Surfing the Internet… from my TRS-80 Model 100

The true test of a man’s patience is crimping pins onto the end of a cable that leads to building a custom serial cable—especially if it’s the first time you’ve even handled a serial cable in a decade. So as I searched under my desk, using my phone for a flashlight, I wondered whether I had finally found the IT project that would send me over the edge. On a recent day, I set out to turn my recently acquired vintage Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 computer into a working Internet terminal. And at this moment, I crawled on the floor looking for a DB-25 connector’s little gold pin that I had dropped for the sixth—or maybe sixteenth—time.

Thankfully, I underestimated my patience/techno-masochism/insanity. Only a week later, I successfully logged in to Ars’ editorial IRC channel from the Model 100. And seeing as this machine first saw the market in 1983, it took a substantial amount of help: a Raspberry Pi, a little bit of BASIC code, and a hidden file from the website of a certain Eric S. Raymond.

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