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The day after a story about Club 100 breaks in the San Francisco Chronicle, I get this call from a lady at TechTV. Seems they want me as a guest on their show. "Hey! What a nifty idea." I thought. I did the show. It was fun and they made a video of the show.

You might be able to view the show right now. Try this: The Show. If this doesn't work for you, then go to, join the site, select "screensavers" then "archive" and search for August 1991 programming. You'll find the show in the list of all the shows that month. Here is the direct link.

As a guest on the show I was asked to write an article. Below is the article I wrote after it was edited by the techTV copy editors.

Tandy Computers and the Appropriate Use of Technology

By Richard Hanson, founder and proprietor of Club 100
August 9, 2001

"In many situations older computers can live up to the latest fad gadget."

The first truly portable computer hit the market in March 1983. It came from Radio Shack's Tandy.

Tandy sold around six million portables in five years.

People today still stand by these durable computers, even though they're old. They have good battery life, are easy to use, have a full keyboard, and are fully programmable as a terminal.

In 1983 I helped start Club 100 for fans of what we call "Model-T computers." Writers (journalists and reporters), researchers, and people from manufacturing firms have all joined the club.

Is a Model-T for you?

What good is an 18-year-old computer? I have three rules for picking one:

People too often grab the latest fad and let that dictate the solution to their problem.

When to use a Model-T

A Model 100 owner recently emailed me. He wanted to write reports in the field during Red Cross disaster activities and then transfer the reports to a PC. He knew his Model 100 would survive fieldwork, but he needed to know if transferring files to a PC was practical. I mapped out a set of tools and procedures for transferring files. He is now a happy camper.

A woman, 52-years-old and new to computers, wanted to know how to use a Model 100 to access email and surf the Web. In this case, I sensed she didn't fully understand the tasks and technology involved. I encouraged her not to use the Model 100 for those tasks just because she had it, and provided some reasonable alternative solutions. She is now a happy camper.

Could she get things done with a Model 100? Yes, to a certain extent, but not the way she really wants, nor could she -- given her skills and knowledge -- warm up to the dynamics necessary to get what she wants done. This is no reflection on her as a human, just an example of when the learning curve is too high for the job.

Technology, new or old, is not an answer waiting to be applied. In fact, there is no intrinsic value to technology beyond the skills and knowledge of the user. Technology has value only if applied correctly to the task at hand.

Richard Hanson is the founder and proprietor of Club 100, a loose association of owners of Tandy/Radio Shack laptop computer models 100, 102, and 200.

Model Ts Forever!
The Original Laptop Computer . . . 1983