2003 Chicago International
TI Faire

21st annual Chicago TI Faire. November 8, 2003

The pictures below were captured from a Video and a DVD created by Bruce Maret at the 2003 Faire

Bruce is selling the DVD's. For more information visit Bruce's website here.

Report of the 21st annual Chicago TI Faire. November 8, 2003.

by Charles Good

As in recent years, the Chicago User Group's Faire was held in the Evanston, Illinois public library in beautiful downtown Evanston. There was plenty of metered parking available in a basement garage. The Faire occupied one large room and a smaller seminar room across the hall. In the main hall the library provided a Windows internet PC and a ceiling mounted computer projector. A tabletop PC projector was in the seminar room.

Folks attended from all over the United States and from Europe. As usual, some neat items were available for sale or for free. For example, someone was giving away a complete Commodore 128 system complete with disk drive, printer, and monitor. This was quickly grabbed. Even before I arrived someone had purchased for $150 a very complete Geneve system. This system included a specially modified pbox with a safety cage on the back to prevent damage to the Geneve card and other cards that stick out of the back. A monitor, hard drives and a Myarc HFDC card also came with the $150 system.

The Chicago User Group videotaped all the seminars. These videos will ultimately be made available to the public, perhaps by posting the files on ftp.whtech.com. Watch the Yahoo 99/4a On Line User Group for information about this.

The first seminar I attend was given by Berry Harmsen from the Netherlands. He had a CD with over 700k of Geneve and 99/4a related PC software that he gave away to all at the Faire, and at his seminar he demonstrated some of this software. Most of this software is available from the internet, particular from ftp.whtech.com, but some of it I have not seen before. The CD contains several different 99/4a emulators and software that allows you to convert "disks" on the CD over to real 99/4a disks. There is a big directory on the CD full of PC99 disk images. Many of these are from the whtech site, but the software library of the Eurofree and English usergroups are also included and I have not seen these on the internet.

In the TI emulation world there is some confusion about disk formats. Both PC99 disk inmages and v9t9 disk images use the .dsk extension after the image file name, but the two formats are not compatible. They can be distinguished by file lengths. PC99 images are either 260240 or 549760 bytes in length. V9t9 images, which can be used with the 99/4a, Geneve, and 99/8 mess emulators have a variable file size depending on how much software is on the v9t9 "disk". In the PC99 Disks directory of Harmsen's CD, all the disk images are in fact PC99 disks except for those of the Eurofree group. Disk images from this group appear to be in v9t9 format and work with the mess emulators.

Ron Reuter gave the other major seminar of the day and he also had a CD to give away for free to all who attended. A major component of his CD is artwork of circuit boards and line drawing schematics. And I do mean artwork! Ron has taken high resolution photographs of the Geneve motherboard, the 99/4a motherboard, and other TI hardware. He added labels to these images and they look just great, even greatly enlarged! Anything relating to the 99/4a that can be photographed and labeled is on Ron's CD, including console pin out diagrams. He also redrew and relabeled the fuzzy 20th generation Xerox copies of TI schematics currently found on ftp.whtech.com, including schematics of the Geneve. At his table, Ron had his Geneve board illustration on a mouse pad, he was giving away booklets with the Geneve schematics, and he had 1x2 foot enlargements of the 99/4a and Geneve boards for sale on heavy paper. A framed 1x2 foot Geneve board illustration was later given away as a door prize.

Also on Ron's CD is a Windows compatible data base of his own creation which he uses to keep track of his computer hardware collection. Ron has several antique computer systems in addition to his TI stuff.

After the Faire, we all walked to a neighorhood restaurant for a dutch treat meal. A full dinner off the menu cost me $10. At this meal the recipient of the 2003 John Birdwell Award was announced. The winner, selected by the trustees of the Birdwell memorial fund, is Mike Wright!

After the meal we all walked two doors down to an internet café where we were given free use of the café's computers complements of the Chicago User Group.

Submitted by Charles Good