In September 1980, the Chicago TI User Group ("CTIUG") was formed by Jerry Strauss as one of the first TI-99 User Groups in the United States and he became its first President. The CTIUG continues to meet monthly except during the summer months.
Over the years since the CTIUG founding, the user group had many accomplishments including their annual Chicago TI International World Faire ("Faire"), the oldest and longest running TI fair in the world. The Faire has always been a very popular venue among TI-99/4A vendors from all over the world and remains so to this day. The CTIUG had many other accomplishments including:
- CTIUG went on-line with the first "all TI" Users Group BBS in May 1983 which operated for a number of years.
- The CTIUG newsletter, Chicago TImes, started by Dave Wakely and Jerry Strauss in 1982 was published until 1996.
- CTIUG members Roger and Orlan Degris released the 49-99 Keyboard, a standard 99/4A keyboard with an added FCTN key. (1985)
- CTIUG published a number of important documents including:
- Hardware Reprints Manual assembled by Nick Iacovelli. (1988)
- TI-Writer Supplement Manual by Ernest Pergrem. (1989)
- Encyclopedia of Graphics (E.O.G.) by Don Jones. (1990)
- CTIUG held annual Programming Contests from 1988 to 1992.
- CTIUG hosted a TI Forum on Delphi starting in 1991 which it operated for a number of years.
- CTIUG regularly provides video links to their meetings.
- The success of the Faire became the impetus for holding Fest West and other domestic and international TI fairs.
Events of note from past CTIUG Faires included:
- On November 12, 1983, the first annual TI fair, called the "Chicago TI Computer Software Fair", was held in the Fireside Lounge of the Triton College Center in River Grove, IL. The Faire took place two weeks after Texas Instruments announced it dropped its home computer line, an event that became known as "Black Friday" to all TI99ers. Despite little local advertising, an estimated 1,000 attendees came to the Faire causing some vendors to run out of product in the first hour.
- Attendance at the 2nd Faire was estimated at 1,400. (1984)
- Ron Albright introduced The Orphan Chronicles, a book which includes a 'must read' appendix about the early days of the CTIUG. (1985)
- Craig Miller of Millers Graphics demonstrated the Gram Kracker card. (1985)
- Myarc's Lou Phillips announced a 256K, TI-99/4A compatible computer in 1985 which went on to become the Geneve computer he demonstrated in 1986.
- Attendance at the 3rd Faire was estimated at 1,700 including many from other countries. The event was so successful, not everyone could get into the meeting facility for the presentations. (1985)
- J. Peter Hoddie, doing business as Genial Computerware, released the GRAM Packer. (1986)
- Mike Maksimik gave a presentation of what later became MIDI Master 99. (1989)
- The name was officially changed to Chicago TI International World Faire. (1990)
- Bruce Harrison released most of his software programs in the period from 1991 to 1998.
- Barry A. Traver received the first John Birdwell Memorial Award at the 1991 Faire, an award administered by CTIUG in honor of the late John Birdwell. This award, a highlight of every Faire, is presented annually.
- Mike Wright demonstrates the development of his PC99 emulator at Faires from 1992 to 1998.
- Beery Miller released the "final" version of MDOS as part of the MDOS source code buyout. (1993)
- Ron Reuter released TI and Geneve schematics, artwork, and drawings. (2003)
- The German TI SNUG as represented by Berry Harmsen, Gerd Weissmann and Richard Bell demonstrated their various new hardware cards from 1994 to 1998.
- The 2000 Faire was the first TI fair to be broadcast over the Internet.
- The Chicago TI Users Group and the Dutch TI Gebruikersgroep jointly present the first Rob Tempelmans Plat Award which was awarded to Ron Reuter in 2004. The award is presented annually during the Faire.
- MDOS 6.50 released at the Faire by Tony Knerr and Tim Tesch. (2004)
- Berry Harmsen demonstrated hardware that is available to connect Compact Flash cards to IDE cards and SCSI cards. (2006)
- Berry Harmsen demonstrated Fred Kaal's TI99DIR program. This version supports the CF7+ peripheral device. (2007)
- Attendees from Europe and other parts of the world regularly attend the Faire every year.
Members of CTIUG who have made significant contributions to the TI99ers community include:
- John Behnke, a prolific game writer, former club librarian and sometimes columnist for the newsletter.
- John Birdwell, for whom the John Birdwell Memorial Award is named.
- Carole Goldstein, a former newsletter editor.
- Bill Hoffman wrote programming to allow TEII program transfers on the BBS.
- Don Jones, a former President, Vice President, "Geneve" guru, columnist, newsletter editor and Corresponding Secretary.
- Mike Maksimik, a CTIUG BBS SysOp, author of numerous TI and Geneve articles and programs.
- Larry McMahon, the first CTIUG BBS system operator.
- Ernest Pergrem, a former President, Sysop, Editor and Moderator of the CTIUG Forum on Delphi.
- Sam Pincus, a former President, frequent contributor to 99'er magazine, programmed the original CTIUG BBS software using a mix of Extended Basic and assembly subroutines.
- Grant B. Schmalgemeier, an enthusiastic supporter of the CTIUG and the Faire, so much so that they named an award after him to honor CTIUG members for their service to the group and TI community.
- Hal Shanafield, longtime Chairman and Coordinator of the Faire and Corresponding Secretary.
- Victor Steerup, longtime President of CTIUG.
The induction certificate was presented at "The 27th Annual Chicago TI International World Faire" on October 17, 2009.
Inducted into the TI99ers Hall of Fame on April 15, 2009