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Omega-TI

Items for the TI whose time has come and gone.

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In the past there have been some really cool pieces of hardware that we have drooled over, lusted for, and maybe even purchased.  Now as time marches on, some of those legacy items that were once cool, or radically overpriced, have now been supplanted by newer and cheaper technology that does the same thing, sometimes even more.  So with this in mind, what was the biggest item on your wish list, that you now have no interest in because of a new item?

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Well, I wanted to build up my cartridge collection but, with the FG99 in my hands, I can just torch the lot!

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23 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

Well, I wanted to build up my cartridge collection but, with the FG99 in my hands, I can just torch the lot!

this is a mistake, i did the same thing when I got a gramkracker, still rebuilding.. 

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Well I'd say the Super Space II cartridge is largely redundant now. The fact so few were made made them not really supportable anyway. (Not even Classic99 supports it.)

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Finalrom is a little outdated i'd say.

Finalgrom can do everything the Finalrom did, plus.

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4 hours ago, adamantyr said:

Well I'd say the Super Space II cartridge is largely redundant now. The fact so few were made made them not really supportable anyway. (Not even Classic99 supports it.)

I never needed to. ;)

 

Though it does support the ROM banking method.

 

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I feel like the Navarone Cartridge Expander's/Widget's time has kind of come and gone, at least as far as basic intended use goes.  Not much sense in a convenience device which isn't tolerated by the most convenient cartridges of our time. 

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7 hours ago, adamantyr said:

Well I'd say the Super Space II cartridge is largely redundant now.

2 hours ago, pixelpedant said:

I feel like the Navarone Cartridge Expander's/Widget's time has kind of come and gone, at least as far as basic intended use goes.  

 

It's hard to argue with these for sure.  I don't use my Super Cart anymore, now that the FinalGROM does darn near everything.  The last time I used the Widget was for Beyond Chess, but since even that was converted for the FinalGROM, I have no use for the Navarone Expander.

 

Like mechanical disk drives, it's hard to justify the size, expense and reliability when we now have solutions that are solid state, small and cheap.

 

Even a couple of years ago I'd make a bids on auctions << like this >> just to try to get some inexpensive cartridge shells, but I have no need to do that anymore.  The FinalGROM sure did change the way we do things.

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3 hours ago, jrhodes said:

Finalrom is a little outdated i'd say.

Finalgrom can do everything the Finalrom did, plus.

Yeah, the FlashROM was certainly outclassed and outdated by the FinalGROM, but I still have mine plugged into the "portable" system.

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The old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind. Some folks will rush to buy the "newest, shiniest bauble in the basket" regardless of whether it fulfills the purpose they had in mind for their TI system. Those are the folks who buy something just to have it. They will tire of the new accessory and move on to the next "exciting" one as soon as it appears on the market.

 

On the other hand, there are bona fide collectors who endeavor to have an exemplar of each new piece of hardware that is produced to add to their chronological collection of produced TI gear. They typically retain and keep these items whether or not they install it in their system (or actually use it).

 

Then, there are those who wish to have a true legacy system and only keep those accessories that were around when TI was active in the computer market and the concurrently-produced accessories were around.

 

The bottom line is that, if your system does what you need it to do, there is little advantage to replace old TI-compatible gear with something newer, just to say that you have it. Nothing really ever becomes redundant except in the mind of the user.   

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Here's a piece of TI-99/4A unobtanium: a genuine factory repair tech power-up tested.  It plugs into the I/O port like a standard speech synthesizer and once the console is powered up and displays a TI logo, you press the momentary contact switch on top and it tests out the majority of the machine along with a diagnostic command module in the GROM port.  We used these to make sure they wouldn't get thrown back at us after being repaired.  I used it for years when I fixed consoles after leaving TI.  It's gathering dust in my old TI tool box. 

Power-Up Tester.JPG

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7 hours ago, atrax27407 said:

The old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind. Some folks will rush to buy the "newest, shiniest bauble in the basket" regardless of whether it fulfills the purpose they had in mind for their TI system. Those are the folks who buy something just to have it. They will tire of the new accessory and move on to the next "exciting" one as soon as it appears on the market.

 

On the other hand, there are bona fide collectors who endeavor to have an exemplar of each new piece of hardware that is produced to add to their chronological collection of produced TI gear. They typically retain and keep these items whether or not they install it in their system (or actually use it).

 

Then, there are those who wish to have a true legacy system and only keep those accessories that were around when TI was active in the computer market and the concurrently-produced accessories were around.

 

The bottom line is that, if your system does what you need it to do, there is little advantage to replace old TI-compatible gear with something newer, just to say that you have it. Nothing really ever becomes redundant except in the mind of the user.   

I'm usually a subscriber to the, "If it ain't broke don't fix it" motto.  I also understand this hobby is different strokes for different folks and one answer or solution is not for all.  Now when it comes to the "newest, shiniest bauble in the basket", I've been guilty of getting some of these new gadgets, and dropping others, and not just for the sake of it being new or shiny.  Not being wealthy, I need the most bang for the buck.  In some of these cases my thoughts went like...

 

1) The HxC

     While it was not cheap, it eliminated the need to buy and store old style diskettes as well as having to mess with cleaning the heads and stuff like that.  It also gave me another vector for transferring downloaded programs from the PC to the TI.  At the time, it was worth it to me.  While it no longer gets as much use as it used to, because of the TIPI, it's still being used.

 

2) The HDX modification

     When I got this device, I did not have the HxC or a TIPI and it was the only solution for me at the time to get all these cool programs written by Tursi, Rasmus and others to my TI.  After I got the TIPI, the HDX did become rather redundant and I got rid of it.

 

3) The TIPI

     When I got this, I no longer needed the HDX, UDS-10 or the RS-232's.  It eliminated the rats nest of cables and I no longer "needed" a hard drive controller or hard drive.  I no longer felt the need for a RAM disk either because stuff off the TIPI and FinalGROM load up blindingly fast.  So, with this relatively inexpensive bauble in my P-Box basket I became content.

 

4) Triple Tech Card

    Was it necessary?  No, but I had one in the past so my nostalgia kicked in and I "wanted" one to put my speech into the P-Box and to have a real time clock.  Thanks to the late great Gazoo, I was finally able to obtain one.

 

5) F18A

    Honestly I would have gotten out of the TI by now if I had to look at the crappy display of the 9918.  Over the years we've gotten used to ultra crisp displays on everything from our cellphones to home computers and HDTV's.  

 

6) PC keyboard adapter.

    I like consistency, the keyboard adapter gives me this.

 

So, FOR ME having these new goodies enhances my enjoyment of the hobby, and being that it IS a hobby, it's to be enjoyed.  I am still on the lookout for the next gadget to come down the line to enhance my experience.  What will it be?  I don't know, but when whatever it is get released, if it'll fill a need or a want, well I still have a few slots available in my P-Box basket!  :)

 

While I still have an unmodified P-Box (except for the fan) in reserve as well as a console, the time will come when I have to start getting rid of some of these items.  Now in the mind of THIS USER there were distinct advantages to replacing the old tech, better picture, faster load times, more storage space than I can ever hope to use and faster Internet speeds.  

 

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What about the Gram Kracker?  I always wanted one but now they just seem sort of pointless.

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8 minutes ago, Tempest said:

What about the Gram Kracker?  I always wanted one but now they just seem sort of pointless.

Well if you've never had one, and don't have any nostalgia for them and you're not a collector, I tend to agree.  So much stuff has already been converted and is easily downloadable at a moment's notice.  It seems to be a pricey gadget for little use.

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Like the floppy disk drive to the Gotek, the Gram Kracker seems to me to be a solution which at the time was state-of-the-art and can be replaced by the FG99, which is state-of-the-art now.  In both cases, the "want" gets removed from the equation of "why."  I want to use floppy disks and floppy drives.  I get a chuckle out of the idea of obsoleted parts of an obsolete computer system.

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1 hour ago, OLD CS1 said:

Like the floppy disk drive to the Gotek, the Gram Kracker seems to me to be a solution which at the time was state-of-the-art and can be replaced by the FG99, which is state-of-the-art now.  In both cases, the "want" gets removed from the equation of "why."  I want to use floppy disks and floppy drives.  I get a chuckle out of the idea of obsoleted parts of an obsolete computer system.

Absolutely go for it if that is your desire.  It's all up to the individual, in my case it was for ease of use, convenience, speed and space considerations.  When I weighed the pros and cons, it was was not even close... FOR ME.  As Arcadeshopper is fond of saying, YMMV.  One of the things I personally get a kick out of is seeing what we can get this old box to do working around the inherent limitations of the time.

 

I guess it's like a Model A Ford, you can like the body style, but boxing the frame is a must, a radio is nice, as is a new engine and transmission, better brakes, etc.  It all comes down to personal choice.  That's another thing I like about the TI, there are so many ways to expand these things.  Some people here have two, three or more different systems expanded in different ways. 

 

There are just some things you simply cannot do with all stock hardware and other things may be difficult.  Now days it might be hard to log into Heatwave with a TI 300 baud acoustical modem.  I think you would have to call one BBS first then jump to Heatwave.  In my mind, 3rd party hardware, whether it be from the 80's or present day, it's still 3rd party hardware.  But again, I'm only speaking from my perspective.  

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42 minutes ago, INVISIBLE said:

Now days it might be hard to log into Heatwave with a TI 300 baud acoustical modem.

Guess what I have to show you in October... :D

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30 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

Guess what I have to show you in October... :D

Notice I said hard, not impossible.  :)

 

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1 hour ago, INVISIBLE said:

Notice I said hard, not impossible.  :)

I notice you did not say "fun."

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14 hours ago, CC Clarke said:

Here's a piece of TI-99/4A unobtanium: a genuine factory repair tech power-up tested.  It plugs into the I/O port like a standard speech synthesizer and once the console is powered up and displays a TI logo, you press the momentary contact switch on top and it tests out the majority of the machine along with a diagnostic command module in the GROM port.  We used these to make sure they wouldn't get thrown back at us after being repaired.  I used it for years when I fixed consoles after leaving TI.  It's gathering dust in my old TI tool box. 

Now that'd be awesome to get a dump out of... ;)

 

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7 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

I notice you did not say "fun."

Been there done that...sort of.  Try using a TNC to make four jumps at 300 baud to an HF gateway to Russia at 50 baud and then snother two to the target system to carry on a keyboard to keyboard conversation.  Excruciating packet delays.  

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2 hours ago, INVISIBLE said:

Been there done that...sort of.  Try using a TNC to make four jumps at 300 baud to an HF gateway to Russia at 50 baud and then snother two to the target system to carry on a keyboard to keyboard conversation.  Excruciating packet delays.  

Oooo, yes, fun days.  I only got to Germany to download fresh warez, but was able to do the full 300 bps.  I was but a wee sprout so I do not remember what the network was called.  A BBS sysop on base showed me how to get around.  I also think packet radio would make for a neat demonstration, but that is outside my experience.

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Back in the day Packet radio was fun.  The local BBS (now gone) could handle up to 10 simultaneous connections, real-time keyboard-to-keyboard conversations were common.  We could leave messages on the ISS or MIR for others on the other side of the world to read and reply to.  Then the Internet started to ruin things, and the HF gateways started to go away and the excitement level dropped like a rock to level of picking up a telephone.  I miss those early BBS days and the heyday of packet radio.

 

 

 

AX25.2.2.pdf

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Easier for me to list the things I use on my daily driver.  It's an actual production machine - as in, I have been using this system for over 30 years to keep track of a parts inventory and it gets used daily.

  • TIPI in PEB - interesting, but not all that useful.  It does a poor job of emulating real storage (my opinion).  Basically, if it doesn't work well with TI-BASE or DM2k it's not helpful.  To be fair, I have not put the time into learning this as well as I should.
  • HxC - 2 2880 sector diskette images currently host my database.  Sadly, TI-BASE seems to only like diskettes for this.  Going with HxC has made backups super simple and disk corruptions are a thing of the past.  Presently using the Lotharek drives - expensive, but very high quality.  DSK1 and DSK2 are SD cards, DSK3 is a DSDD Teac drive I keep for media compatibility.  These are connected to a MyARC DDCC-1 with the 80 track DSDD ROM upgrade.
  • WHT SCSI - connected to a Syquest SQ200 drive.  This is where TI-BASE lives, and all my apps, programs and data.  I love listening to it do it's thing.
  • HDX - HDX1. maps to a disk on my SAN device where I have a stripped down embedded Win VM running TI99Hdx.  (USB to Serial plugged into back of SAN, connected by a fairly long serial cable to the TI RS-232 card with HDX mod)  This hosts all my TI stuff and is where I back up the WHT SCSI drive.  Basically. HDX1. is my TI99 directory on my SAN device - solid as a rock in terms of dependability and function.
  • P-GRAM+ - with clock.  Currently loaded with RXB, Editor Assember and a few other commonly used cart images.  They appear in a menu on powerup.  I could easily lose this and use the FinalGROM - but there is something nostalgic about running old hardware that was considered cool - and it's neat to be able to dump a cart to disk though I haven't done that in a while.  The clock is also supported by a lot of old software.

I'm guessing there is a way where I can use the TIPI to replace the HDX.  Basically, mount my SAN drive on the PI and map a disk to it.  Use it as a clock somehow.  I have been considering this.  But I use DM2K and experience all sorts of problems using disks and files on the TIPI.  Maybe there is something I am doing wrong - perhaps permissions on the PI or SAN.  Have not yet broken the code.

 

Otherwise, all the Horizon RAM cards I have (most of them broken), along with other vintage TI gadgets such as the cart switcher, printer interfaces, physical carts - they'll rumble around in my desk for a while until a send them off to better homes on eBay... :)

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, aftyde said:

But I use DM2K and experience all sorts of problems using disks and files on the TIPI.  Maybe there is something I am doing wrong - perhaps permissions on the PI or SAN.  Have not yet broken the code.

No, you are not doing anything wrong.  Some programs like TI-BASE simply do not work in the TIPI's FIAD environment.  At this point in time DM2K does not play well with the TIPI, and I have no clue if/when Fred will update it.  Force Command seems to be the only viable method so far, but I'll admit it can get tedious and time consuming to use on multiple files (unless there is something I don't know about, which is very possible).

 

 

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