January, 1984 49
white, yellow, cyan, green, magenta, blue, and black at full or half intensity). According to Don White, the Model 2000 Product Manager, "The higher bandwidth of these monitors give them a more vivid stable display than any other now on the market for any personal computer." The pitch-black background on the color monitor made its graphics jump off the screen. The use of a color or monochrome monitor can be specified within BASIC code.
Adding high resolution graphics requires using one of the expansion slots. The same board is used for adding the chips for color, so you can start out with a high resolution monochrome monitor, add color later and not lose your investment. You can add a different expansion board and use your own TV set or monitor. The TV board also includes a joystick option for use with the TRS-80 Color Computer joysticks.
Tandy is ready to offer almost everything you could want. The CPU has four expansion slots that are user accessible. They are for high resolution graphics ($449 monochrome, additional $199 for color), TV/Joystick connections ($249.95), Digi™-Mouse and battery operated real-time clock ($119.95), and additional external RAM ($499 first 128K, $299 next 128K). That's just what you can put inside the box.
Tandy clearly sees this system in offices of every type. The floor stand allows you to put the CPU and disk drives away from your desktop. Even if you don't use the floor stand, the keyboard can be slid partly under the CPU to put it out of the way. The monitor pedestal lets you tilt and rotate the monitor for easy viewing. By putting the CPU on the floor and the monitor on its stand, you occupy very little desk space. The Model 2000 is comfortable as well as attractive.
The hardware is state of the art, but what Tandy is doing about the software is a revolution for them. In April, X ran into Don White at the West Coast Computer Faire. I couldn't quite understand why a
Tandy product manager would be at a fair that was dominated by IBM users and IBM products. The Radio Shack presence at that fair was minimal. I assumed he was looking for any hints about the "Japanese invasion" that was to be coming in 1983. Now we know. He was lining up "The best of the best software that is available."
MS-DOS 2.0 has become the standard for minicomputers. We can now add Tandy to a list that includes IBM, Hewlett Packard, DEC, Wang, and Compaq. Tandy will be offering Model 2000 owners software that has been proven in the marketplace. Imagine buying Ashton-Tate's dBase II, not a Radio Shack implementation, at your local Computer Center. At the same time, you will have Radio Shack's support and service for the software as well as the hardware.
The list of software is impressive, but they are not inexpensive. Already lined up are dBase II ($595) from Ashton Tate, Microsoft's Multiplan ($249), MultiMate word processing ($249.95) from Softword Systems, Inc., PFS-File ($140) and
There is an old joke about the Model 16 that asks, "How are a Model 16 and a bowling ball alike?" The answer is, "There is no software for either one." Tandy has stated that they will never again release a machine without having software ready at the same time. We fervently hope that is true. If the Mori el 2000 can run off-the-shelf MS-DOS 2.0 software, the potential for the machine is excellent. If it can't, we may have another bowling ball.
To find out what will run on the Model 2000, I talked to three companies: Intel, Microsoft, and Tandy. There is reason for concern. John C. Dvorak's column in Infoworld, Volume 5, Number 45, pointed out that MS-
DOS (which was developed for IBM's PC which uses Intel's 8088 chip) will not, in general, run on the 80186. Remember, the 80186 is Intel's improvement of the 8088 and it is the chip that is in the Model 2000. Also remember that documentation for the 8088 clearly pointed out that certain vectors were reserved for future development (such as those in the 80186). The blame was put on Microsoft's shoulders. In a later phone conversation with Mr. Dvorak, he pointed out that the MS-DOS implementation on the PC Junior's 80186 chip was hampered due to changes made by IBM. (The PC Junior was redesigned and released using the 8088.) Perhaps, Microsoft is in the clear.
We were told by someone at Intel that the 80186 C version chip had four bugs in it and a new version was being produced. Were these the bugs that made MS-DOS 2.0 not fully functional? We couldn't find out. A new version will be up to full production around December 1, 1983. That happens to be Tandy's announcement date for the Model 2000! Don't expect to be able to buy a Model 2000 right away at your local Computer Center. Add to that the facts that there is already a serious nationwide chip shortage, and IBM now owns about 25 percent of the Intel Corporation.
I called Microsoft and asked, "What will run on an MS-DOS 2.0 and an 80186 cpu?" The reply
PFS-Report ($125) from Software Publishing Corporation. Word processing, file management, relational data base managers, spreadsheets, and languages are to be available at the same time the machine is released. Graphics packages, other word processors and a compiler will be coming later.
No longer will a buyer of a Radio Shack computer be limited to TRSDOS or other operating systems that have little outside support. If you find software you like running on Microsoft's MS-DOS, it should be ready to run on the Model 2000. Be sure to read the panel to see why I say should run instead of will run. The last time I looked at PC World it was over 600 pages. The number of programs for sale that use MS-DOS is astounding. According to Don White, "If developers follow the rules and use DOS calls that do not tap directly into the hardware, the product will work." Radio Shack is planning to release lists of outside software they have confirmed will run on the Model 2000. It should be quite a list.
Small business accounting is destined to be one of the Model 2000's biggest uses. For years, Basic Four has built a reputation for their minicomputers and fully-integrated accounting software. Radio Shack now has the MAI/Basic Four General Ledger, Accounts Payable, and Accounts Receivable running on MS-DOS 2.0. Inventory control, order entry, purchase orders, and payroll are under development and should be available soon.
The operating system comes with GW-BASIC. It is similar to Model 100 BASIC. It also includes graphics and music commands. According to Doug Dillhoff its precision is ". . . less than the Model 100's. It checks out as okay according to a benchmark developed by David Ahl in Creative Computing." The Microsoft Pascal Compiler ($299.95), FORTRAN ($349.95), and Assembler ($99.95) are available now. COBOL and a GW-BASIC Compiler are under development.
While playing with the Model 2000's BASIC, I discovered that it came with a full-screen editor.
Imagine listing a program and editing code by just moving the cursor keys. The drives are whisper-quiet. The function keys already incorporate the most used commands such as SAVE, RUN, LIST, EDIT, INSERT, DELETE, and more. We will be reporting more on the Model 2000's capabilities, uses, and limitations in future issues.
If you want the best performance and price on a single-user system, take a serious look at the Model 2000. It is powerful and offers you the opportunity to use very sophisticated software. It is not just an IBM-PC compatible or add-on. It is not just an upgrade of their Z-80 machines. It represents a new direction for the Tandy computer line. Radio Shack has produced a single-user 16-bit minicomputer for those that want only the best, at a price that will appeal to even the most cost-conscious of companies. For those who felt that a computer with the name Shack on it was something they didn't want in their office, Tandy even changed that. What more could you ask for?
was, "The Model 2000 is not compatible with IBM-PC ROM calls, probably to avoid copyright problems." That is not necessarily bad. The Model 2000 will be compatible on the operating system level with MS-DOS 2.0 software.
To clarify that statement, I called Tandy. The question was, "Is the Model 2000 compatible with MS-DOS 2.0 software?" Don White's answer was, "Phrased that way, yes. Software that follows the documented rules of MS-DOS 2.0 will work. If IBM-PC software bypasses the operating system and interfaces directly with the hardware, we can't say."
The Model 2000 has a different keyboard than the IBM-PC. Can we expect IBM-PC program documentation to be accurate for a Model 2000 owner? If dBase II expects an F3 key to invoke some action, will the F3 key on the Model 2000 give the same signal? Again, Tandy's answer was very carefully worded: "We can generate all the keyboard codes of the IBM-PC." Does that mean we can expect IBM-PC software documentation to be accurate for a Model 2000 owner? Don White's answer: "We are checking numerous off-the-shelf programs. From a list of 100 already investigated, one-half of them ran fine. The working programs even include some that were written under MS-DOS 1.0 and 1.1, and included graphics. When the machine is released, we will be publishing a list of software that we have checked and know works on our machine. "
What does it mean to you? The Model 2000 will be in short supply for awhile. IBM-PC software written under MS-DOS 2.0 may run. Its documentation may be accurate. Implementation of IBM-PC software on the Model 2000 may be a breeze, or impossible. Large sales of the Model 2000 will entice a number of IBM software houses to make sure their product works on Tandy's machine. A small volume will probably give us another bowling ball, with software only coming from Radio Shack-authorized versions.
A not too-easy-to-solve puzzle game
Lance Wolstrup, Tampa, FL
Chango is a puzzle game for anyone who likes a mental challenge. While not as difficult, or confusing, as Rubik's Cube, it is, nevertheless, not easy to solve.
The object of the game is to turn each of the six squares from blue to red. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, good luck!
You must observe the following rules:
The square on the extreme right (#6) can be changed at any time.
Each of the remaining squares (1-5) can be changed only if the square on the immediate right is blue and all other squares on the right are red.
In order to get a perfect score, all the squares must be red after move number 42. Getting a score between 43 and 50 is very respectable, while 51 to 55 moves will qualify you as an average problem solver. If you get scores above 55, just rip your hair out, kick the wall, yell at your friends, or whatever else you do when you are frustrated. Then, try again. You just might do better. One final tip. Just to make it interesting, trying to make an illegal move adds two points to the score. That should keep you on your toes.
Chango is written for the 16K non-extended Color Computer. However, by changing the program as follows, it should fit in 4K of RAM:
Delete lines 1 through 8.
Delete CLEAR319 in line 10.
Delete lines 20, 30, 210, 220, 240, 250, 260, 270 and 280.
Program Listing for Chango
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