Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Comment: Best of the Best

Like a dumbass, I overwrote the November issue of The Color Computer Collector and then promptly uploaded the overwritten file to the server without making a back up. Brillant, eh?

Riding to the rescue is a gentleman named Charles, who promptly emailed me the complete issue and basically saved the day. Very cool stuff and I can't express how grateful I am for the save.

It may seem like a little thing, but it is a big part of what makes the Color Computer community so special. As I read and reread through the old mags, there is a constant sense of trying to build something, to make it bigger and better, and to include everyone and every interest. I had the opportunity to browse through some "other" computer mags from that era and that whole sense of community is... well, just missing. It's not there like it was for the CoCo.

It's still out there, of course. Smaller perhaps. But it is still there. I get email from Color Computer users every week asking questions and providing answers. When I can't provide the answers myself (let's face it, I'm the kind of guy that would solder his finger to the mainboard... not that I ever have, mind you, but just so you know it burns like a mother), I try to point them in the proper direction. I then often will hear back from them to let me know that they got the answers they needed, and how pleased they were that other CoCoists are out there spreading the good word and helping to make new CoCoists (or welcome them back!).

I think that's why I wanted to do a site for TRS-80 Color Computers. It's my favorite computer, of course. I grew on TRS-80s. I love Ataris, too. From the 2600 to the Jaguar, an Atari is one tasty machine (I'm particularly fond of the 48K 800). But there's a ton of great sites for Atari collectors and support for those machines. An Atari will never be a CoCo. It's that community that pervades the entire Color Computer scene that always draws me back to these marvelous machines.

There's a lot of CoCoists out there. More than we see in the CoCo mailing list, or the message board at I just want to encourage all of you silent CoCo lovers out there to chime in every once and awhile. No matter what your experience level or what you like to do with your CoCo, there's plenty of people out there that are more than happy to help, share and contribute. In the end, that's what has always been missing from the "other" computer communities. It's about the computer. The Color Computer has always been about the people. Jump on in.

Angel's Luck,

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

News: Cloud9Tech Ceases Taking Orders, Focuses on SuperBoard

Cloud9Tech Ceases Taking Orders, Focuses on SuperBoard

TRS-80/Tandy Color Computer hardware developer Cloud9Tech posted to their main web page that, as of December 1st, they are no longer taking orders for their product offerings. The site says that all existing orders will be filled while their focus will shift to completing the SuperBoard projects.

The Cloud9 SuperBoard (no direct link, it's under Coming Soon off the main page tabs at the top) is an upgrade board for the Tandy Color Computer 3. Stated features include up to 2 Megabytes of SIMM RAM, an enhanced version of the Cloud9 Protector board that buffers all lines to the CoCo's CPU, two 16C550 UARTS for high speed serial connections, and a built-in parallel port. All are items that modern CoCoists have needed for many moons!

More exciting is something Cloud9 calls VROM, which allows 8 32K virtual ROMs that can be flashed with anything the user likes. This would make it unneccesary to use difficult to obtain EPROMS to burn new ROMs for the CoCo. I don't know of any other 8-bit machine that can do that! To top it off, 512 bytes will be available in an EEPROM to store configuration options that will applt at power on in both RS-DOS and OS/9.

Optional add-ons are also planned, including a real-time clock, SCSI, IDE and Compact flash capability, a PS/2 mouse/keyboard port, and Ethernet support. Some of these devices have been available seperately before, from Cloud9 and other vendors, but never all in one. The base system with inclusion of VROM and the Protector buffers alone should be worth the price.

The last communication I received from Mark Marlette of Cloud9 (I was considering a SuperIDE and memory upgrade, which I should have just broken down and bought then, dammit) in March indicated pricing for the Superboard would be around $150.00. Add-ons would run in the $40-$50 range (no pricing was available for the Ethernet add-on), not including shipping and handling. While those quotes are not confirmed, by any means (stay tuned to the Cloud9 site for information), it's a hell of a bargain considering the capabilities of the board.

No timetable was given for completion of the SuperBoard project, but it seems to be eagerly awaited by all the CoCo community. Order fufillment, according to the web site, is not expected to start up again until the 2nd quarter of 2006.