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TRS-80 Model 100 VS Alphasmart Dana

Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve had to run TEENY.EXE to load a DOS onto a Tandy laptop. Probably the last time I did so was sometime in the 20th century, before I was smart enough to buy TS-DOS on a ROM chip for my T200. I forgot what a pain in the ass it was. I got it running on the Model 100 just now and used TEENY to copy DOS100.BA and DOS100.CO onto it. Now I can run TS-DOS and use my XP machine as an emulated TPDD2, which solves the problem of getting files from the Model 100 to my main computer, thus making it useful for something other than as a programmable controller switch.

Sadly, having all 3 of these programs in the M100’s RAM takes up a lot of space. I have a little over 19k free. I can’t remember if I can delete TEENY.BA and DOS100.BA, or even how to delete desktop files on an M100. My T200 has menu options, but it doesn’t appear that the M100 does. Maybe I have to do it in BASIC or something, I vaguely remember that as a difference between the T200 and M100. Arrgh, so much to remember and so little memory free!

The display on the Tandy 200 went wonky soon after turning it on. It looks to me like the LCD ribbon shook loose durning transit. Ugh. I seem to remember the shortness of that ribbon being the reason you never wanted to take a Tandy 200 apart. There’s some sort of technique or special tool you need to plug it in correctly, I don’t remember anymore. That’ll have to be a project for later.

Like Mike Clemens states in his reply to my previous post, the Alphasmart Dana really is leaps and bounds better than the TRS-80 Model 100 or Tandy 200. By the same token, it’s vastly better than the Tandy WP-2 and the Tandy Model 102. About the only thing that the Tandys (except the WP-2 that is) have that the Alphasmart does not is a BASIC interpreter and loads of neat controllable relay switches and an RS-232 port. For word processing, the Alphasmart is the Bees Knees, and the Tandys are just also-rans. I’ll hold onto my Tandys for nostalgia reasons and because I can use them to control an old time-lapse camera setup I have, but I really can’t envision myself using them for word processing anymore. They’re toys now, not tools.

TRS-80 Model 100 VS Alphasmart Dana

Updated: July 29, 2015 — 4:21 pm

4 Comments

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  1. I have a couple of Model Ts, and write on one of them almost every day. What’s so great about the AlphaSmart compared to the Model T? Both you and your correspondent said they’re incomparable, but you didn’t say why.

    1. Mostly it’s the screen (bigger and backlit) plus the greater ease of copying files to a modern computer. I go into much greater detail here:
      http://munk.org/typecast/2011/10/18/retro-laptops-reviewed-for-nano-suitability/

  2. I read enough about the Alphasmart devices here and elsewhere to want to try one. The Dana was not for me; battery life was too low and having had a few, I find Palms too finicky. Also, it’s too general-purpose. But I bought a used Neo off eBay and I’m very happy with it. Thank you. I think I’ll retain my Model-Ts to hack on, and I’m very fond of this form factor in general, so I may collect a few similar computers, such as a Cambridge Z88, but for the foreseeable future, my Alphasmart Neo is my workhorse.

    1. I’ve heard good things about the Neo – good pickup! (:

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