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Toucan

The Personal Computer Division White Papers

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Okay folks....CB WILSON HAS DELIVERED!!!

 

He is sending boxes to my house as he finds stuff, so I have no idea when or what is coming and this is today's surprise!

 

Check this out. And look at the docs. Pics of the IR receiver and the wireless joysticks (with keys?). I happened to flip through the pages and this was the first thing I stumbled on when opening to a random page. I can't wait to see what is all in here, probably close to 100 pages. Note the nameplate...Dimension 1! Whoa! The plot thickens! Big moment today folks! Volume control on this unit.

 

No date on the book itself, but there are pages with dates, like 7/24/1978 and August 1978.

 

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Please, oh please, please tell me that you are going to scan this in for all us rabid TI fans to drool over.

 

BTW - I see no reason why we couldn't make our own IR controllers these days.

 

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29 minutes ago, --- Ω --- said:

Please, oh please, please tell me that you are going to scan this in for all us rabid TI fans to drool over.

 

Probably will. There's so much here. They talk about a PEB unit as an early accessory so you don't have to chain too many peripherals together. Also, talk about the TMS9985 delays and thoughts on using a Z80 processor in case the 9985 fails to be delivered on time (9985 was actually supposed to be 5MHz, but there was a problem mentioned with something that might reduce the speed by 20%). Apparently "Early Learning Fun" was developed in conjunction with someone from Sesame Street Magazine. Also, it sounds like there were not plans for wired joysticks. They were talking about the wireless look was what they wanted to keep clutter to a minimum. Other peripherals were a Software Module Library (select up to 8 modules) and a security control system (ACS Protection maybe). Lots going on in these pages. From what I can gather, this was printed in August 1978, as they talk about September as coming up. Still reading through it, probably will take a few days. Original price point for the 99/4 (or Dimension 1 I guess) was $400. Maybe the Dimension 1 was considered a TI-99/1, which is why we get a 99/2 later on.

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1 minute ago, Toucan said:

 

Probably will. There's so much here. They talk about a PEB unit as an early accessory so you don't have to chain too many peripherals together. Also, talk about the TMS9985 delays and thoughts on using a Z80 processor in case the 9985 fails to be delivered on time (was actually supposed to be 5MHz, but there was a problem mentioned with someone that would reduce the speed by 20%). Apparently "Early Learning Fun" was developed in conjunction with someone from Sesame Street Magazine. Also, it sounds like there were not plans for wired joysticks. They were talking about the wireless look was what they wanted to keep clutter to a minimum. Other peripherals were a Software Module Library (select up to 8 modules) and a security control system (ACS Protection maybe). Lots going on in these pages. From what I can gather, this was printed in August 1978, as they talk about September as coming up. Still reading through it, probably will take a few days.

Scan first, read later! :P (kidding of course)

Looks like like a great read!  

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Oooh. Closer Joystick pic. From what I am reading, they could last up to 25 hours on a battery and had auto off if not used for a while. Check out the info page and also HHU (hand held unit, aka Joystick) cradle where you could make them into a keyboard with an overlay.

 

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Get this, Number Magic was to be built into the console along with the calculator and Basic. I guess to provide a built in educational program, a productivity program, and a programming language. Just needed to add a game to cover the other area. I would have voted to put Video Games 1 in there as well since it has a number of small games to whet people's appetite, and it was from 1979.

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Oh shoot. Just looked more in the box and found these green books:

 

  • "TI BASIC Interpreter System Documentation"....WRITTEN BY Robert B. Greenberg of Microsoft (8/24/1978).
  • "Specification of a TI standard for the BASIC Language" (6/9/1978)

And another crazy thing:

 

A 9/9/1977 dated transparencies that show the TI computer. Looks more like a game system at this point. With disc controllers, like an Intellivision. Also shows some planned peripherals. All drawings of course. 

 

 

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Shouldn't you be scanning right now!!! 😁

 

I'm thinking it's probably time to start a historical section in...

 

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Got an e-mail from CB Wilson, he's going to send over a scan of some organization charts he has from back then so I can get the names of everyone involved. Should be fun to see. I'm starting to wonder if TI used the Dimension name for each iteration of the 99/4, and final version happened to be a Dimension 4, so they ended up calling it a 99/4? And that's where the 4 came from?

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Alright... you should know... it has NOT been easy keeping myself alive, all these years...:roll: in anticipation of getting to the bottom of alllll this!:spidey:

 

Keep it coming, love. Don't stop it now!:evil:

 

       Ha!:cool:

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21 minutes ago, HOME AUTOMATION said:

Alright... you should know... it has NOT been easy keeping myself alive, all these years...:roll: in anticipation of getting to the bottom of alllll this!:spidey:

 

Keep it coming, love. Don't stop it now!:evil:

 

       Ha!:cool:

I hear you, but I fear I might have already divulged too much info too quickly, and people might be suffering from overload. I know I am. So I think I might take a break for tonight. Don't like going too fast as I like to take everything in, and also keep the suspense going for both me and anyone else interested in this :)

 

Wouldn't you rather spread this out over 10 years, dissect one page at a time and have thoughful discussion on each page :P

 

BTW, I found CB Wilson's title in the White Papers. He was the "Home Computer Engineering/Design Manager"

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12 minutes ago, Ksarul said:

I have a one word response for all of these documents: DROOL!

You're going to love those 1977 transparencies which I'll post tomorrow. TI came up with a system that was I think more ingenious than what came out, with how the expansions plugged into the unit. At least it was less space consuming.

 

There's one more doc which I did not mention that was in the box, it was "Home Computer Audio Cassette Evaluation". This doc is fro mlater (1983 at least) and talks also of the CC-40.

 

There also is a letter from the FCC with original envelope dated 12/8/1982 about some type of change approval that was going to be allowed in the equipment. Maybe this had something to do with the beige redesign?

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2 hours ago, Toucan said:

Wouldn't you rather spread this out over 10 years, dissect one page at a time and have thoughful discussion on each page :P

Do I want to live another 10 years...:twisted: 

 

...That is the question!:rolling:

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5 hours ago, Toucan said:

Oh shoot. Just looked more in the box and found these green books:

 

  • "TI BASIC Interpreter System Documentation"....WRITTEN BY Robert B. Greenberg of Microsoft (8/24/1978).
  • "Specification of a TI standard for the BASIC Language" (6/9/1978)

And another crazy thing:

 

A 9/9/1977 dated transparencies that show the TI computer. Looks more like a game system at this point. With disc controllers, like an Intellivision. Also shows some planned peripherals. All drawings of course. 

 

 

 

The TI BASIC stuff sounds fascinating. Wonder if original documented source code is still available somewhere.

Also if there are any original documents on Monitor and Extended Basic. Keeping my fingers crossed!

 

Thanks for sharing, it is very much appreciated! 😎

 

 

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This is gold !
 
Cool joysticks. Of course much better than what we ended up with. Almost calculators. Ha ! Damn. So cool !

image.thumb.png.1080ae3cd23392a881ade3cc10399aa7.png
 
This is doable with arduino.... mind is spinning on that.


Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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So I finally get to see those mythical Wireless Remote Controllers! :) Raphael Nabet added the emulation of those to MAME (MESS, in his days) long ago, and surely we never had any program to test them.

 



    TI-99/4 Handset support (TI99/4 only)

    The ti99/4 was intended to support some so-called "IR remote handsets".
    This feature was canceled at the last minute (reportedly ten minutes before
    the introductory press conference in June 1979), but the first thousands of
    99/4 units had the required port, and the support code was seemingly not
    deleted from ROMs until the introduction of the ti99/4a in 1981.  You could
    connect up to 4 20-key keypads, and up to 4 joysticks with a maximum
    resolution of 15 levels on each axis.

    The keyboard DSR was able to couple two 20-key keypads together to emulate
    a full 40-key keyboard.  Keyboard modes 0, 1 and 2 would select either the
    console keyboard with its two wired remote controllers (i.e. joysticks), or
    remote handsets 1 and 2 with their associated IR remote controllers (i.e.
    joysticks), according to which was currently active.

    Originally written by R. Nabet

 

taken from

https://github.com/mamedev/mame/blob/master/src/devices/bus/ti99/joyport/handset.cpp

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Even though they are cool, I understand why they never happened.  Here are a few possible reasons that come to the top of my mind...

 

1) Unit cost & profitability - While they were in the planning stages, computers were still fairly expensive and there was yet no set standard to compete with.

                                              While cool, they would have added substantially to the overall cost, which was already going to be high.  Considering the target

                                              demographic, (families with small children), not the best thing, especially when #2 is taken into account.

2) Duration of use & cost   -  Kids play, quite literally for hours at a time.  Either the kids would be forced to stop playing after 5 hours and wait for the things  

    of operation.                       to recharge, during which point they are worthless, or mom and dad would constantly be buying batteries.

 

3) Durability                        -  Those buttons look cheap, if they were membrane, they would wear out under exhaustive kid use requiring repair making and 

                                                tarnishing their "quality image".

 

Now days as a 'senior citizen' (I truly hate that moniker), but I digress, anyway my play time is usually under 10 minutes per session, never more than an hour, so yeah, something like that NOW would be so fricken awesome to have on my TI.

 

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Okay, so here are the transparencies I mentioned from 1977. The design is pretty interesting, with the peripherals supposedly plugging into the top of the unit and even being color coded by the looks of it. The design almost reminds me, due to the slimmer case, of the 99/2. My thought is that they couldn't get the sizes of the peripherals down small enough to make these pluggable in a row on the top of the console. What I thought was a disc-style controller (like the Intellivision), turns out to be an "Add Disc" (some type of disk drive?). The controllers look more similar to what was photographed in 1978, even with the cradle and keyboard connection capability. Also, I don't think these were membrane keys, but chiclet keys like the 99/4 had. They must have been bigger than what we got, as they are the width of the cartridge slot it seems. 

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