A Great Find & A Defense of E-Bay

From: John Wilson <wilson_at_dbit.dbit.com>
Date: Sat Jun 17 13:36:18 2000

On Sat, Jun 17, 2000 at 10:08:07AM -0500, Charles P. Hobbs (SoCalTip) wrote:
[re TI99/4A]
>Actually there was a lot of third-party support for it, and there
>was even a "clone" of sorts (the Myarc Geneve, which used an improved
>video chip).

Oh god, people remember THAT thing ... it was designed by another RPI guy who
was one of my roommates at the time, he was doing a co-op at Myarc while a
junior (?) at RPI. He also plagiarized a paint program for the Geneve, from
another roommate who wrote it for fun, which became Myart (originally called
"Easel" by its true author, David Klotzkin). Myarc never did finish making
the royalty payments to Dave after the shit hit the fan on that one (boy was
he pissed when he realized what had happened). The designer (whom I'd rather
not name) had previously done a ROM update for a Myarc floppy controller,
evidently whatever he was adding made the code a bit too big for the ROM so
he had to do lots of bumming to squeeze it in, a process which he narrated
practically byte-by-byte to the rest of us -- anything for attention! I really
got the impression that he chose the TI99, not because it's a great machine
(it sure isn't!), but because there weren't too many talented hackers producing
anything for it and he liked the chance to be a big fish in a little pond.
I went along to a TI user's group meeting near Boston with him in the mid 80s
and I couldn't believe the ovation he got when they announced he was there,
he absolutely reveled in it.

Anyway obviously the guy had really serious personality/ethics/ego problems,
but he was a sharp kid. The Geneve (well, prototypes anyway, that's all I
ever saw) used a PC/XT keyboard instead of the nasty squished TI thing, and
could run SCSI disks, and IIRC it had some sort of memory mapper too (maybe
just an 'LS612, who knows), and through all of this it was TI99 compatible,
more or less at least. Not bad for an undergrad... A pretty good chunk of
his rent/food were paid for by the $10 registration fees for his "Fast Term"
terminal program which was on Compuserve, evidently it was pretty popular
(I gather it was unusual in being able to go above 1200 baud). We got pretty
tired of the 6-tone sequence it would squeak out on every ^G though, he had
hacked that in as a joke but evidently it ended up being permanent.

IIRC the machine's startup screen logo was a nice picture of a swan, drawn
by Mi Kyung Kim, the designer's girlfriend. (She was later shot by Colin
Ferguson on the LIRR.) Somewhere buried in the ROM was a joke version of the
same picture (cartoon style knockout shot with crossed eyes, stars orbiting
around its head etc.), that is unless Myarc found out and removed it.

Evidently at some point, Myarc wasn't happy about the rate of progress so
they (IIRC "they" means Lou Philips and/or his lawyer) showed up at our
apartment in person to chew him out, but he bravely hid out in the bathroom.
We all thought that was the funniest damn thing! Always a soap opera...

John Wilson
D Bit
Received on Sat Jun 17 2000 - 13:36:18 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:33:01 BST