Do you have a special place in your heart for the smell of styrofoam and ozone?

Some people associate the smell of cookies, or turkey, or pine with Christmas. Me? I remember the smell of electronics… Funny, when I take customers on tours of one of the hosting centers that my company runs, each time we go into the UPS/electrical room and I get that first whiff of ozone, I always think about unwrapping my first Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer… mmmmm, ozone…

2 thoughts to “Do you have a special place in your heart for the smell of styrofoam and ozone?”

  1. Oh yeah! I remember getting my Texas Instruments TI-99/4A on Christmas of 1982! I was eleven and thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen in my life, especially next to the Monogram models and D&D monster books I had received. I learned TI BASIC programming on that puppy at an early age. Wow, that came in handy… kinda’ like gym classes in middle school. haha

    Okay, so you want the specs on my TI? Read them and weep!

    – The TI-99/4A’s CPU, motherboard, and cartridge slot were built into a single unit with the keyboard. The power supply regulator board (linear in early systems, switching in later systems) was housed below and in front of the cartridge slot under the sloped area to the right of the keyboard.

    – Available peripherals included a 5ΒΌ” floppy disk drive, an “RS-232” card comprising two serial ports and one parallel port, a “P-Code” card for PASCAL support, a thermal printer, an acoustic coupler, and a 32KB memory expansion card.

    – In the early1980s, TI was known as a pioneer in speech synthesis, and a plug-in speech module was also available for the TI-99/4 and 4A (and was very popular). [This really helped fulfill that “Wargames” image, especially when playing the game “Parsec”! – haha]

    – The TI-99/4A had a 16-bit TMS9900 CPU running at 3.3 MHz. The TMS9900 was based on TI’s range of TM990 mini computers and has been recognised as being one of the earliest RISC chips. Another unique feature is that it doesn’t use stack, but instead allows the programmer to maintain groups of registers in main memory. These were called Workspaces. A workspace could be changed very fast compared to other chips of that era, making the TI-99 very fast at assembly language level. To speed up the workspace switching, a portion of RAM called the “scratchpad” was included which was much faster than normal memory, but because of the memory costs of the time, only 256 bytes was added.

    WOW! WHAT A MACHINE! hehe 3.3 MHz… funny to look back and see the specs on these things that we grew up with.

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