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cbmeeks

The TI isn't all bad is it??

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31 minutes ago, peterfleeman said:

That YouTube channel caught me because they look at odd Tandy's that rarely get attention. I don't really know why I keep watching because they bumble around and really don't know very much about the computers.  I don't know how many times the guy has said "I don't have any experience with a computer like this."  On the other hand it's hard to poopoo anybody trying to show off their collection.  And I appreciate the candor with his opinions.

 

HOWEVER, the hate for the TI was very unfair.

 

 

 

This is exactly why I started this thread.  I wish the guy lots of luck because we need quality retro-computer videos.  But even the mighty 8-Bit Guy gets things wrong (and is biased).  This guy is the same.  You just have to take what he says with a grain of salt.  But yeah...the TI unfairness was a little hard to stomach.

 

He's also on the young side to be into retro computers.  I always laugh when I hear "retro experts" talk about how a 486 was their first PC.  They never had to live through the pain of saving/loading from tape.  They never had to type in massive amounts of code on chicklet keyboards from magazines so that you had SOME software to use!  (to be fair, I've never done punch cards)

 

So their experiences are definitely different than mine.  So when they see a "limited" computer like the TI, they often get things wrong.

 

 

Edited by cbmeeks
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6 hours ago, cbmeeks said:

He's also on the young side to be into retro computers.  I always laugh when I hear "retro experts" talk about how a 486 was their first PC.  They never had to live through the pain of saving/loading from tape.  They never had to type in massive amounts of code on chicklet keyboards from magazines so that you had SOME software to use!  (to be fair, I've never done punch cards)

It's me! Almost.

 

I was born in '81. The 4a was an overglorified game cartridge player to me for a long time. It was dad's hobby, and we had a loaded P box because of it. (Disk drive almost certainly made Tunnels of Doom more pleasant.)

 

We built a 486 around 1995.  With a WHOLE GIGABYTE of hard disk space, which blew my mind. It was my second computer, and I had to know a lot more about how it worked to play games.

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I was born in 81 as well, so I followed a pretty similar path.  But my family was always a fair bit behind, technologically, and the difference was, I was the only one who was really interested in computers.  So I was never engaged with any technology of the day, in a really up-to-date fashion until 1995 or so.  So a TI-99/4A was my computer from basically when I was able to interact with a computer to 1993 or so, but with no peripherals.  And a cheap DOS/GEOS/Win31 486 with 4MB of RAM and EGA graphics succeeded it in 1993 or so for several years.  I think I got an NES, as my first game console, in 1992 or so as well. 

 

So yeah, very different story from most people here.  In that the TI-99 was my most influential childhood computing platform not because I was on the bleeding edge in 1981, but because I was way behind the times in 1991. 

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You guys are young whippersnappers.  🙂

 

Being born in 1973, I was 9 when I got my first computer (the TI).

 

So for me it went:   TI-99/4A -> C64 -> Amiga 500 -> Amiga 1200 -> 386SX -> 486DX2/66 -> P133 -> Gateway 2000 (P3/450) -> (many many more...)

 

The TI taught me so much.  Being 9 years old (with no one else interested in computers), I struggled a bit when programming.  The manuals with the TI are actually pretty good.  As a kid, I had issues learning certain words (spelling) and I remember reading those manuals over and over and literally learning new words from those manuals.  🙂

 

 

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   I learned more from owning my TI-99/4 in part because I didn't have boxes full of software for the machine. My follow-on Apple ][+ was basically an awesome game machine and word processor for school. The Commodre 64 was a game machine with a keyboard as well. That's what many people wanted back then. I believe the TI-99/4A game library was relatively insufficient and even more expensive (pre-liquidation) in comparison to the others where software piracy was far more common and accessible. 

 

   My Apple Pirate Club had so much gaming software we created a situation where there was little time to program the machine. With so many incredible "free" games...we simply had reduced desire to program the damn thing. Why? Fire up Karateka!

 

   My TI has always been more of a content creation platform vs a content consumption machine. That's probably what keep me coming back. The system is uniquely powerful (for the era) and especially interesting to study and program. That's enough for me.

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Ah! The younger generation! You think of the TI as a "game console". You are missing out on all of the quality utility programs available for the 4A. One of the best is Funnelweb. It will do just about anything that WORD will do and the package (which loads from either EA or XB) will load virtually any program made for the TI. The 80-column version is truly remarkable.

Want to get a file from the PC to the TI without wires, HXD, etc? PC-TRANSFER will do that. Simply dump the file to a 3.5" disk (there are 3.5" USB drives) with a TIFILES header and put the disk in a 3.5" disk drive on the TI (they work) and PC-TRANSFER with copy it.

 

I have well over 1100 disks in my personal library and less than 100 of them are games. From my 80-column menu and F'WEB, I can load almost 100 programs for various tasks with a single keypress. Oh yes, I challenge anyone with a Windows 10 machine (or any other operating system) to see who gets their word processor started from a cold boot. I will be typing in my second or third paragraph while you are waiting for WORD to boot.

 

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With the TI being my first computer when I was 13 near the end of 1982, I thought it was pretty cool based on the available games. Since we were always strapped for money, I was thinking, well, I'll just get books of type-in programs, learn BASIC, and create my own games just like the cartridges that were available in stores. Then I found out how non-standard TI's BASIC was. And limited. And slow. The need for multiple expensive add-ons to DO anything useful with it (like Airshack, I wanted to create) soured me on it, not to mention TI's abandoning of it less than a year after we bought it. That said, I don't regret having it be my first computer as it's what got me to learn programming in the first place and is why I'm still in a tech field to this day in my own career.

 

Now that there are so many advances and relatively inexpensive add-ons like the FinalGROM99 & the nanoPEB, with nearly every piece of software one could possibly want being just a download away, and of course emulators/simulators to use on modern computers, I got back into the platform with the same, if not more, excitement than I had the day my mom bought the computer for me.

 

My computer evolution: TI-99/4A (1982) ->Apple //c (1985) ->Laser 128EX (1987) ->Amiga 500 (1989) ->Windows 98 2nd edition PC (1998) and multiple PCs after that.

 

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9 minutes ago, atrax27407 said:

Oh yes, I challenge anyone with a Windows 10 machine (or any other operating system) to see who gets their word processor started from a cold boot.

 

OK, my Atari 800 from cold boot...no carts....loads the notepad app.  So from power up to typing would beat your TI because you have to load an app.

 

Now, I would HARDLY call the notepad a word processor...so I guess you still win.   LMAO!!

 

 

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2 minutes ago, majestyx said:

Since we were always strapped for money, I was thinking, well, I'll just get books of type-in programs, learn BASIC, and create my own games just like the cartridges that were available in stores

 

I had a very similar experience.  We had no money.  I had a few carts but that's it.  No PEB, disks, etc.  So the vast majority of "new" software I had was typing from magazines and whatever my 9-12 year old mind could come up with.

 

I remember I had a small box I kept by my desk for people to suggest the programs they wanted and I would write them!!!  HAHAHA.

 

 

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Ah! The younger generation! You think of the TI as a "game console".

 

I don't think that generalisation follows, really.  At least not as regards any of the people here who've commented here, and whose experiences with the TI-99/4A began after its being discontinued. 

 

The way I see it, from the point of view of, say, 1989 or 1990 (and therefore from the point of view of my own youth), a game console is the last thing that the TI-99/4A made sense as, at that point.  Since while I didn't have any game consoles, I was familiar with the state of affairs as regards them, via experiences with them with friends and relatives, and via arcade machines.  And it was perfectly clear the TI-99/4A was no NES or Sega Genesis or Hang-On arcade cabinet.  And regardless, it ceased to be possible to buy game cartridges for it in stores before I even had any money to spend on them.  What it still seemed to be, rather, as the boot screen would immediately announce to the user, and its support materials explained, was an environment in which to experiment with programming, which could not be done with those game consoles of the day.  I did have some game carts.  But I didn't play them all that much. 

 

It's surely the case that many people treated the TI-99/4A as a game console in any era of its use, just as plenty of people treated any affordable 80s home computer in that fashion.  But I don't really understand the proposition that TI-99/4A users whose youth brought them into the fold later on, and whose only computer was a TI-99/4A, would think of the TI-99/4A as a game console. 

 

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