Vendors, visitors had plenty to do
at Chicago TI Faire
Story and photos
By GARY W. COX
The Chicago TI Faire has once again come and gone. While I do not know the exact attendance numbers it was reported that more attended this year than last year plus I can personally say that a good crowd of TI enthusiasts was present all day long.
Many vendors reported sales from fair to good, and a few did very well. While the faire closed at 5 p.m. Saturday, sales were still being made at 7:30 p.tn. that night!
The faire also brought forth many new products. Among the new products was Barry Boone’s “Sound FIX” ($14.95) program sold through Texaments whom Barry Boone and Lee Bendick represented at the fair. Sound FIX allows the user to play true digital sound (recorded music, speech etc.) through a T199/4A or Geneve 9640 without additional equipment. Sound F/X allows the playing of sound files from IBM (Sound Blaster VOC files), Macintosh or Amiga computers (SND files). The standard T19914A is limited to about 15 seconds of play time due to memory constraints, although optional equipment such as an 80-column card (for additional memory), Super Space or other compatible memory will increase the play time. A standard Geneve will give 400K worth of memory space. A (Geneve equipped with a Memex memory expansion card will provide up to 1.7 megabytes. At any rate, this is truly a remarkable program with surprising sound quality in the playback of digital sound files.
Also available from Texaments was a selection of disks with various sounds for Sound FIX, ranging from voices of famous people and cartoon characters to science fiction characters and even some music. Other new items from Texaments were 10 games, ported over from Torny liitor, exclusively for use with the Gencve 9640. Included are the games Space Champions, Cave Explorer, Train Twister, Time Guardian, Jungle Terror, Traffic Frenzy, Islander & Car Race, Submarine Revenge, and Sea Terror.
New from Bud Mills of Bud Mills Services was TIM converter, which takes an RGB analog signal and converts it to composite signal. This allows the user of a previous monitor arrangement to use a composite monitor or TV with the TIM 80-column device. In addition to selling the Memex memory card for the Geneve and the Horizon RAMdisks. Mills also sells the Miller Graphics EPROMs ($35) for the CorComp disk controller which are used to enhance the operation of the disk controller. The Accelerator Card for the T199/4A, which greatly speeds up the operation of the T199/4A, was not available but is still in the works. No date was given for when Accelerator Card would be ready. One additional note from Bud was that he offers to anyone that sells their smaller Horizon RAMdisk to someone in order to purchase a bigger RkMdisk from him, Bud will warranty the old RAMdisk to the new owner for a period of 90 days. This applies only when someone purchases a new RAMdisk from him and sells the old one.
Gary Boswer of OPA demonstrated his digital sound adaptor which connects to the parallel port and allows the user to play back 8 hit digital sounds. This device is expected to he available by the end of the year.
Also new from OPA was POP-cart, a device containing a set of user-selected T199 modules/programs all in one cartridge that plugs into the module port. The user selects the cartridges that he wants and it is all burned into one cartridge by OPA and accessed through a menu. For a basic unit containing 256K, programs from 5-7 cartridges can fit on one POP-cart. However, units up to 2 megabytes are available. The cost for the basic unit is $95 plus $4.50 shipping. The POP-card uses the feature built into the console called “REVIEW MODULE LIBRARY” to access the various cartridges. However, for an additional $25 a scrolling pop-up menu is available with additional features, such as the loading of assembly, object. Forth and c99 programs via the menu. Further.more, on special request, sonic disk-based programs can also be burned into POP-cart, such as Rapid Copy, Disk Utilities, etc. Users can have everything they need in one regular-size cartridge which can be carried around. Furthermore, if XB and TE2 were burned into a POP-cart TE2 speech would be available in XB.
Also available from OPA is replacement GROMS 0 and I of the console, allowing the cataloging and loading of most programs without the need of a cartridge.
Representing 9640 News was Beery Miller displaying a variety of products for the Geneve 9640. Newly available through
9640 News was GEME, a software package where multiple windows are allowed and the ability to scroll around them is possible. This package was completed by Beery Miller and Myarc has permitted its release. The only cost to users is shipping and handling of $5. Also new was PSYSTEM, which includes the P-system run-time and library file along with MDOS 0.98H and 1.15 which should only be used with the P-system.
It has been reported that P-system will run all software which will run on the P-Code card by TI. Cost of P-system is $10. Distributed through 9640 News was GenBench Shell ($20), a utility that allows one to interface from MDOS to any MDOS or GPL program, providing the ability to build a menu and run anything at will. Included in this package are Genbench utilities that interface with TIC, allowing one to use a graphic mode environment to overlap windows with scrolling. Another addition through 9640 News was GenTRI ($49.95), a telecom.munications, disk manager and word processor all in one package.
All the above 9640 News products are for the Geneve only. However, 9640 News is also distributing the re-release of several programs by Mike Dodd. including PCTranstér ($25), PC-Transfer utilities ($7.50) and Identifile ($10) for the T199/4a plus Hypercopy ($15) for the Geneve.
Ken Gilliland of Notung Software displayed many new software products, including the Bride of Disk of Dinosaurs ($12), Fonts and Borders (high quality TI Artist format fonts and borders, $7) and Disk of Horrors ($12) containing TI Artist art files, music and animation plus three original horror short stories by Ken Gilliland. Updates to several products include
Filmlib version 3.01($7)for use with TI-Base which has an enhanced menuing system, better print routines, enhanced on-screen display
plus editing and appending features. Also updated is TI Casino V3.0 ($15) which now has five separate bank accounts, multiple users with password protection, enhanced craps, raised house limits, true Vegas style Baccarat plus the addition of a nightclub complete with a comedian who tells jokes! Note that updates are free, just return original disks with proper return postage and mailer.
Mike and Chris Maksimik of Crystal Software displayed their MIDI interface and a collection of songs.
Mark Van Coppenolle of CaDD Electronics displayed its GRAMulator Kit, which funclions like the GRAM Kracker (in fact looks much like one). The basic kit costs $55 (must be assembled) or can be ordered assembled at an additional cost. Among other products was RICHGKXB ($24.95), which is an enhancement to the original TI Extended BASIC and requires the use of a GRAM device (GRAMulator. GRAM Kracker, etc.).
Representing Asgard Software was Larry Tippett displaying several new programs including Go-fer, Thumbnails (Geneve program utility for organizing, cataloging and converting MacPaint pictures $14.95). Mail Room and 5GW (CHARAI character editor $14.95). Also at the Asgard Software table was a huge selection of other software from the company.
Bruce Harrison of Harrison Software demonstrated two new games: Scud Busters ($14.95) and Code Breakers. Another new program available was Smart Connect ($10), a program which allows the transfer of files between a TI and IBM compatible by the use of a connecting cable. Bruce Harrisons table was very busy all day with people purchasing his new products and old, including a good collection of music.
Representing L.L Conner Enterprises was Larry Conner selling products ranging from TI brand software to hard-to-find parts such as console L connectors and hexbus equipment.
Competition Computer also had a big assortment of TI brand software, cables and parts, including quite a few peripheral expansion boxes.
John McDevitt of Rave 99 demonstrated a new PE2 expansion box. Rave also displayed its speech adaptor cards and enhanced keyboards.
Tom Freeman ot J&P Software had several programs available, including Hard Back, Disk Assembler and Bugger.
MS Express Software displayed several software products and mentioned that several new products are currently in the works.
Available from several vendors was a device by William A. Shores of Suite #107, 5679 S. Transit Rd., Lockport, NY 14094 called E/B Module Expander ($25) which is said to give you the ability to have Extended BASIC and 5 other cartridge selections all in one. The device is a kit where you take the GROMs (can only use modules with 16-pin GROMs) from your old cartridges and place them into this new device, which is slightly larger than a regular cartridge, and the user may switch between the cartridges with a 6-position switch.
Ron Markus of Ramcharged Computers had various products for the T199/4A, including a large supply of Prostick II joy- sticks. Barry Traver of Genial Computerware was present promoting his magazine on disk as well as Genie of which he is sysop of the TI section.
Roy Hunter of Hunter Electronics was present with vari.ous TI products. Disk ‘N Dat sold a variety of generic computer supplies such as paper, ribbons, surge protectors, etc.
A company named Del and Walter had a huge selection of disk drives and various other TI hardware and software.
Furthermore, several user groups had tables, including Hoosier from Indianapolis, Milwaukee 99 Users Group, Will County TI users group from Romeoville, IL, and the St. Louis 99 User Group. Representatives of many other user groups across the country were present, including several people from my local users group (Mid-South Memphis T199/4a Users Group).
Besides the new software and hardware some fantastic deals on used equipment was present at prices so low I had best not even mention it!
Also throughout the day various seminars were held by the various vendors demonstrating new hardware and software, as well as items that have been around a while.
At the close of the faire at the Saturday night banquet the John Birdwell Memorial Fund award was presented by John Birdwells wife Kathy and daughter Kelly to Barry Travler for outstanding excellence in TI and Geneve 9640 community.
As usual the Chicago TI Faire was great and my thanks go to the organizers (Hal Shanafield was in charge) who got it all together and my thanks also goes to those who from the Chicago UG donated their time and equipment to putting on such an event. Plus from what I heard the staff at the Holiday Inn did a great job keeping arrangements straight for the event. If you haven’t attended a TI fair, I would highly recommend it.