RadioShack’s 14-Foot Laptop: The Technologizer Review

By  |  Friday, August 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Q. How’s the screen?

A. Rather grainy, quite frankly.

The Shack Sceen

Q. And the sound?

Well, even the best notebooks don’t have great built-in speakers, but this particular one was surrounded by external speakers that sounded quite good.

The Shack Laptop Sound

Q. You haven’t mentioned the CPU, graphics subsystem, RAM, or hard-disk size.

A. Your guess is as good as mine. I’m fairly positive that the Radio Shack RadioShack THE SHACK Tandy TRS-80 Model 14000 doesn’t count as a Netbook, so it would not be limited by Microsoft and Intel’s restrictions on features that Netbooks can include.

Q. Case materials and construction?

A. It was hard to tell from a distance, but it looked like some sort of unusual plastic unibody design.

Q. Battery life?

A. It seemed to be plugged into some elaborate electrical subsystem. Weird, huh?

Q. What OS does it run?

A. Windows, apparently–at least judging by the Windows key on its keyboard. (Besides, Steve Jobs’ stubborn refusal to introduce a 14-foot Mac is the stuff of legend.) I’m assuming it’s Vista–ideally with both an XP downgrade and a coupon for a free copy of Windows 7.

Shack Windows Key

Q. You can only tell so much from still images. Got a video demo of this machine?

A. Why yes. The singer onscreen is Melanie Fiona–I wasn’t familiar with her, but she wasn’t bad.

Q. That video ends kind of abruptly–why didn’t you let her finish her song?

A. Er, actually I have an excuse–a member of the Netogether crew came up and told me I was standing too near the 14-foot laptop. (I was around twenty feet away, and the only bystander paying any attention at all.) I asked what the problem was; he said that an unspecified “they” objected for unspecified reasons. In my younger, more belligerent days I might have refused to leave a public place, but I was in a compliant mood, and stepped away. Here’s the crew member in question.

The Shack Crew

Q. I’m liking this Radio Shack RadioShack THE SHACK Tandy TRS-80 Model 14000. Can I buy it at the RadioShack THE SHACK?

A. I wondered about that, too, so I stopped at my local one on the way home. It stocked four laptops, and the giant one from Justin Herman Plaza wasn’t among them–which makes sense, sense it wouldn’t have fit through the front door even when closed. But maybe you can special order one.


Q. All right, one last question. How was the store otherwise?

A. Busy, actually–in fact, there were more consumers there than at Netogether…

The Shack




7 Comments For This Post

  1. Steven Fisher Says:

    If it’s 12x taller, it’s also 12x wider and 12x deeper. So I’d guess you 70lbs weight is way off.

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Yeah, I told you my math isn’t so hot…


  3. thehumanyawn Says:

    I think that the laptop is supposed to be an Acer Aspire Timeline. Note the distinct keyboard.

  4. no Says:


  5. tom b Says:

    How do you even get a crowd that small on the Embarcadero? Do you pull a Bill Gates and tell everyone you are releasing malaria-infected mosquitos?

  6. darkgilbert Says:

    Harry… you can do better than this. I found this article pretty crappy.

  7. Andrew Says:

    I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s actually a Hackintosh! It may look like a PC on the outside, but when the system crashed and they had to restart the live feed, you could clearly see iChat and other iIcons, indicating that it is actually running Mac OS.

    I was actually at the event in NYC (I’m the “crazy” Andrew that stayed for a total of 31 hours). A lot of the crewmembers that were using computers were using Macbooks, though I never did see the control room, so I don’t know for sure that that’s all they used.

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