Benjamin Robinson reports:
The Tandy Radio Shack Model 100 was also a big hit with journalists. (My father's newspaper bought a couple of them in the 80s. I think the sports reporter would take one with him to report on away games.) The Model 100 was considerably lighter than most other portables of its day, and ran longer on its battery -- plus it used standard AA batteries, so you could restock from any drugstore if you got caught short on the road. Fancy formatting wasn't needed from the built-in word processor, since the stories the reporters wrote would just be uploaded back to the office, and the typesetting people would take over from there.
Dad brought one home to let me try out one day. I thought it was pretty clever, having an entire working, if basic, computer in such a small package. Even today, the Model 100 still has its fans (and here again, I suspect many of them are in the journalism business). I remember reading in a magazine somewhere about a business that kept them in good working order.
Model 100 and journalists by Kevin Murphy :
Yes, newspaper correspondents (I was one at the time) DID use them. In fact, the paper I joined in the late 1980s issued them to correspondents. I had my own when I joined the paper, so I didn't participate in that program.
I had purchased the 100 to aid in my research for a post-graduate career certification program. It served well. Then, using one of two programs developed by Chicago people (Henry Kisor, of the Chicago Sun-Times, and Paul Pomerleau, of Pomerleau Computing), I was able to transfer the Radio Shack documents to a PC desktop computer and into AmiPro, WordPerfect or MS Word.
Model 100 and McDonald, by Martin Green
Another big-time user of this computer was the McDonald's restaurant chain. Until fairly recently every McD's had one of these units hanging in an custom designed "holster" above the heat-lamp trays to track custom orders. A B&W CRT monitor was mounted above the computer.
Mark Fowler comments:
The TRS80 Mode 100 could store programs and data on audio cassette tape...very poorly. You could "chain" dozens of programs together and keep a global memory area that could be used by the different source routines.
The audio cassette interface was so unreliable that you might have to re-try 10 times or more to get a basic program to load, although in data mode (you could store a BASIC source file or a data file) it seemed much more reliable. It had a serial port that could be used to talk to devices, using a BASIC "Poke & Peek" sequence to write and read to the port. It was often used for remote field control of complex data gathering equipment that could be accessed via serial port.