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S > SEMI-TECH  > Pied Piper     


SEMI-TECH
Pied Piper

Not much is known about this small computer, designed in Canada and presented at the 1983 NCC show (Anaheim, California), in May. It was marketed then as a portable computer! Quite strange as when you have look at the picture, it looks more like a desktop computer, no built-in screen... In fact it had a handle on the back and a plastic cover for the keyboard. One could carry it like a briefcase. You still needed a monitor (TV) at the other location, however...

Anyway, the Pied Piper apparently didn't last long. All we know is that it was intended to be marketed in the US, at $1300. It was based upon a Z80 CPU, had a 5''1/4 disk-drive built-in (720 KB) and used CP/M. It was sold with a complete "Perfect Software" package.
The modem card was optional, manufacturered in Hong Kong at Semi Tech Hong Kong Ltd.

According to Terry Danyleyko who worked for Semi Tech, 1000 pieces were sold to China. A Chinese CP/M was even written specially for the Pied Piper.

_______________________

Tim Gieseler reports :
I sold ONE pied-piper at my short-lived computer store around 1983-4. There was nothing portable about it, but it was a smallish CP/M machine distinguished by it's use of a standard video monitor (none was supplied) and an unusually large single floppy drive compared to the Eagle/Kaypro/TRS-80s of the day. It was able to read/write many of the numerous floppy formats, as well.

The "Perfect" software, same as supplied by Kaypro, was universally horrible, buggy, barely functional - but heavily promoted by the manufacture and bundled by many computer makers.


Special thanks to Wesley Cox from Canada who donated us this computer !

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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 ?

          
Tuesday 9th April 2013
Stein Monty (New Zealand)

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!

          
Monday 8th April 2013
Dale Launer (United States)

 

NAME  Pied Piper
MANUFACTURER  Semi-Tech
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  May 1983
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  None
KEYBOARD  Typewriter keyboard, QWERTY, 62 keys
CPU  Zilog Z80A
SPEED  4 MHZ
RAM  64 kb
VRAM  2 KB
ROM  8 KB
TEXT MODES  40 or 80 columns x 24 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  None
COLOrsc  16
SOUND  None
SIZE / WEIGHT  51 (W) x 27 (D) x 10 (H) cm / 6.25 Kg.
I/O PORTS  serial / parallel port , RF Modulator
BUILT IN MEDIA  5.25'' disk-drive (720kb)
OS  CP/M 2.2
POWER SUPPLY  Built in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS  External 5.25 floppy drive, internal RAM card and modem card, Hard disk interface
PRICE  $1299 (1983)





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