My first encounter with the TI-99/4A was in 1982 at the age of twelve. My father and I were checking out which home computer to buy. First we found some interesting advertisments on the ZX-81, but my father thought it would be better to go for a better computer with much more memory and better features. So he bought a TI for around DM 1100,- (i.e. around €560,-), and I started my way. The following list is certainly not complete; it just lists some moments that come to my mind while I am writing this.
For three months I worked through the blue and green BASIC manual, and then, at my birthday, it was about time for the next step, Extended Basic. A GREAT version of BASIC, even in today's view.
- Christmas 1982: TI Invaders and Tombstone City.
- 1983: I bought the Speech Synthesizer and Parsec - pretty expensive: I don't spend that much money on computer software and hardware today
- September 1983: Peripheral Box, TI FDC, and the first Floppy drive. What a difference to the cassette recorder!
- October 1983: 32KiB Memory Expansion
- Three weeks later: TI resigned from the Home Computer market - a shock, but I said this would not affect the quality of my system. It won't stop running.
In the meantime my father has long switched to VIC-20 and C-64. He did not really do much work with them, but he was also unable to trigger enough interest in me to switch as well. The C-64 proved to be a great gaming computer.
- Due to TI retreat I was not able to convince more of my friends to work with the TI, so I was working with it alone.
- Christmas 1983: Editor/Assembler
- 1984: My first assembly language program, a prime number generator
- 1984: TEX-FORTH. Strange language. Managed to convert a BASIC program to FORTH - i.e. I had to rewrite it.
- 1985: Although the TI was not produced anymore, more and more software became available: TurboPasc'99, a PASCAL version.
- 1986: c'99. Starts to make fun. I got the feeling that concentrating on C could be worthwhile. Still continued with Assembler.
- 1987: Published a program in a computer mnagazine which allows to decode speech frames and to encode new frames within Extended Basic (DEC/ENC).
- 1987: We had to stop issuing the TI REPORT, the newsletter of our local computer club. Too much work in school.
- 1988: Working on an Assembler language version of my DEC/ENC BASIC program.
- 1989: Military service. Enough time to complete works on SPEECODER, the DEC/ENC program in Assembler.
- 1990: Bought a Geneve 9640. Have to admit I was impressed from the first moment.
- 1992-1995: Wrote a Fractal drawing program, "FRACTALS!". Optimized it to use on-chip RAM for self-coded fixed arithmetic.
- 1996: Launched project to create a TCP/IP stack on the TI and Geneve
- 1997: Had to learn that working as a scientific assistant means much more work than studying; TCP/IP project and some more froze. Got my Ph.D. in computer science instead (2001).
For the last 10 years, I used to launch my Geneve at least once per year - around christmas - and play some old games. Recently I found the MESS emulator which brought some life back to my TI activities.
My intention is to get a good emulation so that I will be able to work with the Geneve whereever I have a PC. This could also mean that I become independent of the real hardware, and I still have not come to some fixed opinion on this: Will the emulator be the end of my (real) TI and Geneve? Or will it just lose its physical constraints and continue to live on a higher level? Sounds somewhat philosophical, doesn't it?
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