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Airshack

+AtariAge Subscriber
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About Airshack

  • Rank
    Stargunner
  • Birthday 01/01/1965

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • 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

Recent Profile Visitors

13,993 profile views
  1. Never got mine working in the beige console.
  2. Not sure if I ever remembered to post this interview with my buddy Brett Clark whom worked on the TI-99/4A line? Here it is: Q: How did you get a job at age 20 working as a tech on the Lubbock, Texas, TI-99/4A production line? A: “My degree was a 2 year tech degree from a school named RETS which eventually changed its name to NIT. A Detroit area tech school. In December of 1982 TI sent Lubbock recruiters to our school as did IBM, Poughkeepsie. I first passed the technical IBM interview, and was told to expect phase two of the interview with IBM in January, 1983. IBM accepted 25% of the phase two applicants. The TI recruiter asked me during his interview, “How quickly can you get to Lubbock, Texas?” I don't remember being asked any technical questions in my TI interview. My IBM interview was all technical. I went with TI because they were first to offer actual sure thing employment.” Note: TI-99/4A production was apparently at full speed so by this time they were scouring the country searching for a significant number of techs to deal with production irregularities. Q: How quickly did you get to Lubbock? A: “Two weeks! They paid to haul my P.O.S. car down there. I told them it’d be cheaper to just give me the money it cost to move the car but they insisted on moving my car. I was twenty so who was I to disagree?” Q: Can you describe the TI-99/4A line? A: “The TI plant in Lubbock was a facility that had a long straight hallway called a spine with huge rooms called modules which were areas they could manufacture in, each one larger than a gym. They each had a letter A, B, C ... Module A was where the 99/8 was. Originally it was where the field returns were repaired, they moved that to another building in Lubbock. Module B...can’t remember. Module C was the auto insert area where they put in the caps, resistors, and inductors. Modules D & E were 99/4A lines. I worked in Module E. Q: What did you do on the TI-99/4 line? A: “I worked in 2 different spots on the manufacturing line, power-up and final test. Power up was the initial powering of the board after hand stuff, flow, soldier and inspect. All the devices except the DRAM and caps, resistors, and inductors were stuffed by hand. After hand stuff it went through a flow solder machine and then a washer which removed flux. The near-finished boards then went down a belt where people had a certain section to inspect for backward devices and solder shorts and it was fixed there.” Q: Please list the top problems you encountered with end of line failed 99/4 units. A: “The two most common failures were chip in backwards and solder shorts. Inspect was supposed to catch them and often didn't. I “fixed” up to 100 units in one eight-hour shift. Once inspect was complete, a person powered it up, if the logo screen did not come up, it went to 2 techs, I was one of them.” Q: So what other things contributed to a failure to boot? A: “Backwards parts, solder shorts, a pin bent under or unsoldered, followed by a short, then bad just a bad component. One tidbit: The TMS9900 processor had a TI fab(s) and an AMI fab. The AMI didn't have a big TI logo on it. The quality of the AMI was poor.” Q: Where was the 9900 fab? A: “I don't know where TI fab'd the TMS9900. Q: What can you tell me about your working schedule? A: “First shift worked 8 hrs with a 30 minute lunch. 7AM to 3:30PM. They stop the belts and gave a 6 minute gap for shift change. I worked 3:36PM to 12:06PM. 3rd shift started at 12:12PM. They did not take a lunch and worked <40 hrs.” Q: Did you work on QI beige TI-99/4As? A: “Yes. The beige model was just a cost reduction, no silver bezel. Unfortunately that was the only cost reduction.” Q: Was there a training program to prepare you for dealing with production irregularities? A: “They had you shadow experienced guys, some were nice and helpful, a couple were dicks that belittled you like you were stupid. It was basically, “Here...see if you can fix this.” Q: How did this job help you in your career? A: “I know being a tech made me a better engineer.” Note: Brett studied at UT-Arlington while working for TI. He eventually earned a degree from UTA (also my alma mater) in Electrical Engineering. He’s had a very long and prosperous career doing things I can’t even pretend to understand: memory chip design, storage solutions, etc. He’s an active tech geek to this day. Q: What was one of your most memorable experiences in Lubbock? A: “It was an overall cool experience as I was able to see manufacturing that isn't done here [in the USA] anymore.” Q: Did you take any photos of the Lubbock production facility? Where did they bury the rest of the 99/8s? A: “I don't have any photos of either. I only saw the 99/8 line once, no clue where they ended up.” ...Brett will be back in November so let me know if y’all have any questions for him. Q: What did TI have you work on once the 99/4 line began to wind down? A: “Near the end they had me repairing the power supply boards which was not enjoyable at all. I was lucky because they retained me and transferred me to Sherman, north of Dallas, after the 99/4 ended.” Note: Brett has always been one of the hardest working guys around so there’s no doubt his retention at TI had little to do with luck. Q: Did you do any TI-99/4A work after being transferred to Sherman? A: “Yes! I installed many internal 32K mods for my friends. I put them in behind the GROM port.”
  3. I didn't do much video there but I may return to Lubbock this year. Thanks for asking! I'll send you what I have.
  4. I have the same issue on my Rom3 GS. Any known fixes?
  5. I agree with the space cadet on everything he said but the TI-99/4A part. That system has dedicated sound and video processors. There’s simply more video capability with the TI. Centipede and Shamus for the TI look and play superior to the Apple2 ports. TI’s Defender, not so much. A lot of it has to do with the skill of the programmer. As it stands, TI-99/4A Pole Position is superior to the Apple2 version. One can tell from the title screen that TI’s Pole Position didn’t get the same attention to detail as other superb TI Atarisoft ports. Still, the TI-99/4A has often underutilized powers.
  6. Registration for "Virtual" KansasFest 2020 is open! "KansasFest 2020, the 32nd annual Apple II convention, is open for registration. Users, programmers, hobbyists, and retrocomputing enthusiasts are invited to gather virtually from Friday, July 24, through Saturday, July 25, for two days and one night of sessions, demos, announcements, contests, and camaraderie. We will make the best of the virtual arrangement and return to Kansas City in 2021. We’ve rescheduled the keynote speaker, Robert Woodhead, to next year. Registration is only $20 to participate in all talks and activities. You will also receive a commemorative pin (postage included). Official KansasFest shirts are extra and optional. To register, please visit the official registration form: https://www.kansasfest.org/registration/ KansasFest invites any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends to attend the largest and longest running annual Apple II conference. For photos, videos, schedules, and presentations from past year’s events or to sign up for the email list and for inquiries, please visit the event’s Web site: https://www.kansasfest.org/ At very least you may use this as an opportunity to sample the experience before committing in 2021.
  7. Do you have the one with detachable joysticks?
  8. I waited about 16 months. Packrat is a one man operation. His services are a Godsend to the community.
  9. I have an extra Odyssey2 Multi-Cart available for trade. Will fix your problem.
  10. Odyssey2 has a ton of enjoyable titles and even a healthy Homebrew scene. Atari sued Phillips/Magnovox in order to halt the sale of the Odyssey2 Pacman-Killer titled KC Munchkin. The O2 take on Pacman was considered by many to be FAR SUPERIOR to Atari's embarrassing Pacman effort. In case you don't know: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K.C._Munchkin!
  11. Wait till I demo TIPI at the next VAST meetup;)
  12. Anyone here want this? Prefer you have a Portfolio with Smart Parallel Interface or Portfolio collector. Disk tested and working. FREE. Please message me.
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