Jod rest his soul and Gesus be with him.
Two important figures in computing industry have died. Stephen E. Wilhite will be remembered as the creator of the Graphics Interchange Format – the ubiquitous GIF – and always insisted it be pronounced as "jif" with a soft "g". Those who pointed out that his preferred pronunciation was inconsistent or illogical were met with …
I never got to touch the single TRS-80, the only computer at at our school. It was kept in a locked inner sanctum and it could be glimpsed through the window. Select 6th formers were allowed to poke its keyboard.
To my amazement, a nearby TV repair and record shop that also sold RadioShack/Tandy stuff got one in and left it on display for customers to touch. I had no idea what to do with it, so just stared at it in disbelief. This was the beginning.
I was a regular fixture at our local branch of Tandy as a school child. I'd go in and play around with the machine for a few hours most weekends. I later worked for them to pay my way through college and university. An interest in electronics helped immensely. I loved the TRS-80. A great machine. So sad to hear this news.
Mine was the same, sort of.
I was locked out because I dared ask about dinosaurs at my "christian" school, so my mum bought me a TRS-80 Model I Level 1 for xmas 1979.
It had only 4K and Level I BASIC only had the variables a and b, I think.
I remember arguing with my mum over the 16K Level II upgrade, because it was $212 (edit: $828 in today's money, thanks other commenter) and her mainframes mostly didn't have that much memory.
As a struggling teenager with only a part time job while still at school, sadly my preferred choice of a TRS-80 was out of reach. What I did get and could afford was the cheaper but much larger clone, the Eaca Video Genie. There were a few subtle differences but nothing serious enough to cause me issues I couldn't solve. It was bigger because it used more standard TTL chips across two circuit boards and the PSU + tape deck was built in. It's what got me started in the IT industry and even though it wasn't a TRS-80 and no money passed from my hands to Tandy, I still feel I own Tandy for developing it in the first place. (I also had access to a Commodore PET at school too, but that was way, way outside my budget!)
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I did quite a bit of experimenting with a Model I as a student, and then later took programming courses (COBOL and Pascal) using Model IIIs. I did get a chance to play a bit with a Model II, which was completely unrelated to the I and the III; it has 8" floppy drives which were already unfashionable at the time, but possessed a businesslike air. "Oh, those 5 1/4 drives are for kid stuff."
I had a very interesting book that described an alternate OS for the TRS-80 Model III, and included annotated Z80 assembly for it. I never got around to trying to enter and assemble the whole thing and get it to run, but I did sketch out some routines for floppy access — which I'm sure wouldn't have worked as written, but were a good thought experiment.
None of the original line did raster graphics — they had block graphics that had something like 1/6 of a character cell as the element, if memory serves — so you couldn't view a GIF on them. Perhaps on the CoCo?
Along with the Commodore PET/CBM, VIC-20, and 64; the Apple ][ and //e; and the Atari 400 and 800, the TRS-80s were formative 8-bitters of my youth, and gave me a lot of insight not just into programming but system design and the differences among different CPUs and machines. Really helped me avoid the "all the world's a VAX" syndrome.
I didn't have those computers but GIF came later than most of the "TRS" branded machines anyway.
It seems to me that a very determined and clever programmer might manage to decode GIF data and display it monochrome at least. But they'd have to want to, a lot.
They might have caught https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set#/media/File:Mandel.png
which is from 1978 and printed with asterisks.
For several Bulletin Board Systems the GIF files were the raison d'être. <grin>
Perhaps fueled some HDD as well as VGA and monitor sales...
PS. Any good source for vintage GIF pictures - of all sorts including the space shuttle launch pics in glorius MCGA?
That's not how acronyms work!
NASA isn't pronounced narsay
LASER isn't pronounce laasair
PIN isn't pronounced pine
And more relevant to this example, but in reverse, NASA GOES is not pronounced JOES even though the G stands for geostationary.. https://youtu.be/q0giRXI3FvA
And while we're about it, what about gaol?
Gin and Ginger are both imports from languages with a soft "g". But that doesn't really matter because looking for logic in English spelling is asking for trouble! However, native speakers have innate rules for pronunciation and I remember assuming it would be a hard G when I first encountered it, not least because we already have jif in jiffy. I remembered being "corrected" as well but, the soft "G" has here has never sat well with me, so I stick with the hard "G".
Whatever your pronunciation, it was a great idea but later became many people's introduction to the notion of software patents…
I was wondering / going to respond to the same topic, using real costs such as a loaf of bread / cost of a new car for inflationary calculations. Many online "inflation calculators" use things like GDP growth to compute "inflation" - the only people who care about this type of computation are economics majors.
Also, the TRS-80 was never able to display images [GIFs] - all graphics are ASCII.
Mmmmrkns care, because they are hardwired to process everything using primitive sorting algorithms that file the results as a boolean. The result of this is that a complex argument that requires debate to effectively filter and refine the arguments at play is bypassed and reduced to a "this vs that" argument. If this process doesn't yield a binary result then other factors generally come in to play such as "Godwins Law" where an thick application of "yank jank thinking" comes into play where instead of rationally discussing aspects in flux, a Mmmmrkn will seek actively remove one of the two variables by likening it to some sort of tragedy or historical clusterfuck. Ergo the invocation of Godwins Law or similar.
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No, not quite.
The difference is the United States is made up of a huge variety of ethnic and social types. Arguments are brought out into the open so that the opposing party actually knows the arguments. A lot of Americans have no problem simply expressing their opinions openly, even if that causes confrontations.
Brits have the SAME arguments but pretend like they don't exist ("Stiff upper lip"). They pass as much judgement on others as Americans do (see: OP's post) but would rather stab you in the back than confront you in your face. They will be "polite" in public, simply holding their viciousness for the privacy of conversations with known associates (or "anonymous") where they know judgement won't be as harsh.
TL;dr, Get off your high horse.
My point is that Americans seems to be able to take any division, no matter how trivial, and use it to divide themselves into two implacably opposed factions. My working hypothesis is that they are so used to viewing their country as race vs race that they have to form similarly entrenched groupings for everything else.
I don't see people spitting incandescent fury at each other here in the UK over the order of jam and cream on a scone.
But hey, you may have a point. I'm not going to fight about it.
"I don't see people spitting incandescent fury at each other here in the UK over the order of jam and cream on a scone."
Like hell. There was a thread on these boards within the past year wherein there was quite the bunfight (ahem) over various pastries, desserts, and tea. It was literally the most British debate thread I can remember seeing in the entire history of El Reg.
"I don't see people spitting incandescent fury at each other here in the UK over the order of jam and cream on a scone."
That's because proper British people don't do incandescent fury. We also don't care what jam you prefer, or even, marmelade. We can also cope with multiple ways of saying the word "scone", just so long as you can cope with gentle mockery for the wrong ways.
But mark my words, you will be judged on your choice of tea. If you choose incorrectly, there will be quiet tutting and rolling of eyes. That's an unrecoverable situation, you should apologise and just leave...
I loved my TRS80 and the keyboard alone made it feel like a real computer. I spent some time working in the US where I was able to afford to buy a copy of LDOS to run on it. Of course, that meant getting a 5.25" floppy drive to run it, and I had great fun when I turned up at JFK with the floppy drive (the size of a shoebox) under my arm and checked in for my BA flight home. They asked what it was and I told 'em: no problem, and "welcome aboard". Ah, those were the days :)
Adrian Black on YouTube (Adrian's Digital Basement) recently had a series of videos where he restored a TRS80. It was the "business" model with enormous 8" floppy drives that spin constantly. The keyboard is the horrible foam and foil design, but once he restored it the action seemed surprisingly tactile.
With the "non-standard" Model II, add the Model 12, 16 and 16B, as opposed to the "standard" Model I, III and IV. Hmm, fewer models in the "standard" range, although by far the biggest sellers. The Model IV was probably the best for it's time for most people, being fully Model III compatible but also being able to boot CP/M in 80x25 screen mode and address up to 128K RAM in two banks. The 16B was 68000 based too! And then there was the 6000 with a built-in HDD :-)
Read somewhere years ago that the US version of English is the more original version than Limey English. It was us Brits that thought sticking "u" in words like color, I dunno - made them look nicer or something?
But if you are talking about words like "edutainment" and using nouns as verbs (I gonna "source" some McGuffin), then I do agree with you.
Some parts of US English preserve older forms of the common language, e.g. “fall” vs. “autumn”; “gotten” vs. “got” as a past participle; rhoticism vs. non-rhoticism (although both rhotic UK English dialects and non-rhotic US English dialects exist). But some parts of UK English preserve older forms too, e.g. prepositional adverbs of time (“He likes a pint of an evening”); “thou” and its declensions in certain dialects. Also, IE English should not be overlooked as a source of preserved older vocabulary.
When I first visited my then-girlfriend's parents in Oregon, one of the first things my mother-in-law-to-be said to me was "It's raining outside, take this. We call this an umbrella but in England you call it a 'bumbershoot', don't you?"
To which my reaction was basically "er, not since about 1720 we don't, no."
Methinks MILTB had been watching/reading too much Jane Austen!
It was skedule in rural Victoria (Australia) when I was a kid, and the only person who said shedule in my high school was a teacher from NSW. That and ABC radio, which in the day was very BBC influenced (our capital city radio station was 3LO ...)
But at the time, society was dominated by people who used "American Pronunciation" and "American Spelling" as a guide to which British pronunciation and spelling to avoid, and that may have had an effect on which pronunciation of schedule came to dominate.
The etymological chain is “schedule” ← Old French cedule ← Late Latin schedula ← Latin scheda ← Ancient Greek σχέδη ; schedula is a diminutive of scheda. The Ancient Greek χ was pronounced as IPA /kʰ/, an aspirated “k”, which the Latin spelling represents. In Modern Greek, before ε, χ is pronounced as IPA /ç/, the “ch” sound of German ich. My guess is that the UK pronunciation of “schedule” was based on a Modern Greek reading of σχέδη, replacing the /ç/ sound with the more familiar /ʃ/ sound of “sh”, even though Latin ch never represented the /ç/ sound.
I’d omitted Middle English “cedule”, “sedule” in the etymological chain above. The OED provides additional background:
In the 16th c., both in Fr. and Eng., the spellings scedule and schedule, imitating the contemporary forms of the Latin word, were used by a few writers. In Fr. this fashion was transient, but in Eng. schedule has been the regular spelling from the middle of the 17th c. The original pronunciation (ˈsɛdjuːl) continued in use long after the change in spelling; it is given in 1791 by Walker without alternative; in his second ed. (1797) he says that it is ‘too firmly fixed by custom to be altered’, though on theoretical grounds he would prefer either (ˈskɛdjuːl), favoured by Kenrick, Perry, and Buchanan, or — ‘if we follow the French’ — (ˈʃɛdjuːl). The latter he does not seem to have known either in actual use or as recommended by any orthoepist. Smart, however, in 1836 gives (ˈʃɛdjuːl) in the body of his Dictionary without alternative, although in in his introduction he says that as the word is of Gr. origin the normal pronunciation would be with (sk).
Thus, it would seem that the UK pronunciation of “schedule” is not based on a Modern Greek reading of σχέδη, but rather on an evolution of the original English (and French) pronunciation “sedule”.
I think that the closest analogous word in English that came via the Middle English ← Old French ← Late Latin ← Greek route might be “schism”. The OED gives two pronunciations for it — /sɪz(ə)m/ and /skɪz(ə)m/. It notes that
The pronunc. (skɪz(ə)m), though widely regarded as incorrect, is now freq. used for this word and its derivatives both in the U.K. and in North America.
I’ve never heard the pronunciation “sism” used in North America; is that pronunciation still preferred in the UK? Is the pronunciation “shism” used there, on the model of “schedule”?
It turns out that Smart’s dictionary (a “remodelling” of Walker’s dictionary) can be found at archive.org. Here’s what it says in §161 (on p. xxxiii) of its introductory Principles of Pronunciation:
In words of French origin, the digraph ch is sounded like sh ; as in chaise, cartouch ; and, in words of Greek and Italian origin, it is sounded k ; as in chasm, scheme, ache, chord, epoch, baldachin. Here, however, in the sounds of sch before e and i, we have to encounter some striking inconsistencies. Nothing can be more evident than that, if the Greek χ is to be supplied in our orthography by ch, and if this, in default of the extra-aspiration which our language allows not to a consonant, necessarily identifies with k, the word schism, and schedule, should have sch pronounced as they are in scheme ; yet an unnecessary reference of schedule to its French denizenship, with some vague notion perhaps of the alliance of our English sh to the Teutonic sch, has drawn the word into the very irregular pronunciation shĕdʹuͥle ; while the other word, schism, from a notion, probably, that, as h is silent, the c should be soft before i, has taken the equally irregular sound sĭzm ; an irregularity the more extraordinary, since in the word sceptic, (Class II.155) the c is kept hard for the purpose of showing off a familiarity with the word in Greek, although no letter intervenes between the c and the e, and consistency requires that the c in scene, equally related to the Greek k, and the c in sceptic, should be sounded alike. As, however, on other occasions, so in this, we must give way to usage, or incur the effect of opposing it. Drachm is another word that drops ch, as already remarked at 157.
(The dictionary uses italics to represent silent letters in pronunciations; sample words with silent letters reverse that convention. The blockquote above reverses the conventions of the dictionary.)
I have a TRS-80 lingering in the garage. I found it for sale in a local market for a few quid years ago. I've no idea if it still works. I think I'll try to arrange a summer of old tech with the grandchildren, old computers along with old photography.
When the TRS-80 was a current product my boss bought one - no chance on my salary - and Ii built a joystick interface for him from a design in Byte - probably one of Steve Ciarcia's.
Tandy was one of the regular visits for our group in Newcastle in the early-mid 80s.
On one occasion one of the party started using the TRS-80 on display (model II by then I think) only to be told, "Get away from that, you know nothing about it!"
Given that we were five students, all Computing or Maths & Computing undergraduates, and three of the group went on to get Firsts, I'd venture to suggest we knew a lot more about it than the PFY shop assistant! 1
Beyond that I never had any contact with the TRS-80, out of my price range then and overtaken by PCs later.
There's a lot more malfeasance can be had if you study the machine a little. It was possible to capture the entire keyboard scan interrupt and thus prevent anyone from breaking out of such loops. I never managed to work out how to make the program persistent through a cold power cycle, though.
Later models could chain on boot from a hard drive. IIRC, Model I's only booted from the floppy - the ROM could be replaced so that it looked to the HDD instead, but that was quite a technical hack. It involved taking the cover off and messing around with a chip puller, EEPROM programmer etc.
The TRS-80 had an expansion edge connector at the back of the machine which was NOT buffered in any way... it basically went straight to the Z-80
The reset button was next to it. Guess what happened when it was a real dry day and you went fumbling around back there for it?
That's when I found out the local Radio Shack manager paid for returns out of his sales, or at least that's what he said.
The first computer I put my hands on. I got a job at a school and there was one in a cupboard. I was allowed to take it home over the Christmas holiday and came back a computer wizard (I could put it together, turn it on, load and run a program, so....) and didn't really look back. In my opinion, it had a great dialect of BASIC, which really helped to smooth the path.
Rebadged versions of other kits.
Archer was the sub-brand. The 300-in-1 was the ultimate. A blue plastic carry case with meters and segment displays on the front/top.
I believe it was also badged Realistic at one point.
Loved those things.
You know you can take your kids to various Victorian high streets around the country and they can see what sweet shops, general stores, grocers, chemists etc were like but there's no place I know where you can visit a Tandy or a Maplin or a Singer sewing shop or any of a dozen or more high street staples from the 50s to 90s that have vanished now. Collecting a realistic atmosphere for that kind of shop will be hard in future museums of now.
As a school kid, I spent years of my free time hanging around local Tandy stores to use the TRS-80. It was my introduction to computers, programming and digital electronics by way of the technical manual with the schematic and description. It was the genesis of my hobby and wonderful career in engineering.
I have very fond memories of TSR-80, having worked for short while a UK Tandy Computer store in the 1980's. This was my first hands-on with personal computer and has led to life-long career in technology / telecoms. I remember the excitement, when we had our first external hard drive 5M and cost then £5K, and we sold them! Fun fact who which major TV personality also worked at Tandy, clue – its’s all about the numbers……
The article states that "The TRS-80 is also of enormous importance because Tandy hired a pair of chaps named Bill Gates and Paul Allen to write software for the machine. In case you haven't been paying attention, they later founded a little company you may have heard of called "Microsoft"."
Microsoft was founded in 1975, two years before the TRS-80 was released. The TRS-80 project itself was approved in 1976, well after Microsoft was a company.
But hey, history is what you make up, right?