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Ed in SoDak

Member Since 22 Mar 2014
OFFLINE Last Active Feb 15 2019 10:36 PM

#4213170 How wide is your TI-99/4A setup?

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Mon Feb 4, 2019 8:32 PM

It seems odd nobody at TI pointed out the Circus Train being built before it left the station. The successor PEB and Firehose made a huge and unwieldy combo itself.


Then again, compared to the TI-990 system, maybe they thought they were "thinking small." :)


But I guess you could take the skyscraper approach some of the ZX81/Timex expansions chose. Or just keep sticking additions off the Back Porch. :lol: Some companies just sold boards and let the user figure out what to do with 'em. Don't forget the "real" keyboard upgrades


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#4211764 RXB and my modded TI problem.

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Sat Feb 2, 2019 4:53 PM

How warm does it run? Mine used to be left running a BBS program for extended periods and sometimes crashed. It behaved much better when I placed a small 12-volt computer fan over the cooling slots behind the cartridge port. I powered the fan with its own wallwart robbed from my hoard. I chose a 3-volt wart, as the fan is much quieter and still cools adequately. I just set it in place during long sessions. In just a couple minutes the "coffee warmer" feels cool to the touch.


RXB might be a resource hog performing more chip-level accesses. That, along with the load of your add-on board(s) = more heat. The RXB cart itself might be more temp-sensitive than other "standard" carts you've tried.


High line voltage might be an issue at your location. That makes the regulators in the console shed more heat. A flaky cart connection wastes power by voltage drop which again dissipates as heat and contributes to bit errors. One reason why cleaning the port helps!


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#4211603 Detecting Extended BASICs

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Sat Feb 2, 2019 1:00 PM

Beery wrote: " ...Perhaps I am killing my own idea, but was there a mod somewhere that holding the space bar down, bypassed an attempt to load DSK1.LOAD?"


SXB has the spacebar LOAD bypass. TIXB does not. I didn't test other XB variants.


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#4198426 The place I bought my first TI-99/4A is fading into history.

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:09 AM

These stories bring back the excitement, special times that deserve retelling.


I didn't join the ranks till after the market shakeout, but I got a much better deal by waiting. I'd checked out the TI99/4 in Sears out of curiousity, so that was back when prices were up there. In '84, I ended up with a used Timex 1000 with 16k for $50 and learned BASIC on it. In a year or so, I'd hacked it into a useful tool, indispensible in my photo darkroom business.


My dad meanwhile, had picked up a Osborne and became totally frustrated by not being able to print to it, so he went to TI. A South Dakota Snowbird, he scrounged the huge fleamarkets in Arizona and scored both of us a console and good assortment of carts and cassette programs. That's how I got my introduction to TI and we both dove in. About a year or so later, he scored big, we both ended up with populated PEBs, dual drives plus tons more software, newsletters and magazines he continued to pick up. I repaid his expenses, can't recall my share, $180 maybe?


A second full setup came from a "flyboy" stationed at Ellsworth AFB. I guess a lot of them were into TI. The disks held a lot of programs I was unfamiliar with, likely user-written by fellow airmen and passed around.


Of course the TI fully replaced the old TImex, and the Mac retired the TI, but I still have most everything and get my hands dirty messing around on and in them.


I have no idea if the giant Arizona fleamarket is still around, I never got to even see the place where most my TI stuff came from!


#4176442 The power of FORTH

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:36 PM

Open the bottom a bit and flush the dark out. Since it's a Commode monitor, there may be a lever for this. Be sure to do it on a sunny day or you won't be able to see till the darkness disburses! :P

#4175858 Clean Working Black/Silver TI-99/4A

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:30 PM

Heh. I clued the seller onto the caps lock. She sent a nice thank you message. Did the price go up? I think so, but wasn't paying much attention to the original listing and price. I see she changed the description to all working. More power to her if she sells it.


Meanwhile, she also has a clean-looking and tested console-only, no PS or cables for ~ $60 and free shipping. https://www.ebay.com...ks/264066709786


There's something to be said for clean tested working versus the typical used "as-is."


Toucan, I'd guess you still have the power supply and misc. cables from your beige console?



#4175374 TI Related -- Ebay / Heads Up Notice

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:51 AM

Who knew? (Not I) TI made a laptop!




It has some sort of full-featured docking station. I can't say for sure but looks like 5" & 3.5" floppies plus CD tray and the usual slew of ports. It would be cool to emulate the '99 on this baby!

#4171372 TI99 DIS/VAR Disk

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Thu Dec 6, 2018 12:32 AM

And the UVETICA1_F is a font for TI-Artist. It's larger since it contains an instance for all the characters. It's based on the Helvetica font.


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#4026026 Keeping it simple: famous quotes

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Sat May 12, 2018 12:27 AM

Disclaimer: void where prohibited. your mileage may vary. not valid in celebrity marriages. Any disclaimer issued by me is subject to change without notice. Any opinions expressed are my own, and generally unpopular with others. Any resemblance between the above views and those of my employer, my terminal, or the view out my window are purely coincidental. Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. Any spelling mistakes in this article are all entirly my fault. Any grammer errors spotted in this article were put there because I could. Apply smileys liberally throughout the above as needed. If that doesn't help, take 2 valium and call your analyst in the morning. I'm right; you're wrong. are you still reading this? These opinions are shareware. If you like them, send $10. Ask your doctor or pharmacist. To prevent electric shock, do not open back panel. No user serviceable parts inside. You may or may not have additional rights which may vary from country to country. Not recommended for children under twelve years of age. Batteries not included. Limit 1 per customer. Does not come with any other figures. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Keep away from open flame or spark. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. All rights reserved. List each check separately by bank number. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. Parental discretion advised. No other warranty expressed or implied. Unauthorized copying of this disclaimer strictly prohibited. Do not read while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Postage will be paid by addressee. In case of eye contact, flush with water. Subject to approval. This is not an offer to sell securities. Apply only to affected area. May be too intense for some viewers. Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate. Use other side for additional listings. For recreational use only. Shipping and handling extra. No animals were harmed in the production of this disclaimer (that you know of). Do not disturb. All models over 18 years of age. If condition persists, consult your physician. Freshest if consumed before date on carton. Prices subject to change without notice. Times approximate.

#4025369 Found another cable maker for us.

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Fri May 11, 2018 2:15 AM

That's great news! Can you run over there real quick for me? Are they open at 2AM? Are you even up?? Helllooo!! :D


Coincidentally, last week I came across a male sidecar connector by pcd, just like the one on my 36" PEB extender. Maybe mine works being so long is because I have the ribbon folded in half lengthwise. Not intentionally, just the way it all worked out over time. Being a one piece crimp connector with no insert mini-card and gold-plated, it should be more reliable. Except one end's snap connector has failed. Which a dab of epoxy or superglue should fix once assembled.


So, go back to bed, I've got mine. :P 


That's quite the connector site, BTW.


#4024561 What's the connection (to the TI-99/4A)?

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Thu May 10, 2018 1:59 AM

While you're guessing on Omega's mp3, chew on this pic.

 Hopefully before it chews on you! :o


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Posted by Ed in SoDak on Fri May 4, 2018 7:51 PM

As a freelance photog for decades, I had a darkroom long before I met my wife. The room doubled as my cave. Darkroom's gone but the cave lives on! She has her own sewing room to turn into a temporary cluttercluster, workspace for her own projects, sometimes even some sewing. :) She even has a yard shed to herself.  As we both grow older, things get parked here or there in the house for a few days, no complaints from either of us for the other's temporary mess.


For about a month or longer, I've had my TI sidecar taken apart and a breadboard with test circuits all wired up and other clutter on the pantry shelf that's in my cave. I finally at least moved it to a shelf out of direct view of the kitchen, which only took a few minutes to do. All good. Nary a word or a "look" all those weeks. Ya gotta love her! :lust:


As close to marital bliss as any man could hope for! 


#4020814 calibrating cassette players with a multimeter for old computers?

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Thu May 3, 2018 11:56 PM

That's a good writeup on tape head alignment. Though it's aimed at stereo playback of music, much of it can be applied to computer tapes. Since data tapes are monophonic to begin with, skip the part about joining the channels to listen for loss of highs. Since there's only one channel, there's no phase shift if the head is tilted slightly, just the possibly of crosstalk between the two tape sides or a bit of signal loss. Nor does it address signal levels. Good, solid advice regardless. I like his methods of checking speed. And I'll often use a commercial recording to adjust a player for "good enough" head alignment.


Here's my little meter "dongle." I inserted a crude schematic in the pic. Meter internal connections may vary, so if your meter moves the wrong direction reverse connections to it or the diode to get the pointer moving upscale. The resistors I chose suited my meter and earphone, change them to suit. It could also be wired differently for the same result, just make sure the input and output are a straight-through path.


As seen in the pic, I added short wires (no need for shielded cables), two jacks and a plug to make it portable between computers and players. I added a little plastic "megaphone" to my earphone so I can leave it on the desk but still hear it without it being annoyingly loud. It's use is optional, just unplug the earphone if you don't need/want to listen to loads or saves.


If you do use a stereo player, there are stereo-to-mono headphone adapters to simplify joining the two channels into one, the advantage being greater output to the computer. My GE-made TI Program Recorder is quite loud if you listen to its speaker at the proper volume level for loading, so keep that in mind when choosing players or connection methods.


My meter adds a visual indication for best alignment of the playback head besides using your ears. A little alcohol on a q-tip wouldn't hurt to clean any accumulated tape oxide and crud on the heads and pinch roller/capstan. A DMM or analog multimetermeter, set to AC can be substituted for the meter and diode as I mention in my first reply. You can also use the DC ranges if you add the diode to a meter probe to rectify the AC signal.


With Bodyshot's and my writeups, you should be all set!


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#4020161 calibrating cassette players with a multimeter for old computers?

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Wed May 2, 2018 11:50 PM

Walkman-type players generally have a resistor in series with the headphone output to protect people's ears. They're just not as loud as the monophonic portable. Same problem with some computers and cell phones. Some may work fine, while others may not.


You can meter the output on your DMM or analog multimeter on an AC voltage lower range. You'll of course need to be able to probe the output wires, so you will have to make an adapter to provide the place to connect your meter. Shoot for around 1 volt, plus or minus as your experience shows what works. Some multimeters may not have a sensitive enough AC range.


I made a load meter by connecting a diode in series with a recording level meter stolen from an old stereo tape deck. I set the player's output near full volume which setting often worked well for loading, then I hand-picked a resistor to add in series with the meter till it read at the "0 db" point on the meter's face. Alternatively you could just mark on the meter face where the meter pointer is at when it's set loud enough. In my case, the meter would peg at a good level, so the resistor was needed. The diode converts the rapidly alternating +/- state of the AC signal to DC so it shows a relatively stable level on the meter.


To make it useful, I added recorder cables with a jack for the input and plug on the output so it could be removed if wanted. I also added a second "monitor" output with a second resistor to drop the volume low enough I could monitor the signal through an earphone while the tape loaded.


Mine is pretty ugly, just dangling wires and parts but it has worked well for years. I use it on both my Timex and TI. In use, you can watch the pointer for any sudden signal level drops to help pinpoint tape glitches. I'd note on the tape counter where it would happen and then load again, bumping up the volume a bit just before the dropout. That got several balky programs to load so I was able to reSAVE them to fresh tape.


Watching the pointer as you adjust the tape head helped align the player for highest output or to adjust it off the correct position to match tapes made on poorly aligned machines. Afterwards, don't forget to relign the head to the correct position before recording anything!


Anything with a cassette and earphone jack can be tried. Boomboxes, etc. Even a stereo deck with headphone output using an adapter may work, but often that output might be even lower than a Walkman's. I've also used an old reel-to-reel deck.



#4014695 Basic Analysis tools?

Posted by Ed in SoDak on Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:08 AM

On an old disk I have named XB*TOOLS there's a program called REFERENCE. Others I have are CREF, XREF and CROSSREF. Only two use the same number of sectors on the disk, which means at least three of these are different programs with a similar goal. Save your program in Merge and run it through one of these and get a list that may be just what you're looking for. Another XB program called COMPRESS will shorten and squeeze things down in several ways.