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About oracle_jedi

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  • Birthday 01/06/1971

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    Nothing to Declare
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  • Location
    Seattle, WA
  • Interests
    Atari 8bit, 7800, Jaguar, ST, PC1, Falcon; Commodore VIC-20, Max, C64; Amiga 500, 1200; TI-99/4A; Sord M5; Camputers Lynx
  • Currently Playing
    Lemmings (Atari PC1 in glorious CGA)

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  1. Very nice looking upgrade, thanks!
  2. Well its PRGE again today. Excited for my annual opportunity to play Xevious on the Jag!
  3. Exactly. These machines are around 35 years old and still going strong. I spend ~$500 on a new phone these days and I am lucky if it lasts 4 years.
  4. Definitely wanted to echo @Ayreon on this one. FWIW I have two Falcons and am not in the market for another. That said, beyond steering the unit to an enthusiastic user, avoiding Ebay and using instead atari-forum.com or something like Amibay means you can avoid the growing number of scam artists on Ebay. There's many accounts of sellers getting ripped off by dishonest "buyers" claiming the item was never shipped, never arrived, wasn't what was advertised, arrived broken etc. And Ebay's policies seem very heavily tilted in favor of the buyer. My own experience here is selling a new-in-the-box item to some woman in Kansas, who then claimed the item arrived without a power adapter, and before I could even respond, had contacted Ebay who charged me not only to refund her money but also to ship the item back to me at a premium rate. I got back a damaged box (with the power adapter still present) which was now worth considerably less than when it had been undamaged. And as much as that experienced pissed me off, reading other accounts it seems many sellers have simply lost whatever they were selling, essentially being forced by Ebay to pay to ship their items to a scammer. If/when I come to sell my Falcons, I won't be using Ebay. I accept that I won't get the best possible price, but that's a price worth paying IMHO. Either way, good luck selling yours.
  5. Ray's already taken a run at it. After some tinkering he got it going, then it failed again here. Something screwy is up with this one.
  6. Agreed. From my memory, Rabbit, Romik and Anirog never released anything on disk for the VIC. K-Tel was a budget brand that packed two games on each tape - not the sort of thing that would lend itself to a disk release back in the days with the drive cost more than twice what the computer did. We could test Trader Trilogy in WinVICE and see what happens at the end of Part 1. Does it tell you to press SHIFT and RUN STOP to load Part 2? None of which is to say that some enterprising group State-side didn't acquire the rights to those games and issue disk releases. But in almost 20 years of trawling Ebay I've never seen one. As for the original question. My thoughts are a real disk drive is of limited value for a VIC today. The disk drive is slow, noisy and cumbersome to move files onto, as well as requiring a significant investment in desk space. The SD2IEC options are smaller, silent and simpler to move files onto from your modern PC. All that said, I do miss using my 1581 with the VIC. The 800K disk size seemed well suited to storing several 16K games, without so many that it was hard to read the directory listing. Alas the 1581 motherboard died
  7. I only got the email notification today. And it ended up in the spam folder. Thanks for the update, good to know the community is still there.
  8. For the PSU, I'd just add a barrel connector to your existing cable and create a short pig tail to drive the VIC from the Atari PSU. I use a number of pigtails for systems I don't have the original PSU for, or I just don't want to have the extra hassle of dedicated units for each system. For software and accessories, the basic VIC is very limited with just 5K of RAM. Get a 32K switchable RAM card. That should let you run most of the original games and applications, including those that were originally on ROM cartridge. You will also need a way to load and save games and apps. Look for an SD2IEC solution, something that lets you puts programs or whole disk images on an SD card, and then load them into the VIC via the disk interface. Also check out the VIC20 Denial forum. Lot's of great help there as well as access to many new games if that's your thing.
  9. I need to respray an STFM case. Anyone know a good way to remove the power and floppy LED lenses? They seemed to be glued in, and I don't want to break them on getting them out.
  10. If your primary motivation is playing Lucasfilm and Llamasoft games off a near instant load media, the 400 may not be your best choice. You've already fixed a failed membrane keyboard, and it sounds as if that wasn't inexpensive. But now you are limited to 48K of RAM, RF video and many of the cartridge port solutions either wont work on the 400, or wont fit in the cartridge bay with the door closed. As cute as the 400 is, you might be better off looking for an XL or XE machine with more capabilities and fewer limitations.
  11. In July 1984 Jack Tramiel acquired the consumer-market assets of Atari Inc. including the rights to the Atari name and associated fuji marketing logos. Plus he got by most accounts, warehouses full of unsold stock that still had a significant market value, product placements and sponsorship at the upcoming Summer Olympics, a complete and ready-to-manufacture replacement 7800 video game console, and the ongoing rights to several video game properties including some Nintendo titles for the home computer market. He acquired a global manufacturing and distribution network, and from memory Warner agreed to settle most outstanding debt. In short he got one heck of a deal. Knowing what we know today about the success of video games, it is tragic that Atari has been relegated to a purveyor of goofy retro consoles and ported-to-iphone penny games. Much of that blame belongs to the Tramiel clan. To be fair, Tramiel inherited a mess. Warner had mis-managed Atari badly. Like many MBA-led tech giants I have worked for, senior management mistook early success for their own business acumen, and hubris took over. The wild success of the 2600 after Space Invaders was licensed and a half-decent port released, was followed up by the cynical money-grabbing shit show that was Pac-Man, and the catastrophic disaster that was ET. I've heard Howard Scott Warshaw on stage at PRGE, hotly contesting that ET "wasn't the worst game on the 2600!". True enough. But it was the biggest disappointment ever released on any console, and a video game buying public twice conned by the marketing hacks at Atari were not going to be fooled a third time. James Morgan had quite sensibly halted some of the more bizarre Atari cash burning projects such as the 1400XL and 1450XLD machines, but also left the company with no future computing strategy. Tramiel brought his own baggage to the party. His Wikipedia page has several quotes to dealers who had been burned by him at his time at Commodore, and his penchant for trying to micro-manage every decision. His "stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap", no money for marketing, "build it and they will come" approach may have worked well in the early days of the PET and VIC20, but by the mid 80s it wasn't going to cut it anymore. His rock-bottom-price approach was a by-product of earlier career losses to the Japanese and TI, but it left no margin for serious product development. The C64 was a massive success in large part due to the low price. But there were several low-price micros in 1982. What Tramiel seemed to miss was that the C64 was also successful in large part due to the VICII and SID chips that blessed the machine with its remarkable abilities. If he had understood that key point, I believe the ST would have entered the market with more capabilities in this respect, especially audio. The Atari ST was remarkable for being introduced so quickly, but the machine lacked serious graphical and audio capabilities that are a requirement for a video game platform. He seemed to think his 1040ST with cheap laser printer was a good fit for small businesses, but who was going to support it when he had burned all his distribution bridges? Atari bought Federated Stores without doing their homework and lost what little working capital they had left, and the razor thin margins on the ST meant that development seemed to be stalled. As you say above, the STE should have been released in 1987, and might have allowed Atari to compete with the Amiga 500 at a price point that still allowed them to innovate. Instead we had a series of somewhat useless semi-portables and repackaged mega machines, and a TT that Atari didn't seem to know what to do with. Had he got the 7800 to market in 1984 and built some strategy to lure developers into supporting the platform or used legal means to break Nintendo's exclusive platform license policy, he might have kept that revenue stream open for longer, and we might have seen competitive Atari consoles into the late 90s. And what the hell was the XEP80 supposed to be? So in summary I feel Tramiels' wheeling and dealing squeezed another few years out of Atari. I am grateful for the 130XE, the STE and the Falcon. I supposed few others could have done much better. But Tramiel never seemed to have much of a vision. Someone who understood the value of the Atari brand, had vision, and a few million in working capital... Some dreams never die.
  12. Maybe someone with a 3D printer could make up some STF/E drive slot "shims". Basically a hollow rectangle that you glue over the modded drive bay hold to hide the less-than-machine-accurate cuts made with a drill bit and xacto knife. Would be handy for anyone replacing a failed ST drive with an industry standard 3.5 unit.
  13. My Atari 800 and 800XL had a brief hibernation in 1987 when I got my first 520ST. But I became frustrated with the ST on a number of fronts, sold it in 89/90 and moved back to the 800XL. They then had a four-year hibernation late 1990 to 1994 when I was at Uni. After Uni I had a little more space, but not much. The 800XL moved to the living room and became the "games machine" which due to space meant primarily cartridges. I even threw out all of the boxes (gasp!) because they took up space and really, who would ever want those? A larger house, a home office and Nick Kennedy's SIO2PC broke the XL's dependency on a large and clunky 1050. The 8-bits have been a regular fixture of the home office ever since spending about six months of the year of the desk and then yielding some time to the other retro systems - the VIC20 collection, the TI99/4A, the Amiga or the Falcon.
  14. Thank you for doing this! I remember looking at the Silica Shop advert every month on the back page of Personal Computing Today magazine - a black and white scan of that stock Atari photo with the 400 and the 800, and in large text across the top of the ad "100 FREE PROGRAMS" The 12yr old me imagined the 100 programs would include Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Going to be fun to see how wrong I was
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