A guy sent me this e-mail that I thought you might both find pretty interesting. I toured your museum last year with a buddy and made a website of some objects Dan showed us (thanks Dan!). He said the TI 990-189 was an original that was used in an electronics class. Anyway, his e-mail pertains to one of the items on the website from your museum. Go ahead and read:
I stumbled into your PC history web site from a Google search and was surprised to see a picture of a TM990-189. Since I was the engineer who designed it, and considering it was my first shippable product, you can imagine it holds a somewhat special place in my heart. I was even more amazed to discover that folks are still writing code for this thing! I thought you might enjoy some of the behind-the-scenes history.
It was 1978 and Intel was killing us (TI) in the microprocessor market. Intel's parts were architecturally inferior, but TI had no clue how to market or support devices more complicated than flip-flops. Our thought was to seed the universities with TI hardware, teach a generation of new engineers how to program TI parts, and hope that this would translate into increased market share. Oh, by the way, TI management also saw it as an outlet for all the CPU chips that failed speed test. What nobody imagined was that it would also be used in serious control applications.
So 27 years later we see that Intel is the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer and TI is way down the list. Draw your own conclusions.
Anyway, thanks for the flashback!
Wow-glad I could provide the picture! I took it on a trip to the Rhode Island Computer Museum last year with one of my PC buddies. Do you still have any original models in your collection? Thanks for the great History Lesson!
Yes, I still have one of the first-pass prototypes, but alas my EPROM has lost its program so my board no longer functions. If your buddy still has his user's manual, tell him to look at the sign-off block on sheet 1 of the schematic diagram under ENGR. Yup, that's me. It is heartwarming to hear that others used /189's in classes. I now work in a research group of ~60 folks and apparently two of them learned assembler using a /189 as well. You may forward the email if you like. Tell them I also have 1X artwork films for prototype boards if they want to make more! :-)
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