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My name is Chris Schneider (SHIFT838) and I have been in the TI world since 1983. I am the publisher of the SHIFT838 Newsletter as well. I used to run a BBS called USS Starship Exodus and later changed the name to USS Valiant ][, which was a sister board to the USS Enterprise and ran the same version of BBS software called S.O.F.T.W.O.R.X.
My parents bought me my first TI-99/4A console and data cassette recorder in 1983. I had it hooked up to a 13" RCA color TV and it all set up on the old SNACK trays. You remember, the ones you would sit down and eat a TV dinner on.
I met a buddy in 9th grade that had a full PEB system and all. Just tons of stuff. So naturally, I wanted one. So I talked my dad into agreeing to get me the PEB, XB, Editor Assembler and Speech along with Planetfall for an early Christmas gift. He told me if my new credit card comes in the mail we will buy it that Saturday. I had the computer store holding the last PEB they had. Little did I know, that my father told my mother that there was no way he would get the credit card in the mail and he just told me that to shut me up.
So, I am checking the mail for a few days and guess what. Miracles do happen, it came. Well in short my mother told him, 'You Promised!', go get it. That's how I got my TI..
I started expanding my system for my Birthday, XMAS, anything. Working mowing lawns to buy more hardware. within a year I had 4 x 360k drives and a CorComp DS/DD Disk controller, Gemini Star Printer, a Hayes 300 baud modem and a Commodore monitor (I know it's commodore but it looked good) and was working on my play system. What I was building was going to be my system I ran a BBS on.
I started talking with Mark Shields (SySoP and developer of SOFTWORX BBS [USS Enterprise]) here in Houston. I was able to get him to give me a copy of his BBS to run. I ran the USS Valiant ][ from 1984 to 1987, until I went into the USMC. I then went the PC route as for my graduation my grandfather bought me a new Ericsson PC XT compatible computer. He worked for Ericsson, so I can assume he got it for a good deal. Shortly after I was in the USMCI purchased the blazing speed PC/AT system at 286-12 mhz. I put up another BBS and ran it off Emulex/2 and later Vision-X and had 2 nodes running with 1GB of storage (a lot back then).
The TI was not getting turned on much and just sat there. Once I completed my enlistment and moved back to Houston area then the TI started getting more use. I even created a few TOD games (I think 15).
Over the past 10 years I have been slowly expanding my original system to include SCSI Hard drives, 3.5 drives, 1mb Ram Disk, CorComp Triple Tech Card, Myarc 80 track FDC, 1mb SAMS card and RS232/HDX card. I have also been able to collect some other items like Foundation 512k card, Super Extended Basic, original MunchMan II and Beyond Parsec carts just to name a couple.
I have also taken 4 road trips to collect TI items from individuals just giving away a truck load here or there (yes I said truck load) and once a 12ft flat bed. I of course went through it all to find out what was good and what was not. I would then find new homes for it. Selling it for just what it cost me to go get it. Once the cost was made up any extra hardware I had was free for the taking for pickup or just shipping. I wanted to make sure the items did not end up in a landfill as I knew there were many TI'ers out there that could use it.
In 2014 I started coding a new BBS program called FuSiON BBS that is powered by S&T BBS Machine code. It is 99% completed and I only need to test with HDX. This BBS is coded to work with both real hardware and MAME emulation! Currently I have brought the BBS online for final user testing and is accessible via TELNET only.
port # 9640
I also decided to finally break down and learn to program for the Adventure Module using the 'Adventure Editor' software. That took some digging to figure out and since I have released two adventure games.
Adventure #1 - The Locked Room; A simple riddle adventure game where you must figure out how to get out of a room. No scoring.
Adventure #2: 'The Stafford Predicament'; You must escape the Texas Instruments facility in Stafford, TX by assembly a TI computer to shut down the halon fire control systems before you die. - There is an Easter egg in this one, see if you can find it!
Both of these are available FREE on the WHTECH ftp site under my directory.
I am still actively engaged in the TI Community and publish a monthly TI newsletter (SHIFT838 Newsletter - Started January 2015) to get new and old information out to the TI and Geneve community.
I work as a Citrix architect for a major oil company here in Houston and I would not be where I am in my career if my parents did not support my computer interest. I try to find more and more time to devote to the TI, but as I have gotten older it seems harder and harder with all the family activities. Now I know how my parents felt!
The TI has been a great memory for me and i learned to first code in Basic and then Extended Basic. I even ventured out and learned the UCSD Pascal on the TI when I was 15. The TI will always be my favorite computer to tinker with and learn things.
I also play guitar and have been since I was 12 years old. I no longer play live, however when I was younger I played professional and went on tour for almost a year. I still play a few times a week, but not as much as I did when I was younger. Playing guitar is a release for me and allows me to just relax.
I am also an avid gun enthusiast. I think all us Texas are born that way. My wife and I go and shoot at least twice a month. I have even got my 8 year old into shooting.
My love of guns escalated when I joined the military and I became very proficient at long range.