Chicago TI 99
Faire 1994

PC99 shows great improvement


This year’s Chicago TI Faire was not quite like the previous fairs. Attendance was not as heavy and few new products were presented. However, many of the vendors at the fair had a variety of used equipment at bargain-basement prices, and at least a few new products were presented.

One interesting item which caught my eye was the improvement in PC99 — a program which emulates the T19914A on a PC-compatible. The biggest improvement was in its speed. One example shown at the fair was the TI Demonstration Module running on a 50Mhz 486 at speeds faster than what the T199/4A can produce. PC99 also has improved sound emulation for those who have Sound Blaster cards in their PCs. This allows PC99 to emulate the three voices of the TI sound chip. PC99 now can also make use of the Review Module Library feature built into a ~I99/4A where up to 16 modules can be online and ready for use.

Also added is compatibility with Plato disks, as well as the addition of TI p-code card emulation. PC99 also now emulates the TI RS232 port so that programs that use the TI RS232 can operate through PC99. Finally a very neat debugger pro.gram has been added. It displays the TI screen in a small window on the PC display where access to all the debugging and editing features are available and updates are applied immediately to the running ap.plication. While this particular version of PC99 was not ready for release, Mike Wright of CaDD Electronics said the release of this version will be coming soon.

New from Tim Tesch of S&T Software and available from Cecure Electronics is CYA. CYA is a MDOS configuration pro.gram that allows the user to customize his MDOS operating system without resorting to a sector editor.

As for the SCSI controller project, a beta version of the DSR software for the Geneve has been distributed by Mike Maksimik to those on the beta test team. Maksimik said that the object of the first official release of the SCSI DSR is simply to get a SCSI hard drive to function, followed by the addition of a DSR for a SCSI CD-ROM, a SCSI tape backup and to eventually go with all SCSI devices in the system. David Nieters and Brad Snyder are continuing work on the DSR for the T199/4A.

New from Beery Miller of 9640 News was MDOS version 2.20 which fixes some minor bugs such as RS232 problems and now adds support for “odball” keyboards as well as support for PFM devices. Beery was also pushing his involvement on Genie (an online service) with the TI Round Table!

Elsewhere Bud Mills of Bud Mills Services had his usual variety of RAMdisks, P-GRAM cards and other products which were available in both in kit form and fully assembled form. Bud also had a variety of used TI equipment available.

Don Walden of Cecure Electronics said that Cecure has a variety of new projects in the works for the T199/4A and Geneve. Cecure is now the only Texas Instruments authorized repair center for T199/4A and CC4O equipment (it is also the authorized Myarc repair center). Special projects in the works include the possibility of remanufacturing (producing new) Myarc floppy and hard drive controller cards. Don stated though that the major problem in such a project is locating the chips needed to make the cards. Another project in the works is the possibility of manufacturing Hexbus-based equipment for the T19914A as Texas Instruments had intended.

Dave Nieters of Western Horizon Technologies demonstrated the installation of the AT-Keyboard and ROM upgrade kit whereby a standard AT keyboard can be used with the TI. Not only can you use the AT keyboard, the TI keyboard also remains active at the same time. Other products available from WHT include the Horizon Mouse, Turbo video for the Geneve, Digi-Port, monitors and PC-based equipment as well as repair services.

Elsewhere Larry Conner of L.L Conner had his usual assortment of hard-to-find hardware, software and parts. Ted Kieper of Competition Computer had an extensive array of equipment and software for sale, including a hard-to-find T199/4 (not 4A) which I purchased myself.

Ricky Bottoms of RBD Enterprises had an assortment of hardware and software for sale. Rob Markus of Ramcharged Computers had his usual array of hardware and software available, including some hard to find software.

Others having a variety of software and equipment include Program Innovators, the Chicago TI Users Group, Hoosier Users Group, Milwaukee Users Group, Mid-South (Memphis) TI Users Group, Will County Users Group, Com.puters & Crafts (Kevin Keller) and Aaron Busch from St. Louis.

One interesting item which caught my eye was from Berry Harmsen of the Dutch TI Users Group who brought over an interesting 80-column card made my Michael Becker in Germany. The 80-column card which is called the EVPC (Enhanced Video Processor Card) incorporated not only a video port but a mouse port as well. It looked very well built and of extremely good quality.

This year’s John Birdwell Award for outstanding commitment to the TI community was given to Tim Tesch for his involvement in supporting the TI community.

Finally, Charles Good of the Lima Oh1 TI Users Group (P.O. Box 647. Venedo.cia, OH 45894) was promoting the next Multi-User Group conference to be held April 28-29 in Lima Ohio.