TI-99/4A Floppies

Roger Merchberger zmerch-cctalk at 30below.com
Mon Oct 1 15:39:49 CDT 2007

Rumor has it that Roy J. Tellason may have mentioned these words:

>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 
>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.  :-)

You might have a slightly different concept of "useful" than I did - at 
least with my CoCo (and with most other computers I'd used at the time) 1 
floppy drive was all that was necessary to be "useful." I certainly didn't 
"complain" after getting my second floppy drive (many years later) but I 
did a *lot* of useful work on single-floppy systems.

Other than that, you're right - more memory was always good. ;-)

>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.

Not me - having used a 32x16 screen (which was rather limiting) on the CoCo 
and a 40x16 screen on my Tandy 200 (for which I was *very* glad I chose 
that over the 40x8 of the Model 100) 40x24 would have been "ok". At least 
at 40 columns, it's still easy to visually extrapolate what 80-char lines 
look like - a very painful exercise on 32x16!

>I never got one,  never played around with one,  but I don't think I'm 
>missing much.

Well, if you were a Basic programmer (like I was at the time) then you 
*really* weren't missing much! IIRC, it's Basic is not run on the primary 
CPU, but on the graphics chip! As such, it's a pretty limited Basic, and 
dog slow... at least 10x slower (for a simple For/Next loop) than a CoCo2, 
so for a home platform, you'd need to learn assembly or purchase (read: 
more $$$) a dev package for C/Fortran/Forth/whatever else might've been 
available for that box.

It did seem to have some decent game cartridges, but other than that, for a 
more "serious" work platform, you're right - it needed a *lot* more than 
just the bare machine.

Roger "Merch" Merchberger

Roger "Merch" Merchberger -- SysAdmin, Iceberg Computers
zmerch at 30below.com

What do you do when Life gives you lemons,
and you don't *like* lemonade?????????????

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