"CoCo" was fans' affectionate
name for the Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer. In 1980 it featured ROM BASIC, a Motorola
6809E processor and 4K of RAM; over time the architecture evolved to support
the multi-tasking operating system OS9, a paged memory management unit and 512K
A 20MB SCSI Hard disk option for
the CoCo cost $1200, provoking Rainbow Magazine columnist Marty Goodman
to opine that comparable IBM PC hard drives were only $400 - couldn't someone
hook one up to the Color Computer?
The CoCo-XT was the first
Burke & Burke product. Using a deceptively simple circuit of a few logic
gates, it interfaced an IBM MFM or RLL hard disk controller to the Motorola
6809E bus. I included an OS9 device driver I'd written. The CoCo-XT sold
for $70 and cut 60% off the cost of a hard disk system, empowering a generation
of users and developers.
Here's a list of titles I developed
and published at Burke & Burke
- Hard disk adapter and OS9 drivers that dynamically packed two 256 byte sectors
into each physical 512 byte sector
RTC - Improved CoCo-XT with hardware real-time clock
- OS9 boot ROM for use with CoCo-XT; featured a LIFE game easter egg
& MV - UNIX-like wildcard utilities for OS9
- Multi-player timed word game; one of the first multi-user games for OS9
- Patch to run Microsoft BASIC under OS9
- Patch to run DynaMicro's Dungeons of Daggorath 1st person adventure
game under OS9
Class Chess - Patch to run Cyrus Chess under OS9
- An on-screen clock display
- Simplified OS9 system configuration utility; saved users 20 minutes or more
on system setup
System Repack - Hard disk defragmentation utility; could optimize
a completely full hard drive using only 128K of RAM.
- File Recovery
System - Utility to recover
deleted files from hard disk.
- Processor upgrade and OS9 operating system patches to improve system performance
- The 6309 Book
- Processor reference and OS9 assembly language dev kit.
- Configurable text-to-speech algorithms and OS9 driver for Votrax speech
- OS9 Level 2 SCSI drivers for hard drives with 512-byte sectors (OS9 uses
256 byte sectors)
For Microsoft Disk Basic:
- Microsoft BASIC patch adding hard disk support for CoCo-XT interface
HYPER-I/O - Version of HYPER-I/O for the DISTO SCSI hard disk interface
- LR Tech
HYPER-I/O - Version of HYPER-I/O for the LR Tech SASI hard disk
- Burke &
Burke RGBDOS - Version
of KenTon RGB-DOS (a competitor of CoCo-XT and HYPER-I/O) modified to support
- RAM disk and print spooler add-on pack for Hyper-I/O
Each title included a user manual
and one or more programs: the main program(s), an installer if needed, and supporting
utility programs. About half of the programs were written in 6809 assembler,
with the rest in pre-ANSI C.
From 1988 - 1994, Burke & Burke
products sold worldwide by mail order, at Color Computer conventions, and through
distributors across the US and in Australia. The typical retail price of a Burke
& Burke software package was $24.95.