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I have begun to wonder if the 99/4a was ever marketed towards those with low vision. You see I frequent a thrift store which is a charity for the blind. Naturally those who have received from the charity often donate later on. So they often have many items for those with low vision, such as books on tape or book magnifiers. So far I have found 2 TI 99's there and MANY carts (a lot of the learning games but also many game games). I have actually never found any TI items at any other thrift stores. This got me thinking the TI seemed to have more color contrast then most other computers of the time and obviously the voice module. This had to be why I kept finding these items at that store. I did a few searches to see if it was ever marketed this way. All I found to support my theory was this very interesting article written by a by a blind TI programmer. Thought some of you might be interested. http://www.mpnhome.net/blind/blindcomputing.htm
Hi: My name is Joseph Norton. I am a blind user of the TI 99/4A computer, though I do not have one at present. I am currently having success using MAME emulation, which seems to be the best way to emulate the TI using the speech synthesizer. It even runs the Ernie and Bert demo program. Anyway, I am hoping to put together a podcast on a blindness-related forum regarding things that a blind person could do ith the TI 99/4A using the speech synthesizer. I am looking for disk images that I can run using the MAME emulator. Anything that shows off the speech capabilities of the TI would be appreciated. For all I know, there might be just what I am looking for on whtech, but, there are a lot of disk images up there and I'm not sure of the best way to search them. Do any of you have any recommendations? There is one particular set of programs that would be perfect, if anyone has been able to find and convert them. Years ago, I had a disk of programs written by a gentleman in the Atlanta area which were written specifically for the blind. This gentleman, whose name is Jim Foust, was also blind and saw the potential for the text-to-speech capabilities of the TE2 cartridge, and wrote several programs using its capability. Among the programs he wrote were a game of Hangman, a personal directory program, a program to balance a checkbook, and, even a word processor. He has gone on to other things quite a few years ago, so wouldn't have them himself, as far as I know. I lost a lot of my old stuff in a house fire in 2008, so don't have access to these programs either. If any of you folks can help, let me know. There are many blind people out there with fond memories of the TI, and, quite a few who would like to know a little about the early days of using speech. Thanks for any help you can give. --Joseph Norton, Dalton, GA, U.S.A.