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  1. SOLD - Navarone Cartridge Expander. Used but works as intended. $25 plus shipping.
  2. (Sorry, I wasn´t able to find the origin topic) New to the family: a TI-99/4A (first teaser)
  3. Herman Schuurman by Klaus Lukaschek Interview taken December 2015 Herman Schuurman had a 36 years career at Texas Instruments, from November 1977 to his retirement in 2013. In March 1978 he got promoted to be Lead Programmer for the Consumer Products Group in Lubbock. The description of his work is taken from LinkedIn for that designation: Software design for advanced personal computer products. Design and implementation of Text to Speech system based on TMS5200 speech synthesizer; TI 99/4A mini memory development system; I/O section of 99/4 Home Computer; I/O section of BASIC interpreter; system software for various peripheral devices. [https://www.linkedin.com/in/herman-schuurman-60584b9/] Q) What was it like to work for TI in the Consumer Products Group? It was a lot of fun. Lubbock is a relatively small community (around 180,000 when I lived there), so we had a tight-knit team there that also got together outside of work. Lubbock itself is desert-like – dry heat in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s part of the south plains; flat as a pancake, with no hills around to speak of. The names of surrounding towns reflect this: Levelland, Plainview, Shallowater, etc… I was hired in for the Personal Computer Division in Lubbock, but I worked for the Consumer Products Group in Almelo, The Netherlands while my American work permit came through the system. In March 1978 I finally moved to Lubbock, having never actually seen the place. Q) Can you describe your relationship to TI as an employee? You almost worked your whole life there. Until recently, TI had a lot of different subdivisions. This allowed me to work from consumer to industrial systems to research, etc… Lately TI has been concentrating more on analog, so I guess it would be more difficult to stick around for your entire career and still have a variety of assignments. Q) How did it came that you left the Consumer Products Group at TI in 1981? I joined the Dallas-based group that Don Bynum originally came from, the Corporate Engineering Center. By the time I left, most of the system design was over, and the team was moving to application design. Q) Can you describe in detail your involvement with the TMS5200 speech synthesizer? The original design for the TMS5100 was done by Larry Brantingham, Paul Breedlove, Richard Wiggins, and Gene Frantz. Gene was heading up the speech group (home of the Speak & Spell) when I joined TI in Lubbock, and Larry moved to TI France (Nice) soon after. I eventually wound up in a group with Richard Wiggins when I joined the Corporate Engineering Center in Dallas. The second generation of the TMS5100, the TMS5200, was used to power the speech peripheral. My involvement with the speech synthesizer was to create the text translation and allophone stringing software in coordination with Kathy Goudie (who worked for Gene), who was responsible for creating the allophone (sound) set and the translation rules. The linked article by Sharon Crook is basically a rehash of the internal documentation on the text to speech software. Q) All TI-99 Speech Synthesizers have the door that was meant for inserting Speech modules, early units even have an interface for such modules. However no modules were released. Do you have an insight on this? Can you enlighten us with a story about how this was planned and later abonded? The speech module came with 200-odd canned speech phrases that could be used in software modules. There was a provision for phrase ROMs to be added later to expand the available vocabulary, but the introduction of the text to speech capability made that a moot point. Q) Can you describe your involvement in the TI-99/4 project? The Home Computer (99/4) project started about a year before I joined the team in Lubbock. I believe the original promotors of the project were Granville Ott and Len Donohoe. I was originally hired to work on the SR-70, a small scientific computer, but by the time I landed in Lubbock, that project had been moved to the Data Systems Group in Austin, and I was put to work on the SR-62, a small self-contained computer that shared most of its software with the Home Computer. In addition to the Home Computer stuff, the SR-62 had a small built-in monitor and a thermal printer. When the Home Computer eventually fell behind schedule, the entire SR-62 team was moved over to complete the 99/4. Since my background was in operating system design, I worked on a lot of I/O related stuff such as the audio cassette, thermal printer, etc. I also was responsible for the I/O section of the BASIC interpreter, including formatted I/O, etc... One of the more complex peripherals was the floppy drive. Bill Nale and I split that design, with Bill responsible for the hardware and the low level software, while I took the file system design and implementation. This was the only time I remember having contact with anyone from Microsoft, even though a lot of 99/4 websites seem to think that Microsoft was responsible for a lot of the software on the 99/4. We had Bob Greenberg come out once to validate the file system design (there were no design changes). Q) The TI Dimension 4 almost looks like the TI-99/4 and is from 1978/1979. Do you know anything about it? Link for Schuurman to the dimension4 atariage Thread It sure looks like an early 99/4; I don’t remember the Dimension 4 name, but it may be an early marketing name for the 99/4. It was definitely not the Z80-based version, since that looked more like a high-end stereo component, including the wooden side panels. Compared to the 99/4 it was extremely fast, since the video was memory mapped (and you had a speedy processor). Before I arrived in Lubbock, there was some work done on a native GPL chip, but by 1978 that had been replaced with an 8-bit TMS9985 based design. Unfortunately, that chip never ran correctly, so we had to eventually fit a 16-bit TMS9900 into an 8-bit design. If you like to see more info on the 9985 design debacle, check out Karl Guttag’s page at http://www.kguttag.com/2013/08/10/if-you-havent-tested-it-it-doesnt-work/. Q) Do you still have a TI-99? If yes, can you describe what you have kept. When was the last time you used it? A few years ago I gave all my 99/4a related hardware and software to Joe Zbiciak, since I hadn’t touched it for quite a while. Joe is more into legacy systems, so he had a better use for it. I kept the Panasonic monitor, but it failed a few weeks ago, so now I’m totally out of 99/4a related stuff. Q) Was your Text to Speech system reused for other Speech products from TI or other companies? Not to my knowledge. A remember Ute Marcotte was working on a German version of the text-to-speech rules/allophone set, but I don’t know if that ever made it out. Most of the later interest seemed to be in speaker independent speech recognition, which I worked on several years later in the Telecom Systems group. Q) Having some relationship with Speech, what is your opinion on Apple's Siri? Compared to the early work we did on speaker independent speech recognition, both Siri and Cortana are phenomenal. Of course the amount of CPU power and available memory space are also incomparable. I use the speech recognition on the iPhone quite a bit, and it is really good. Q) Does your name have an origin in the Netherlands or some close-by country? Can you enlighten us? I was born in the Netherlands and spend the first 24 years of my life there. I graduated from the Technische Hogeschool Twente (now known as the University of Twente) in Enschede, the Netherlands. After graduation I joined TI and moved to the USA. Although I graduated in Electrical Engineering, a lot of my background was in embedded systems and Operating Systems design/implementation, which is why I was hired by TI. Q) Do you know how it came that the command to load a program is called "OLD" on the TI? It probably came from the original Dartmouth BASIC, where OLD was used to retrieve a program from storage, and NEW to start a new program. Q) Bill Cosby was the front face for the TI-99 to the public, was it a person the employees looked up to as well? Advertising was all handled by the marketing team, but Bill Cosby was very popular in those days, both from his earlier I Spy series, and through the Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids show. In addition, the fact that he had a Doctor of Education degree didn’t hurt. Q) What was the role of Don Bynum you worked with? Don was working on a redesign of the 99/4 while in the Corporate Engineering Center in TI Dallas (the Ranger). In late 1980 he moved to Lubbock to take over the home computer group from Pete Bonfield (who moved on to become Chairman and Managing Director of ICL in England). He drove the 99/4a and peripheral box efforts, and later the 99/2 and 99/8. I never actually saw it, but he was rumored to have an old piano cabinet with the 99/4a peripheral chain taking up the entire cabinet. A few months after the introduction of the 99/4a I moved from the Lubbock team to Bynum’s old group, the Corporate Engineering Center in Dallas. Q) Was it clear from the beginning that there will be some Text to Speech software or was it some brilliant idea by an employee? I don’t know who came up with the text-to-speech idea with the speech group, and Kathy can’t remember either. I’ll check with Gene Frantz to see if he still remembers. Keep in mind that it was not a given that text-to-speech would actually work acceptably in the 9900 until we actually implemented it. Q) So we could say, that your work on the Text to Speech made the speech modules for the Speech synthesizer irrelevant, right? Yes. Q) On what scientific work was your Text to Speech software based on? Was there any linguist or phonetic scientists involved? TI already had an active speech team located in the Lubbock (one of their best known products is probably the Speak N Spell). The person I worked with, Kathy Goudie, has a Ph.D. in Linguistics, and the allophones used in the text-to-speech software were created from an extensive speech database that had already been developed within the speech team. Q) I couldn't find much information on the SR-62 and the SR-70 computers, have they ever been released? What have the specs of the SR-62 been? Since you said it should have shared its software with the 99/4, this might be interesting for our people to know. Not surprising, since these are internal designators, and neither product ultimately made it to market. The SR-62 was essentially a self-contained home computer with a built-in monitor and a thermal printer. Q) Do you know how much Microsoft or Bill Gates was involved in the TI Basic / System Rom of the 99/4? Microsoft was not involved with the 99/4 development. They (in the form of Bob Greenberg) were contracted to develop BASIC for the SR-70 (which is also sometimes referred to as the 99/7), but the BASIC for the 99/4 was developed in-house. Q) Why was the native GPL chip replaced with the TMS9985? How far was the GPL chip developed? Although it was before my arrival in Lubbock, the GPL chip was supposed to be developed for an external customer. When that customer dropped out, the GPL chip was also dropped, and was replaced by the TMS9985. Q) Accessing peripheral devices through a DSR interface allows us to connect modern devices to the TI without modifying the System Rom. Do you know who came up with the idea on this? Did TI had that before the 99/4 already? It’s been too long to remember the exact details, but it was probably worked out between Bill Nale and me. Bill would have handled the level 1 features (hardware communications, sector read/write, disk formatting), and I would have handled the file related features. Since the hardware was developed concurrently with the software, it allowed me to work on the file system code by simulating the low-level routines on a TI-990 minicomputer, using a large file on the minicomputer hard drive to simulate a floppy disk. Keep in mind that I already developed a similar system for an Intellec-80 (Intel 8080 based) system using 8” floppies as part of my thesis. Q) How did you feel when you heard that TI will leave the home computer market after being involved in setting it all up? Sad, although it was probably inevitable due to the financial losses. I’m still glad I had a chance to work on it though. Q) What was the policy of TI with hardware/software/documentation/schematics on canceled projects? It seems a few lucky employees got a TI-99/8 when TI left the market. Typically you have to get official permission to legally get any of this stuff. That said, it is entirely possible that management at that time gave away some memorabilia. Q) How do you feel when you hear that those machines are still running after all those years and there are some people still doing stuff with them? Absolutely amazed and delighted. I would have never guessed the 99/4 would survive for over 35 years, especially with the typical rapid turn-over in the computer age. Best Regards, Herman Schuurman
  4. The link below is the auction for some cartridges which did not sell on eBay (posting the auction because I no longer have the original picture and they are all boxed.) eBay Auction -- Item Number: 120826037247 I would MUCH rather see these in the hands on someone who will use or otherwise appreciate them. Please post if interested, otherwise, in the interest of space, sanity, and simplification, they have to go to the dump this Saturday. I am asking that you simply cover shipping.
  5. I've been thinking on and off about what my next series of projects will involve, and one thought that came to me as an offshoot of a related idea was doing a definitive TI-99/4 and 4a history book. I'd like it to be similar to one of the more recent books I did, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer, with Boisy Pitre. One of the advantages we had with that book was that Boisy had a good headstart of key contacts to interview for the book (which in turn led to others over time) and had considerable and very specific subject matter expertise (I brought the writing and publishing expertise, as well as my overall perspective on the industry over the years--it helps to have both a superfan and casual fan working on a subject such as that). My original idea after that CoCo book was to write either a ColecoVision or Intellivision history book, but both of those have since been spoken for. I didn't really think there was anything else worth covering that hasn't already been covered, but like I said, based on some other ideas I was working on, I think Texas Instruments's personal computing ambitions would make for a nifty story. As I stated in another thread, it's long overdue for the TI-99/4a to get some more exposure, and this is a potentially great way of doing it. Anyway, the main reason why I'm writing about just a germ of an idea is I'd like to get some feedback. Like I said, one of the reasons why the CoCo book turned out so good was that we had access to many of the individuals who made that computer series what it was. Without that same type of access, this book wouldn't be as good, and I really wouldn't accept such a scenario. I'd like to get a sense of how potentially available key individuals would be for interviews, and if anyone has good archives available (outside of what has already been generously made available online, of course). As with the CoCo book, I think it would be a good idea for me to partner with (as co-author) a true TI-99/4a expert, which I can balance out with my more casual, but still extensive collection/knowledge of the computer series. I would target this book to a traditional publisher. With that said, there's always a chance that a publisher won't be interested, and, in that case, self publishing would have to be pursued. I haven't had to self publish yet, but there's always a first time, so that's something to keep in mind. As with most books of this type, there is little monetary reward either. If written well, this could certainly move at least 1000 copies over a few year span, which is not much, but would be acceptable for a niche product like this. Anyway, thoughts, comments, suggestions, etc., are all welcome and appreciated. Thanks!
  6. For those who still prefer to purchase on eBay, i've moved all my 3D printed stuff to a new account: c0d3m4st4_3d The other account was shared with a friend, and we were short of free monthly listings, so i decided to move all my 3D printed stuff to a new one Same items, support, quality and communication, only low feedback for now.. hopefully that will change soon http://www.ebay.es/usr/c0d3m4st4_3d IMPORTANT NOTES: UPDATE: seems transit times to the U.S. are shorter now (finally!), still not as fast as last year, but all parcels should be there in 15 days max, let me know if not received in 15 days after i send you the tracking number. - Shipping to Mexico and South America, absolutely at your own risk. Unacceptable customs delays in most cases, and some unexpected returns for no reason. If returned (safe, of course) i will only refund 80% of the item cost, but won't refund the postage cost. If declared lost, i will only refund whatever compensation the Spanish postal service offers (this is the amount payed for postage + a small compensation). - U.S. buyers can purchase from www.arcadeshopper.com when he has stock available Hey there. Some of you may already know me or even purchased from me on eBay or the Ti99 forum. I'm listing here all my 3D printed cases from now on offering cheaper prices (item + shipping) than on eBay (no eBay fees, no PayPal fees). Only shipping once or twice a week... mostly mondays and fridays, but not always... (kinda random shipping days ) so please, be patient... max you will wait before getting a tracking number is 5 working days. Please note, due to the manufacturing process (home 3D printing with non-professional equipment) cases might have imperfections here and there... but they will do the job. 3D printing is not comparable with mold injection Payments should be made by PayPal (in euro) using the send money to friends/family option (if you have PayPal funds or bank account linked to your account, if no funds and only credit card linked to your account, final price will be increased in 3.5% + 0.35 which is the PayPal fee). All cases include screws when needed. 3D printed case for FinalGROM 99 - 17.50 euro 4 colours available: green, white, orange and black. Design as pictured (for color options, please check FlashROM 99 case until i get some cases printed in the other colors). All cases include two 3D printed buttons in green and orange colors for the reset buttons (if you prefer them both in the same color, please, let me know when you contact me to purchase). Necessary screws included as usual. This one is for the fully assembled PCB including LED and push buttons. SD card inserts completely in the case... not an inch is left outside. I took the pics with it "ejected" from the socket. 3D printed case for FlashROM 99 - 20 euro --- Ω --- blog entry for this case HERE 4 colours available: green, white, orange and black. Design as pictured. All cases include 3 x 3D printed buttons in different colours, one matching your case, and 2 random ones to test where to sand or cut the plastic post in the button to match your reset switch height. 3D printed case for NanoPEB v1 - 20 euro IMPORTANT: Please double check to make sure your NanoPEB is the same i used to design these cases. Check with these pics, or contact me including a pic of yours to make sure it is the same model if you have any doubt, as i've seen different models of v1 floating around. --- Ω --- blog entry for this case HERE Available in black color only at least for now, i don't have much stock of other color filament. Since it seems there are many versions of these devices, please, check following pictures with measures and exact model to make sure yours will fit in the case. Ask me first if you have any doubt. The rough surface near the switch is caused because this is printed upside down and need a support structure in that area, so first layer is not very well done This is the only way to go to make it easier and faster to print, and getting a plain surface on the front. Slide-in lid to access CF card, works quite well. Please note if you have big fingers you will still have some problems to extract the card properly, you can lift it a bit (there is extra room for that) to make it easier. 3D printed case for CF7 - 20 euro IMPORTANT: Please double check to make sure your CF7 is the same i used to design these cases. Check with these pics, or contact me including a pic of yours to make sure it is the same model if you have any doubt, as i've seen different models floating around. --- Ω --- blog entry for this case HERE Available in black color only at least for now, i don't have much stock of other color filament. Since it seems there are many versions of these devices, please, check following pictures with measures and exact model to make sure yours will fit in the case. Ask me first if you have any doubt. The rough surface near the switch is caused because this is printed upside down and need a support structure in that area, so first layer is not very well done This is the only way to go to make it easier and faster to print, and getting a plain surface on the front. Slide-in lid to access CF card, works quite well. Please note if you have big fingers you will still have some problems to extract the card properly, you can lift it a bit (there is extra room for that) to make it easier. Thanks to schmitzi for sending me CF7 and NanoPEB so a case could be made. 3D printed case for jedimatt42 32K expansion - 15 euro --- Ω --- blog entry for this case HERE 4 different designs for top cover (plain, with logo, plain with window for expansion port, or with logo and window). Snap-in lid to cover the expansion port window in case you don't want to use it for now but you go for the window version for future use). Fits nicely. Will include an extra lid just in case, as it is the weakest part (should be good for normal use, but no doubt it will degrade and fall if you keep inserting/removing it a lot). 3D printed case for Amstrad C4CPC flash cart - 12 euro Mod of the original case to replace the weak tabs with screws and fix text for FDM 3D printers. Available in creamy white color only. 3D printed shell for Turbo Ever Drive v1.x flash cart - 5 euro With or without USB socket. Suitable for PCB revs. 1.x (not suitable for v2!). Available colors: gray, creamy white, orange, dark green. 3D printed case for MATEOS burner / dumper - 9 euro This is a redesign of my previous version. Now with screws. Available colors: gray, creamy white, orange, dark green. Suitable for PCB rev. 1.4 Fully assembled Tapuino - Commodore 64/VIC20/C16 datasette emulator - 50 euro Allows you to load .TAP files (tape backups) directly from a microSD card (not included). You can also save your own programs and copy to/from tape by connecting a real datasette to the port on the back. Fully assembled in a screwless 3D printed compact case. Upgradeable firmware. I can flash it in your desired language (English, Spanish, German, Italian or Turkish). Basic usage instructions included (in English or Spanish only). Professionally made PCB. For C16 compatibility, you need an adapter, which i haven't built, so i haven't really tested C16 compatibility, but it is in the firmware and project docs, so guess it should work. More cases coming soon Shipping cost (everything is shipped from Spain): I always ship boxed, and with tracking number. Sometimes the tracking numbers do not work with some postal services around the world, as i ship as "letter" to keep it cheap, and it seems they don't scan them on arrival, so contact me after 15 days if you haven't received your parcel so i can claim and they can start investigating the issue with your postal service. 2 weeks should be enough to arrive to U.S.A. but it may take up to a month (even more) for Asia and Australia. I ship to most destinations, but not all, so contact me to check if i will ship to your country if not listed below. Postage prices updated on Jan 1st, 2018 - To Japan / Australia / USA / Other countries : Up to 100 grams: 7.50 euro Up to 500 grams: 14 euro - To Europe: Up to 100 grams: 6.50 euro Up to 500 grams: 10.50 euro Feedback: Please, when your items arrive, it will be good if you can leave your feedback here, so everyone knows how i'm doing.Thanks. http://atariage.com/forums/topic/255013-c0d3m4st4/ If you have any problem or question about with your item, contact me first!
  7. Howdy folks... new to TI99/4A and excited to be here. Long time Atarian recently gifted a nice TI99/4A. Decided to video my experience using for the 1st time. Apologize for using the word TIE instead of T.I. in the video but now I know. 😀 Hope you enjoy if you like seeing others excited about new gear. https://youtu.be/RYVDtG78XIg I look forward to reading through the threads here and learning more about it. TJ
  8. Today I present something not so common, something vintage: The LCM-1001 microprogrammer learning module from 1976 🥁 There is a nice description in wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_SBP0400), so there is no need to explain everything, that's already there. Most of the references google presented to me, are more or less copies of each other. Most links are dead or obsolete FLASH-content. I want to show just some photos, I took, when disassembling the device, especially, what's inside, bevor this information is lost. The device is powered by 7VDC via a 2.5 mm jack plug. Inside there are three rechargeable batteries (AA) - a neat idea to be able to run from battery. Inside there is a 4 bit - well, what is it? - processor element, designed by Texas Instruments, called SBP 0400. The concept is to make it expandable. Up to four of those processor elements can be serialized, to build a 4,8,12,16 bit device. The position of the slice (MSB ... LSB) can be specified with the Position Switches 0 and 1, which directly lead to the corresponding pins of the SBP 0400. The SBP 0400 uses a 40 pin DIL package. All pins are available at the socket of the panel. all important input pins can be toggled on and off, with those switches. Important outputs can be monitored with the help of the LEDs. The SBP 0400 architecture and the schematics of the learning module: There is no memory, just switches and a clock button. Everything is done manually. The addressbus is only 4 bit wide and even in combination with ALUCOUT only 32 memory locations can be addressed. Note that each opcode is a 9 bit word! Registers and program counter (=register 7) are 4 bit wide. A single device on its own can only do very simple control tasks. What's inside the box? Texas Instruments offered three extension for the device: LCM-1002 controller module for micro programming with 256×20 bit PROM LCM-1003 memory module containing 1024 12-bit words LCM-1004 input/output module I do not have access to those and can't tell anything about them. I think they are very rare. I did not even find the documentation scanned in. Maybe I should scan the LCM-1001 manual, that I have. Just check out the Wikipedia link above for more information. Does anybody have any experience with the learning modules?
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