27 June 2007

A RadioShack Moment

My first computer was a TRS-80 Color Computer II my parents purchased for me. One of the features this computer had was a slot for inserting cartridges with programs -- games, word processors, assembly language compilers, etc. One of my first cartridges was Clowns 'n Balloons, a simple game in which one controlled a couple of firefighters carrying a trampoline on which a clown bounced ever higher in an attempt to clear the screen of helium-filled balloons. The instructions said, quite clearly, "insert the cartridge gently into the cartridge slot." So I did. And I turned on the computer expectantly. Nothing happened out of the ordinary. I tried again. And again.

Finally, I prevailed on my parents to take me, with the broken computer, to RadioShack (which, it so happens, was located in a back corner of Benda-Looker Furniture) so they could fix it. The clerk grabbed the computer, grabbed the cartridge, and slammed it into place with considerably more force than I had ever attempted.

I write this because yesterday I spent the better part of the day attempting to get some stackable switches to recognize they were in a stack. I fiddled with the cables, jiggling, trying only two switches, trying powering on in different orders, specifying on behalf of the switches where they ought to be in the stack, and so on and so forth, with no success. Today, while fiddling some more, suddenly the cable popped into place and it was apparent to me what my trouble was yesterday. Everything is happy in stackable-switch world now.


John David said...

Ah yes, I remember Clowns and Balloons. Different name, perhaps. I had the game for the Atari 2600. I think the title had "Circus" in it.

Robert Martz said...

My first thing on the TRS-80 was to make a pixelated version of the Enterprise and have it fly across the screen. I really miss BASIC.