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Hindsight and brain farts

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My Ultimate Atari8 MIDI Rack

I was getting a second Atari 8bit operational to use as a MIDI SynthDrum sound module controlled by the first running the MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM and MIDIMAX, when I had to leave for a babysitting gig in Rochester. I knew I would have some free time and took a pencil and paper to sketch out a plan for my ultimate 8-bit MIDI rack. At the end of the day the sketch looked like this. The control computer with the MIDI software transmits MIDI data to several Arduino processors with MIDI shields.

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More Lights for Spinax - Part 002

What percentage of your electronics spare parts have been salvaged with the hopes of using them someday. I began to see that putting the rest of the lights on Spinax was going to be an opportunity to rummage for items to use.   I wish I could remember how many years ago I walked into a casino and was given a gadget. Pull the tab and a number would be back lit. If the number as a match, you could have won $$$$. (I would have remembered the amount if I had won.)     When I got it home and p

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MIDIPLUS miniEngine USB - first impressions

I ordered the MIDIPLUS miniEngine USB sound synthesizer to reward myself for doing something special. This is the first chance I've had to play with it and can't remember exactly what that something was. Maybe it wasn't that special.   The thing that interested me most about this general midi sound module is its size( 3" X 4" X 1"). I just don't have the room to keep the TG-33 and sound mixer on my desk. If I want to have a short retro session, it can quickly be set up in a few minuet

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MIDI Wind Chimes - Using M: and Atari BASIC

MIDI Wind Chimes - Using M: and Atari BASIC

The last time I tried to simulate wind chimes was by outputting MIDI data through an RS-232 port on the 850 Interface(Rn:).   A8 Wind Chimes - Gentle Breeze in C minor - Out of the Pack - AtariAge Forums   Now that I have the Wizztronics MIDIMAX,  I can hook up a MIDI synthisizer to it and output MIDI data using Atari BASIC and the MIDI device handler(M:).   There were only a couple of lines in the original code that needed to be changed to open a channel to the M:

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MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM and Two Synth Drums

A second Atari8 running SYNDRUM3.BAS was added to the MIDI chain without timing problems. There didn't seem to be a delay between the sounds from the two computers when playing 2 drum sounds on the same beat. Listen to the drum patterns and judge for yourself. Two Drum mp3s.zip THE SECOND DRUM Since the SYNDRUM program only allows one percussion sound, I pulled my first 130XE out of storage to be used as a second percussion sound source. The broken keyboard was replaced with a Transkey

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MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM and one Synth Drum

Last time the MIDI keyboard was talking to the Atari 8 running SYNDRUM3.BAS. This time the MIDI keyboard will be replaced by an Atari8 running MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM software(MMS). I needed to estimate the SYNDURM program's ability to respond to some faster tempos.   I have a good idea of the SYNDRUM software's capabilities but had to take a step back and organize the equipment and cords. With the addition of the mixer, the number of audio cords draped around the work area grew to the point I co

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MIDI Computer Blues: Note On - Note Off

The Arduino is receiving data from the 850 and can send data to a MIDI device. The trick now is to get the MIDI command data from the 850 and send it to the MIDI device. There was nothing but silence from the synthesizer during the first day of programming. I would have had a sleepless night but decided to go to bed and skim the 850 manual for possible fixes. Fell asleep within 5 minutes. The Arduino sketch seems simple enough. Read 3 bytes - Write 3 bytes. Just be sure the pin assignment

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MIDI Computer Blues - V2.0

After hearing Computer Blues through a MIDI synthesizer, I can understand how some parents feel while hearing their child's first recital. Its not so much listening to the music as it is hearing the potential.   It is in this spirit that I post these zipped sound files. Atari computer blues 8.m4a - the original sound from the A8 with 8 as the speed Midicb piano.m4a - recorded the Casio CKT-481 synth at speed 1 Midich organ.m3q - Organ sound Midich organ and dr

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MIDI Computer Blues - Setting up the Hardware

Within the Atari 800 computer manual is a program called Computer Blues. "This program generates random musical notes to "write" some very interesting melodies for the programmed bass." Maybe the first program I typed in . That same program is in the 1030 XE manual. It was while listening to this program and trying to figure out what to do with an Arduino MIDI shield that I thought, "What would Computer Blues sound like if played through a synthesizer?"   Gone is my MIDI Mate, CZ-101 and Rolan

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microKorg - Assigning control changes

microKorg - Assigning control changes

A couple of days ago I grabbed the microKorg owner's manual to read on the throne. I happened to open to  Page 61 - Assigning control changes(CC).  It says you can assign numbers to the principal parameters. The edit menu section on the microKorg is shown with the principal parameters highlighted.   You can assign the CC# or just use the defaults that are assigned to those parameters.  These are listed in the Table on page 56.  The Control 2 values when OSC1-WAVE = DWGS are within the

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Metronome - Software Timer Demo in DE RE Atari

I was thinking about making an 8-step sequencer for a Gakken SX-150 Mark II analog synthesizer using the Atari8. Then I thought, "Why not just use the Pokey chip instead of the Gakken? " Then I thought, "Why not develop it using Diamond GOS? I'll bet no one has done that yet." While reading up on the hardware and software timers, the metronome program in De Re Atari looked like it could be easily modified with a Diamond upgrade to change the tempo using a slide bar. It was a good idea but

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Light control hardware - Spinax Part 003

The control system for the lights on LEGO’s Spinax has been prototyped and programed for a simple sequence. If your only interest is to see it in operation, check out the link to the YOUTUBE video. If you want more information read on.   {video removed}   Spinax has 8 lights along its back. I wanted to be able to program the on/off cycles for each light. This could be done using the 8 digital outputs of the joystick ports but left little room for future expansion. Inste

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Joystick Port Logic Box

Not that many of my projects get past the prototype stage. Once I find out that something can be done I rapidly lose interest. I have found in the past that once built, the circuits rarely get used because Im working on the next project. But every so often a circuit gets soldered together and put in a project box to have on hand. Such is the case with the Joystick Logic Box. While programing the Spinax light control circuit I wished I had the ability to quickly hook up some LEDs to the

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Inside the WICO Ergostick

The WICO Ergostick was my joystick of choice during the ST days. In those days the mouse was getting more use then the joystick but it did relieve the wrist pain. I can use the left or right hand for the mouse but never became ambidextrous with any joystick.   The ergonomic design of the rubberized housing allowed for a solid grip without a lot of pressure and cleaned up nicely in the dish washer. I feel I should mention that you should remove any parts you don’t want to get wet. WICO used

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Inside the WICO Command Control Joystick

What can you possibly say about the WICO Command Control Joystick that hasn’t been written? Not much. I was able to clean the leaf spring switch contacts and restore the continuity but never could figure out how to dismantle the bat stick.   There was little difference between the two joysticks that were rebuilt. Inside, one was marked 2/7/83 and the other 11/??/82. The color of the plastic changed but the design was similar. There are lots of posts and stops in the base that hold its inner

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Inside the Quick Shot II Turbo Joystick

I was surprised at the dismal condition my joysticks were in when I tested them with the Pocket Joystick Tester. When an LED did not light, I know it was broken but most of the time they would dim, blink, or change light intensity as the switches were activated. These are sure signs that the contacts need cleaning. If I’m going to clean the contacts I may as well take some pictures to share.       Quick Shot II Turbo   I’m not sure where I got this joystick or if it has ever been opened

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Inside my Computek Joystick

The Computeck joystick was very similar to the Quickshot 2 in that it used the same spring-flipper switches and it had a pistol grip. The base contained 2 extra trigger buttons and a sticker that said, “MADE IN TAIWAN”.   It has no auto-fire circuit but the PC board has the traces to implement one. One might assume that the on-off switch would have been placed in a notch on the bottom.   An emery board, borrowed from my wife’s manicure kit has found a permanent place in the tool box for cl

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Implementing the MIDI Implementation Chart

Playing MIDI notes has turned out to be quite easy for Atari BASIC through the RS232-Arduino-MIDI OUT (RAMO) interface (see previous posts in this blog). Most MIDI instruments have additional functions beyond receiving the note ON and note OFF commands. Each MIDI instrument should come with a MIDI Implementation Chart (MIDI-IC) that will indicate which functions are implemented. The MIDI-IC for the CASIO CTK-481 will be used to build some BASIC programs to control the CTK-481. That is to

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How to play Star Raiders with a 3 year old

My wife tells me that our three year old granddaughter may be a little to young to enjoy a game of Star Raiders. To which I said, "You may be right." And then I put the cartridge in. I have to admit that the first try was not all that successful. I gave her the joystick and she found the fire button. She just kept firing till she hit something. I told her it was a rock and then everything she hit was a rock. I worked the keyboard while she fired away. She wasn't much of a pilot, the joyst

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GVOX Guitar --> 850 -->Atari 8bit - FAIL

Fender’s GVOX Guitar interface has a DB9 serial connector that would fit nicely into the rs232 port on the Atari 850 interface. I wasn’t able to rule out the possibility of getting the two to communicate, its just that I can’t justify the time, effort or value to find out.   The GVOX Guitar interface connected your steel string Guitar to a Win95 computer with a MIDI sound card through a COMM: port. The interface would monitor the pickups mounted under the strings for frequency and volume da

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Going Retro: What's the DIF?

Having chosen Calc Magic as my A8 spreadsheet program, the next logical step seems to be to transfer the data into Calc Magic. Several of the files that are to be transfered started out as Visicalc files then migrated to Calc Magic, then to the ST, then to the IBM running Lotus 1-2-3, then to Microsoft Office, then to the iMAC running Microsoft Office, then back to an IBM compatible running Microsoft office, then to Open Office, then to Excel 2013, and now back to Calc Magic. I could have save

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Going Retro: Checking on the A8

Retrofying the checking account gave me a chance to think about how much of my every day banking has changed over the last 30 years. Debit cards, ATMs, automatic deposits, automatic bill payment, automation of data entry at the window, and online banking came about after opening up my first checking account. Now that my balance is one password away I didn't even bother to keep the Transaction Register (that little book that comes with the checks) up to date. Maybe one of the biggest changes i

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Going Retro: A8 Spreadsheets

My first opportunity to go retro was when I wanted to build a spreadsheet to calculate wheel rpm and pulse duration for the bike speedometer project. At about 12mph the computer readings start to become erratic. So I started at the beginning and booted up VisiCalc. VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program I ever saw. I had talked the company into purchasing an image analysis system that used an Apple II. Of course the finance people saw this as an opportunity to try out VisiCalc without

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Finally, I'm Playing MIDI Notes using MAC/65 Assembler Code

Do you remember me mentioning that the first attempt to write a machine language program to read MIDI data delivered to the Atari joystick port was a complete failure? The Arduino hardware has remained the same. The joystick trigger and cassette motor control(CMC) pin on the SIO port are still being used to control data flow. But this time I redefined the project specs to simplify the ML program and tested the ML data transfer routine as a USR call. The USR routine was written to replace th

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Easy Atari Page Flipping - a tutorial

If you typed in your first BASIC "HELLO" program and  made some small modification then there's a chance you've been typing ever since.  I've had some time on my hands and read an old tutorial that begged to be inputted and modified.   COMPUTE! September 1983 contains the article  "Easy Atari Page Flipping" by Chris Allen.  It's  a program to demonstrate page flipping on the Atari with plenty of room for experimentation.   https://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue40/page_f

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