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400/800 not a real computer, apparantly


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#51 R.Cade OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:51 PM

Whatever lets you sleep at night. :)



#52 kiwilove OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:51 PM

It would be nice to see a fair video representation of these computers in action - with what was available back in the day - when they were on sale - then maybe a follow up video - which shows off stuff done after their demise - just to see how far can they (the hardware) can be pushed - stock hardware of course.

Viewers can then make up their own mind - which hardware is the more impressive, etc...

 

Harvey



#53 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:07 PM

Or maybe it's a not an issue of pushing the hardware to new heights after all.. But, rather, advertising and marketing retiring a line of products before their time. Because it seems that all hardware out there has shown surprising gains in versatility and performance over time. Yet those marketing departments constantly remind you how bad your existing stuff is - all the while conveniently forgetting they were hyping it all the rage last year. They know you are stupid.

 

I bet the tech industry is pissed off at me for using older hardware as much as I do. And Microsoft is having a shit fit that I'm not on Windows 10 yet, but XP and 7.

 

Industry is gonna blow its top when I order 20 SkyLake machines with Win7.leaving.gif



#54 rcgldr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:46 PM

Keep in mind that Atari 400 / 800 / 65XE / 800XE run their 6502 at 2 mega hz, while the Apple II runs at 1 mega hz. The 6502 in an Atari 1050 runs at 1 mega hz.

 

The Altair 8800 ran it's 8080 at 2 mega hz, but with the smallest instruction taking 4 cycles, it was like a 6502 running at 0.5 mega hz. The Z80 in an Indus GT runs at 4 mega hz.



#55 GlowingGhoul OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:41 PM

OK, back to the original claim.

 

The VIC-20 wasn't first, by any objective measure. This is unambiguous, and simply a false claim.

 

Which on was first is up to debate, which is why there's so much confusion, but the VIC-20 is not in the running.



#56 x=usr(1536) ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:29 PM

Here's one from left field: the Philips Videopac / Magnavox Odyssey².

 

It predated the 400/800 by nearly a year and came with a keyboard, onboard audio and video, joysticks, and an assembly language cartridge.

 

The two things it never gained (to the best of my knowledge) were external storage and the ability to print.  But there was at least one additional peripheral sold for it in the form of The Voice.

 

Going with Keatah's earlier description of a computer consisting of a CPU, RAM, and I/O...  It qualifies.  Sure, it was pitched mainly as a game console, but the basic ingredients of a home computer are there if under-utilised.

 

Then there's the Exidy Sorcerer from 1978, which may predate the Odyssey² slightly.

 

The claims that the VIC-20 were first are wildly inaccurate.



#57 256 colors OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:17 AM

If you can program data/load and save i'd call it a computer

This VIC 20 guy sounds like a tit imho



#58 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:00 PM

One of them internet guys that has "something" about him that makes everyone pay attention. Witness this 3 page (and growing) thread.



#59 christo930 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:35 PM

To be honest, in May 1981 the 8K version of the Atari 400 was discontinued while the 16K version was lowered to $399, though BASIC cartridge now sold separately. That is only $100 more than the launch price of the VIC-20, which had a full travel keyboard, built-in BASIC but less than 1/3 of the RAM, simpler graphics and sounds. In June 1982, Atari further lowered the price on the 400 to $349 in order to issue a rebate in December that supposedly dropped the price below $200, though that isn't mentioned in the FAQ at Atarimania. Of course Commodore by the end of 1982 had lowered the price on their VIC-20 some as well, though the real price wars didn't commence until spring-summer of 1983.

 

So yes, the property of being affordable is fresh produce as the market conditions change all the time. I didn't account for TI-99/4(A), Acorn Atom, ZX-81 or any other manufacturer above.

 

http://www.atarimani...f-atari_92.html

http://oldcomputers.net/atari400.html

http://oldcomputers.net/vic20.html

 

Sounds a lot to me like simply moving the goalposts. What does "affordable" even mean anyway?  It's very relative.

Wasn't the Apple I released first anyway?



#60 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:17 PM

I know the guy will be biased because of who he is but seriously, VIC20 was the first home computer? Atari 800 was apparently a games computer and TI99/4 wasn't 'fully featured'

 

https://www.facebook...reply&ref=notif

This idiot probably did not know what a computer is.



#61 thetick1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:22 AM

Think what the author means the VIC-20 was the first mass market (ie cheap enough) home computer.   He just has too much pride to call his baby,the VIC-20, cheap!



#62 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:03 AM

A lot can be said about Michael Tomczyk, but claiming he didn't know what constitutes a computer only shows the ignorance of the person posting it. And no, someone who served in the army 1970-73 is not a "millenial".

 

Yes, he is heavily biased by his own claim of fame which even is contested by his former colleagues to which extent it was "his" project or if he just was one of many in a group. Yes, he takes the price point in consideration for what he claims was the first home computer, in a sense that all previous models were so much more expensive that only the genuinely interested would consider investing in one. That is why I digged deeper into the price evolution of the Atari 400, which I believe is the model that came closest to the VIC-20 in pricing while also offering some form of colour graphics and sound. The TI-99/4 would have been running if it had not come bundled with a monitor.

 

They say you should not feed the trolls. The easiest way is to dismiss mr Tomczyk as one of those, and let his more than two month old statement wither away as many of us know better anyway. As long as a reputable source such as Wikipedia doesn't claim the VIC-20 was the first full featured home computer, we're quite safe.

 

Besides, isn't the assembler cartridge for the Odyssey^2 just a sandbox? I know they released a BASIC cartridge much later, but it had its own Z80, RAM and I would imagine connections for secondary storage. If we think it is a stretch to call the VIC-20 full featured, it is a much larger stretch to call the Odyssey^2 a home computer even if it was designed to look like one to fool parents. The Exidy Sorcerer is also interesting, but it was launched at $895 which is closer to PET and TRS-80 prices (not to mention the Atari 800 released a year later) than VIC-20 or even discounted Atari 400 prices.


Edited by carlsson, Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:05 AM.


#63 shoestring OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:42 AM

In "The Commodore Story" Michael Tomczyk is interviewed and talks about the VIC-20. He describes it as "the first full featured affordable home computer". Cheap enough for anyone to buy but also has all the features of the more expensive machines like a proper keyboard ( not rubber or membrane ), colour, graphics and sound.

I believe it was Bil Herd ( one of the commodore engineers who worked on the plus 4 and c128 line ) in 8 Bit Generation did point out that Commodore recognised that the VIC-20 was no Atari or Apple killer, the c64 was designed to do that job. Andy Finkel even remarked how envious he was of the Atari machine ( I guess the 800 ) and liked the hardware. They looked at certain features of the 800 before designing the c64 to determine what was going to go in.

#64 kiwilove OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:53 AM

What peeves me about the Atari 400 versus Vic-20 comparison - that typically it is said that the Vic-20 has the edge with it's typewriter keyboard for word processing.

But they fail to mention how awful the screen/font is for that purpose.

 

You can look at the Speedscript comparison here -

https://en.wikipedia...iki/SpeedScript

In which the Atari 400 has a larger screen for text - and is more readable than the Vic-20's.

 

There is though the problem of upgrading the Atari 400 membrane keyboard to a full travel typewriter styled keyboard - and how it's combined pricing would be more than the Vic-20.

I can't imagine any serious writer being happy with using the Vic-20 for wordprocessing - putting up with it's awful font and limited screen display.

 

Harvey



#65 rcgldr OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:58 AM

Sometime during the 1980's, the price of an Atari 400 dropped to $70, and Fedco (a local chain in California) was selling them with $50 rebates, so the price was $20.

 

During the late 1970's and early 1980's, CP/M systems were popular, mostly for WordStar, the first cheap WYSIWYG and interactive text editor, which was ported to early PCs. I recall my kids using WordStar for homework. There were also database and spreadsheet programs, but these were mostly used in business environments.

 

On a side note, I saw an interactive editor demonstrated back in 1973 on an HP 2100 with a CRT monitor where I worked. It worked well, but tied up what was a fairly expensive mini-computer system, and at that site, we used teletypes for batch entry or batch editing commands, lugging around 14 inch single platter removable disk packs that held the source files. The source files were periodically backed up using mylar punched tape, as the life span of magnetic media wasn't well known back then.


Edited by rcgldr, Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:59 AM.


#66 shoestring OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:32 AM

Leonard Tramiel talks about Michael Tomczyk's involvement with the development of the VIC-20. @ 6:37

 

Some of you might find this very interesting :)

 


Edited by shoestring, Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:33 AM.


#67 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:22 AM

What peeves me about the Atari 400 versus Vic-20 comparison - that typically it is said that the Vic-20 has the edge with it's typewriter keyboard for word processing.

But they fail to mention how awful the screen/font is for that purpose.

 

Yeah. I didn't have a VIC but i had friends who did and they were at the library. That crazy 22 column display was pretty awful, IMO. 

The original guy seems to be 'reaching' to try and support a fairly weak claim. And no disrespect to the VIC fans, but that computer always felt to me like it found its legs when Commodore was liquidating it cheaply but hit the wall when the Commodore 64 took off. The latter is what everyone remembers anyway

 

I do find his analogy that the "Vic" with its 22 character display and 5 KB of RAM was "full featured" but the 400/800 were 'games computers'. 


Edited by DracIsBack, Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:23 AM.


#68 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:11 PM

Or maybe it's a not an issue of pushing the hardware to new heights after all.. But, rather, advertising and marketing retiring a line of products before their time. Because it seems that all hardware out there has shown surprising gains in versatility and performance over time. Yet those marketing departments constantly remind you how bad your existing stuff is - all the while conveniently forgetting they were hyping it all the rage last year. They know you are stupid.

 

I bet the tech industry is pissed off at me for using older hardware as much as I do. And Microsoft is having a shit fit that I'm not on Windows 10 yet, but XP and 7.

 

Industry is gonna blow its top when I order 20 SkyLake machines with Win7.attachicon.gifleaving.gif

This is so true. How many computer's marketing touted how they are so advanced and their expandability as a reason they will never be out-dated and then just a couple of years later doing it all over again with the latest.



#69 Laner OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:36 AM

 

 And no disrespect to the VIC fans, but that computer always felt to me like it found its legs when Commodore was liquidating it cheaply but hit the wall when the Commodore 64 took off.

 

1982 was the Vic's best selling year. While the C64 was release the second half of the year, it wasn't until late '83 that it really started taking off.






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