Growing up RadioShack


Jeff Reifman has written a charming little piece on his blog about “being raised by RadioShack:”

At one point, Chuck paid me $10/hr (a fortune) to manually re-type the entire contents of private investigator Gavin De Becker’s client database. Chuck set up two Model II computers side by side and I manually moved his entire database from (I think) Profile Plus to (I think) DBase. Basically, it was a catalog of all the psychos tracking his clients such as President Reagan (prior to his election) as well as a lot of code names, e.g. I think Reagan’s was Pigskin. The Model II used 8″ floppies.

Another fellow traveler hanging out at Chuck’s store was the child star, Josh Milrad, from Beastmaster. I was impressed with his filmography but couldn’t take him seriously because he had a TRS-80 Color Computer. Luckily, he wore actual clothes at RadioShack.

Via Boing Boing

Raised, in part, by RadioShack

10 thoughts on “Growing up RadioShack

  1. Improviser says:

    Why didn’t he just transfer the data??? I guess he wanted the extra money.

  2. Improviser says:

    Then just move floppies over.

  3. Nightstar says:

    Have a lot of good memories of the Color Computer. Wrote for sale a lot of software domestic and Europe sales…

    Had pretty good power for the price. Even had a real Floppy controller chip when the Disk Drive’s came out! Not that hack that the C64 had. Could hang std disk drives off of it.

  4. Improviser says:

    Used to use an Eprom burner to make copys of the Extended Basic Rom chips and upgrade the cheaper Cocos. You could buy memory dirt cheap and plug it in yourself. The program paks (game cartridges) were easy to hack with 6809E assembler, so you could copy them to disk. You could even load up the OS9 unix based disk operating system for multi-user apps. I hated driving to college just to wait in line for a terminal so I built a modem and used my Coco as a home terminal. I don’t think there was a machine out there that could hold a candle to the Coco for the money.

    1. Nightstar says:

      Agree! Was the best GP machine. A real Basic/Dos. If only they did not use tin contacts for the edge card connector. Oh well.

      Remember that Tandy did a third party version of the Coco 2. And Dragon Data Limited in England had there own clone. Even Sampo of South Korea was working on one with three expansion ports and a built in modem!

      Sold a lot of software through Computerware. Even did a term package that Tandy picked up for sale through there third party side. They like mine over the others due to it not dropping characters at full baud rate speeds. Love doing the two games in OS9 for Tandy.

      Actual used a SSB 6809 based computer for development.

      Not a lot in graphics until the /// but really enjoyed it. Kind of miss those days.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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