[Coco]: Tandy's biggest mistakes thread

John Hogerhuis jhoger at gmail.com
Wed Apr 20 14:56:11 EDT 2005

On 4/20/05, jdaggett at gate.net <jdaggett at gate.net> wrote:
> Tandy intended the Coco originally as a game computer and a entry
> learning level computer. Just look at the manuals that were written
> and came with the Coco. They were written most likely at a 6th
> grade level of  understanding.

Not to the point your making but, I have to add:

The BASIC and ECB manuals were one of the strongest points of the
color computer. Compare them to modern manuals... if the coco manuals
were written for a 6th grader, modern computer manuals are written for
the village idiot 1st grader "To launch word click on the <PICTURE>
icon" and so on. The BASIC and ECB manuals actually could teach anyone
with an interest how to actually write simple programs.

I wish all computers came with an interpreter and a manual like that.

It probably helped that they could be read by and hold the interest of
a sixth grader, because I was probably about that old when I took it
upon myself to learn BASIC :-)  Such power and control... you get a
machine hooked to your TV and sure it plays games, cool... but after
going through the first few pages of "Getting Started With Color
BASIC" I was already making the machine do things that no one had done
before (well, not exactly anyway), things that *I* wanted it to do. I
was hooked. Ploughed through both the manuals in about a week, then
started learning more from magazine type-ins.

Of course, eventually I would have preferred a bit more "internals" to
be covered in the manuals than the tease chapter on machine language

So, as to targetting the coco as a "learning computer," I believe
tandy succeeded in large measure. Look at the recent age graph that
Torsten made... one interpretation is that it shows the coco was
bought by parents for their kids (certainly that's how it happened in
my family). I wonder how many programmers today owe their careers to
the fateful purchase their parents made, and the excellent
documentation that came with the machine. I do.

-- John.

More information about the Coco mailing list