Terry Fry reports to us:
The 990/1 was the 'lowest' level machine, However there was a 770 and 771 "intelligent" terminals which were really identical to DS990/1's with some options missing. The 771 and 990/1's had floppy drive cases, 8" 128k or 1meg drives.
Silvio Hénin from Italy adds:
I remember having used and programmed TI-771 in a language called TPL. In fact I learnt programming on that machine in 1980. It was a double FD (2 x 128 K, 8 in) with a noisy impact printer. It was rather fast for the time.
About the TI-771 terminal,
Bob Herman recalls:
Just a comment about the old days. I owned a printing business in 1978 just outside of Washington , D.C. in Maryland . It was in that year that I purchased a TI 771, which came with an 8” single sided 256K drive. The programming language was a form of Pascal as I understood it called Terminal Program Language (TPL). Anyway, I wrote a complete business package for my printing business containing Payroll, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and a General Ledger Program. I recall working closely with a gal by the name of Tamara from TI in Texas who was very patient with me in mastering the programming. It was my understanding that TI was using this system as a way to see if the untrained business man could learn programming thus creating a market for their wares ………… apparently that didn't work out. Anyway, once my programs were complete, I sold 771's bundled with my software to other tech savvy printers of the time for $15,000. TI charged $10,000 for the 771. Had a I purchased a machine a bit earlier, I would have wound up with a 770, a micro tape version, but was fortunate to have bought the first of their floppy drive machines. Just as an aside, when I financed the machine, the finance company's representative filled out the order form calling the disk drive a “Sloppy Disk” …… was good for a laugh.
Franco Franchini , also from Italy, specifies:
DS990 family of computer was based initially on the TI990 CPU but the /12 series was based on TI9900 CPU that allowed memory to be expanded up to 2MB. The /4 /5 /10 /12 families don't use a case like the one shown but racks whith slots.
TI 990 had not only TPL (Texas Programming Language) but also: BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN, PASCAL, LISP, RPGII and more.
Jim Williams's funny memories :
I worked for TI from 1980 to 1988 (maintained DX10 and DNOS the last 2 years). After leaving TI, I was told that around in 1989 or 1990, TI sold DSG (the division that made the 990 family) to Hewlett-Packard, who cancelled the DS990 product family. I don't know if this is accurate.
I also remember a funny incident that occurred in the early 1980's. When TI was about to release the TI-FORMS software package, the documentation group asked for a complete list of error number descriptions. The developers did not supply a description for one of the error numbers, which they said was for debugging and could never occur in the field. When pressed for a description, they supplied Shut her down Clancy, she pumping mud , which was printed in the documentation. Well, TI-FORMS had only been in the field a short time when this error started occuring at almost every installation when TI-FORMS was used. I remember getting the error several times myself. I am sure that this was resolved very quickly.