At about the age of eight I remember waking up on Christmas morning and strolling into the living room to see a white Tandy box that would change my life forever. I remember it like it was yesterday. A while box was propped up in the living room along with a joystick, tape drive, and printer. I had wanted a microcomputer for over a year and now I finally had one. Over the next year I learned the basic language and got to experience my first twenty four hour or greater stints of uninterrupted programming. I remember days of digging through those Tandy catalogs and dreaming. An avid subscriber to Rainbow magazine, first BBS operator in my area, among other things.
The next christmas would be an upgrade to a CoCo3 which I soon went and purchased OS-9. OS-9 was such a strange thing coming from Extended Basic. It was multitasking and foreign to me. With the CoCo3 I was happy to have lowercase chars. After hours on hours of playing I begin writing small programs to do useful stuff. My dad had an electrical contracting business. I worked for months on inventory, general ledger and other ulility programs. One of the more challenging programs I did was to print raffle tickets using a dot matrix printer.
Its unbelievable how far things have come but the reality is, nothing was a sweet as that CoCo. It was pure enjoyment to work with and was always something I wanted to mess with rather than “have” to mess with. It really was the toy that got me into computers to begin with. Browsing the internet there seems to be lots of history and fond memories of the CoCo and I surely do have my share as well. For me and many others this was our first computer and the main reason we tinker around with still to this day.
Today I find myself trying to solve some similar problems and using things I learned on the this good ol’ CoCo. OS9 is now replaced by linux and the good old 6809E is replaced with ARM, FreeScale, etc. Coming thru Windows Development and now I find myself right back to where I started. Developing not for the desktop but back to cool gadgets with Micro-controllers.