Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

Radio Shack advertises the Color Computer vs. the Model III

Jerry Stratton, March 25, 2014

Going through my old creative computing magazines, I ran across this ad from Radio Shack, highlighting both the TRS-80 Model III and the TRS-80 Color Computer, both introduced in 1980.

The Model III screen is pretty standard for ads of the time, showing off its use as a business computer. The CoCo screen, not so much. The “Vivid 8-color graphics” are represented as a green screen with black text. And take a close look at that black text. The software they’re advertising isn’t a game, or business charts, or even colorful word processing. It’s the diagnostics cartridge. I’m pretty sure that cartridge did not even come with the computer.

Other computer companies advertised by showing—besides games, charts, and word processing—programming code, mathematical analysis, and even rudimentary paintings. What market was Radio Shack targeting with diagnostics text? That same year they had cartridges for chess, checkers, a game called Quasar Commander, and pinball. Any of those would have been a better choice for an advertisement showing off the “vivid graphics” of the Color Computer.

I only have five issues of creative computing, all from 1981; the January issue had a review of the Color Computer, and is the only issue in which I could find an ad for it. There was another ad in August for the TRS-80 Model III only, advertising it for classroom use.

In response to 80-Micro and the TRS-80, 1983-1984: I’m going through some old 80-Micro magazines, and two editorials a year apart caught my eye.

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