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Hello from Greece

sonic2000gr

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2003
Messages
25
Location
Chania, Crete, Greece
Hi everyone,

The first computer I ever saw (in a mail order catalog) was the Sinclair Spectrum. It was way back around 1982 or 83 (and I was about 13 years old...) It caught my attention immediately and I started reading about programming and BASIC until I could get the money to buy a computer myself. However my first computer was not a Sinclair, but a TI-99/4A!
Time passed, and several other machines were bought:

- An Amstrad CPC 464
- An Atari 1040 STE with mono monitor (excellent machine)
- Finally my first PC came after Windows 95 was released.

During the "home era" of computing, and before I could actually get my 99, I used friends' machines, like Oric 1, Commodore 64 and the Spectrum.

My current collection is:

- 3 TI-99/4A (my original one, and two acquired from ebay - all in working condition) speech synthesizer and quite a few carts
- A Sinclair ZX Spectrum rubber keys (in excellent condition)
- A Sinclair Spectrum +2 (also in great condition)
- A Commodore 64 & tape drive (one of the recent additions)

I don't exactly consider myself a collector - collecting computers can become quite expensive! I would like though to get the machines that I actually used in the old days. My future plans would be:

- An Oric 1
- An Amstrad 464 (my original one sadly does not exist anymore)

I do have some photos of all this stuff on my website, and you are welcome to visit and leave comments on the guestbook (or even mail me directly) at
www.geocities.com/sonic2000gr

There is also technical information on the site, and even some of my programs (written at the age of 14!) for TI-99 (good for a laugh!!)

Cheers,

Manolis
 

Erik

Site Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
3,592
Location
San Jose, CA
Welcome!

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to the VC Forum!

Your website is very nice! I appreciate your goal to collect those machines you've used in the past. My collection started out that way but opportunity and passion conspired to grow it beyond any hope of that.

I'm sure you'll find some like-minded folks here. I know of a few who like Amstrad's, for instance.

Enjoy the forums!

Erik
 

sonic2000gr

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2003
Messages
25
Location
Chania, Crete, Greece
Collecting

Collecting

Thanks for the welcome Eric,

I thought many times myselft of actually starting a complete 80s era home computer collection. Much as like the idea though, it will probably cost quite a lot. And then again the machines that I have never seen or touched back then will never have the same value to me as the others.
Having said that however, I could probably add a few more to to my collection like:

- A Camputers Lynx (very rare!)
- An Atari 800XL (used a couple of times)
- An MSX (A Spectravideo probably, the most popular MSX in Greece, owned by a friend)

If I could ever get in touch with these old friends (lost touch with most of them ages ago) I would ask them if they still have (and would like to donate...) their old home systems...
(I actually found the person who had the Commodore 64 - but he doesn't have it anymore).

Manolis
 

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May 2, 2003
Messages
2,984
Location
Back of Burke (Guday!), Australia
Re: Hello from Greece

"sonic2000gr" wrote in message:

Hi Manolis,

> The first computer I ever saw (in a mail order
> catalog) was the Sinclair Spectrum. It was way
> back around 1982 or 83 (and I was about 13
> years old...) It caught my attention immediately
> and I started reading about programming and
> BASIC until I could get the money to buy a
> computer myself. However my first computer
> was not a Sinclair, but a TI-99/4A!

Cool, what are those machines like?

> Time passed, and several other machines were
> bought:

> - An Amstrad CPC 464

Excellent.

> - An Atari 1040 STE with mono monitor
> (excellent machine)

Heh!

> - Finally my first PC came after Windows
> 95 was released.

Oh Dear! :-(

> During the "home era" of computing, and
> before I could actually get my 99, I used
> friends' machines, like Oric 1, Commodore
> 64 and the Spectrum.

I have an Oric emulator, not sure which one
though! There was only the one computer
wasn't there, do you know?

> My current collection is:

> - 3 TI-99/4A (my original one, and two
> acquired from ebay - all in working condition)
> speech synthesizer and quite a few carts

I wouldn't mind one of these, but I rather have
a Jupiter Ace. Is there some thing going on
in relation to the TI-99/4A community with
connecting it to the internet?

> - A Sinclair ZX Spectrum rubber keys (in
> excellent condition)
> - A Sinclair Spectrum +2 (also in great condition)
> - A Commodore 64 & tape drive (one of the recent
> additions)

> I don't exactly consider myself a collector -
> collecting computers can become quite expensive!

Are you kidding, you've got plenty of different
machines.

> I would like though to get the machines that I
> actually used in the old days. My future plans would
> be:

> - An Oric 1
> - An Amstrad 464 (my original one sadly does not
> exist anymore).

Oh dear, what happened to the ol' CPC464?

> I do have some photos of all this stuff on my website,
> and you are welcome to visit and leave comments
> on the guestbook (or even mail me directly) at
> www.geocities.com/sonic2000gr

> There is also technical information on the site, and
> even some of my programs (written at the age of
> 14!) for TI-99 (good for a laugh!!)

My BASIC programs at that age were a joke too, they
mainly consisted of bits of other programs put together!
:)

Cheers.
 

sonic2000gr

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2003
Messages
25
Location
Chania, Crete, Greece
TI-99/4A and other animals

TI-99/4A and other animals

Well, the TI-99 is a machine quite different from other machines. It does have a BASIC interpreter, and a cartridge slot to plug in games and other software. But it has some strange limitations: The BASIC is doubly interpreted and slow, and there is no provision for writing machine code programs on it UNLESS you buy the expansion memory (32K). By that time you probably need the Peripheral Expansion Box (PEB) which also includes floppy disk controller and drive as well as a serial card.
This used to cost way too much, and is so heavy that it will cost a fortune to ship to Greece from the US, so I am probably not getting it :(

The Oric-1 was a strange machine as well but I really liked it. A friend of mine got it second-handed and we spent hours on it typing programs and playing some games. Oric produced also the Atmos model. Both are quite rare to find now.

As I said the CPC-464 was my second computer. I must confess I never really liked it all that much, it however helped me with a variety of things, not to say the least I learned Z-80 machine code on that thing.
When I bought the Atari 1040, I stored it very carefully. A few years later I unpacked it and tried it, and it wouldn't work anymore. No servicing could bring it back I am afraid (I even changed the CPU - I had some spares and have dealt with some Sinclairs with burnt out CPUs before) but finally it went to the trash :(

However my brother still has one in storage - the Schneider CPC-464 (exactly the same but produced from a German company) and will probably get it from him :)

I must admit my all time favourite is of course the TI-99 as it was my first computer. However the 1040 STE has a special place in my heart. I typed two thesis on this thing, and it never failed me once (I sold it in 93).
 

CP/M User

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Messages
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Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

"sonic2000gr" wrote in message:

> Well, the TI-99 is a machine quite different from
> other machines. It does have a BASIC interpreter,
> and a cartridge slot to plug in games and other
> software. But it has some strange limitations: The
> BASIC is doubly interpreted and slow, and there
> is no provision for writing machine code programs
> on it UNLESS you buy the expansion memory (32K).
> By that time you probably need the Peripheral
> Expansion Box (PEB) which also includes floppy disk
> controller and drive as well as a serial card.

I can understand the BASIC being interpreted. I've
had an Amstrad CPC ever since the first one came
out & that naturally uses an interpreted BASIC. In
recent times I've been dabbling into Turbo Pascal,
which is great because I can start writing some
flashy programs (using the Amstrad's Firmware)
under CP/M. While it's only a one-pass compiler, it's
better than the BASIC interpreter! :)

The machine code programs is a suprise to me. I'd
guess with the BASIC interpreter, you could do
some PEEKing & POKEing to get the digits in it that
way. But that's slow & tedious! :)
The Processor in itself is TI's own, so understanding
the whole thing in Machine Code form would be a
challange.

> This used to cost way too much, and is so heavy
> that it will cost a fortune to ship to Greece from
> the US, so I am probably not getting it :(

Was this the TI-99/4a.

> The Oric-1 was a strange machine as well but I
> really liked it. A friend of mine got it
> second-handed and we spent hours on it typing
> programs and playing some games. Oric produced
> also the Atmos model. Both are quite rare to
> find now.

Bit like the Jupiter Ace then the Atmos! I thought the
Oric BASIC I had wasn't too bad. I was able to
translate a small ZX81 game (very primitive) fairly
easily to the Oric. The 'Plot' command seems very
misleading though, on the Amstrad the Plot is used
to plot a point on screen, where on the Oric it's more
like a print command.

I have also a variation of the Missile Command game
for the Oric. I'll just have to see if I can dig it out &
post it here.

> As I said the CPC-464 was my second computer.
> I must confess I never really liked it all that much,
> it however helped me with a variety of things, not to
> say the least I learned Z-80 machine code on that thing.
> When I bought the Atari 1040, I stored it very carefully.
> A few years later I unpacked it and tried it, and it
> wouldn't work anymore. No servicing could bring it
> back I am afraid (I even changed the CPU - I had
> some spares and have dealt with some Sinclairs
> with burnt out CPUs before) but finally it went to the
> trash :(

No, I must say that I haven't had any problems with
my Amstrads. I started with a CPC464 with Green
Screen, but eventually brought an Amstrad CPC6128
with colour monitor. In the time I had the CPC464, we'd
only had one problem with it, which was to do with one
of the mechisms in the tape deck. We were able to get it
fixed (at quite an expense). The CPC6128 also had a
problem at one stage too where something gave way
in the monitor. We took this to a TV repair man who was
able to fix it no worries. Admittibly I've also had to
change a drive belt along the way, but that was no big
deal! :)

> However my brother still has one in storage - the
> Schneider CPC-464 (exactly the same but produced
> from a German company) and will probably get it from
> him :)

Yes, I'm familiar with the Schneider. In Australia a
company called AWA marketed the Amstrads basically,
Schneider is the german company with did this! :)

Cheers.
 

sonic2000gr

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2003
Messages
25
Location
Chania, Crete, Greece
Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

CP/M User said:
I can understand the BASIC being interpreted. I've
had an Amstrad CPC ever since the first one came
out & that naturally uses an interpreted BASIC. In
recent times I've been dabbling into Turbo Pascal,
which is great because I can start writing some
flashy programs (using the Amstrad's Firmware)
under CP/M. While it's only a one-pass compiler, it's
better than the BASIC interpreter! :)

The machine code programs is a suprise to me. I'd
guess with the BASIC interpreter, you could do
some PEEKing & POKEing to get the digits in it that
way. But that's slow & tedious! :)
The Processor in itself is TI's own, so understanding
the whole thing in Machine Code form would be a
challange.

Actually TI BASIC has no peek and poke commands! TI Extended BASIC (supplied in cartridge form) has peek and poke, but poke can only be used if the external 32K memory expansion is attached. This is due to some weird design of the internal memory system of the TI.

CP/M User said:
Bit like the Jupiter Ace then the Atmos! I thought the
Oric BASIC I had wasn't too bad. I was able to
translate a small ZX81 game (very primitive) fairly
easily to the Oric. The 'Plot' command seems very
misleading though, on the Amstrad the Plot is used
to plot a point on screen, where on the Oric it's more
like a print command.

I have also a variation of the Missile Command game
for the Oric. I'll just have to see if I can dig it out &
post it here.

Oric 1's BASIC wasn't bad at all. It was the keyboard that was really awkward. But we didn't seem to care much back then :)
 

CP/M User

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Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
2,984
Location
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Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

"sonic2000gr" wrote in message:

>> I can understand the BASIC being interpreted. I've
>> had an Amstrad CPC ever since the first one came
>> out & that naturally uses an interpreted BASIC. In
>> recent times I've been dabbling into Turbo Pascal,
>> which is great because I can start writing some
>> flashy programs (using the Amstrad's Firmware)
>> under CP/M. While it's only a one-pass compiler, it's
>> better than the BASIC interpreter! :)

>> The machine code programs is a suprise to me. I'd
>> guess with the BASIC interpreter, you could do
>> some PEEKing & POKEing to get the digits in it that
>> way. But that's slow & tedious! :)

>> The Processor in itself is TI's own, so understanding
>> the whole thing in Machine Code form would be a
>> challange.

> Actually TI BASIC has no peek and poke commands!
> TI Extended BASIC (supplied in cartridge form) has
> peek and poke, but poke can only be used if the
> external 32K memory expansion is attached. This is
> due to some weird design of the internal memory
> system of the TI.

Gee, that's no good! I'd guess that the later models
would have had the 32k memory expansion with it.
If it didn't then I'm fraid I just wouldn't like the
machine! That is weird though, generally I just
assume that every machine comes with access to
the machine itself!

Do you know if, say an assembly program written
on a TI 99/4A with 32k memory expansion would
work on an ordinary TI 99/4A.


>> Bit like the Jupiter Ace then the Atmos! I thought the
>> Oric BASIC I had wasn't too bad. I was able to
>> translate a small ZX81 game (very primitive) fairly
>> easily to the Oric. The 'Plot' command seems very
>> misleading though, on the Amstrad the Plot is used
>> to plot a point on screen, where on the Oric it's more
>> like a print command.

>> I have also a variation of the Missile Command game
>> for the Oric. I'll just have to see if I can dig it out &
>> post it here.

> Oric 1's BASIC wasn't bad at all. It was the keyboard
> that was really awkward. But we didn't seem to care
> much back then :)

That's something I'll have to check on my Amstrad. I
think that it may need a cleaning because it just doesn't
seem right!

Cheers,
Ross.
 

sonic2000gr

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2003
Messages
25
Location
Chania, Crete, Greece
Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

>Gee, that's no good! I'd guess that the later models
>would have had the 32k memory expansion with it.
>If it didn't then I'm fraid I just wouldn't like the
>machine! That is weird though, generally I just
>assume that every machine comes with access to
>the machine itself!
>
>Do you know if, say an assembly program written
>on a TI 99/4A with 32k memory expansion would
>work on an ordinary TI 99/4A.


Well, there was no later model than the 4A. In order to run any assembly language program on it, you need to have the 32K expansion. The console itself has no other means of running machine code programs (Except of course you can plug in a cartridge..)
 

CP/M User

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Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

"sonic2000gr" wrote in message:

>> Gee, that's no good! I'd guess that the later models
>> would have had the 32k memory expansion with it.
>> If it didn't then I'm fraid I just wouldn't like the
>> machine! That is weird though, generally I just
>> assume that every machine comes with access to
>> the machine itself!

>> Do you know if, say an assembly program written
>> on a TI 99/4A with 32k memory expansion would
>> work on an ordinary TI 99/4A.

> Well, there was no later model than the 4A. In
> order to run any assembly language program
> on it, you need to have the 32K expansion. The
> console itself has no other means of running
> machine code programs (Except of course you
> can plug in a cartridge..)

Sorry, I was asking if the later 99/4A came with the
32k memory expansion as standard (they did
make them for quite a few years I believe). It
would seem slightly odd, that for the years they did
make them that they just had the base model (16k
I believe!). I guess the extended BASIC uses the
same memory expansion, or is that with something
else?

Cheers.
 

sonic2000gr

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2003
Messages
25
Location
Chania, Crete, Greece
Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

CP/M User said:
Sorry, I was asking if the later 99/4A came with the
32k memory expansion as standard (they did
make them for quite a few years I believe). It
would seem slightly odd, that for the years they did
make them that they just had the base model (16k
I believe!). I guess the extended BASIC uses the
same memory expansion, or is that with something
else?

The 99/4A was made from 81 to about the end of 83. The specs did not really change all these years. It always included just 16K of RAM and the only way to go with the expansion memory was buying the Peripheral Expansion Box (PEB). (Actually you could buy the memory expansion as a "sidecar" upgrade that could plug into the side of the console, but these were not very popular and probably hard to find as well)
Another point is you needed the TI Extended BASIC to use the expansion memory. TI BASIC (built into the machine) could not use the extra memory. Most serious users/programmers were buying the Extended BASIC anyway (it is a cartridge) since it had a lot more features than the standard BASIC. I have three Extended BASIC cartridges, one for each 99 I got.

Manolis
 

CP/M User

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Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

"sonic2000gr" wrote in message:


>> Sorry, I was asking if the later 99/4A came with the
>> 32k memory expansion as standard (they did
>> make them for quite a few years I believe). It
>> would seem slightly odd, that for the years they did
>> make them that they just had the base model (16k
>> I believe!). I guess the extended BASIC uses the
>> same memory expansion, or is that with something
>> else?

> The 99/4A was made from 81 to about the end of 83.

The details I had on this machine were dfferent based
on there details here:
http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=236

Naturally, it could depend on how well the machine
went in your country which determined this.
According to the findings on that website the machine
started production as early as 1979 & ended as late
as 1984! It just seems unusal to find a machine which
doesn't support Assembly in it's base model though.
I would have thought more people mentioning this as
it seems to be a big deal.

The extended BASIC though (as you said required
the expansion too), would have provided the access
to the machine via PEEK & POKE though (which I
think you said earlier - so that seems to make
sense!).

Cheers.
 

sonic2000gr

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2003
Messages
25
Location
Chania, Crete, Greece
Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

CP/M User said:
The details I had on this machine were dfferent based
on there details here:
http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=236

Naturally, it could depend on how well the machine
went in your country which determined this.
According to the findings on that website the machine
started production as early as 1979 & ended as late
as 1984! It just seems unusal to find a machine which
doesn't support Assembly in it's base model though.
I would have thought more people mentioning this as
it seems to be a big deal.

The extended BASIC though (as you said required
the expansion too), would have provided the access
to the machine via PEEK & POKE though (which I
think you said earlier - so that seems to make
sense!).

Cheers.

Some of the details on the site you mentioned are incorrect. The 99/4A was first produced 1981. But there was a little known predecessesor to it called the 99/4 (very similar, they could even use the same software to a great extent) that was first produced in 1979. The main differences of the two models:

- The 99/4 had a chiclet keyboard
- The 99/4 had a less advanced Video Graphics processor
- The 99/4 had a feature called "Equation Calculator" (a built in calculator-type software)
- The 99/4A had a real keyboard and 256 LESS memory available in BASIC.

To make things clear, the Extended BASIC CAN be used without the memory expansion. But if you don't have the memory expansion you cannot use the POKE command (or CALL POKE as it is actually called).

If you look at the startup screen of the 99/4A you will see the copyright is 1981. The 99/4 has a copyright of 1979.
 

CP/M User

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Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

Re: TI-99/4A and other animals

"sonic2000gr" Wrote in message:

> Some of the details on the site you
> mentioned are incorrect. The 99/4A
> was first produced 1981. But there
> was a little known predecessesor to
> it called the 99/4 (very similar, they
> could even use the same software
> to a great extent) that was first
> produced in 1979. The main
> differences of the two models:

> - The 99/4 had a chiclet keyboard
> - The 99/4 had a less advanced
> Video Graphics processor
> - The 99/4 had a feature called
> "Equation Calculator" (a built in
> calculator-type software)
> - The 99/4A had a real keyboard
> and 256 LESS memory available
> in BASIC.

Interesting. The site maintainers
will want to be informed about this
previous machine.

> To make things clear, the
> Extended BASIC CAN be used
> without the memory expansion.
> But if you don't have the memory
> expansion you cannot use the
> POKE command (or CALL POKE
> as it is actually called).

Thanks.

> If you look at the startup screen
> of the 99/4A you will see the
> copyright is 1981. The 99/4 has
> a copyright of 1979.

Okay thanks.

Cheers.
 
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