Timeshare

 

Timeshare was a cartridge designed for connecting the VideoBrain to timeshare mainframes.  Since most people probably aren't familiar with the concept of timeshare, I'll explain the theory.

Because early mainframes were extremely expensive, they were only owned by universities and large businesses.  However most mainframes spent much of their off-peak time sitting around wasting cycles and costing the company money.  Therefore it was theorized that home users could dial into these mainframes and make use of these wasted cycles for a fee.  Thus the concept of the timeshare mainframe was born.  Under the timeshare system, an individual would use their home computer as a terminal to interact with a mainframe and gain access to a large amount of computing power (which was mostly used to play MUD's, but that's another story).  As the power of home computers increased, the need for access to mainframes diminished and the concept of timeshare mainframes faded away.

Timeshare was the only VideoBrain cartridge to make use of the rare Expander 2 modem in addition to the Expander 1 interface.  Unfortunately there are no timeshare mainframes left to communicate with the VideoBrain, so the cartridge is pretty much useless these days.  The manual does provide some interesting insight on how one would actually use the cartridge, and to blunt, it isn't pretty.  Once again the VideoBrain's unusual keyboard layout makes things much more difficult than they need to be.  Many operations required the simultaneous pressing of several keys, and since there was no overlay included with the cartridge, the user would have had to look up which keys corresponded to each command.  Surely there must have been an easier way?

 

Timeshare was one of the few VideoBrain cartridge to come in a special oversized box.  This box was necessary because the manual that came with the cartridge was so large that it couldn't fit into the normal slipcover cases.  It is believed that The Financier and Money Minder also came in these oversized boxes.

 

 

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