Stephen Shaw
One of the UK's Most Famous TI-99/4A Personalities

In the UK, the name Stephen Shaw is synonymous with the TI-99/4A. Stephen Shaw has probably done more than anyone to promote the TI-99/4A in the UK and Europe, holding multiple positions on the committee of the TI-99/4A Users Group (UK), publishers of TI*MES; operating Stainless Software, one of the UK's few large TI software distribution companies; and authoring the 1983 book Getting Started with the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Home Computer.

The Early Years
Stephen Shaw's interest in home computers began in 1979 when he decided that the new generation of 'home' computers were starting to become affordable. He had been using an IBM console since 1969.

Having analyzed the home computer market, Stephen decided that the soon-to-be-released Texas Instruments TI-99/4 offered the most promise; its superior build quality, proper keyboard, and ANSI BASIC being the biggest selling points.

At the time, the TI-99/4 was not available for purchase in the UK. Interested in evaluating the machine, he approached Texas Instruments in Bedford, England, to see what they could suggest. To his surprise, they offered to loan him an evaluation machine. An NTSC TI-99/4 was duly delivered to his house, courtesy of Texas Instruments in June, 1981, Stephen gradually grew his system, replacing the TI-99/4 with a TI-99/4A, adding a Peripheral Expansion Box (PEB), disk drives and printer among other things.

The TI UK User Group and TI*MES Magazine
Sadly, the TI-99/4A was not heavily promoted in the UK and was also very expensive up until Texas Instruments withdrawal from the home computer market which was already in trouble by the time the TI-99/4A was introduced to Britain. That meant UK TI99ers had little choice but to support each other. Stephen was instrumental in helping to shape and form the UK TI Users Group TIHOME - whose membership exploded post-pullout - appearing in the second issue of their TIdings magazine in 1983. Later Stephen and many members transferred to a new publication called TI*MES which was to become the publication of the TI99/4a Users Group (UK), and continuing to contribute to the magazine until 1999.

Throughout this time, Stephen operated the largest TI disk library in the United Kingdom, wrote voluminous articles for the TI*MES magazine, and posted tidbits of programming code in his favorite programming languages, which ranged from Extended Basic, to Forth and Pascal to Pilot.

Stainless Software
Whilst simultaneously writing articles for the magazine, and operating the group's huge disk library, Stephen formed Stainless Software - one of the U.K.'s principle TI-99/4A Software distributors. Stainless Software entered into license agreements with TI software vendors in the UK, Europe and the USA to bring the latest and greatest software titles to hungry European TI99ers everywhere.

It was Shaw's seminal book, Getting Started with the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Home Computer which was released in 1983, that really cemented his reputation in the 4A community and led to Stephen Shaw becoming a household name among 4A households throughout Europe. The book's release onto the market came at a fortuitous time, coming as it did when the 4A was riding high in the popularity stakes due to aggressive price-cuts by Texas Instruments as they withdrew from the home-computer market. Eager TI99ers, desperate for information for their home computer other than the rather meagre TI manuals, lapped it up in droves.

Post TI Withdrawal
After Texas Instrument's shock exit from the market in 1983 Stephen continued to support users throughout Europe through Stainless Software and the TI*MES user group. Stephen ran the disk library for many years and functioned as a sort of UK ambassador for the many TI groups that he was a member of or in close contact with from America to Australia.

On October 7. 2000 Stephen Shaw received the Edgar Mauk Award for his support of the European TI community!

The Present
After many years working in the banking industry and later as a probation clerk, Stephen is now happily retired and enjoying his hobbies including music, film, and of course the TI-99/4A. He still owns his original PEB box to this day.

Stephen's hard work, dedication, and indefatigable spirit helped the TI-99/4A maintain its profile in the UK and across wider Europe long after the manufacturer had disowned the machine. All TI99ers on this side of the pond owe a debt of gratitude to Stephen Shaw.

Biography prepared by Mark Wills

Inducted into the TI99ers Hall of Fame on May 30, 2013