The TRS-80 Section of Programma International


When I sold my company to Programma International I became a product manager of that company, in charge of their division of (you guessed it ) practical applications.

Starting with only programs for the Apple ][, Programma International, with me aboard, offered applications for the Radio Shack products as well, including Pencil Point for the TRS-80 Model 1 (it added lower-case and formatting capable to Michael Shrayer's early word processor, Electric Pencil), and various programs for the CoCo (the affectionate nickname for Radio Shack's Color Computer.

While I didn't know Michael Shrayer at the time, years later my wife and I ran into him (with his lady friend) at a membership resort we belonged to in Southern California.

Personally, I soon abandoned Electric Pencil for MicroPro's WordStar, as MicroPro founder Seymour Rubenstein and I met at an early computer show and I developed some software for his (then about 7-year-old) son to use to program his TRS-80 Model 1. At the time the Rubinstein family lived near us in San Francisco; I remember my wife and I ran into them once at a movie theater in San Francisco's Richmond District one year on Christmas day, but I don't remember the movie. It was probably 1979.

If you read the Rubenstein article (link above) you'll note that he was successful at marketing micro-computer word processing, eventually used by many universities. Several years previously, when I brought out Pencil Point, Arthur Schawlow and I had tried to get Stanford University to make the switch, but in spite of Art's renown at Stanford, we were spectacularly unsuccessful.


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