Many years later, looking back to my original requirements, I still find the TI99/4 (now with an A) to be the best suited to my requirements-
A friendly operating system.
Good educational software.
Very rugged construction.
Good choice of languages to learn and use.
Capable of everything I want! in games and utilities.
The competition is actually very thin on the ground in 1990- Atari ST, Amiga and PC seems to be about it. The PC in many ways would be a very retrograde step, and the ST and Amiga require a dedicated monitor for worthwhile results, and are by no means so friendly or easy to program as the TI.
I really don't fancy trying to write a 500k program, or prepare 256 colour graphics! And a slow machine with limited ram makes you learn to program effectively, to do in 16k or less what other people might take 200k for!
I have a stack of things still to do with this vintage computer, books to read, programs to convert or write, languages to learn and experiment with, many commercial utilities to come to grips with. About another twenty years worth I guess...
[That was written in 1990. This is added to the Web in 2013 and my TI99/4a and its Epson FX80 printer continue to function! even if most of my computing is now on a PC - including the use of emulators of the TI99/4A].
The magazine also mentioned the verb "flame" which refers to a simple innocent comment generating a massive overkill in verbal response- a destruction (verbally) of the poor offender. This form of somewhat anti-social behaviour is apparently common on bulletin boards - possibly as a result of the rather tenuous link between individuals.
I have commented lightly on some rather yucky comments made in various user group newsletters in the past, and checking back I find that those who have lashed out have in ALMOST every case been heavy bulletin board users. So perhaps using a bulletin board creates conditions liable to generate undue touchiness and once generated this form of behaviour spills out into the real world... perhaps bulletin boards should carry health warnings....
There is an interesting correlation- the nicest, friendliest, helpfullest TI users I have come across have absolutely nothing to do with bulletin boards.
Before I get flamed may I add that I am not knocking bulletin boards merely commenting on something which IS happening, and your comments are welcome, especially if you use bulletin boards and have been flamed- or have flamed someone else (did you realise how severe you were being?).