Tandy Floppy Disk

Single Tandy Floppy Disk was the single serving size of floppy

I know most of you are old enough to remember 5 1/4″ floppy disks, but did you know they used to sell them in single packages? The Tandy Floppy Disk above is an example of how they were packaged.

Most commonly, blank disks were sold in packs of 10. They came in cardboard boxes, which could be used to store them. If you bought them in bulk. like I occasionally did, you could order them in 25, 50, or even 100 packs. Back then formatting a blank disk took a minute or two. So you could save money by purchasing them unformatted. However if you wanted to save a little time, but spend a little more, you could pony up for the formatted ones. If you were really crazy and desperate you could buy them without the paper sleeves. But a naked floppy is insanity and if my opinion, not worth saving.

Back before Radio Shack was your home for cellphones, batteries and remote controlled toys, they sold computers and computer accessories. Including blank disks. I found the Tandy Floppy Disk pictured above out in my garage. As you can see it is of a single floppy disk packed in plastic. A single serving size of floppy.

I really do no remember when I picked this up. But, I am imagining a scenario in which someone might need to buy a single floppy disk. Perhaps a businessman on his way to work might remember, “Oh! I forgot! I was supposed to bring a single blank disk to work today!” That lucky fellow could swing his Ford Pinto right into Radio Shack, pick up a Tandy-brand floppy disk, and be on his way in no time. I’m assuming a guy who could only afford to buy one floppy disk at a time might drive a Ford Pinto as well.

What did you need your single Tandy Floppy Disk for? Your Tandy computer, of course.

Enjoy this classic Tandy Computer Commercial

My Computer Desk (1999)

A few months ago The Retroist posted his computer setup from the mid 1990s. I found a picture of my own computer setup from the late 90s so I thought I would share it as well.

Rob's Computer Room, Heather 02

Oh boy.

I had a lot of things going on back in 1999. I was a Luddite (and still am in many ways) who was hanging on to DOS so strongly that I had two workstations, one running Windows 98 and one dedicated running DOS (mostly for old games that simply would not run on a Windows 98 machine). Additionally at work, I was just getting into Windows networking and so I had a Windows NT Workstation and a Windows NT Server also running. The fifth machine was connected to a BBS machine that I kept up and running until Y2K.

Obviously this was taken at a time before flat panel monitors were available and KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) units were affordable. Back then, running five computers meant having five keyboards, five mice, and as you can see from the picture, five monitors. To manage the heat in this bedroom I had to regularly turn off the monitors that weren’t in use; regardless, this room hovered around 80 degrees year round.

On the far right hand side of the desk (under the black speaker) is my old CD-ROM changer. It was an external SCSI device that held 6 CD-ROMs at a time. Each one got its own drive letter and it was connected to my BBS.

A couple of other things I see in this picture: to the left of my desk was a spinning CD-Rom tower. To the right was a laser printer I found in the trash, sitting on a black milk crate. I still have that printer somewhere, although I think the milk crate is worth more at this point. I also see a Stormtrooper coffee mug and an alien-shaped novelty cup that I think made its way back from Vegas. The other thing that sticks out to me is that none of the computers have cases on them. Back then I was adding more RAM, upgrading hard drives, or performing other upgrades frequently enough that the cases tended to stay off.

The Secret of Monkey Island

While digging through a bin of used CDs recently I ran across a mint copy of The Secret of Monkey Island. At a price of 99 cents, how could I refuse?

The Secret of Monkey Island was released in 1990 by LucasArts. In the game. players must help Guybrush Threepwood solve puzzles during his quest to become a pirate. The game is known for its graphics, sound, and overall sense of humor. Here’s a complete play through of the entire game.

Se-Kaa of Assiah

When it came to buying video and computer games in the 1980s, there was nothing more disappointing than being tricked into buying a terrible game by great looking box art. Long before we had the ability to access the Internet with our smartphones while shopping in the mall, game consumers only had word of mouth, magazine reviews, and box art to base our decisions on.

Released in 1984 by MasterVision, Se-Kaa of Assiah had both impressive artwork and airbrushed abs.

If that hair didn’t sell you on the game, just look at the screenshots on the back of the box!

Wow, doesn’t that look great?! While I didn’t own this game back in the 1980s, I can only imagine the look on a child’s face after booting Se-Kaa of Assiah for the first time and seeing this title screen.

Turns out, Se-Kaa of Assiah is actually a text adventure with “hi-res graphics.” That means, in laymen’s terms, no joystick required. To swing that sword you saw on the cover, you will literally be typing SWING SWORD.

Not too far off in the future, you can see me turning off my computer. Only the most persistent warriors, brave and true, were able to beat Se-Kaa of Assiah and thusly be rewarded with the ultimate reward, this “end game” screen.

“Success” is sometimes a relative term.