• Tag Archives 1984
  • CompuServe (1984)


    Source: Compute! – Issue Number 52 – September 1984

    It seems like there has been online dating for as long as there has been an online world. This ad from 1984 is for CompuServe, one of the centralized online services that were available before the internet came along or was easily accessed directly anyway. The marriage motif seems to be suggesting that you could find your future spouse on CompuServe and I’m sure that happened many times through the years.

    This particular ad is emphasizing one of CompuServe’s services called “CB Simulator”. Essentially this was a chat area with many channels and operated more or less like IRC or group text messaging. I guess they needed something from the physical world that people could relate to for the name since there were no cell phones or text messaging to speak of and chatting online was still a novelty. CompuServe wasn’t cheap though. I’m not sure exactly what the cost was in 1984 but as I recall later in the 1980s it was something a little less than $20 per month but then you paid by the minute for your online time as well. There were non-prime hours at night where certain services could be accessed without the extra per-minute cost though.

    This ad is from the September 1984 issue of Compute!. In 1984, CompuServe was accessible by pretty much any computer of the day that you could attach a modem to since it was purely text based. All you needed was a computer, a modem, a phone line and some terminal software. I can’t quite tell if that’s a VIC-20 or a Commodore 64 in the ad.

  • TRS-80 Model 4 (1984)

    Detail from 1984 Advertisement for the TRS-80 Model 4 Computer


    Radio Shack released the TRS-80 Model 4 as a follow-up to the Model III three years later in 1983. It looked essentially the same as the Model III except that it was an off-white color instead of grey/silver. Internally, there were some fairly significant upgrades, including:

    • CPU: Z80A @ 4 MHz (compared to the ~2 MHz model III)
    • Display: 80×24 (compared to the 64 columns of the Model III)
    • Available 64KB model (Upgradeable to 128KB of RAM)
    • Full support for CP/M without modification

    It also included an expanded keyboard and TRSDOS 6. For this version of TRSDOS, Radio Shack contracted with the maker of LS-DOS/LDOS, a popular and generally more capable 3rd party DOS produced for the TRS-80 line. They continued to market LS-DOS separately but it and TRSDOS were now essentially the same. The Model 4 was also 100% compatible with the Model III whereas the III had some incompatibilities with the original TRS-80.

    The following configurations were available:

    • A diskless version with 16KB RAM (cassette only): $999
    • A single disk version (180K single sided, double density) with 64KB RAM: $1699
    • A dual disk version with 64KB RAM: $1999

    There was also an upgrade available for Model IIIs that essentially turned it into a Model 4. It included a new motherboard and keyboard and cost $799.

    The Model 4 was the last major revision the the TRS-80 line though there would be a somewhat enhanced Model 4D released in 1985 that would be sold through at least 1991.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, my high school still had TRS-80 Model IIs and 4s in 1989-1990 that were used for programming (BASIC) classes. I’m not sure how much longer they were there though I think they were being used at least one more year after that and possibly longer.

  • Government Surveillance and Academic Thought Policing Are Taking Us to 1984

    Government Surveillance and Academic Thought Policing Are Taking Us to 1984

    There are some books you should read only once, and others you should reread occasionally. George Orwell’s 1984 is one you should read repeatedly and deeply. Without it, no education is complete.

    It tells the story of a man, Winston, grappling with ordinary desires for love and privacy – but in a totalitarian socialist world in which every word and even desire is subject to control and punishment by “the Party.”

    1984 teaches timeless truths and shows its characters grappling with questions that do not have easy answers. The dystopia Orwell presents emerged out of the soil of a society in which little by little, inch by inch, thought by thought, and idea by idea, people forsook their liberty, their dignity, and their humanity.

    Parallels between the world of Orwell’s 1984 and our own are increasingly obvious – and troubling.

    Surveillance and Thought Policing

    For one thing, we live in an ever-growing “anti-terror” surveillance state, and one that is encouraged, if not openly embraced, by fearful people who are, if I may be blunt, really bad at math and really lacking in perspective. Every death is a tragedy, but terrorism is far down on any list of mortality risks – and it always has been. And there is little evidence that all the surveillance and security programs added since 9/11 have caught or prevented terrorists in any significant number.

    For another thing, on college campuses across the country, we are seeing disinvitations of controversial speakers, demands for “safe spaces,” and shout-downs of ideas deemed heretical – proof that the open and rigorous exchange of ideas does not come easily and must be defended.

    In their Atlantic cover story, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt explain and explore how higher education is fast becoming a place where students expect not to be faced with or to contend with controversial ideas but to be protected from them.

    Commentators such as American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Summers have drawn unflattering comparisons between Orwell’s Junior Anti-Sex League and those controlling campus discussions today. The subtle change from “these ideas are incorrect as matters of logic and evidence” to “it is immoral to even subject these ideas to rigorous inquiry” threatens to subject the liberal arts and sciences to a thought police.

    Obedience Only

    The way the characters in 1984 are “conditioned” once their subversive activities are found out turns this novel from interesting dystopian fiction to an absolutely terrifying classic. Mere obedience is not enough for the Party officials. They can only be satisfied, if that’s the right word, once they completely occupy the thoughts and wants of their subjects.

    An obedient objector is still a potentially dangerous revolutionary. Dissent – anything other than wholehearted, brainwashed obedience – is intolerable. The humanity of Winston is completely abolished, and in a fate worse than death, his resistance is crushed and he comes to love Big Brother.

    On this, the 68th anniversary of 1984’s publication, it is perhaps worthwhile to take a few minutes and consider whether we have unconsciously adopted the three slogans of the Party – War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength. In our unthinking rush for “safety” of all kinds, I’m afraid that in some ways, we have.

    Reprinted from Learn Liberty.

    Art Carden

    Art Carden is an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business. In addition, he is a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, a Senior Fellow with the Beacon Center of Tennessee, and a Research Fellow with the Independent Institute. He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network. Visit his website.

    This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.