Can data tapes be recorded/played on a standard cassette recorder? was closed as off-topic.
I can see why someone would think that this is about a tape recorder ("electronic devices") but in the FAQ it says "...except insofar as they interface with your computer", and my question was about a computer (TRS-80) interfacing with it.

Is the TRS-80 not considered a "computer" on SuperUser or is there another reason why this was closed?

  • Relevant Meta topic that supports your case. I don't think that capabilities and use cases of these devices was considered in that topic though, something that is, IMO, the major blocker against considering Android/iOS devices computers.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


I voted for the same reason as Daniel. We traditionally classify PCs and Macs as computers, and we generally have no problem with home networking equipment.

I wasn't aware of the community decision here, which did not receive any downvotes:

However, at that time, nobody mentioned Android and iPads. A more recent question would argue against this (if we say that an Android Tablet is not a computer, why should the TRS-80 be?):

I am still torn over this, but stand by my decision to close it, as this is merely an electronic device (although considered a "computer" back then) and very very localized.

  • I suppose the TRS PC-1 does bear more resemblance to a tablet (such as iOS/Android devices) than to, for example, similar 'desktop' machines of the time (such as the TRS I or Commodores) Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 19:54
  • Yes, you're right. This can be argued (like with the ability to connect an actual keyboard and the possibilities to do other stuff you'd normally do on a computer). I'm not entirely happy with the definition of what "a computer" is for Super User either, but if we have to draw a line, I think here's one.
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 21:12

I'm doubt this is a computer according to the (admittedly fuzzy) definition used on this site. This is why I raised attention to this question in chat. @slhck and I voted to close then.

It may have been a premature call to action, as I haven't used this device myself, but it really appeared to be little more than a simple calculator.

AFAICT, we classify quite a few products as electronic devices that are in both computational capabilities and modes of use much more similar to today's "computers" than this device.

  • The TRS-80 was most definitely a "Computer". There were (at least) 2 versions. One was the "Computer" itself with an included detachable keyboard and floppy disk drive, and 1 (perhaps more) detachable monitor. The second was an "all-in-one" version that had integrated keyboard, floppy-drives, and monitor. Other models were variations of these. They all ran versions of MS-DOS and CP/M and had built in BASIC interpreters. I think there was one model named "Color Computer" which I'm not sure of it's capabilities. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 10:11
  • @KevinFegan Yet we do not consider modern TVs, smart phones, etc. that can have various periphery attached to them to be computers on this site. As I wrote in chat, "We should probably close this as off topic. If my iPad is not a computer, this isn't either!" That was my reasoning back in 2011, and I don't see a reason to revisit it now.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:28
  • I understand, that's your story and you're sticking to it, regardless of accuracy. I object to your classification that it's "little more than a simple calculator". It is (was) as much of a computer as Apple II, IBM-PC, IBM-XT ... It's not a "calculator" or a game console. Do you consider those "NOT Computers" either? And comparison to a phone or iPad is unrealistic since those are not "Personal Computers". But, you are, of course, as anyone else, entitled to your opinion. At this time, I don't expect the question will be re-opened. But that doesn't mean I can defend (or ignore) its closing. Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 16:10
  • Can you point me to the "(admittedly fuzzy) definition [of a computer] used on this site." Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 16:12

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