TI-99/4A Floppies

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Mon Oct 1 20:16:05 CDT 2007

On 01/10/2007, Roy J. Tellason <rtellason at verizon.net> wrote:
> I remember back when we were talking about getting a computer for the first
> time...
> She called my attention to the fact that there was this local place
> advertising that machine "for only $149"...  So we went up there and talked
> to them about it.
> My thoughts at that time were that to have something useful you'd need at
> least two floppy drives.  I also thought that more memory than what came in
> the basic unit wasn't a bad idea,  either.  The sales dude did some figuring,
> and when the expansion box,  the memory,  and the drives were all added in
> the total came to something over $1,000 -- not as good a deal as it looked
> like,  at the time.  :-)
> I also didn't consider that it had only a 40-column screen,  either.  Having
> done a bunch of work on C64s,  and having gotten (eventually) an Osborne
> Executive which came with a built-in monitor showing an 80-column screen, I
> think I probably would've found that hard to live with as well.
> I suspect that that machine was an attempt to make a "computer appliance"
> which would provide a platform for commercial software or similar,  and it
> wasn't even that good at that.  <shrug>

They were odd little machines. I used several; my school equipped its
computer lab with them. Each with its own cassette recorded and black
& white TV. (!)

The BASIC was dog-slow and integer only, IIRC. There was a better
BASIC as a cartridge, but it cost too much.

They were pretty much the first ever 16-bit home micro, but it was a
crippled 16-bit chip - as detailed in another message in this thread.
They did have good keyboards, were solidly built and I believe the
graphics chip was, for its time, decent and capable.

However, they were obliterated in the UK market (and I suspect
worldwide) by the cheaper, faster, more capable and more flexible
Sinclair and Commodore machines. Even the less successful 8-bit
machines like the Dragon 32/64, Oric-1/Atmos & Amstrad CPC464/664/6128
sold masses more. The TI99s were relegated to the ranks of the
obscure, along with the Camputers Lynx, Memotech 512, Elan/Flan
Enterprise, Tatung Einstein and so on. Even the MSX did better and
/nobody/ over here bought /those/.

I suspect that made them /very/ cheap by the end of their life, and
that's why my school bought 20 or so of them.

Liam Proven • Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/liamproven
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