My First Computer: The Tandy 1000HX

Tandy 1000HX ComputerIt was my tenth birthday. I spent the afternoon in downtown St. Louis with my dad. When I came home, there was a computer in the living room, a Tandy 1000HX.

“Happy birthday,” my mom said.

“You got me a computer?”

“No,” said my dad. “It’s the family computer, not yours. It’s your birthday present, but not your computer. You have to share it with your sister.”

The computer was primitive by today’s standards, but even in 1990, it was far from top of the line. It had just 256 kilobytes of RAM, as well as a single floppy drive. However, it had MS-DOS burned into its ROM chips, so unlike the Apple IIs at my school, I didn’t need a special boot disk.

The Tandy 1000HX had more than just MS-DOS on its ROM chips. It also had GW-BASIC and an odd little shell called DeskMate. DeskMate looked like an odd knockoff of Microsoft Windows, but it didn’t require a mouse and didn’t have any third-party apps. Still, it was useful. It had a text editor, a primitive database, a drawing program and even a music composition app.

I had to share the computer with my parents and my sister, but i was still the system’s primary user. I had a lot of experience with MS-DOS and GW-BASIC, so I took to the computer like a fish to water. And though I’ve had many other computers over the years, I still have fond memories of my Tandy 1000HX.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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12 Responses

  1. tandy says:

    Hi.

    If you have Tandy 1000 HX, can you dump BIOS by DEBUG.EXE?

    C:\VERIFY ON

    C:\>DEBUG

    -N MYF000.BIN

    -R BX
    BX 0000
    :0000
    -R CX
    CX 0000
    :8000

    -M F000:0 8000 0100

    -W 0100
    Writing 8000 bytes

    -N MYF800.BIN

    -M F800:0 8000 0100

    -W 0100
    Writing 8000 bytes

    -Q

    C:\>copy /b myf000.bin+myf800.bin final1.bin

    C:\>DEBUG

    -N MYE000.BIN

    -R BX
    BX 0000
    :0000
    -R CX
    CX 0000
    :8000

    -M E000:0 8000 0100

    -W 0100

    Writing 8000 bytes

    -N MYE800.BIN

    -M E800:0 8000 0100

    -W 0100

    -Q

    C:\>copy /b mye000.bin+mye800.bin final2.bin

    C:\> DEBUG

    -N MYC000.BIN

    -R BX
    BX 0000
    :0000
    -R CX
    CX 0000
    :8000

    -M C000:0 8000 0100

    -W 0100
    Writing 8000 bytes

    -N MYC800.BIN

    -M C800:0 8000 0100

    -W 0100
    Writing 8000 bytes

    -Q

    C:\>copy /b myc000.bin+myc800.bin final3.bin

    I want the following files.

    myc000.bin myc800.bin mye000.bin mye800.bin myf000.bin myf800.bin
    final1.bin final2.bin final3.bin

    If you can dump these files, thanks.

    That is the reason I want to emulate Tandy 1000 on emulator. (PCE IBM-PC)

  2. Pat James says:

    This was my first as well, I was 4-5 and it was just before 1994. I remember using Mario paint, playing Out of this World, printing out pictures to color on the snarling dot-matrix. It was a beautiful first introduction into computing, and technology as a whole.

  3. ceyko says:

    Yeah, I remember lobbying for a whole year to earn/beg enough money to upgrade it from 256K of RAM to 512….pretty sure that was the worst money ever spent. 🙂

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