Thanks to a large grant, students in Richland Springs returned to class with a big surprise, a computer for each student! According to IT director Darrel Theobald, the shrinking district had to do something to boost transfer enrolments. “Well, Brownwood had a contract with Apple and we couldn’t really justify the costs, and other school districts in the area use tablets made by Asus and Samsung, but those are just a fad. At the end of the day, we need these students learning on actual computers, because computers are the future. Sadly, I don’t know a lick about them.”
Theobald, faced with a deadline and a tiny budget, decided to ask for help. “My son told me that somethingawful.com had the most helpful bulletin board ever, and they sure came through! I asked what would be the best computer for 2014 and not one, not two, but TWELVE Texas Instruments TI-99/4A’s were delivered!”
Theobald expressed joy at the outpouring of support, as well as the durability of the venerable TI-99, and the fact they are made “In Texas, not in Red China”. “All of the software comes on cartridge, you can’t scratch one of those up. You can’t accidentally demagnetize one. The Kindergarden class (Sally Henderson) threw a copy of Munchman at the wall yesterday and it still works! That’s what you get when you buy solid state electronics!” He then mentioned how monitors were not included but “Brownwood ISD gave us some of the old televisions they used to air the Channel 1 television news on, and they hooked up just fine”.
“Darrel has no idea what the hell he’s doing”, sighed Region 15 Technology Coordinator Kim Park. Park, who is in charge of UIL programming competitions as well as district implementation of technology, stated that she lost “countless hours of sleep” trying to come up with a way to actually use “these obsolete silver pieces of junk” in a classroom setting. “With a TI TMS9900 maxing out at 3.0 MHz, and 16k of RAM.. maybe, MAYBE the processor inside your toaster oven can compete..” At press time, she had not returned our further calls, and was last seen vacantly staring into space while drinking a liter of gin straight from the bottle.
Theobald on the other hand still feels like he made the right decision. “Bill Cosby said it was good, that’s all I need to know!” “Plus, it has games. The kids love computer games. It’s all the rage now, with the Call of Battlefield and Duty games and the John Madden Footballs. I got a copy of TI Invaders and I played it for about an hour last night!” Theobald asks all area residents to mail in any unneeded software cartridges to Richland Springs ISD.