The Franklin ACE 1000 was launched in 1983. It was the successor of the ACE 100, released in 1981. The ACE 1000 had 48 KB RAM and allowed for a 16 KB Language card. It also supported lower-case letters, had a numeric keypad, and a larger case.
From the factory, the Ace-1000 did not support colours but there was a colour chip that could be added by the dealer for $50 (this dealer add-on was an attempt to protect themselves legally against lawsuits from Apple).
It was fully compatible with the Apple II and could use the same programs and cards. Unlike the Apple II, the Franklin didn't have tape recorder In/Out jacks but its power supply had an integrated cooling fan.
The makers of this computer would be sued in 1984 for violation of certain Apple trademarks, namely, the operating system. Apple would win the lawsuit, and Franklin would be forced out of the computer business.
Matt Beechey recalls :
The most annoying thing about the design of this computer was it had a reset button under the front edge - I used to always lift my legs up onto the rest of the chair and hit the reset button with my knee after hours of unsaved typing!
My first computer. It got me through law school, 1984-1987. I digested and summarized my notes from classes on it each night, and ended up with about a 50 page synopsis of each class to study for finals. For final in Constitutional Law, prof assigned a paper on the morning of the final, and paper had to be done and delivered to him by 8 AM the next morning. I composed mine at the keyboard, and was done and in bed by 10. Roommate wrote his out, and he and his girlfriend started typing it at about 9 PM. Neither were very good typists. They finally got done about 3. He and I were both sold on those new-fangled computers at that point.
The 80 column card was what made it so great. Apple, at that time, only showed 40 columns on the monitor, so 2 columns on the monitor equaled one column on paper- very confusing, especially for formatting titles, etc. Franklin actually showed only 70 columns (the other 10 were the margins on both sides). They did it by showing letters in graphics- very strange looking little letters, but once you got used to it, they were fine. What you saw was what you got on paper.
Wednesday 12th October 2011
M Mittge (Chehalis, Washington)
I think the name of the ''Z'' game you are thinking of was Zork.. they had a Zork I, II, and III.
Franklin Ace 1000''s also came standard with an 80 column card...
Thursday 13rd January 2011
Jeff Ferrel (Carson City, NV USA)
This was the first computer that my parents ever bought. My grandfather got my dad the hookup on it. My grandfather also did some soldering magic and also hookedup a hard drive and added a speech card as well. My friend and I would call McDonald's and prank them with the Stephen Hawking-type voice that it made. I sure miss Miner 2049r. There was another game that began with a Z as well. I don't remember what it was called but it was fun.
Oh Yeah, I remember hitting that orange reset button under the front side with my toe a couple times as well (I'd tip the seat back and put my foot up on the edge of the desk). Nothing like having to recreate a 5 page report when you don't know how to type :\ Other than that though it was a great computer!