Review of THE CYC from CaDD Electronics
By Charles Good
Lima Ohio User Group
This PC cd is advertised on its label as "An encyclopedia of information on the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Home Computer". It is a work in progress that is regularly updated. I have the 20000430 (last updated April 30, 2000) revision. The price is $25, with includes first class mail delivery in the United States. Nowhere else can you obtain the wealth of software and 99/4a information contained on this cd.
45 Centerville Dr.
Salem NH 03079
The CYC contains scanned documents in *.pdf format, many of which are indexed and annotated. Documents are presented either as very detailed annotated tables of contents (TOC) or as both table of contents and the full text (FULL). Full text documents have been scanned in from the original and then spell checked and, if needed, grammatically corrected. Any commercial advertisements in the documents have been removed unless the document itself is an advertisement. Full color cover scans of each document are included. All possible efforts have been made to obtain permission from authors/publishers to reproduce copyrighted documents on the CYC cd.
An annotated cross referenced index combining many documents is the backbone of the CYC. This index is gradually being expanded to include additional material. It currently indexes the 99/4 International Users Group catalog, 99er Magazine, Computer Shopper, Enthusiast 99, TI Home Computer News, TI 99/4 Software Directory, Micropendium (currently only through Dec 89), and "various other sources".
It is tempting to compare the CYC to the free scanned TI documents available on ftp.whtech.com and other ftp sites. The ftp documents are original page scans with included advertising. They are not indexed or cross referenced. Some of the documents on the CYC cd have been downloaded from ftp sites. However, the CYC contains licensed copyrighted TI material, and a percent of sales is given to TI as royalty payment for this material. These TI software packages and documents will not be found on any free ftp site.
The CYC's TOC listings can serve as a quick reference to the many magazines that are on the ftp site. By checking the TOC and the main CYC index you can know which magazines to download in order to get the information you want. For example, I consulted the CYC to find the quotes from the literature that I used in my recent "Key to Spanish 1 Command Module" article.
Here is a list of official copyrighted TI material uniquely available on the CYC cd. The stuff listed below can all be purchased individually from CaDD, as explained on their web site http://pw2.netcom.com/~mjmw/index.html. However, it is MUCH cheaper to buy them altogether as part of the CYC cd.
1. Roms to all TI command modules ever sold with a PHM number for use with PC99. If you own PC99 the inclusion of these roms is reason enough to purchase the CYC. It is not necessary to own a physical module in order to legally own and use these roms. These are not "for backup purposes only". You have purchased legal copies of all TI command module software when you purchase the cyc. You can, with PC99, easily transfer these roms to real TI disks and use them on a Geneve or a real 99/4A systems that has a gram device.
2 User manuals of all command modules (FULL).
3 User manuals of all official TI 99/4A disk software (FULL).
4. PC99 disk images of the entire PLATO series. You also get an index (TOC) of this complete set of disks. Very few TI owners own the complete PLATO set. These were originally very expensive.
5. PC99 images of all official 99/4a disk software once sold by TI with Phd numbers. Also, the Minimemory software on a PC99 disk, the SMU Electrical Engineering module disks, and the Multiplan disk.
Here are the other documents and PC99 software on the CYC
cd. By the time you purchase your copy of the CYC this
list will probably have grown.
--An article by Ron Albright on the use of TI's Text-to- speech and TEII speech.
--An article by Mike McCormack on the rom cartridge port for the 99/4a with detailed technical information.
--A 1987 article by Anders Persson with detailed technical information on TI's implementation of the p-code card.
--"Easy Assembly" (FULL) a 1993 book length collection of articles on TMS assembly language for the 99/4A in the form of a series of lessons.
--A Lubbock newspaper article, dated Feb 10, 1998 about Tom Wills and the Lubbock Fest West faire that year.
--Newsletter article by Mike Wright listing TI Basic and xb keyword tokens.
--Newsletter article by Mike Wright on the use of Bitmap mode on the 99/4a.
--"TI Computer Assembly Language Primer" book (FULL) by John T. Dow (who wrote the flight simulator software). This may be the best book anywhere for learning how to do assembly programming on the EA module.
--"Technical Drive" 1987 book (FULL) by Monty Schmidt.
--"Getting the Most from your Cassette System" book (FULL) by Mickey Schmitt.
--"Softech Microsystems p-System Reference Library - Internal Architecture" book (FULL). The official bible of the p-System on all platforms.
--"Booklist", unique to the CYC. An commented listing of every book ever published that relates to the 99/4A.
--"PHx Lists", unique to the CYC. All known TI and third party product numbers for all products relating to the 99/4A. Some of this information is from internal TI documents and includes product numbers for products planned but never released.
--"TI-99/4A Home Computer US Consumer Products Retail Price List, June-December 1983" dated June 1, 1983 (FULL). This is TI's last published price list. Many of us have seen the 1982 price list, but few have seen this list. Find out how much your stuff would have cost in late 1983.
--In addition to all the roms for TI command modules, you get roms in PC99 format for all third party label command modules or Gram Kracker modules for which code is available. These third party vendors include Asgard, Atari, Corcomp, Disney, Dlm, Funware, Imagic, International User Group, John Phillips, John Guion, Tony Kneer, Milton Bradley, Navarone, Parker Brothers, Romox, Rich Gilbertson(rxb), Scott Foresman, Thornemi, Triton, and Weiand (gpl).
--PC99 hardware roms to emulate the 99/4 console, the Control Data console, the OPA console with son-of-a-board. I don't think you get the 99/4 roms when you buy PC99.
--99er magazine (and its other various titles) TOC. Also, the the "On Screen" article (and only this article) in each issue and a color scan of the cover. You also get PC99 disk images of all software that appears in the magazine.
--Compute! magazine, TOC of all issues that have 99/4A related articles Jan 83-Oct 86.
--Computer Shopper magazine. A PC99 disk image with all published software. FULL text of all articles in those issues available. A few early issues are missing.
--Easy Computing magazine TOC.
--Enthusiast 99 magazine TOC.
--Genial TRAVelER. PC99 disk images of all issues of this magazine-on-a-disk plus FULL text of all articles in a single massive pdf file.
--"The Art of Assembly" by Bruce Harrison. FULL text of all published (in Micropendium) and unpublished articles.
--"Microreviews" published in Micropendium by Charles Good. FULL text of almost all reviews since Jan 1994.
--"Micropendium index" TOC of all issues, a document unique to the CYC. If you downloaded all the complete collection of MP scans from ftp.whtech.com then you should have this index!
--"Micropendium" FULL text of all issues for Volume 1 and volume 2. Included are full color screen shots of software.
--"MiniMag 99" magazine TOC.
--"National 99er" newsletter. FULL text of vol 1 through v3#4 April 86.
--"The Smart Programmer" TOC.
--"TI Home Computer Newsletter" TOC.
--Boston Computer Society TI Sig. PC99 images of all the disks in their catalog. A catalog of these disks that includes all the dv80 files on every disk. This is a great PC resource because you can with this catalog print with a PC the on TI disk instructions to a lot of very useful TI software.
--The International User Group's last catalog, with lots of documentation about the early history of the IUG. FULL
--Articles from the Lima Ohio User Group.
--"TI Home Tidings" newsletter from the UK. This has been 'Americanized' in various and includes an American/British equivalent dictionary. FULL from Feb 81 through March 83. More volumes may be added to later releases of the CYC.
--Amnion Help Line software library in PC99 format.
--"Gramulator Reference Manual" FULL.
--Dijit advertisement for its RGB converter. Ads and FULL documentation for the AVPC 80 column device. Various addenda. Notes on 80 column monitors.
--John Guion disk controller upgrade kit manual. FULL
--Mechatronic XB II user guide FULL. PC99 disk of software from the user guide.
--Myarc 512k card manual FULL. MDMIII disk manager manual FULL. XBII manual FULL
--"Hidden Powers of Disk Fixer" by Bill Gronos book. FULL.
--Navarone color advertisements for its software products.
--C Shell 99 by Joe Ross. User Guide FULL and PC99 disk images of the complete product in sssd format.
--Scott Foresman's own (non TI) user manuals for some of their command module educational software that was sold by the company under their own label FULL. -
-"9900 Instruction Set Summary", a TI document. FULL
--Instructions that can be executed on the 9995 and not the 9900. Short article.
--"GPL Programmers Guide", from TI 1979. FULL
--"Hexbus Interface user guide" FULL
-"Hexbus RS232" manual FULL
--"99/4A Home Computer Service Manual", Oct 1983 from TI. FULL
--"TI 99/4 and 99/4A Personal Computer System Software Comprehensive Specification", from TI 1983. FULL
--"Source Code for the 99/4A Console Rom". Not dumped from a console, instead this is the actual code TI used. FULL.
--"GPL Interface Specification for the 99/4 Disk Peripheral" from TI 1983. FULL
--"Software Specification for the 99/4 Disk Peripheral" from TI 1983. FULL
--"TI Proprietary Doc-Bus Intelligent Peripheral Bus Structure, Timing, and Protocol Specification" from TI 1988. FULL. Owners of CC40's and TI74's should find this document useful.
--"TI Fanout Memos", a series of iternal memos from TI 1983. FULL. The Fanout Program was designed to equip TI employees with 99/4A's as a part of an internal product testing and evaluation program. 94% of respondents requested an 80 column display.
--"File Management Specification for the TI99/4 Home Computer" from TI 1983 FULL
--"European Warranty Information", multilingual warranty card that came with European consoles.
--"Dual Cassette Cable" user manual. FULL
--"Video Modulator Operating Guide" FULL
--"TI LOGO Curriculum Guide" from TI 1982. FULL
--"TI Logo Reference Guide" from TI. FULL. This is not the user guide, which is also on the CYC cd.
--"Wired Remote Controllers" user guide 1979. FULL Although this document has a 1979 data, the pictures show the familiar joysticks, not the original 99/4 joysticks.
--"Video Controller" user guide from TI 1982. FULL. This is the stand alone php2300 sidecar peripheral.
--"Personal Record Keeping Subprograms", undated from TI. FULL
--"911/820 Terminal Emulations on the TI99/4A", from TI 1983. FULL. Tells how the 99/4A can emulate the TI911 and 820 terminals.
--"Terminal Emulator Protocol Manual", from TI 1981. FULL
--"TI Professional Computer offer to 99/4 and 99/4A Owners", from TI Dec 1984, a series of related documents. FULL
--"Users Reference Guide" for the 99/4a. FULL
--"TMS9918A/TMS9928A/TMS9929A Video Display Processors Data Manual", from TI 1982. FULL. With a PC99 disk containing the software printed in the manual.
--"Video Display Processors Programmer's Guide", from TI 1984. FULL
--Tigercub software public domain disks in PC99 format. A catalog of these disks, with the disk catalog (#6) of each disk and short description. FULL
--Tigercub commercial software catalog #8. FULL
--"Tips from the Tigercub". FULL
Go to the PC99 Info.