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S > SEMI-TECH  > Pied Piper


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Semi-Tech  Pied Piper computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

  Click Here to add a message in the forum

 

Friday 17th November 2017
Frank Price (United States)

I still have one with allthe manuals. It has the high density floppy drives, the canvas carrying case and the video option for connection to standard televisions. I used it for work when traveling to write my reports in the motel at night. The TV option was wondeful. I did the reports in Word Star. Those were the days?


Sunday 21st June 2015
alancsalt (Australia)

Mine had 800k floppy drive. There was the option of a second one. At the time, more storage than anything else I could find.


Friday 28th November 2014
Simon Ransome (UK)
nosher.net

The Pied Piper was also (at least briefly) available in the UK, although so far I''ve only seen a single advert for it. That advert appeared in October 1983''s Personal Computer World: http://nosher.net/archives/computers/pcw_1983-10_010_piedpiper


Tuesday 9th April 2013
Stein Monty (New Zealand)

I have a working Pied Piper with double disk drives in great condition and all the software and manuals to go with it (I backed up the floppies just in case), jealous much ?


Tuesday 9th April 2013
Stein Monty (New Zealand)

I have a working Pied Piper with double disk drives in great condition and all the software and manuals to go with it (I backed up the floppies just in case), jealous much ?


Monday 8th April 2013
Dale Launer (United States)

I bought one of these back in the day (1983 I think) from The Federated Group - a hifi store in Los Angeles. It was kind of a bargain - and a whole megabyte on a disc was very impressive (other computers, like the IBM was a mere 360k). I bought it for one purpose and one purpose only - writing. I loved the macro set up of PerfectWriter - and have my current screenwriting program configured to emulate it.

I wrote my first movie - Ruthless People - on my Pied Piper. Loved writing on a computer!

I do remember the metallic finish underneath the paint (as the designer points out). And some of the metallic flaked off too. I ended up buying a few them because if it had problems (and it did!) I needed a backup. I couldn''t be without a computer as sometime you''re have to do rewrites for a movie in production (like write it that night). Was happy to move on (because of the reliability issue).

I remember a screenplay had to be broken up into 4 files to accommodate the size. And they were .mss files if remember correctly. Ah...my first computer!


Friday 26th October 2012
George Good (usa)

Very interested in getting my Pied Piper running and being able to read some precious old files How do you contact other posters on this site?


Sunday 20th May 2012
Robbie Fields (Thailand)

At the initial clearance price of $300, these machines were a terrific bargain in 1985.

The Floppy could be formatted to 1.2mB and once you added the second external drive disk operations were a breeze. There just wasn''t the need to spend a fortune on a machine like the Osborne with a 10mB hard drive.

The internal modem was a big step up, too, at 1200 baud.

The WP software was great. I did things with the database program that astounded the CP/M users group I belonged to but the database was terribly fragile. I had used mine in a wholesale travel agency and returning a year later was shocked to see every desk installed with one.

There was a CP/M air traffic control simulation game called "Airport" that I would leave running on the amber tinted monochrome monitor. Using only ASCII, it was highly convincing!

Eventually I migrated to the so called "brain dead" 286 platform which served me well for many years.


Saturday 4th February 2012
Kenny Tam (Canada)

Would you believe I was one of the original designer of the Pipe Piper? I was hired by James Ting, the former CEO of Semi-Tech. I graduated from U of Toronto and was the only employee of Semi-Tech until sales order came in then all other key owners of the business joined full time. We opened up a factory in Hong Kong in 1983 to begin making the Pipe Piper.
If you look at the technology available today you can say this Pipe Piper would have been very inadequate. But at the time 64K of RAM and a 1MByte floppy was in the leading edge. A lot of excitement was created at the 1983 Los Vegas Comdex show. The original design philosophy was that the owner would take the Pipe Piper to and from the office and a monitor is available at home and one in the office. That was the niche we tried to home in on. The second generation of the Pipe Piper had a 2line LCD for those who may travel to some place other than home and the office so a small display is available.
In order to pass FCC radiation testing the casing had to be coated with a copper layer on top of the plastic. Then paint is applied over the copper. Paint adhesion problem was a major concern. For the early Pipe Pipers tarnished copper showing through the paint was a major after sale headache.
I am not trying to defend its design, but these are the thoughts that went behind the generations of design.
On a personal level the Pipe Piper taught me a lot about engineering and designing a product for the consumer market. I was then involved with how to manufacture it, how to market it, and how to service it. I was exposed to all these different aspects of a business. It made me a better engineer as a result. I still benefit from this experience even today.


Monday 12th March 2007
Peter Gow (USA)

This was my first computer (and my first consumer loan) in 1983; used it until I was able to replace it with a Compaq Portable (ooh! dual diskette drives). I never found the Wordstar-like word processing software to be "buggy," and the simple spreadsheet and database programs were fine if not very sophisticated. The 96-tpi "double density" diskettes were not so easy to find and unusable on most other machines, but CP/M was DOS-like enough to make the transition upward from the Pied Piper fairly easy.

I passed it along to my mother, who learned how to use it at about age 61; she's going strong with a hot Windows-based machine 22 years later.

So the Pied Piper did its job of luring me and my mother into the world of personal computing--kinda cool, I think!


Thursday 2nd March 2006
James Tamer (Greater Pasadena)
James the Animal Tamer's Emulators

Back in the early 1980s, there was a chain of stereo stores known as The Federated Group. They were known for a few things:
1. Shadoe Stevens as spokesman. He'd hit a VCR with a sledgehammer on the commercials.
2. The chain was bought by Atari, and after that devoted a lot of floor space to the Atari 65XE and the Mega ST computers.
3. The chain sold lots of weird and wonderful computers, including the Coleco Adam, the Tomy Tutor, the NEC Trek... and the Pied Piper.

When the Pied Piper was introduced, Federated was selling them for more than $1000. Ouch. Last time I saw one, which was, I think, summer '85, Federated was trying to get rid of them for $100, bundled with the mentioned software. I wanted one, but I was totally broke at the time (having recently purchased a TV, Tomy Tutor, and Commodore 64 + 1541).


Thursday 27th October 2005
Charles Steadman (New Zealand)

I remember seriously considering these when we were searching for computers in the print industry. The half-height floppy was rare at that time, and the Pied Piper probably had the nicest touch-typing keyboard of any computer until the PC arrived. Unfortunately at the same show the Lisa was released, so this chap was rather overshadowed. A very nice straight CP/M machine though...


Friday 20th September 2002
Charles Martin (San Diego, CA )
Martin Computer Services

I still have three of the old Pied Piper computers (two of them with add-on floppy) and they all still work. Two of them are in like new condition, so if anyone has a great need for there collection, I'll consider all serious offers.

They were/are great computers and I think that the software was way ahead of its time for what they were capable of doing. I cut my teeth on Perfect Calc and designed my first mortgatge analysis program with Perfect Calc. Just wish I'd patented the software for MSDOS, but that was another platform at the time and you know....hindsite and all.


Saturday 20th July 2002
Zachary Z Scott (Wa)

I had on the first real cool toy i pick up when i was five at a swap meet for $15 for the machine and all the software i sadly no longer have it as the machine's power supply toasted i wish i still had it
had to replace about have of the capactors on the main board whaen i first got i


Sunday 14th April 2002
Paul Bauman (Earth)

I have a Pied Piper and couldn't agree more about it's 'portability'. Apart from having a folding carrying handle, it is about as easy to set up as a Commodre 64. Mine does have a built-in modem--I don't know if this was standard or optional equipment, like the external second floppy drive. It all came in one shipping box with the software.


Wednesday 27th March 2002
kevin (Belgium)
Garfirld & the simpsons

Good verry good





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