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Timeline 99 -- 1982

JAN 1982: TI introduces a host of new products at the January 7th Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, including:
  • PHP 1200 PERIPHERAL EXPANSION SYSTEM
  • PHP 1260 32K MEMORY EXPANSION for the PEB
  • PHP 1280 PASCAL DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM
  • PHM 3052 TOMBSTONE CITY
  • PHM 3053 TI INVADERS
  • PHM 3054 CAR WARS
  • PHM 3057 MUNCHMAN
  • PHM 3058 MINI MEMORY module
  • The Los Angeles-South Bay 99er Users Group forms in Torrance, CA. with Bob Saunders as president.
  • Educator Grace Mason publishes an article on TI LOGO in the Jan/Feb 1982 issue of Educational Computing Magazine on page 40.

FEB 1982: The new 99/4A keyboard is demonstrated at the Los Angeles-South Bay Users Group meeting.

  • 99er Magazine advertises Key Master software on page 31 of the V1N5 issue, available from its spinoff company named 99er-ware. It will be the magazine's first and only vaporware product, as they later admit it will never be produced.
  • "INTRODUCTION TO TI BASIC" book by Zamora and Albrecht is released.
  • Dominic J. Melfi's assembly language hit Space Station 1 is advertised for the first time in 99er Magazine V1N5 on page 50.
  • Chuck Davis begins advertising his Oak Tree Systems products in 99er, V1N5, on page 78.
  • TI announces the impending release of the first Value Packs.
  • Dean Cleveland of Milwaukee, WI, author of the assembly language Tile Breaker game for the TI-99/4A, has his Space Patrol game published in 99er Magazine V1N5 on page 37.
  • Unisource Electronics of Lubbock, TX has their first advertisment placed in 99er Magazine V1N5 on page 43.
  • In a 99er Magazine interview with TI Programming guru John C. Plaster, published in Volume 1, Number 5, page 34, readers learn that the Personal Real Estate cartridge and the Milliken Math Series cartridges were programmed by Plaster in TI's Graphics Programming Language (GPL).
  • Craig Miller, dba Millers Graphics, places his company's first advertisement in 99er Magazine V1N5 on page 20.
  • Lawrence De Rusha founds the ICA (International Home Computer Users' Association) in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.
  • Sun Microsystems is founded by three Stanford students, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and Andy Bechtolsheim.

MAR 1982: Stephen Shaw, dba Stainless Software, is granted licenses to sell FFF Software, Norton Software and PRP Computergraphic software in the United Kingdom.

  • The Minneapolis / St. Paul 99ers are formed with Paul Weiblen as president.
  • TI releases eleven new Software Albums that are dubbed "Value Packs". Included are:
    • PHL 7001 HOME FINANCIAL MANGER
    • PHL 7002 FAMILY ENTERTAINER
    • PHL 7003 ELEMENTARY EDUCATOR
    • PHL 7004 MUSIC EDUCATOR
    • PHL 7005 SUPER PROGRAMMER
    • PHL 7006 SPEAKING MATH TEACHER
    • PHL 7007 SPEAKING READING TEACHER
    • PHL 7009 ARCADE GAMES
    • PHL 7011 COMPUTER INTRODUCTORY PACKAGE
  • Also released are the Reading Fun (PHM 3043) and Personal Report Generator (PHM 3044) modules.

APR 1982: Fred McCarty, doing business as Patio Pacific, releases the TexTiger Extended BASIC word processor for the 99/4 and 4A.

  • Reading Roundup (PHM 3047) and Tunnels of Doom (PHM 3042) modules are released by TI.

MAY 1982: Electronics and Computing magazine puts a twelve page TI-99/4 supplement in the May issue.

  • TI offers a free spreadsheet program called Freeform to purchasers of their new P-CODE system.
  • Texas Instruments begins a promotion on May 15th offering a free TEXNET subscription to anyone purchasing a modem, RS-232 card and TEII between May 15th and October 16th, 1982.
  • The "MUNCHMAN PLAN" is discontinued.
  • The LOGO II (PHM 3109) prototype is introduced. It is a module based program that features a 3-tone sound generator and the creation of greatly magnified sprites that can be made to dance in time to music that is generated by the program.
  • TI inks a pact with Epson to put their label on the MX-80 printer.

JUN 1982: TI issues a full page ad in the Summer Consumer Electronics Show trade paper warning third-party software developers of possible legal action if they produce "unlicensed" software for the 99/4A.

  • Weekly Word News publishes a report in it's June 1st issue carrying the headline TEEN KILLED BY VIDEO GAME. The story states that, "Shocked players at the Calumet, IL video center were stunned as they watched the 18-year old youth suddenly slump at the controls of 'Berzerk' and slowly crumple to the ground. His lifeless body was a tragic symbol of the video game's conquest over its human foe."
  • Amid plunging profits, Atari Home Computer Division president Roger Badertscher resigns. No immediate replacement is named.
  • TI UK announces that the PE box is to be available in England by August.
  • TI announces the impending release of 45 modules for the 99/4A in the third and fourth quarters.
  • Texas Instruments announces that it will boost the advertising budget for the TI-99/4A to some $20 million for the remainder of 1982. (Int'l 99/4 Users-Group Newsletter, Jul82, p.10)
  • Columbia Data Products launches the first PC clone.
  • ATARI -- Protronics 7537 Chatsworth Granada Hills, CA 91344 (213) 362-8156 releases The BLOCK, a cartridge copying device that will transfer most Atari cartridge-based programs to disk. It works with the ATARI 800 only, and requires 48K RAM memory plus a disk drive. The BLOCK is itself an ATARI-style cartridge, for copying cartridges. Back-up disks made with the help of The BLOCK will perform in all respects as the original cartridge, however, some cartridges may be designed so that they cannot be copied by The BLOCK. Protronics says that up to ten cartridges can be copied on one disk.
  • Slime, manufactured by Synapse Software 820 Coventry Rd. Kensington, CA 94707 (415) 527-7751, is released for the Atari line of home computers. A version for the TI-99/4A, renamed Super Storm, is said to be in the works also. In Slime "the Plexarian Invincibles threaten all life on Earth. These invaders hover in the sky and drop layer after layer of SLIME into the Sargasso Sea. Their intention is to raise the level of the oceans until all human life is drowned. lf that happens, the SLIME-breathing Invincibles will colonize the Earth. You must stop them with meager defenses, or mankind perishes." On the Atari the new game from Synapse requires 16K RAM and a joystick, and comes on cassette or diskette.
  • Percom Data Company, Inc. 11220 Pagemill Rd. Dallas, TX 75243 (214) 3407081 releases DS/DD drives for the Atari line of home computers. For a mere $799.00 Atari owners can purchase a 40-track, single-head master. For $399.00 they can purchase a 40-track, single-head slave unit.
  • INTELLIVISION -- Howard Polskin authors an article in the June 19, 1982 issue of TV Guide entitled "Behind the Scenes with the Blue Sky Rangers Who Dream Up Mattel's Video Games".

JUL 1982: TI announces that it will give away a free Speech Synthesizer (PHP 1500) with the purchase of any six solid state software command modules.

  • Texas Instruments creates the Product Support Representative program. Texas Instruments develops a nationwide Home Computer Demonstration Network to provide consumers with hands-on experience with the TI-99/4A home computer. The network consists of 1000 product support representatives, many with educational credentials, who will demonstrate the Texas Instruments home computer at point-of-sale locations in 50 major cities. The majority of the representatives will present in-store demonstrations in the electronics departments of major retail outlets, showing potential buyers the how-to's of home computer use, the capabilities of the TI-99/4A, and the solid state software and peripherals available. This same team of people will provide retail sales personnel training. Another group of representatives will engage in special projects involving TI's new Home Computer demonstration Vans. The two vans, which are actually customized 30-foot motorhomes, will provide training and demonstrations of the TI-99/4A home computer to retailers and consumers in retail outlet and shopping mall parking lots. Home computer demonstrations will also be conducted in premier shopping malls across the country. Demonstration exhibits will be set up in the centers of malls, and the computers will be programmed with gift suggestions and other information pertinent to shoppers. (Int'l 99/4 Users-Group Newsletter, Jul82, p.8)
  • Bill Turner is appointed Vice-President of the Consumer Products Division at Texas Instruments.
  • Bill Cosby is hired to advertise the TI-99/4A on television and in marketing materials.
  • Texas Instruments announces the TI-88 Portable Computer System. It consists of the TI-88 Programmable Calculator, the PC-800 Printer and the CA-800 Cassette (Recorder) Interface. MSRP is $350 for the calculator, $185.00 for the PC-800 printer, and $60.00 for the Cassette Interface. Optional Constant Memory Modules are available for $50 each and plug-in modules from the TI Solid State Software Library are said to average $40 in price. (Int'l 99/4 Users-Group Newsletter, Jul82, p.10)

AUG 1982: Texas Instruments releases:

  • PHM 3112 PARSEC
  • PHM 3111 TI-Writer
  • Connecticut Leather Company (COLECO) releases the Colecovision video game console.

SEP 1982: Texas Instruments initiates the TI Employee Software Royalty Program, which pays royalties to TI employees who create software for the TI-99/4A Home Computer, that is accepted for inclusion in the home computer library.

  • The Peripheral Expansion Box released in UK a month later than promised.
  • Texas Instruments begins offering a free Speech Synthesizer to anyone who purchases six cartridges or two Software Libraries between September 1, 1982 and January 31, 1983.
  • Alpiner (PHM 3056) and Othello (PHM 3067) are reported to be available in the U.K. by October.
  • Mini Memory (PHM 3058), TI Logo (PHM 3040), and the Editor/Assembler (PHM 3055) system are offered in England.
  • Oak Tree Systems introduces the little known and poorly received Crossums educational application. The program is Oak Tree owner Chuck Davis' only entry into the educational programs market.
  • TI introduces the COMPUTER ADVANTAGE CLUB.
  • Navarone Industries is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.
  • TI and Control Data Corporation reach an agreement that will produce over 100 Plato titles for the TI-99/4A Home Computer.
  • TI begins a $100 rebate campaign that is slated to end January 31, 1983.
  • USUS (UCSD Pascal Users Society) forms in Dallas, Texas, with Robert Peterson as president.
  • A New York marketing firm survey shows that TI is losing shelf space to VIC-20 in Toys 'R US, K-Mart, Woolco and the Montgomery Ward stores.

OCT 1982: The 99er Magazine TI-FEST takes place in San Francisco, California on the 22nd to 24th. Later word on the first and only Texas Instruments sponsored "Fest" is that it was a success.

  • Control Data Corporation (CDC) announces that it will be producing its previously mainframe-computer-based PLATO courses for a variety of microcomputers, including the TI-99/4A, Atari and Apple systems. (Enthusiast 99, Jul83, p.29)
  • TIHOME TIdings magazine publishes an article on the CALL G,H,L,P and S programming conventions hidden in TI BASIC. It explains that the CALLs are only available when either the Personal Record Keeping (PHM 3013) or Statistics (PHM 3014) modules are inserted into the computer. The CALLs give TI BASIC the ability to accept and display data anywhere on the screen, unlike TI BASIC which is designed to scroll data from the bottom of the screen upwards.
  • Display Enhancement Package is released by Oak Tree Systems (Charles Davis, owner).
  • TI-Forth and MPI's 99G Omega printer are shown for the first time at the TI-FEST in San Francisco.
  • Panasonic releases the CT-160, a dual-mode (color and B&W) 10-inch monitor. It varies little in appearance from the 10-inch color monitor that TI buys from Panasonic and re-badges with its own Texas Instruments' name.
  • Atari chairman and CEO Ray Kassar appoints John Cavalier to replace Roger Badertscher (who left in June) to head the Home Computer Division. (Compute! Oct82, p.6).
  • Steve Wozniak and The Source founder Jack R. Taub announce their backing of a joint venture called National Information Utilities Corporation, which is designed to allow computer users to download software programs from FM-band radio transmissions. A pilot project is to begin in January 1983, but it does not come to pass. (Compute! Oct82, p.38).
  • Street prices for the 64K Commodore 64 hover around $595.00, the 5K Commodore VIC-20 can be had for $259.95, and the 16K Atari 400 is listed at $167.95 (with a rebate from Atari), the 16K Atari 800 is still listed at $649.95 ($779.95 w/48K). With a newly announced $100 rebate of its own, the 16K Texas Instruments TI-99/4A can be had for $199.95.
  • THE PAPER, one of the oldest independent publications supporting Commodore computers, merges with the Midnite Software Gazette. (Compute! Oct82, p.226)
  • Compute! Magazine reports that Commodore is producing 40,000 VIC-20 home computers each month, but expects to raise that to 70,000 in light of the recent price wars with Atari and Texas Instruments. In the same editorial, Compute! reports that Commodore has held back it's introduction of the $179 MAX machine because of pricing concerns. (Compute! Oct82, p.6)

NOV 1982: Texas Instruments acquires exclusive rights to distribute the TI Count line of accounting software for the 99/4A. (99er Magazine Nov82, p.22)

  • TI opens up a toll free hotline for prospective customers to find out where to purchase 99/4A products or to order them by mail.
  • Dynamic Data and Devices announces the release of the Direct Writer word processor, written by Curtis Garcia and Harold Patrick.(99er Magazine Nov82, p.72)
  • Rumors of a TI-99 Forth programming language surface shortly after its showing at TI-FEST.
  • Myarc Inc. of East Hanover, NJ., advertises for beta testers to run its new winchester disk and controller system for the 99/4A through the paces.
  • Hi-Fi Exchange, Northampton, MA., changes its name to Moonbeam Software.
  • Denali Data, Oklahoma City, OK., introduces a Data Backer Bus that allows placement of the (stand-alone) peripheral boxes behind the console instead of having to place them all to the right of it.
  • 99er Magazine goes monthly and at the same time introduces 99er ON DISK.
  • CORTEX, a kit-form computer using the 9995 cpu and 9929 vdp chips appears in Electronics Today magazine. It is said to come with "TI Power Basic".
  • Cheryl Whitelaw, aka, Regena, makes it into the 99er Hall of Fame by getting to the 43rd screen on Munchman with the score of 178,950.
  • Englands's most familiar 99er, Steven Shaw, makes it into the 99er Magazine Hall of Fame with a score of 10,028,010 points in Pinball.
  • Rumor of an E.T. game module for the 99/4A is mentioned in the newsletter of the IUG.
  • Scholastic Inc. releases the Scholastic Spelling series of cartridges for the TI-99/4A. Each module will contain thirty-six word lists or lessons. (Int'l 99/4 Users-Group Newsletter Nov82, p.10)
  • Anchor Automation announces the Signalman Mark III direct connect modem for the TI-99/4A. MSRP is $139.00. (99er Magazine Nov82, p.72).

DEC 1982: TI decides to extend the $100 rebate program until April 15, 1983.

  • Microsoft Multiplan (PHM 3113) for the TI-99/4A becomes a reality when the final bugs in the 4A version of the program are worked out. First actual showings of the program don't begin until March 1983 though.
  • TI purchases Super Bugger from Navarone Industries. Edgar Dohmann is the program's author.
  • The 99/4(A) Program Exchange, that IUG president Charles LaFara would later be involved in a copyright infringement suit against, appears in Torrence, CA.
  • Myarc introduces 5 and 10 megabyte hard drives for the 99/4A.
  • New Horizons Users Group, which will spawn such TI-99/4A community greats as John Clulow, Ron Gries and David Romer, forms in Ohio.
  • Model Masters announces Disk Manager 2 on disk with promises of the cartridge version to follow shortly. 
  • Philip Faflick and Robert T. Grieves of Time Magazine report that the hottest selling hardware of 1982 included:
    • Timex Sinclair 1000 ($99)
    • Commodore VIC-20 ($299)
    • Atari 400 and 800 ($299 and $899)
    • TI-99/4A ($450)
    • Epson HX-20 ($795)
    • TRS-80 Model III ($999)
    • Apple II Plus ($1330)
    • IBM PC ($1565)
    • Osborne I ($1795)
  • TCP/IP is named the protocol suite for a collection of linked nets.

Copyright 2001 by HCE Timeline and William Gaskill All rights reserved. -- 02/23/01