Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 56 / JANUARY 1985 / PAGE 10

TI CALL Destroy?

I own a TI-99/4A computer and have been using the CALL statement to do various tasks. I have heard that certain commands can burn out chips. Is this true? What can I do to avoid damaging my computer?

Robert Brower

We've heard many stories about how various programs or copyright protection schemes are able to destroy monitors, disk drives, and computers by some devious means. It's true that on some late-model Commodore PETs, a certain POKE would sometimes cause an interface chip to race out of control and out of sync, burning itself out. But this small possibility was highly exaggerated. Likewise, it was once said that cranking up the volume too high in Atari BASIC SOUND statements would burn out the sound chip, but our tests failed to validate this rumor.

As a general rule, no program or command can permanently alter or damage your computer. The worst that can happen is a lockup or system crash: The computer refuses to acknowledge any command from the keyboard. To regain control, you must turn off the computer, then turn it back on again. Of course, any program stored in memory is gone. So if there's a chance the program you're typing in or working on could lock up the computer, be sure to save it before running it.