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Savetz

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Savetz last won the day on December 7 2017

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About Savetz

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    Stargunner

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    Portland OR
  • Interests
    preserving Atari publications at AtariMagazines.com, AtariArchives.org, and Archive.org. Co-host of ANTIC the Atari 8-Bit Podcast.

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  1. Hello from 5 years in the future. I converted the Forth source code disks to text files for easier reading and uploaded here: https://github.com/savetz/RAMbrandt
  2. Eric Podietz, Interactive Picture Systems https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-426-eric-podietz-interactive-picture-systems Eric Podietz was co-founder of Interactive Picture Systems, a company that created software for 8-bit computers from 1982 through 1984. The company's first program was PAINT! for the Atari 8-bits, which was developed at the Superboots software development lab located at the Capital Children's Museum in Washington, D.C.. PAINT! was first published by Reston then by Atari. Their next program was Movie Maker, an animation program. Next came three educational titles published by Spinnaker Software: Trains, a business simulation; Grandma's House, a digital dollhouse; and Aerobics, a fitness program. The company also created Operation Frog, simulated frog dissection software for the Apple II and Commodore 64. This interview took place on September 9, 2021. In it, we discuss Guy Nouri, Ann Lewin-Benham, and Bill Bowman, whom I have previously interviewed. After the interview, Eric sent me the source code for his early Apple II program Painter Power, which I scanned and uploaded to Internet Archive.
  3. Dan Kramer (primarily known as the trak-ball guy) sent me his engineering notebook from his time at Atari. it's amazing. https://archive.org/details/dan-kramer-atari-engineering-notebook
  4. Jeffrey Sarnoff, Atari Research Group https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-425-jeffrey-sarnoff-atari-research-group Jeffrey Sarnoff started at Atari in the home computer division in 1981 as a software architect, where he worked on a 3-D graphics library. The next year he moved to Atari's Research Group, under Alan Kay, where he worked on a holographic animation system and a 4-dimensional strategy game. This interview took place on August 25, 2021.
  5. My interview with Mark is here: https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-424-atari-at-the-science-fair-mark-knutsen-star-cluster -Kay
  6. Atari at the Science Fair: Mark Knutsen, Star Cluster https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-424-atari-at-the-science-fair-mark-knutsen-star-cluster This is the third in a series of interviews called "Atari at the Science Fair" where I talk with people who used Atari 8-bit computers to create projects and enter them in science fairs. Today's interview is with Mark Knutsen, who wrote a star cluster simulation in the Forth programming language for his high school science fair. I found this blurb in the July 1986 edition of the Jersey Atari Computer Group newsletter: "June meeting highlights ... Mark Knutsen showed us his Star Cluster program in Forth that won a science fair prize for him. Mark’s program demonstrates the interaction of four stars in two planes. Mark also discussed Forth in general." This interview took place on August 21, 2021. If you'd like to see our talking heads — and the visuals of his program running — a video version of this interview is available at YouTube and Internet Archive. Mark has shared his program and the source code: those links are in the show notes. This interview at YouTube
  7. HOLY COW! This is an amazing find. ↓↓↓ Lucy Hilmer found the videotape of the lost 18-minute version of The Magic Room. Frankly, I was unclear if it was ever really created, but it was, and she gave it to me, and I had it professionally digitized, and it looks BEAUTIFUL. Three versions of the film were created by Elfstrom-HIlmer Productions for Atari: a 26-minute version, an 18-minute version, and a 3-minute trailer. The 26-minute and 3-minute versions were digitized years ago and have been available online for some time. It was unclear whether the 18-minute version still existed, or if it had ever existed. The filmmakers' contract with Atari indicated it was created, but the filmmakers couldn't remember for sure. It was unclear, that is, until August 2021, when Lucy Hilmer found the 3/4" videotape. The 18-minute movie isn't just a shortened version of the 26-minute version. It's a substantially different edit, featuring more intimate perspectives on certain campers, and entire scenes lacking in the 27-minute cut. I don't know if this version of the movie was ever shown beyond the walls of Atari, but I do know that for the first time in decades, we have some new views onto that summer in 1982 at Atari computer camp. You can watch it at YouTube — and a ProRes version is available for download from Internet Archive. Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/the-magic-room YouTube:
  8. @cx2k I want to interview him for the Antic podcast. Would you hook me up with him please? -Kay
  9. Tom Halfhill discusses Charles Brannon and SpeedScript https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-423-tom-halfhill-discusses-charles-brannon-and-speedscript Charles Brannon was program editor at Compute! Publications from 1980 until 1986. He wrote and edited articles for Compute! Magazine and Compute!'s Gazette. His Linkedin profile says that his "primary responsibility was crafting BASIC and assembly language software creations. Secondary was managing other young programmers." Charles' wrote and ported many type-in programs for the Atari 8-bit and other computers. His Atari programs included FontMaker, a character set editor and The Atari Wedge, for adding commands To Atari BASIC. His most popular and well-known program was SpeedScript, an assembly language word processor that was available first for the Commodore 64 in the March 1985 issue. In subsequent issues -- one month after another -- versions were published for VIC-20, then the Atari 8-bits, then the Apple II. Each version was a type-in listing that -- after excruciating hours of careful entry -- would build a powerful, functional word processor. Charles wrote a couple of books about SpeedScript (one specific to Atari and one specific to the Commodore versions) which contained the manual, type-in program code, and commented assembly language source code. I've been trying to get an interview with Charles Brannon since 2015, to talk about his time at Compute! in general and SpeedScript specifically. This year, I heard back from his wife Margaret, who told me that Charles suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2016 and no longer feels confident in his memory. I won't be able to interview Charles. But, Tom Halfhill, Charles' old friend and colleague at Compute!, volunteered to talk to me about Charles. Tom was a supervisor at Compute! when Charles wrote SpeedScript, and often discussed which features to include and the problems he encountered. Tom worked at Compute! Publications from 1982 to 1988, starting as the first Features Editor for Compute! Magazine later becoming Editor. He was the launch editor of Compute!'s Gazette for Commodore, Compute!'s Atari ST Disk and Magazine, Compute!'s PCjr Magazine, and Compute!'s PC Magazine. This is not the first time I've talked with Tom: I interviewed him about his time at Compute! back in 2016. This time I talk with him with an emphasis on Charles Brannon and SpeedScript. (To be perfectly honest, we stuck to those topics for about 35 minutes. After that, we found other interesting things to talk about, most of which I left in this episode.) This interview took place on July 22, 2021. This interview at Youtube My 2016 interview with Tom
  10. Donald Dixon, Robotics R&D at Atari Research https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-422-donald-dixon-robotics-rampd-at-atari-research Donald Dixon worked at Atari Research from 1983 through 1984, under Dr, Alan Kay. There, he worked in robotics research and development, working on a robotic wheelchair. After Atari, Donald worked at Axlon, Nolan Bushnell's toys and consumer robotics company; and Worlds of Wonder, the company most famous for the animatronic bear toy, Teddy Ruxpin. This interview took place on July 27, 2021.
  11. Jim Leiterman, Atari Research Group https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-421-jim-leiterman-atari-research-group Jim Leiterman worked at Atari from April 1982 through March 1984 in the research group, under Alan Kay. His various projects included software for Project Puffer, an exercise bike peripheral for the Atari 800; an 8-player Hammurabi game; and an unreleased port of the game Warlords. He created a symbolic disassembler, which he used to port the game Kangaroo from Atari 5200 to the Atari 800. That version of Kangaroo was released by Atari Program Exchange, in the fall 1983 catalog. Prior to Atari, Jim was a programmer at Horizon Simulations, where he worked on Shadow Hawk One, "a futuristic game of spacefaring piracy." This interview took place on July 12, 2021. Be sure to check out Jim's web site where he has posted some photos of the hardware and software that we discussed. This interview at YouTube Jim's Atari page
  12. Brenda Laurel, Atari Research https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-420-brenda-laurel-atari-research Dr. Brenda Laurel worked at Atari from 1980 through 1984. She began as software specialist for educational applications then soon became manager of software strategy for the home computer division. In mid-1982, she joined Atari Corporate Research at the Sunnyvale research laboratory, where she worked with Alan Kay. After Atari, she worked at Activision as director of software development. Later she founded Purple Moon, a software company focused on creating games for young girls; and co-founded Telepresence Research, a company focused on first-person media and virtual reality. This interview took place on July 15, 2021. Check the show notes for links to articles she wrote for Atari Connection magazine; her doctoral dissertation, "Toward the Design of a Computer-Based Interactive Fantasy System"; scans of memos on the subject of interactive fantasy that she wrote while at Atari Research; and more.
  13. Lucy Hilmer, the other filmmaker, sent me her collection of production documents for The Magic Room: https://archive.org/details/TheMagicRoomDocuments/ It includes contracts, financials, invoices, memos, and a hand-drawn calendar that makes it clear exactly when some of the key scenes were filmed. -Kay
  14. Bob gave a GREAT interview and you should listen to it. First watch the movie if you haven't. Bob Elfstrom, The Magic Room https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-419-bob-elfstrom-the-magic-room From 1982 through 1984, Atari ran summer computer camps at several locations around the United States. I covered the Atari camps extensively in a special episode in 2015. Now it's summer 2021, and we're going back to camp! That first year of the computer camps, in 1982, Atari commissioned a film about its summer camps, about the kids and teachers who were there, about the process of learning about computers, about kids challenging themselves, and about making friends at summer camp. Atari commissioned filmmaker Bob Elfstrom and his partner Lucy Hilmer to make the film. They shot the 26-minute film at the University of California, San Diego campus in 1982. It would be titled The Magic Room and was released the next year. There are many scenes in the computer lab: we see close-ups of kids concentrating, thinking about the logic of their programming projects. Their faces light up as they solve their problem. There’s an adorable scene with a robotic, computer controlled turtle running across the floor, racing an actual turtle. There's kids riding horses at magic hour, and singing by the campfire, and finally an epic pillow fight, with feathers flying everywhere in the dorm hallways. The end credits were made with an Atari 800, naturally. This interview is with the filmmaker, Bob Elfstrom. (Lucy Hilmer was unavailable for an interview.) Bob has a long list of film credits to his name. He is known for his work on Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music (1969), and Mysteries of the Sea (1980) -- his IMDB page lists scores of credits. It's easy to watch The Magic Room (and you should!). It's available at YouTube and Internet Archive. My interview with Bob took place on June 17 and June 25, 2021.
  15. Rick Trow, Computers: Expressway to Tomorrow https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-418-rick-trow-computers-expressway-to-tomorrow This is the second interview episode about Computers: Expressway to Tomorrow. Computers: Expressway to Tomorrow was a school assembly, sponsored by Atari, that played at hundreds of middle schools and high schools throughout the United States in 1983 and 1984. In the previous interview episode, I interviewed one of the show's presenters and the filmmaker. In this episode, my interview with Rick Trow. Rick Trow was the president of Rick Trow Productions, the company that created the Computers: Expressway to Tomorrow show -- as well as more than 40 other school assemblies and other productions over the years. Mr. Trow wrote the script for the 40-minute show, which combined two synchronized films with a live actor to teach computer basics to young people. This interview took place on June 5, 2021.
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