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2019/2020 TI-99/4A Shopper Magazine

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I was thinking the other day about how many items that are currently available for purchase to support our TI's.  From 1 meg SAMS's cards, to TIPI's, FinalGROMS, 3D printed cases and other things.  It would be 'kinda cool' to have a Computer Shopper type PDF magazine that would not only show those items, but have articles/stories on their use and or possibly manufacture.

 

Something like this would give many of us a nostalgic thrill now, while for others it might educate, and down the line decades from now when we've all 'gone away' someone might come across the PDF and see who we were and how much fun we all had.

 

This will be a multi-month project for me, and my plan is to 'publish' sometime in the first quarter of 2020, but this is something that cannot be done alone.  I'll need photos of items, I'll need information from people who make the goodies and then I can put it all together in a pleasing format.

 

I've decided on a 'few' items so far, but if you have any suggestions, ideas or content to add (under your own byline), please let me know.

 

 

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Love that idea! I remember as a kid pouring over my Joy Electronics catalog and one other (can't remember the name of the second one?) with all the TI goodness I had to save paper route money to buy. In terms of education, having just gotten back into my first love this year, I'm trying to sort thru the various file formats. Some are for emulators, but even if some are supposedly native, they're in file formats online that I presume need to be converted for use on a native TI-99/4A. The .bin files from the WHTech FTP are cool as they play on SD flash in my FinalGrom99. But for files I'd want to copy to floppy (or soon, floppy emulator), what formats are ready to go, what formats can be converted to native? Back in the day it was me, my modem, and a BBS do d/l straight to floppy or Horizon RamDisk. Info on this front would be super useful!

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DSK files are floppy disk images, most of them containing a sequential sector dump. A few (PC99 format) contain a track dump (including sector headers). The HFE format is a low-level format from the Lotharek floppy emulator containing the levels of the FM/MFM floppy cells (also understood by MAME and TIImageTool).

 

I'm not sure what you mean by "converted to native" (or whether you know ;-) ): Generally, DSK images can be written to a real floppy disk, but they do not contain specific hidden information (used with some existing copy protections); in that case, HFE is better. If you have Linux, writing an image to a floppy disk (or reading from it) is really simple with a real floppy drive in the PC; I wrote two programs for that purpose some years ago, also published in this forum.

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DSK files are floppy disk images, most of them containing a sequential sector dump. A few (PC99 format) contain a track dump (including sector headers). The HFE format is a low-level format from the Lotharek floppy emulator containing the levels of the FM/MFM floppy cells (also understood by MAME and TIImageTool).

 

I'm not sure what you mean by "converted to native" (or whether you know ;-) ): Generally, DSK images can be written to a real floppy disk, but they do not contain specific hidden information (used with some existing copy protections); in that case, HFE is better. If you have Linux, writing an image to a floppy disk (or reading from it) is really simple with a real floppy drive in the PC; I wrote two programs for that purpose some years ago, also published in this forum.

 

I'm laughing at myself with a sense of irony. I actually do IT for a living (Java coding, some iOS now and then (Obj-C back in the day, Swift when I get the chance) and work with our API Gateway for micro services and the corresponding security aspects (OIDC, etc). But take me back to the machine of my youth, my first love, and I feel like a newbie all over again. I used to have boxes of floppies, and by the time I was done with my original TI-99/4A, I had one DSDD 5 1/4" HH and one 3 1/2" floppy drive as my go to's with an upgraded Myarc controller for the latter. But most of my content was either files I saved during my undergrad from the FW 80 column hack to TI-Writer (w/ OPA's video upgrade and multi-docs via the FW hack into its 192K VRAM), or auto-load disks galore that my uncle hooked me up with. In short, back then, I never had to think about file formats.  In terms of any manual file work myself, I did write some XB code back in the day messing with DF and DV 80 stuff, as I recall, so I'm used to those. I do not remember .bin files back in the day (didn't hit those until my PC and Mac days), but that's the format my FinalGROM99 content is all in from that whtech zip of content for that.

 

For my FinalGROM99, I just formatted an SD card FAT32 using Mac DiskUtility, dropped the files on it from my Mac, and it was good to go on my TI. Any content I save directly from my TI on floppies I format w/ whatever native TI-99/4A disk manager I feel like playing with is also cool. The question is how I get content I download from my Mac onto a floppy, since my Mac obviously has no floppy drive connection.

 

  • If I'm understanding correctly, the .DSK file is really just a sector dump, not an archive like files from the old Barry Boone archiver program that was like a zip utility for my TI-99/4a back in the day as I recall. But how do I write that from my Mac onto a floppy usable directly on my TI (native, not emulator)?
  • I do have a TIPI-PEB card coming soon
    • I'm not sure if the network and storage aspects of TIPI will let me then write any files pulled from the web to a floppy in my PEB, all directly from my TI?
  • I also have a Lotherek FDE drive that I'll be installing as soon as time allows, so that may give some options
    • From what you wrote, it sounds like I have to somehow get an HFE file (not sure if there are TI sites with HFE downloads directly available, and I'd simply saving them from my Mac to the flash card for that Lotherek FDE, or if I have to convert the files from some format X to HFE).  

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by patrickmcmichael

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I'm laughing at myself with a sense of irony. I actually do IT for a living (Java coding, some iOS now and then (Obj-C back in the day, Swift when I get the chance) and work with our API Gateway for micro services and the corresponding security aspects (OIDC, etc). But take me back to the machine of my youth, my first love, and I feel like a newbie all over again. I used to have boxes of floppies, and by the time I was done with my original TI-99/4A, I had one DSDD 5 1/4" HH and one 3 1/2" floppy drive as my go to's with an upgraded Myarc controller for the latter. But most of my content was either files I saved during my undergrad from the FW 80 column hack to TI-Writer (w/ OPA's video upgrade and multi-docs via the FW hack into its 192K VRAM), or auto-load disks galore that my uncle hooked me up with. In short, back then, I never had to think about file formats.  In terms of any manual file work myself, I did write some XB code back in the day messing with DF and DV 80 stuff, as I recall, so I'm used to those. I do not remember .bin files back in the day (didn't hit those until my PC and Mac days), but that's the format my FinalGROM99 content is all in from that whtech zip of content for that.

 

For my FinalGROM99, I just formatted an SD card FAT32 using Mac DiskUtility, dropped the files on it from my Mac, and it was good to go on my TI. Any content I save directly from my TI on floppies I format w/ whatever native TI-99/4A disk manager I feel like playing with is also cool. The question is how I get content I download from my Mac onto a floppy, since my Mac obviously has no floppy drive connection.

 

  • If I'm understanding correctly, the .DSK file is really just a sector dump, not an archive like files from the old Barry Boone archiver program that was like a zip utility for my TI-99/4a back in the day as I recall. But how do I write that from my Mac onto a floppy usable directly on my TI (native, not emulator)?
  • I do have a TIPI-PEB card coming soon
    • I'm not sure if the network and storage aspects of TIPI will let me then write any files pulled from the web to a floppy in my PEB, all directly from my TI?
  • I also have a Lotherek FDE drive that I'll be installing as soon as time allows, so that may give some options
    • From what you wrote, it sounds like I have to somehow get an HFE file (not sure if there are TI sites with HFE downloads directly available, and I'd simply saving them from my Mac to the flash card for that Lotherek FDE, or if I have to convert the files from some format X to HFE).  

 

Thanks in advance!

 

tipi can pull files from the web and you can save them locally on the drive.. you can also ftp now with force commander :)  read my article here about tipi: https://www.arcadeshopper.com/wp/?cat=16

 

Greg

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The question is how I get content I download from my Mac onto a floppy, since my Mac obviously has no floppy drive connection.
  • If I'm understanding correctly, the .DSK file is really just a sector dump, not an archive like files from the old Barry Boone archiver program that was like a zip utility for my TI-99/4a back in the day as I recall. But how do I write that from my Mac onto a floppy usable directly on my TI (native, not emulator)?
  • I do have a TIPI-PEB card coming soon
    • I'm not sure if the network and storage aspects of TIPI will let me then write any files pulled from the web to a floppy in my PEB, all directly from my TI?
  • I also have a Lotherek FDE drive that I'll be installing as soon as time allows, so that may give some options
    • From what you wrote, it sounds like I have to somehow get an HFE file (not sure if there are TI sites with HFE downloads directly available, and I'd simply saving them from my Mac to the flash card for that Lotherek FDE, or if I have to convert the files from some format X to HFE).  

 

Thanks in advance!

 

For the formats, please have a look at our Wiki: https://www.ninerpedia.org/wiki/Formats

 

For copying to the TI, there are various solutions. If you actually get a Lotharek FDE, you can store the HFE disk images on the SD card and use it in the FDE. On the TI you can use a disk copier to copy from the FDE to a real disk.

 

There are converters from DSK to HFE. Also, my TIImageTool can handle the HFE disks, so you could use it to open the source DSK image, create a blank HFE image on the SD card, and then copy everything on a HFE image.

 

When I copied all my TI floppies to the PC, I used a 5.25" floppy drive in my PC (those are hard to get by now! Let alone that the main boards do not offer a floppy connector anymore) and reprogrammed the PC floppy controller to read the TI disks.

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@ Ω,  my apologies if this has gotten off topic and let me know if I need to move this to a different thread. My discussion truly was intended as a positive response to the your original post about the shopper catalog (a true trip down great memories from my earliest TI days) and the possibility of some educational articles in it, of which this has been a burning topic for this returner to the TI fold. Who knows...maybe with my learnings here I'll write an article for your new mag!  :)

 

@Greg - sounds like the TIPI I have ordered is just what the doctor ordered for going back and forth with files, especially w/ the v9t9 (DSK) and TIFILES usage/conversion options.

 

@mizapf - I just pulled down your TIImageTool for my Mac. I used it to drill into a DSK download I had of the old Ernie and Bert speech demo. B/T that and the TIPI I have coming I'll be in biz!

 

I also recently got my hands on the SNUG SPMVC card, but will need to get the s/w there to my TI:

 

 

spvmcdsr.zip v2.03 2011-04-02 - DSR for the SPVMC vsm0.zip     - Speech data for Speech ROM 0 (Original TI) vsm1.zip v1.00 1999-09-17 - Speech data and XB test program for Speech ROM 1 vsm2.zip v1.00 1999-09-17 - Speech data and XB test program for Speech ROM 2

 

The zip file had 3 .p99 files, spvmcdsr.P99, SPVMCDSS.P99, and SPVMCDST.P99. I had thought these might be the PC99 track dump files, but I could not seem to open them in TI Image Maker. The rest were collections of .bin files, which I"m guessing are memory image dumps the DSR portions will use somehow. Anyhow...as I couldn't open or inspect this .p99 files directly in TIImageTool, I thought you might know.

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p99 is a TIFILES file. Create a new disk image in TIImageTool and import those files to into that image (via menu "Edit" or via drag-and-drop). You may have to set the filter to "all files" to see them.

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p99 is a TIFILES file. Create a new disk image in TIImageTool and import those files to into that image (via menu "Edit" or via drag-and-drop). You may have to set the filter to "all files" to see them.

 

That seems to work, though if it's TIFiLES why wouldn't it open directly? Just confusion on .p99 vs .dsk file extension? Though on that note, I tried copying one of them with a .DSK extension instead, but it said it couldn't read it. Also, when I do your import route, they come up as PROGRAM type (not sure if that's XB or EA or ...?). Since it's split into *DSR, *DSS, and *DST, that feels like EA but not sure...  Most XB program files are just a single file if I recall.

Edited by patrickmcmichael

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TIFILES files and DSK files are really very different things.

 

TIFILES = one file

DSK = whole disk

 

Renaming a TIFILES file to a DSK files does not make any sense, or I don't get the intention behind it. :)

 

You can run a PROGRAM file in Editor/Assembler option 5 (unless it is a BASIC file). The file I tried (DSRLDR) is indeed such a E/A opt 5 file.

Edited by mizapf

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@ Ω,  my apologies if this has gotten off topic and let me know if I need to move this to a different thread. 

 

Naw, go ahead and run with it, I'm not getting much in the way of feedback anyway.  ;-)  :thumbsup:

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Naw, go ahead and run with it, I'm not getting much in the way of feedback anyway.  ;-)  :thumbsup:

 

You still have my +1 on the original idea. Those old catalogs were like Christmas wish lists year round for me. What was the other big one besides the Joy Electronics? The one that came out more like newspaper print/paper quality?

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TIFILES files and DSK files are really very different things.

 

TIFILES = one file

DSK = whole disk

 

Renaming a TIFILES file to a DSK files does not make any sense, or I don't get the intention behind it. :)

 

You can run a PROGRAM file in Editor/Assembler option 5 (unless it is a BASIC file). The file I tried (DSRLDR) is indeed such a E/A opt 5 file.

 

My bad...think it was the SDF v9t9 format, with .dsk extension that was synonymous. I mashed that up mistakenly b/t TIFILES and DSK, hence why the import was needed and my rename bombed.  Is .p99 just another extension vs the ones referenced here (http://www.mizapf.eu/files/tiimagetool.html#list) for TIFILES, or are there sub formats within TIFILES ? Guessing the former.

Edited by patrickmcmichael

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TIFILES do not have a standardized file name extension. I once suggested something like ".tfi" (which I am still using in TIImageTool), but this got no wider support; also, it would not work well with the concept of the Classic99 emulator to use the TIFILES directly by their names (instead of using disk images).

 

Maybe we could continue with private messages to allow this thread to return to its original topic.

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You still have my +1 on the original idea. Those old catalogs were like Christmas wish lists year round for me. What was the other big one besides the Joy Electronics? The one that came out more like newspaper print/paper quality?

 

Here are a couple of classic ones I scanned a few of years ago that might bring back some memories for you.  I think the newspaper type catalog you mentioned was TM-Direct.

 

I'm hoping to get a couple of 'really good' graphics submissions to use in my eventual cover design.  I also plan to have everything in this PDF from product reviews, advertising, an article or two, maybe more, even more 'modern links' to websites.  I dunno how big I can get it, even in compressed mode I may have to limit it to 50MB for Atari Age limitations... or maybe a two volume set?

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Here are a couple of classic ones I scanned a few of years ago that might bring back some memories for you.  I think the newspaper type catalog you mentioned was TM-Direct.

 

I'm hoping to get a couple of 'really good' graphics submissions to use in my eventual cover design.  I also plan to have everything in this PDF from product reviews, advertising, an article or two, maybe more, even more 'modern links' to websites.  I dunno how big I can get it, even in compressed mode I may have to limit it to 50MB for Atari Age limitations... or maybe a two volume set?

 

 

Yes! I would LOVE a modern day rendition with those kinds of extras. Btw...thanks for the scans...think TM was the one I was remembering. That's also bringing back s/w titles I need to hunt down again that I used to have on floppy.

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The old catalogs in newsprint mode were the Unisource catalog (until 1985 or so), the Tenex Catalog (the "Everything Book" that was published until 1991 or so), The Triton/TM Direct catalogs (Started on glossy paper but did shift to newsprint paper eventually (published until 1994 or so)), The Tex-Comp catalog (I think the last physical actual catalog update was in 1991 or 1992, but they were good until about 1998), and the Joy Electronics catalog (most of these were photocopied and stapled together, but they were valid until the owner passed away in the early 2000s).

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I was thinking the other day about how many items that are currently available for purchase to support our TI's.  From 1 meg SAMS's cards, to TIPI's, FinalGROMS, 3D printed cases and other things.  It would be 'kinda cool' to have a Computer Shopper type PDF magazine that would not only show those items, but have articles/stories on their use and or possibly manufacture.

 

Something like this would give many of us a nostalgic thrill now, while for others it might educate, and down the line decades from now when we've all 'gone away' someone might come across the PDF and see who we were and how much fun we all had.

 

This will be a multi-month project for me, and my plan is to 'publish' sometime in the first quarter of 2020, but this is something that cannot be done alone.  I'll need photos of items, I'll need information from people who make the goodies and then I can put it all together in a pleasing format.

 

I've decided on a 'few' items so far, but if you have any suggestions, ideas or content to add (under your own byline), please let me know.

 

 

 

I thought about your magazine and it grew into a bigger idea in my head. This is what it looks like now.. but it's only an idea. 

 

 
== Festschrift ==
 
A magazine in tribute to Micropendium and 99/4 40th anniversary. PDF and print
A mixture of beginner tutorial, history, and exciting recent product reviews.
Ads are free! Want as much variety as possible.
Point to urls (AtariAge FAQ) whenever possible
Include a list of hardware needed with each topic
All content to be repurposed into ninerpedia when done!
Needs more content from old-timers
 
Tutorials
* I just got a 99/4A, now what?
* what are the online forums? (tiny historical sidebar about BBSes, The Source, CIS, Genie, Delphi)
* do I need a Pbox?
* what should I buy to go with it? Explain 32k, nanoPEB, FinalGROM, TiPi, etc.
* what classic games should I play?
* Transferring files to your 4A with nanoPEB or TiPi
* Classic99
* BBSes for the TI-99 today
 
Interviews
* Ralph Benziger (FinalGROM)
* InsaneMultitasker
* Matthew Hagerty (F18A)
* Speccery
* Tursi
* Doug Warren (Gram Kracker, MG Explorer)
* JediMatt42 (TiPi)
* Opry99er
* Hal Shanafield
* repurpose some RetroGaming / Brian Roppolo interviews
 
History
* Brief Story of TI Home Computer
* History of TI Faire
* History of Fest West
* Magazines that covered the TI-99/4A
 
Reviews
* FinalGROM
* Joystick roundup.. joystick adaptor
* Games of Rasmus
* Dragon's Lair
* TiPi
* Stratego
* Borzork
 
Ads
* arcadeshopper (everything, TiPi)
* chris schneider (Genies)
* jedimatt42?
* schmitzi nanoPEB
* ralph benziger (FinalGROM)
* hummingbird eproms
* dheins hardware TI warehouse haul
* Chicago TI FAIRE
* TI Treff
* UK TIUG
* TIjdingen
* Fest 99/4ATX
* Midwest Gaming Classic
* Portland Retro Gaming Expo
* Old time classifieds. BBS numbers, wanted, for sale, vanity ads. 
* Parody ad written by Munch Man. Hoono extermination service
* Used Space Fighter, Parsec model, only 20 light years. Will trade for Bynite.
* (Barrage) Dramis Jeep-Eagle-Chrysler! Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. Battle tested, hardly any radiation damage.
 
Articles
* Programming XB today
* Learning Assembly.. whats it like, where to start? xdt99, file transfer
* Building hardware: tips and sources (mention hackmac 4A schematics in kicad)
* FORTH column
* F18A - what was it? hey Mk2!
* Rarities (not too rare) TIny-99/4A
* Type in 10 liners! from contest.
 
Users Groups
* Portland, OR
* Chicago, IL
* Hustisford, WI
 
Interview question starters
* Tell us about your first TI experience
* How did you come up with the idea for...
* What are your finished projects?
* What are you working on now?
* Tell us more about...

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I've not had time to do much of anything other than check into AA wherever I get a minute or two.
It looks as if you've put a lot of thought and energy into it, so why not run with it?

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Don't forget old hardware coverage like that SID chip card and ramdrives even though their some of the toughest hw to find..id love to see stuff regarding file compression techniques etc.. can't wait! please insert scratch n rub free software code..

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I'll be doing a run of the SID cards soon (I purchased the rights to them), so those will continue to be available. I did the original card layout for Marc, so that preparation process won't take too long.

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I'll be doing a run of the SID cards soon (I purchased the rights to them), so those will continue to be available. I did the original card layout for Marc, so that preparation process won't take too long.

 

I would have preferred a MIDI sound card for the PEB instead :p
 
BTW if you're going to market the SID Master card again, please... could you try to make it at least compatible with standard .SID files?
 
Or at least that the software can support them natively.

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Here are a couple of classic ones I scanned a few of years ago that might bring back some memories for you.  I think the newspaper type catalog you mentioned was TM-Direct.

 

I'm hoping to get a couple of 'really good' graphics submissions to use in my eventual cover design.  I also plan to have everything in this PDF from product reviews, advertising, an article or two, maybe more, even more 'modern links' to websites.  I dunno how big I can get it, even in compressed mode I may have to limit it to 50MB for Atari Age limitations... or maybe a two volume set?

 

I remember receiving the Triton catalog in the mail after TI announced they were dropping support for the 99.

 

Good Lord! That cover picture simply screams early 80s - the hair, the clothes, the glossy fake smiles and poses.

 

Thanks for sharing!

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