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GDMike

HATS off to those lifelong TI'ers ADD someone's name!

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Hats off to Eric Olson!

As my first pick amongst so many!!

Eric visited us in Southern Nevada in 1987 to help start out our first TI assembly language weekend classes for SNUG.

Ever since then I've always had that bug.

I learned a lot, but 2 or 3 months after that I moved to Iceland... and the PC world took off shortly after my return to Nevada..

But I'm back to trying to learn again..whohoo thank you Eric.

 

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Posted (edited)

There are many who helped me get into computers.

 

My Cousin Lee Courtney told me about the TI 99/4A home computer because it was the first true 16-bit CPU on the home market. He was going to College with a Mathematics Major and Minored in Computers. He worked a giant Mainframe at Cal Poly Pomona while studying. He then went on to New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (new Mexico Tech). His best friend in New Mexico, Phil Olguin, had a TI, but preferred his fully decked out MITS Altair 8800 with screen and keyboard!

 

Once I bought my TI, at great expense, I had to learn about how to operate it with the manuals that came with it, and magazines I could pick up from the rack. Eventually I joined a TI Club meeting many mentors, teachers and fellow noobs to computers.

 

One man stands out, and I would like to Honor him here:

 

Bob Butts, may he rest in peace, had a wonderful Wife.

I am ashamed to admit I've forgotten her name after so many years (about 33 years ago). 

 

Out of the Blue, She called me one day and told me that Bob had had a lingering illness and that he had finally succumbed to it. Bob never told me, but he seemed frail all of the time I knew him.

She wondered if I would like a gift of his TI computer with the PEB stuffed full of glorious things like a dual-disk controller, disk drives, RS232 card, 32K memory card and PASCAL card with supporting software.

 

I gladly accepted with great honor. I have to think that Bob asked her to call me with this wonderful offer, once he had passed. No fanfare. Just a kind, quiet gesture.

 

At the time all I had was a console, voice synthesizer, cassette player/recorder, Games on tape, some financial, Extended Basic, mini-memory and terminal emulator (to work with voice synthesis) cartridges. I subscribed to Micropendium, was active in my TI Club and eventually wrote a pamphlet entitled "Easy Assembly". 

 

She knew me from the dozens and dozens of visits I made with Bob. He and I were members of the Pomona Valley 99er's Club. I went over to his house to talk 99/4A, computing in general, program and print out the programs I had written that week. He was a great mentor, and a very patient and nice man. Without his help I doubt I would be as far along with computers as I am.

 

I ended up as an IT Network guy and eventually became a Systems Analyst for a large non-profit Family Foundation. I will be retiring from there soon.

 

I have to credit Bob Butts for the inspiration, knowledge, confidence, hardware and software to boost me into a wonderful lifelong career.

 

Bob Butts - A great TI 99/4A man!

 

Thank you Bob. I'll see you one day, in Heaven.

Edited by x24b
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Posted (edited)

Hats off to Mr.Butts.

It's always nice to see those that impact us. 

As more and more of us are reaching that age, just let us enjoy what we love to do and not forget those who made it possible and easier, well some,(me), aren't math guru's and we learn from these types. 

May retirement do good things for you.

Congratulations.

Edited by GDMike
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Posted (edited)

My hat goes off to two people:

 

1. My dad, who bought me my first computer, the 99/4A, before I even knew I was a computer geek.  Standing in JC-Penny in 1983, he chose the 99/4A over the C64 because he knew (and liked) the TI brand, and he owned a TI programmable calculator.  Without that first computer coming into my life at that crucial time, I don't know at what pointer computers would have entered my life or how things would have turned out.

 

2. Peter Lottrup (author of: COMPUTES!'s Beginner's Guide to Assembly Language on the TI-99/4A).  Although I complain (with total respect and admiration) a lot about the code in this book now, this book was absolutely *critical* to my understanding of, and opening the world to, assembly language.  This book helped me learn assembly and build the knowledge to do things with my 99/4A, and future computers, that I did not think were possible.  Safe to say, without this book my assembly language ability would have been pushed back at least another year while I literally cried and agonized over trying to understand the E/A manual.

Edited by matthew180
Added full title of the Lottrup book.
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I didn't have the MiniMemory either, but I did have the E/A package, and somehow I managed to get things working by just avoiding / ignoring the MiniMemory bits.  The core parts of the example programs worked, and I had a minimal program skeleton that I put together from various examples from the E/A manual.  I quickly learned that when the author wrote "BLWP @>6028", I would just write "BLWP @VMBW".  Even though I did not understand what BLWP was actually doing until much later in life, I learned how to use the routines and it allowed me to write programs and use the tools.

 

The Lottrup book does a great job of striking the balance between too much theory and getting things working.  You are given a few pieces, then shown some examples that do something useful and interesting, then a few more pieces and another example.  There is no bogging down in too much theory or trying to explain all the details, and the examples are bit-size and do something interesting enough to keep you going.

 

Showing the learner how to get something on the screen or to make some sounds, i.e. visual and audible feedback, etc. is very important towards continued interest.  It shows that you *can* use the computer to make the programs you want to make.  The example of clearing the screen was one of those moments for me where you have a wave of understanding.  Just learning what "clearing the screen" actually entails (writing a blank to every position on the screen), and then showing how it was done, that was an amazing moment of clarity for me.  I immediately made the connection to "CALL CLEAR" in BASIC, and I then understood that for each BASIC instruction the computer was actually executing multiple assembly instructions, and that was why BASIC was slower than assembly (of course I had no knowledge of GPL or interpreters, but the general principle was true anyway).

 

If I ever write a book, I will definitely follow the Lottrup style.  Slightly off topic, the Pong P. Chu book on VHDL was the equivalent of the Lottrup book for me when I was learning HDL.

 

Anyway, this is getting off topic for this thread, my apologizes.

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On 3/23/2020 at 1:01 PM, matthew180 said:

If I ever write a book, I will definitely follow the Lottrup style.

How about a fun series of short single-topic instructional YouTube videos vs a giant book project?

 

You're especially talented at stepping back and transferring your knowledge of complex matters to beginners via easily understood examples. 

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I have kicked that around, but reluctant; introvert, you know.  A book feels like it would be easier than making decent videos, but I realize that is the "new way" these days.  Then I see all the other videos on these topics already out there and it makes me ask "what's the use?"

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