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Strange Blank Key Mounted on My TI-99/4 (not 4a)


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#1 LynxHandyCaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:14 AM

Does anyone know why the 99/4 I picked up about six months ago has a blank key mounted just to the right of the L key? The key itself does not do anything; in fact, it seems to have just been glued (professionally, as far as I can tell) directly on to the surface. It makes the overlay sit rather awkwardly on the right side. Any ideas?

 

IMG 3383
IMG 3381

 

 



#2 apersson850 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:38 AM

I don't know, of course, since I didn't do that. But I have a theory.

When doing touch typing, your start position is with four fingers on your left hand on the ASDF keys. Your right hand will start on the JKLÖ (on a standard Swedish keyboard) keys. On a TI 99/4A, it's the JKL; keys you rest your fingers on. With the original TI 99/4 layout, your pinky will "fall short", as only the JKL keys are present. Maybe this false key was glued there by somebody, who felt that he wanted a key to rest his last finger on, even if it was a false key.


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#3 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:49 AM

That key is actually part of the standard 99/4 overlay. It makes it easier to pick up the overlay. Looking at your console, it looks like you have an overlay in place--and the key is probably attached to that. I have several such overlays in my collection, most of which have the blank keys on them (later issues didn't have the keys, even of the same overlay, as the change came somewhere about halfway through the 99/4 lifecycle).


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#4 LynxHandyCaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:23 AM

That key is actually part of the standard 99/4 overlay. It makes it easier to pick up the overlay. Looking at your console, it looks like you have an overlay in place--and the key is probably attached to that. I have several such overlays in my collection, most of which have the blank keys on them (later issues didn't have the keys, even of the same overlay, as the change came somewhere about halfway through the 99/4 lifecycle).

 

I have a separate overlay that I got when I bought the 99/4; it does not have a cut-out for that key, and I did not include that overlay in the photos. Having said that, and after reading your post, though, I'll have to check my 99/4 when I get home from work today to see if the overlay of which you speak that includes a blank key glued to it has actually already been mounted permanently to my console. When I got the console, I just assumed that the option commands printed above the keys (Redo, Clear, Ins, Del, etc.) were actually printed on the console.

 

Thanks for the info, and I'll let you know what I find.



#5 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:13 PM

That is the standard overlay on your keyboard--and from the looks of it, it is probably glued into place. The keyboard definitely didn't come with it permanently affixed like that.



#6 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:04 AM

I thought that blank button was "Format C:\"  :-D



#7 mizapf OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:57 AM

Or a "Help" key. I remember the Amiga keyboard had a prominent "Help" key, but I don't know whether it was reasonably used at some time.



#8 JB ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:27 AM

I thought that blank button was "Format C:\"  :-D

It is the any key.
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#9 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:46 AM

Or a "Help" key. I remember the Amiga keyboard had a prominent "Help" key, but I don't know whether it was reasonably used at some time.

Yes :)



#10 RickyDean OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:19 AM

I had a 99/4 back in the day, thought that if I pushed that key, we would experience the end of the universe as we know it. :grin:  :-o  :D



#11 LynxHandyCaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:03 PM

That is the standard overlay on your keyboard--and from the looks of it, it is probably glued into place. The keyboard definitely didn't come with it permanently affixed like that.

 

Yep, you were right, Ksarul...the blank key was indeed mounted to an overlay, not to the console itself. It was not glued down, actually; it was a very snug fit to the console's keyboard, so I didn't notice it was an overlay. So I have two different overlays: one that likely came with the console, and one for an unnamed software package that I don't have (but which, I'm sure, will be identified by yourself or by someone on this thread). Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Ksarul!

 

IMG 3547

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#12 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:54 PM

Please make a single picture of the unknown one--I think I know what it is, but I want to be sure and it is a bit hard to read in the original picture.


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#13 LynxHandyCaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:39 AM

Please make a single picture of the unknown one--I think I know what it is, but I want to be sure and it is a bit hard to read in the original picture.

 

Sorry, Ksarul...didn't see your request until this morning. I'll get a good shot each overlay when I get home from work this evening and then post them here tomorrow morning for you. FWIW, I'm guessing that the overlay in the left of the picture is for some sort of graphics software, since it lists colors.


Edited by LynxHandyCaster, Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:40 AM.


#14 Casey OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:53 AM

I do recall the Terminal Emulator II manual making reference to a dummy key on the 99/4 overlay that it came with to make touch typing easier - but I had not seen a standard overlay with one. That’s interesting.

(I still don’t know why TI felt they needed a “space” key on the 99/4’s keyboard. Talking about a dummy key. :) )
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#15 LynxHandyCaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:16 PM

Please make a single picture of the unknown one--I think I know what it is, but I want to be sure and it is a bit hard to read in the original picture.

 

 

Hopefully these images will be a little clearer for you, Ksarul:

 

IMG 3554
IMG 3553

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#16 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:36 PM

As I suspected, the mystery overlay is for the Video Graphs program (PHM3005). Many thanks for giving us the picture!


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