Twenty-two years later, people
still love the TRS-80 Model 100.
EVER TAKE YOUR LAPTOP ROCK CLIMBING? on the Model 100 and ensure your desktop is also in
In college, I often enjoyed hiking up to St. Anthony’s terminal mode. You can now transfer files using the
Nose outside Easton, Penn. I’d find a nice spot Down/Up menus on the Model 100 and the “Capture
in the woods and sit down with a book and my Text” and “Send Text” options on your desktop.
PowerBook to take notes. But battery life was very This functionality served me well in college, but
limited and I never felt comfortable setting my today my work revolves far more around email and
expensive, fragile laptop down in the dirt. the Unix command line than it does writing papers,
Eventually, I found a computer far more suited to which got me thinking about remote connectivity.
my needs: the TRS-80 Model 100, built by Tandy The Model 100 has a built-in modem with an inter-
Radio Shack in 1983. I paid $15 for a stack of three esting feature — sound in/out lines for an acoustic
at the Trenton Computer Festival in 1998. You can coupler. These lines are intended for a telephone
get one on eBay for about $30. The Model 100 is handset, but mightn’t they work just as well with a
a rugged little computer with a full-sized keyboard cellular phone headset? The typical cellphone head-
and a 40x8 character display. It powers on instantly set uses a r" sub-mini phone jack (RadioShack,
and will run for 20 hours on 4 AA batteries. I can $3). Wire this to the Model 100’s phone port; 14 AWG
throw the Model 100 down in the dirt, leave it there copper wire fits perfectly into its sockets.
running while I read, then pick it up and resume taking Ensure the switches on the side of the Model 100
notes right where I left off. are set to ACP and ORIG, set Stat to M8N1E, and
The Model 100’s built-in text editor is rudimentary, enter terminal mode. The system will seemingly
but adequate. Transferring files back to a modern freeze up as it waits for a connection. Dial the Club
computer is simple. Connect the Model 100 to your 100 BBS (925-939-1246) on your cellphone. At the
desktop system using a generic serial cable and a modem tone, connect the phone to the computer.
null modem adapter (RadioShack, $7). If your PC You’ll see the login message. Congratulations!
doesn’t have a serial port, you’ll also need a USB- You can also set up your own BBS. Connect a com-
to-serial adapter. patible modem, such as the US Robotics Courier
With the systems (all versions), to your Mac OS X or *nix system, and
connected, run TELCOM enable dial-up connections. You now have access
on the Model 100. Press to every file on your computer (including email and
F2 for “Stat” and type Lynx) from any place you can get a cellphone
“88N1E” (9600 baud, 8 connection. Practical applications abound for a cell-
bits, no parity, 1-stop phone-equipped Model 100. Suppose, for example,
bit, enable flow control). that while hiking in a remote region, you fall and
Launch a terminal app on break your larynx. With the TRS-80, you’ll be able to
your desktop, configure email for help.
it to the same settings,
and enable automatic line
Tom Owad ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Macintosh consultant
Mobile as modem: phone feeds. Now you’re ready in York, Penn., and editor of Applefritter ( applefritter.com). He is
port to sub-mini jack. to go. Press F4 for “Term” the author of Apple I Replica Creation (Syngress, 2005).