The RichFiles

The Richfiles History Page


WARNING: This section is designed to be long! If you can't handle that, you know what to do! :P

* Got my first computer when I was 5 years old. It was a Commodore 128. This was the start of my interest in computers (and eventualy Graphing Calculators)!!!

* I got a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 when I was 10 years old. Fixed it myself and learned TRS-BASIC (including sound and graphics) in three months.

* I got my first Graphing Calculator in 5th or 6th grade. It's one of those cheap CASIO models (fx-7000GA). Does almost nothing at all. Breaks within two years. Do learn a little though.

* I start building a model railroad in HO Scale. I later find an N scale railroad for $6.00!!! I fix it up and make a CRUDE layout. I sell my HO scale materials to my cousin and build him a cool layout!

* I start High School at Minnesota Valley Lutheran. It's fun, lot of homework though. Made it through Freshman year with just a GREEN TI-35

* Two seniors Sheldon Johnson and Don Zimmerman (I think) are working on TI-82 Pong. I know standard BASIC, so I kind of understand the program's architecture. They hear I have done programming before (maybe), but anyway, they asked me how they can keep the ball from always bouncing back the same path when it hits a corner. It always hits the paddle in the same spot, so the game becomes really stupid. I told them to use the Random command to randomly deflect it at a slightly higher or a slightly lower angle. That idea worked!

* I learn HyperTalk, The scripting language for HyperCard.

* I build a very simple robot that steers away from walls. Everyone thought it was cool.

* I build a new layout for my N scale track that uses 2x4 foot modules.

* I get a Macintosh Performa 550 with CD-ROM on September 6 1994. Nice machine-for a few months-until it is discontinued soon after and they stop making as much software for it as they used to.

* School starts. I get a Broken TI-81 from a friend very early Sophmore year. I have a broken one that has a good screen though. I use the two to make one working one. I learn the very basic TI-81 BASIC and make some very simple programs. I start collecting broken calculators and charging $20 for screen replacements.

* I borrow a friend's TI-82 and learn all the cool graphics and I/O commands. I make my first game: BLUD

* I start a game called STARFITE. You are a ship that moves horizontaly accross a screen. Ships come down at you and you have to shoot them before they shoot you (or touch the ground, but they rarely did since they moved using a random algorythm). The game was similar to Invaders! but there would probably be only one ship at a time in version 1. I had finnished the main loop and all the programming for your ship and was about to start with the enemy ship, but (I believe) one of the two seniors mentioned before finnished the SAME game. The ships looked different, but it worked the same way. The only differences were that his didn't test for screen edges or for the ground for the enemy ship, so the ship could go just about anywhere, even off the screen. I quit my game and decided to simply upgrade his.

* I've become one of the "Calculator Guys"!!!

* I make several other programs.

* Junior year starts and I buy a TI-85. I sell my TI-81 for $35 to a friend who lost his.

* I learned of all these wonderful features that TI-85 BASIC supports, but was dismayed at all the graphics commands it left out! ]-;{ I wanted to at least find a way to accelerate it. I assumed I would need to replace a clock crystal or a capacitor, so I opened the TI-85 up looking for a Quartz crystal occilator. I never found one, so I assumed it was a capacitor based clock. I found C9, and actualy considered it, but I didn't know what to replace it with or even if it was the right one (I thought it connected to a clock pin on the TI-85s microprocessor though).

* I port FIGHTER (STARFITE clone) to the TI-85.

* I collect enough broken TI-82s to build my own from the parts.

* Helped senior Luke Hartzel create LABRINTH, a cool overhead maze game. I helped him program the thing to test for the walls. Later he added attacks by monsters, but there was an error there. I'm not sure if he fixed it.

* Homecomming comes along and it's class skit time. I create an animation of a comedic "Winning Play" for our team, casused by the other team screwing up and hitting the goal post. The "Camera" then pans up to show the MVL Charger's Homecomming theme flashing against the sky with stars flashing around it. This was the first animation used during a skit and EVERYONE was quiet. Much of the crowd showed that they liked it when it was complete!!!

* Even though Luke Hartzel is still in school, I am now seen as "The Calculator Guy"!!!

* MVL gets internet access.

* I found TI's Website. I download all the TI-Graphing Calculator software.

* Found a reference to Z-Shell, but never got around to finding any details about it or installing it.

* I start upgrading another program that had been around for a while. The program was called STICK (Stick Fighters). STICK version 1 had been made when Mortal Kombat first came out. It only had four levels, three finishing moves, and there were two "super weapons" that were very tricky to use. The graphics were also pretty lame also. I started working on it and by version 6.1, it had 5 finishing moves (one old and the two new ones were made into video clips, high quality animations. The last one (where you pull out the opponent's heart) is programmed so well that you can see blood and sweat dripping from the opponent before he meets his fate!). It also had 4 new weapons that you get to use. It could save a game and continue your last game if you didn't change the variables. It even has a supermode where you, as a champion, will go against a superenemy with nothing but your fists and feet. If you can last 5 levels your life will be spared when you fall and you will be deemed a worthy opponent, ready to fight again. If you don't, then you die a loser! I am planing a version 7. It WILL run as fast of faster than the tiny version 1 and it may even support two player mode via the link port! (I don't know when I will start though. I do have the entire architecture mapped out though. I just need to start typing).

* I tried to make Doom and/or Marathon for the TI-82. I didn't have much luck. I tried on the TI-85, but the limited TI-BASIC graphic commands on the 85 made things too slow. when I would have added all the aliens, it would have been to slow to bear. )-;

* I made a Table program for the TI-85. (Kinda like the TI-82s Table)

* I am awarded the 3M: Richard G Drew Creativity Award!!!

* I make a second module for my layout. It is not completed right away however, as the first was.

* Senoir Year starts

* Built a Small sign for homecoming that lights up the word Chargers and flashes a lightning bolt

* Found TICalc.Org. There was some really cool stuff there.

* I found Mel Tsai's Expander homepage. It said that the driver software was close to being done. About two weeks later, he had finnished, putting up the wonderful words *Major Announcement: The Expander Works!!!.

* I wanted to learn HTML, so I copied the source code for as many sites as I could. Within a week I had started a very basic homepage.

* I decided to scratch what I had and I came up with what is now version 1.0 of the Richfiles!

* I found the TI-85 acceleration pages by Boris Lutz and Keith L. Miller. They verified my theory and I built the accelerator MY way, basing the values of the components on their instructions. It worked and I was very happy (-: I put the acceleration instructions into my page.

* I found out about Geocities and I actualy got my web page up and running!!!

* Made breakout for the TI-85 and later ported it to the 82/83

* I went to an X-Files site, downloaded the logo and used it as a pattern to create the Awesome Richfiles logo!!!

* I download Z-Shell and I hit my head saying "Why did I put off installing this thing for a whole year!!!"

* I learn about where to get the chips for the SF Expander and I get a copy of the beta driver and the final design.

* I download lots of Z-Shell software including Daedalus, Mc-Mik, Squrx, Tetris, F1 Racing, Motocros, and some others!

* I made a small English to Italian and vise versa translator for the TI-83 for a friend who was going to Italy.

* I realize that even though the Expander SF is small, it still won't fit in my Calculator cases (Pocket binders from MEAD (5 Star series) with velcro to attach them to each other, to my binder, or to my tool box). This is a problem. I also want to be able to switch chips easily. I decide that I would make the expander with a small 8-pin plug and the chip would be in a cartridge and plug into it. The Expander would have no power switch or light to drain power. The insertion of the cartridge would activate the power. I called it the Serial/Powered Expander Port and the cartridges simply expander cartridges.

* I never built the older 8-pin version because I changed the 8-pin connector to a 10-pin connector since I had better luck finding them. I used one pin as an extra 5v+ line and the other I filled in with plastic so the cartridge couldn't be plugged in backwards.

* I called Hamilton Halmark to get the NM29A080 chip, but they were out of stock.

* I had a stroke of genious!!! (-: I decided that since the actual Box for the Serial/Powered Expander Port was just a power supply and a link cable, that it would be possible to integrate it into the TI-85 itself! I did it and I called it the Serial/Powered Interface Port, or the S/P Interface. I later saw that I could turn that into a cool name by removing the slash and the space and only capitalizing the "T" in inTerface. This resulted In SPinTerface (Pronounced SPIN-ter-face). I liked the name so I kept is ever since. It uses the 10-pin plug format and senses cartridge insertion to turn itself on and off. It is 100% compatible with the older Serial Powered Expander Port.

* I am still looking for the chip. Otherwise my first cartridge is finnished.

* I built a speaker cartridge, a temp cart, and the expander cart. none of which use a case larger than 1.5" x 1" x 1/4"!!!

* People at school were really amazed that the Expander cartridge was so small and could hold about 2/3 of what a disk can hold!

* My arm, covered in equations written in red ink, and my Turboed, Expanded, SPinTerfaced TI-85 got into the newspaper when the New Ulm Journal did an article on the local High Schools' "Physics Day" at Valley Fair. Basicly, all the Physics students in the area are shipped off to Valley Fair with accelerometers and stuff to calculate velocities of rides and stuff. It wasn't much, but in a way, my calculator was being shown off as AWESOME (I purposly exposed the Cartridge and accelerator switch for the picture, even if it didn't show up well)!!!

* Each year, the senior class buries a time capsule. I buried a broken TI-82 (in a cardboard coffin), some programs on disk and paper, an issue MacUser, a 486SLX Motherboard (YES, it's real), My Robot (yeah, the one from freshman year that everyone loved), my Chargers LED flasher, and some miscelaneous items!

* School's almost out and pranks are becoming more and more abundant. One popular prank is to hide the "Boys" (my two calculators). I always found them (they were usualy in the same place over and over), but it did get to be very annoying. I scanned a picture me and some friends got from the Wild Thing at Valley Fair of all six of us with our shirts lifted over our heads. I hacked into one of the computers and put it as the start up screen instead of the Mac OS logo! Our final "gift" to the school is a 15 minute body passing of people down the stairs! (many people however, for no aparent reason, get down to the first level through the back stair way???)

* School is finaly out and graduation comes. Everyone asks if I brought the "Boys" (I usualy bring them everywhere and I let them play games on them). Later, at a graduation party, one of my friends snatches the calculators and plays games till I find him.

* I've joined the BEAM robotics mailing list. * I've started building robots. I tried some solar ones, but I didn't have any decent solar panels and the things are some what dificult to get just right. I finaly skipped to a walker and it worked first time I flipped the switch! I then built a second robot, a muscle wire based robot named BORIS.

* My robots (2 walkers and 3 solar robots) made it onto Algo's FACTory, a children's educational television program that comes on Sunday mornings on FOX, at 9:30 (in my area anyway). One robot walked off a table there and I rebuilt it (better than ever!)

* I've recently been helping a friend named Jake work on his model railroad. I don't have time or spare cash for mine, so I help him on his, since my fun is building.

* I haven't done much work on my TIs because I have been busy packing my stuff to get ready to go off to college. I've been working on my web pages and an starting version two because I finaly learned how to work with frames!

* I discover the joys that are The Legend of Zelda, from good old Nintendo! ( :

* The robots episode of Algo's FACTory airs on Dec 13, at 9:30 AM on Sunday. They show one of my solar bots and Walkman Jr. together, and then speak about the use of light as communication, and then later BORIS is shown when they speak about BEAM robotics. In the ending credits, they show an EXCELENT clip of Walkman Jr. walking accross the screen! I'll be getting screenshots from the show to put on my page some day. * I'm making new updates and redoing the entire page. I'm finishing up a very late TI order, and building 9 new robots for the next robots episode of Algo's FACTory. Finishing The Richfiles: Version 4.0

I've finaly finished the most content and functionaly superior upgrade to the richfiles, and it's the first time being on a REAL server that doesn't pop up windows or banners. Hear ye, hear ye... Prepare thyself for spectacular robots, and the grand opening of the Richfiles version 5.0!!! Mwahahahahahaha! ( :


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