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This old tech: The Toshiba T1000 was my first step into the world of MS-DOS

Benj Edwards | Nov. 9, 2015
The year was 1987, and the Toshiba T1000 was a 6.4-pound IBM PC clone that you could fit into a briefcase. But wait'll you see the battery on this thing.

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Weighing just 6.4 pounds, the Toshiba T1000 was far more luggable than a 48-pound full IBM PC 5150 desktop of the same era. Credit: Benj Edwards

Welcome to This Old Tech, a new column devoted to vintage gadgets, electronics, computers, and video games. By “vintage,” I mean things that are generally at least 10 to 20 years old or otherwise obsolete. Most people throw this stuff away, but I know I’m not the only one who likes to keep the tech and their stories alive. I’ll be starting with a classic Toshiba laptop that served as my entry point into the world of primordial computing.

But first, a bit about me: I’ve been writing about vintage computers and classic video games for the past decade, first for my blog and later for many other publications, including PCWorld.

I started collecting old computers and video games as a teen. After 20-plus years—eons in tech time—my large collection (including associated media, accessories, and literature) fills a good portion of my garage. I also have a lot of old books and magazines—perhaps too many, as you may come to find out later.

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This is what a garage full of old tech looks like. Credit: Benj Edwards

It’s been an amazing privilege to play host to this mass of historical artifacts, but it’s also been tough keeping all of it from decaying into a pile of moldy rubber and steel. Thanks to hours of tinkering and research just to keep everything alive, I developed a deep practical knowledge of computer and tech history. I’ll share that with you as I dig into boxes and pull things from shelves for this column.

The invention of the digital computer will drive this column, but the computer (specifically, the microcomputer) has been incorporated into so many different types of products that my topic possibilities are nearly endless. So I’ll be covering video games, cell phones, and calculators, as well as various computers. I also may go into the technologies that made modern gadgets possible, such as the QWERTY keyboard on a typewriter.

What better way to start than with my first experience with an IBM PC-compatible machine: the Toshiba T1000.

A taste of Toshiba T1000

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The Toshiba T1000 was small enough to fit into a briefcase. Credit: Benj Edwards

When I was a kid, IBM PC-compatible computers seemed impenetrably complex and daunting. As I watched my father use one at work, I often wondered, “How does he type so fast?” And most importantly: “How does anybody know what to type into the little blinky prompt to make it work?”


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