Robert A. Uhl

Thank you, TI-99/4A

Scott Hackett thanks the TI-99/4A for setting him on his path towards geekdom. We had the same machine (although ours had a different case); I still remember when Dad brought it home from the store. I was very small, but I knew that this was an interesting device. Tunnels of Doom and Hunt the Wumpus were about the coolest thing ever; I remember my brother Tom & I lugging the huge disk drive down the stairs to the den so we could play there. I can lift the thing with one hand as an adult, but as small boys it took one of us on each end, sweating all the way down the stairs (‘I’m dropping it! It’s falling!’).

Later, I would laboriously copy BASIC programmes from the Slipped Disk Show section of 3-2-1 Contact. It featured a wise-cracking ‘disc jockey’ character and reader-submitted BASIC games. By that point in time, the TI wasn’t really popular, and all the programmes were in IBM or Apple BASIC, so I had to translate. I didn’t really know what I was doing at all, but I tried anyway. We didn’t have any floppies (the old large, actually floppy sort), so I would hook up my Dad’s tape recorder to the computer and record my programs on cassette tapes. This worked most of the time, but sometimes a record would just fail.

Man, those days were fun.

07 February 2018: updated URL