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What is YOUR TI-99/4A story?


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43 minutes ago, Omega-TI said:






My real pc died last summer, sooo needed a way to backup files from the, now laptop that I've got slaved in place. So I took my older PEB and converted it into a hard drive/tape drive host.

The temp monitor works, but I don't have the sound port or any USB ports connected, yet.

But yeah, I've always had lots of 160Gb tapes, so I use them to restore things if necessary, or back things up.

I've got a stack of bad HD's and a stack of good tapes. There ya go


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Damn! This brings memories. I'll be brief. 


First of all, I don't think I still have my TI99 (my parents may have disposed of it). I got it second hand in the 90's from my aunt and uncle (I guess). I didn't even know what the hell it was! XD

I had to read the manual and since English isn't my mother language it was quite the teaching experience just to get it to work on my TV. I got into writing BASIC programs but never anything more complicated since I didn't know how to operate the tape recorder and I had to type everything anew every single time. 


I always wondered what that slot was for and I yearned for testing a cartridge (never had the opportunity). And well, after I got my nintendo it fell to the back of the closet. I'll check for it next time I go to my parent's place, maybe I'll bring it back home to display or even connect it to something.


Whenever I see all your photos I can even remember the smell of it (it had a special smell). I still had it in pristine condition...

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4 hours ago, GDMike said:

Oh, btw. I can open a file, WRITE a record, close file of my own filename choice. It only took 6 months... ?

Ha-Ha, Don't feel so bad...?


ISTR ...It took me over a year to understand TI's FILE PROCESSING, well enough to get T2S working on TERMINAL EMULATOR II.:roll:

...and that was with over-the-phone help from TI! The first time I called, they told me that I needed the SPEECH EDITOR cart.?


  P.S. That was some 40 yrs. ago.

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  • 1 month later...

After quietly following the forum, I thought this would be the perfect conversation to introduce myself and share my 99/4a story.


I grew up in NW Indiana outside Chicago in a city called Hammond. It was a gray industrial place, but I remember the oak trees and the snug working-class houses. My parents were married just a couple of years when they moved out of their apartment in Lansing into this house. They were kids of the early 70s and didn’t have a lot of cash. My mom stayed at home with me and my dad worked as a technician at a small electrical engineering firm on the North Side. It was a small outfit that did contract work for larger companies. Being a young man with a family at home, a computer was an unaffordable luxury. However, doing odd-jobs for my grandfather and delivering pizzas in the evenings and weekends was able to save up for a computer. I guess he really wanted an Apple II, but it was too expensive. However, the TI was doable and he could add accessories later on. In the end he had saved up for a PEB, monitor, modem, the whole nine yards.


Sadly, he passed away in ’85 at the age of 28 in a car accident. I was 5 at the time. So, my memory of the TI stops after that. No one in the house really was into computers and it was moved into my bedroom. It just gathered dust. I didn’t want to use it because I missed my dad. My mom packed it into boxes and put it into the basement with his oscilloscope and other computer stuff. Eventually my mother sold everything to a young guy who was studying EE at Perdue.


As I got older I regretted that the TI was gone. That computer meant a lot to him and he worked hard to save to get it. So, this year I decided to find a good example and build a little recreation of what I remember from those years long ago. I specifically wanted to have a nice display space for it and a way to keep all the associated items in one place; partly to honor his memory and partly to play TI Invaders.


After finding a nice example (although it was a little musty but now better), I desired the perfect home for this computer. After a few iterations and pocket screws, I came up with what I thought would be appropriate. In a way I think my dad would have liked it very much. It floats off the floor and has ample storage space for joysticks, books and manuals, extra cables and a cassette player when I find one I like. For a little extra decoration, I 3-D printed a TI logo (in orange) and a cartridge holder. As the kids say, it’s a whole mood.


Not having a monitor or a spare TV I decided to use one of those cheap backup camera displays. They are native RCA and the price was right. I was even able to drive it off the 12v line coming form the video port. I think there is some noise on the signal, but for my purpose (casual use at best) it was just fine.




So, there’s my TI story. I hope that I didn’t bum anyone out too much and I look forward to playing around more with this little silver time machine.



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Nice word-picture. My dad was also the tie to my TI, since he chose that platform and equipped both of us with matching setups, procured at the huge flea markets in Arizona where he Snowbirded in the winter. At the right time to have easy pickings and pricing we could afford. Starting with just cassette, Speech, Extended BASIC and many cartridges, we learned together, though he lived at the other end of South Dakota by then. A year or so later, he'd scored us both full PEB setups and we were off and running. We shared our own programming efforts by mail and ordered commercial offerings in duplicate.


It was the TI that really drew us together in his final years. He passed in '89 at 68, I'm but two years from that age now, but those memories are still quite sharp in my mind. Too bad your father left this world so young, that you have few memories of things only father and son can share. I think it's great you making a shrine of sorts in his memory. Enjoy your journey and add new chapters to it.

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So, I am being given a broken beige TI-99/4a from AA user twoquickcapri. I somewhat wanted to own one for its quirkiness and also for the sheer activity on the TI subforum here. Hopefully I'll be able to repair the thing, as I really like how the beige TI-99 looks. Anyways, I'm now on page one of my TI story, and hopefully it will be an interesting adventure. Thanks, twoquickcapri!

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My Ti story is a sad,unfulfilled desire story...


I was poor growing up, and to past the time once a week I walked to the mall and hang around the Compucenter kiosk, drooling at the beautiful display of computational power. Commodore Vic-20, C64, Atari 800 and front and center a fully equipped TI-99/4A with PeB with dual floppies, Ti branded composite monitor, printer... it looked so professional. But sadly it was an impossible dream. We were from different social class, her parent wouldn’t have approved and the were no question of eloping, I respected her too much for that.


so instead I had to made due with a vic20 on liquidation with a dataset. Then I moved on to c64 who fled a difficult relation, by saving her from a repair shop where she’d be abandoned. A quick side job let me gift her a repaired 1541. But my heart is too big for just one love at a time. My friend and I met a pair of twin Atari 130xe hanging out in the bad part of town with their 1050 and 1027 little brothers and sisters. We had to save them!


Sadly, the flame of envy for that TI-99/4A slowly dimmed in my hearth, never to really rekindle. Even years later when I had the means to make a home for her, the will isn’t there... Sad.

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  • 2 weeks later...



a good chance to introduce myself, because it will be my first post in this forum.

The computer cost a lot of money back then. I got my TI99/4A at Christmas 1982 (age 11). The father of a friend of mine had a TI99 at the time, and he himself had a ZX81. And so we met alternately to work with the computer. I spoke to my mother on the phone today and she told me that they wanted to learn how to use the computer with me back then. But they soon gave up. Christmas 1983 I got the Extended Basic, it was the only gift they could afford for the occasion. At the time, my mother did not understand why the little thing was more important to me than many small gifts. I can still remember, it was the only thing I wished for.

To store the programs, I had a tape recorder, not from Texas Instruments, and it had NO counter. That was very exciting because when we were looking for a game, I had to find the spot by feeling. Most of the time I loaded a game that I didn't want at all. ?

I had only a few command modules, Extended Basic, Parsec, Music Maker and Mini Memory. With the exception of Extended Basic, we all bought second-hand at the time. I became TI joysticks and the speech synthesizer, which I was particularly proud of. We typed most of the games from various magazines. In my school class at that time there were three computer groups (VIC20, ZX 81/Spektrum and two ? with a TI99). We were friends with each other, but also opponents.

On our way to school in Vienna (Austria) we had an office supplies store, I think it was from Olivetti. But I'm not sure anymore. In the shop the many cartridge boxes were on a shelf and every day we saw whether something new was added. One day I saw how they redesigned the storefront and the Texas Instruments items disappeared and weren't supposed to be returning. That was the end.


The C64-II followed with a lot of games, but I never found the connection to this one. Before I went to high school, we sold my C-64 without a lot of emotion, my TI99 came in the box, where it was to spend the next few years.


In 2001 I moved to Salzburg (10 km from “Sound of Music”) and I knew that I would not take my TI with me and that I would leave it in Vienna. I wanted it to be in good hands and gave it to my friend's father with all my belongings, who had brought me to the TI99/4A at the time. I hadn't played or worked with him for a long time, had previously used XBasic to program with it, I didn't fulfill my wish to learn assembler any more. I found it difficult to give away my original box with all the parts. I thought to myself I would leave my childhood behind and start a family now and I don't need a “home computer” anymore. I took a PC with me,  it was an i486. After that came another PC and I think 3 or 4 laptops. This friend's father died two years ago and I was told that the father had given the two TI99s away a long time ago.


Last year I started working with the Micro: bit... it brought me back to the "home computers" in my mind. I wanted to have the feeling of having direct contact with the hardware again. Only then did I realize that the scene with the 8-bit computers (?) still exists. In 1983 I didn't really know what the difference between 8- and 16-bit was, I just knew the TMS9900 was "more". I looked at the C64 scene, the project with “Commander X16”, the project of Ben Eater and finally I came across the videos from Adrian's Digital Basement and Noel's Retro Lab back to the TI99 and then my heartbeat got faster again.


I'm looking forward to working with the TI99 again and this time with assembler ?. Now I want to get to know the device better than I knew it back then. Guys you do a great job, thank you for collecting things and keeping them so well and thinking ahead. It's so fun to rediscover things. 



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  • 1 year later...

I loved my TI--learned so much on it.  We didn't have games for it because we had the Atari 2600 and I was always programming the TI anyway.  The best purchase I made was the cassette cord so that I could save my programs--I made some pretty good ones, especially with Extended BASIC.  We spent hours making other characters (aliens, eves, monsters, good guys, designs) out of the character sets.  My biggest frustration was the cost of everything.  I really wanted a disk drive and a couple of other peripherals, but the cost of those was more than an Apple II.  So we bought an Apple //c.  Cheaper, better and more software.  Apple BASIC wasn't as good, so I picked up Pascal.  Loved, loved Apple Works and ProDOS!  Many PCs and Macs later, I still miss the TI.

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  • 8 months later...

This is MAME, using artwork.  The artwork I made is the exact television my Grandmother had when I was a kid, and we used to plug the TI into it every Sunday morning until "Songs of Praise" came on and Grandmother wanted the telly back.  This is part of my story.  Just using this image takes me back and invokes memories.  All it's missing is the reflection of my Gran every time the screen went black, knitting away and smoking.  :)



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1 hour ago, Retrospect said:

This is MAME, using artwork.  The artwork I made is the exact television my Grandmother had when I was a kid, and we used to plug the TI into it every Sunday morning until "Songs of Praise" came on and Grandmother wanted the telly back.  This is part of my story.  Just using this image takes me back and invokes memories.  All it's missing is the reflection of my Gran every time the screen went black, knitting away and smoking.  :)


You were lucky 'avin' colour Telly.

I were usin' black and white. 

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Wow, can't I remember clearly... It was a long time ago!


My best friend Dave had an older brother that got a TI99/4A and cassette cable.  Eventually he had extended basic.  They had a great yard and that is where are group of friends hung out.

Playing baseball / football / basketball etc.  But on rainy days... I would want to use the TI.  His brother was/is a talented programmer.  I used to watch write programs and was fascinated,


I talked my parents into getting me one when the price dropped to $150.  Eventually I talked David's brother into selling me XB as he had stopped using the TI.


I had the cassette cable and the joystick adapter as I had 2600 joysticks already...


I learned a lot on that machine.  This had to still be 1982. In 83 another of my friends got a TI and it had the V2.2? or whatever that stopped some games from working.  So I got a game or 2 cheap from him.

By the end of 83 I had a pretty good collection of TI games and Voice Synth.  Lots of closeout games < $5 each.


84 I started High school and used TRS-80 Model III and IV machines. In 85 I was in the advanced computer class and we used DEC PDP11/23

This was incredibly close to TI Basic. 

By the end of 85 Dad came home with a C=64 and the TI was history for MANY years.


I found a Mini-Memory cart for $10 at a flee market and dug the TI out for a little while, but that didn't last long.


1996 I moved to Wisconsin for work and was a little home sick and started getting retro vibes...  I found the Intellivision Lives website and started thinking back to 80, 81 etc.


I eventually found V9T9 and started playing with the TI again (EMU)


I found AA around 2003 and lurked for a bit, eventually joining.  Used a few other TI emulators and landed on CLASSIC99 

Since then, I have been working on bad games pretty consistently.  I have taken breaks...  Up to a year.  But it is always within reach.


I have 2 games really close to done and 3 others in various stages...  I have been crazy busy at work, but it is time to finish these games!


I love how easy it is to put a demo or proof of concept together on the TI99.  FINISHING games... that is were I struggle. LOL



I didn't have the cassette cable for months..  So, I would type, use and loose everything!  LOL  I would write stuff down if I liked it.  Very few things ever got entered twice.

I did type in the character generator program several times!  LOL.  The cable paid for itself just using that program.


Edited by 1980gamer
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  • 8 months later...

My TI-99 story is a little different. I was born in 85 and learned to read with an MSDOS commands. Not sure what IBM compatible we had but it definitely had a turbo button. We were always a generation behind in games and so my appreciation of the 8-bit came from an Atari 2600 and later (much later) a NES. I was familiar with Texas Instruments thanks to their calculators that I was surrounded with in high school (lived in Texas by then). 


My introduction came far later in the recent year of 2017. I was helping my now in-laws move. They saved maybe 200 cartridges CIB, several 99/4a computers and one 99/4. I found them all stored up and learned that my MiL had a computer store in the 80's. First she worked in a TI store and later ran an Amiga one. She had a huge library and I couldn't believe no one was using it. She barely had to ask me to become the steward of all these fine devices. I may have grown the collection, gotten a PEB and all the modern toys (F18A, TIPI and finalgrom99) since then. I don't have many opportunities to deploy out the system, but I treasure the moments I get to fawn over my computers. I'm still learning basic before I let myself play with XB or assembly. But there you go, I'm a second Gen 99er that's younger than my computers. I plan to teach my daughter to game the proper way, with a joystick first.

Edited by Appeelicious
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