Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Miss My TRS-80 Color Computer

I miss my first real computer. I miss reading my thick, bound Rainbow Magazines. Or Hot CoCo Magazine.

If I ever get too nostalgic, thanks to modern technology, I can go work on a Color Computer right now, by going to the JavaCoco Emulator, a TRS-80 Color Computer emulator that runs in Java. I can program it in Microsoft BASIC (the great-great-grandpappy of Microsoft's Visual Studio 6.0), just like I used to in the old days, and it works the same way. There were a number of editing functions that were related to the editing BASIC programs using the CTRL key, and they all seem to work with the Java Applet. Pretty cool. No way to really open or save programs, but there are plenty of real software emulators and CoCo ROMs out on the internets.

If you happen to go there (to the Java Applet), you'll happen to notice the "UNDER LICENSE FROM MICROSOFT" that happens to accompany the emulator. I looked at the screen almost every day for years, and if I had--during that time--invested, say, $500 in Microsoft, I wouldn't be worried about money right now. Because that Microsoft stock would be worth a million bucks, or nearly, depending on exactly when the investment happened. Which wouldn't be too shabby.

And, doomsayer predictions to the contrary, and Microsoft's stagnant stock price to the contrary, Microsoft ain't going anywhere. Could global business run without Microsoft Software. Critics aside, Windows Vista is not only a much better product that it is given credit for being, but it's selling well, and Microsoft is raking in the money. Also, it might be nice to point out that Microsoft's market cap is about 250 billion, which is about 100 billion higher than Google or Apple's, to name two.

Microsoft's Window Server products dominate the server landscape, and will continue to for the forseeable future. Microsoft SQL is becoming the dominant commercial SQL database, as Oracle treads water. Microsoft Office dominates the productivity software landscape, and does anybody think that Star Office is going to displace Microsoft Office software any time in the near future? No? I didn't think so.

Certain markets are weaker for Microsoft, sure. Windows Mobile is big in the mobile device market, but competing against the Apple iPhone and RIM's Crackberry--I mean, Blackberry and Google's upcoming Android platform, Microsoft isn't going to be to mobile what Microsoft has become to the enterprise. But that's okay. Sure, Microsoft has the Zune, but they also have the X-Box. Apple may be making inroads, but Microsoft still owns the enterprise. And Microsoft owns most of the global desktop and laptop operating system market. So, when it's all said and done, I still wish I have invested a few pennies in Microsoft, back in the day.

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