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I received my first personal computer, the TI-99/4A, in 1984 as an 8th grade graduation gift from my parents. It was nothing more than a 2nd-hand console and a few manuals, but that was enough to get me started on a lifetime love of the TI and technology in general.
Within 6 months, I picked up a tape recorder with data cable and then I thought I was really cooking with grease. Until, in 1985, I somehow stumbled upon a newspaper ad that showed someone in a nearby town selling his 99/4A along with the peripheral expansion box (PEB) and a modem. I remember my dad driving me over to buy it. (I was only 14 at the time.) I actually only wanted the PEB and modem, but to my surprise, the seller ended up just giving me his console, the PEB, the modem, and a box full of cartridges and diskettes. It was a dream come true! The modem led me into a world of BBS's and opened up a whole other world of possibilities. I became a chronic online chatter long before most people even knew what that meant.
Not surprisingly, all of this laid the groundwork for a career in technology, for which I've been very grateful.
I still own all of the equipment! After 1992, it lived in a carefully sealed box for many years until I resurrected it in earnest around 2015. Now it has its own dedicated space in my office, opposite my Macbook.
I tend to have diverse interests and a constantly busy schedule...so, sadly, I don't spend as much time with the TI or participating here in the forums as I would like. But I'm learning to find time to fit it in.
Anyway, if you've read all of this, you're a trooper!
In the months and years ahead, I look forward to greater involvement in the TI community and sharing in the joy with other enthusiasts. Feel free to drop me a line.