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billdeg
July 24th, 2013, 06:41 PM
yawn.

Anyone mess with these at all? This forum area is so sleepy.

Me personally...I got my programming start on a TI 99/4a. It was the first time I had ever sat down and worked for a few hours on a BASIC program other than elementary school terminal stuff, I must have been around 11-12 or so. Unfortunately it wasn't my computer, so when I was done I had to go home from my friend's house, never saved my work. I completely forgot what model computer I had worked with, never used one again until I got one "vintage" many years later. Never use them today but I have a system that I am working on documenting for my site, just because I have the old connection with them I suppose. They were the hottest computer in 1979.

Bill

jim02762
July 24th, 2013, 10:45 PM
The TI-99/4 or /4A? The Wikipedia article says the /4 came out in June of 1979. The /4A came out in June of 1981. And if Wikipedia says it then it must be true. ;)

Me and my family's introduction to computers was with the /4A. We got one when I was about 7 or 8 and I was born 8/22/1975 so must have been 1982/83. Blasto is the first home computer game I can remember (the music sticks out in my mind). I remember spending many, many hours playing Munchman and TI Invaders using those HORRIBLE joysticks. I also remember writing my very first BASIC program, especially the joy when I figured out how to print something on the screen. I must have been no older than 8 and I was a very weak reader so being able to read the manual and get it to do what I wanted was a big deal! lol

A few weeks ago my mother told me how when I was at school she'd often (and secretly) play TI Invaders. So I just installed a TI-99/4A emulator on her Vista laptop and made sure it had Invaders. She liked that.

Jim

billdeg
July 25th, 2013, 04:04 AM
You are right..1981 not 1979 for the 4/a. I was using a 4a and it must have been 81 or 82 when I used it. Thinking back I also remember programming on a trs 80 in the Radio Shack stores' display at the Concord mall in Wilmington Delaware probably before the TI experience. I remember causing the machines print things like "bill is cool" on the store display and being quite amused with myself when unsuspecting customers would learn this important fact. "Who is this Bill, and how did he get so cool?"

Mr.Amiga500
July 25th, 2013, 04:47 AM
You are right..1981 not 1979 for the 4/a. I was using a 4a and it must have been 81 or 82 when I used it. Thinking back I also remember programming on a trs 80 in the Radio Shack stores' display at the Concord mall in Wilmington Delaware probably before the TI experience. I remember causing the machines print things like "bill is cool" on the store display and being quite amused with myself when unsuspecting customers would learn this important fact. "Who is this Bill, and how did he get so cool?"

Ha! I did my first programming in a Radio Shack store too. I didn't print out how cool I was though. My first program changed the colour of the screen when you pressed a key. Now that I think of it... maybe I should have made people wonder who I was and how I became so cool.

The TI-99/4A was going to be my first computer back in 1982, but then my parents decided to get me a cheaper gift for Christmas (yes, that Christmas sucked). I then spent the next summer programming in the Radio Shack store and got a Colour Computer the next Christmas. When I finally bought a TI-99/4A off a friend in 1986, I was so frustrated with the keyboard layout and unusual BASIC that I returned it and got my money back.

I now have 2 and I love the look of them... but I still think the lack of dedicated backspace key is a stupid idea.

barythrin
July 25th, 2013, 09:53 AM
I haven't had that much opportunity to play with them but back in .. meh we'll say 1999 or 2000 a friend who had every game system out there and a big screen TV had a party. My other friend had just found a pretty much 2 unopened boxed 99/4a units for him and his other friend. Neither were really into retro computing but all of us liked computers in general. Long story short the xbox and ps2 were turned off and the TI plugged into the big screen and even the non-geek crowd and all of us spent most of the night playing " Hustle" which is basically what we called nibbles or snake depending on your age. Either way was a pretty cool accomplishment and memory in itself. Non-tech crowd and all of us used that over the current gaming systems that entire night. I tried to do some programming on it to see what it could do and I think eventually figured out the syntax for the 3 note sounds it could make which made me curious about some of the abilities it had. I don't remember if it was then but I think we also played one game with speech Alpiner which was mostly laughed at I think (slow game play and really just getting hit by falling rocks then if you paid whatever $$ for the speech synthesizer cartridge you could hear the guy yell out a very computery "aaaaaaaahh" while falling.

I keep postponing (blend of laziness and lack of responsibility of the kids) but as another member here suggested and I think had a great point, it's a pretty nice system for kids to learn on. Cartridges are pretty hearty, less risk of touching the diskettes/corruption. They're also cheap; $20 can usually land you a working unit without any peripherals. So I have one for my kids that I really want to hook up to an old TV in their room (they don't use it since I never had a cable jack installed in their room then later dropped cable anyway) but either way I'm probably going to get it out and tested this week. I found some cheap educational cartridges for reading and math that I'd really like them to practice during summer and in general. So for that, I think it's a pretty slick system.. plus we could have some father daughter time while I geek out and they pretend to pay attention while we program something out of a book or just have it scroll their name a bunch.

The other thing I've also waited on is letting them have a modded xbox original.. that's been an ongoing project just to get them not to touch dvds so softmod xbox-1, add xbmc (older version), and a read only file share on a server with avis for them then they can watch their movies based on the picture it shows or text if they're literature savvy.

Chuck(G)
July 25th, 2013, 10:17 AM
I was aware of the TMS9900 processor pretty early on and got to see a TI 99/4 around 1980--and was completely underwhelmed when I discovered the really oddball bus structure that, in my opinion, made the TMS9900 CPU less powerful than it could have been (contrast with the TI 990/4 or 990/5 minis that used the same CPU).

vwestlife
July 25th, 2013, 11:32 AM
TI-99/4As are cheap, easy to find, and the games and speech synthesizer are fun. But if you get the original TI joysticks, they probably will be broken, so you'll have to hunt down a splitter to let you use standard Atari-type joysticks. Also it's an easy system to outgrow because there are only a few dozen commonly found cartridge titles, and upgrading it to a disk system requires the "Peripheral Expansion Box" which is hard to find, expensive when you do find one, and takes up a lot of space. Nonetheless it is a good "starter" system for apiring vintage computer enthusiasts.

Hatta
July 25th, 2013, 12:37 PM
IIRC, the 4A shares the same video chip as the Colecovision, so it should be possible to write some nice games for it. Unfortunately the BASIC is incredibly slow, and the TI9900 CPU is pretty much only used in this system, limiting the usefulness of learning assembly for it.

billdeg
July 25th, 2013, 12:46 PM
The enhanced BASIC cart seems faster than the BASIC that's built into the system

barryp
July 27th, 2013, 04:52 AM
yawn.

Anyone mess with these at all? This forum area is so sleepy.

I do. I check in here now and then, not regularly. My current project is a compact flash doodad that I'm trying to figure out.

I have several computers, expansion boxes, drives, etc.

vladstamate
July 27th, 2013, 08:34 AM
I have a TI 99/4A that I use once in a while (especially to play Chess). I have about a dozen and a half cartridges.

I would LOVE to get the "Tunnels of Doom" cartridge (I saw it on eBay now and then) as the game seems to be probably the best on the platform.

Does anyone know of any good applications/games that were delivered on tape as opposed to cartridge? As I have the TI Program Recorder.

Regards,
Vlad.

billdeg
July 28th, 2013, 11:43 AM
Adventure comes to mind but I never played it myself. You use a cart to manage the system and cassette (or disk) containing the database and save file (i presume there is a save file). There were a lot of Adventure cassettes each a different adventure theme. Like D&D adventures.

SomeGuy
July 28th, 2013, 12:27 PM
To use the cassette with anything other than TI-Basic requires a cartridge, such as TI-Extended basic, or TI-Logo. And regular TI-Basic can not make use of direct machine access, so most games required cartridges to do their thing.

But that also means that almost any TI-Basic program that can be found on a floppy disk can be saved to cassette if desired. And there are piles of Basic programs out there.

If you mean original cassette distribution media, I recall catalogs that had cassette titles back in the day. Sometimes there are TI branded cassettes on eBay.

cobracon
July 28th, 2013, 01:44 PM
For you guys that are more interested in the ti99/4. You should really check out this forum http://atariage.com/forums/forum/119-ti-994a-programming/ The guys are writing some great new programs for this machine and it seems to be one of the only active spots anymore. I use to visit it alot.

Robert

jltursan
July 28th, 2013, 11:21 PM
Does anyone know of any good applications/games that were delivered on tape as opposed to cartridge? As I have the TI Program Recorder.

Yes!, as billdeg has already mention it, Scott Adams adventures are are great!


IIRC, the 4A shares the same video chip as the Colecovision, so it should be possible to write some nice games for it. Unfortunately the BASIC is incredibly slow, and the TI9900 CPU is pretty much only used in this system, limiting the usefulness of learning assembly for it.

You can also overclock the machine to 3,6Mhz getting a nice speed boost of 20% :-)

Jay
August 4th, 2013, 09:41 PM
I picked up a ti-99/4a (the later beige version) several months ago. Its been a fun and cheap machine to play with. I bought it because.. well theyre a dime a dozen, so i found a n.o.s looking one and set it up.

There are tons of great games available for this, so thats what ive been doing. Ive seen numerous mods for these and hope to try a few in the future.

billdeg
August 5th, 2013, 05:01 PM
http://vintagecomputer.net/ti/ti994a/thm_TI99a_silver_StarTrek.jpg
Here's a nice photo of an original silver TI 99/4a from my inventory.

http://vintagecomputer.net/ti/ti994a/thm_TI_99-4a_with_PHP1200.JPG
Beige version.

http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=526
More photos and a few comments.

I could not sell one spare TI 99/4a at the MARCH workshop, seems like no one wants these anymore. I was able to archive all of my disks, at least this exercise of taking them all out for a test spin was good for preservation purposes.

I have had these systems for years, but like most of us here I don't really do much with them now. Everything I have still works, which is nice. They seems to be holding up well over time. Until we meet again old friends.

barythrin
August 6th, 2013, 09:20 AM
Wonder if it was the price? The expansion bay I've seen sell but the end price varies a lot depending on what cartridges are in there. It always throws me off with the silver unit I keep wanting to call it a TRS no TI.

billdeg
August 6th, 2013, 10:09 AM
Price was not discussed, no interest at any price. No biggie I really did not *need* to sell, just wanted to clear some space, no one needs 7 TI 99's.