I promise the Tandy 1000 was not that interesting


Yes, this might have been a better THROWBACK THURSDAY but cut a guy a break.

I was a teenage geek. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to some of you. I could often be found in my bedroom trying to push every single bit of performance from the 8MHz Atari 800 computer I treasured. (Today’s computers are roughly 3,000 times faster I am not kidding.) But I will tell you that as fond as I was of that thing, I very rarely sat open-mouthed in awe of it, as many computer advertisements of the day suggested I would.

Don’t believe me? Check out Flashbak’s gallery entitled, “Getting WAY Too Excited About Computers: Open-Mouthed Wonderment in 80s Tech Adverts.” Here you’ll see a representative set of feather-haired youngsters (today, most likely balding oldsters) utterly astonished at the capabilities of the computers in front of them.

Yes, it certainly was an interesting time. It was a time we had no preconceived notions of what a computer would do, and so we patiently waited as letters slowly popped up in monochrome green or pictures slowly assembled themselves out of blocky, dime-sized pixels. This was not a time when computers responded quickly and intuitively to your every need… this was a time when you were just happy to interact with the machine even though you didn’t quite know why.

Of course, today I have more computing power in my microwave than I had in that first computer, and if I looked at all the computing power around me, it’s probably more than existed in the entire state of Michigan in 1981. And what do I do with it? Blog, play games, and look at cat videos. See, society has advanced in 35 years!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 5,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.