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Savetz last won the day on December 7 2017

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About Savetz

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    Portland OR
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    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. Dan Noguerol (@Farb): Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-398-dan-noguerol-farb-atari-8-bit-software-preservation-initiative Two interviews with the same person, recorded more than four years apart. Dan Noguerol is better known to the Atari community as Farb. He is the mastermind behind the Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative, and years ago created SIO2Arduino, an Arduino-based disk drive emulator. I interviewed Farb on August 29, 2019, where we talked primarily about the Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative. That interview took place at the Fujiama Atari event in Lengenfeld, Germany. Our friend Roland Wassenberg sat in on the interview. Shortly after doing that interview, I learned that Randy Kindig had also interviewed Farb, on April 20, 2015, but got busy and hadn't published the interview. So in this episode, two interviews with Farb: my more recent interview first, then we'll go back to 2015 to hear Randy's interview. ... Next, Randy's 2015 interview. In it, they discuss the Software Preservation Initiative, which was at a much earlier stage at that point, and SIO2Arduino. SIO2Arduino is an Atari 8-bit device emulator that runs on the Arduino platform. It connects to Atari 8-bit hardware and emulates a single Atari 1050 disk drive. In the years since this interview was recorded, the project has largely been made obsolete by projects like the S-Drive-MAX and FujiNet. But Farb's work on SIO2Arduino, and making it open-source, absolutely laid the groundwork for those newer hardware projects.
  2. It does indeed require line numbers.
  3. The bot runs on a Raspberry Pi. It runs the Atari800 emulator in an X virtual frame buffer. A Python script checks Twitter every two minutes for incoming tweets directed at @Atari8BitBot, and imports them into the emulator. ffmpeg records the emulator’s output as a video, then the script uploads that video to Twitter as a reply. Support for languages other than BASIC is done by putting in your tweet a directive in brackets, e.g. {P} for PILOT. A little regular expression searching looks for those, and launches the emulator with different combinations of cartridges and ATRs depending on the language. Bill Kendrick figured out the Xvfb and ffmpeg stuff, and came up with the idea to use the program "franny" to import the user-written code into ready-made disk image templates. —Kay
  4. Today I’m announcing my new project, @Atari8BitBot. It's a twitter bot: tweet it code in Atari BASIC, or Turbo-BASIC XL, or Logo, or PILOT, or assembly language. It’ll run your program in an emulator and tweet you back with it a video of it running. Documentation at https://atari8bitbot.com Have fun, Kay
  5. Youth Advisory Board: Steve Cohen https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-397-youth-advisory-board-steve-cohen This is the eighth in a series of episodes featuring the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. In 1983, Atari formed a Youth Advisory Board, selecting teenagers from around the United States to share their opinions about computers and video games, test software, and promote Atari's computers at events. The group consisted of kids aged 14 through 18, including Steve Cohen. He attended George Washington High School in Denver Colorado, where his teacher, Dr. Irwin Hoffman, taught. George Washington High School received a grant from the Atari Institute for Education Action Research, Atari's educational support arm, The Atari Institute Newsletter (fall 1982) wrote: "High school students in a model math and computer program will use their grant of ATARI Home Computer systems to develop individual and group research projects in their own fields of interest. Extensible programming languages, such as FORTH, will be used to develop new syntax for use in other high school subjects: electronics, music, art, history, mathematics, and home economics. This project supports a major 'model school' known for its innovations in computer education over the last twenty years." This interview took place on May 21, 2020.
  6. Kai and George Esbensen, Micro-Ed Software https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-396-kai-and-george-esbensen-micro-ed-software I first heard about the Micro-Ed software company when a member of the Atari community sent me a batch of educational cassette tapes to digitize. The tapes had titles like Maps and Globes, Punctuation, and Spelling Level E. Intriguingly, the tape labels said "Micro-Ed, creators of more than 2,500 programs, pre-school through adult." 2,500 programs? Why had I never heard of this company? I asked 4AM, a software preservationist specializing in the Apple II — and specializing in little-known educational software — if they had heard of the company. The answer was also no. So I started to research. A two-page advertisement in Compute! magazine issue 4, May 1980, provided my first glimpse into the company: "LOOK at all the MICRO-ED programs for the PET!" The titles listed include Agreement of Subject and Verb; Run on Sentences; Higher, Same, Lower; Word Demons; and (oddly) Usage Boners. Many of the software tapes were sold in packs, for instance $84 for a pack of 12 elementary school programs. $49.95 for a grade's worth of spelling lessons on 7 tapes. An item in the Washington Apple Pi journal, four years later, January 1984, intrigued me: "$10,000 EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE GIVEAWAY. Micro-Ed Incorporated has announced its willingness to donate up to $10,000 worth of software to any school district, Special Education cooperative, or parent group willing to establish a school-to-home lending library. No limit has been established on the number of grants Micro-Ed will make. The donation is not contingent upon the purchase of any Micro-Ed products. ... Thorward Esbensen, Micro-Ed's president, 'envisions the establishment of a free lending library of educational software for families.'" Less than a year later, in November 1984, the Commodore magazine The Transactor (v5n3) wrote that Micro-Ed had donated "more than a half million dollars worth of its instructional programs to school systems" for those free software lending libraries. So. Micro-Ed was established in 1979 by Thorward (Tory) Esbensen. Based in Eden Prairie, MN, the company specialized in low-cost educational software. The software, written in the BASIC programming language, was available for Commodore PET, VIC-20, and Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, Apple II, TRS-80, and Texas Instruments computers. Micro-Ed's best-known title was perhaps "Trail West," an Oregon Trail-like game. Mr. Esbensen died in 2012. I interviewed two of his sons, both of whom worked with their father at Micro-Ed. First, I talked with Kai Esbensen, the youngest in the family. Kai told me in email: "My siblings had all moved out by the time Micro-Ed was in motion, but I lived it. Helping out with Micro-Ed was my first paid job, in 2nd/3rd grade, and I was still on the payroll helping out through age 22." This interview took place on May 28, 2020. ... Next, I talked with Kai's older brother, George Esbensen, who was a salesman for Micro-Ed, and later was president of Cycle Software Services, a software duplication company that spun off from Micro-Ed. This interview took place on June 3, 2020. Very old Micro-Ed/Thorwald Esbensen web site AtariMania's partial list of Micro-Ed Software for Atari Micro-Ed advertisement in Compute! magazine May 1980 Thorwald Esbensen obituary in StarTribune Thorwald Esbensen obituary in Duluth News Tribune Washington Apple Pi, January 1984 The Transactor v5n3
  7. Myra Marshall, Computer Applications Tomorrow https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-395-myra-marshall-computer-applications-tomorrow Myra Marshall, along with her husband-at-the-time Roger Marshall, was co-founder of Computer Applications Tomorrow, a small software company that specialized in educational software for microcomputers. Most of the company's software was self-published and sold in small computer stores, including titles such as USA States and Capitals, Spelling Exam, and Alphabet Keyboard Primer. One title, Musical Computer: The Music Tutor, was sold by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the spring 1982 APX catalog. It was available on disk and cost $14.95. This interview took place on August 26, 2020. Musical Computer in the spring 1982 APX catalog AtariMania's list of Computer Applications Tomorrow software 159 people wrote Atari Program Exchange software. 94 have been interviewed; 15 known dead; 7 declined=115 accounted for.
  8. Awesome. Thank you! Do you have interest/ability to put this into github? -Kay
  9. I will deeply miss his friendship and collaboration.
  10. My favorite Antic interviews are the ones that take me down unknown corridors of microcomputer history, when I can learn (and hopefully teach others) about a little-known company or idea. Which is why I'm excited to share today's interview with Michael Darland. Michael Darland, Microperipheral Corporation and Sofcast https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-394-michael-darland-microperipheral-corporation-and-sofcast Michael Darland was co-founder of Microperipheral Corporation, and president of Sofcast, a system that sent computer data over AM and FM radio. Founded in 1979, Microperipheral Corporation produced 300 BPS modems for several brands of microcomputers, including models compatible with the Atari 8-bit computers. Using telecommunications software called TariTerm, the Atari compatible-modems worked with the Atari 850 interface, or by connecting directly to the SIO bus. Michael was also co-founder of Sofcast. Launched in August 1984, Sofcast was a system that sent computer programs and other data over traditional AM and FM radio stations. Listeners would use a $70 receive-only modem, called a Shuttle Communicator, to receive the programs that were transmitted over radio waves at up to 4800 bits per second. According to an article in the June 1986 issue of Modern Electronics magazine, "The software itself actually originates at the radio studio as a tape recording of what is essentially a modem’s output. It’s the same as if you fed an ASCII file through a modem, but recorded the modem’s output instead of sending into a telephone line." An article in PC Magazine, May 28, 1985, provides more detail: "The show’s format falls under the bailiwick of Robert E. Lee Hardwick, a veteran radio announcer of 25 years. Harwick’s articulate voice serves as the common thread tying together the distinct parts of the weekly 30-minute show. At the microphone, Hardwick interviews guests like Bob Landware, developer of software for synthesizing music on PCs, or he demonstrates computing curios such as the Ghostbusters theme played over a Commodore computer speaker. ...What separates Hardwick's show from its counterparts, though, is the transmission of software, or sofcasts. Midway through the show, Hardwick advises the listening audience to ready their equipment for sofcasts. He briefly describes the program or data file to be sent and counts down the sofcast like a rocket launch. A 1-second beep follows, after which the actual software is broadcast. This typically lasts 10 to 12 seconds, terminated by another 1-second beep. Then Hardwick’s voice returns. To transmit or download software across the air, Hardwick cables a device called a Shuttle Encoder to the serial interface port of his PC. With a program written by Microperipheral, he transfers the file to be sofcast to the Encoder, which converts it to analog signals. These signals can be taped or broadcast directly. ... The show is subsequently played on two AM stations in the Seattle/Tacoma area on Sunday nights, KAMT...and KXA. ...On the receiving end, the audience has an AM radio tuned to the show. Prior to the sofcast, listeners attach a Shuttle Communicator to the radio. A cable coming from the Communicator connects to the radio earphone jack. Another cable connects the battery-powered Communicator with the computer through the serial port. ...A special program, also developed by Microperipheral, is executed on the computer... It accepts a stream of data sent by the Shuttle Communicator to the serial interface and writes the data to a disk file. Since the show first went on the air in August 1984, Hardwick has sofcast a plethora of programs. The list includes spreadsheets, flight simulators, picture files, and games aimed at Commodore, Atari, Macintosh, Radio Shack, and IBM PC computers, among others. The public-domain programs distributed through the sofcast were initially received by only a few computers because of the limited availability of Shuttle Communicators." Later in the article, it says: "One of the biggest tasks facing Hardwick and his colleagues is to convince radio stations to air the show. ...Sofcast airs Sunday nights, sandwiched, on one station, between two religious broadcasts, a time when there 'is no revenue possibility at all, and hasn’t been for 20 years.' Yet a computing audience is tuning in, and businesses can reach them through advertising without paying exorbitant rates." Sofcast would grow to broadcast on 30 radio stations in the United States. Michael Darland's co-founder for both ventures, Donald L. Stoner, was a world-renowned ham radio operator who died in 1999. This interview took place on May 24 and May 31, 2020. "Software Takes To The Air" in PC Magazine 1985-05-28 "Free BASIC programs by Radio" in Modern Electronics 1986-06 "Software On The Air" in Computer Shopper 1985-08 Cable Systems Talk to Computers by Donald L. Stoner Wave of Future in Computer Software May Come Over The Radio Sofcast receive-only modem Donald L. Stoner obituary Microconnection modem review in InfoWorld, Sep 20, 1982 Microperipheral Launches Low-Cost Videotex System Microconnection User Manual 2.0 Microconnection User Manual 4.0 Microperipheral Corporation Sofcast FSK data communication system patent Microperipheral Corporation Sofcast data communication system patent
  11. Charles Marslett, MYDOS and FastChip https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-393-charles-marslett-mydos-and-fastchip Charles Marslett wrote floppy disk and hard drive drivers for Percom, and was the creator of MYDOS, a disk operating system for the Atari 8-bit computers that offered support for double density sectors, subdirectories, and hard drives. He also created FastChip, a hardware add-on for the Atari, sold by Newell Industries, that claimed to speed up floating point routines by 300%. He also created the A65 Assembler, a macro assembler. He has released the source code for MYDOS and FastChip. This interview took place on July 13, 2020.
  12. We sent him everything. Like I said, he's moved on to other things — remember, we're the weird ones stuck on old computers.
  13. I briefly emailed with Randy a couple of weeks ago. He told me that he is not doing anything Jumpman related but there is another Jumpman themed project in the works by someone else. He is aware of our project and supports it, but I think it's fair to say that he's moved on to other interests in his life. In case anyone here missed it, Rob and I interviewed Randy in 2016. https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-171-randy-glover-jumpman -K
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