(And why, and maybe some other things.)

So who am I, and why has my “I” key bounced writing RACSIII?

Who am I at RACSIII?

My name, well, at least my nickname, is Tuc. Its pronounced like how you “TUCk” in a shirt. I won’t go into my real name since that’s not important for this site. I got the nickname in school from my best friend and security question so I won’t mention their name. I’d usually have to correct teachers about the correct pronunciation of my last name, and eventually I started going by “Tuc”.

What’s RACSIII??

Well, actually, its just 3 I’s. Before I get into that, lets take a bit of a step back.

In 1978 (I was 12) , my father was an early adopter of a business computer from IBM called the “IBM 5110“. It was a desktop computer he bought to run his business (A company called Cabletronix, a ‘Wire, Cable and Telephone Hardware” business he co-owned.) It had a tiny display, two huge 8″ floppies in a cabinet like a 1/2 height filing cabinet, and a massive 132 column dot matrix printer.

Along with all this came a set of manuals explaining all the parts of the system, and this computer language that ran on it. That language was called BASIC. It stood for “Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code”. WOW, that sounded powerful. I was interested, so I asked if I could read the manuals. Uncharacteristically for my dad, he seemed amused at the thought which really made me feel like crap to the point of making me cry. I guess to shut me up he let me.

Next Up…

That night, I read 1/2 of the books. Even having no prior experience, I knew there were some errors in the book. They had a form in the back to submit issues so I did. But I went back into the office the next day and started playing around. I really liked it and I was pretty good. In short time I was correcting errors a professional programmer made. Seeing this, my parents wanted to encourage it, so they bought me a TRS-80 Model I. Just the “basics” of the screen, the Expansion Interface with 32K, and the main unit with 16K. I loved it so much I wanted to meet up with other enthusiasts.

My dad was a trooper in this regard. He would drive me over an hour and 1/2 to attend a TRS-80 users group in Long Island called LITRUG (Long Island TRS-80 Users Group)! Here, I got to learn more about the computer that I loved. It was also here, I met some key people in my TRS-80 life. RACSIII

  • Roy Neiderhoffer
  • Evan Grossman
  • Ira Goldklang
  • Marc Mandel
  • Bill Sohne
  • Joe Lepore
  • Richard Buchman
  • Michael (MJ) Hall
  • Ken Sperling

Early on in this I had bought something called “Connection-80”, software to run a BBS. I became “Connection-80 of <MY HOME TOWN>”. I even had a cute telephone number, 914-LOG-ONIT. Even got telephone shaped stickers with the number on it to give out to people. It was great.

Roy had been writing his own software to run a BBS, and he was calling it RACS. That stood for Remote Access Computer System. It seemed really great, and I eventually worked with Roy so that I could sell it to other people. Since I was the 3rd system to be running it, I became RACS III. And, in not so many words, thats what RACSIII is.


As with most things, they come to an end. Eventually I went off to college and couldn’t keep RACS running. I bought a few extra pieces of equipment because I wasn’t sure how easy they might be to get in the future. I put my system into storage with the intent that when I got out of college, I’d start it back up in my new house with my new wife (Which is a whole other story unto itself. My ex got a big studio to purchase the rights to her life story so if it ever comes out, I’ll say more).

That was about 1987. So this story picks up in 1988 or 1989, right? Um, yea, no. The machine(s) have been in storage since 1987 until 2023. That’s almost 40 years.

In the last year, seeing some of the LITRUG people around I joined a Facebook group about TRS-80’s. I started getting a bit nostalgic seeing all the things people were STILL doing, and I had to get in on it.

I never promised you a WHAT

So I know I didn’t make any promises before, but here’s what this will be all about. Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch until… Oh, sorry, that’s an old Abbott and Costello sketch. I PLAN TO RESURRECT RACS-III ONTO THE INTERNET! I plan to just quickly pop into my storage place I’ve had for <mumble mumble> years and haven’t seen for quite a while, retrieve all the ORIGINAL hardware, and get it back running to the point I can actually put it on the Internet.

Moving on…

While doing this, I figured it’d be fun to document the trials and tribulations of it all. Do I think this will become popular, HECK NO. Will it mean anything to anyone other than me? Hope so, but not counting on it. Will there be any nuggets of wisdom?

Um, if you knew me you wouldn’t ask. So, the story starts with me going back for the machines after all this time. Some of the sections might be short, like setting up the wooden table the original system was hosted on, some might be long and you may, JUST MAY, learn something! (**DISCLAIMER** – I take no responsibility if and what you learn here. ) The final piece will be the DNS name to telnet or ssh to the machine which will be directly accessible on the Internet.

No emulators, no simulators, no contaminators, no other ors. You’ll be logging into actual Tandy Radio Shack made hardware running the same software and hardware (as long as I can do it without compromising either) it did when it shut down in 1987. Sometimes things may go well, other times it could be something we have to get back to. But overall, we’re taking an almost 40 yr old set of hardware and getting it all working together despite the time, despite cables shredding, despite dust and grime and all that fun stuff.

Getting the machines

It turns out that this was a bit harder than expected. I had visions that I left the storage unit (In another STATE) pretty well organized and with room to work in. BOY WAS I MISTAKEN! My wife of over 7 years (who had heard of this storage but never been there either) was amazed that I wanted to go and get this equipment out. Boy was she sorry.

IT WAS A DISASTER. Boxes all over the place, no way to walk anywhere, no semblance of any sort of order. Whats worse, is the stuff I wanted wasn’t in the front part of the storage, so it meant it was in the back BEHIND the fridge and washer/dryer combo. Yea, more fun.

I hear YOU

Yes, I can hear you loud and clear through the internet. “Ok, so your storage place was a mess, you were nostalgic for your old computer, and you’ve put up a blog, on a .NET even, SO WHAT”. Well, lets address the .NET issue. I waffled on it myself. I come from an ISP background, and it always peeved me when someone used a .NET because the .COM was taken.

So where do we start

Well, I’ve given you the start of who I am, and whats RACSIII was (And will be again, I hope), so there’s only one place to start!

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About Tuc .

Tuc, owner and Sysop of RACS III started his computing adventures on an IBM 5110 with a 4 inch screen, 16K Basic, 2 8" floppy drives and a 132 column dot matrix printer in 1978. After retiring for a bit to Tucs Beachin OBX House in NC, he came back and is now the Senior Site Reliability Engineering Manager for a global SAAS company.
View all posts by Tuc . →

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