A Future Flowering - EDITORIAL by Christina Mehew
(webnote: one or two spelling errors have been kept from the original)
The TI Users Faire at Derby, 16th May, 1987
The Central Suite was easy to find, and I was grateful for that after a two and a half hour train journey. The Hall was spacious with tables set out around each side for the use of the dealers and for demo's. Rows of chairs were ready for The Meeting, which would see the hand-over of TI99/4a Exchange to become T199/4a Users Group UK, and the formal adoption of a new committee to run it. It was only just ten o'clock, but everyone was ready for business.
So, with a child on each arm, I took the two games modules I'd got when I bought our TI, to the Jumble Sale at the TI Exchange counter, this being patiently and efficiently run by Audrey Scally and daughter. Hopefully, these would be sold and we'd be able to buy some new ones. There were lots of software bargains, new and secondhand, and we managed to snap up a speech synthesizer and speech editor for less than half the normal price.
The display on show by Parco Electrics was most impressive and the children made a bee-line for the second-hand games which you were able to try out on the computer before you bought them. There was a good range of books, software and some hardware, and advice freely given if needed. A natty little gadget caught my eye - a language translator - with the same neat, slim design that we are used to from Texas Instruments, but small enough to pop into your handbag (or brief case!). It takes tiny plug-in modules of French, German or Spanish, and at a bargain price, with earphones, mains adaptor and free module who could resist?!
At the next counter was the classy-looking Geneve computer, kindly brought by Richard Sierakowski, many thanks to him, and some copies of TI-LINES to look at, also a chance to chat to the editor of that excellent publication, Peter Brooks, if you didn't mind joining the queue!
TI Exchange had the full expansion system for demonstrations, complete with printer and modem, none of which I had ever seen before. It looked very neat and technical. Alas, no-one was selling any cheap expansion, so I'm still only sweet sixteen K! All through the day there was a sizeable crowd of supporters filtering backwards and forwards. A lively atmosphere was created by their enthusiasm and energy, characteristics shared.by TI'ers
At eleven o'clock The Meeting began, chaired by Clive Scally, founder of UK TI Users and TI Exchange. We were reminded of Peter Brook's offer (as printed in last TI*MES) of taking on the membership of TI Exchange, so that it's cohesive structure, built up under four years of superb effort by Clive and Audrey, would not be interrupted, and that it be incorporated into the International TI Users Group. All the benefits of that group, which is a "commercial" user group, would be enjoyed by TI*MES readers, who could contribute to TI-LINES. If they still wanted a "club" as such, people could form their own local users groups, and representatives from each group could write for TI-LINES.
Lively debate followed. Doubts were raised such as: would we lose the friendliness and exchange of opinions and ideas that we had as a national users club? We would lose the "blanket" of our own magazine, and the momentum of the larger group might be lost as it refracted into small local groups, if these were ever formed.
It takes a lot of energy to run a group and many people don't have the time, even to write a letter. We would lose our annual Faire, that golden opportunity to meet and actively show our interest and come together as a club (and in my case to trade new games for old!). Another worry was the financial survival of a commercial group, as against that of the club funded by it's members subscriptions.
Helpful information from Peter Brooks himself stimulated yet more debate!! It was discovered that quite a few people already subscribed to both magazines, therefore the need must exist for both. Clive pointed out that he had already received one hundred and sixteen new subscriptions for TI*MES, and it became clear that the commitment was still there. The new group found a focus for it's energies when Clive consented to become Chairman for the first year. The new committee was formally adopted and TI Users Group UK was born!
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After lunch, the committee got together. And a lovely lot of chaps they are too! You're in strong, safe hands, dear readers! A formal constitution was hammered out, with nice things such as "pressure group to customer services at Texas Instruments" and "future developement of modem use and bulletin boards" being mentioned.
The next event was an exciting auction of TI Exchange left-over stock, all proceeds to fund the new Users Group. Games were going for 50p, 25p and a console with a slightly damaged key went for one pound! We spent our last few pennies and got ready to go. I had come as an interested supporter and going home as an Editor with new responsibilities (and a lighter purse!).
What a full, exciting day we'd all had! Many thanks to the supporters and dealers who made it so, and special thanks to the Secretary for finding the venue. And what can I say to our founder Clive Scally for getting us all this far? We would'nt be here were it not for your efforts and commitment, so, on behalf of everyone, committe and members, please accept our gratitude, Clive and Audrey.
Now, the important stuff over, I'll introduce myself. I'm your new editor, Christina Mehew. I am married with two children aged nine and eleven. We live out in the wilds on the East Coast. We have owned a TI99/4a since 1982 which the children have used more than me, mainly because having worked with computers I couldn't face them when I got home! Also, being used to the full equipment at my fingertips - disk drive and printers - it annoyed me not having the 'gear' for my own. I've stuck with it because I know through reading our mag and through odd encounters with other micros, that the TI has such potential, even in its unexpended state. It is so fast to load from cassette and has no nonesense about it. Others I've found slow to load and gimmicky in their own ways. They have to be marketed, I suppose.
So now I'm not working I have the chance to get to know Tex a little better! I'll knuckle down and learn TI Basic, combine it with my hobby of writing, and try to pass on this knowledge to those of you with newly acquired machines. Yes folks, you've someone on your side! Ive got some very valuable help too: co-editor Alan Bailey, and together we will try to give you a useful, informative magazine. Stephen Shaw will edit his "Rambles" as usual, and we would love contributions from YOU!
If a know-nothing like me can put key to paper, so can you! I won't apologise for not being a TI expert, as we've got some really good ones (still room for more, I'm not giving you an excuse not to write!) And I won't apologise for the flowers either! I've just seen some floppy disks marketed as bananas, of all things, with a free banana pen or Mercedes truck for the appropriate quantity! If they can have bananas, we can have our flowers. Besides, you men, when you lift you eyes up in boredom at the next set of flowers, its a cue for your wives to ask you to mend the washer! I'm on their side too!
As James Baldwin, the American psychologist, once said: "The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in". Here it is, the
Future Flowering - make it what you want it to be. . Christina Mehew, editor
INTRODUCING YOUR NEW COMMITTEE
Note: Positions marked # had new officers at the AGM just 12 months away.
General Secretary - Jim Ballinger, Derby
Jim is now retired from Rolls Royce Ltd., and is a radio ham. He has a full TI system and printer
Joint Editor - Alan Bailey, Essex
Alan is a process engineer, now nearing retirement. He owns an unexpanded TI, and is interested in hardware and construction, computer languages, graphics and CAD.
International Journals, "Rambles", Disc Library - Stephen Shaw, Cheshire.
Stephen was one of the first purchasers of the PAL TI99/4 and a founder member of the first UK User Group, TI-HOME. He is the proprietor of Stainless Software, and author of a TI book. Family man and a bank clerk, Stephen has a huge disk collection shared through the disk library. Latest purchases include Myark XB & 512kram card.
Chairman - Clive Scally, Brighton. Founder of Tl*MES and TI Exchange Clive continues to give us his valuable support. Owns full system and modem.
# Cassette Librarian - Maurice Rymill, Birmingham. Maurice is a family man and works 12 hour shifts, but has found time to type and debug all the programs that were published in magazines in days gone by, and now has over 100 cassettes, in addition to the TI*MES library. Maurice is going to review some of these in TI*MES. He has recently expanded his TI, and has built the 32k matchbox expansion into his original keyboard.
Membership Secretary - Peter Walker, Cuffley, Herts. Peter started computing 21 years ago, using FORTRAN on a Honeywell 120 mainframe. He has full expansion, printer and modem for his TI, and has written lots of practical programs, such as accounts, and uses TI Writer, Multiplan and various database programs often. Peter is always happy to help with using data files.
# Communications - Neville Bosworth, Southampton. Neville has full system,and now modem, since before the TI was orphaned, and has had not one moments regret in owning a system with such a superb design. He believes that the future of the TI and of all other computers is in the field of modem communications where enormous quantities of information can be exchanged between users.Will help anyone wishing to go 'on line', but interested in all aspects of the TI, as he believes that no knowledge is wasted.
Programming Languages - Geoffrey Coan, Letchworth, Herts. Geoffrey is working with computers at ICL as this is his Industrial year, as part of his studies in maths and science at York University. He has expansion and disc drive and offers his help with programming.
# Treasurer - Peter Cross, Bexleyheath, Kent. Our very able treasurer has already sorted out our bank account and is holding on to the purse strings.
Hardware and DIY projects - Mike Goddard, Gwnedd. Mike has already given us some home projects, and hopes to develop this to supplying kits for these.
Committee Member - Edward Shaw,Leek, Staffs. Edward is Quality Manager at a large mineral processing company and uses their Apricot Xi10. He has a Shinwa CPA 80 printer and a Pace Nightingale modem, and is a big fan of Art Green's Macro Assembler.
Committee Member - Tim Anderson, Glasgow. Tim is a Medical Photographer, Bsc.(hons} in Photographic Sciences, but looking for something different! He now has a second disk drive for his TI, and 128k Myarc card. Tim has had a program published in Parco magazine and his idea is to create a system similar to that on the Apple Macintosh, but is limited by lack of knowledge of assembly language, which he is trying to learn, but can't seem to 'stick with it'!
Committee Member - Bryan Cloud, Ipswich, Suffolk. Bryan works as a Field Service Engineer, mostly on X-ray machines, and has TI and expansion, two disk drives
Here is a very able committee, willing to share their knowledge, (SAE, please, if writing to anyone), and they hope you will do the same!