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About drpeter

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  1. Yep. Easy to forget what a substantial investment a home computer was in those days. The 400 launched in the US at $500, the equivalent today of $2000 or (£1500 in the UK)- which in 1979 was also a much larger proportion of disposable income than $2000 today. Plus you needed to buy the BASIC cartridge and the 410 recorder on top of that as bare minimum, taking the inflation-adjusted outlay up to ~$2500 or £1900. The basic Atari 800 and the Apple II at $1000 cost the equivalent of $4000 or £3000 today. These were not easily-affordable items. They were about half the cost of a family car (basic new Ford Escort in 1979, $1900). So scrimping wherever possible on cost to bring them into the reach of typical families made perfect sense.
  2. That Motor Spindle in the diagram is also +12V DC power, switched through the Q6 transistor
  3. I think nowadays they call it 'haptic feedback' 😄 As was said, way ahead of the curve....
  4. As stated above, the original plan for the Atari 8-bit computer line was for the 400 to have 4K of RAM and be a games console without a keyboard and the 800 to have a basic 8K of installed RAM, (expandable to 48K) and be a general purpose home computer. 4K sounds silly, particularly when the more advanced graphics capabilities of the machine required more than 9K video RAM (inclusive of player/missile graphics) but RAM was still very expensive in the late 70s and the 2600 games console managed with only 128 bytes! During pre-release development, the price of RAM fell to the point that the 400 could be released at a competitive price with 8K and soon thereafter 16K RAM as standard. Atari executives had meanwhile been blown away by the Star Raiders game, which was by far the most advanced games application developed pre-release, and realised correctly this would be a killer app for the 400. Unfortunately, Star Raiders required 8K of RAM and a keyboard to play. Hence the 400 had to be rapidly redesigned to have a cheap keyboard, and coincidentally could reasonably be launched as a budget general purpose computer for programming with a BASIC cartridge and 8K of RAM. Opinions vary on the usability of the 400 keyboard. As membrane keyboards go, it's about as good as they get. I did an awful lot of typing on mine before eventually replacing it with a 3rd party 'proper' keyboard and for me it was acceptable for programming- certainly wouldn't have dreamed of swapping my 400 for a VIC-20! Remember too, that you're not going to be typing in and editing hundreds of lines of code with only 1K (for a 4K machine) or 5K (for an 8K machine) of free RAM to play with under BASIC and a cassette player to store it on!
  5. St Basil's Cathedral The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed in Red Square, Moscow- commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral. 48 colours. drpeter_StBasils.xex
  6. Mt Kronotsky Active volcano in Kamchatka peninsula, eastern Siberia. 40 colours. drpeter_Kronotsky.xex
  7. Lemmy Ian Fraser Kilmister (aka Lemmy) 1945-2015. Founder, songwriter, bassist and vocalist of heavy metal band Motörhead. 32 colours. drpeter_Lemmy.xex
  8. Gimli John Rhys-Davies as Gimli son of Gloin, a dwarf warrior in Peter Jackson's film trilogy of JRR Tolkien's fantasy novel 'The Lord Of The Rings'. 56 colours. Here he laments departing Lothlorien, the realm of the beautiful Elf-Queen Galadriel: “Tell me, Legolas, why did I embark upon this Quest? Little then did I discern where danger chiefly lay! Apt were the words of Elrond, saying that we knew not what trials might test us on our way. Torment in the dark I feared the most, though it stayed me not, yet ne'er would I have set my foot upon this road had I but foreseen the mightier perils of light and joy.” drpeter_Gimli.xex
  9. Daphne Screengrab from 'Scooby Doo' 62 colours drpeter_Daphne.xex
  10. Grasmere English Lake District 55 colours drpeter_Grasmere.xex
  11. Another version, pre-processed to achieve more shading in the face... drpeter_Mariya.xex
  12. Ice Bears Russian bears on the volcanic shores of Kurile Lake, Kamchatka Peninsula, Eastern Siberia. 32 colours. drpeter_Bears.xex
  13. Serengeti 26 colours. drpeter_Serengeti.xex
  14. Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Russian district) in north-western Siberia. 41 colours. drpeter_Yamalo.xex
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