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The Atari 850, the most pointless device Atari ever made...

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#26 Kyle22 ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 2, 2015 9:52 PM

CP/M on the Atari would have been a potential game changer if they had offered a Z80 card for the 800 and an 80 column video card.

 

Most if not all CP/M software is designed for 80 column screens.  Business software of course, but games such as Adventure and Zork also look better on 80 column screens.

 

Atari didn't make an 80 column video device until very late in the game.

 

Also, it's very nice to have a hard drive for CP/M programs that are I/O intensive.  Atari missed the ball again.

 

If Atari had only created a "Business Sales Division" or something like that, they could have done it.  Researched what businesses want in a computer and given it to them.

 

Oh well, wishful thinking.......



#27 gozar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 8:19 AM

Should they have removed the RF modulator from the 800 and made it a business machine like the Apple II (slots, 80 columns) and kept the 400 as the home version? How much harder was it for Atari by keeping the RF modulator in their computer lines?



#28 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 8:21 AM

Should they have removed the RF modulator from the 800 and made it a business machine like the Apple II (slots, 80 columns) and kept the 400 as the home version? How much harder was it for Atari by keeping the RF modulator in their computer lines?

 

I agree. They also should've contracted with Phillips, Goldstar, JVC, etc. to do OEM monitors for those machines. 



#29 k-Pack OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 10:07 AM

Pointless seems a little harsh. It’s like saying that a computer power supply is pointless when you have no computer or a disk drive is pointless when you have no disks. Both are true but when you have a RS232 equipped device that RS-232 port comes in handy.

 

There were a lot of third party RS232 equipped peripherals made, the problem was that manufactures didn’t support the Atari platform.  The hardware was out there but you had to write your own software, if you could get the needed information. There are a few items that were advertised in COMPUTE! for the IBM, Com 64 and Apple but no Atari.  Atari even side stepped the RS232 ports by building their peripherals to avoid its use.

 

I have been able to communicate with a serial printer, modems, Seiko RC-1000 Wrist Terminal, and  HP-Plotter (2 pen).  The latest experiments have been with an Arduino Uno equipped with an RS-232 module.  You could hook up sensors or control motors with this combination.

 

I know there were a lot more items that could be purchased; flatbed scanners, hand scanners, plotters, and bar code readers, to name a few.  There are also many industrial control systems that used RS232 for communication. 

 

Now that you have an 850 you need to get an RS-232 equipped device and write the software to operate it.  Then that 850 will seem a little less pointless.



#30 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 10:53 AM

Should they have removed the RF modulator from the 800 and made it a business machine like the Apple II (slots, 80 columns) and kept the 400 as the home version? How much harder was it for Atari by keeping the RF modulator in their computer lines?

 

I don't think it was ever their intention to get into the business market. The idea was that everyone already had a TV they could use and the 800 could serve as both a game console and a way to do basic computing tasks. Apple was unable to offer a TV connection because of the RF issues with open slots and a monitor increased their already high system costs (many Apple users had green screens to keep the cost down). There was really no way to offer the perfect home machine within the rules at the time. I think Atari saw more value in offering a computer upgrade to the console customer than trying to break into the professional market. For a time, Apple was really the only US company to attract equal amounts of professional and game development on the same platform and I think that was mostly because of their connection to the schools.



#31 fujidude OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 1:17 PM

80 column was not available for quite a while for the Apple ][.  The 2e had it.



#32 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 2:12 PM

80 column was not available for quite a while for the Apple ][.  The 2e had it.

 

80 column may not have been built-in until the IIe in 1983, but many users had 80 column expansion cards before the Apple IIe was released.  Our household had an Apple ][+ with an 80 column card by 1981.



#33 MrFish OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 2:22 PM

I think one important difference between Apple and Atari is that Atari started out as a game company and grew into computers, whereas Apple was about computers from the beginning.



#34 Mathy ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 2:58 PM

Hello guys

 

Atari made more than enough business software.  Problem was, as always with Atari, that it either didn't get to market or didn't get promoted enough.  Do a search for luckybuck's list of the software he was looking for (and has mostly found) and you will be amazed by what was written for the Atari.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy



#35 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 3:17 PM

Atari made more than enough business software.  Problem was, as always with Atari, that it either didn't get to market or didn't get promoted enough.  Do a search for luckybuck's list of the software he was looking for (and has mostly found) and you will be amazed by what was written for the Atari.

Sure, but it (the stuff from Atari) was never in the same league as what was available for the PC or even the Apple II (although some of the big name packages did get an Atari version).



#36 bf2k+ OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 7:48 PM

I thought the 850 was great the first time I connected to a BBS using a Hayes 1200 (when Atari only had a 300 baud modem).



#37 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:28 PM

If you look at the serial port configurations for each of the four ports, they are different variations of RS-232, each with a different combination of pins.

 

Port 1 was best for MODEMs, as it had DTR, DSR, RTS, as well as carrier detect (DCD).

Port 2 and 3 worked well for devices that only required working RXD/TXD pin pairs, and a single DTR pin, such as plugging up terminals, or devices like serial printers.

Port 4 was very special, and was ultimately designed for 20ma current loop devices. You could for example, plug a Teletype here, or plug into an industrial control system, or one of the 20ma comms ports of a minicomputer. 

 

Atari ultimately made these design decisions because they knew the entry cost of the expansion was going to be higher, due to the intelligent device requirement for SIO, FCC, and the like. Useless? Maybe to you, but I've used all four serial ports, for different things, precisely because Atari decided to put them there.

 

-Thom

 

-Thom has the answer....

These were extremely needed and use by most control  systems a business concerns...

 

our 850's always used this config

port 1 modem

port 2 dumb term connection

port 4 device control

and a printer connected to the side

EVERY 850 was connected this way in the entire facility!

port 3 was for fooling around:)







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