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This Spring and Fall are always busy time 
for TI user groups. In addition to the 
normal computer pursuits, TI-99/4A and 
Myarc Geneve conventions dominate the 
social calendars of TI vendors and users 

The following is a run-down of the 
highlights of some of the m^or TI shows 
in the Spring of 1990 - the 8th year of 
such shows. 

Fest West '90, Tucson 

The Fest West '90 is the fourth Fest West 
held, with previous shows in LA, Las 
Vegas and in San Diego. The first big show 
of the season, in many ways, this was the 
biggest they've held yet 

Attending vendors and personalities 
included Rave 99, Bud Mills, Disk Only 
Software (representing Myarc), Asgard 
Software, Harrison Software, JP Software, 
Comprodine, 9640 News, Regina, 
TexComp, The L.A. 99'ers Marketplace, 
and user groups and local vendors from 
across the Southwest. While attendance 
just broke 200, this was up from previous 
years and most vendors reported strong 

Some of the m^jor announcements at this 
show included JP Software's 
demonstration of the Triad integrated 
package for Geneve users and a new 
version of its First Base database, 
Comprodine's acquisition of the Great 
Lakes Software line of products. The 
Asgard Mouse and the Spell It/ spelling 
checker from Asgard Software, 9640 
Windows from 9640 News, and the 

tremendous price reductions on Myarc 
products from Disk Only Software. A 
surprise hit of the show was Asgard's Rock 
Runner game - which by the end of the 
day was being played on every available 

All in all, the show was enjoyed by all 
attendees, and was a boon to the local user 

See Spring on page 3 

On May 1st, 1990, Texaments announced 
the availability of version 3.0 of the 
popular TLBase package. 

Version 3.0 is an evolutionary advance 
over previous versions and contains a 
number of new and enhanced features, as 
well as a number of corrections and 

Among the new features, TI-Base 3.0 
includes a Report Generator that works 
along the same lines as the Printer 
Database. This utility allows report 
formats that can incorporate headers. 

See TI-Base on page 5 

Spring Shows 4A Active, 1 
TI-Base 3.0 Released, 2 
The Mailbox, 2 
New Hard Drive Controller, 5 

MIDI Interface Planned, 4 
Press On Hold, 6 
Cassette book available, 6 
Triton catalog plans set, 6 
New 80<olumn card slated, 7 
Geneve Comer, 7 
Rumors, 8 
Misc., 8 

Comprodine Acquires..., 8 
HowICs are Made, 17 

Harry Brashear, 18 

Jack Sughrue, 19 

Timely Tutorial, 21 

TI Watch, 22 
Last Word, Guest Column, 23 
4A Magazine Support, 23 
Next Issue, 23 

Send all questions and comments to: 


P.O. Box 10697 

Rockville, MD 20849 

Where is the magazine? 

In recently checking various computer 
magazines to which I subscribe, I note 
with dismay that I've not received an 
Asgard News since Vol.2 No. 2, My 
subscription to NEWS, paid on 3/23/89 
was to expire with No,4, which mean's 
I'm missing No.'s 3 and 4, assuming you 
are still publishing. Would you please 
check into this matter of my 2 missing 
issues? ... Thanks. 

Maurice Villano 
State College, PA 

We were working so hard to build a 
reputation for being on-time and we 
blew it! Please see the Editorial in the 
Asgard News supplement for more 
information, but the long and the short 
of it is that we are 6 months behind. 
This is partially due to the fact we've 
decided to revamp the entire magazine 
format and some of its content. You will 
receive No.3 and 4 of Vol.2 as 
Reflections Vol.2 No.3 and Vol.2 No.4, 
hopefully within a few months of each 
other. Our apologies for the delay to 
you and to everyone who wrote in 
concern, but delays seem to be a fact of 
life in the TI industry. 

Wants User Group Committee 

Regarding Computer Shopper, the bad 
news is that we have lost our last link 
with the outside world. As far as I know. 
Computer Shopper was the only 
national, newsstand publication that 
acknowledged the TI-99/4A still existed. 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 2 

It not only has a large subscriber list but 
it is available on newsstands all over the 
U.S. and Canada, and at U.S. military 
bases overseas. It is picked up and 
scanned by many times the number of 
people who see actually buy it. 

However, Computer Shopper does still 
publish a list of user groups every 
month, and that is a way in which the 
loners contact the TI worid. In the old 
days Stan Veit would accept a list of user 
groups from me, and I tried to get FOG 
[Editor: the people who compile 
Computer Shopper's list currently] to do 
the same, but they insist on an 
individual notice from each group. 

Harry [Brashear's] idea for a Central 
Committee is great - if he could get all 
the user groups together and hold a gun 
to their heads, it might possibly work! 
You just CAN'T get the user groups to 
get moving on ANYTHING! Don Veith 
tried to start a national organization 
years ago, and gave up in disgust. 
Somebody else tried before that. There is 
supposed to be a Canadian National 
Council, but I can't find out who or 

Jim Peterson 
Columbus, OH 

You can certainly pack a lot of ideas 
into a letter Jim! It is a shame about the 
passing of Computer Shopper's support 
for the 99I4A, but nothing can be done* 
really. An alternate publication, the 
Computer Buyers Guide has taken up 
the flag, but they don't have nearly the 
circulation of CS. Nonetheless, they 
might be of something to look into. 

Your last two ideas about maintaining a 
TI presence in Computer Shopper's user 
group listing, and of creating a sort of 
committee of user group officers are 
sort of intertwined - both depend deeply 
on getting someone to do something. 
Considering our own difficulties in 
getting this publication out on time, we 
are hardly in a position to preach 
responsibility to TI user groups. 
However, it would be nice if some sort of 
informal group of user group officers 
could get together periodically to swap 
ideas about getting newsletters 
published, libraries maintained and 
memberships expanded. Because of the 
distances involved, it would be 
somewhat impractical to have face to 
face meetings. Perhaps one of the 3 
popular telecommunications networks 
would like to identify users that are 
user group officers and invite them to a 
get-together. Who knows, if there are as 
many real benefits from such meetings 
as there sounds like there will be, 
something more formal can be created. 
Any ideas anyone? 

Rejections Is published four times 
annually in Rockville, Maryland hy 
Asgard Publishing. No materials 
published herein may be used 
without the express permission of 
the publisher. 

The publishers of Reflections cannot 
accept responsibility hr any errors 
that m&y appear in the text of this 
publication. However, We will make 
all reasonable attempts to verify any 
information published. If We 
publish incotrect informatioa, 
Asgard Publishing will gladly 
publish a correction. 

All submissions to Reflections unless 
the author indicates otherwise, will 
"be treated as unconditionally 
assigned in part or whole for 
publication, copyright purposes and 
use in any other publication or 
brochure, and are subject to 
Reflections unrestricted right to 
edit or comment 

Circulation of this periodical is by 
paid subscription of $12.00 for 4 
issues. Advertising rates available OHe 

Rejections Im'ites readers to write 
and comment on anything 
published. Letters received will be 

for gooi taste and relevance. Nq 
editing wlil be done to the content 
of letters, but letters that are too 
lengthy may be edited to fit the 
available^ space. 

MaJHngMJj^ss: Eeflections, BO. Box 

J0697.Hock^^Ue,MD 20849 

TelepiMJflfi! (70PS5-3O85 

Compws0m: m No. 72361,3241 - TI 


eEftkj ti Boxind-tabie, Topi£: t^ 


Delphi! CJ80BB1TT 

PubUsh«r! Asgard Publishing, P,0. 

Box 10697, Rockville, » 20849 

Mttagin^EditOK Chris Bobbitt 

AssiEditoti Leslie Bobbitt 

Conieflja^g Editofsi HarjyBrashear 
Jack Sughrue 
Barry IVaver 

© 199Q ^ Asgard Publishing 

Spring, continued from Page 1 

Planning **** 
Attendance *** 
Interest *** 

Ottawa TIFaire 

The Ottawa TI Faire is also in its fourth 
year (and possibly final - though more 
on that below). Record warm 
temperatures greeted attendees - in 
stark contrast to previous years when 
long underwear was the order of the day 
{at least for Americans). 

As with the Fest West, an all-star cast of 
vendors were present including Rave 99, 
Myarc Inc (represented by Lou Phillips), 
Bud Mills, Harrison Software, Asgard 
Software, OPA, Art Green, and vendors 
from Quebec and other parts of Canada 
and the Northeastern U.S. The many 
French accents heard gave the show a 
decidedly international flavor. 

While few major announcements were 
made at the show, the Rave 99 
Expansion box was a real hit. This 
professionally done device (see the News 
section for more information) impressed 
everyone with its aesthetic as well as 
practical benefits. Bud Mills also pleased 
Horizon owners with the release of 
version 8.14 of ROS - which features 
extended support for RAMBO owners 
among other things. OPA previewed a 
mailing list program designed for use 
with RAMBO. Finally, Asgard released at 
the show Rattlesnake Bend and Castle 
Darkholm (new games for the Adventure 
module), and a series of 9 volumes of 
Page Pro Templates. Again, Rock 
Runner and the Asgard Mouse were 
again extremely popular. 

While there were many interesting 
things to see and presentations made, 
attendance was off considerably from 
previous years. Some speculated that it 
may have been due to a drop-off of 
interest in the 99/4A in Canada, but the 
real reasons were probably politics and a 
lack of advertising. While the 
organization was generally superb, a 
decision by the Ottawa TI User Group to 
cancel newsletter exchanges prior to the 
show angered other Canadian user 
groups and many users from the rest of 
Ottawa and from Quebec sat it out - 
almost as if in protest. It would be a 
shame if the Ottawa TI Faire were to be 
discontinued - it is one of the few TI 
shows held in Canada and by far the 
most well known. 

Planning **** 
Attendance ** 
Interest *** 

Boston TIFayuh 

The Boston TI Fayuh, again its fourth 
year, was by far the most depressing of 
all the TI shows. This was due to a series 
of accidents, miscalculations and 
misfortunes of the sponsoring group, 

First off, veteran organizer Peter Hoddie, 
who by shear personality kept previous 
shows on track, relocated out West last 
year. Planning and execution suffered as 
a result - for instance the show date was 
changed several times prior to the show. 
As a result many New England groups 
were confused about the actual date. 
Incorrect maps also threw off many 
attendees - more then a few people got 
lost down country dirt roads following 
the directions provided. Finally, since 
the TI Fayuh was held only a week after 
the Ottawa TI Show, vendor 
participation was down with only Rave 
99, Texaments, JP Software, a few local 
dealers, a few user groups, and 
representatives of Asgard Software and 
Comprodine attending. There was only 
one demonstration by Jack Sughrue, and 
no speakers or workshops. 

Similarly, attendance was way down with 
figures of under 100 widely quoted. 
While normally such a disaster might 
mean the end of the road for a show, 
rumor has it that the organizers are 
thinking of throwing it again in the Fall. 
Vendors and attendees alike would 
probably breath easier if they just started 
planning for the next one right now, and 
held the next one at its normal time next 

Planning * 
Attendance * 
Interest * 

Lima TIFaire 

The Lima TI Faire, in its third year, is 
almost a story of the Little Mouse that 
Roared. A user group with only around a 
dozen members managed to put on the 
best TI Faire of the Spring - with dozens 
of vendors and many hundreds of 
attendees (unfortunately attempts to 
track actual attendance were 

While some of the bigger vendors didn't 
make it (including Myarc, JP Software 
and Rave 99), the diversity of the others 
more then made up for their absence. 
Asgard Software, Bud Mills, OPA, 
Harrison Software, Disk Only Software, 
a representative of Comprodine, and 
many other local user groups and 
vendors made the show lively. With two 
rooms constantly busy with 

See Spring on page 4 

The first "TI Fest" was Sponsored by 
99'er Magazine (the original namesake 
of "Home Computer Magazine" - both 
long departed), and was held in San 
Frandsco In late October of 1982- This 
corporate sponsored event wa$ the fir^t 
and last of its kind for the 99/4A - it was 
a 3-day affair with dozens of seminars, 
as well as official TI support. Also, 
unlike all that followed - it was run for- 
profit by 99'er. A big success^ 
attendance was measured in the 

The only other "pre-Octob«r 1983" 
99/4A events were the huge exhibits TI 
sponsored at computer shows around 
the country, and specifically at the CES 
(stiU one of the largest computer shows 
in the world). Attendees to these big 
money events could sometimes see and 
meet TI spokesman Bill Cosby, various 
well-endowed show giris (in tne case of 
the Las Vegas Cl&S), and other 
computer indUiStry notables, TI 
certainly knew how to throw a party, 
even if they didn"t know how to sell 

Tilie first modern TI show^ and still one 
of the largest if not THE largest^ was 
the Chicago TI Faire. The first was held 
in 1983 Gust after TI announced the 
discontinuation of £he 99/4A in fact), 
and despite jitters by the organizers was 
a tremendous success* The Chicago TI 
show, while not quite as large as the 
ones held yesteryear, stiU draws 
upwards of 500 attendees, and the 
largest vendors of TI and Geneve 

Other venerable shows include the TI 
Fest West Md in a different city every 
year), the Seattle TI Faire, the Boston 
TI Fayuh, The New Jersey faire, and 
others. TI faires nowadays are decidedly 
more laid-back affairs - they are user 
group sponsored, draw smaller crowds 
But have a more sophisticated flavor. 

TI Faires in the future are liable to 
become more and more a place where 
old friends meet and less where new 
ones are made. 

Reflections - Vo!.2, No.3 - PAGE 3 

Spring, continued from page 3 

demonstrations and discussions, 
attendees were often torn between 
attending one or the other program. 
Demonstrators were impressed that 
audiences were appreciative and 
attentive. Even the food served fay the 
college cafeteria (it was held at the 
Universi^ of Ohio, Lima campus) was 

While there weren't a large number of 
new product announcements at the 
show, there were some significant ones. 
Asgard showed off its new MIDI 
interface for the 99/4A and the Geneve, 
its Animator utility for Extended BASIC 
programmers, as well as new packages 
for Page Pro users (Page Pro Borders 
and Page Pro large Fonts). There were 
new packages for JoyPaint '99 from 
Comprodine. A new Multi-module which 
allows you to put multiple modules into 
one drew a crowd all day, and so on. 

How could a show in the middle or rural 
Ohio succeed where shows in much 
larger cities failed? In a way its a 
combination of geography and good 
planning. The location, for instance, is 
very deceptive.' While Lima is only a 
medium sized town with a small user 
group, it is only a few hours drive from 
large TI user communities in Ohio, 
Michigan and Indiana. There were also 
lots of people from Pennsylvania, 
Kentucky and Illinois. In terms of 
planning, in some ways the Lima group 
threw a "no frills" show - the only things 
they provided were a place, tables, rooms 
and demonstration systems, and a few 
systems to vendors. However, they didn't 
charge a dime to vendors or attendees 
{assuring lots of user group booths), 
Lima is very inexpensive to stay in (an 
excellent hotel room could be had for 
$40/night), and Charles Good and 
friends were on hand all the time with 
assistance and help for everyone. In a 
way it is an ideal way for a small group 
to hold a show. The atmosphere was so 
inviting and friendly the show was 
enjoyed by all. 

Planning **** 
Attendance **** 
Interest **** 

Asgard Peripherals MIDI 
interface brings PC and Mac 
capabilities to your 99I4A 
and Geneve... 

As discussed in the previous issue of 
Asgard News (vol.2, no.2), Michael 
Maksimik has been working on a MIDI 
interface and software for the TI-99/4A 
and the Myarc Geneve 9540 since well 
before the last Chicago TI Faire. 

As the self-imposed deadline nears, 
details about the package have become 
available. The MIDI interface for the 
99/4A consists of a sophisticated cable 
and software. The software is cable of 
handling simultaneously up to 24 voices 
on more then one instrument. It 
includes (a) a basic music database 
program that allows the computer to 
capture music from the keyboard, save 
and load it to/from disk, and send it back 
to the MIDI instrument to be played, (b) 
a programmers interface that allows the 
programmer to directly encode a MIDI 
data stream with MIDI language 
commands, (c) 'patch' software for both 
programmers and non-programmers 
that support multiple keyboard patches 
and even on-screen conversions of 
instruments, (d) conversion software for 
changing IBM "cakewalk" MIDI files into 
TI format, and (e) extensive assembly 
language support utilities for Extended 
BASIC MIDI programmers. The MIDI 
package will also include an extensive 
manual as well as references to MIDI 
language primers and technical 
documents. The suggested retail for this 
package is estimated to be $39.95. 

Additional software is also under 
development that will permit on-screen 
editing of music (a la the Music Maker™ 
module), compilation of MIDI music 
into 99/4A music (so it can be played on 
your computer), and even software to 
allow you to print out a score. These 
items will be sold separately and 
formally announced at a later date. 

This MIDI interface is a unique item for 
the 99/4A and the Geneve that gives the 
our machines capabilities costing many 
times more on every other computer. 

A MIDI interfece is a -device that allows ^tiu 
to attach a properly equipped musical 
instrument to a computer. There are many 
types of MIDI instruments^ from musical 
k^boards, to drums, sounds generators and 
even guitars, Amature and profcss-ional 
musicians use MIDI for song-writing, as an 
accompaniment in practice, and even in 
recording and performing. Confusingly 
enough, MIDI simultaneously refers to the 
type of instrument, the interface, the 
communications protocol, a language and 
even special software. 

On the hardware level, depending on the 
machine a MIDI interlace can be as simple 
a$ a cable and a$ compI^Jt a^ & ^tiiect&l 
computer card. In ^e case of our machines, 
the interface consists of a sophisticated 
custom-designed cable th^t <onnect& the 
MIDI instrument to anx RS232 port, This is 
where the communlcatiions protocoJ comes 
in - it was previously believed that l^e 99/4A 
and the Geneve couldn't utiUze MIDI 
instruments because the I%&23^ cafd 
couldn*^fc talk fast enough. MIDI 
communicates to the computer at either 
38,400 baud (btts-per-second) or 76,800 
baud* it was an article of faith that the 
RS232 card stops just ^ort of 38>D00 baud. 
Michael Makiimik, tht inventor of the 
interface, found tKtit with a lew tricks speeds 
up to 76^800 ^iSiud w$i% m^^ Sustaln^ie. 

Just being d!cA» ts coaiffluntcate with & MIDI 
keyboard tsn^t enough, Itie computer end of 
the setup has to be able to make some sense 
of what the musical instrument is saying 
and vice versa. MIJ>X instruments are 
actually little computers that are 
programmed in their own iangtiage. To 
complicate matters, as with different 
versions of BASIC, there are variations 
between the MIDI language found on 
different makers instruments - a Casio 
keyboard's language is different from that of 
a Yamaha keyboard for instance. 
Fortunately, the variations are slight enou^ 
where the computer can stick to certain 
commands and know that virtually any 
instrument wiil understand. 

The software provided with a MIDI interface 
normally (a) allows the non-programmer to 
create music on the insiyument, store it on 
the computer and rc-transmit it back to the 
Instrument to be played, (b) allows the 
programmer to direct^ modify the music 
commands as well as create new music from 
scratch on ttie computer end, and (c), allows 
ail users to readily "patch" the software so 
that it takes advantage of special features in 
the instrument or instruments (you can 
have more then one MIDI instrument 
attached to a MIDI interface). This terms 
comes from the early days of electronic 
instruments when to change the sounds a 
"patch" had to be made to the circuit 
diagram by removing -a wire from one 
connection and attaching it elsewhere 
(these wires were called, appropriately, 
"patch cords"). 

Reflections- Vol. 2 

TI-Base, continued from page 2 

footers, and various display options for 
the data itself to be created, saved and 
used when and where needed. 

Enhanced features include extensive 
changes to command file processing 
allowing them to be run from memory 
as well as from disk, and expanded 
command line editing functions. 
Changes have also been made to the 
database language - 

• The CLOSE command has been 

» The MODIFY COMMAND editor now 

displays the filename of the command 

file being edited as well as the line 

number in that file 

« The SUM directive now allows the 

command file to store the result in a 


» The SET directive allows output to be 

redirected to the screen 

• The DELETE and RECALL commands 
accept record ranges 

® String support has been expanded with 
the LEN and SUBSTR commands 
® A READCHAR command for reading a 
single keystroke has been added 

8 A GO directive has been added for 
changing the current position in the 
database rapidly 

« The new command APPEND FROM 
which allows allows you to append data 
from one database to another 
® A new command AVERAGE has been 
added that takes the average of a 
database variable and allows you to store 
it in another variable 

9 The catalog option has been improved 
9 A "$" operator has been added that 
allows strings within strings to be 

e Variables can be used in place of 

numbers in many places 

e Support for 29 character filenames has 

been added, 

and so on. 

Finally, TI-Base 3.0 includes an 
improvement that allows you to modify 
the structure of a database without 
losing the data in it 

Previous owners of TI Base can get 
Version 3.0 for $14.95 (plus $2.50 for 
shipping) by returning their original 
disks (both the system and tutor disks) 
to Texaments, 53 Center Str., Patchogue, 
NY 11772. Phone orders evidently will 
not be accepted. Individuals who 
purchased the ijrevious versions after 
April 1st are entitled to the upgrade for 
$2.50, the original disks and a dated 
sales receipt. 

New firm to give Myarc monopoly competition... 

m Lima TI Show, Christopher Pratt, a 
principal of Electronic Systems 
Development Corp and its head Software 
Designer announced the development 
and impending release of the ESD Hard 
& Floppy Disk Controller card to a 
receptive audience at the Lima TI Faire 
on May 26th. 

A completely new design, the ESD 
HFDC incorporates all the standard 
features of the Myarc device as well as 
provides new capabilities to users. It 
includes the following: 

« The ESD HFDC will control up to 4 
floppy and 4 80mb hard disk drives. It 
has two floppy drive connectors - one for 
internal and one for external floppy 

® It will format floppy disks from 90K to 
1.4Mb - 90K to 1.2Mb 5 1/4" floppies and 
360-1.4Mb 3 1/2" floppies. It supports 
sub- directories on floppies. 

e It supports variable sector sizes of 
from 256 to 1024bytes/sector. One of the 
major problems the Myarc HFDC has is 
that it formats all hard drives at 256 
bytes/sector. Most hard drives are 
designed to be formatted at 512 bytes 
per sector (the IBM standard) - hence 
the Myarc HFDC has to force the hard 
drive to read 2 sectors in the time it 
would normally read 1, causing timing 
problems and bad sectors. Hence, hard 
drives controlled by the ESD controller 
will be more reliable and have fewer bad 

« The card is 100% TI compatible. 

e The card is a more reliable design. 
Heat dissipation is not a problem (it has 
numerous heat sinks and uses surface 
mounting for all chips) unlike the Myarc 
HFDC. Finally, in terms of circuit 
design, the ESD HFDC is essentially an 
IBM hard and floppy disk controller 
interfaced to the 99/4A bus. Since the 
vast majority of the design is time tested 
and reliable (there are millions of cards 

with this design used by PCs), and 
incorporates little new circuitry, the 
overall unit will be much more reliable 
in general. 

e There are no dip switches on the card. 
CRU locations are set in software and 
stored on the card. 

« The ESD card utilizes a newer version 
of the Western Digital controller used by 
the Myarc HFDC that is more bug-free. 

9 The Hard Disk manager included 
functions along the lines of the Disk 
Utilities package from John Birdwell. It 
also may contain support for the Asgard 
Mouse in its initial version. 

9 Various hard disk management 
commands are available from B^IC and 
Extended BASIC for cataloging the hard 
drive "on the fly", changing the DSKl 
emulation outside of the disk manager, 

This ESD HFDC is expected to carry a 
suggested retail price of $250.00. The 
card is currently in the initial 
production stage (samples are being 
produced of the final card), and the disk 
management software is being written. 
While no specific delivery date is 
projected, quantities should be available 
before the next Chicago TI Faire in 

Currently, ESD Corp. has no official 
mailing address, however they are 
located in the Washington DC 
Metropolitan area, and any inquiries 
sent to Reflections will be forwarded to 


Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 5 

Release of this important 
program put on indefinate 


M Rockville, MD. Asgard Software 
announced on June 4th that 
development of Press, the much talked- 
about word processor for the TI-99/4A 
and the Geneve, was put on indefinite 
hold. While Christopher Bobbitt, 
President of Asgard, stated that it may 
never appear, he did say "There is still a 
chance that Charles might give me a call 
someday and say 'Hey - 1 just found that 
problem with Press...'" 

Chris Bobbitt explained, "From it's 
original conception, Press has been one 
of if not the largest software project for 
the TI-99/4A since TI discontinued the 
4A in 1983. The program was large by 
even IBM or Macintosh standards - over 
120K of assembly language code - 
hundreds of thousands of lines. Even by 
superhuman standards - this is the sort 
of project that typically takes 'man years' 
to complete. Considering the technical 
difficulties associated with making it run 
on both the TI-99/4A and the Geneve, as 
well as taking advantage of dozens of 
peripherals for each, in some ways its 
amazing that Charles got as far as he did 
into the project. Press has broken new 
ground in dozens of ways - from 
memory management to display 
management to file management. 

"While Charles hasn't given me exact 
reasons why the program hasn't been 
finished - I personally believe it is 
because the program tries to do too 
many new things at the same time. The 
problem from the beginning is that the 
program is too complex to be 
understood in its entirety by a single 
person - even a person with Charles' 
prodigious programming talents." 

"The TI community has attached almost 
mythic importance to this program over 
the last two years - I've heard many 
people say that 'waiting for Press' was 
the only reason they still owned a TI- 
99/4A. Geneve owners have repeatedly 
painted it as the savior for this embattled 
computer - the program that was going 
to 'make' the Geneve. While I'm 
flattered, I really don't think our 
community is going to live or die by this 
one program. While Press promised to 
revolutionize word processing - the 
most popular application of our 
computer - we still have a large selection 
of good word processing programs. It's 
not as if there is no word processing 
software for our machine. Even if we 
can't release Press, Asgard Software can 
at least extend the capabilities of the 
word processors we have. Our Spell It! 
spelling checker is just the first program 
in a series that will bring the Tl-Writer 
standard up to modern day expectations. 
If we can't bring Press to the TI 
community, we can at least bring ideas 
from it - Spell Itl is comparable in every 
way to the spelling checker we planned 
ior Press." 

"Also, I wouldn't be surprised if others 
will begin working on new word 
processors for the 99/4A in earnest now 
that they don't have to compete with the 
idea that Press will be competing with 
them. Press set a benchmark for word 
processing that was even too high for it 
to hurdle - raising exiDectations that 
even it couldn't evidently meet. 
Unfortunately it had the effect of stifling 
competition. Now other companies, and 
even Asgard Software, will be free to 
work on word processors that may be 
less spectacular, but imminently more 

Asgard Software at the same time 
returned all orders received for the 
program still on file, as well as provided 
the option to the few people that actually 
payed for the program at its 
announcement in Chicago in 1988 the 
option of a refund or a credit No other 
checks or money orders received for this 
program were ever cashed - no charge 
cards charged. 

Over the last 2 years Press has generated 
much interest, and more than a little 
controversy. While Asgard Software 
made many attempts to keep customers 
up to date, they relied heavily on word of 
mouth, letters and phone calls, and 
articles in TI publications to get the 
word out about the project. This was a 
source of irritation to some who would 
have preferred direct mailings of 
progress reports. Hopefully, the letters 
forwarded to all customers will be 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 6 

Mickey Schmitt, the author of numerous 
adventure games and the book "The 
Adventure Reference Guide", the bible 
for TI adventure gamers, recently began 
marketing a book for cassette users 
called "Getting the Most From Your 
Cassette System". This 52 page 
professionally typeset book contains an 
excellent collection of articles on using a 
cassette system to its full potential - by 
someone who used one for years. To 
order a copy send $9.95 plus $2.00 S&H 
($4.00 Airmail) to Mickey Schmitt, 196 
Broadway Ave., Lower Burrell, PA 15068. 

m Menio Park, CA, 

Triton Products Corp., the largest TI- 
99/4A and Myarc Geneve 9640 products 
support company announced that they 
were eliminating their annual Spring 
and Summer Clearance catalogs to 
concentrate on their more profitable Fall 
catalog. Mailed to over 100,000 TI-99/4A 
users, this catalog constitutes the most 
far-reaching publication in the TI 

Triton, a division of Mediagenics Inc. 
(formeriy known as Activision), is one of 
the larger entertainment software 
companies. They currently produce 
everything from cartridges for Nintendo 
and Sega game machines to business 
software for the Macintosh. 

It is rumored that Mediagenics is 
unwilling to invest too much in a "dead" 
computer - Triton has had to eliminate 
most technical support because the lady 
who used to manage it quit to have a 
baby and Triton hasn't been authorized 
to fill her position. From all accounts, 
however, Triton is a stable enterprise 
with substantial sales in the TI 
community. ■O 

m Rockville, MD 

Asgard Peripherals has announced its 
Intention of bringing the Mechatronics 
80-coIumn card back to North America 
TI-99y4A users after a 9-month hiatus. 

This device, which can be installed on 
the TI-99/4A console even by a relatively 
inexperienced user, will with appropriate 
software and a monitor display 80- 
column text on the screen as well as 
high-resolution graphics. The card 
utilizes an upgraded version of the 
TMS9918A video display microprocessor 
in the 99/4A, known as the V9938 - 
which is manufactured by Yamaha Corp. 
The V9938 is 100% compatible with the 
TMS9918A, and as a result a 99/4A 
equipped with a Mechatronics card is 
100% compatible with all TI software. 
Any software specifically designed for 
use with an 80-column card (and at this 
writing there are dozens of programs 
that are so-designed) will recognize 
when the Mechatronics card is installed 
and automatically work in 80-columns. 

This device was originally introduced by 
Mechatronics almost 3 years ago. 
However, that company went bankrupt 
last year and the rights have been sold to 
another German firm, which has 
improved the design substantially. The 
Mechatronics 80-column card previously 
required an expensive Analog RGB 
monitor. The revised card will take 
advantage of less- expensive 80-column 
composite monitors. Additionally, the 
card will include much more reliable 
internal software written by Barry Boone 
(author of Archiver and other 
programs), and a much better written 

This 80-column device is the easiest to 
install video upgrade available for the TI- 
99/4A. Upgrading to 80-columns with 
this enhancement requires no 
modifications to your console beyond 
removing the video chip already 
installed and plugging in a special 
connector in its place. This device 
simply plugs in the side (a la the Speech 

Synthesizer), and you can attach other 
peripherals into it. Plug your monitor 
cable into the special connector in the 
back and you instantly have a beautiful, 
high resolution display. 

A number of fairware and public domain 
80-column card programs comes 
packaged with the Mechatronics card - 
including the 80-column version of the 
Funnelweb word processor, an 80- 
column version oi Multiplan, the 80- 
column compatible Telco terminal 
emulator, and the G99 graphics package 
that allows the Mechatronics to display 
high-resolution pictures taken from the 
Amiga, Macs and PCs. Additionally, 
purchasers are entitled to discounts on 
80-column Asgard Software products 
(PrEditor, Spell It/. Hardmaster, etc.). 
80-column compatible software is also 
offered by IP Software and other TI- 
99/4A vendors. Custom monitor cables 
are available. 

Finally, while the original card retailed 
for over $250, Asgard Peripherals will be 
selling it for $200, plus $10.00 S&H 
($20.00 Airmail). Considering the cost of 
acquiring another computer capable of 
displaying the high-quality, VGA and 
Amiga-like graphics possible with the 
Mechatronics 80-column card and its 
9938 video processor, it makes more 
sense to upgrade your TI then to buy 
another machine and start all over. This 
device will help carry your TI into the 
'90s with style. 

This product carries a 90-day warranty. 
Most parts are socketed hence it can be 
serviced after 90-days by any reasonably 
competent technician, or returned to us 
for servicing for the cost of parts plus 

Currently, Asgard Peripherals is 
accepting orders for this device. It is 
expected that it will be shipping to 
customers within two months. Any 
checks sent for this device will not be 
cashed, or charge cards charged until 
the item is shipped. 

In the last 6 months the news has had 
its ups and downs for the Geneve owner. 
On the plus side the Geneve has been 
selling very well for both the few dealers 
remaining and IViton. This was in large 
part spurred by steep price reductions 
from Myarc - the Geneve with a Myarc 
Mouse and the My-Art drawing program 
can be ordered from Disk Only Software 
(301-340-7179) for $400 plus Shipping 
and handling. At the same time, the 
suggested retail of the Myarc HFDC has 
also been drastically reduced - again 
DOS has the best price at $200 plus 

On the negative side, while Geneves and 
HFDCs are being sold at this price they 
are hard to get. Demand is much higher 
then supply at the moment and DOS has 
lengthy backorder lists. Furthermore, 
the HFDC is still prone to unreliability - 
even on the TI-99/4A and particularly on 
the Geneve (oddly enough). 

On the 99/4A end, many HFDCs are 
unable to control more then 2 hard 
drives - the 3rd hard drive connector 
doesn't work on most cards. 
Additionally, the device functions very 
irregularly as a floppy disk drive 
controller - even TI-99/4A users often 
use a Corcomp or Myarc FDC with their 
HFDC for controlling floppies. The 
situation is positively abysmal on the 
Geneve - Myarc has released version 
0.97H of the HFDC compatible versions 
of M-DOS, but while the compatibility 
with the HFDC has increased, for the 
most part that version of M-DOS is 
incompatible with every other program. 
Most users use M-DOS 1.14, but that 
version doesn't allow direct access to the 
hard drive in M-DOS. Furthermore, 
from a programmers standpoint the 
HFDC is a nightmare - the DSR calls 
meticulously documented in the HFDC 
manual are so much fertilizer when the 
HFDC is used on the Geneve, and Myarc 
hasn't provided any addenclum 
documentation explaining the changes. 
While it is possible to use the HFDC 
with software that only uses high-level 
file access, anything requiring lower 
level access to the HFDC simply bombs 
out even in GPL mode. 

See Myarc on Page 16 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 7 

Myarc, from page 7 

Myarc has a difficult job ahead of it. 
They have to produce a version of M- 
DOS that is not only compatible with 
the current widely used version, but also 
functions well with the HFDC, and 
includes comparable documentation for 
programmers. Ideally, DSRs should run 
under this version of M-DOS exactly as 
they do on the 99/4A, but if they have to 
be changed, Myarc should provide 
documentation detailing this. 

We'll let you know when they have their 
act together. 

As if in answer to our question in the 
previous Asgard News - "Where is Great 
Lakes Software?" - Comprodine has 
announced they are the exclusive 
distributors of all Great Lakes Software 
products. Accompanying the acquisition 
of such TI favorites as Certificate Maker 
99 and JoyPaint 99, Comprodine has 
reduced the price of these programs to 
$10.00 each and introduced several new 
companions for JoyPaint users. For 
more information contact Comprodine 
at 1949 Evergreen Ave., Fullerton, CA 
92635,or call (714) 9904577. <? 


A New user group has been formed for 
TI-99/4A users in the Ft. Bragg, NC area. 
For more information contact CW2 
Richard Sammons, HLM 782nd Mt Bn., 
Ft. Bragg, NC 28307. 


OPA plans to soon release a mailing list 
program designed to work with a 
RAMBO equipped Horizon RAM-disk. 
This package allows thousands of entries 
to be stored simultaneously in memory 
and sorted instantly. Menu driven. 
Contact OPA, 432 Jarvis Str. #502, 
Tbronto, Ontario Canada M4Y 2H ^ 

Stuff about Myarc' s future plans, Triad, and more. 

The grapevine has been buzzing, and its 
unofficially confirmed that Myarc is 
planning an upgraded version of the 
Geneve soon. The new Geneve will 
feature an increased clock speed 
(ISMhz), which will increase its speed by 
50%, as well as a 9958 video processor 
upgrade (see previous issue of Asgard 
News for information about this chip). 
Plans have firmed up partially because of 
the release, oddly enough, oi^t Asgard 
Mouse. The 9958 has no built-in mouse 
support, and the lack of an alternative 
was a serious roadblock towards 
incorporating this new video processor 
in the machine. Additionally, few people 
would be interested in the upgrade if it 
only increased the clock speed. Because 
the Asgard Mouse works from the RS232 
port, it has effectively solved the 
problem the 9958 posed to Myarc. Myarc 
has contacted Mike Maksimik regarding 
interfacing the Asgard Mouse into M- 
DOS on a basic level - current mouse 
software for the Geneve would then 
automatically work with the Asgard 
Mouse. The only remaining 
consideration for Myarc now is that 
there are hundreds oi Myarc Mouse 
owners that are going to be mad about 
buying a new mouse if they upgrade the 



The principal partners in JP Software, as 
well as one of their best programmers 
have recently formed "Bluestreak 
Software" - a software company devoted 
to producing software for the Apple 
Macintosh and PC compatible 
computers. Among the "best and 
brightest" for Myarc, Paul Charlton is 
the author oi M~DOS, Mike Dodd of 
MDM5, and J. Peter Hoddie oiMy-Word 
and various other Geneve utilities. While 
there is no word on how this will impact 
on JP Software or their committment to 
the Geneve world, it does coincide with 
an unusually slow release period for JP 
Software with the only new product an 
update to First Base, by Warren Agee. 

The Missing Link, a well-received 
enhancement package for Extended 
BASIC users, has reportedly sold only 
moderately, despite heavy promotion by 
manufacturer Texaments and good 
reviews from most reviewers. Fairware 
Extended BASIC enhancement packages 
have also done generally poorly lately. It 
seems that few people are programming 
in Extended BASIC any more. Too bad 
these packages weren't available 5 years 

Diad, the integrated package by Wayne 
Stith to be offered by JP Software, is 
reportedly nearing completion. This 
package features an advanced terminal 
emulator with its own language as well 
as a Tl-Writer-like word processor that 
takes advantage of many Geneve 
features. A Geneve-specific package, it is 
nevertheless expected to be quite 
popular when released. It will be 
Wayne's second big contribution lately - 
he and his wife haa a child just recently. 

In a story worthy of "Perils of Pauline", 
numerous rumors have been flying 
around to the effect that Dijit plans to 
discontinue their 80-column card after 
numerous problems correcting 
incompatibilities with various other 
devices and software packages. At the 
same time, rumors are also circulating 
that they aren't really planning to do 
anything of the sort! Who's right? 

» It is rumored that an individual or 
individuals in Florida are working on yet 
another Hard & Floppy Disk Controller. 
This market could be crowded by the 
end of the year. 

« 80~column cards may be forthcoming 
from one or more established TI 
hardware vendors. The recent rapid 
increase in 80-column compatible 
software is increasing demand 

Reflections - VoL 2 No.3 - Page 8 

The Past, the Present, the Future, and other stuff.. 

Well, its no secret - this maga- 
zine is 3 months late. Not only 
that, its dijferentl Before I get 
into that, however, let me 
explain what happened. 

The Past 

About 6 months ago I hired an 
editor to put this thing together. 
About 4 months ago she decid- 
ed she really didn't want this 
job after all. Oh well. About the 
same time she threw it back in 
my lap Asgard was going 
through one of our occasional 

Periodically, things go to you- 
know-where In a handbasket 
around here. In March we were 
trying to get our development 
schedule back to something 
approximating a schedule 
(Spring is the time when we 
start projects for release in the 
Fall and finish up projects that 
should have been nnished last 
Fall). At the same time Asgard 
Peripherals was born (see news 
article In this issue), we started 
grappling with the issue of 
Press (ditto), and we were over- 
whelmed with orders (and I'm 
not going to complain about 
that one little bit - please, we 
never have too many orders). 
The long and the short of it was 
that I had too much to do and 
too little time, and I was tearing 
my hair out getting It all done 
at once. As a consequence, 
nothing was getting done. 

Whenever I get Into this state 
my reaction is to sit back, pri- 
oritize everything, and do one 
thing at a time after another 
until they are all done. For bet- 
ter or worse, the next Issue of 
Asgard News wasn't at the top 
of the list (after all, most peo- 
ple didn't get the last issue 
until January, right?). WeU, I'm 
happy to say most everything is 
out of the way, but by the time 
I looked up to notice 3 months 
had passed. So, after a irantic 2 
weeks I've pulled this thing 
together (I never have to worry- 
about a shortage of material - 
all my friends say I should have 
been a professor because I can 
lecture for hours about any 
Imaginable subject <smile>). 

The Present 

At this point, I can imagine you 
are asking yourselfT "Self, 
what's with all of this 
Refections stuff?". Well, appar- 
ently too many of you out there 
didn't notice that I was having 
a little name-changing contest. 
Why did I say they didn't 
notice? Because only 6 people 
bothered to enter it. Maybe ifi'd 
offered $1000 instead of just a 
measly $100 more people 
would have sent an entry, but 
Its too late. The winner is (drum 
roll please). Shirley Slicer of 
Purdom, KS. I'd also like to 
thank the following for sending 
an entry: Sr. Pat Taylor oT 

See Editorial on Page A2 

Story, Pages Al -AS 

Editorial, Al 
News, A3 

Current Versions, A4 
Asgard Bookshelf, A4 
New Products, A5 
Ask Asgard, A8 

Editorial from Page A 1 

Dubuque, lA; Roscoe Heavener 
of Edgewater, FL; Anthony 
Consola of Piainfleld, IL; Don 
Alexander of Macon, GA; and 
Robert Mendez of FUimore, CA. 
Just for the heck of it, I've 
extended the subscription of 
everyone who entered the con- 
test by an Issue. Maybe next 
time more people will take 
these contests seriously. 

How was the winner chosen? 
In some ways it was a process 
of elimination. Firstly, I had to 
eliminate all the entries that 
contained the name "TF promi- 
nently in them (exa. TI News'). 
TI is a registered trademark, 
and well I hate going to court. 
Next, I eliminated all the tech- 
nical sounding ones - this mag- 
azine isn't designed to appeal 
solely to the technically liter- 
ate. Among the entries that 
were left, I made a very subjec- 
tive judgement. I chosen 
Reflections because of the neat 
visual pun I could get out of it 
{note the title of the magazine 
shows the letters ti' in shadow 
- "Reflections on TI". get it?). 
Bad jokes aside, I thought the 
name suggested what the mag- 
azine was really about - news 
and views on our community. 

The Future 

You'll also note something odd 
about this issue - its a maga- 
zine within a magazine. Don't 
worry - this was done on pur- 
pose. One of the big reasons I 
changed the name of the maga- 
zine was that with user group 
newsletters dropping like flies 
and news coverage of the 4A 
diminishing, I felt the TI & 
9640 community needed 
another general-Interest maga- 
zine to Fill the void. Asgard 
News has been drifting in that 
direction for a while, but the 
name implied it was one big ad 
for Asgard 

1 products. While a good por- 
tion of the magazine was 
devoted to that kind of infor- 
mation, the majority (as much 
as 70%) wasn't. 

The name change was designed 
to accent this new indepen- 
dence. I still have a lot of 
Asgard-specific information, 
but that has for the most part 

been segregated into the 
"Asgard News" section. You will 
note some Asgard articles in 
the Rejlections part - but even 
my harshest critics have to 
admit that Asgard does some 
newsworthy things sometimes - 
I only tried to put the most 
newsworthy Items in 

This situation wHl continue for 
at least the next issue - the 
general interest articles, com- 
mentaries, news bits, tutorials, 
etc. will be in Reflections, and 
the Asgard-specific stuff will be 
in Asgard News. At that point. I 
have to make a decision 
whether to spin off Asgard 
News into an occasional period- 
ical, or to continue including it 
within Reflections. PLEASE, if 
you have any opinion at all on 
the subject call, write. Email, 
or carrier-pigeon me and tell 
me about it. 

Other Stuff 

Finally, the part you've all been 
waiting for (no doubt) - my edi- 

Lately I've been seeing a dis- 
tressing sight - a number of tal- 
ented people have started dnil- 
ing away from the 99/4A and 
Geneve. An attitude Is starting 
to permeate the software devel- 
oper part of the community - a 
malaise if you will. 

Why noAv? Well, for one thing 
an Increasing number of people 
are just plain tired of the prob- 
lems and delays with the 
Geneve, and are giving up the 
community altogether. This 
includes some of the original 
developers of the Geneve. After 
all, M-DOS stai isn't done, the 
HFDC is stm buggy, etc. 

Another problem seems to be 
that some developers have con- 
vinced themselves that the 
market has disappeared - that 
TI users are abandoning the 
computer In droves and there's 
no hope. Balderdash! 

While the TI-99/4A certainly 
doesn't have the "easy money" 
that you'll find In the PC and 
Apple worlds (and if you believe 
there is "easy money" any- 
where, I'd like to talk to you 
about the exciting speculation 
prospects in certain bridge 

properties), there are a number 
of things to be said about It 
from the developer's point of 

(a) The TI community is a 
mature market. You can rea- 
sonably assume that most 
users will know what a car- 
tridge Is and how to plug it into 
the cartridge port, how the disk 
drive is used, etc. The more 
assumptions like that you can 
make the shorter the manual 
that you have to write (and 
hey, lots of TI software produc- 
ers can get away with writing 
practical^ no manual and let- 
ting poor users tell each other 
how to use it!). 

(b) TI users are In it generally 
for fun (and profit). PC users 
are generally only in It for the 
profit part. Ever go to a PC 
user group meeting? Generally 
they consist of a bunch of 
dweeby lawyers sitting around 
trying to suck knowledge out of 
the one guy there that read 
and understood the Lotus or 
DBASE manual {or at least 
claims to). PC user groups are 
boring and PC users generally 
are too. TI user groups are 
sometimes boring (after all, you 
do get the guy who drones on 
about heat sink problems with 
Myarc equipment), but things 
get exciting when they start 
playing the game of "\Vlio can 
we drmt Into doing the newslet- 
ter this month". 

(c) And if you think TI user 
groups are exciting, wait till 
you go to a TI faire. Without a 
doubt you've never seen an 
odder collection of Individuals 
in your life. However, that's 
£food! It's eclectic, it broadens 
the mind, It exposes you to 
people your mother warned 
you about, and you've never 
seen more people enjoy each 
others company more In your 
life. Birds of a feather you 
know. PC shows are all corpo- 
rate love-ins, and generally as 
exciting as chipped beef on 

(d) TI users are about the most 
honest people youll ever meet. 
In the last 5 years I've received 
all of about 5-6 bad checks out 
of tens of thousands received. 
Why? See "b" for an explana- 
tion. (Now, tf everyone starts 
sending rubber checks after 
reading this I'll be extremely 

See Editorial on Page A3 

Editorial, from Page A2 

disappointed). TI users are very- 
good people. 

(e) Finally, the hardware Is still 
exciting. The 99/4A (and the 
Geneve} are the cheapest com- 
puters around in which you 
can simultaneously have 
speech, color graphics, anima- 
tion, music, sound effects, and 
text in the same program. I 
was just reading that Apple 
considers their new $8000 Mac 
life a great advance because for 
the first time it has separate 
processors to handle the key- 
board, sound, the disk drives 
and the screen. BIG DEAL - the 
TI-99/4A was doing that In 
1979 {and even then only for 
$1000}! How can Apple call this 
a big breakthrough 11 years 
after TI did It in a $50 home 
computer? Give me a break.. 
You can still do neat things on 
the 4A that are a bear to do 
anywhere else, at a fraction of 
the cost. Even 9900 assembly 
language is more pleasant then 
most any other. 

All In all, while no one will get 
rich writing software for the 
99 /4A, there are other things 
to life then money ~ friends, the 
respect of your peers, enjoying 
what you do, the thrill of 
bouncing checks to buy gro- 
ceries, and staying up to SAM 
programming AND chatting 
with your friends on the phone 
at the same time, etc. 
Seriously, Its the only job IVe 
ever hadf that I looked forward 
to going to every day. Yes, writ- 
ing software for the 4A isn't an 
easy road - some things about 
it are downright archaic, but It 
certainly beats writing the 
500th spreadsheet available for 
the PC, and competing with the 
other 499 already released. 

the form of free 
Asgard Peripherals 
has the potential of 
becoming one of the 
larger TI peripheral 

Asgard Peripherals, Demo Disks, Page 
Pro update and more 

On April 1, 1990. Asgard 
Software formed a subsidiary, 
Asgard Peripherals, devoted to 
creating, manufacturing and 
distributing hardware periph- 
erals for the TI-99/4A and 
Myarc Geneve 9640 computers. 
While Asgard Software has 
been In the hardware business 
for some time (since the release 
of its first module), this has 
been an ancillary part of its 
business. With the formation of 
Asgard Peripherals, one of the 
primary foci of the business 
wUl be extendlrg the capabili- 
ties of our machines through 
various peripherals. 

In a departure from other 
hardware manufacturers, 
Asgard Peripherals Intends to 
focus (at least in the short 
term), on interfacing existing 
equipment to the 99/4A and 
the Geneve, as well as working 
on joint ventures with other 
hardware manufacturers to 
more quickly bring products to 
the TI community. This 
includes marketing a^eements 
with the firm that purchased 
Mechatronlcs, and eventually 
with other hardware manufac- 
turers on other projects. 

Anyone who has purchased a 
piece of hardware Is aware that 
the software in the device can 
make the difference between it 
being usable or only useful as 
a doorstop. Because Asgard 
Peripherals is affiliated with 
Asgard Software, the firm Is 
more capable in providing critl- 
cal software support than 
many other hardware manu- 
facturers. Because it is affiliat- 
ed with Asgard Publishing, 
which has facilities and experi- 
ence in producing books and 
magazines, it Is able to produce 
extensive documentation and 
provide after-sale support in 

Currently, the firm 
has one product In 
production (the 
Asgard Mouse) and 
3 others in develop- 
ment. They are strongly Inter- 
ested In hearing from individu- 
als, user groups or firms who 
are working on peripherals for 
the TI-9974A or the Myarc 
Geneve 9640, or who are Inter- 
ested tn joint-ventures In devel- 
oping, manufacturing or mar- 
keting peripherals. 

For more Information, contact 
Asgard Peripherals at P.O. Box 
10697, RockviUe, MD 20849. 

Want to know more about 
Asgard Software products? 
Would you like to give a 
demonstration of some of our 
more recent offerings at your 
user group meeting? Asgard 
Software has available to any 
qualified user group officer free 
demonstration disks of some of 
our more recent releases - 
including The Antmator, Rock 
Runner. Picasso, and soon 
Spell It!. If you'd like to receive 
tnese disks free of charge send 
a postcard with your name, 
address, your user group name 
and your affiliation to: Asgard 
Software, P.O. Box 10306, 
RockviUe, MD 20849. 

The initial release of 
Hardmaster seems to have had 
a small problem with handling 
hard disk drive of less then 
20Mb in size (and occasionally 
with larger ones). As with many 
large problems of this sort, the 
solution Is so small and 
insignificant you'd think it 
shouldn't have caused a prob- 
lem tn the first place. 

See News on Page A4 

News, Continued from A3 

If you'd like to affect the 
correction yourself, make a 
copy of the program onto a 
newly Initialized disk and 
follow the instructions below. 
Otherwise, return your 
program disk and $1.00 S&H 
to Asgard Software. 

Using Hardmaster (of course), 
EDit the 10th sector of the file 
HM (which can be found by 
using the Directory command 
on the disk containing the copy 
of Hardmaster since DI lists 
the sectors that contain a given 
file). Change offset byte >BC in 
the file from 1110 to lAlO. If 
you are using the 80-column 
version, edit the 1 1th sector of 
the file HM80 and change the 
bytes at >22 from 1110 to 

A surprising number of Page 
Pro 99 users apparently don't 
know that Page Pro 99 is 
currently in version 1.6. This 
version contains significant 
changes over the previous 
version - including a cataloging 
function, support for "clipping- 
parts of the page as a picture, 
a high-resolution print mode 
superior to any other graphics 
package, and much more. 

Page Pro 99 users can obtain 
the current version by 
returning their Program disk 
and $4.00 to Asgard Software, 
P.O. Box 10306, RockvUle, MD 

Non-registered users should 
really register thetr purchase - 
if you lost your warranty card 
send a postcard with the 
warranty information in its 
place. Registered users 
automatically receive free of 
charge a quarterly newsletter 
that talks about some of the 
support packages released for 
the program, contains 
occasional tutorials and quite a 
bit of general toformation. 

support of Asgard customers. 
These sections contain 
additional utilities and graphics 
flies for downloading, help files 
and tutorials, and 

announcements about new 
products and services 

If you are on CompuServe, you 
can gain access to the Asgard 
Section (DL16) by leaving a 
message to our ID. 
72561.3241. Any questions or 
comments can also be directed 
at that ID by sending a 
message via Email or in the TI 
Forum itself. 

On GEnie. send a message to 
C.BOBBITT for access to 
Library 38 - a section devoted 
primarily to Page Pro 99 users 
but also open to Fix Pro owners 
and users of other products. 
Questions or comments can be 
addressed to Asgard in Section 
7 of the TI Roundtable message 

Asgard also maintains an ID on 
Delphi, C_BOBBnT. Questions 
and comments can be 
addressed to same. "^ 

Asgard has recently opened up 
special sections on both 
CompuServe's TI Forum and 
GEnle's TI Roundtable for the 

This listing contains only the 
products that have been updated. 
Any products offered that aren't 
Hsted have not been updated since 
their release. Send to Asgard 
Software for information about 
obtaining updated software. 

Vers. Last Upd. 

Balloon Wars 
High Gravity 
Legends 11 

Font Writer II 
Picasso 2.0 

Cal. Maker 
Music Pro 
Page Pro 99 
Recipe Writer 
Sched. Mngr 
Stamp Mn^ 
EZ-Keys Plus 
Pre-Scan Itl 
Spell It! 
TOD Editor 





























This area is provided as a 
service to Asgard News 
subscribers that do not have 
access to the user group 
libraries or telecommunications 
services available to other 
users. Send orders to Asgard 
News, P.O. Box 10697, 
Rockville, MD 20849. 

Picasso 1.4 

This is an excellent drawing 
package for the TI-99/4A and 
Myarc Geneve 9640. This 
program features a drawing 
area over 3 times the size of 
other drawing packages, and 
much more, $3.00 


An upgrade to TE-Writer by Art 
Green. Includes a completely 
revised editor and formatter. 
Numerous new features. $3.00 


An upgrade for Microsoft 
Multiplan, also by Art Green. 
Much faster then the original! 
Requhres Multiplan $3.00 


The best freeware terminal 
emulation package available 
Extensively documented - by 
Charles Earl. $4.00 

A "Quick and Dirty 
Columnizer" that converts a TI- 
Writer text file into 2 formatted 
columns. By Chris Bobbitt. 


A package from Paragon 
Computing that allows you to 
convert Tl-Writer files into 
Extended BASIC programs. 
Excellent for the XB 
programmer. $3.00 

All Prices quoted included 
shipping and handling. Please 
all 2-8 weeks for delivery. 

Six months is a long time 
between issues - as a result 
there are more then a few new 
things to talk about. 

To order an item or Items send 
a check or money order for the 
amount indicated, and add 
$2,00 S&H per order in the 
U.S., $3.00 to Canada, or 
$4.00 for Airmail. Send ail 
orders to: 

Asgard Software 

P.O. Box 10306 

Rockvllle, MD 20849 


The Animator, by Brad Snyder, 
is a fascinating program that 
makes animation on the TI- 
99/4A and the Geneve simple 
and even fun! 

While other programs allow 
you to generate animation 
sequences, none other allow 
you to do so with such ease, 
and put the results to such 
good use. 

An Extended BASIC 
programmers delight! 

With The Animator, Extended 
BASIC programmers can create 
highly detailed demonstrations 
and games with dozens or even 
hundreds of simultaneously 
animated objects in mere 
hours instead of days or weeks. 
The compact, fast and efficient 
assembly code included allows 
all this to happen in the back- 
ground while your Extended 
BASIC program takes care of 
the rest. 

You create your animation 
frames and define their 

sequence In The Animator edi- 
tor, convert them to Extended 
BASIC format in The Animator 
Converter {which will also 
allow you to import in TI-Artist 
artwork), and then combine 
them with the package of 
Assembly routines included to 
animate your creations. Your 
Extended BASIC program only 
has to concentrate on logic, 
interacting with the user, etc. 
Your resulting program can be 
distributed any way you like 
with no legal strings attached - 
create games and demonstra- 
tions for your friends, to dis- 
tribute as freeware, or even sell 
commercially. What's more, the 
comprehensive manual 

Includes a complete step-by- 
step description of the process 
used to create and include ani- 
mation sequences into 
Extended BASIC - any half-way 
experienced Extended BASIC 
programmer can create ani- 
mated scenes quickly and easi- 
ly heretofore only possible in 
Assembly language. 

Fun for Young and Old! 

While Extended BASIC pro- 
grammers will certainly appre- 
ciate the utility of The 
Animator, anyone who has ever 
marveled at the artistry of 
Disney cartoons or just wanted 
to play games with the comput- 
er Avill find The Animator pro- 
vides endless hours of enjoy- 

With nothing more then a joy- 
stick and a few keyboard com- 
mands you can easily create up 
to 20 frame animation 
sequences, displayed in any 
order you like with any combi- 
nation of repetitions of groups 
of frames. The results can be 
as simple as a cat running 
across the screen and as com- 
plex as the limits of your imagi- 
nation. The results can be ani- 

mated in several sizes, and 
even simultaneously up to 16 
times on the screen! 

The Details 

The Animator Includes an 
extensive manual that details 
how to use the programs in 
this package, as well as pro- 
vides practical information for 
the user and the programmer. 
Over 2 years in development, 
this package is extremely well- 
tested, and guaranteed to work 
on both the TI-99/4A and the 
Myarc Geneve. The two-disks 
provided include numerous 
examples of both animation 
sequences and Extended 
BASIC programs with anima- 
tion included in them. 

The Animator requires at a 
minimum 32K, Extended 
BASIC and one disk drive. A 
printer (any kind) is recom- 
mended, but not required. 
Suggested retail $14.95. 

Introducing the best thing next 
to your word processor, the 
Spell It! spelling checker by Jim 
Reiss and Asgard Software. 

Spell It! brings spell checking 
on the TI-99/4A and Myarc 
Geneve 9640 into the '90s with 
all the features and speed of 
modern PC and Macintosh 
spellers. With Spell It! you'll 
never have to worry about 
embarrassing spelling mistakes 
again in your Tl-Writer, RAG- 
Writer, BA-Writer, Funnelweb. 
My~Word, or WordWriter docu- 
ments. Compatible with any 
word processor that can store 
documents in the TI standard 
text format (display /variable 
80 files), Spell It! for the first 
time makes checking your 
speUing on the 4A easier than 
writing the words in the first 

Among other thtags, Spell It! is 
many times faster than any 
other TI spelling checker, it 
makes corrections directly to 
your text file so you don't have 
to return to the editor, lets you 
view the context the word Is 
used in, allows you to add 
words as you check text files to 
a user dictionary limited only 

by available disk space, has no 
limit on text file size, lets you 
scan through the dictionary If 
you aren't sure of a spelling, 
and even supports foreign lan- 
guage character sets. 

Finally. Spell Iti is available in 
three versions - SS/SD and 
DS/DD disk versions with over 
25,000 words, and a hard-disk 
version with over 250,000 
words. The proprietary 
SmartCheck™ algorithm in 
Spell It! makes this equivalent 
to a dictionary several times as 
large since Spell It! doesn't 
have to wade through the plu- 
ral and possessive versions of 
words often found In other 
spelling checker dictionaries. 

Requires at a minimum 32K, 
one SS/SD disk drive and TI- 
Writer or a compatible. 
Recommended system of at 
least one DS/DD disk drive. 
Provided unprotected and 
RAM-disk compatible. 

Configurable for 80-columns 
on the TI-99/4A and Geneve. 

Spell It! Is available in three 

SS/SD disk version 

(3 disks). 25.000 words - 

DS/DD disk version 
(1 disk), 25,000 words- 

HFDC version (7 disks), 
250,000+ words - 



Q. How does Spell It! compare 

in speed to other spelling 


A. It is many times faster than 

any other spelling checker for 

the 99/4A or the Geneve. 

Q. How do you run Spell ItJ? 
A. Can be run directly from 
most word processors, from the 
Editor/Assembler and TI 
Extended BASIC modules, and 
on the Geneve through Barry 
Boone's EXEC utHlty. 

Q. What word processors is it 
compatible with? 
A. It will work with any word 
processor that can produce a 
Display/Variable-80 format file 
- rr-Wrffer, Funnelweb. RAG 
Writer, BA-Writer, QS-Writer, 

Word-WHter, MyWord. etc. 

Q. Do you have to re-load the 
program after checking a docu- 

A. You can check the spelling of 
any number of text flies, of any 
length, one after the other with- 
out leaving the program. 

Q. Does it have *any* limit on 
the text files? 

A. It is limited by the number of 
unique words that can be 
stored in memory at once. One 
of the reasons Spell Itl is faster 
Is that unlike other 4A spelling 
checkers it only checks a word 
against the dictionary once, 
even if it appears In the text file 
100 times! The program can 
store between 1-3000 unique 
words In memory (depending 
on length). This should pose no 
problems - the average scientif- 
ic doctoral dissertation only 
has about 2000 unique words 
In it, including jargon. The 
average letter has considerably 

Q. How does the program 

A. When you first run it you 
give It the filename of the docu- 
me t to be checked. It then 
builds a list In memory of all 
the unique words In that docu- 
ment. It then checks them 
against the dictionary and gen- 
erates a list of words not found 
in the dictionary. You can then 
go through the words one by 
one and either add them to the 
user dictionary, view the con- 
text the word was used in (the 
word itself is highlighted), have 
the program guess how the 
word should be spelled, or 
enter in the correct spelling. 
You can go back and forth 
through the list until you've 
made all your changes. When 
you are finished, the program 
creates a corrected version of 
your text file automatically. 

Q. How do you know if a word 
is properly spelled? 
A. When a spelling mistake is 
found, you can view the block 
of text the word was found in - 
you don't have to guess the 
context the word was used in. 
If you still aren't sure of the 
spelling of a word you can look 
it up In Spell lU's own dictio- 
nary - It will generate a list of 
words that the word might be 
at the touch of a key. 

Q. How do you add words to 
your user dictionary? 
A. Correctly spelled words In 
your document not found in 
the dictionary (proper names, 
etc.) can be added to your user 
dictionary "on the fly" as you 
go through the list of words In 
your text file that the program 
couldn't find in the dictionary. 
Your user dictionary is limited 
only by your available disk 

Q. Do you have to re-enter the 
word processor to make the 
spelling changes to your docu- 

A. Spell It! automatically cre- 
ates a corrected version of your 
text file - you don't have to load 
your Editor to correct mis- 
spellings. Simply print our or 
format and print the corrected 
fUe. Furthermore, the case of 
the word is preserved exactly (If 
you misspelled an acronym, for 
instance, it will make your cor- 
rection also entirely in upper 

Q. Is Spell It! compatible with 
the latest hardware? 
A. Spell It! can be configured to 
take advantage of special hard- 
ware on yoilr computer system 
- it can use 80-coiumn displays 
(or 80-columns on the Geneve), 
RAM-disks and hard-disks, 
and other new equipment. You 
can even tell Spell It! to look for 
your text flies or its dictionary 
on a specific disk drive or 
hard-disk sub-dtrectory! 

Q. How does the Spell It! dictio- 
nary compare to others? 
A. For one thing, Spell It! fea- 
tures the proprietary 
SmartCheck™ algorithm - it 
knows the English language 
and automatlcaUy understands 
common suffixes (-ed, -Ing, 
possessives, etc.). This means 
that the Spell It! dictionary is 
comparable to one almost twice 
its size on other computers. 
Other spelling checkers have to 
Include as many as a dozen 
permutations of a word In their 
dictionaries (for example; help, 
helps, helped, helping, etc.), 
taking large amounts of valu- 
able disk space. Because of 
SmartCheck™, we are able to 
offer the versatility of a much 
larger dictionary, with compa- 
rable or better checking speed, 
in less disk space. 

A new adventure by Mickey 
Schmitt (author of Oliver's 
Twist and The Adventure 
Reference Guide), Rattlesnake 
Bend is a romp through the 
Old West for the serious adven- 
ture player. To quote the man- 

"I dont believe It! Just look 
who's back. If it ain't Kidd 
Poncho Dias, the sharpest 
adventurer in the West. 
What brings ya ta these 
parts ... Ya wouldn't by 
chance be out looking ta 
capture Santiago 
Escondldo, the most deceit- 
ful (and unpredictable) 
bandit in afl of Santa 
Diablo. 'Heard tell he was 
last seen headin' out 
towards Rattlesnake Bend, 
which means he ..." 

With a Very Difficult rating {on 
par with "Savage Island"), 
Rattlesnake Bend is a refresh- 
ing departure from standard 
atwentures. Available on disk 
and cassette. Suggested Retail 

Set in a Gothic castle, this two- 
part adventure by Randy Cook 
(both parts included) combines 
elements of Mary Shelley nav- 
els and sword & sorcery epics. 
To quote from the introduc- 

"Greetings unto you, Oh 

You have been chosen for 
your courage, skill and 
Intellect to perform a duty. 
A duty upon which the out- 
come of many lives depend. 
It is with grave regret that 
we must call you into this 
danger. A great shadow has 
fallen upon the face of the 
Earth. The sun fears his 
name, and the moon is 
near death by his presence. 
An unholy curse of a man 
known as Baron Manfred 

Ritter Von Darkholm has 
risen from the grave to prey 
upon mortal man. Already 
a score of innocent souls 
have died by his deeds. We 
must stop the slaughter... 
You must stop the slaugh- 

We, the Council of Elders, 
do charge you with a task, 
a holy mission. Destroy the 
sinister Von Darkholm. Let 
it be known that the Lord 
Bishop has already dis- 
patched a priest skilled in 
the dealings of the undead 
to the stronghold of the 
non-living abomination. 
Watch for this priest. He 
will aid you as you wlH aid 

Go now to Castle 
Darkholm. His evil must 
not be allowed to spread. 
God speed and protection. 

The High Council of Elders" 

This original game is rated 
moderate in difficulty. 
Available on disk and cassette. 
Suggested Retail $8.95. 

Edu-Pack is a unique experi- 
ment In educational software 
for the TI-99/4A - three differ- 
ent educational games tn one 
package, by David Bishop. 

Letter Land, an educational 
game for children ages 3 and 
up, is a deceptively simple 
game that teaches the alphabet 
to young children. Using the 
concept of pattern matching, 
the child has to match the let- 
ter on the spaceship to the let- 
ter floating by on the screen. At 
the same time Letter Land also 
teaches the concept of the 
alphabet and its order, and at 
higher levels numbers and spe- 
cial keys on the keyboard. 

Speed Key is a program for 
children aged 5 and up. As 
with Letter Land. Speed Key 
uses deceptively simple meth- 
ods to teach typing speed and 
accuracy. In fact, this game is 
also an excellent exercise for 
adults who need to brush up 
on their typing. While it doesn t 
give statistics related to accu- 
racy and actual typing speed 

as the Typing Tutor™ module 
from Texas Instruments Inc., it 
is a good way to practice typ- 
ing. For children, its use of col- 
orful block graphics is sure to 
attract attention and sustain 

Finally, Giving is a unique 
educational game for 2 chil- 
dren that teaches co-operation. 
The ability to work in a team 
towards a common goal is a 
concept that even some adults 
have difficulty with, and has 
never been properly addressed 
in educational programming. 
This interesting game teaches 
the concept and practice of the 
group effort. 

EdU'Pack is available on 
Module for the TI-99/4A, and 
on disk for Geneve users. It 
has a suggested retail price of 

The Asgard Mouse, by Michael 
Makslmik, is a high-quality, 
solidly-constructed 3-buttan 
mouse compatible with both 
the TI-99/4A and the Myarc 
Geneve 9640. Easy to install 
(simply attach to the RS232 
port on either computer), this 
mouse is a must for the next 
generation of TI and Geneve 

This capable critter includes 
software for using it with TL 
Artist and Tl-Arttst Plus, and for 
interfacing it to your Extended 
BASIC and Assembly pro- 
grams. Other software pack- 
ages are being designed for use 
with the package, and an inex- 
pensive, thorough developers 
package is also available for 
third-party developers. 

The Asgard Mouse requires a 
disk system, 32K and an 

Finally, the Asgard Mouse car- 
ries a lifetime warranty, and a 
suggested retail price of 
$49.95. Shipping and handling 
is $5.00 in the U.S., $6.00 to 
Canada, and $10.00 Airmail. 
"Y" Cables are also available for 
$18.00 plus S&H. 

In the last 6 months Asgard 
Software has released the fol- 
lowing Page Pro 99 related 
companions and utilities: 

Page Pro Pics 

Each package has a suggested 
retail of $6.95. 

Vol #S - People 2 ~ A collection 
of 32 "People" pictures - presi- 
dents, sports figures, etc. 
Vol #9 - Christmas - A collection 
of 40 pictures celebrating this 
happy holiday. 

Vol ^10 - Publishing Tools 2 - A 
selection of 37 pictures for use 
in flyers, business, etc. 
Features more borders, credit 
card symbols and more. 
Vol ^11 - Hebrew - A package 
containing 10 large pictures of 
Jewish religious life as well as 
a complete Hebrew large font. 

Volumes ^ I &2~ A collection of 
large titling stored as pictures 
for use in flyers, forms, 
announcements, etc. Each title 
is designed to be generic 
enough for common usage, 
phrases like "User Group", 
"Happy Holidays", etc. predom- 
inate. Each volume $6.95, both 
volumes for $1 1 .95. 

Page Pro Templates 

A collection of pre-made pages 
for use as templates in creating 
your own works, or which can 
be customized and used as-is. 
Each volume has a suggested 
retail of $6.95, or any three for 

VbE #i - Birthday Cards 1 
This 2-disk package by Virginia 
Davis contains 5 different 
birthday cards and 23 new pic- 

Vol #2 - Birthday Cords 2 
A 2-disk set that Includes 8 
new cards and 40 pictures. 
Mostly cards for children. By V. 

Vol #3 - Get WeU Cards 1 
One disk containing 5 different 
'get well' cards and 22 new pic- 
tures. By. V. Davis. 
Vol #4 - Get WeU Cards 2 

Another package by Virginia 

Davis that includes 2 disks 

with 8 cards and 41 pictures. 

Vol #5 - Assorted Cards 1 

A 2 disk set containing Fathers 

Day, Mothers Day, 

Anniversaries, Valentines day. 

Thanksgiving, Easter, 

Friendsnlp and Cheer-Up 

cards. 38 pictures. By Virginia 


Vol #6 - Assorted Cards 2 

Two disks containing 

Sympathy, Hello, St. Patricks, 

Halloween. Easter, Thank you, 

Love, and Cheer-up cards. 36 

Pictures. By V.Davis. 

Vol ^7- Assorted Cards 3 

A disk by Mel Bragg containing 

a generic card. 3 Christmas 

cards, a 'till we meet again* 

card and a get well card. 19 


Vol #8 - Invitations 1 

A two disk package containing 

Invitations to parties, business 

events and more. By V. Davis. 

Vol #9 - Envelopes 1 

A Unique disk containing 

generic and example envelopes 

that can be printed, folded and 

taped and used to mail letters 

or cards. Includes 12 new fonts 

and 18 pictures. By Mel Bragg. 

A package by Paul 
Scheidemantle containing 16 
"headline" fonts for Page Pro 
and a utility that allows you to 
turn your phrases into pictures 
containing the phrase in the 
headline font of your choice. 
Perfect for newsletter editors or 
anyone who needs large, bold 
type on a page. Suggested retail 

Page Pro Borders 

A collection of over 30 borders 
for Page Pro 99 stored as laige 
fonts by Mel Bragg. Suggested 
retail $7.95. 

These Items, and others, are 
detailed in Page Pro Times - a 
quarterly magazine distributed 
iree to all registered Page Pro 
99 users. 

What is your policy on 
returned material, which is 
either defective or doesn't live 
up to claims? 

W. S. Ddcon 
Royal Oak, MI 

Glad you asked! Programs that 
are defective can he returned 
to us as soon as the defect is 
discovered for an immediate 
replacement. If you coH ahead 
well endeavor to send out a 
replacement ahead of time. AH 
our products carry a lifetime 
warranty. As for programs that 
don't live up to expectations, 
we never make claims in our 
advertisements that a program 
will do something it doesn't 
Read our ads carefuUy before 
you order anything. However, if 
you are unaBle to use the pro- 
gram because of equipment 
incompatibilities, etc., we will 
gladly give you a refund or a 

What is the Page Pro UtUities 
package and how does it differ 
from the "Utilities" that I got 
with my Pa^e Pro 99 package. 
Also, is there a utility to go 
from Calendar Maker 99 to 
Page Pro 99? 

Sr. Pat Taylor 
Dubuque, IA 

The Page Pro Utilities package 
(granted, somewhat confusing- 
ly named), is a collection of 
additional utflities for Page Pro 
by P. Scheidemantle and Ed 
Johnson. It Includes the Page 
Pro Enlarger, the Page Pro 
Flipper ana a Line Font Editor. 
The "Utilities" that come with 
Page Pro are the TI-Artlst con- 
verters and the Columnlzer. 

As for going from Calendar 
Maker 99 to Page Pro 99. I 
never thought of that - you are 
the first to ask! Will let you 
know what we can do later. 

should be, thus making the base 
material positive. 

Barrier Jmcllon 

By Steve Elliott 

What exactly are IC chips? They are 
integrated circuits. IC's are now used in 
virtually ail electronic equipment, in 
many appliances and in our 
automobiles. As the name implies, many 
components are integrated onto a tiny 
chip of material, miniaturizing circuits 
while increasing speed of operation, 
thus their popularity. But how do they 
work? In this 2 part article I will explain 
how they work and also how they are 
made. In part one I will explain some of 
the physics of IC chips, and discuss a 
device known as a transistor. This will 
give you the basics needed for part 2, 
IC's and how they are made. 

As you know all matter is made of 
atoms. An atom consists of a nucleus 
with electrons in an orbit about the 
center nucleus. Actually, electrons spin 
about the center in more than one orbit 
(ring). Each atom's first ring likes to 
have 2 electrons present if it can. Ring 
two prefers 8 electrons, ring three 18 
electrons, and ring four 8 electrons. (We 
will stop at 4 orbits). See Figure 1 below. 

p M f' 




8 electrons (think 3 dimensional, this is 
a 2D drawing) and they are very happy. 
This is called a covalent bond. 

This diagram depicts an atom of 
germanium. Notice ring four only 
contains 4 electrons. (Only 32 are 
available in a germanium atom.) Rings 
1,2, and 3 fill up to their liking and only 
4 are left for the outer ring. This outer 
ring is called the valence ring. 

This valence ring would like to have 8 
electrons in it. If you look at Figure 2 
you will see a crystal lattice of 
germanium. This lattice network is laid 
out so the valence rings share electrons, 
thus each atom's valence ring contains 

Figure 2 

This material is veiy stable. It is neither 
a conductor nor an insulator, hence the 
name semi-conductor. Other materials 
that make great semi-conductors are 
carbon, selenium and silicon. (All their 
atoms also contain 4 valence electrons). 
Germanium and silicon 
are the most prevalent 
and are easily made pure. 
You will see why this is 
important a little later. 




Let's make 



In order to 

g e 

current to 

flow through this 

material we have to make 

it impure to our 

specifications. An atom of 

lAntimony (or Arsenic or 

Phosphorus) contains 5 valence 
electrons. We can dope the base material 
with Antimony and make it a negative 
material. There will be an extra electron 
floating about with no place to bond. 
(Remember the happy covalent bond? 
With 5 valence electrons there is a free 
electron; free to move about within the 
material). We can dope the base material 
with Aluminum (or Boron or Gallium or 
Indium) whose valence ring contains 
only 3 electrons. This makes the 
molecule one electron short. We can say 
there is a "hole" where an electron 

Figure 3 

Take a look at Figure 3. I have 
connected (or bonded) a P (positive) and 
an N (negative) type material together. 
At the exact Junction of the two 
materials the electrons and holes 
combine setting up a barrier voltage . 
The device will find its equilibrium 
point and just sit there. If we apply an 
external voltage, say a battery, we can 
overcome this barrier voltage and 
current will flow 

So you say, " Big deal, you have current 
through this PN thing." Well OK let's 
expand a Httle. (By the way this PN 
thing is called a diode, and can be used 
to limit current in only one direction). 
Let's make a device with a PNP or an 
NPN as shown in figure 4. 

This is your basic Transistor. Battery 1 
(in path A) overcomes the barrier 
voltage and battery 2 supplies the 
voltage to get electrons or holes to flow 
through the device. A small voltage can 
control current flow and with some 
other essential parts needed to complete 
the circuit it is easy to turn the current 
flow on and off by toggling battery 1. 
This on and off can be 1 or and now 
it's starting to sound like a computer. 
Well, if we pack a ton of these onto a 
little chip, and add a bunch of chips 
together, it will be a computer. 

This brings us to the next issue's article 
where we will make some of these IC 
chips. With the knowledge you now have 
IC's will be easy to understand. ^ 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 17 

There is a very serious problem in our 
community that must be discussed. The 
subject is Company/Fairware/ 
Networks/End user. That's a big, nasty 
subject, but I don't know how to make it 
simple. All four of those items are 
having an effect on one another, and the 
bottom line is a powder keg. Let me 
explain my feelings, 

I was totally shocked when 1 opened up 
the December issue of MicroPendium 
and discovered a blazing ad on the 
second page for the TIPS graphic 
system. TIPS has been one of the most 
unique packages handed to this 
communis in quite some time. I'm not 
going into detail about it, but simply 
put, it is a compressed system of graphic 
images that have been ported over to our 
system from PUBLIC DOMAIN graphics. 
The gentleman that created the system 
did so for FREE, that is to say, he wanted 
NOTHING for it. All we had to do was 
download it from the networks, pass it 
around, throw it up in the air, what-ever! 
There are NO FEES IMPOSED. All we 
needed to do was say thanks for a 
fantastic effort. 

The ad I saw was selling the system of 
eleven flippy disks for just a postage and 
handling charge of $39.95 Postage and 
handling charge? Well, yes, that's what it 
has to be since the TIPS system is FREE 
and PUBLIC DOMAIN. At .25 per disk, 
and $2.40 for postage (both, high 
estimates) plus packaging another .50, 1 
figure that adds up to $34.30 for the 
handling. Hell, I'll even allow for 
copying, the full page ad spread out over 
the orders, etc. Lets drop it to $25.00 for 
handling.... Oh, son of a gun, I made a 
mistake, I just looked back at the ad and 
found that the $39.95 doesn't include 
postage and handling, that's extra. Well, 
dog gone it, what column of our ledger 
are we going to use for all that left over 
money anyway. I guess we're gonna have 
to call it PROFIT. 

Are you getting the feeling that 
something is wrong here? 
This is not a new problem. Every 
fairware author in the community is 

having iits about it, and unfortunately, 
they can't do ANYTHING about it. They 
can put specific notices about it on the 
front of the software... no good. As long 
as it says freeware, or fairware, or 
contribution, anybody can do whatever 
they want with it legally. The fairware 
author has only two alternatives. He can 
quit programming, or, he can go 
commercial. The latter of those two 
alternatives is good for Texaments, 
Asgard, Comprodine, JP, or anybody else 
that looks for program authors. It's not 
good for the networks (Genie, 
CompuServe, Delphi) because one of the 
main attractions for them is the 
downloads. That's why people pay to go 
on them, that's a hard cruel fact. If 
fairware authors all go commercial, then 
there's no downloads. EVERYBODY 
suffers, everybody pays, and in case you 
haven't noticed lately, there are precious 
few 99/4A downloads. 

Now, to further complicate this story, I 
would like to point out that my job is on 
the line here, at least with 
MicroPendium. I think the scenario 
would go as follows: "Hi John, this is 

caUing. If you don't dump Harry 

Brashear's column, I'm going to pull my 
eight pages of ads for the next two or 
three months." 

Now I don't have any idea what eight 
pages of ads cost in Micro, but let me 
take a wild guess... a thousand dollars 
plus. That prints the magazine, period! 
How long so you think I'm going to last? 
Yes sir folks, we have a real problem 
here. I have an idea, why don't we all 
refuse to buy fairware from that 
compan);? Oops, I forgot, the company 
in question has to stay in business, or 
there may not be a MicroPendium. It's 
an interesting can of worms, isn't it? 

Ok, let's soften the blow. The company 
ALWAYS puts the authors name, address, 
and requested donation on a title screen 
of the fairware, or at least that's what I 
have been told. I have seen some of 
those disks, and can confirm that. Far be 
it for me to complain about $4.95 for a 
program, (all the rest of the advertised 

disks are this price)or in some cases a 
series of programs. Maybe the price is 
justified In some depraved way, as long 
as the buyer is still willing to pay the 
REAL author what HE wants. What I do 
object to, is something that is FREE to 
the community from one person, and it 
makes someone else a fortune. 

Now, let's also assume that this is a 
GOOD way of getting an authors 
fairware advertised and out to the 
community. If this is true, then the 
community is to blame for not sending 
the requested amount to the author. If 
they did, then the author would be 
happy, and keep making fairware for the 
company, and the network download 
libraries. The company would keep 
advertising in Micro, I could keep my 
job, and Asgard, Texaments, Comprodine 
etc. couldn't find any disgruntled 
authors and, hence, be out of business in 
a year. 

Nature seems to install the checks and 
balances that any situation needs, even 
in a computer community, but oh what 
a tangled web it is. 

Till next time.... HTB 


©1990 - Harry, Brashear 


speech chip 

1979 - Introduced first 64K EPROM. 
Introduced the TI-99/4A Home 

1980 - Produced first commercial 
single-chip 16-bit microprocessor, the 

1981 - Introduced TI Logo, introduced 
the TMS7000 series family of 8-fait 
microprocessors. Began volume 
production of 64K RAM chips. 

1982 - Introduced signal-processing 
microcomputer chip. 

1983 - Ceased manufacturing TI-99/4A, 
introduced Tl Professional Computer. 
Introduced over 100 new CMOS 

1984 - Introduced Explorer™ Artificial- 
intelligence computer system, 

1985 - Began volume production of 
256K RAM integrated circuits. 

More recent developments include Ti's 
discontinuation of the TI Professional in 
1987, the introduction of a line of PC 
compatibles in the TI Business Pro in 
the same year, introduction of 1Mb RAM 
chips and TI's first laser printer in 1988. 

In the next installment in this column 
we'll discuss some of their more recent 
developments. ^ 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 18 

By Jack Sughrue 

have a couple TIs. 
The kids inevitably 
choose the TIs for 
their free computer 
time. Sometimes the 
Apple, if there is 
something software 
specific they'd like to 
do. Never the IBM. 
The TSes they use 
strictly for word 

Why the TIs? 

It's been a long time between Jottings. 
Over a year ago I was in a car accident 
that resulted in lots of metal plates in 
my head to hold it together, and I'm 
still in the throes of recovery. But I'm 
extraordinarily lucky: the EMTs were 
fast, the doctors incredible, the support 
from so many people (including my 
wonderful TI Family Worldwide) just 
unbelievable. I want to thank ail the 
ASGARD NEWS readers and all the 
other 99ers everywhere for their caring 
and support. It certainly made me a lot 
better a lot quicker. 

But while I was sitting on the sidelines 
cursing the tree that leaped out in fi'ont 
of my new car, I had ample opportunity 
to think about my TI and what it means 
to me and, I assume, to a lot of other 

Like the vast majority of the 2 1/2 
million purchasers, I wanted a toy. Now 
we can SAY we wanted this machine for 
our businesses or for our professions or 
for our kids' education or for something 
specific (like word processing or 
database activities). But I truly think 
the m^ority of us purchasers wanted to 
play. I don't mean games, necessarily. I 
mean PLAY! Have a computer just for 
the FUN of it; for no particular reason, 
though we had to justify it to our 
spouses or parents or friends or kids by 
giving all the practical reasons why 
home computing with our 99s was 
essential "in this Electronic Age." My 
biggest argument almost a decade ago 
when I couldn't think of any legitimate 
reason for my early (expensive) 
purchases was, simply, "We are almost 
into the 21st Century, for crying out 
loud! Don't you realize that?" As if that 
were an answer to everything. It 
certainly was an effective deterrent to 
further discussion on the matter. 

Fun is why I still keep my TI. 

At work (I teach fifth grade.) we have 
Apple and IBM and TS machines. I also 

More options, for one 
thing. They can load 
something up from 
tape (like Turtle 
Tracks or Square Pairs or 7% logo or 
any of the Moonbeam Software or piles 
of Jim Peterson's great educational/fun 
stuff or Romeo [still one of my 
favorites] or any number of excellent 
TAPE programs, including the Ihrmel 
of Doom and Adventure tapes. Or they 
can throw in a cartridge. The kids love 
the robotic talk of the Spelling series. 
They never tire of Yahtzee or Othello or 
Video Chess. They play the arcade 
cartridges like Parsec and Munchman 
and the educational modules like 
Reading Rally and Stargazer and the 
math series. Or perform LOGO U 
activities for hours. All of the above 
options (still available) are on the basic 
machine with tape recorder. No disk 
drive. (I have speech and a 32K sidecar 
on one machine, the P-Box and works 
on the other. Speech and 32 are not 
necessary for 99% of the good stuff on 
tape, though Extended BASIC is.) 

Besides the options of tape and module 
on the basic setup are the options to 
learn how to program and how to create 
programs. The TI with so many built-in 
subprograms (CALL SOUND, CALL 
COLOR, etc.) and a powerful resident 
BASIC is easy to learn, particularly as TI 
provided so many simple, direct text 
and tape materials for learning how to 
use the machine. So simple even adults 
can doit 

There are still lots of commercial 
textware and tape software available. In 
the latest Triton catalog, for example, 
the following are offered for UNDER 
$3!: BEST OF 99er (with over 80 
articles and massive amounts of type-in 
programs, still the best way to learn 
programming techniques): 

TOTHETI-99/4Aby Regena, the book I 
really grew on; COMPUTE'S FIRST 
BOOK OF TI GAMES, over 200 pages of 
dynamic programming; COMPUTE'S 
GRAPHICS, besides being extremely 

good at what the title says, it is loaded 
with programs; SAM'S TI-99/4A 
GAMES, includes 13 games, 
programming techniques, and a TAPE 
of all the programs; COMPUTE'S 
99/4A, which provide additional 
programming techniques for the 
learner; and many more. 

I have all these books in my classroom 
and at home. The kids at school and I 
still use them, still refer to them, still 
^pe in programs. 

So there are a pile of options on the TI 
that Apple and IBM do not provide for 
computer buffs seeking fun and 
learning and hobby opportunities. 
Remember, if you turn on an Apple or 
an IBM there is nothing there. 
Literally. There are no tapes, no 
modules. You have to pop in a disk to 
even get BASIC. Once you have BASIC, 
you don't have the efficiency of the TI. 
Nor do you have the powerful speaking, 
coloring, character-making tools. Nor 
do you have automatic numbering. Nor 
resequencing. Nor... 

These things we 99'ers take for granted. 

Oh, I also forgot the other option, the 
only one that those other machines 
have: disk drives. The TI has all kinds of 
disk controllers, including hard drive. 
There are all kinds of artificial drives, 
too: Ramdisks, Supercarts, Zenoboard 
chips that make operation 
instantaneous and a joy. Supercarts, of 
course, are not part of those others, 

But, apart from 40 megabyte hard 
drives and all the high-tech wizardry 
that can be a part of any TI upgrading 
(including the very powerful GENEVE), 
what about the normal, non-techie, fun- 
loving 99er? Once he or she decides 
there is a necessity to get into disk 
drives (and I don't think there needs to 
be for all the applications mentioned 
above and many more not mentioned), 
of course, another whole, large worid 
opens up. People with modems tell me 
that other TI worids are out there to 
explore, too. I'm quite overwhelmed 
with the one I got. My imagination 
doesn't extend to what else is out there 
for our little machine. 

Don't get me wrong about disks: I 
would never want to go back to my pre- 
disk computing for a few good reasons: 
1000, to name a few. All of the above 
are Fairware or Public Domain. 
FUNNELWEB is an environment that 

Reflections - Vol. 2 Ho.3 - PAGE 19 

includes the best version out of TI- 

Writer (with so many options not on 

ANY other version that it would be 

impossible to list). It also includes an 

Editor-Assembler version I prefer to the 

cartridge and loaders for Forth and C 

and supercarts, among other things. 

PLUS! is an additional environment I 

put together that, primarily, enhances 

word processing, but includes so many 

other programs that it has gone way 

beyond. ARCHIVED lets me store 

MASSIVE amounts of information on 

disks. It also unloads such disks and 

does a pile of other functions. DISK 

UTILITIES is just what it says and is the 

best of all the disk utility disks I have 

encountered. TIPS lets you make 

banners, greeting cards, posters, etc. 

(slowly), but has provided the largest 

collection of graphic images 

(thousands) that have ever been put 

together for the TI. All of these images 

can be converted to PAGE PRO and TI- 

ARTIST formats (see below) for a 

humongous library. These images 

include fonts and frames as well as an 

alphabetical listing that prints out a 

huge text of pictures 40 to a page. 

MUGLOADER gives you some fabulous 

menu options. It loads a screen menu 

which lets you create and print 

directories, load more menus, read text 

files, load E/A and XB programs, and 

more. MAX-RLE loads graphics, colors 

them, prints them out, converts them 

from one form to another {GRAPHX to 

TI-ARTIST, for example). DM-JOOO is a 

super all-purpose disk manager (1000 

times more useful than the disk 

manager cartridge, which may be how it 

got its name) that lets you manipulate 

disks and files in all kinds of ways, such 

as copy, move, format, delete, rename, 

protect, and so on. 

All of the above can be gotten from user 
groups woridwide. Joining a user group 
is the best advice I would give anyone. I 
can't imagine how limited my TI 
opportunities would be without a user 
group. These can be joined through the 
mail. I belong to a few, including one in 
Australia, and my local MUNCH group 
in Worcester, Massachusetts. But all of 
the above Fairware and PD programs 
came from the Lima, Ohio group, (c/o 
Dr.^Charles Good, Box 647, Venedocia, 
OH 45894). Membership there of $15 a 
year is a best buy, newsletter is 
excellent, disk and TAPE libraries are 
extensive (and free to members). But 
any group, particularly a local with 
monthly meetings, is almost essential to 
anyone with an urge to find new ways to 
enjoy our computer. 

Options are what we're talking about, 
and, while on the topic, I do not want to 
neglect the commercial enterprises that 

have provided me with more options 
and with lots of that good old fun, 
which keeps TI my computer of choice 
in a worid full of such seriousness and 
intensity and downright hostility. 

Over all the years of writing columns 
about the 99, 1 have always voiced two 
major complaints: no good cribbage 
game and no decent Prints hop-type 
software. I complain no more. 

First, Arcade Action (4122 Glenway, 
Wawatosa, WI 53222) provides the best 
cribbage game you can imagine for the 
TI. For all you cribbage freaks (and 
there are many, according to the letters 
I've received) you can send AA $7 and 
get rewarded instantly. 

Second, the Printshop-\ype software. 
Broderbund made PS the single most- 
popular piece of software for any 
computer because it was 1) easy 2) fast 
and 3) gave professional results. It also 
had lots of utilities and fonts and 
images. It made banners and greeting 
cards and posters and (not very 
effectively) single-page thingies. 

So, what kind of commercial software is 
easy, fast, and gives professional results? 
For me, PAGE PRO. I have only the 
original naked version, but it was the 
dream of a computer lifetime for me. It 
is easy. It is fast. The results are 
professional. And it's WYSIWYG 
(pronounced "wizzywig" and means 
What You See Is What You Get)! I 
understand the newer versions and the 
PP companions allow all kinds of 
things, including rotations for easy 
greeting-card making and a catalog 
function. Sounds good. But the 
original I have is perfect for newsletters, 
school publications (including those 
done entirely by students because of the 
ease of use), dramatic graphic letters, 
signs, posters, etc. The various fonts 
are easy to load and can be loaded into 
the page during creation to change the 
entire page's fonts in one swoop, 
making it very easy to test the right font 
for the right occasion. The graphics 
(Remember the thousands from TIPS? 
Well, there is also a converter in PP to 
use ARTIST graphics for thousands 
more. Also, there are PP Companions.) 
can be placed anywhere on a full page, 
can be surrounded by text of two sizes, 
two different fonts, anywhere on that 
same page, including right across 
graphics, and so on. Except for the 
word processor itself (FUNNELWEB), I 
have found nothing so valuable to me as 
PAGE PRO. I use it even to write letters 

Add to PP the latest TI-ARTIST PLUS 
(for the creation and manipulation of 

art work) and you'll have a very effective 
publishing system. I have to add CSGD 
to that paclcage for banners and labels, 
though I'm sure some of the utilities for 
PP and ARTIST will eventually permit 
these to operate out of the same 

I used to use only GRAPHX as my 
artwork program, but the latest ARTIST 
is much better in many, many way. 
Some friends of mine have written to 
me about PICASSO, but I have never 
seen any version of it to date. It has 
been highly praised by all users. 

I found The Printer's Apprentice too 
difficult to work with (and impossible 
for my young students), and I have not 
seen the Comprodine "JIFFY" stuff, 
which I understand is excellent. 

The only other essential commercial 
item necessary to my limited 
home/school computing is TI-BASE, the 
best data base of the six I have used on 
this machine. BASE and ARTIST are 
sold by Tfexaments, PICASSO and PAGE 
PROhy Asgard. 

Now let's say you really don't need a 
large data base. Just something simple, 
for a class list. Let's say you only need a 
word processor for screen work (or you 
have a sidecar printer). And you like 
playing good games or want to teach 
your grandchild subtraction. And, let's 
say you are perfectly happy with simple 
block graphics or LOGO for art work. 
Well, all these things are still available 
in tape form. Let's say you just want 
this machine for the simple pleasures of 
life, l^pes, books of programs to type, 
cartridges all can be purchased (at a 
tiny price) or borrowed from user 

We're back to where we started. A TI 
with a TV set and a tape recorder and a 
book or two and some new, inexpensive 
cartridges (XB is under $30, LOGO II 
under $15, Personal Record Keeping 
under $10, TI Invaders, MUNCHMAN, 
Parsec for under $3, for examples) can 
still do a lot more for you and your 
desire for fun and learning than any 
number of IBMs, AT^, IIGSes, BLFSPKs, 
or any other very expensive non-option. 

If you have any questions or comments 
write to: 

Jack Sughrue 

Box 459 

East Douglas, MA 01516 

©1990 - Jack Sughrue 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 20 


1 1' » 



Cas^citi .\ fur Disk n.\cr.\. 

If you haven't used a cassette system in a 
while, it can be tough to go back to it. 
All those hard-won lessons on how to 
deal with cassettes usually seem to 
evaporate in the flush of excitement you 
have when you get your first disk 
system. However much you may dislike 
cassettes, though, if you are like most 
users you may find yourself digging up 
your cassette cable at some point to help 
a friend, or when a stash of old software 
is found. 

If this describes you, then this article 
may help the next time you need to load 
something from a cassette. This article 
was compiled from information supplied 
by Texas Instruments and Triton 
Products, as well as from our own 
experience in the subject. 

Before using/loading the program: 

Review the instructions that came with 
the software. Be sure that you have the 
hardware and software needed to load 
the program - if the game you are 
loading requires the Tunnels of Doom 
module, loading it through the Extended 
BASIC module will do little good. 

If your tape recorder has a tone control, 
it should be set to the highest level 
(most treble). Your volume control 
should initially be set at the 
intermediate volume and adjusted as 
described below if the program doesn't 

Once the proper volume has been found, 
you may want to mark the control in 
that position with paint, nail polish, or 
something of that nature. From time to 
time you may encounter a tape that 
doesn't load at your usual volume level. 
If this occurs, follow the instructions for 
adjusting the volume below depending 
on the nature of the loading problem. 

If you are loading BASIC or Extended 
BASIC programs, type OLD CSl after 
selecting the language, and follow the 
on-screen instructions. With other 
modules (such as the Tunnels of Doom 
ox Adventure modules), either select the 
CSl option or enter the name CSl if it 

asks for the device containing the game 
or program, and then follow the on- 
screen procedure. 

When you are prompted to press Play on 
your recorder, you will initially hear 
(through the TV or monitor's speaker) a 
period of silence, and then a rhythmic, 
odd-sounding noise that is actually the 
program being loaded. If all is normal, 
the computer will read in the program 
for up to several minutes, and when 
done, prompt you to stop the recorder. 
At that point, the program will 
automatically start, or if in BASIC or 
Extended BASIC, the computer will wait 
for you to type RUN and press the 
ENTER key. 

If the program doesn't load properly, 
you'll get one of the following errors: 

If the computer says _-_ 

FOUND" - This usually means one of 
two things 

(1) The volume was too low. 

(2) Your computer could not locate 
the tone that tells it to start 
accepting data (the long high- 
pitched beep at the start of the 

Please see Tapes on page 22 

For as littte as $9.95, you can join Delphi and receive a $7.20 usage credit. Spend It downloading (tie Tl NET library of over 1 ,700 files, read thousands of 
messages, purchase items in our exclusive Electronic Shopping Area, order computer magazines online, tai(e or start a Poll or contact Myarc, JP Software and 
others on-line. Online time is as little as $4.80* per hour. There are no surcharges for high ^eed access, no premium for direct dial on Tynmet and Telenet and no 
mandatory monthly minlmums. 

Can you ask for anything more? Join the Tl NET revolution. Don't wait for new developments and programs to appear at your BBS or User Group, join many 
of the 4A and 9640 movers and shakers on Tl NET and have it first! 

To loin Tl NET on Delphi, with your computer and modem Dial 1-K)(W65-4636. Press Return twice. At Usemame: type JOfNDELPHI and at Passmni: 
type MYTI. In Canada, type your Tymnet access number. AttheP/eBsBr)payourrerm/na/Wenf///af{300 baud) oraseriesofrandomcharacters (12/2400 
baud),entertheletterA{donotpressrelum). At the Piease tog /n prorrpt. type DELPHI and Return. At the Usemame: type JOiNDELPHI MPasswont 

' Advaitage Plan - minimum usage. $24.00 per month to obtain this rate - Details on Deiphi. Standard 
evening / weekend rales $7.20/ hour, 3/1 2/2400 baud. Ali prices U.S. 1\ NET also available through DataPac. 

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or 1-617-491-3393. Tl NET- P.O. Box 244 - Lotion, VA 22199. 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 21 

Tapes, from page 21 

If you heard the start tone and the sound 
of the program being read, your cassette 
recorder volume is probably set too low. 
If that is the case, turn it up a little, 
rewind the tape to right before the 
beginning of the sound, and try again. 
Repeat this procedure until you don't 
get the "NO DATA FOUND" error {note 
that sometimes you will get this error if 
the volume is set too high ). If you did 
not hear the start tone or the program 
noise, check to see if you have the 
correct side of the tape playing, and that 
the tape was properly rewound. If that 
isn't the case, try advancing the tape a 
little and reading it again in case the 
program isn't at the start of the tape. 
Check to see if your television or 
monitor volume isn't turned off. Finally, 
if all else fails, try loading in a tape you 
know loads to make sure it isn't the 
connection between your computer and 
cassette recorder. If you can hear your 
test tape, but not the noise that should 
be on it, it may be blank and should be 
returned for replacement. 

If the computer says "ERROR 
DETECTED IN DATA" - This usually 
means your volume is too loud. Reduce 
your volume setting and try again. 
Repeat this process, reducing the 
volume slightly each time, as long as 
you encounter the "ERROR DETECTED 
IN DATA" message. 

If the computer gives you an error after 
you type "RUN** - Occasionally, after 
typing "RUN", you will get an error 
message, such as "MEMORY FULL IN 
etc. Most commonly this is caused by 
either the wrong language or wrong 
peripherals. If you get this type of error 
make tiie following checks: 

(1) Is the correct language being 

(2) Is the Memory Expansion 
installed if required, and the 
expansion unit running? 

(3) Is the disk system turned off for 
loading and running cassette 

When the computer is properly set up, 
turn off the console, turn it back on, 
select the correct language and re-load 
the program. 

If you have a defective tape - If, no 

matter how many times you adjust the 
volume up or down, the program will 
still not load, chances are that you have 
a defective tape. In this event, return the 
tape for prompt replacement to firm you 
purchased it from. If it's your own tape, 
you may be out of luck, though. 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 22 

Things about a certain company we all know... 

TI has a long and varied history. A few 
years back they produced an excellent 
pamphlet listing some of the highlights. 

"Texas Instruments Inc. is a 
multinational, diversified technology- 
based company with corporate 
headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and more 
then 50 manufacturing plants in 18 

"The company was founded in 1930 to 
provide contract geophysical services to 
the petroleum industry, exploiting its 
extraordinary technological innovation, 
the reflection seismograph. TI continues 
as a worid leader in this field through its 
subsidiary. Geophysical Services Inc., 
but in 1946 added electronic systems 
manufacturing and entered a new era of 
dynamic growth. A listing on the New 
York Stock Exchange in 1953 provided 
the stimulus of broad public ownership." 

"Now, Texas Instruments is engaged in 
the development, manufacture and sale 
of a variety of products in the electrical 
and electronics industry for industrial, 
consumer and government markets. 
These products consist of components 
(semiconductors, such as integrated 
circuits, and electrical and electronic 
control devices); government electronics 
(such as radar, infrared surveillance 
systems and missile guidance and 
control systems); and digital products 
(such as minicomputers, data terminals, 
electronic calculators and learning 

"The company also produces 
metallurgical materials (primarily clad 
metals) for use in a variety of 
applications, such as automotive 
equipment, and provides services, 
primarily through the electronic 
collection and processing of seismic data 
in connection with petroleum 

"The business philosophy of Texas 
Instruments emphasizes that the 
company exists to create, make and 
market useful products and services to 
satisfy the needs of its customers 
throughout the worid. The following are 
highlights of TI's growth:" 

1930 - Commercialized its invention, 

the reflective seismograph, and 

revolutionized petroleum exploration, 

Corporate name was "Geophysical 

Services", abbre\dated as GSI. 

1946 - Diversified by adding electronic 

systems manufacturing. 

1948 - Delivered TI's first airborne radar 


1952 - Entej-ed the transistor business 

with a new corporate name: "Texas 

Instruments Inc." 

1954 - Became the first company to 

mass-produce germanium radio 

transistors; developed first commercial 

transistor radio; introduced the first 

commercial silicon transistor - the type 

required in space and military systems, 

1958 - Announced TI invention of 

integrated circuit, which provides the 

basis for virtually all modern 

developments in electronics. Introduced 

first anti-radar missile. 

1961 - Introduced first system to use 

integrated circuits: a miniature 

computer for the U.S. Air Force. 

1965 - Developed clad metal for coins. 

Invented the semiconductor thermal 


1967 - Introduced TI invention: the 

world's first electronic handheld 


1969 - Announced first data terminal to 
use thermal printer, the Silent 700. 

1970 - Invented the "single-chip 
microprocessor", which today is the 
"brain" of a wide range of products. 

1971 - Commercially introduced the 
microcomputer, or "miracle chip", a TI 
invention that includes all the elements 
of a complete computer in one 
integrated circuit. 

1972 - Introduced first consumer 
oriented product, DataMath™ handheld 
calculator priced at $149.95. 

1973 - Introduced first 4K bit RAM- 
chip, setting industry standard. 

1975 - Introduced first 16-bit 
microprocessor family to use memory- 
to-memory architecture, increasing 
performance (the 9900). 

1976 - Developed Solid State 
Software™ plug-in modules for pocket 
calculators. Introduced first 32K 

1978 - Introduced revolutionary Speak 
& Spell™ learning aid using synthetic 

See TI on page 18 

Let's take this another step. When 
was the last time that you went 
through your library and erased all 
those old pirated disks. How many did 
you copy that you haven't really used. 
Would you miss them. If you would, 
why not buy one to replace it. New 
versions have probably been released 
since then anyhow so you may be 
missing out on some good features. 

n n rr, ^0 the programme librarians, not 

By JjUrry 1 raver ^nly ou^s but to an those who read this 

•^ '^ newsletter. Do vnu havt* nirafpH 

[Ed. Our apologies this issue - both our 
Editorial staff and Barry have seemed to 
misplaced the article he u^rote for this 
issue, and our deadline is too tight for 
him to re-write it. Hence, Barry's first 
article in Reflections won't appear until 
our next issue. 

We hope you'll enjoy the guest 
commentary by Gary ChristensenJ 

by Garry Christensen 

Some time ago there appeared in 
almost every newsletter throughout the 
TI world, a number of articles 
condemning pirated software. These 
articles usually spelt out in no uncertain 
terms that if pirating was to continue 
then there would be no future for this 
particular computer. These articles have 
continued to appear intermittently in 
newsletters since then but the incidence 
has dropped off to the point where I 
cannot remember the last newsletter 
that contained one. 

I wonder why that is. It caused me 
to take a closer look at the practices of 
members in this group and it this group 
is typical, the reason becomes clear. The 
incidence of pirating has dropped to a 
small fraction of what it was in years 
past. I remember once where someone 
would get a new programme and there 
would be a mad rush at the next meeting 
to copy it. That is replaced now by 
members rushing to purchase their own 

Think of the last time that you 
pirated a programme. The longer 
standing members would remember a 
time when that question would be 
answered with a couple of weeks or 
months. I will admit that I was also 
guilty of that crime but now, I truthfully 
can't remember the last incidence. It 
seems that I am not the only one. 

newsletter. Do you have pirated 
software in the group Hbraiy. Do you 
think that it should be there. 
Admittedly, some commercial software is 
purchased by or donated to the group. 
This software is great because it allows 
you to demonstrate it to the members 
before they buy it and I congratulate you 
for not distributing it. 

It seems that the incidence of piracy 
is on the decline, not only here but in 
other groups as well. From those that I 
have talked to it seems that this trend of 
responsibility is occurring throughout 
Australia. I feel that I can send a sample 
of software that I intend to sell to others 
for testing and be confident that it will 
not be distributed aimlessly. 

Is this occurring overseas as well. I 
can't answer that directly because I do 
not correspond with enough of them to 
be able to tell but I do know that those 
articles are not appearing in nev. ..letters 
any more. Does this mean that a new 
feeling of fair play has descended upon 
the TI community. I hope so. 

There are of course those who insist 
in resisting this change. The recent 
problems with Hardmaster being noted 
in particular. It seems to me that those 
numbers are falling fast and I look 
forward to a time when writing software 
for the TI will almost pay for the work 
that goes into it. 

Congratulations to all the users of 
the TI99/4A and Geneve. Its great to be 
part of a close, trustworthy and 
responsible community. 

Like all divorces, it was messy. Just a few 
months ago Computer Shopper bid 
fairwell to its TI-99/4A (as well as C64, 
Atari, Adam, CP/M and Sinclair) readers, 
or rather told them all to 'buy a real 
machine'. Not-so-subtle suggestions 
aside, they essentially gave the boot to 
tens of thousands of dedicated users, and 
thousands more that enjoyed the multi- 
computer atmosphere of the periodical 
(interestingly enough, the TI Forum 
column had long been one of the 
highest rated articles in the magazine - 
read by 30-40% of subscribers). While 
both MICROpendium and Reflections 
have beneiitted from new submissions 
from TI Forum columnist Barry Traver, 
both magazines don't enjoy the reduced 
(now non-existent) newsstand coverage 
the TI-99/4A now receives. However, the 
nascent Computer Buyers Guide, 
available in some newsstands, has 
decided to pick up all of the now- 
abandoned orphans, including our own. 
While decidedly not as heavy as 
Computer Shopper (literally and 
figuratively), Computer Buyers Guide 
benefits from an aggressive stance in the 
crowded computer magazine market, 
cheap ad rates, and by not being owned 
by Ziff-Davis. If you don't see Computer 
Buyers Guide at a store near you, ask for 
it by name. Otherwise, to subscribe, 
send your name and address, and $12 for 
12 issues to: Computer Buyer's Guide, 
P.O. Box 55886, Birmingham, AL 35255. 
Or call 1-800-366-0676. 

Reflections - Vol. 2 No.3 - PAGE 23 


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