Asgard shows First Draft,
Bud Mills shows SCSI card
By GARY W COX
The Chicago TI Faire has once again come and gone leaving attendees with a variety of new T199/4A and Geneve products in their hands.
One of the most interesting items at the fair was PC99 (TI Emulator) by Mike Wright and Greg Hill and distributed through CaDD Electronics. PC99 is a program which allows the IBM compatible PC user to operate his PC as if it were a TI99/4A running T199/4A compatible programs. The project is far from completion but what does work looks intriguing. According to Wright, the TI GROMs and ROMs have been copied into a program on the PC, thus allowing actual TI emulation and not fake screens that fool you into thinking your PC is running as a T199/4A.
The first display that you see on your PC is the TI color bar screen followed by the familiar selections for TI BASIC and Extended BASIC followed by the usual prompt seen in Extended BASIC. I got to sit at the keyboard and play a little with PC99 and I wrote a simple four-line program in XB which ran fine. I was also able to see Parsec running on the PC, with the exception of sprites. Sprites have not yet been implemented in the emulator package.
The program development is currently in what is called Stage 0 which is the first stage of development. The system is very slow, even on a 50mhz PC. The speed of the system is expected to dramatically increase as the operating system code is modified and optimized.
It is impressive that someone has actually been able to get this far on a TI emulator, but it is currently just a neat thing to see rather than something that can get much use running TI programs due to many incompatibilities that still exist as well as the slow operating speed. Wright says the development of the PC99 project depends on the response he gets from TI users.
Also present at the fair was Bud Mills of Bud Mills Services (Horizon Computer) selling the SCSI controller card along with Don O’Neil, the designer, who was there to answer questions about the card. While the hardware was complete and the cards were available for sale the DSR (Device Service Routine) to operate the card is not expected to be available until December. According to Mills, 9640 News is expected to release a patch for MDOS to allow direct access to SCSI devices without the use of the DSR being developed. The SCSI card is expected to be able to access most of the SCSI devices available today. Also available from Bud Mills was the Horizon 4000 RAMdisk card. The Horizon 4000 provides all the modifications and features of previous cards plus more, including the Phoenix modification and RAMBO all built in. The card will also populate up to 8 megabytes of RAM chips to make a really large RAMdisk.
Michael Maksimik of Crystal Software displayed a variety of MIDI-related products, including MID! Master 99 V2.3, MID! Album 99, various song disks and a new enhanced cable design for his MID! interface. Also new and functioning was software written by Maksimik which will operate a tape backup device on the Geneve. The software is expected to be released soon by 9640 News.
New from Ken Gilliland of Notung software was MID! Volume 5, Disk of the An.cient Ones, containing scenes from the ages, and a Hieroglyph translator, among other things. For those interested in west.ern related items, he has a disk called Disk of the Old West containing music, graphics, etc. related to the old west. For advanced BASIC owners he offered a new game called ARMOR.
Bruce Harrison of Harrison Software displayed a variety of programs, including Smart Connect — a program which allows the transfer of files between a TI and a PC compatible computer. New this year was Stor Mor ($5), a simple program that loads strings into low and high memory solving the problem of programmers running out of string space. Stor Mor might be thought of a sort of memory manager similar to what you find on PCs.
Among the busiest tables at the fair was the 9640 News table where Beery Miller displayed a variety of software for the Geneve, including GenPROG, Picture Transfer, HyperCopy, PC Transfer, PC Transfer Utilities, Identifile, 9640 News volumes 1, 2 and 3, Global War, Tetris for MDOS, Barricade, MODS versions H and F, ABASIC, V9938 manuals, MDOS source code, ABASIC source code and PSYSTEM source code and libraries. One new program was a backup program called Backup Miser which will backup a hard disk to floppy using data compression techniques to minimize the amount of disks needed.
Chris Bobbitt and David Bishop represented Asgard Software and displayed a number of new products, including Link Terminal Emulator, Page Pro Composer.
Invoice Management, Mail Room, Music Maker Sampler and Font Sampler. One of the biggest new items from Asgard was First Draft, a new word processor program with a built-in spell checker. Asgard also showed its new memory card for the 4A.
Present from MS Software was Mickey Cendrowski (Schmitt) and Mike Sealy demonstrating a new product called Page Pro Cataloger. The program prints a catalog of Page Pro Pictures quickly and easily.
Larry Conner of L. L. Conner Enterprises displayed a large number of TI car.tridges, third party software, hard-to-find TI chips and such rare hardware such as a Ham radio Morse code transmitter interface for the T199/4A.
Ron Markus of Ramcharged Computers had his usual assortment of software and joysticks, plus two new game programs called Astro-Mania and War on Sea, available for $9.95 each.
Del Wright and William Lucid of D. Wright Stuff were selling a variety of disk drives, quiet cooling fans, joysticks, power supplies, modulators and drive enclosures, among other items.
Ted Kieper of Competition Computer displayed parts, drives, cartridges, consoles and a good variety of expansion boxes, monitors and cables.
Mark Wacholtz of Media Ware Software displayed a new game called Super Space Acer, which is a neat game written my Mike Ward in the C programming language.
Don Walden of Cecure Electronics provided a variety of upgrades and parts for Geneves. Walden indicated that he is now an authorized repair center for Myarc products, including Geneves.
For those interested in BBS software Tim Tesch was demonstrating his BBS software, written in Extended BASIC and
Assembly, which will run on either a T199/4A or Geneve 9640. The software is $30. Tim mentioned that he will possibly be working on an Echo mail system for his BBS software sometime soon.
Mark Van Coppenolle of C.A.D.D. Electronics displayed an assortment of hardware and software for the TI and Gen.eve, including the GRAMulator and other products.
Many user groups were also represented, including Charles Good of the Lima group, Greg Larson of the Hoosier’s user group, the Will County U.G., Milwaukee TI user group and me, from the Mid-South 99 Users Group.
TI users from across the U.S. were joined by TI’ers from Germany and Holland, including Berry Harmsen of the Dutch TI Users Group. The group has some 260 members. Harmsen showed a card which allows the user to put his speech synthesizer board onto a board for the PEB and using this special board the user can access TE2 speech capabilities without having the TE2 module. Another item was an archiver program which will compress assembly programs up to 60 percent of their original size. Once archived, it will still run without having to unarchive it. This would come in really handy for those with limited disk space.