to give them credit for that. IBM chose
a bland putty-beige for their first personal computer in 1981 and most
fell into lockstep with that, even Apple. But Sony dared to be
different in 1984 when they released their stunning red HB-101 Hit
The public, of course, armed with
their so-called ‘good taste’ soundly rejected it. There is an aversion
to color in our modern world that has grown to something like a phobia.
In Los Angeles today, 83% of cars sold are monochromatic— some shade of
white, silver-gray, or black. Check out a parking lot near you. Color
is only for children, or so the drab would have us believe.
The 9-inch screen
black & white Apple Macintosh
shown at left looks like the
very first Macintosh from 1984, but this hot rod, the SE model from
1986, came with 1 MB of RAM and two floppy drives.
Radio Shack’s 1980 TRS-80 (Japan) pocket computer with
Interface” is shown above. The computer itself measures just
6-7/8 by 2-3/4 by 5/8 inches. The printer writes to paper tape only
1-3/4 inches wide, like a calculator.
The Apple Macintosh Portable
at right sold new in 1989 for
$6,500! It weighs over 16 pounds, mostly because it has a
lead-acid battery (like your car!). Screen size is 10" diagonal. This
is the first laptop Macintosh, predating the PowerBook.
Above left in silver is the Timex
Sinclair “2068 Personal
Computer” made in Korea by Timex Computer Corporation. The black one
below it is the Timex Sinclair
1000, made in Portugal. Yes, Portugal.
The white Sinclair ZX80 from
England (1980) was offered as a kit. These
last two employ so-called membrane
keyboards, the same sort of annoying imitation push-buttons they put on
your microwave oven to save money. How anyone could type on that is
As we entered the all-computers-have-to-be-black phase, one standout is this Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 300. It has a little mouse that comes out the side on a tether. At the time of its introduction in 1993, according to HP, this was the smallest and lightest PC on the market to feature a full-size keyboard and full VGA (9-inch monochrome) screen.