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About Airshack

  • Rank
  • Birthday 01/01/1965

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Interests
    TI-99/4A, Atari 800XL, Commodore 64, Intellivision, Odyssey2, Colecovision, basically retro computing and gaming is why I'm on AtariAge.
  • Currently Playing
    SCRAA on the TI-99/4A
  • Playing Next
    T.I. Munchkin on the TI-99/4A

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  1. It would be cool to listen to an audio panel version of this newsletter. Maybe a round table type deal where TI AtariAgers get together to talk about these past stories and then branch off into the current TI scene. Wondering aloud if anyone here would be interested in trying to create such a program? Not trying to hijack the thread but Yesterday’s News seems the perfect conversation starter for some sort of TI podcast. Also noting we’re probably the last active retro community without a dedicated podcast.
  2. Ralph - Thank you for giving us this superb issue with lots of history on the TI-99/4. My favorite issue so far! Keep it up Sparkster. Ever wondered about the origins and demise of the TI-99/4? Download this issue.
  3. I purchased my TI-99/4 back in 1980 from a Sanger-Harris store in Arlington Texas. The display kiosk for the TI computer system was curiously sandwiched between the men’s and women’s clothing departments. Nowhere near the electronics/TV department. I first spotted the 99/4 while shopping for clothes with my Mom. Weird. I’ve always felt the the storefront mosaic looked the part: https://youtu.be/2ro-COj2OzM
  4. Uh....it’s not that bad once you get it down. The main dig against XB is speed. What good are fast moving sprites without accurate collision detection? The compiler addresses this main issue. Benefits I discovered with this workflow include: modern coding style w labels, no line numbering, readable comments and indentation, code portability, 20+ times faster than XB, compiled code “slimmer” than BASIC thus large BASIC (>24k) fit into 24k, modern editing on modern hardware, not tied to real iron during development, compiled code able to be converted to run on FlashROM and FlashGROM, or on emulator as a binary. From what I experienced it’s a great way to create speedy BASIC games. Once you get the flow down it’s not difficult. Credit to Sinphaltimus for showing me how it all worked through his posts. Added Bonus: Helps in the transition from BASIC to Assembly programming by building familiarization with Code-Compile-Load-Run process. A nice bridge to cross....Assembly training wheels.
  5. “. In contrast to the Dartmouth compilers, most other BASICs were written as interpreters. This allowed them to run in the limited main memory of early microcomputers.“
  6. That’s a great memory to have! That clacking sound was on terminals, not keypunch machines? If so that’s quite advanced for 1969. What a time with Apollo 11 and all... Dartmouth’s system was a GE-225 with GE DATANET-30. Equipment they purchased at a 60% discount from GE’s Phoenix Arizona office. Of course they put the BASIC Time-Share system together so users wouldn’t have to compile-link-load-execute manually. BASIC did in fact start out as a compiled language. Kemeny (with Bill Zani) wrote the first single-pass BASIC compiler on punch cards in the summer of 1963. Later, BASIC was ported to other computers with less memory and processing power, simplified, and interpreted versions appeared. Ref: Back to BASIC, Kennedy and Kurtz
  7. True. The interpreter was there as well. Does not exclude the compiler.
  8. Mana Fix in Lubbock out of business.
  9. I’ll try to get a few shots from the inside next visit. No doubt, all traces of a personal computer company are long gone. Except for that lone pallet of TI-99/8s I saw behind some tires;)
  10. Refreshing to be in a town still small enough to not go overboard with security. I spent about thirty minutes looking around and talking with the employees. Friendly people. One guy was from NYC and loved living in Lubbock. I’m betting with Texas Tech nearby and a decent airport it’s not that bad. A few shots of the tire storage area where the main assembly line once produced nearly 3 million TI-99/4s.
  11. The southern two-thirds of the facility is being used as a fab. Apparently TI spun off the fab operation about 15 years ago? Employees tell me they still do work for TI. I’ve been promised a tour of the inside if I can ever get there early on a weekday. Everyone I talked to there seemed to know about the TI-99/4. Even the young call center girls on smoke break. One said her Mom worked on the computer’s assembly line in Module-A. The building Module A through E names are still in use.
  12. AT&T has a call center in the north half of Module A. The southern half of that building is a massive tire storage facility now.
  13. I finally made it out to the site where our beloved machines were produced. A large complex for sure! Still, smaller than I anticipated. It’s still in the middle of nowhere. About two miles north of the Texas Tech Stadium on University, just north of the loop.
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