. One of the options available for the unit was a small, 32-column thermal printer, though the computer was hardly supported by Radio Shack. Really, a fun little machine. The Radio Shack Micro Color Computer MC-10 (USA/Canada/Australia) As the Matra-Hachette "Alice" (France)
The Radio Shack Model 100 The Radio Shack Model 100 was the first true laptop computer. The Kyocera-made unit features an 8-line LCD text screen with block graphics, and runs for several hours on 4 "AA" batteries. I've wanted one of these for years, and not too long ago, picked one up, along with the matching "AA" battery-powered 3.5" disk drirve. IN 1983, NEC sold this same machine in Japan as the PC8201, and here are some of the specs: 8-bit CMOS version of the 8085 CPU, with a clock speed of 2.4Mhz. Weight is 1.7kg. With 4 AA batteries, the battery life would be 18 hours. The NEC version was basically the same Kyoceca-made unit as the Tandy Model 100, but cosmetically, the Tandy was flatter, and had a better-designed keyboard. One other difference is a left-side expansion slot for more RAM or a CRT connection. The Japanese version could display English and Japanese syllabary (for kanji, you could buy a ROM with the kanji), and the price was 138,000 yen in 1983. The same basic Kyocera-made machine has been known as: Tandy Model 100: US, first version, 8K RAM Tandy Model 102: Slimmer, lighter than Model 100 Tandy Model 1200: 16 line folding display type. NEC PC-8201: Sold only in Japan in 3 colors -- white, grey or red. NEC PC-8201A (Made for US use) NEC PC-8300 (Made for US, 32K RAM) Olivetti M10: Sold in Europe and US. Kyotronic 85 (KC-85): Very rare, under Kyocera's own brand (Kyosei) Much of this info was taken from a Japanese webpage on the NEC version: here. MODEL 100 NEC PC-8201 (Grey) Ad for PC-8201 Click here to see what Bill Gates has to say about the Model 100. (It was the last machine Bill personally wrote code for).
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