Boston Computer Society

Boston Computer Society

The Boston Computer Society (often referred to as the "BCS") was an organization of personal computer users, based in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., that ran from 1977 to 1996. At one point, it was the largest such group in the world (over 30,000 members), with regular user group meetings, many publications, permanent offices in Boston, and hosting major product announcements, including the East Coast release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984.

Users Groups- BCS 99ers (TI 99/4A)

This user group was formed around a specific machine in 1987, but it was not thought of as a Texas Instruments UserGroup even though TI originallymanufactured the machine. Below is a brief write up from that users group.


The Boston Computer Society Texas Instruments TI-99/4A User Group is some 360 members strong and growing. It was organized byTI owners who have banded together to provide mutual support in getting the most value out of our orphan computer. In the twoyears since TI decided to cease product.ion, the 99 computer world has gained in strength. Through the organizational efforts of groups like ours, first rate creative programmers, the electronic information services like Compuserve andthe Source, and a few dedicated hardware designers and manufacturers, the range of software and hardwareavailable has increased dramatically, both in quantity and sophistication. Where we once had a 16k computer, we are nowroutinely using up to 512k and 2 megabyte computers are just ahead. Three new languages have been added since TI withdrew -Forth, c99, and PILOT. Despite TI's failure to turn a profit in the competitive home computer market, the computer itselfprovided the capability to far outperform its opposition. The computer is now only beginning to realize its full potentialcapabilities and dramatic progress is being made, not just here in the United States, but in Canada, England, Italy, Germany,and even Australia.

This progress puts the user groups like the BCS TI-99/4A group in a unique position. No longer are there massive advertising campaigns and displays in every chain store to keep you informed. The lifeblood of our computer is in the user groups, the electronic bulletin boards, and the information services, which can keep track collectively of the new events and products andkeep their membership informed.

The BCS TI-99/4A User Group meets at the Boston Computer Museum on the third Wednesday of each month. There is always a scheduled program featuring demonstrations and reviews of new products, tutorials on programming or using utilities, current events, guest speakers, or whatever the membership wants to see and produce. There is something for every member, whether an expert in computers or a beginner. The best of public domain software and fairware the author makes the problem publicly available and asks you to send a small check if you like and use it) is collected and made available on disk or cassette for a small fee to cover costs. The group presently has 45 full disks of software and the number is growing every month. When the software is updated or improved, the old disk can be traded for the new one.

The group produces a newsletter handed out at every meeting and a quarterly newsletter is mailed to all members as well. In addition members also receive the Boston Computer Society's magazine, Computer Update, as well as a monthly Calendar listing all BCS activities for each month. The group runs a booth at major computer faires in the area, and for the first time is producing the New England 99 Computer Faire, with the help of other New England groups, to bring together experts and products from around the country all at one time and place.

Another major source of information for members and anyone interested, whether a member or not is the two electronic bulletin boards sponsored by the group. The boards are contacted over the telephone lines us1ng a modem with your computer. They are at (617)331-4181 and 335-8475, both located in Weymouth, MA. They operate at both 300 and 1200 baud and feature aconstantly changing message base on which people leave both public and private messages to each other. They also includeinformation files and program downloads using both TI's TE2 system or the faster XMODEM file transfer protocol. They are available24 hours a day. There are several other boards in MA devoted to the 99 computer, and their numbers can be found in the informationfiles on the BCS TI boards, as well as many other boards devoted to other computers or to no computer in particular.

In addition to providing you with product news, the best of public domain software and fairware, tutorials on using and programm1ng your computer, one of the most important things our group or any 99 group does is to put you in touch with others with many diverse interests and skills. If you have a problem, there is probably someone in our group who can solve it or help you find an answer, whether it involves malfunctioning equipment, programming problems, or problems getting different parts ofyour system to work together. One characteristic of our membership that seems to hold very true is that everyone is glad to sharehis or her knowledge and help others.

Our goal is to help everyone get the most out of the TI-99/4A. The computer is much too capable to be kept in the closet. Please consider joining our group - or another TI user group if more convenient to you. You can join the Boston Computer Society and its TI-99/4A User Group here at the Faire or you can write to The Boston Computer Society, One Center Plaza, Boston, MA 02108. If you do the latter, please include a note that you are joining as a result of the TI-99/4A User Group's Faire on April5th. We get additional financial credit for memberships we bring in, and that can only help our members (you). Further information on Boston Computer Society membership benefits and rates is available in a separate brochure. If you are not sure ifyou want· to join, please come to a meeting at the Computer Museum (next meeting is on April 16th at 7:30pm). There is no admission fee, whether you are a member or not. If you like what you see, please join us and become part of our growing community.