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almightytodd

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About almightytodd

  • Rank
    Dragonstomper
  • Birthday 01/31/1960

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    Infrequent Poster
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Orlando, Florida
  • Interests
    Professional programmer (C++, C#, SQL, BASH script)
    Guitar player
    Blues harmonica
    Juggling
    Tennis
  1. Since Spielberg directed, he should have insisted on there being an E.T. cart in there...
  2. So a stick PC for $170 you say? For that amount I think you could get one of these with a two-year extended warranty. But yes, it does take up a lot more space...
  3. Maybe someone just needs to come up with a PC-themed case for one of these...
  4. I keep going back to the concept of the "Atari Age". I don't think this site having that name makes any kind of statement that if it's not Atari, it's CRAP!! Rather, it acknowledges that there was a period of time when Atari represented a new era of technology as a basis of personalized entertainment. If you listen to the various Podcasts where some of the people from that era are interviewed, you find that many of them had a wide variety of big ideas about culture, society, and philosophy. I believe that whatever technology touched your life during these years, that is what you will feel nostalgia for and have an emotional attachment to. The very relevant statement that you had to choose a platform because you could only afford one of them was so true for most of us. A little light-hearted tribalism is okay, but in all seriousness, we should really strive to be welcoming of all enthusiasts of all technology that was relevant during the Atari Age. This site means so much to me (Thank you Albert!), because it provides an escape from the cynicism and strife that seems to permeate other social platforms that are focused on current events. I find that I spend much more time here than on say - Facebook, because there, it seems inevitable that just a few posts in, and I just find it depressing. Talk about tribalism! I'm glad that for the most part, discussions here are more likely to be polite and respectful. Thank you all for your contributions here to our love of retro-technology.
  5. Yes, to get back on topic - cost was the initial barrier to using a DOS-based computer, not the complexity of learning commands for file management and launching programs. Backing all the way up to the initial release of the IBM 5150 PC; it was sold as a professional, commercial computer that just happened to fit on a desktop. And the way it was sold was part-by-part. The "base" price of the computer included the motherboard and the case; no power supply; no RAM; no CGA video card; no keyboard; no monitor; no disk drives... ...you even had to pay separately for the power cord! By the time you assembled a complete system that would boot up and display something on a monitor screen, you were in the neighborhood of $4,000 dollars ($4,000 1981 dollars...). For the first few years the most serious competition to IBM was the Apple II. (Remember that ad, "Welcome IBM - Seriously"). A lot of businesses and colleges used Apple II's to run VisiCalc. Money was the barrier to the first GUI-based computers too; remember, the "Lisa" was a $10,000 computer when it was introduced. That's why my first computer was the "First computer for under $100 - The Timex/Sinclair 1000"...
  6. For me, the VCS/2600 combines two new life-altering technologies: Video Games and Microcomputers Video Games: For those of us who were there at the time, we remember that playing a coin-op video game was still a somewhat new phenomenon. Remember that only five years had passed since the introduction of coin-op Pong and the introduction of the VCS. Coin-op games were still very much in the Black & White era, when the VCS brought video games home and displayed them in color. The original pack-in cartridge was Combat; which used the arcade game "Tank" as a starting point to demonstrate how the player/missile graphics system in the VCS allowed for multiple game variations per cartridge. Microcomputers: The year of the Atari VCS was also the year of the microcomputer Triumvirate. While most American households could not spare the $600 cost of entry for a home computer ($2,500+ in today's dollars), the VCS was pricey, but do-able. The text above the cartridge slot said, "Video Computer System". And those of us who were paying attention knew that it wasn't just rhetoric; there really was an honest-to-gosh 6507 microprocessor in there; as Wikipedia explains, "essentially a 6502 chip in a smaller, cheaper 28-pin package". For those of us who lived close enough to a Radio Shack to spend a Saturday afternoon writing an "I'm thinking of a number between one and ten" BASIC language program on the 4K Model 1, until the manager kicked you out... going home afterwards and playing "Space War" on the family VCS would fill your head with fantasies of storing physics formulas inside a computer memory to calculate the motion vectors offset by the gravity of the "sun" in the center of the screen. And a final thought; this was "The Atari Age". There were some other names in coin-op video starting to appear, but there was this feeling that "Atari" was the original and the best. There was a definite connection between "Atari at the arcade" and "Atari in your living room". I can't think of another intersection of technology, entertainment, and a brand-name before or since.
  7. Maybe Elio Motors should offer a free Atari VCS with every new pre-purchase...
  8. I think I reject the entire premise of the argument. The Atari 800 and 400 were designed to compete with the Apple II, which they did quite nicely... Each of the Atari 8-bit machines that followed were designed to be compatible with those that came before; allowing an Atari XEGS machine to play the same cartridge games that had been manufactured years before. The VIC-20, which came after the initial Atari 8-bit machines, was still inferior; with its only advantage being its sub-$300 price. And then when the C-64 came out two years later, it was incompatible with the VIC-20, and carried a price-tag close to the Atari 8-bits of that time.
  9. Is there a game called, "FUBAR"? There should be. Maybe an Atari Box exclusive?
  10. ...and the 2019 necro-bump award goes to... (I'm not knocking it, mind you. Much better to necro-bump than to start a new thread that has already been hashed and re-hashed over the years...)
  11. I found this entry from the Wikipedia article mentioned above quite interesting: "On teletypewriters and early keyboards, holding down the Control key while pressing another key zeroed the leftmost two bits of the seven bits in the generated ASCII character." Take a look at this ASCII chart and it becomes clear why "Ctrl G" sounds the "bell" in a command line window Notice also that upper-case letters come first, followed by lower-case that are offset by 32. I was wondering if this gives a hint to the keyboard layout of many (most) of the 8-bit computers prior to IBM; look at the ASCII chart for the numbers 0 - 9 and their corresponding symbols. Now look at this TRS-80 keyboard: I was noticing this recently when I was playing with some emulators of the early Acorn 6502-based computers (Atom, BBC Micro, and Electron). I find it interesting that the same shift-patterns correspond to the keys for * - + < > , . / = I read somewhere else on Wikipedia that the IBM PC keyboard layout came from the Selectric typewriter layout. That would explain the change in the placement of characters like, "@ & ^ _ + * ( ) ".
  12. Greetings and best wishes for the New Year everyone. Hope to see you again in this thread next year!
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