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TI Graphing Calculator Magazine (TI-GCM) was started in 1994 by Brian Hill and David Smith, making it one of the oldest surviving website from that time period, predating even the immortal ticalc.org (which was started in 1996). Its monthly newsletter was the first real notable TI graphing calculator community project, featuring content and news from all across the online TI community, and at its height had 900 subscribers.
The original TI-GCM newsletter (or magazine as they called it) was printed and mailed out to subscribers who paid a nominal fee (a few dollars). A website was created in late 1995, and the newsletters were then simply posted on the website and emailed to subscribers (no fee necessary).
Although each newsletter was unique and had its own selection of content, some of the common features that were included were program reviews and updates, editorials, projects under development, programming tips and tutorials, question and answer, using your calculator, interview with prominent TI community member(s), and current TI community news. Some of the newsletters also had advertisements, in which a TI community member was allowed to solicit involvement and support for their project or website from other people in the TI community.
There wasn't an issue released every month, however, due to the editors not always having enough time to collect and organize the newsletter because of real-life priorities such as school and a job, but also because of the lack of content submitted by the community. Here are the months that did have issues:
The two main original editors of TI-GCM were David Smith and Brian Hill (with Paul Pollack starting to take over the editor duties in Fall 1996?), while Jason Gauer was the main editor of the second version. They organized the newsletter, did the editing and formatting, researched the current TI community news, managed the team of writers, and sent it out to each subscriber and posted it online.
TI-GCM relied on volunteers to write each part of the newsletter, so there was a rotating list of people that contributed each month. This made each newsletter distinct and separate from the others — the amount, quality, and type of content could vary tremendously from just two program reviews to a full-fledged mini-book with several quality articles. It also created a lot of problems because very few readers actually contributed. In fact, this was one of the main reasons why TI-GCM was eventually discontinued.
TI-GCM is the earliest surviving website from the beginnings of the online TI graphing calculator community. It helped connect the online community, bringing together the latest news, events, and major program releases that were happening at that time. It also had several notable contributors including Will Stokes, Amitai Schlair, Greg Parker, Frank Force, and Sam Davies. Simply put, it was ticalc.org before there was any ticalc.org.
- Nov/Dec 1994 — First issue released as a printed newsletter available to subscribers for a nominal fee
- December 1995 — TI-GCM moves online and the newsletter is now posted on the website and emailed to subscribers
- July 1997 — There are over 900 subscribers
- August 1998 — Brian Hill and David Smith stop working on TI-GCM and it is discontinued
- June 2000 — Jason Gauer of Twilight-TI decides to resurrect TI-GCM (see the ticalc.org news article)
- November 2000 — TI-GCM is discontinued permanently
The site only used two different URLs throughout its history. The first URL was http://members.aol.com/timagazine/ for the original TI-GCM made by Brian Hill and David Smith, while the second URL was http://www.twilight-ti.org/tigcm/ when Jason Gauer of Twilight-TI tried to resurrect the newsletter.
Cousins Brian Hill and David Smith started a TI graphing calculator programming group called CompuTech Software in January 1994, where they posted a collection of TI-Basic programs that they had written for the TI-82, TI-83, and TI-92 graphing calculators. They decided that they wanted to expand the site scope to include a publication, so they set about creating a newsletter to go along with their programs.
They brainstormed names in the spring and summer of 1994, with the original name for the newsletter being Programmer's Guide for the TI-82/85, which then changed to Program Review, and then they finally settled on TI Graphing Calculator Magazine (TI-GCM). They released the first issue in December 1994, and it was actually printed and mailed out to subscribers who had to pay a small fee (a few dollars).
The newsletter quickly progressed in terms of content and quality, and eventually expanded to include several different sections including program reviews, featured projects, programming tips, interviews, and various other editorials. A website was created in late 1995, and the newsletters were then simply posted on the website and emailed to subscribers (no fee necessary). All of the issues were available as both HTML and a .zip file that you could download, as well as the accompanying programs that they reviewed and featured.
(Taken from TI-GCM about page circa August 1998)
What has happened to TI-GCM? That is the question that many of you have been asking lately. It is unfortunate, but unavoidable that this should happen. With our current commitments and the ever-increasing number of TI graphing calculators, it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything that is going on. So David and I have decided to officially announce the discontinuation of the TI Graphing Calculator Magazine. We do encourage others to write similar newsletters and magazines, as it helps bring the TI community together. We would like to thank all of our reviewers and article writers who have helped make this magazine possible over the last 4 years.
The TI Graphing Calculator Magazine (originally Programmer's Guide for the TI 82/85 , and then the Program Review), was conceptualized in the spring and summer of 1994. Then in the winter, we released the first issue. Over the next two years the "Programmer's Guide" evolved into the current TIGCM, with more content and available for free through e-mail. During these two years, David and I were both in High School, so generally had a lot of time to work on the mag. I was working several hours every day to get all the material I wanted for each issue, so even then it was a large commitment.
In September 1996, David and I both left home for our first year in college. Since then we have both become involved in many activities. I am currently a member of the Clarkson Solar Car team, and work about 30 hours per week on that project, in addition to all my school work. This means that it is impossible for David or I to work on TIGCM. We have continued to release as many issues as we can, but with only 2 issues in the last 2 years, it is finally time to wrap things up.
In June 2000, Jason Gauer decided to try to resurrect TI-GCM, releasing the newsletter under the banner of his Twilight-TI site. Unfortunately, there was not much community support to help write articles and columns for the newsletter, and only three issues were released. He decided to call it quits in November 2000, and TI-GCM was then officially discontinued permanently.