COMP.SYS.TI FAQ

FAQ for TI-99/4A Newsgroup

Compiled by Jim Reiss



Comp.sys.ti FAQ
Compiled by Jim Reiss, currently maintained by Rich Polivka ([email protected] or [email protected] )
Last update November 26, 2000

This FAQ, as well as two other TI FAQs, can be found at http://www.99er.net/

The following is a set of answers to some frequently asked questions on
the comp.sys.ti newsgroup. There is no guarantee that any of these answers
are currently valid, or even helpful. If you find an error or omission
in this FAQ, please let me know. Thank you to all those who have suggested
changes and additions.

NOTE: If you want something added to the FAQ, please send the answer as
well as the question. I don't know everything.

Table of Contents
=================

1) What is the focus of this newsgroup?
2) Where can I find calculator software?
3) How can I make a cable to connect my TI-8x to a PC?
4) What is the Myarc 9640/Geneve?
5) What are some TI 99/4A FTP/Web sites?
6) How can I expand my TI 99/4A?
7) What is Funnelweb?
8) How can I connect Atari joysticks to the TI 99/4A?
9) How can I transfer files between the TI 99/4A and a PC?
10) Is there a TI 99/4A magazine?
11) Is there a TI-99/4A list server?
12)Are there any user groups?  (Is there one on the internet?)
13) Are there TI 99/4A emulators for other computers?
14) What are the pinouts of the 99/4A connectors?
15) How can I make a cable to connect my 99/4A to a monitor?
16) What is the SuperAMS, and how do I get my hands on one?
17) Can I use a TI 486 chip to upgrade my 386 computer?
18) Where can I get new TIGA drivers for my PC?
19) Any information on the TI S1500?
20) How about adding this to the FAQ?

Answers
=======

1) What is the focus of this newsgroup?

The comp.sys.ti newsgroup is for discussion of computers made by
Texas Instruments. The bulk of the discussion tends to revolve around
the TI 99/4A, a remarkable home computer which was discontinued in 1983
due to the cutthroat nature of the home computer market at that time.


2) Where can I find calculator software?

For TI-8x (graphics) calculators:

There is an anonymous FTP site at archive.ppp.ti.com which maintains
a collection of software for TI's graphing calculators in the /pub/graph-ti
directory. It has been reported that ftp.internic.net also has these
files. The bit.listserv.graph-ti and bit.listserv.calc-ti newsgroups
contain useful files as well.

For the older TI-5x calculators:

There is a web page at http://members.aol.com/hpgene containing a
collection of software and information for these products.


3) How can I make a cable to connect my TI-8x to a PC?

If you decide you would
like to buy one, it is apparently carried by Educalc (800-633-2252) and
Advantage Marketing (800-937-9777), as well as some other dealers whose
names you can get by calling 800-TI-CARES. The prices from dealers are
supposed to be better than buying direct from TI.


4) What is the Myarc 9640/Geneve?

A few years after TI dropped the 99/4A, a third party supplier of 99/4A
peripherals (Myarc) completed a design for a replacement computer which
had many enhancements over the 99/4A. This machine was originally to
be called the "Myarc 9640 Family Computer", but Myarc suddenly decided
to use the name "Geneve" which is not universally liked. The computer
is a card for the 99/4A Peripheral Expansion Box which replaces the
interface card used to connect to a 99/4A console.

In its standard configuration, the 9640 is 3-5 times the speed of a 99/4A
and comes with 512K of CPU RAM, 128K of video RAM, a battery-backed clock
chip, joystick and mouse ports, and an IBM PC/XT keyboard. The video
processor provides significantly better graphics, as well as 80 column
text display, with an analog RGB (not VGA) monitor. The native operating
system is an MS-DOS clone called MDOS, and 99/4A software is run with an
emulation utility called the "GPL Environment". In either MDOS or GPL,
some of the system RAM can be used for print spooling and/or a RAMdisk.


5) What are some TI 99/4A FTP/Web sites?

There are now a great number of TI-99/4A FTP and web sites. In the interest 
space, only a few are listed below.  Many of the web sites have 'link' areas.

FTP:
ftp://209.172.89.40/
ftp://99er.plethora.net/
ftp://neteng.bc.ca/pub/classic/

Web:
http://www.99er.net/
http://www.btinternet.com/~shawweb/stephen/book.htm
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7374/ti.html
http://home.att.net/~byatesiii/

At last word,
Beery Miller was offering a CD-ROM containing about 3000 files relating
to the TI 99/4A or Myarc 9640. He was charging $35 and said orders
can be sent to:

Beery Miller
P.O. Box 752465
Memphis, TN 38175


6) How can I expand my TI 99/4A?

In all sorts of ways. The 99/4A console is fairly limited in what it
can do, but with a Peripheral Expansion Box (PE Box or PEB for short),
you can easily add a serial/parallel interface, a floppy disk controller,
and 32K of memory expansion. This is probably the minimum you want if
you plan on making serious use of your 99/4A.

You can also add an MFM or SCSI hard disk, a RAMdisk card, a clock card,
an 80 column/advanced graphics card, an IBM PC keyboard, a GRAM device
(allows loading of cartridges from disk), and the list goes on and on.
There are many options for those who want to push their 99/4As to the
limit.


7) What is Funnelweb?

Funnelweb is a descendant of the TI-Writer word processor, but has gone
far beyond it. Funnelweb provides a menu-driven environment into which
you can integrate all sorts of software. Among the many features of
the environment is the ability to catalog a disk without loading a
disk manager, the ability to run all sorts of machine language programs
with the Extended BASIC cartridge plugged in, and bundled utilities
like a disk editor and a disk manager. There are word processing and
programming versions of the editor portion, and there is support for
80 column cards. There's far more to say about Funnelweb than is
appropriate for a FAQ, but hopefully this will be enough of an overview
to give some idea.


8) How can I connect Atari joysticks to the TI 99/4A?

Editor's note: this information was provided by Sam Carey.

___________
( 1 2 3 4 5 )
\ 6 7 8 9 /
\_______/

TI Joystick pins Atari Joystick Pins
-- -------- ---- ----- -------- ----
1) N.C. ------------1) Up S
2) Stick B--| | ----------2) Down t
Ground | | | --------3) Left i
3) Up-----------+ | | --4) Right c
4) Fire---------|-|-|-| | 5) N.C. k
Button | | | | +-----6) Fire btn
5) Left---------|-|-+ | | 7) N.C. B
6) N.C. |---|-|-|-|---|-8) Ground
7) Stick A--------------- | 9) N.C.
Ground | | | | | |
8) Down-------- --|-|-|-|-|-1) Up S
More?
9) Right---| |---+-|-|-|-|-2) Down t
---------+-------3) Left i
[Female] | | --4) Right c
| | 5) N.C. k
--|---6) Fire btn
| 7) N.C. A
----8) Ground
9) N.C.

[Male]

Bob Sutton adds that another option is to find a pair of non-working
TI joysticks and add 9-pin connectors to that cable. Which colors go
to which pins is unknown, but the diagram above and a decent ohmmeter
should be enough to figure it out. Bob adds that he made his by trial
and error.


9) How can I transfer files between the TI 99/4A and a PC?

There are basically two options: PC-Transfer or a serial cable. In
either case, only text files are typically good candidates to move.
Picture files also can be useful when moved from one system to the other.

PC-Transfer is a program which requires a Myarc or CorComp floppy disk
controller. It allows reading and writing of floppy disks in the MS-DOS
360K disk format.

Using a serial cable, you simply use a terminal emulation program on
each end, doing an XMODEM (or other supported protocol) transfer.


10) Is there a TI 99/4A magazine?

There was, but as of  7/31/99, MICROpendium ceased publication after
more than twelve years.

They still have a website and email at:
http://home.earthlink.net/~jkoloen/
E-mail: [email protected] 
 
The good news is that the all issues of Micropendium have been scanned
into document format and uploaded to the WHT FTP server at:
ftp://209.172.89.40/
Check under the 'Micropendium' directory.  


11) Is there a TI-99/4A list server?

Yes, but it has changed recently.  The old one has ceased to exist, but it has been replaced by one that is part of the on-line user group (see question #12).  The group is free and open to all to join.  It can be found at http://www.egroups.com/group/ti99-4a/info.html

12)Are there any user groups?  (Is there one on the internet?)

Yes.  Several still meet regularly, and a list (although outdated) can be found at http://www.99er.net/grplst.html.  

There is an on-line user group available on the internet that is open to anyone-  membership is free.  The group consists of two parts- a traditional email list server as well as a web site where you can browse the messages.  There is also an area for links, a vault where files can be uploaded/downloaded, a chat area, and a group calender, a database area, and a poll.  

For more information and to join, visit http://www.egroups.com/group/ti99-4a/info.html

Please note that only certain functions are available after you join.


13)  Are there TI-99/4A emulators for other computers?

-The most recent emulator is Ami99 which is written by M. Brent for the Windows enviornment.  The latest beta version can be 
downloaded from his website at http://www.neteng.bc.ca/~tursi/betas/ 

-One of the two DOS products is PC99 from CaDD Electronics. It is a
commercial software package which was designed emulate the TI 99/4A as fully
as possible. Information is available by e-mail from [email protected] , or
by U.S. mail by writing to:
CaDD Electronics
45 Centerville Drive
Salem, NH 03079-2674
Website: http://pw2.netcom.com/~mjmw/index.html


-The other is called "V9t9", and is shareware. It was written by
a student named Edward Swartz, and is available on the various FTP sites listed above.
The v9t9 author's e-mail address is/was [email protected]

-MacV9T9 is based on the DOS version of V9T9, but was written by RaphaŽl Nabet to run on the Macintosh.
Requirements: Macintosh with 700 kb of free memory, system 7, and Color Quickdraw.
Website: http://perso.club-internet.fr/pytheas/english/TI99.html

-Downlaod links for an Amiga emulator as well as a Linux version can be found at http://www.99er.net/emul.html



14) What are the pinouts of the 99/4A connectors?

This information is too lengthy to include in a FAQ, but pinouts can be 
found at the following sites:
http://www.99er.net
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Haven/1236/pinouts.htm


15) How can I make a cable to connect my 99/4A to a monitor?
The TI-99/4A is usually connected to a TV via an RF modulator.  However, you can build a cable to connect it directly to the audio/video inputs of a monitor, TV, VCR or computer.  It's fairly simple to build and parts are cheap as well as easy to find.  A parts list and directions can be found at: 
http://www.nwlink.com/~theraven/ti994a/dinplug.htm


16) What is the SuperAMS, and how do I get my hands on one?

SuperAMS is an expanded memory system for the TI 99/4A ONLY. It does not
work with the Myarc computer or the old 99/4. The SuperAMS replaces the
32K card, and uses 4K banks of RAM in that memory space. The SuperAMS card
works very differently than a RAMdisk card, it is designed to work as a pure
memory expansion card rather than as a device for storing files. A macro
assembler and a version of the small c compiler "c99" can be used to write
programs which use this memory. The card is being sold by the SW99ers User
Group in Tucson, Arizona. For more information, send e-mail to
David Ormand ([email protected]) or Mike Doane ([email protected]).
Technical information is available from the designer, Jim Krych
([email protected]). If none of these e-mail addresses work,
contact Tom Wills ([email protected]). You can also contact the
group in the evening via phone (Jack or BJ Mathis - 520-474-5046,
Mike Doane - 520-298-3835) or via U.S. Mail at:

Southwest Ninety Niners User Group
P.O. Box 17831
Tucson, AZ 85731-7831
Attn: AMS Card

17) Can I use a TI 486 chip to upgrade my 386 computer?

Probably, though it would be very difficult if your 386 chip is soldered
directly to your motherboard. Assuming the 386 chip is in a socket,
there are a number of 486 upgrade packages available. Consult your
favorite PC upgrade vendor for more information.

18) Where can I get new TIGA drivers for my PC?

TIGA graphics adapters never really caught on, and so any companies once
involved in supporting such cards have almost certainly ceased development
of new and updated drivers. You're probably out of luck in this area.

19) Any information on the TI S1500?

There is a web page at http://www.unix-ag.uni-siegen.de/~engel/ti which
is reported to contain some such information.

20) How about adding this to the FAQ?

If you think something should be in the FAQ, feel free to let me know.
Please note, however, that this FAQ is intended to provide helpful pointers,
not detailed information. Listing all of the TI user groups would be an
example of something that would be far too big to include in a FAQ.



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