2006 Chicago Faire

The 2006 Chicago TI International World Faire

by Hal Shanafield

The 24th Annual Chicago TI International World Faire has come to a close. Those who attended have deemed it a success, although not without its problems. The first problem was that the Evanston Public Library scheduled another event in our rented room at the same time. They never even bothered to notify me until the day before the Faire! Nevertheless, this scheduling conflict afforded us the opportunity to meet informally at a local restaurant and have a liesurely breakfast and renew old friendships. This actually was the second opportunity for the folks who arrived early, because we had our traditional "smoker" at the local American Legion post the night before.

Well before noon the meeting room had been vacated and completely set up for our use, and the attendees and vendors were able to begin to take their places. Victor Steerup, president of the Chicago TI User Group, distributed a CD of interesting graphics and programs to all the attendees of the Faire. Shortly thereafter, the demos and seminars began. This year we were fortunate to have a number of very interesting speakers who presented a great amount of information and debuted new products and programs.

This year's Faire was dedicated to Harold Mayo, who was unable to attend this year owing to health problems. We called him using Skype, and many of the visitorsw to the Faire were able to talk with him and wish him all the best. He said he hoped to be able to come next year.

Berry Harmsen, the chairman of the Dutch User group, reported on the most recent European TI event, the TI Treff, held this past September in Flensburg, Germany. He spoke about the new developments in the European TI community, and gave hints of upcoming projects and programs that sound very promising for the future of the TI. He also pointed out that there several new programs currently available on various European TI websites. He also demonstrated a sampling of hardware that is currently available to connect Compact Flash cards to TI IDE cards and also TI SCSI cards. The latter is a most recent development from Germany. Berry answered questions concerning the use of Compact Flash cards on the TI. The European Treff of 2007 will take place in the area of Amsterdam (the Berry's hometown).

Bill Gaskill was next up, and introduced the lastest version of his Cartridge Collecter's Kit. It is set of three TI disks, a PC CD and a 70-page manual. Included in this package is the Index Card File program, which can be used for a variety of purposes to catalog collections of any type. It comes with a extremely comprhensive database of TI cartridges, those released, promised, or advertised. A rarity rating accompanies each listing, so that a collecter can help determine whether a cartridge is common or not. Bill explained his program extremely well, and answered all questions to the satisfaction of his audience. His package was very reasonably priced, and a good proportion of his listeners took one home.

Gregg Lemke of Emkel Software, debuted several new games for the TI. Gregg is a recent returnee to the TI community, who is now rapidily renewing his skills, and gaining expertise in Assembly. His early efforts were written in Extended Basic, and aimed at the younger set. He promises to have even more to show at next year's Faire. It is heartening to see a new software company start in the TI world. Gregg explained that he has started his company for love of his first computer, not to get rich, which is a very realistic attitude! Greeg and his partner Terry also distribuprogramsted colorful cup holders with the new company logo on them.

The last presentation of the day was done by Tim Tesch, who discussed the programs he is currently working on. These include a program originally written by the late John Birdwell, Disk One. Tim is in the posession of the original source code, and is in the process of testing and adjusting it, to make it available to the TI community. He is also working on several other items in the legacy of John Birdwell. In addition, Tim showed an updated version of Barry Boone's Archiver program, which had new capapilities. Amongst these was the compatibility with the most recent storage devices like IDE and Compact Flash cards. This new version of Archiver is Beta version 5 and not fit for distribution yet. Both of these updates to venerable programs will be of great value to the TI community.

The Faire was filmed again this year by Bruce Maret, who will soon be making DVDs of the entire event available. Please watch for his announcement if you would like to see the video record of the 24th edition. Many other DVDs and videos of this, and other TI events are avaiable from Bruce. Photos of the Faire will also be found at the Dutch TI Yahoo site, and possibly other sites as well.

After the official close of the Faire, a large group of us moved over to another local restaurant for our annual banquet. As soon as everyone was finished with their meals, we began the award portion of the evening. The John Birdwell Memorial Prize, given annually by the Birdwell Trustees, and presented by the Chicago User Group, went to Fred Kaal, the well-known programmer from Holland. The award is richly deserved, and will be carried back to the Netherlands by Berry Harmsen. Teams of juries were then seleted from the dinner guests, and the judging of the Tob Tempelmans Plat Award, which goes to the TI Website deemed best according to various catagories, was underway. One hour later, the six sites in the competition had been winnowed down to just one, and the winner was announced. This year Bryan Roppolo Boulder's site, "The TI Videogame House" was selected as the overall champion. He will be able to display the RTP logo on his site from now on. The evening ended as the last group of die-hards repaired to a local watering hole to clebrate another successful Faire.

Pictures by Berry Harmsen

A demo by Vic Steerup

Archiver 5

Charlie and Hal

Module Demo by Bill Gaskill

More Books!

More TI hardware!

Charles Good

Bud Mills (right)


Tim Tesch

TI Friends

TI Sale

John Birdwell Award goes to
Fred Kaal (not pictured)