These whippersnappers today with their fancy '4A' computers. Well back in my day, we had just the '4' and we were happy
Just kidding. But seriously, I think if you remember your first time on a computer at 5 years old and it was a TI, and this is the machine that sparked your lifelong interest in computers - more power to you. Some of these "young-uns" were writing code before they were 10, after kicking Dad off of his Parsec game.
As for me, back-in-the-day I wanted a computer so bad but had no funds. All my friends seem to have a TI at home, but we lacked the funds for such a luxury. I would ride my bike to school early in the morning just to get a few minutes of keyboard time on our school's Apple 2s, Commodore Pets and 64s. There were always a ton of kids there and I was a low geek on the totem pole, so I didn't get near enough time to quench my insatiable desire to play with the machines.
I was just 14 so I mowed lawns all summer/fall and scrimped and saved up for a TI, right before Christmas of 1983. I saw an ad in the paper that K-mart was going to have a limited supply for just $50 (!) and since I just had to have one, I got up early and rode my bike to the store, hours before they opened. There was a huge line of people already there, and some guy was handing out numbers since they only had 25 or so. I remember I got the second to the last one.
Getting a computer this young in life changed my life and from then on, I spent every waking moment that I could, hacking away and writing code in BASIC.
I can definitely point to this as a seminal moment in my life that started me down the path I'm still on. It's for these reasons that I will always hold a special place in my heart for the quirky little machine.
Long live the TI!
I had a similar experience when I was 17. I worked after school and on weekends so I could get mine. I remember that mine came with a special rebate after buying the console and two cartridges I got the Speech Synthesizer for free in the mail - direct from Texas Instruments! When that synthesizer came in the mail my heart stopped I heard the first spoken words. What I learned from this sent me on a career path of speech recognition ultimately working for a speech recognition company.
Now, this is so much fun and delight to know that so many people are still very interested in the TI computer and supporting it with new hardware peripherals. This is place makes social networking fun.
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