Thanks again everyone!
Yup, I'd have purchased it but that is a non proportionate whack..
Mclaneinc: I totally get what you're saying. Let me say in defense: The print copies only cost a couple of dollars to manufacture and distribute. The main cost of the book is the two years it took me to write it, plus the layout, copy editing, line editing, and cover design (thousands for these in total). You'll see this in pricing across the board. For example:
You don't have to believe me either; look up publishing costs and ebook costs and you'll find lots of data on this. If you or anyone do read my book, I hope you like it, as I've put everything I've got into it.
Tim Kline: Thanks for all the comments! To answer a few inline:
First, why the hate on the Atari PC's? I'm looking to adopt one someday, a PC3 or PC4, ideally. Pick up an SIO2PC with serial from AtariMax and use the Atari PC with APE to an Atari 8-bit home computer as its slave? It's a dream I'd love to see come true!
Oh, that was just me being snarky, because it was so far off mission for Atari to be doing that when they did. I'm sure they're fine PCs, and that sounds like a killer project.
Second, you're right about Atari's bungling of the 1200XL release. However, with the modern-day availability of the means not only to correct the flaws, but also providing the physical housing for bringing countless modifications to the Atari 8-bit home computer platform, 1200XLs still retain a tremendous amount of potential for the Atari hobbyist today.
I do mention that several times throughout the book; some people even consider the 1200XL to be the *best* machine once you mod it and set it up right because of how beautifully made it is. That's because of the tireless community work since (many on the forums here!), which has fixed its various issues. At the time it was released, though, it failed and many argue it significantly damaged the lineup because of the incompatibilities.
I also appreciated you pointing out how difficult it was to get technical information about the Atari home computers, because that was commonly brought up during my earlier days with the community, back in BBSing days. Recently, I've been hearing statements to the contrary, that Atari has always been open with its technical details on just how to access and utilize the inner mechanics of the Atari home computers. When De Re Atari was officially published, that was Atari's first step toward operational transparency; at least that's how I remember it. And that was much later in the home computer timeline, I believe.
Yep, that is exactly correct. That was almost wasted years, more or less, before third-party developers could get going. That meant that instead of Apple having a two-year advantage, it had a four-year advantage, and so many early players in software went with the Apple II as a result. The wasted opportunity kills me to this day.
Speaking of BBSes, was there any reason in particular that you didn't go into the non-game options that were available for the Atari 8-bit home computers, such as word processors, educational software, telecommunications, and maybe even touch on BBS software?
Oh, check out the second half chapter 2 for Atari's non-game software and chapter 3 for third-party software like Paperclip, VisiCalc, The Print Shop, BBS software, etc. I ran a BBS in the mid-80s and go into it near the end of chapter 3. I used FoReM XL. I did focus much more of the book on the games, granted.
In the mainstream, Atari is remembered for games, and I've yet to stumble across another person IRL (since my first relationship with the Atari home computer) who either knew someone who owned and used one, or were an Atari owner themselves.
Yes! This was the central tension of the Atari computer lineup, and what fractured and ultimately incapacitated management to market and develop the product line correctly; even Atari itself vacillated between these two positions at times (I'm talking generally). The Atari brand for games was so strong the company was ultimately unable to overcome it with its "serious" computers, while simultaneously it probably shouldn't have *tried* to overcome the games image and just embraced it, since that's where it was strongest. Today, Windows PCs are all over the workplace *and* have a huge enthusiast gaming community, and no one's had a problem with it for decades.
For me, there was far more to the Atari 8-bit home computer than ported and original games, and I would have enjoyed seeing your coverage of the other ways (including the ones mentioned above) that Atari home computers defined a generation, including their work with schools as well as offering their own Atari camps for young programmers— something which no other computer manufacturer has done since, insofar as I'm aware.
I mention the camps and the schools on pages 58-59. I believe you're right about no PC manufacturer doing that since, though I'll bet now you can turn up all kinds of educational events from anyone doing cutting-edge work and research (Google, Nvidia, IBM, etc.); the opportunities out there today in machine learning, AI, quantum computing, etc. are unbelievable.
Thank you again everyone!