Shack Model I Architecture Failures

“They didn’t have enough video memory. RS saved a couple bucks on each one by only providing 7 (maybe 6, memory is rusty) bits of video memory.”

My computer guru explained it to me like this: When Shack went into production and looked for a character generation chip, Motorola said, hey, we’ve got this bunch of chips without true descenders (for non-techs: that means lower-case letters like “g” and “p”and for some reason “a” were a half-line up from how they ought to be displayed), and Shack said, sure, it’s just a hobby kit, nobody will need lower-case. After the computer’s surgery, I had to flip a switch, load a driver, and put up with not-true descenders. But it worked. Wrote my own word processing software, hooked up that incredibly expensive, thundering daisy-wheel printer, and cranked out many words on CompuServe and BBS and in print. Used that “hobby kit” until PC-AT days. “Nobody will need lower case” was like an early version of Gates saying “no one will ever need more than 640K of memory.”