TI-99/4A in the 21st century

TI-99 Blog

Documenting new experiences with the TI-99/4A with the opportunities of the nanoPEB - CF7+ and the internet as an additional source for software.

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My brothers TI Setup

Posted on November 30, 2010 at 2:26 PM Comments comments (0)

 

A silver black/console with a few modifications inside. Check out the cool reset button next to the "=" key.

Another modification was a german keyboard, which sadly got a non-working "E" key. We had to exchange it with an standard US-one. The third modification is unvisible from outside. The visual display is a lot clearer and has much higher contrast colors than standard consoles. All modifications were made by TI Errorfree Club.

 

TI Games Programming Contest

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Owen Brand has started a TI games programming contest.

 

It's in TI Basic!

 

*Write a TI console BASIC game

*Game must be <=14k (for cassette loading)

*All games must run on an unexpanded /4a

*All entries due by January 14th

*You may enter as many 14k games as you wish, but only one will be considered for prizes

*Game may be either an original idea or a port of another game for another platform

 

Find more info here on the atariage.com forums.

 

Count us in!

 

My brother and I are programming and programming and programming on a game since last week.

We are doing this on the real hardware. We even started the first evening with saving only to the tape recorder because I didn't have my nanoPEB with me.

Atari collection almost complete

Posted on November 17, 2010 at 10:29 AM Comments comments (1)

I am happy. With so much luck I have found a Atari Dig Dug cartridge on ebay, for less than 6 dollars with a buy it now option. I had never seen one before.

 

My Atari Games collection is now almost complete:

  • Centipede
  • Defender
  • Dig Dug
  • Donkey Kong
  • Jungle Hunt
  • Moon Patrol
  • Pac-Man
  • Picnic-Paranoia
  • Pole Position
  • Protector II
  • Shamus

The only one missing of the officially released cartridges is Ms. Pac-Man (RX 8543).

 

Rescue mission - saving old data tapes

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 6:23 AM Comments comments (2)

One of the items we kept from our childhood was the collection of recorded MCs (music cassettes - tapes). On those tapes I have found audio music, private audio recordings from my home or school, and lots of self-recorded TI-99/4A programs.

 

Since I got my Texas Instruments PHP2700 Tape Recorder last week, I am reading in all the programs, mostly games, from these old tapes and saving them on my nanoPEB, for later usage.

 

It's TI Extended Basic and TI Basic stuff, english and many german programs. Between 20-30 tapes contain at least some programs.

 

As soon as I am finished with this task, the programs and games will get resorted into some fine disk images. I will publish all Freeware stuff here on this blog.

nanoPEB gets its 1 GB compact flash card

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (2)

I was able to successfully upgrade my nanoPEB device with a Toshiba Compact Flash 1 GB (F II). Now I have tons of memory avaiable for disk images.

 

If you buy your compact flash card at a store, be sure to keep you the option of returning it, if it's incompatible with the nanoPEB.

 

My brother catched his nanoPEB on ebay from Jaime Malilong on sunday. Jaime sells those self-made devices from time to time. On ebay he has got the username schmutzig1952.

Tons of new stuff arrived

Posted on November 11, 2010 at 5:42 AM Comments comments (1)

A hell of a lot Texas Instruments stuff arrived. Wow!

 

Yesterday my Texas Instruments PHP 2700 tape recorder arrived, fully functional and in pristine optical condition. At last I can save all the programs, I still have got on tapes from the 80s. Self written stuff from my brother and me. Stuff my dad has written and lots of programs, we have got from friends back then. The saving operation has started already. After everything is on the nanoPEB i will check the programs and search for unknown treasures.

 

Today 3 packages (!) arrived. The biggest and most pleasing is from Dave Howell from Erie, USA. Dave sent me a big part of his inventary, he has to give up. It's a giant box full of cartridges, manuals to them and a navarone cartridge expander. With his help my brother and I can now play again most of the games we did when we were kids. But we sure didn't have that much stuff. At last we both have Extended Basic and Editor/Assembler cartridges. Dave has a long story with the TI-99, as a teacher and as president of the Erie 99er User Group. I will ask him to write some lines for this blog, until then: Dave, I want to thank you for your confidence, I will care for the stuff the same way you did until now.

 

The other two packages contain stuff, i bought at ebay, some cartridges and a speech synthesizer.

 

I am still searching for a working compact flash card for my nanoPEB! Until then, the 32MB will have to do the job.

 

Isn't it wonderful that I will be on vacation on monday? My 3-day-weekend will be full of TI-99 sessions!

 

finding a compatible compact flash card

Posted on November 8, 2010 at 6:43 AM Comments comments (8)

The nanoPEB, built by Jaime Malilong, comes with a 32 MB compact flash card.

Well, he has tested the nanoPEB with SANDISK Compact Flash cards up to the size of 1024 MB = 1 GB.

 

Since we are in the year 2010 now, it's really hard to get your hands on such small cards.

 

I have bought a Kingston 4 GB CF Card, because that was the smallest card in the electronic shop avaiable.

The nanoPEB & TI booted up correct, I executed the format and mount commands but saving an item always led to an I/O Error 64 (which means no free disk space). My guess is, that the controller and or the software is unable to cope with everything greater than 2 GB size. My guess is some addressing issue.

 

Next I bought a Transcend 1 GB CF Card. Thats the size Jaime successfully tested his device with. If I insert this card, the TI won't even boot up (no title screen).

 

On the computer side I tried everything inside the "Disk Management console" and in the command program "diskpart.exe". I tried forcing FAT instead of FAT32, I tried shrinking the size of the partition.

 

I will now try to find a Sandisk 1 GB Compact Flash Card and will keep you up to date.

first steps with the nanoPEB

Posted on October 30, 2010 at 10:14 AM Comments comments (0)

My brother and I came together to start a really cool day. First we went to an electronic shop to get a power device for the nanoPEB and a card-reader for the Compact Flash Card, used in the nanoPEB. Then we went to his place to start the very first steps with the nanoPEB.

 

The advanced title screen made me scream out lout: "We are in!" (like David did in Wargames after getting into the WOPR system). Everythings works like a charm.

 

Running TI Extended Basic programs

For those who forgot, how to load a program in TI Extended Basic:

OLD DSK1.FILENAME

RUN

or

RUN "DSK1.FILENAME"

 

DSK1 stands for the Disk-Drive 1, with a nanoPEB you have three of them.

DSK2.FILENAME would access the program called FILENAME from Disk-Drive 2.

DSK3.FILENAME would access the program called FILENAME from Disk-Drive 3.

 

You will find hundreds of disk-images, full of programs and games, on several sites. I recommend browsing a bit on the ftp-server from whtech.

You will only need a ftp-client to download the files you want. More on this later...

 

A must have when using the nanoPEB is a program called TI99DIR.

It is a program made for Windows to copy your files to the compact flash cart. With this software it is really easy to get started, most of the disk images contain a catalog-like-program called LOAD, which is auto loaded when TI Extended Basic is started.

 

A PC99 disk image need to be converted to a V9T9 disk image before you can use it on a nanoPEB. TI99DIR gives you both the info, that your file is a PC99 disk image and the command to convert it.

 

Running assembler programs

To start an assembler game you will basically need the Editor/Assembler Cartridge. There are ways around that but let's do the easy way first. A catalog Program or TI99DIR will show you whether your game is of filetype DIS/FIX or PROG.

 

Running assembler programs of type DIS/FIX

Editor/Assembler Menu 3: LOAD AND RUN, on the next screen it asks you for the FILE NAME?. Enter the correct destination of the program - for example: DSK1.FILENAME

 

It could also be that your game has more than one file. In this case enter the name of the first file, and continue with entering all other filenames, one after another. If Editor/Assembler asks for another filename after the last one, just leave it empty and hit enter. Now Editor/Assembler asks you for the PROGRAM NAME? It should be autofilled with the right name. Just hit enter and play!

 

Running assembler programs of type PROG

Editor/Assembler Menu 5: RUN PROGRAM FILE, on the next screen the system wants the PROGRAM FILE NAME? Enter correct destination of the program - for example: DSK1.FILENAME

Hit enter and play! Multi-Filenames should autoload here!

 

My brother is tuning Blue Bugs, an Extended Basic Game, right now. We played all day and evening with the TI-99!


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