Chicago TI 99
Faire 1997

Seminars keep visitors busy at 15th Chicago fair


The 15th annual TI International Faire was an all-day event sponsored by the Chicago User Group. Think of that for a moment, 15 years! I have been attending annually since 1985. This year’s event was at the Evanston Public Library and was organized by Hal Shanalield. In addition to the exhibit room, there was a separate seminar room with more or less non.stop seminars. Several user groups and dealers had display/sales tables.

In his seminar, Bruce Harrison showed some of his new commercial and public domain products. He had a Yamaha keyboard and impressed the audience by playing music using his revised MidiMaster 99 software. There are AMS enhanced, and non AMS versions of this software. It now allows up to 16 tracks, with individual volume control, and has many other improvements over the original MidiMaster. Some musical pieces Bruce played were original Midi arrangements by his partner Dolores P. Werths. Bruce also showed an improved AMS slideshow, which can store 84 pictures in memory if you have a lmeg AMS card.


Berry Hannsen of the Dutch Users Group talked about what is happening in the TI world in Europe. He reported that there is now a European SCSI card which is faster than the SCSI card sold in this country. Shanafield has been given the documentation for this product, in German, and offers to pass copies on to others.

Berry talked about several cards made by Michael Becker and friends, some of which will be sold in this country by Cecure Electronics. These cards include a DSDD controller with clock, a PEB card that takes the place of the console and uses an AT keyboard, an 80-column card with more than 256K colors, and a GRAM Kracker-like card called the High Speed GPL card. Berry reports that there are still three active TI user groups in Europe and that the German and English groups are growing. The 1998 European TI show will be in England.


Mike Wright wowed his audience by showing the latest capabilities of PC99. He showed emulation of the Myarc 512K memoiy expansion card running Myarc Extended BASIC II. He also used the latest AMS diagnostic software to ”test” a 1 meg AMS card emulated under PC99. In my opinion, the ability to emulate a 1 meg AMS card will become important in the future. That is because Rich Gilbertson will soon make available a version of Extended BASIC that can make full use of the AMS card’s additional memoty for assembly programming. Mike reports that the Jim Peterson public domain software library of over 55011 disks has been converted into PC99 format and is available from him and others for free.

Mike also showed a cross-indexed version of all Jim Peterson’s Tips from the Tigercub in Adobe Acrobat format viewable on any PC or Mac. Most or all of the items described in this report will be included in the next upgrade of PC99.

Bud Mills gave an upbeat talk about what is happening with Bud Mills Services. He said that almost all repair work on his products is finished and those who have been waiting should get their PGRAMs or RAM-disks in the mail soon. He reports that some PGRAM cards will trash a module on power down and has worked out a hardware solution to the problem which he will publish soon.

He also said he plans another production run of Horizon 4000 boards with a slight redesign to reduce the possibility of shorting out the card on the back of the PEB. Memory prices for Horizon RAM-disks have come way down, Bud says.. He should soon be able to sell a built 1 meg RAMdisk for about $180, which is the same price that the original 90K Horizon sold for.


After the Evanston library closed Faire participants adjourned to a nearby grill for a delightful meal paid for by the Chicago User Group. Hal Shannafield then presented the awards to two very surprised individuals. The Grant B. Schmalgemeier memorial award is given annually to a member of the Chicago UG who has made outstanding contributions to the group. This year’s recipient was Berry Hannsen in recognition of his efforts in providing news and communication between European and North American user groups. I remember Grant Schmalgemeier from some of the first Chicago Faires I attended in the mid-1980s. Grant had a table near the entrance door and tried his best to personally greet each of the hundreds of fair attendees.

The John Birdwell memorial award was given this year to me, Charles Good, in appreciation for some of the TI fairs I have organized in past years. I had no idea this was coming and am deeply appreciative of the award. John Birdwell, as many of you know, was the author of DSKU and other fine TI software and was a MlCROpendium columnist.