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In my day....


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Hi all.

 

When I was a lad, I owned my TI between '85 and '87, and in all that time, only one other person in my village owned one, ( im in the UK) he had the price-war model, I had the intentional one. So really, in the school playground I wasn't frowned upon, but I was asked a lot of questions about my computer, yet with nobody to share any software with. A lot of the other kids had ZX Spectrums, C64s, and the odd kid with a BBC.

I can only imagine in America it would be different somehow, did anyone have neighbours or friends nearby with another TI or were most of us lone-stars?

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I bought a huge TI package used from a schoolmate in the early 80's and knew only two other people with TI systems at the time. One friend and I would swap cartridges once in a while, so was nice to try out different games that way. Later on I received the Triton, etc. catalogs and lusted after some of the hardware and software on offer. But don't remember purchasing too many different things for my TI as I was already delving into other computers (Atari 400, Apple ][+ and C64) and afterwards, an Amiga 1000. Sold the Atari, Apple and C64 - but kept my beloved TI! :love:

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In the early days my local area had two TI groups, mainly because of politics and personality conflicts. By 1985 both groups were gone and I had to drive about 80 miles round trip to Vancouver, WA to attend meetings. If it had not been for the Fidonet TI-Echo and PC-Pursuit I would have lost touch altogether. Since I was the last holdout in my local area, I can relate to the lone-star description. In 1990 I pulled the plug and moved on.

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I've been all over the map on this one. I bought my first system through the US Military Exchange while I was stationed in Berlin, Germany. There were two or three others with a TI system while I was there, but I was soon sent to Fort Walton beach in Florida, where I had no contact with anyone for a couple of years. After that, I went to Germany again (Ramstein), and on my way joined the User's Group in York, Pa, as I had family there. In Germany, I set up my machine at a computer show at the base recreation center and the local US user's group found me. I also connected with the German user's groups and users, so I was part of the European and American networks at the same time--and I still have lots of contacts on both sides of the ocean. :) I never gave up my systems--I just kept finding (or designing) more things that I liked along the way. . .

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I grew up in the county outside Bremerton WA, USA, near the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. In 1984, I was 11, and took to the computer like it was the essence of life. My father actually bought the TI to try and get my older brother interested, but that failed, largely because his friends had C64s and they couldn't share. I found one kid at school that had a TI, but when I wrote a game and tried to share it with him, he had no idea how to load a basic program from anything... So, to him it was a cartridge based video game console. I did luck into a neighbor that was interested in programming on the TI. It was one of my friends, older brother's... We wrote a Transformers ( the robot toys ) database. We'd go to the local stores with a notepad, write down all the statistics on the back of the retail packaging ( it had something like a baseball card of stats on it. ) And then go code them into this database, with a little graphics to indicate a thing or two. That was my first joint programming effort, until I ran into the same guy again actually in college.

 

My father was a smart guy though. We had all of these computer user groups in the Puget Sound area, there was a group for the commodore 8bits, the amigas, the atari 8bits, the atari st folks, the PCs, and the apple II users... So every month my father would drag me down to the Kitsap TI users group. When it started to fail, he took it over. I am the center of the universe, so I'm pretty sure he did all of that to make sure I had support.

 

My father and I each had our own TI setups. I'm pretty sure, in the end, we were our own user's group. Shortly after I moved out, he retired his Geneve setup.

 

I've gotta say "Thanks Dad!" Not that he'll ever read this. I should probably get off the computer and call him :)

 

I really enjoy hearing how Opry99er, and Buck are building a relationship that involves the TI, as well as Ksarul and his boys... That's pretty cool!

 

-M@

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I got my 4a for Christmas back in 1983, it was not supplied with a tape lead and it took a further two weeks to find a place that sold them, finding software was just as bad. :(

You're from the UK .... did you have the same struggle I had, with no other friends owning the same computer? ... I remember travelling some distance to buy a game on cassette.

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In the US, I was pretty much the only kid that had a TI... There were a few others that had them, but with a few games and then that was it. I was the only one who did anything with mine...

 

I was the only one who wound up expanded. I used mine as my primary system until 1989. It lasted through my first year of college, but there was no way I could use it for my programming courses...

 

So, I got a PC at that time.

 

I was a member of 2 users groups, I bought newsletters from a few other groups.

 

Also, somehow, I wound up trading disks with others... I was outside Baltimore, I had TI friends in North Carolina, California, and Utah.

 

In 1989, I sold mine... Everything. So, now I have a friends old system as well as a bunch of other stuff I've re-acquired.

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1984, Texas Instruments TI-99 had a $100 rebate, my father purchased it to me. i was the only child in my italian school to have a TI99, all my friends had the Atari 2600 or Commodore or zx spectrum all Full of games. in my house my father denied to me to use the TV color because he thought that computer can break the TV color, so i only be able to use the BW TV :) ... i had only WUMPUS and INDOOR SOCCER carts, and XB arrived only a years later. anyway i loved this computer and still now is part of my family :)

Edited by ti99iuc
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You're from the UK .... did you have the same struggle I had, with no other friends owning the same computer? ... I remember travelling some distance to buy a game on cassette.

Yes, none of my friends had a TI, it was the difficulty in obtaining software though that drove me into Atari's arms, my best friend had an Atari 800XL and I ended up with one too,(I do seriously love the 800XL)-but I would have stuck with th TI longer than I did had the availability been better

Some of the places I managed to find bits and pieces in were few and far between, found my cassette lead at Comet, Got Alpiner with the 4a from Asda, picked up Defender and beginners guide to BASIC cassette also from Asda, got Jawbreaker II, Super Demon attack, Parsec and TI Invaders from my aunt in New York, I can't for the life of me remember where I got Blasto from, I am pretty sure I got the "little yellow" ti program book from John Menzies. I am also certain that I got my speech synth and joysticks from Fine Fare, (now there's a blast from the past).

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I got my TI console in June 1982, or rather, my father got it for me. I think his choice was merely based on the "16 KiB memory" and cartridge system. (Remember that in those days, the competition had names like VC-20 (or VIC-20) and ZX-81.) And there was a quite good support in local stores at that time here in Germany.

 

I did some advocacy for the TI among my friends, and I was successful with just one of them. The rest of my friends went for the C-64. In school there were, if I remember correctly, one one or two known to me who had a TI. Also there, the C-64 was ubiquitous.

 

Me and my friend, we wrote some programs in Extended Basic, but while in the following year (1983) I expanded my system with P-Box, Floppy, Memory Expansion, and Editor/Assembler, his way ended there, and he got a C-64 as well. One of my most frustrating moments during that time, as I recall. (He did keep his TI for some more years, though.)

 

Things were not that bad, however, because there was still a pretty good support in stores (more remote, though, so I ordered by telephone or postcard order); I bought many cartridges after 1985, in fact. We also had some computer magazines which still contained some articles on TI stuff for some more years, and most importantly, many active user groups in reach.

Edited by mizapf
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I didn't own any home computer for years, just haunted the labs at school to play with the TRS-80's and later the Apple IIe's. Got a TI 99/4A out of a Triton catalog in 1987 or so. Met one other local via a BBS who had an expanded system, and wound up trading software and getting into MICROpendium thanks to him. Got an Amiga when I went to college in 1990 (might as well have stuck with the 99/4A, for all the compatibility that offered), and finally sold off my TI system for a song in 1992. Got back into things in the early 2000s thanks to Ebay and nostalgia.

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Sadly, I was the lone TI user in my small Michigan suburb. I sold counterfeit Jordache t-shirts in a flea market (1981) for the entire summer to buy the thing. I thought there might be an advantage to it as it had 4x more memory than the TRS-80 Model 1. I remember my math teacher stopping by to see it and asking why I hadn't bought an Apple. (duh, 4x the cost)

 

I did a LOT of programming on the thing, eventually bought xbasic - and my first job as a programmer (1983) was porting programs from the color computer to the TI for Aardvark Software in Walled Lake MI. All my software was on tape - and I even published a small programming column in a local gaming magazine.

 

Eventually I transitioned to a C64, and then an Apple ][+ clone, then a ][e - was a big Apple CP/M fan. The TI wound up in a box - and eventually I gave it to my cousin (who I am sure never used it). My aunt however did take me out to Taco Bueno for making the gesture... :)

 

Still - the TI launched a long and profitable career in IT. I am working on my 2nd TI system. Have a PEB on order, a couple of consoles (waiting for a unit nice enough to warrant the F18A) - and will kit it out with Lotharek floppy emulators and other cool stuff. I'd love to find a DSDD drive controller.

Edited by aftyde
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