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TIHOME Tidings - Volume 3, Number 1. March 21, 1983 Part 5
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4A Keyboard Size   ||  Basic: Using DATA   ||  New 99/2   ||  New DLM Modules
Listings: Paint Pallette   ||  Pattern Maker
Reviews: Adventure   ||  Starship Pegasus   ||  Winging It

Hhhhane Mill, Aaaaorne, Essex.

Dear Paul,
County Contacts (Essex)
I am delighted to report contacts have been made, to date three telephone calls have been received, three meetings arranged, two meetings have taken place. There has been some swapping of programs on tape and difficulties have been encountered in loading programs recorded on "away" recorders.

Alarm! Alarm! an incident has taken place, which had me rushing for my, I hope, worthwhile guarantee. My Alpha Lock key has taken leave of its senses, in spite of the snow outside, it thinks it is spring and has sprung up into the air. I now have a spare part and its mobile and does not wish to return to home base. Can anyone help, have you suffered a similar experience and what did you do about the problem? does this key fit back or is it a guarantee job?

I hope TI read this. By the way I had a letter published in the January 1983 issue of Computer and Video Games magazine under "Thanks From A Texan!" Does this constitute an article and qualify for a module of my choice up to a price of - 50? I think it should.

I have written to 99'er Magazine and offered to help them distribute their mag. in this country if they require the help. Am awaiting their reply. I sent the letter airmail on the 9th February 1983. Let us see how long it takes to receive a reply. Bye for now, County Contacts (Essex). 0621 740 189.

B. Bailey, G3MAH RSGB.

Notes From the North
Price Watch
The following table shows that it is well worth shopping around for TI modules etc. Price lists as current as possible.

21.00 21.55 21.90 17.50 Soccer, Wumpus, Attack, Amazing, etc.
24.99 25.55 21.90 17.50 Munchman
21.00 13.35 12.50 14.00 Mind Challengers
21.00 34.55 21.90 17.50 Black Jack/ Poker
40.00 43.05 42.90 35.00 Personal Record Keeping
75.00 70.20 67.90 N/A Extended Basic, Logo
29.99 34.55 33.90 N/A Adventure and Pirate
40.00 43.05 42.90 N/A Statistics, Personal Report Generator
40.00! 9.05  8.90 N/A Teach Yourself Basic Cassette

A = Computer Supermarket, Corby, Northants.
B = AB and C Computers, including postage.
C = Comet Discount Warehouses.
D = Kays Mail Order Catalog, after deducting commission, but making no allowance for 20 weeks free credit.

Many organizations do not seem sure which price bracket each item falls into. Mail Order catalogs, most of whom stock a limited range, are a surprisingly cheap source but you must be getting the commission yourself to achieve the above prices. (If not add 14.3%). AB and C Computers are by far the cheapest for hardware, peripherals etc.

Cassette Operation A further gremlin I have discovered is that, after playing a chromium oxide music tape in my portable, as I occasionally do, it refuses to read programs until a proprietary head cleaner (Boots) has been passed through, after which it returns to the normal high reliability.

Typing My wife would like to learn to type on the 99/ 4A but I was worried that, even if Commodore's claim that our keyboard was "half size" was untrue, it may still be less than full size, making her new skill not easily transferable. After measuring the distance between the Q and P key centers (17 cm) I had a walk round the office block at work and measured a large number of different computer terminals and typewriters (mostly electric) and discovered that our keyboard is exactly full size. This makes Commodore's claim even more incredible. TI do a Touch Typing Tutor in the States but, in its absence over here, my wife is trying to write one.

Product Availability Standing in the sales queue at Comet Warehouse in Stockton (to buy a TI module) I was delighted to hear TWO people in front of me ask for a 99/ 4A. Tidings regulars will know what followed - "Sorry sir, out of stock." One of them even left with a VIC 20 + 8K memory expansion for about - 160. Imagine how pleased he would have been to buy a 99/ 4A for - 179 less - 50 from TI (although staff at Comet had not heard of the handback offer!). Comet are one of the country's biggest electrical distributors and only sell the VIC 20 and 99/ 4A, but for how long? Ah well, we don't want TIHOME to get too big and unfriendly do we?

Speech Synthesizer Price Consider the following prices of TI products (Computer Supermarket):
Speak and Math - 34.95
Speak and Spell - 34.95
Speak and Write - 23.95
99/ 4A Speech Synthesizer - 49.95

1. TI admit that the technology is the same;
2. All the "toys" possess touch sensitive keyboards (over 30 keys on Spell and Write) and are pre-programmed to prompt children, test answers etc.;
3. Profit margins on toys are high at anything up to 100%;

Why does the Speech Synthesizer cost so much? Perhaps one of the electronic wizards could pick up a discarded game and construct a DIY add on!

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Programs from the Library I think I was a little unlucky with the first four programs I received from the library.
Whitehall (079) turned out to be in Enhanced Basic which I do not yet have. (Alter your library lists).

Music Editor (214) was absolutely incomprehensible and, despite an hour and a half studying the listing, I could not get past the 3rd prompt. Mike O'Regan, after pleading not guilty to writing the program (and telling me that he had written a better one!) was able to help with some notes from 99'er who were the original publishers, and the program is actually quite good.

Battle at Sea (065) while on the face of it a very good "battleships" type game - you versus the computer, contains some bugs. Line 5180 has a zero instead of an O which causes the program to perversely stop when you request a new game. My 7 year-old quickly spotted another flaw in that the computer always puts its ships in the same place! This was cured by moving line 2320 to 2325 and entering


I do not really understand the cure as RANDOMIZE is already in at the start. A clue might be that RANDOMIZE appears twice. Does the second one cancel the first? Perhaps someone who is able could have a PEEK?

The final and most worrying bug is that when your ships are heavily grouped in the first two rows the game just ceases about half way through with an infinite loop around line 4110. When this is amended, a further one occurs around 4340 followed by another around 3800. At this point I stopped as I couldn't quickly see how to get round the last and was also a bit worried that the computer now seemed to be a bit less logical in its play. i. e. it didn't always move in for the kill after hitting a ship. If the author is out there somewhere try RUNning with your ships in A0 and B0 to B6 and let us know.

Paint Palette

Searching for a color that Texas doesn't provide (like brown)? Wish you'd bought an Atari instead? Well, enter this listing to take a look at the 120 colors you can get by the simple device of mixing alternate pixels of two colors. Press any key to look at next set with one color numbered at the bottom being constant and that color being mixed with the others in order from 2 to 16 across the screen.

Believe me they are all different!

110 FOR N= 40 TO 152 STEP 8
120 CALL CHAR( N," 55AA55AA55AA55AA")
130 NEXT N
140 FOR A= 2 TO 16
160 PRINT TAB( 13); A
170 FOR B= 2 TO 16
180 CALL COLOR( B, B, A)
190 CALL VCHAR( 1,( 2* B)-2,24+( 8* B), 22)
200 CALL VCHAR( 1,( 2* B)-1,24+( 8* B), 22)
210 NEXT B
220 CALL KEY( 0, K, S)
230 IF S< 1 THEN 220
240 NEXT A

Because you are using a user defined character for this effect there are naturally some limitations in application but you can paint parts of the screen or the whole screen in unusual colors. If one of the colors is also the screen color then other user defined characters are possible, e. g.:

110 CALL COLOR( 9,10,16)
120 CALL SCREEN( 16)
130 CALL CHAR( 100," 55AA54A850A04080")
140 CALL HCHAR( 1,1,100,768)
150 G0T0 150

fills the screen with PINK triangles. I have been able to use the technique on an IDENTIKIT program that I am submitting to the library in which realistic(?) skin and hair colors are possible.

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Tips for Beginners
Use DATA statements to cut down on the number of CALLs. e. g. Identify the following nursery rhyme:

100 FOR N= 1 TO 16
110 READ X, Y
120 CALL SOUND( 100* X, Y, 2)
130 NEXT N
140 DATA 4,208,4,208,4,311,4
150 DATA 4,262,4,233,4,233,5,208

If DATA needs to be read more than once you must use RESTORE. (see manual)

Mirror images
Where the left half of the screen is a mirror image of the right in games layouts, mazes, designs etc., you can save effort by only defining on half and relating it to the other with the general forms:



e. g. The following prints two large symbols on the screen with only the left one being defined:
110 CALL COLOR( 2,9,9)
120 FOR N= 1 TO 9
130 READ( X, Y, Z)
140 CALL HCHAR( X, Y, 42, Z)
150 CALL HCHAR( X, 34-Y-Z, 42, Z)
160 NEXT N
170 DATA 5,9,2,6,10,2,7,10,3
180 G0T0180

Two things for you to try. In the above list it is possible to reduce the data even further by relating one of X, Y or Z to N. Secondly, can you write similar pairs of CALLS to give mirror images on the top and bottom halves of the screen? This thinking can, of course, be taken a lot further.

Ian Swales, nn cccct Road, Redcar, Cleveland.

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Dorset Dialect
by Jeff Freeman
TI Repairs
My thanks to Robin Frowd of TI for his investigations regarding the repair of my computer. Dixons sat on my 4A for twenty eight days before sending it to TI.

Let that be a lesson to all of us. A, B and C Computers, Cornwall
What a super firm! My enquiries have been carefully, politely and above all correctly dealt with and ordered software has arrived quickly and well packaged. I recommend them as a mail order service.

Extended Basic to TI Basic: PRINT Statements I have been writing a program in TI Basic but using Extended Basic to continually check SIZE. When finished each session, this has been SAVEd using CS1 via Extended Basic. However, on reloading into TI Basic rather than Extended Basic, many PRINT statements have been changed to include what can only be described as gobbledegook. These are print statements that have included colons typed together to indicate PRINT separators (for TI Basic) rather than line separators (for Extended Basic). Hence:

20 REM
50 END

is entered in Extended Basic and then saved using CS1. When reloaded in to TI Basic using OLD CS1 and then LISTed, the following appears:

20 REM
1 (, M/ (~~" Vq (~ V V1 (,
M/'~ Vq () V1 (, m/ (~ '~ V
q (~ V
31 rem not a fault that really is what you will see.
50 END

Equally, if in Extended Basic line 30 is changed to read

it reappears in TI Basic complete with gobbledegook.

However, if line 30 is changed to

then all is well - especially as when RUN in Extended Basic, the colons act as print separators! There is a pattern to the gobbledegook which is a repeated set of symbols (N. B. standard lower case for I and q).

Saving Space with Arrays - Don't Use 'Em (TI Basic) I offer this as an example of "tidier" programming. Whilst I suppose I subscribe to the school of thought that states "forget the shape of the program - so long as it works" I do fiddle with my programs (once they are written) to improve my own style and, on occasions when MEMORY FULL appears, to save space. Of course, only a pervert like me would have written such a crazy program in the first place.

Normal people would have gone straight to the simplest route - or would they? Explanation The aim of this program is to place a list of two-figure codes into an array of 100 elements and then to randomly choose one of the array elements and use its code to assign Q.

30 DIM Z( 100)
40 FOR R= 1 TO 100
50 READ Z( R)
80 CHOICE= INT( 100* RND)+ 1
90 Q= Z( CHOICE)
200 DATA / 100 two figure codes/

30 Sets up a 1 -D array of 100 elements
40 Starts loop to read data
50 Reads data into array Z, element R
60 Repeats loop
70 Sets random number generator
80 Chooses a random number between 1 and 10
90 Assigns chosen code to Q
100 Prints the value of Q

The more experienced of you will see that this is really very poor programming. It does eat up 1. 517 Kbytes when RUN. Of course, space can be saved by combining lines 80 and 90.

80 Q= Z( INT( 100* RND)+ 1) 
That saves 33 bytes! The real saving comes when the array is removed and we simply choose randomly from the data statement itself:

Explanation The aim of this program is to choose a random number, access the two-figure code that is in the position of that random number within the data statement and assign that code to Q.

30 FOR R= 1 TO INT( 100* RND)+ 1
200 DATA / 100 two figure codes/

20 Sets random number generator
30 Starts loop R from 1 to a random number between 1 and 100
40 Reads into Q the current data
50 Repeats loop

In this way, Q is continually re-assigned up to the random number chosen. The last value assigned is printed as Q. This shorter program is only 886 bytes and does exactly the same job as example A. It can probably still be improved upon. The array Z( 100) uses 831 bytes when RUN.

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Software Reviews
Adventure and Pirate (TI Solid State Software, - 33.75)
I had little idea what to expect when I purchased this SSS module. A somewhat one-sided conversation with a tutee of mine about Dungeons and Dragons and a read of an article or two had me believing that adventuring was fun if not frustrating.

A sort of pan-dimensional lateral thinking electronic crossword puzzle. In order to play the Adventure programs produced by Adventure International and sold through TI on tape or disk, it is necessary to purchase the SSS module which, with true marketing genius, comes with a "free" adventure called Pirates. The module operates like any other - simply plugging into the console via the front loading port. Press any key to gain the menu and press 2 for Adventure and immediately you are given the instructions for loading the tape data which varies from game to game though all using the same Adventure SSS. Once the data is loaded, and after a few introductory remarks, the adventure suddenly begins.

One of the fun parts is that you literally have no idea what to type in! The booklet that comes with the module, gives a few clues but part of the adventure is discovering the word combinations that will be accepted. These orders are two word commands (verb + noun) that, apart from fouling the English language, allow you to move from place to place and to manipulate the objects. Statements such as "GO SHIP" or "TAKE RUG" or "KILL PIRATE" - though the latter returns the message "Sorry I can't. I'm not feeling destructive."

But behind all this is the need for an ability to think logically. The game has earned my respect for the power of its structure. It is clever! Every so often, any statement input is found to reveal or achieve nothing. You feel stuck and somewhat frustrated. There is a temptation (as there was one weekend) to actually hit the computer. But eventually the thunderbolt strikes you and you realize the logic of it all and progress is made.

Far more infuriating and very humbling is when you think you have it all worked out. You can relate objects and events that are separate - you start to predict what will happen after a certain combination of moves is made. You spend an hour happily making great strides when suddenly - wham - dead end in a maze of logic and reasoning.

And do not think this game is over in one hour's quick finger tapping: then think again. This type of adventure takes weeks. You will be awake at night trying to work out the moves for the next day's session. It is possible to SAVE your current status from one session to another.

I am pleased with the purchase - and I shall buy more. It teaches clear rational thinking and above all it is exciting. My only worry is the suspicion that once I have completed the adventure and collected my two treasures that will be that. For once done, Pirates will not be done again. It will be too easy.

Now where is that second treasure, matey? . . .

Games by Not Polyoptics
Maze of Ariel
TI Basic. Distributed by Stainless Software, S. Shaw
Steve Shaw, in his software catalog of imported American software, has typed the word "difficult" by the description of a game of dark corridors "Maze of Ariel". He is right to do so. Following a closed maze backwards and forwards five times with a Dragon after you calls for skill enough but when the maze itself is continually changing as well . . . A lantern and grenades are available to blast down walls in this challenging game of troglodyte maneuver. A first rate game.

The rather splendid graphics in Hoards is worth the wait for it to set itself up. On a world map, up to four players can wage war against each other to obtain global domination. The map is continually updated and there is recognition of the possibility of the slightly weaker party winning. Troops can be moved between countries overland or by ship. The winner is he with all the countries his color - there is a nostalgic desire to win with color red!

This is a good game which lasts for some time. It can get complex, with convoys of troop ships or battle cruisers each coded with status information - you must remember which ship is which. Strategy can be developed and flanking movements are useful. The program is recommended.

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Starship Pegasus
TI Basic. Distributed by Stainless Software, S. Shaw
One I cannot recommend (sorry Steve) is Starship Pegasus. To be honest, apart from doing what it asks, I cannot see the point of it. As you may have gathered, I prefer games in which there is some intellectual challenge. Starship Pegasus is a game which straightforwardly asks you to survive by collecting points - a purpose which is weighted in favor of the computer. There are good graphics some of which last so short a time that you hardly see them. It is really a text game with some graphics thrown in. The aim is to gain for the Emperor mineral wealth, energy and technology points. If you do well enough he will award you a gong. You travel to a star system, maybe fight a space marauder (not difficult?) and then go through each planet exploiting it and the random population generated for it. Everything from gaseous herbivores to giant but incredibly thick kangaroid petrovours.

For myself, I should have liked to have seen better use made of graphics - for example a slower and more realistic travel between planets rather than a quick flash of an approaching world and a bland statement of the orbit attained.

Having effectively destroyed the game as adult entertainment, I can see it being a hit with the children who will adore the different types of beings that are created. The idea of zapping some inferior being that won't sign a treaty would certainly appeal to them.

Winging It
Lastly, and addictively, Winging It (ver. 1) is a competent attempt at a flight simulator. You have to work out how to fly, firstly with no weather (that took three weeks and fifteen planes) and then with weather and mountains etc. (another twenty planes and still learning!) The update of the screen instruments whilst not slow is ponderous. Keyboard activated, it takes a lot of mastering and this challenge alone makes it worth buying. Once you have completely learnt the techniques and are capable of landing where you want then there are two games to be played. I think it will be some time before I attempt any aerobatics of any sort - voluntarily that is!

BiBi C12 Computer Tapes So 35p was a bit cheap? Too right! The R. R. P. of these tapes which I recommended in the October '82 edition of Tidings is 65p which whilst making me very lucky, is still cheap compared to some unknown "blank" brands. I have had trouble getting these tapes through my usual supplier but BiBi assure me that they are definitely around and selling well. I still recommend them. More anon I hope . . .

Endpiece I spent a miserable day in London a few months ago. The supposed center of the electronic Universe is Tottenham Court Road which, if you have never trod its littered pavements, is full of shops selling everything electronic. Everything, that is, except TI-99 supplies. You can buy any of the VIC range of computers and their modules. Look in the windows and there are our rivals decked out in promotional material. But as for TI? The shop assistants are not interested and their stock is pathetic.

If   I see another Addition and Subtraction module I shall go nuts. As for the peripherals? From what I have seen - WHAT PERIPHERALS? Do they actually exist? Are they set up and running? Can I walk in to a shop and say: "Can I see the disk system working in a box?" "What software have you got?" "None," comes the reply, or "What you can see!" You look, and when you find it is stuffed in some counter cupboard and - yes there it is - Addition and Subtraction. AHGGGGGGGG! Are these shops simply not interested? Is it at all conceivable that they might actually KNOW what they are talking about and might actually KNOW how to use the TI-99/ 4A?

Dear TI, (Yes, it's me again!), did you know that your distribution in the West End of London is a farce? Is there no shop in London I can go to when "up in town" where I can be sure that there will be most if not ALL the software TI produce together with set up and running computers? with working peripheral box etc.?

Dorset: Any TI-99/ 4A owners in the Dorset and Yeovil areas? Or are there only two of us? I may not always be in (being term time and all that) but please write or give me a ring: Dr. Jeff Freeman, 0nnn 8134nn Sherborne.

P. S. Something tells me that hidden away in the 99/ 4A is an ACCEPT AT subroutine together with a PRINT AT. Now we are not allowed to know it is there until we get ExBas. But when recording data onto tape, we are asked if we want to check the data has been recorded properly. Press Y and there is a Y on the screen. A free MARS bar to anyone who can unlock the mystery of how it gets there.

Keep speaking the dialect, Jeff.

Maidstone TI User's Newsletter - January 1983.
Well, I hope most of you enjoyed the last issue of my newsletter. Things seem to be taking off this year for the TI machine. Thorn EMI should hopefully be releasing Submarine Commander and Jumbo Jet Pilot at the end of this month. A number of other software houses are hoping to produce games for the 99/ 4A once negotiations with Texas are complete.

A number of magazines have been printing programs recently (they have either seen the light or Stephen Shaw bribed them). This months Computer & Video Games have two for us, one in TI Basic called "Victorian Sewers" and "Pompeii" (ExBas) both have been written by Stephen Shaw.

This newsletter is going to be brief this month due to the lack of contributions mainly. Nobody has come up with higher scores for Invaders, Attack, Tombstone City yet. I will type the current high scores on the last page.

For those of you who received the last issue I must point out that L. P. Enterprises are no longer doing subscriptions for 99'er so don't send your money off to them. If anyone has programs, letters, reviews, hi-scores or any TI related articles for the next issue, would you please send them to me by the 20th February.

Thank you. Graham Tapp,

Maidstone, Kent MEl5 999. (Tel. nnn070).

Earth Attack Bugs The January edition of Personal Computing Today'did not bring us "Patscram" as promised. Instead a program called "Earth Attack" was published and contained a number of bugs. If you make the following alterations and additions it should run O. K.

Alter: 910 to read CALL HCHAR( 7,5,33,4)
780 to read CALL HCHAR( 1,26,C+ 1)
1000 to read GOTO 10
Add: 995 FOR A= 1 TO 2000
997 NEXT A

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1. Apex Trading Ltd. (Dept CVG), nnn cccscent Drive South, Bbbbhton BN2 nnn. SAE for complete list.

2. TX Software, nnn Aaaatsweld, Hhhlow, Essex.
Standard machine: Four in a row, Golf, Chess File, 3D Maze - Supplied as a package on 3 cassettes. - 10.00 inclusive. Extended Basic: Battlefront, Freeway, Target - Arcade Game Tape. - 6. 00 inclusive.

3. Titan Programs, nn Aaaaood Road, Rudloe, Ccccham, Wiltshire nnnn 0LG. Standard Machine: Mission 99 - Supplied on cassette. - 6. 00 (24 hour despatch on all mail order).

Programs Here is a small program supplied by Peter Mann (aged 14) called "Pattern Maker". It prints random blocks of color to make patterns (similar to the patterns produced on "Multi-Colored Swap Shop's" monitors). I have already keyed it in and find it very soothing to just sit and watch. To freeze the pattern press the space bar and to re-start it press any key. I would just like to thank Peter for submitting the very first program to this newsletter. I hope more of you will follow his example.

110 FOR X= 1 TO 25
120 FOR J= 1 TO 28
140 A= INT( RND* 93)+ 33 determines a random character in ASCII
150 PRINT CHR$( A); prints that random character
160 NEXT J repeats until one row is full
170 NEXT X repeats until screen is full
180 CALL KEY( 0, K, S) keyboard scan
190 IF K= ASC(" ") THEN 1000 if space bar is pressed then 1000
210 F= INT( RND* 16)+ 1 determines a random colour
220 B= INT( RND* 16)+ 1 determines a random character group
230 CALL COLOR( B, F, F)
240 G0T0 180
1000 CALL KEY( 0, K, S) keyboard scan
1010 IF S= 0 THEN 1000 if no key pressed then 1000
1020 GOTO 180 if a key is pressed then 180

Peter informs me there will be a game in February's edition of Computer and Video Games called "Victorian Sewers". The object is to keep the traffic flowing while the sewers beneath are collapsing.


This program is for those who like curves.
20 X= 0
30 N= 10
40 PRINT TAB( INT(( SIN( X)+ 1)* N));"*"
50 X= X+ 0.5
70 CALL COLOR( 2,16,1)
80 GOTO 40

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TI Clubs
TIHOME, Paul M. Dicks, 1nn Bbbbbpsford Road, Mnmden, Surrey SM4 nnn. Annual Sub. - 12.00.
NATIONAL TEXAS INSTRUMENTS CLUB, Mr. R. M. Mmmmhy, Department of Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx, University College, Swansea, S. Wales. Annual Sub: - 5. 00.


Name - Module - Level - New Score
G. Tapp   TI Invaders Merely aggressive 26,313
G. Tapp   TI Invaders Downright Nasty 12,337
A. Frampton The Attack  Pro 220,000
R. Ashton Tombstone City Master 187,950 (day 18)

G. C. E. "O" Level Tutorial Program Chemistry
A new tutorial program: QUANAL
A qualitative analysis without a laboratory.
Allows you to run an analysis on a given salt or test your knowledge by letting the computer choose an "unknown" from 44 salts.

Teach yourself or a class the basic "O" level qualitative analysis.
Ions available include: Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Zn2+, Al3+, Pb2+, Cu2+, Fe2+, Fe3+ SO2 ; SO2 Complete with full instructions and a 9-page Tutorial Section.
Available only on cassette in TI Basic at - 10.
By post from and checks/ P. O. made out to: J. Fffffan, Cutlers, Aaaay Road, Sssssorne, Dorset.

The following programs in TI Basic are available from:
A & E Stanley, n Vvvvoria Court, nn Vvvvoria Road, London nnn 1 LH.
SUBMARINE. Sink the SUB before he sinks you. Select course, speed and drop
DEPTH CHARGES. Avoid the torpedoes, listen to the SONAR (very realistic).
ASANTE. Defeat the computer in this version of an old African game of skill.
BABY SNATCHER. Save the babies before the snatcher gets them, but mind he doesn't get you. Needs
speech and joysticks. - 6. 00 for each recording (tape) inc. P and P.

TCHS for TIHOME Now Software Exchange The Computer Home Service (TCHS) For TIHOME Members Calling all TI-99/ 4A Home Owners Why continue to buy expensive modules when you can join Britain's first software exchange club "TI-99/ 4A Computer Home Service"?

Just write to me and enclose an SAE Telling me what software you have to exchange. TCHS Can then advise if an exchange can be arranged Why use TCHS.? Because TCHS have the contact We know that software must be in good condition so no-one will lose not even you. Good software is expensive.

Fed up with that TI module? Then don't delay, write today: The Computer Home Service, (Software Exchange), "Forty", Bbbbhill Avenue, Ppppham, Bbbbbton, Sussex. BN1 nnn.

Do not forget to advise your requirements - what you have for exchange, and enclose SAE. [1999 update: following Nov 1983, TCHS took over - by default, but with user agreement - as principal User Group in the UK, publishing TI* MES, still in publication in 1999.]

TI News
Welcome once again. This issue I would like to concentrate on some exciting new products coming from Texas Instruments in the near future. Firstly there is a new computer called the TI-99/ 2. Here is a copy of the press release that has recently been sent out:

NICE, JANUARY 18 1983. At the Texas Instruments European Annual Retailer Conference in Monte Carlo a new computer console, believed to be the first 16-bit computer for around - 70 was announced. Unlike most computers in this price range, the TI-99/ 2 Basic Computer can use software on solid state cartridges as well as on cassettes. In addition, Texas Instruments is introducing new low cost peripherals and software for the TI-99/ 2 that will also work with the TI-99/ 4A family computer.

"The TI-99/ 2 is designed to allow computer novices to learn to program a computer in TI Basic - and BASIC supported assembly language", said William Turner, president of the consumer group. "The combination of the - 70 computer and the new low-cost peripherals make this the lowest cost computer system on the market. The TI-99/ 2 will be targeted primarily at the technical enthusiast, engineer or student in the home.

Additionally, we expect the computer to be purchased as the first computer in the home for those who are just beginning their experience with a computer system, or as a second computer in the home after the purchase of a TI-99/ 4, a "family computer". The TI-99/ 2 console has an elastomeric typewriter-like keyboard with raised keys in a staggered qwerty arrangement similar to the TI-99/ 4A. The computer has 4. 2K bytes of built-in random access memory (RAM) and can be expanded to a total of 36. 2K bytes of RAM.

Most peripherals for the new system will plug into a hex-bus peripheral-interface connector in the rear of the console. The hex-bus port allows users to connect any peripheral developed for the compact computer family (refer to press release on CC-40) currently, these consist of the RS232 interface, HX-3000, the Wafertape digital tape drive unit, HX-2000; and the HX-1000 four colour printer/ plotter.

Two solid state software cartridges "Learn to Program" and "Learn to Program Basic", will be available initially for the unit. Other cartridges will be available on cassettes at initial launch. Educational programs include: Picomath-80, Math I and II, Statistics I and II, Sunrise Time, Datetimer, and Civil Engineering.

Programs for Personal Management are: Household Formulas, Checkbook Manager, Purchase Decisions, and General Finance. Entertainment cassettes include: Lunar Landing, Bioplot, The Minotaur, TI Trek, and Mind Games I, II, III, and IV. These programs as well as all user-written programs, can also be run on the TI-99/ 4A family computer.

The TI-99/ 2 features monochrome display capability and contains a built-in RF Modulator. The included video cable and antenna switch are used to connect the computer to any television set. A Cassette Interface Cable is also included to interface directly to the new TI Program Recorder or another cassette tape player. In addition, the TI-99/ 2 comes with an AC adapter, a user's manual and a demonstration cassette. Availability in Europe is planned for 3Q 1983.

Product dimensions are 24 cm - 26 cm - 35 cm. I think you will agree that the TI-99/ 2 is a very exciting new product. I will leave this computer with just one parting comment. On a standard bench test that lists numbers on the TV screen, the TI-99/ 2 proved to be 48 times faster than the Sinclair ZX81!

Now some software news, as you will see there are quite a few new software packages about to be released, again using the PR the details are as follows:

Eleven new educational software cartridges from Texas Instruments for use with the TI-99/ 4A family computer will be available during the first half of 1983.

The new software features Mathematics, Learning Exercises for Children in kindergarten through Grade 9. The new software cartridges include six titles from Developmental Learning Material (DLM), three from Addison-Wesley and two from Scott Foresman.

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The six titles from DLM feature practice for speed and accuracy through an exciting new concept of combining games and learning. The games will be available in the second quarter of 1983 and, should sell for about $50.

Alligator Mix. Hungry alligators lurk in a colorful swamp in prey of apples that contain correct answers to addition and subtraction problems appearing on their stomachs. Children open the alligator's mouth when an apple with the correct answer on it appears and close it rapidly when the answers and the problems do not match. Hits and misses are recorded at the bottom of the screen for addition and subtraction problems with number 0 through 9. As with the other DLM games either a joystick or the keyboard controls the action.

Alien Addition. Children must answer addition questions correctly before their missile bases will fire on waves of alien invaders trying to attack the earth. Quick reflexes, in both recognizing answers and firing on attackers, help children defend their missile bases while practicing addition with numbers 0 through 9. Players can use either a joystick or the keyboard to answer questions and to fire on aliens.

Minus Mission. A robot fights to defend his territory from the creeping slime, as children work to solve subtraction problems contained in the blobs of slime. Correct answers to problems with numbers 0 through 9 enable the robot to shoot and destroy the blobs.

Meteor Multiplication. The inhabitants of a star station must defend themselves against meteors containing multiplication problems by firing a cannon with the correct answers. Quick multiplication skills and rapid firing help children battle this threat from space while practicing multiplication problems with numbers 0 through 9.

Demolition Division. Four tanks advance simultaneously, each with a division problem. The player's only defense is the correct answer to each problem the tanks carry as he moves from one tank to the next to solve problems and fire before the foremost tank reaches its goal. Quick division skills and rapid fire save children from advancing tanks as they practice division with numbers 0 through 9.

Dragon Mix. The vigilant dragon stands guard over the city, but can defend the city only if children provide him with the correct answers to multiplication and division problems the invaders carry. Match the correct answer and aim the dragon's mouth at the enemy to fire. Miss and watch the enemy advance to bomb the city. Children practice multiplication and division problems with numbers through 0 to 9 as they help the vigilant dragon.

During the second quarter of 1983, Texas Instruments will add three Addison-Wesley computer math games to the previously announced games II and VI. The games which include color graphics and are designed with progressive levels of difficulty.

Computer Math Games I. This module, with progressive skill levels for children in grades 1 through 9, have five different games to help children learn math skills. One game features basic math facts drill and practice and problems with percentages. Two additional games feature plotting numbers and ordered pair of numbers; another game features addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; while the last game features practice with place values.

Computer Math Games III. Children in grades 1 through 9 can learn by using seven different card type games with progressive skill levels to practice basic math facts, find squares of sums, reduce fractions, and practice counting and the concept of betweenness on a number line.
Computer Math Games IV. Five games in this module for children in Grades 1 through 9 feature progressive skill levels to provide drill and practice with basic math facts, whole numbers, and compact and expanded forms of numbers. This module also includes a strategy game called NIM 25 where players take turns answering questions to remove 1 to 3 pieces from the total of 25 on the board. The object of the game is to be the one who removes the last piece. Timed response periods in this module challenge children to answer questions quickly.

Educational publisher Scott Foresman, which already has collaborated with Texas Instruments to produce six software packages, adds two additional packages to the list, with first quarter availability.

Numeration I. Designed for children aged 5 to 7, this cartridge introduces basic number concepts including grouping, greater than, less than, and place value through the use of some tutorial examples.

Numeration II. Children aged 7 to 9 can use this cartridge to learn more about basic math facts introduced in Numeration I. The addition of number rounding and the expansion of some of the basic concepts learned in the previous package. This program also includes some tutorial examples. As if the TI-99/ 2 and software wasn't enough, here is even more: A new compact cassette program recorder designed for use with the TI-99/ 4A family computer and the new TI-99/ 2 Basic Computer will be available from Texas Instruments in the first quarter of 1983. The program recorder is optimized for use with the TI-99/ 4A and 99/ 2 computers as a program and data storage/ retrieval system.

With its slim design, the program recorder is a perfect desktop complement to either system. The recorder package includes a computer interface cable for the 99/ 4A. (while an interface cable for the TI-99/2 will be included with that console.

Major features of the unit include the ability to be controlled from the TI-99/ 4A, an automatic recording level control (ALC), a digital tape counter clearly marked optimum settings for volume and tone control, color-coded inputs jacks for easy setup, a pause control, and a build-in condenser microphone which allows use as an ordinary audio cassette recorder.

The program recorder, which has a suggested retail price of GBP 44.95 can be mains driven or operate on four size C batteries. The recorder will be available in April.

Robin Frowd. [1999 note: The above text is an official communication from TI UK] 16 Ccccer Way, Kkkkkford, Cheshire WAl6 nnn.

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Dear Mr. Dicks,
You may perhaps be interested to see a copy of a short article in the newspaper-type periodical, Computing, which caught my eye.

It may well be that these projected products of TI are already known to those who are more familiar with the computer world than I am. However, I made a copy just in case the announcement might be of interest to some and possibly worth a mention in Tidings.

Many congratulations on the most recent issue which I have much enjoyed. Yours sincerely, Clifton Helliwell.

Texas Puts Out Rival to Sinclair's ZX81 Texas Instruments has launched a direct competitor to Sinclair's best-selling ZX81 micro and has also entered the growing market for portable computers. Called the TI-99/ 2, the new micro will cost about - 70 and is similar to the existing TI-99/ 4A machine. The 99/ 2 comes with 4K bytes of random access memory (ram), powered by the 16-bit TMS9995 processor. Main memory can be expanded to 20K bytes for - 65 and to a maximum of 35K bytes for an extra - 30. Irfan Salim, Texas' European marketing manager for home computers, described the machine as a "computer literacy product - a major upgrade of Sinclair's ZX81. It will be able to run all the software available for the 99/ 4A but we'll be releasing quite a few educational tapes such as Teach yourself Basic, Fortran, Pascal and so on".

Peter Ryland, manager of Kobra Micromarketing, a Texas dealer, commented: "It's really an educational tool, to aim at the first-time users. You should be able to sit down and use it straight-away, which is less easy with the ZX81 . It's a high street chain product rather than one for dealers, but it should go down well."

Other features of the 99/ 2 are an RS232 communication port, a high speed - 8,000 bits/ second - cassette drive called a "Wafer Tape" and a color printer/ plotter costing - 99. Salim commented: "The Wafer Tape is faster than other cassette systems and we have found it more reliable."

Texas' new portable micro-computer has similar interfaces for RS232, Wafer Tape and a - 50 color printer/ plotter. Called the Compact Computer (CC) 40, the machine has 6K bytes of ram, expandable to 18K bytes, and an 8-bit TI processor. The CC40 will cost about - 199.

Salim said: "The CC40 is really an Epson-like machine, aimed at business men who need a "briefcase" computer. We've 18 software programs for the product - such as mathematical and financial applications. We've about 1 ,000 outlets for the TI-99/ 2."

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