Yeah, you'll have to go with a pci parallel port card. They can be found on newegg.com for 20 dollars or less most of the time. not exactly a hot commodity these days.
As for OS, i was able to get windows xp to work with lo_inp.exe loader that someone had created. im not quite sure who made it anymore but it worked flawlessly for me on a Windows XPe even..
if you can get windows xp you'll have more available programs to work with while developing (photoshop/paintshop pro/programmers notepad, notepad++ ect...) just a few usefull programs if you dont have them already. beware however if you go with windowsxp you can only really use sln/smac tools and not the original mac/aln atari linker/compiler tools. Due to the way winxp works it doesnt play nice and causes stack faults and the programs crash.
As for bjl. just a heads up. make sure if you start coding that you start with good known startup code that has been tested on a skunk or alpine. I myself ran into the issue of developing partial programs only to find out when loaded onto a skunk or alpine that they didnt work for some un-known reason. From what i've narrowed it down to, it has to do with the state that the bjl leaves the system in. It sets up the system video and OP, but make sure your code re-does this or else you'll run into some funny issues like i did. Hopefully that helps save some time for you.
Have fun with the coding!!!
Edited by rush6432, Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:44 AM.