TI-99/4a FAQ

Initially I will be cutting and pasting the FAQ from the atariage forum. I’ll be updating this one then referring people here from the forum in the future once it’s complete. – Greg

TI-99/4a and related Web pages:

 

Users Groups:

User meets/festivals:

USA:

  • Chicago TI Fest: November 2, 2019 – Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
    • Chicago TI Fest Companion Gathering: https://atariage.com/forums/topic/287013-chicago-ti-friday-2019-companion-gathering-to-chicago-ti-world-faire/
  • TI Fest West: sometime in 2020 – TBD
  • Vintage Computer Festival Pacific Northwest – http://vcfed.org/wp/festivals/vintage-computer-festival-pacific-northwest/ March 21-22 2020 – Living Computers:Museum+Labs in Seattle, Washington
  • Portland Retro Gaming Expo: Portland Retro Gaming Expo  https://www.retrogamingexpo.com/admission.php

Europe:

  • The German group will meet in Vienna (Austria) for 2020. It will take place from October 2nd to 4th (Friday to Sunday).
  • The Dutch group will meet on 14th March 2020 in Den Haag, Netherlands.
  • The British group will meet for their AGM on 17th and 18th April 2020 in Loughborough, England.

More info: https://atariage.com/forums/topic/299877-ti-europe-events-2020/

Emulation Section

Windows Emulators:

Linux Emulators:

DOS Emulators:

Multi-platform Emulators:

Web Browser based Emulators:

JS99er.net: http://js99er.net/

Vendors:  

http://www.dsapsc.com/what-is-sid.html – SID99 add a SID soundchip to your TI

http://codehackcreate.com – F18A vga VDP replacement

https://shift838.fwscart.com/ – Geneve keyboard adapters, drive select boards, geneve scart adapters and more

https://www.arcadeshopper.com/ – Software, Hardware, Cables and adapters. Flashrom99, SAMS, USB Keyboard adapters, Extended Basic 27 suite, RXB and much more.. new games, multi-carts etc

FAQ:

 

 

 

  • I don’t have a cassette cable to store/load programs how do I get one?

  • Can I use any cassette drive/audio source?
    • In short Yes you can. As long as the volume is loud enough.
    • There is an official TI program recorder but it is a standard audio cassette player, any player with the proper connections (mono audio out, mic in and remote) will work with the TI. Good tips on that link for setting up your recorder with the correct volume etc..
    • I have had success with a stereo to mono splitter on my PC and playing WAV files out using VLC to my TI as well.
    • Need some software?

 

  • What are the best games for the TI-99/4A?

    • The best games are usually run in 32k from disk or use a large rom cartridge such as the 512k cart or the FlashROM99 or FlashGROM99 cartridges. Expansion RAM (32k) is a requirement for most modern home-brew games/demos.
    • The TI Gameshelf contains a database of all kinds of games including games that run from TI-Basic, Extended Basic and Assembly Language games that require a disk system and 32k. (see website links at the top of the FAQ)
    • There is a great game high score contest on the atariage forum that we showcase some of the best games for the 4/a every month and the winner of the high score contest usually wins TI software or hardware donated by the last month’s winner.
    • Rasumus and Sometimes99er are the most prolific home-brew game makers as of late and their software is featured here in the development forum. Cartridges for most of these are available at arcadeshopper.com.

 

 

 

  • What is 32k ram expansion and how do I get one? Are bigger memory cards available?

    • The 99/4a came with 16k VDP ram on board. This is memory shared with the Video Display Processor and Basic.  It can not be used for running assembly language or GPL programs. They run from cartridge or expansion memory.
    • 32k ram expansion gives you additional memory for Extended basic, assembly language programs and GPL programs. It also is required for most of the utilities and fun 3rd party/homebew stuff.
      • Editor Assembler requires 32k ram expansion.
      • The 32k can not be duplicated in multiple cards/expansions so if you want to use another device that provides 32k you must remove or disable the existing 32k device.  (this is a issue with the nanopeb/cf7 device as they can not easily have their 32k disabled and so therefore can not share the buss with other 32k ram expansion easily)

How do I get 32k ram expansion? 

 

 Can I get bigger memory cards than 32k?

    • Yes you can get bigger memory cards such as:
      • Myarc 128k and 512k memory card
        • These include the 32k expansion ram and use a proprietary method to address/bank in the additional ram.
        • They also include DSR routines to do print buffering, ram disk etc.
        • With the Extended Basic II DSR ROM installed you can use 128k of this memory in Myarc Extended Basic II.
        • Myarc Extended Basic II is a software package that comes on diskette and requires a compatible Myarc or Foundation 128k/512k memory card, a cartridge with ram at 6000 (supercart) and a disk drive to load the program.
        • EBII is significantly faster than the TI Basic and Extended Basic interpreters and also provides additional functionality such as bitmap graphics and other features.
          • More info: https://www.ninerpedia.org/wiki/Myarc_Extended_BASIC_II
      • Foundation 32k/128k memory card – also includes the 32k expansion ram, These are basically identical to the Myarc card in fact there’s a ROM swap to make it 100% compatible and work with Myarc Extended Basic II (there is also a hack for these to make them 512k) (roms available at https://arcadeshopper.com)
      • AMS – Asgard Memory System cards were available in 128k-512k sizes. These set the standard for AMS memory and were quite expensive when they first came out. (discontinued – rare)
      • SAMS – Super AMS supporting up to 1mb of ram. 32k expansion is included and the rest is only compatible with software that works with AMS (discontinued rare)
      • Ksarul SAMS – The latest incarnation of the SAMS with 1mb or 4mb ram capabilities. Currently only the 1mb version is available.  32k expansion ram is included.

 

What about the NanoPEB and CF7 sidecars?

    • NanoPEBs are available periodically on ebay and arcadeshopper.com a limited quantity is produced and sold without any regular schedule.
      CF7+ - 32k, Parallel port and Floppy Emulation

      • Includes 32k ram expansion, floppy disk emulation off a proprietorially formatted CF card and a single DTE 9pin RS232 port. This port is not software compatible with most original serial programs
        • TIMXT
        • TI Web Browser
        • TELCO has been patched
        • MassXfer has been patched
        • TE2 works out of the box
        • Any program that uses DSR access to RS232 should also work as long as it enables the port.
    • CF7’s are also available on Ebay and arcadeshopper.com randomly..
      CF7+ - 32k, Parallel port and Floppy Emulation

      • Includes 32k ram expansion, floppy disk emulation the same as the NanoPEB and a single IBM PC cable compatible Parallel port on a 25 pin connector.
      • The parallel port is not software compatible with programs that do not make DSR calls. Using the PIO device works fine in basic and other utilities that use that DSR.
    • Both the NanoPEB and CF7 file system on the CF card can only be read and written using the software on the author’s site, TIDIR from Fred Kaal or the java application TIImageTool.

 

What is TIPI?

    • TIPI is the TI to Raspberry PI connection. This leverages the cheap storage and internet connectivity of the PI for use on your TI-99/4a computer. In a nutshell, you get an equivalent to a hard disk, floppy drive emulation and internet connection as well as access to peripherals on the PI (such as the mouse, ports etc)
    • The raspberry PI is connected to the TI-99/4a via a sidecar or PEB box TIPI card.
      • The sidecar TIPI card requires the sidecar 32k card with 44pin connector and external power supply to operate.
      • The PEB card plugs directly into the expansion box.
    • For updated/more info see: http://ti994a.cwfk.net/TIPI.html
      • TIPI
        (Pronounced tip-ee)
      • A File system and network access device for TI-99/4A
      • TIPI is a device for the TI-99-4A that allows communication between service scripts on a
        Raspberry PI and the TI-99/4A with DSR support to act as a filesystem, expose TCP and
        HTTP access through the Raspberry PI, and enable extensible PI services to the TI such as
        a mouse, or network gaming protocols.
      • TIPI is currently out in the wild, available from ArcadeShopper.com
      • TIPI sidecar prerequisites:
        • 32k sideport with stacking header expansion such as my memory card.
        • Powersupply for sideport 32k card.
        • 32k sideport set to use ‘ext’ instead of ‘ti’ power.
        • Suitable separate power supply for your Raspberry PI.
        • Your own Raspberry PI (model 3, 3b+ or zeroW supported)
        • SD-card with TIPI SD-Card image flashed
      • PEB version of TIPI is available now! Prerequisites:
        • Suitable separate power supply for your Raspberry PI.
        • Your own Raspberry PI (model 3, 3b+ or zeroW supported)
        • SD-card with TIPI SD-Card image flashed
      • TIPI Features:
        • DSR for file READ support:
          • INTERNAL/DISPLAY, FIXED/VARIABLE, PROGRAM, DIRECTORY
        • Write support:
          • INTERNAL/DISPLAY, FIXED/VARIABLE, PROGRAM
        • CATALOG support.
        • Sub-directory support.
        • Native file support:
          • /b99 /bas /xb files can be LOADed or SAVEd as PROGRAM files with automatic transformation to/from ASCII native os files.
          • /txt /a99 /b99 /bas /xb native os ascii files can be OPEN and READ as DISPLAY VARIABLE 80 files.
        • other native os files can be OPEN and READ as DISPLAY FIXED 128 files.
        • Partial long name support
          • CATALOG shows shortened names only
          • Long names and short names supported for file access.
        • DSR devices:
          • TIPI.
          • DSK0.
          • DSK1.
          • DSK2.
          • DSK3.
          • DSK4.
          • DSK.
          • PI.
          • URI1.
          • URI2.
          • URI3.
        • Special files:
          • PI.CLOCK – reading a DISPLAY 24 record returns asctime (time & date as string)
          • PI.STATUS – virtual D/V 80 file with list of network device info on PI. (mac addresses, and ip addresses for each network device )
          • PI.HTTP://… – GETs an HTTP url and let you access it like a normal file.
          • PI.TCP=hostname:port – open a socket, write opcode supported to write, read to read…
          • PI.STATUS – virtual D/V 80 file with version and network information.
          • PI.CONFIG – virtual D/V 80 file for configuration of TIPI services.
          • PI.UPGRADE – open and close (D/V 80) to trigger upgrade of TIPI services.
          • File name transformation:
          • Devices are mapped to unix filesystem locations:
          • TIPI. – /home/tipi/tipi_disk
          • DSK0. – /home/tipi/tipi_disk ( alias for TIPI. for disk unit 0 support )
          • DSK1. – /home/tipi/tipi_disk/DSK1
          • DSK2. – /home/tipi/tipi_disk/DSK2
          • DSK3. – /home/tipi/tipi_disk/DSK3
          • DSK4.
          • DSK. – /home/tipi/tipi_disk/
          • DSK1-4 are managed as symlinks, and can be configured with the TIPICFG program.
        • Raspberry PI transforms TI device-filenames with the following rules:
          • ‘.’ in file or path names become ‘/’
          • ‘/’ or ‘\’ in file or path names becomes ‘.’
          • linux filenames with more than 10 characters can be referenced with either the long name, or the short hashed name
          • as listed in the CATALOG
          • there is no shortening support for directory names
          • capitalization is observed ( the host os provides a case sensitive filesystem, as is the TI FS )
        • Software currently available for the TIPI includes (but not limited too) or more info see http://atariage.com/forums/topic/278913-tipi-enabled-software-listing/
          • TELNET – native TI telnet application with 80 column color ANSI support (with f18a VDP) also does 40col and 64col modes for 9918a stock TI (32k,TIPI, with internet connection req)
          • CHATTI – native TI chat program that allows people to chat on the internet with other TIPI owners (32k, TIPI and internet connection req)
          • RPS – TI basic program that lets you play rock, paper, scissors with another TIPI owner over the internet (TIPI required)
          • FTP – native FTP client
          • Jedi commander – Disk operating system for copying files to/from TIPI easily

 

 

How about the Speech Synthesizer

    • Just plug it in to the sideport of your TI-99/4(a) and it is available to any program that supports it.
    • Technical information http://www.unige.ch/medecine/nouspikel/ti99/speech.htm
    • General Information
      • Extended basic will only say the words in the included vocabulary in the Extended basic manual. Make sure you enter them in UPPER CASE ONLY if you use lower case it will say “UH OH” for every letter..
      • Terminal Emulator II will do “text to speech” and say any word spelled in the format documented in the manual.
      • Speech Editor will also do “text to speech” but they are pretty rare!
    • What about the little door on the front?
      • Originally when the synthesizer was designed, it was programmed with about 300 words and phrases (the ones you can get from CALL SAY in Extended BASIC). TI’s intention was to sell add-in modules that went into this compartment that would add additional words to the resident vocabulary. TI then figured out how to do unlimited text to speech through software, added that to Terminal Emulator II, and then there was no need for the add-in modules. So none were ever sold and very few of the speech synthesizers even have the connector inside the door for these to plug into.
    • I hear there are a couple lines that aren’t passed through the speech synth? (these can be jumpered across the board to resolve)
      • 5v on pin 1 (Jedimatt sidecar32 requires this OR an external power supply)
      • Sound through (SID99 requires this to play sound from the PBOX)
    • Can I put the speech synth in the console?
      • If you are handy with a soldering iron: http://www.mainbyte.com/ti99/speech/speech_console.html
    • Can I put the speech synth board in the PEB?

 

What is this Peripheral Expansion Box you speak of?

    • TI released two versions of the PEB (Peripheral Expansion Box)
      • 99/4 which has a push button switch
      •  99/4a which has a rocker switch
    • There was a beige colored box in advertisements for the QI models but it was never manufactured or released to the public.
    • The expansion box connected to the 99/4 and 99/4a with the Flex Cable
      Interface card which included a large black ribbon cable and a large connector that connects to the expansion port on the right side of the console. This was dubbed the “fire hose” by TI owners.
    • Yes the fan is very loud, here’s instructions to put in a quieter fan: http://www.mainbyte.com/ti99/peb/peb_box_project.html
    • Great write up with photos here: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/peb/perf_box.html
  • What cards are available for the PEB?

 

Can I hook up a PC keyboard to my TI?

 

What Joysticks and controllers are available for my TI?

 

Can I hook up a modem to my TI?

    • Yes but to hook up a modem you need a RS232 serial port
      • with a PEB and a RS232 card
      • with a sidecar RS232
      • with a NanoPEB
      • with a UberGROM board with the serial interface)
    • What is the pinout of the TI RS232 serial port?
    • What is the pinout of the NanoPEB?
    • What Terminal Software is there for the TI
      • Terminal Emulator II is a cartridge that will allow you to connect to RS232/1 or 2 at 110 and 300 baud. This software has it’s own “terminal protocol” that allowed for changing character definitions and other cool stuff. Runs on a stock console without memory expansion.
      • FastTerm was a popular terminal program that gave you basic terminal functions and xmodem transfers. 32k and disk system required.
      • Telco is the most full featured terminal program for the TI, it included multiple terminal (including ANSI but no color) and transfer protocols, phone book and auto dialer and many other features. 32k and disk system required
      • Term80 allowed you to have an 80 column terminal on your 99/4a with the stock VDP, hard to read but amazing! 32k and disk system required
      • Mass Transfer was a terminal program that worked well to send multiple files between computers. 32k and disk system required (included in XB27 suite)
      • TIMXT is the latest terminal released allowing for up to 38000 baud full color ANSI terminal on a NanoPEB or TI rs232 card and 80 column text with the F18a VDP. 32k, rom load or disk system and F18a required. http://atariage.com/forums/topic/265573-timxt-terminal-emulator-dev/?do=findComment&comment=3761846

 

Can I hook up a printer to my TI?

    • Sure with the following cards/addons you can hook up a printer.
      • TI RS232 card has two serial ports and one parallel port. You can order a TI parallel cable here: http://www.cabledepot.com/05MCOlderTI.html
      • NanoPEB has a single serial port that is the same as a PC serial port. 9 pin
      • CF7 has a single parallel port that is the same as a PC parallel port 25 pin
      • There was a cartridge based program that included a cartridge based parallel port, these are relatively rare.
    • If you don’t have a printer, you can use the program TI PRINT from Fred Kaal to use your PC’s printer with your TI. You just need a serial port (same as the HDX set up) and this software: www.ti99-geek.nl/Projects/ti99print/ti99print.html

 

Disk drives?

    • TI made a stand alone disk controller and a PEB card that supported up to DS/SD diskettes. There is an 80 track modification available from hummingbird eproms to add 80 track drives to this controller.
    • Corcomp made a PEB disk controller and a sidecar “9900 Micro” that supported up to DS/DD diskettes. http://mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/9900_micro/9900_micro.html
    • Myarc made a PEB disk controller that supported up to DS/DD diskettes.
    • Myarc also made a HFDC (hard, floppy disk controller) for the PEB that will support up to 80 track DS/DD disks on a 4/a and fully format 1.44mb HD disks on a Geneve (with the appropriate drive).

 

Hard drives?

    • TIPI provides a hierarchical file system (essentially a hard disk as far as the TI is concerned) for more information see the TIPI description above or http://ti994a.cwfk.net/TIPI.html
    • Myarc produced a Winchester Personality Card that allowed you to connect a WDS-100 SASI controller to your TI and then some MFM hard drives to the controller. This supported up to two 20meg drives. There are only three I know of in collectors hands.. Good luck on finding one!
    • Myarc produced a HFDC controller that in addition to disk drives supported up to 2 MFM hard drives as well, I have a 40mb one on my Geneve, not sure the max limit.. (rare)
    • S.N.U.G produced an excellent SCSI controller card that is compatible with the TI and Geneve. These are difficult and expensive to find for sale. http://www.s-n-u-g.de/home/index_e.php
    • WHSCSI card (Western Horizon SCSI card) Handles 7 SCSI drives and with a HP SCSI port splitter box could handle 6 more SCSI drives for a total of 13 SCSI drives (rare)
    • Therry designed a IDE controller for the 99/4a and some have been built as part of a group project among TI enthusiasts. These are not currently in production. but are open source you can build your own

 

Disk emulators?

 

RAM Disks?

    • Corcomp’s 128k and 512k memory cards are basically only usable as RAMDISK these had no battery backup so power off=blank
    • Myarc’s 128k and 512k memory cards contain a DSR routine for RAMDISK, these had no battery backup etc..
    • Horizion RAMDISK is a dedicated ramdisk of battery-backed memory. It will survive a reboot/power down as long as your batteries are good. Various sizes were released getting bigger as ram prices dropped.

 

 

A web browser? seriously?

Compatible computers?

My TI isn’t working right! help!

    • Keyboard issues
      • The keyboard is connected directly to the TI motherboard with a pin connector. This can become loose/dirty and may need cleaning/reseating. There is no logic within the keyboard is is merely shorting the keyboard lines when you hit the keys. keyboard_schematic.jpg
      • If your cable is damaged there are replacements available at http://www.arcadeshopper.com/under hardware/cables
      • Alpha Lock issue: With the alpha lock key on you are unable to use the up direction with the joysticks. Release alpha lock to play games OR do this fix: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/console/alpha_lock.html
      • What keyboard do I have? There were at least 5 manufacturers of keyboards for the 99/4a. http://mainbyte.com/ti99/keyboard/keyboard.html has good pictures/info/schematic.
      • keyboard_front.jpg
        • Mitsumi: These keyboards do not have any solder points except for the alpha-lock key connection and the ribbon cable.
        • Image result for ti-99 keyboard mitsumi
        • Alps and others: These keyboards have solder points on the back of the PCBoard keyboard_back.jpg
          • these keyboards sometimes have dirt/corrosion in the switches that can be cleaned with contact cleaner or alcohol.
      • Console just BEEPS
        • The start up routine of a 99/4a initializes the sound chip with a tone and then the rom boot routine shuts off the tone.. If it just beeps either there is a bad connection to a peripheral OR a board level issue that is causing the startup routine to “lock”. Check all socketed chips for good connection/corrosion etc and reseat.
      • Scrambled/Garbled screen graphics/text
        • 80% of the time this is VDP ram and it will need to be replaced.
          • Here is a great page on how to determine what RAM chip is bad: http://www.ninerpedia.org/index.php?title=Troubleshooting
            • VDP Ram is soldered into the motherboard and will need to be desoldered and replaced (suggest it is replaced with sockets and new ram inserted into the socket) this ram is TMS4116 static ram. Located in number 6 in this photo: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/big_mother2.jpg
            • The F18A VGA VDP replacement contains it’s own VDP ram so replacing the TMS9918a VDP in your 4/a with a F18A will also replace bad memory without having to solder..
        • On NTSC/USA machines TMS9918a VDP is the hottest component on the motherboard and this tends to end it’s life prematurely. Daily use consoles tend to have the VDP fry sooner or later. This chip is socketed so it is relatively easy to replace. It is covered with heatsync compound and there is a metal slug that sits on top of it under the RF shield on a original 4/a. On a QI model there is a metal heat-sync clipped to the 9918a.
      • Cartridges don’t work or don’t work reliably.
        • The TI cartridge port is the most used part of a console. It tends to get dirty and gummed up. Info here on cleaning carts and the port: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/minimem/cart_fix.html
        • Replacement cartridge port boards are available on ebay and from vendors.

 

The TI-Raspberry PI connection

TIPI for short, the TI-99/4a to Raspberry PI connection is available now as a solution for connecting your 40 year old tech to modern computer networks including the Internet. TIPI was designed and programmed by Matthew Splett (Jedimatt42 on AtariAge) and some of the software was developed by Corey Anderson (Electriclab on AtariAge).

What does this do for me?

The biggest problems we have with our TI-99/4a are reliable storage and getting new programs (and copies of old software we find in online libraries, ftp sites, forum postings etc) to the computer easily.

With TIPI you have two easy ways to do transfer programs to your TI.

  • Browse to HTTP://TIPI:9900 on your PC (whatever OS you have, LINUX, MAC, WINDOWS, AMIGA) as long as you have a web browser you can do this. Upload files to the TIPI drive using the web page file manager.
  • Open a file share on any windows or samba capable PC (LINUX, MAC, WINDOWS) and copy the files directly to the TIPI drive.
    • A cool side-effect of this feature is that I have a drive on my PC mapped to TIPI. and I can access it via the CLASSIC99 emulator as a disk drive in emulation. Essentially sharing the entire storage with the TI and emulator simultaneously. Saving a file on the emulator is instantly loadable on the TI.

Regardless as to which way you use, you can upload any TIFILES format file and it will be instantly accessible. If you upload a V9T9 format file, you can easily convert it to TIFILES using the web interface.

If you upload a DSK image, TIPI will automatically convert the content to TIFILES files in a folder named the name of the disk you uploaded. If there’s already a folder with that name it will add a number to the end for example a disk named TIART would become TIART1 and TIPI would automatically increment that number if there is already a TIART1 folder..

Once the files are on the TIPI drive you can access them on the TI side with the TIPI. drive device, OR easily map DSK1, DSK2, DSK3 or DSK4 to any folder on TIPI. TIPI has no limit to the number of files in a folder nor does it have a limit of file size. (other than the limit of the size of the SD card you have in your Raspberry PI)

TIPI files are organized with folders. I have mine set up like this

TIPI.
|__
| GAMES
| |______TIBASIC
| |______XB
| |______INFOCOM
| |______ADVENTURE
| |______TOD
| |______EA3
| |______EA5
|__DEV
| |___HW
| |___TURBOFORTH
| |___EA
| |___C99
|__UTILS
|__ART

So with this folder tree I would map a drive to DSK1 that points to TIPI.GAMES.TOD for tunnels of doom games. Then in tunnels of doom I can just load the game with DSK1.PENNIES.

Mapping a drive is done either in the TIPICFG utility (which is easily loaded by typing CALL TIPI in basic, or loaded from a EA5 program loader at TIPI.TIPICFG) or using the TIPIMAP program I wrote in Extended basic which allows you to arrow through the directory folders and select 1 2 or 3 to map that disk drive to the selected folder. You can also modify the TIPI configuration file in the editor of your choice on the TI by loading the file PI.CONFIG.

Since most TI software expects support files to be on DSK1, Matt just added a new Auto Mapping feature to TIPI. When in auto mode, TIPI will temporarily map DSK1. to the directory that you loaded a PROGRAM image file from. This can be a basic program, or EA5, or even a data file such as Tunnels of Doom save games.

The mapping is temporary… it will change if another PROGRAM image is loaded, or reset back to what is declared in PI.CONFIG (or TIPICFG) when you revisit the TI title screen.

So for instance if you ran TIPI.WP.FUNNLWEB.LOAD it would automatically map DSK1. To that folder if you have AUTO turned on.

Also added was the ‘TIPI’ file, If you want more than just DSK1 mapping, or you don’t want auto mode, but for some PROGRAM you just always want it to map, then you can place a ‘TIPI’ D/V80 file in the directory next to that PROGRAM file with a set of key=value pairs as documented for PI.CONFIG such as:

DSK1_DIR=GAMES.MAJORTOM
DSK2_DIR=SAVES
Again, this configuration will be temporarily applied when a PROGRAM image file is loaded from the directory. It will last typically until you revisit the TI title screen.

I personally find the ‘hard disk’ structure way more intuitive and easy to follow than the numbered disk image structure used on the NanoPEB and CF7 devices. Trying to remember which disk number of the 1000 disk image numbers is my TOD disk is near impossible, while remembering TIPI.GAMES.TOD is very simple.

TIPI can also be used for connecting to the Internet directly from your TI. There are a number of applications for this including but not limited to:

  • Downloading data from http: and https: websites directly to the TI..
  • Importing data from weather or stock sites on the Internet.
  • Accessing file information from a server used in your own programs.
  • Loading program image files directly from a web server allowing for instantly updating all users of your software as you only have to update the one file on the web server and everyone downloads it through their TIPI each time they run it.

Using multi-user programs directly from the TI-99/4A

  • ChatTI is a multi-user chat program that allows you to send messages real time between two TI computers via the myti99.com web server
  • Chess is a multi-user chess program that allows you to play chess real-time or make your turn and wait until the other user connects and makes their turn later via the myti99.com web server
  • SNEK is a single user game that stores it’s high score table on the myti99.com web server allowing you to compete for high scores with all the TIPI owners around the world.
  • RockPaperScissors is written in TI-Basic and is a real-time multi-user game of Rock Paper Scissors. This uses tipi-variables and the myti99.com web server to facilitate play.
  • A multi-user RPG is in the works that will allow multiple users to play through their separate TI-99/4a’s and TIPI.

Connecting with TELNET protocol to servers on the Internet.

  • TIPI comes with a native TELNET program for the TI-99/4A that includes features like
  • 40/64/80 Column text modes (F18A Required for 80 column mode)
  • ANSI Color and IBM graphics character set in 80 column mode
  • A version of Mass Transfer has been created that does telnet through TIPI and allows for xmodem transfers and mass transfer over telnet. It also has a phone book for listing BBS’s and their telnet addresses pre-populated with the top TI BBS numbers accessible by telnet.
  • PLATOTerm has been updated to support newer Plato standards and TELNET through TIPI it is executable from http://ti99.irata.online/PLATO

Additional TIPI software:

  • FTP client
  • ForceCommand disk operating system includes file copy between TIPI and other devices, batch language, load for loading assembly programs and also full ANSI support, 40/80 column modes for systems that support it and FTP client built in.

Using the TIPI interface to access peripherals on the Raspberry PI is simple and easy. The options are endless to expand the TIPI interface to support accessing peripherals on the Raspberry PI directly from the TI-99/4a.

Examples:

  • TI-Artist mouse driver to use a USB mouse connected to the Rasperry PI as the user input device for TI-Artist
  • Printing to the device PI.PIO will create a PDF on the PI’s drive that you can then open and print on your computer.. The fileshare PDFS is automatically created to store these print jobs in.
  • Attaching MIDI interface to the Raspberry PI and sending data to it from TI MIDI software on the TI**
    (* – still being developed. ** – not being developed but is a good example of a possible addition)

TIPI is open source, all of the software and source code are available on github.com for you to learn from or add to. All developers are welcome to learn from the examples provided including source code to TELNET, the TI ARTIST driver and all of the system software for TIPI there. If someone would like to write an additional driver, or add a new function or service they can do so and push to the github and it can be easily integrated into TIPI’s software and software updates are easily done over the Internet connection to all TIPI owners. DSR updates require a new eprom chip to be burned so they can not be done automatically. I offer a chip upgrade service on my store. The authors of TIPI and most of this software are available on Atariage TI-99/4a TIPI support forum and the SLACK chat service to answer questions and provide support.

The Raspberry PI is a open source project as well, running Debian Linux. Your TIPI drive storage is accessible (therefore back-up able) from the PI directly as well as the TI via the TIPI. Drive. I back my data up to a large hard disk I have on my network at home I use to back up my PC computers as well. Therefore even if the SD card goes bad or is corrupted on my TIPI I can easily restore the TI files to a new card.

TIPI is available at http://arcadeshopper.com/store and is available in both SIDECAR and PEB CARD varieties. The SIDECAR model requires a 32k sidecar (also designed by Matt) with a 44pin connector and external power supply to operate. The Raspberry PI 3 (all models) and zeroW are both tested and recommended with the TIPI.

Sidecar TIPI connected to the 32k sidecar. Raspberry PI 3b+ connected via included cable.

TIPI PEB card. The Raspberry PI can be mounted on the PEB board or located externally.

TI-99/4a computers focused on for FIVE episodes of Floppy Days Podcast *updatedx2

http://floppydays.libsyn.com/ (also available on iTunes for you apple people) has been focusing on my favorite little computer: The Texas Instruments 99/4a home computer.

Episodes  49, 50, 51 AND 52 are bits of history, available equipment and new technologies including the items sold here at arcadeshopper.com.

http://floppydays.libsyn.com/floppy-days-49-ti99-interview-with-jim-fetzner-and-mark-wills

http://floppydays.libsyn.com/floppy-days-50-ti-99-history

http://floppydays.libsyn.com/floppy-days-51-ti99-tech-specs-modern-upgrades-with-tursi

http://floppydays.libsyn.com/floppy-days-52-ti99-softwarebooksmagazines-with-chris-schneider-and-rich-polivka

http://floppydays.libsyn.com/floppy-days-56-ti99-emulation-web-sites-with-chris-schneider-and-rich-polivka

Also lots of interesting information and links on other personal computers from the same era can be found on the site..