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About TangentAudio

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    Chopper Commander

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    Developer of the HappyCart cart emulator for the VCS/2600, circa 1999. http://www.tangentaudio.com/electronics/happycart/
  • Currently Playing
    Currently developing the R:Fi WiFi PBI peripheral for the Atari 8-bit series. Build log at http://atariage.com/forums/topic/263880-pbi-rfi-project-designbuild-log/

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  1. Sadly, no. I haven't even powered up any of my Atari stuff in well over a year. With so many things competing for my attention these days, it's been perpetually stuck on the back burner. No promises, but maybe I'll be able to get back to it this fall/winter, as that is when I usually get wrapped up in these kind of projects. cheers, Steve
  2. Outdoor activities have pretty much taken over my attention lately, which is great for the soul but bad for productivity on projects like this. I haven't forgotten about it, though, and still hope to get back to it when my free time and attention span allow! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer as well. -Steve
  3. Nothing to report, sadly. Between outdoor adventures and work being busy, it hasn't left much time for Atari stuff.
  4. True to his word, he sent me a spare, free of charge. Thanks for making AtariAge great, TT!
  5. Super generous individual! I posted about having a non-working Atari 8-bit cartridge and he shipped me a spare that he had, at his expense! This kind of experience is what makes AtariAge awesome.
  6. Printing is something I'd like to do eventually... Not sure when it will happen - still a ton of work to do to make this useful.
  7. Finally, it's actually doing something related to the project title... Just a simple test of everything so far, executing a command/response protocol over the PBI->SPI FPGA link to implement a few of the most rudimentary wifi commands like initializing and scanning. Just a quick demo that shows a scan with just my main two access points visible, then I turn on a test router and re-scan so a third one shows up.
  8. Ugh. I bought a 600XL from someone on Ebay that was packaged terribly. Power supply brick and 600XL - no bubble wrap, both loose inside of a crappy 1970s briefcase, which was tossed into a cardboard box with a little bit of bubble wrap (?!). Needless to say the 600XL showed up rather beat up. Space bar smashed off, scratches on the smoked plastic, scuffs and scrapes.
  9. Another aspect is why would some of us choose to spend so much of our time developing new software or hardware for a nearly 40 year old platform? Aside from the intrinsic enjoyment we get out of the experience (it's still fun, after all), there's a community element that adds to the enjoyment. Computers are somewhat unique in that they are a creative platform. Unlike some other forms of nostalgia and collecting, where it's all about simply obtaining an item and staring at it on a shelf once it's been obtained - these computers are still living platforms that can support new creations. I think there are many parallels to the classic car scene. Some people buy classic cars for some of the same reasons we enjoy collecting this old Atari stuff - to connect to their younger times. Classic cars, like our computers, are simpler to understand and work on. Most classic car scenes have people who put their skills to use making new products that help keep the old cars running or bring touches of modernity to them. Enthusiasts still spend their time and money tinkering on these old cars, going to weekend meets and shows, etc. Yet, I suspect most classic car enthusiasts drive something modern and practical as their daily driver. A major difference is that cars are, in North Americal culture at least, worshiped. Computers do not enjoy the same sort of status in our society, but the patterns of behavior surrounding the hobby are very similar in my opinion.
  10. To say most of us are "still using" our Atari 8-bits is a bit misleading. I assume most people tinker with them as a hobby, but aren't using them for serious day-to-day use. Sure, there are probably some exceptions, but by and large these machines are a curiosity, a novelty, and a nostalgic touchstone that connects us to an earlier, simpler, more fun time in our lives. In 1984, the 800XL was my first computer, and ultimately it was the platform that launched me into my career in software and hardware engineering. I've found a lot of joy in reconnecting with those old memories, and through the process of developing a modern WiFi PBI peripheral for the A8, both literally and figuratively bridging the past and the present. Filling in the gaps in my understanding of the technical details of the platform has been interesting, and it has allowed me to appreciate the architecture and design of the system from an entirely different perspective. When I was a teenager I defended the Atari from a highly emotionally charged place - it was the only computer I had, and I defended it tooth and nail. Now, removed by 25+ years, and with the benefit of a lot of study of other contemporary systems of the day, it's much easier to appreciate the Atari from an objective standpoint and see both the computer and the various incarnations of the Atari company for what they really were - and understand them in the proper historical context. Interestingly, this does not diminish the nostalgic value for me. I was concerned it might spoil the 'magic' that surrounded the system, but somehow learning more details has not diminished the warm memories I have. Any computer platform is, in essence, a world unto itself. The myriad of design decisions that led to the final product created a unique world that each of us has inhabited at different levels - from simply enjoying programs and games on the system to living deep down in the 1's and 0's by programming the system or making hardware for it. By nature of these systems being so much simpler, their design was influenced by a relatively small number of people. I have found that this is one of the contributing factors to giving the classic machines so much more personality than the bland systems we have today. This is certainly a piece of what makes them still enjoyable to appreciate even all this time later.
  11. Bits and pieces. I put some hours in over the weekend doing some boring work towards getting the handshaking working, which is a combination of FPGA work, and code on both the Atari and ESP32. I also put some time in on the schematic, inching that closer to being ready for a PC board layout. As I knew would happen with the arrival of nice weather, I'm spending more of my free time outdoors and haven't been as available to put in long hours down in my lab... but I am hoping to keep the project moving forward over the summer, even if it goes slowly.
  12. I picked up a Touch Tablet full package for pretty cheap on Ebay, and it came with everything including the AtariArtist cart. Unfortunately I can't seem to get any life out of it whatsoever. Cleaned the contacts with DeoxIT D5, reflowed every solder connection, checked continuity on all traces, and tried in a couple different computers... nothing. Computer basically behaves like there is no cart installed. I can boot to DOS and try 'run cartridge' and get "No cartridge" back. First time I've ever seen a cart failure like this, anyone else experienced this? I suppose it could have been used in an Atari with a failed power supply and the PROMs could be toast from over-volting, but I can't come up with many other likely scenarios. I was able to find AtariArtist in ATR form and test out the tablet, but I'd still like to have a working cart for my collection. If I got ambitious I suppose I could just make one with EPROMs, but I'm not sure I'm that motivated.
  13. Any chance you have a stock 400 membrane keyboard you don't need? I picked up a 400 this week but it came with an aftermarket keyboard - looking to make it stock for nostalgia since the first Atari I used was a 400, terrible keyboard and all.
  14. You'd be surprised, USPS Priority Mail for larger/heavier packages is not cheap. An XEGS+XF551+accessories, disks, carts, power supplies, etc. was like $56 to ship. 1200XL by itself with no PSU was $35, same for a 400 - no power supplies on either. *edit: I see that ebay listing was for economy shipping - that does seem steep!
  15. I am restoring a 400 and looking for the stock membrane keyboard in clean and working condition.
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