I Remember the TI-99/4A

I’ve been interested in tech for a long looooong time.  One of my favorite memories from my childhood was my TI-99/4A computer.  I think I got it for Christmas in 1983.  16K of memory, a cassette recorder for storage, that goofy keyboard layout, and I loved it.

I spent untold hours of my youth programming that thing.  What a great time.  I found some video of the computer in action recently on YouTube.  Join me for a trip down 16K memory lane… 

Video Demo

Commercial 1 – Smart Kid

Commercial 2 – Dumb Kid

Commercial 3 (Bill Cosby!)

Of course, in between programs I also played my fair share of games.  Here’s some of my faves:

Munchman – My mom and I played this for hours!  We had a pattern that never failed.

Car Wars – I liked my games hard, fast, and noisy!

Alpiner – This game still looks like fun!

Parsec – It took me forever to learn how to refuel.

Anyway, it’s this little computer that really got me interested in tech, and I still remember it fondly.  Sigh…

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Photo Of The Artist As A Teenage Nerd

I don’t remember where I ran across it, but this Popular Mechanics article from 1982 really took me back.

Xlg Top Six Computers 2

I used to have that computer in the lower left. That thing was my world for a few years.

I played endless hours of Munch Man, composed little songs, and wrote endless Basic programs (especially when I got the Extended Basic cartridge with the sprite function!).

Anyway, I have an old photo album sitting around the office, and my son and I looked through it last week.

I came across this photo soon after seeing the article above:


Yep, that’s me. I’m pretty sure I’m 14 there. Cutting out Benday dots for a cartoon for the high school newspaper.

What’s funny is how little I’ve changed since then.

Honestly, my desk is set up almost that same way today. And I’m still into Legos, the space program, Van Halen… OK, scratch that last one.

I was telling Mike Lynch yesterday that basically I’m still a dorky kid in a (hopefully) responsible man’s body, and I’ve begun to wonder if I’ll ever really “grow up.”

Listen, I’m not gonna get all Hallmarky on you here, just someone let me know when I’m an “adult,” OK?

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