Tandy Model 102
The Tandy Model 102 was the successor to the highly successful
Model 100. The Model 100 was one of the first truly portable computers
that had enough features and power to be really useful. An important feature
of the Model 100 was an internal modem and Telcom (communications) program.
You could link the Model 100 to your office or home computer when you were
on the road. The Model 102 is very similar to the Model 100, but it is
The Model 102 used CMOS chip technology to reduce power consumption,
heat, and to extend battery life. The microprocessor was an Intel 80C85,
which was the CMOS version of the 8085 chip. Also helping reduce the power
consumption of the computer was the choice of a LCD display. The
display could show 40 characters across by 8 lines down. The machine also
displayed "dot-addressable" graphics. There are some utility programs out
there that will let you change to higher density text modes, e.g. 60 characters
x 10 lines, by using the graphic abilities of the display.
You can also use the graphics for charts, graphs, etc. There are even
a few games that use the graphics. Because of these and other design features,
the Model 100 and 102 can run 20 hours on one set of 4 penlight batteries.
You could also power the computer from an inexpensive a.c. adapter.
When the Model 100 was introduced, most "portable" computers were over
20 pounds and required a.c. power to operate. The Model 102 easily fits
inside a briefcase, weighs less than 3 pounds, and gives you over 2 whole
working days on 4 penlight batteries. Now carrying a computer with you
is a viable option. In fact, I've put quite a few miles on my Model 100
and 102 computers.
A Different Operating System
The Model 102 has its' Operating System in ROM (Read Only Memory).
The computer doesn't have, nor does it need a built in disk drive. As soon
as you turn the computer on, it is ready to use. Quite a switch from booting
up one of today's' Win9x machines. The computer had some built-in applications
that were useful. These were all in ROM memory like the operating system.
They included a good implementation of Microsoft Extended Basic, a test
processor, the Telcom communications program, and the address and schedule
database modules. Also, you save your data and other programs that you
are using in RAM memory. This means you are able to pull up a document
or program quickly, faster than you could from a disk drive. You can save/back-up
programs to cassettes with the built-in cassette interface, or Tandy also
made an external diskette drive for the 100/102 computer. This drive could
also work on battery power so you can still work nearly anywhere.
The computer has printer, serial, bar-code reader, phone,
cassette, and system bus interfaces.
This let you connect to a variety of other computers and devices and
are standard with the computer.
.The 40 column screen is easy to read in most lighting
conditions, and also has a contrast adjustment to optimize viewing. The
computer also has a surprisingly good full size keyboard. Tandy provided
you with programmable function keys too. When you turn the computer
on, you are presented with a menu of programs and files in the computer
and you can select them with a cursor. If you select a text file, the computer
will automatically open the file in the text editor program. You can then
print it, edit it or just view it. If you chose a BASIC program from the
menu, the computer automatically starts basic and runs the program. The
computer is a good way to introduce yourself to BASIC programming, but
no programming is required to use the computer. The computer is relatively
simple to use. In fact, this is one of the better computers for people
who "hate" computers.
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