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Design007-Feb2020

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48 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2020 My first "real" job in the world of electronics was working at a Radio Shack store back in the late '70s. It was a step up from flipping burg- ers, but it didn't last long. However, there was one notable aspect of that job; I was there dur- ing the time that Radio Shack introduced its first personal computer—the TRS-80. Although it is practically unimaginable now, in those days, there wasn't much in the way of person- al computing available for the general consum- er. "Pong" and a few of its related home video games that connected to a television set had been out for a handful of years, but that was nothing compared to the millions of gaming options available today. And as far as personal computers go, in the late '70s, there were only a few options to pick from, including Apple, Commodore, and Tandy, or more common- ly known as Radio Shack. After its introduc- tion, the TRS-80 enjoyed a short period of time where it was the bestselling computer on the market with the largest selection of software. I would like to say that I leveraged my short time at Radio Shack to the fullest by immersing myself in the world of computers and electron- ics. It would be great to include on my resumé how my experience with the TRS-80 gave me the computing and, ultimately, the PCB design foundation that I would base my career on, but it would all be a lie. The truth is that I was a kid who had just graduated from high school who didn't have a clue to what the future held and was more interested in the "toy" qualities of the computer than in its educational possibil- ities. Because of that, I re- gret to admit that I spent all of my time on the TRS-80 playing games. Hey, if you find a sub- ject like that tough to read, just imagine how hard it was for me to write. As they say, the truth hurts. However, there was something very inter- esting about playing games on that com- p u t e r. U n l i ke t o - day's systems, the first TRS-80s were s o s i m p l e t h a t they didn't come Clearing Up the Buzz Tim's Takeaways Feature Column by Tim Haag, FIRST PAGE SAGE

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