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Never Say Die

By Mark Frauenfelder
March 2000

For countless TRS-80 faithful and Commodore 64 loyalists, the trailing edge is the high ground of technology.

In 1992, a multimedia designer from Virginia named Peter Sugarman wrote an essay called "Neo-Luddite Computer Solution." Sugarman was serious about kicking the technology-upgrade habit. "The computer industry is a chicken on growth hormones," he began, "sloshing around in a nutrient bath with its head cut off. Hardware is out of date as soon as it's installed. Program bloat is rampant, outstripping ever larger hard drives."

Sugarman's sound-bite slogan for the movement he hoped to inspire was "Off the Treadmill!" His solution: Find yourself a "durable, portable, and relatively sprightly" hardware platform, an operating system that's "STABLE, rather than bleeding-edge," and a suite of "Pretty Good Software, consisting of an integrated package that provides basic word pr…

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