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@wood_jl — wow, thank you.

 

 

Doug Neubauer — Randy has been working on this for some time. My guess is that it will happen in time.

 

David H Ahl / Betsey Staples — I did an extensive recorded interview with them (in my dining room!) a couple of years ago, back when I though I might write a book about Creative Computing. I now intend to re-purpose that interview for ANTIC.

 

Everyone else — we'll see what we can do :)

 

—Kevin

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:)

 

Also, please don't forget to try to contact Russ Wetmore, who wrote Homepak, Preppie!, and Sea Dragon (and perhaps other things I don't recall) for the Atari8. I seem to recall reading somewhere (wish I remembered where) that Homepak was written in Action! on the Atari, and that even the Commodore 64 version of Homepak was also written in Action! on the Atari. That would make for an interesting question.

 

Whenever Kevin or Randy gets a chance to shoot another question to Joe Decuir, could you please ask about the origin of the signature SIO-beep of the A8? Who made that decision? Also, while the SIO-beep on the disk drive goes by very quickly and thusly sounds just like a "beep," on the cassette (you're blessed, Kevin, for having been able to have skip this unpleasant experience), why did it "warble" or "trill" (I'm not sure what adjective to use to describe the wavering sound) as the cassette loaded? Who came up with the "Atari Fart" sound when the system is turned on? This "Noisy I/O Flag" (as I think it was referenced in some Atari book) is *absolutely* unique to the Atari8 computer. While I didn't care for the sound in the early [cassette] days, by the end - with Happy drives and all - I learned to love the SIO beeps, as you could audibly-discern that your disk drive was indeed kicking-ass to the fullest of its ability. What they do now with custom OS and SIO2-whatever is like a crescendo of the SIO-beep's glory, as illustrated in this Atarimax video.....

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZV2ZvHajfE

 

....but I digress. I discussion of the origins of the noisy SIO would be grand!

 

Somewhat related (and I don't know WHO would be the one to ask), why did they go with single-density 88K disks, then that weird 1050 "enhanced" density with more sectors per track, when the ICD US Doubler could so-easily "fix" the 1050 and make it into a true double-density drive? Of course, Joe Decuir was long gone from Atari by the time the 1050 came about.

 

Thanks again, so much, for all of your fine Antic Podcast efforts! As I took a road trip this summer, I was thoroughly-entertained the entire way! The only trouble is that other family members (should they happen to be in the car) aren't as enthusiastic about listening to Antic, as am I! :) :)

 

 

 

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Also: Some of the potential inteviewees might not understand what a "tour-de-force" the Antic podcast is. It might help - in requests for interviews - to somehow MODESTLY state the list of the heavy-hitters (and there are now a pile) whom you've already interviewed, as an indicator of your now-renowned credibilty. This is no fly-by-night-gone-tomorrow podcast. This Atari podcast rules! :)

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Somewhat related (and I don't know WHO would be the one to ask), why did they go with single-density 88K disks, then that weird 1050 "enhanced" density with more sectors per track, when the ICD US Doubler could so-easily "fix" the 1050 and make it into a true double-density drive? Of course, Joe Decuir was long gone from Atari by the time the 1050 came about.

I can answer this one (although I'm sure you'd prefer an official answer). :)

 

They saved money by not putting enough RAM in the drive for a DD sector. Using a DD controller in the 1050 was a no brainer since they'd come down so much in price. Creating the crippled ED mode allowed them to brag about more capacity and most SD software would still work with it (to an extent) since the sectors were the same 128-byte size. Someone decided the average user wouldn't miss a real DD mode.

 

It's kind of silly arguing over an extra 128 bytes when the 1541 has a whopping 2K available!

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Many props to "therealbountybob," who is a fine Atarian and frequent contributor to the Atari scene, but I simply disagree.

 

The Antic interviews are just about the purest form of GOLD that I can imagine, to my Atari-centric and retrocomputing-interested (in a more general sense) ears.

 

Frankly, I *can't believe* how many heavy-hitters you boys have interviewed! It's beyond fantastic. How to distinguish between "Antic Interview" and "Antic Episode?" Well, quite obviously, Antic Episodes are titled "Antic Episode" and Antic Interviews are titled "Antic Interview." One need only click on what one desire; it's no more complicated than that. Understanding that simple process, I see no circumstances under which *any* content is "drowned under" any other content, for it is all listed independently.

 

The work in (1) preparing the podcast in general, (2) taking the time to seek out and contact potential interviewees, and (3) taking the enormous time and effort to EDIT those interviews must be mind-boggling to amateurs such as myself. That's right, I'm an amateur. Or I would be. As opposed to Kevin and Randy, who are *EXPERTS* (have become so in short order!) in the art of the interview. In the past year and a half (or whatever?), I've listened to these guys not only become entertaining podcasters (which they sort-of were from episode 1), to excellent interviewers per se, as the number of interviews increases.

 

Furthermore, Kevin and Randy are pretty-much indelibly becoming significant icons of Atari-8 history and folklore themselves, as they actively lay down the history of those who did that, previously. I'm much more than impressed; I am quite moved by the work (the time and the editing that I can't imagine) that those boys do, and I'm humbly ingratiated, every time I listen to either an interview, or the actual podcast itself. I'm astonished not only at the final presentation, but curious as to the many behind-the-scenes hours that probably went into it, completely unbeknownst to me. Should I (in an unlikely scenario) attempt to establish my own podcast, I'd take huge lessons from these fellows, and I probably couldn't even do it, at that.

 

The monthly Antic podcast is now a regular treat, but the interviews - most professionally-conducted - are a super-bonus. Please continue! You're laying down (for the record) and archiving Atari history - from those who were actually there and remember (as well of those who were not) - at an alarmingly-pleasing rate! MORE INTERVIEWS, not less. To my limited knowledge, nobody has either attempted nor achieved such success in such an endeavor. It truly is incredible what you've done so far, to anybody of interest in the Atari. Please continue! You've pulled so many people out of Atari history that I'm flabbergasted.

 

However, as mere suggestions to people who (obviously) already know what they're doing, could you possibly:

 

(1) Contact Arthur Leyenburger. As far as I can remember, he was an author of Creative Computing's "Outpost: Atari." (also Analog Magazine). As I understand "Outpost: Atari," it went from Dave Small (already interviewed) to John J. Anderson (unfortunately deceased in the 1989 California Earthquakes but was amazing Atarian) and then to Arthur Leyenberger. It would be grand to hear from him.

 

(2) Doug Neubauer, of POKEY and Star Raiders fame. The stellar Joe Decuir interview referencedhim. Sounds like a difficult man to get ahold of, but would be grand! Perhaps you can encourage participation in Decuir's upcoming book when you snag the interview.

 

(3) Bob Puff from Computer Software Services, of Rochester, NY. Atari-inventor-extrordinaire/ inventor.

 

(4) Clayton Walnum - faboulous Atari man/columnist.

 

(5) David H Ahl / Betsey Staples - Believe to be married couple (at one time) who ran Creative Computing and then Atari Explorer magazines.

 

(6) Darek Michocka - First emulator for A8 on ST and then on PC

 

(7) Atari800win - whoever that was

 

( 8) Alterrra - from AtariAge user Phaeron

 

 

All of these people would be of extereme interest. Perhaps not all will wish to participate, but it would be really nice to hear one of your interviews from any of them!

Please keep up the excellent work!

 

:)

 

 

 

Wow, wood_jl, what an outstanding message about the work we're trying to do for Antic with the interviews! It's fantastic that the hard work is appreciated. Kevin, of course, is practically doing this day and night, but I'm trying to contribute as I can.

 

As Kevin, stated, we're trying real hard to contact Doug Neubauer. He has an ailing mother that he cares for, so it's understandably difficult to get his time. We're hopeful that we will yet be able to talk with him if just for a few minutes. The work he did for Atari was so great.

 

Phaeron - I've contacted him and he has, as is his right, declined to be interviewed. I'm still hoping that we can at least get a written interview with him. Stay tuned on that.

 

thank you very much for the other suggestions. We'll see what we can do. Any help that anyone out there can provide in terms of contacting any of these people would be much appreciated. If you know or have been in contact with anyone that would be a great interview for Antic, please help them get in contact with us.

 

thanks!

 

Randy

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+1 for Phaeron. I have a feeling I could listen to that interview all day. :)

Sorry, Phaeron declined to be interviewed. I'm hoping to get at least a written interview.

 

thanks.

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Also: Some of the potential inteviewees might not understand what a "tour-de-force" the Antic podcast is. It might help - in requests for interviews - to somehow MODESTLY state the list of the heavy-hitters (and there are now a pile) whom you've already interviewed, as an indicator of your now-renowned credibilty. This is no fly-by-night-gone-tomorrow podcast. This Atari podcast rules! :)

Thank you for the suggestion. I actually so some "name-dropping" when trying to contact people to interview to let them know that we've talked with some pretty well-known Atari people. I think it helps.

 

Randy

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Pab Sungenis, developer

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-56-pab-sungenis-developer

 

Our guest for this show is Pab Sungenis, a long-time (and current) developer for the Atari 8-bits. A long time ago, Pab wrote a popular piece of bulletin board software called AtariLink BBS. He also developed an off-line mail reader. He was also more recently involved briefly with enhancements to the SpartaDOS alternative DOS, arguably one of the best DOS’s ever developed for the Atari 8-bit. His current project is an exciting one where he is working to develop a new programming language to target the Atari 8-bits. I hope you enjoy this.

 

Teaser Quotes:

“I kinda got into the habit of: if you need it, write it.”

 

“It surprised me when my hacks of Keith's (Ledbetter) programs started finding their way onto Compuserve.”

 

“What if you took Action! and you added object-oriented programming?”

 

Links:

Pab Sungenis Website

 

Blog

 

grumpy cat for 2600 at YouTube

 

grumpy cat blog

 

thread for new Accomplish language on AtariAge

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:)

 

Also, please don't forget to try to contact Russ Wetmore, who wrote Homepak, Preppie!, and Sea Dragon (and perhaps other things I don't recall) for the Atari8. I seem to recall reading somewhere (wish I remembered where) that Homepak was written in Action! on the Atari, and that even the Commodore 64 version of Homepak was also written in Action! on the Atari. That would make for an interesting question.

 

Whenever Kevin or Randy gets a chance to shoot another question to Joe Decuir, could you please ask about the origin of the signature SIO-beep of the A8? Who made that decision? Also, while the SIO-beep on the disk drive goes by very quickly and thusly sounds just like a "beep," on the cassette (you're blessed, Kevin, for having been able to have skip this unpleasant experience), why did it "warble" or "trill" (I'm not sure what adjective to use to describe the wavering sound) as the cassette loaded? Who came up with the "Atari Fart" sound when the system is turned on? This "Noisy I/O Flag" (as I think it was referenced in some Atari book) is *absolutely* unique to the Atari8 computer. While I didn't care for the sound in the early [cassette] days, by the end - with Happy drives and all - I learned to love the SIO beeps, as you could audibly-discern that your disk drive was indeed kicking-ass to the fullest of its ability. What they do now with custom OS and SIO2-whatever is like a crescendo of the SIO-beep's glory, as illustrated in this Atarimax video.....

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZV2ZvHajfE

 

....but I digress. I discussion of the origins of the noisy SIO would be grand!

 

Somewhat related (and I don't know WHO would be the one to ask), why did they go with single-density 88K disks, then that weird 1050 "enhanced" density with more sectors per track, when the ICD US Doubler could so-easily "fix" the 1050 and make it into a true double-density drive? Of course, Joe Decuir was long gone from Atari by the time the 1050 came about.

 

Thanks again, so much, for all of your fine Antic Podcast efforts! As I took a road trip this summer, I was thoroughly-entertained the entire way! The only trouble is that other family members (should they happen to be in the car) aren't as enthusiastic about listening to Antic, as am I! :) :)

 

 

 

 

I always thought that the "I/O Sounds" thing was a side effect they eventually adopted as a "feature." Remember that SIO was controlled by POKEY, which was also responsible for sound.

 

As for why the cassette warbled, what you heard with the cassette was the actual analog data being read. The Atari cassette drives were four-track with two per side. One channel (I think it was the "Left" channel in audio production terms) read the data into the computer. The other channel was what would play through the TV speaker. The idea was that a developer could set it up so that while the cassette loaded, the user could hear instructions, information, or some other audio track associated with the program.

 

I only know of one series of programs that actually used this feature. The "learn a language" software from Atari (forget the series name) used the cassette audio tracks for actors speaking the words that were shown on the screen. The program would start the cassette, and play as long as there was a carrier signal on the data track. When the data track ran out, the program would stop the cassette. This is how the program "knew" how long to play the audio. And made it really easy to adapt the program for different languages. Just for fun, I "converted" the first few lessons into "Conversational Esperanto" just as a proof of concept.

 

Since the 410 just wrote the same sound to both tracks, most users only ever heard the "warbling."

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The Steve Molyneux Interview made my day. I was listening to it when I was on my ride back home and Thursday night. And when he told the story about the bar tour and the two guys replied "No we are..." I hit the brake, stopped the car and sat there laughing with tears in my eyes. Thanks, guys, simply awesome stories you are digging out there. Nothing they will every did out in Alamogordo can ever come close to that in terms of entertainment.

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Steve Molyneux, German Software Development Manager

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-54-steve-molyneux-german-software-development-manager

Steve Molyneux was Atari’s Software Development Manager in Hamburg, Germany from 1981 through 1984. He was responsible for the European side of Atari Program Exchange, and launching games at European trade shows.

Great interview! Enjoyed all the stories :)

 

Steve mentioned unsolved adventure game that sounded like "Sands of the desert"... Looks like it could be "Sands of Egypt".

If that is the case maybe this solution can help and bring smile on his dad's face :)

http://gamingafter40.blogspot.com/2013/10/adventure-of-week-sands-of-egypt-1982.html

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Thomas Cherryhomes

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-57-thomas-cherryhomes

Thomas Cherryhomes recently deciphered the Educational System Master Cartridge and decoded the “talk and teach” system used by Dorsett Educational Systems. He has created a C library called eduendcode which allows people to create new lessons using that format. Thomas and I are currently working to digitize and archive 46 sets of Dorsett courses.

To hear some background about Dorsett Educational Systems and their educational cassettes, listen to my feature about that topic in episode 23 of ANTIC.

This interview occurred on June 2, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“I decided on a whim to approach Joe Decuir. Joe wrote me back about five minutes later. ‘Hello Tom. I am very impressed with your research and your findings.’”

“If you want to make your own tape formats on the Atari, go right ahead. You can bit-bang the POKEY to do whatever the hell you want.”

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Thank you so much for the interview, Kevin. I had a great time! :) And yeah, we're almost done with the tapes, Kevin has shipped the last few bundles of raw recordings over to me, and I'll get them "cooked" within the next few days.. so now the Atari community will have a reasonably complete set of Dorsett Talk&Teach tapes, as well as the original Atari Edu tapes.

 

-Thom

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Jess Jessop

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-58-jess-jessop

Jess Jessop was a software engineer at Commodore, writing diagnostics for the Commodore 64. Then at Atari, he started in the test and repair group for the Atari 400 and 800 SALT diagnostic cartridge, then moved to corporate research, Atari's R&D department under Alan Kay, where he was hardware team leader for the Sierra Project, Atari's unfinished laptop product.

This interview occurred April 15, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

"We brought up an APRANET node there in my cubicle. We played with e-mail at a time when you could send it and it would maybe get there today, maybe weeks from now."

"I spec'd out, for two guys, a 600 line a minute band printer with a quietized cover that cost $30,000 in 1980. It went right through. It was delivered next week."

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Jon Greer, Business Reporter

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-59-jon-greer-business-reporter

In this interview, we’ll hear the perspective of an Atari outsider — a newspaper reporter who covered Atari. Jon Greer was a business reporter for the San Jose Mercury News newspaper from 1981 to 1986, and business reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1986 to 1988. As part of his beat, he covered Atari; Chuck E. Cheese; and Catalyst Technologies, Nolan Bushnell’s incubator.

This interview took place April 17, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“Atari was transforming the valley from Dull Engineer Valley to exciting consumer electronics valley.”

“I think Jack [Tramiel] had...a very undeserved bad reputation...He was one of the few guys — if anybody, maybe the only one - who knew how to take over this business.”

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Albert Yarusso, AtariAge Owner

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-60-albert-yarusso-owner-atariage

 

This interview-only episode features someone that many current Atari, vintage gaming, and vintage computer enthusiasts are probably familiar with by the service that he provides to the community, the AtariAge Website. Albert (or Al) Yarusso is one of the founders and is the current owner of AtariAge. The Atari 8-bit forum on AtariAge is probably the largest and busiest such forum in existence today, and forums for other Atari machines and for other platforms are popular and continually growing. Al was kind enough to sit down and give me an hour of his time to discuss a little about himself, how AtariAge came about, his love for Atari computers, and various other topics. Enjoy!

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Louis Massucci, Atari Bench Tech

ANTIC Interview 33 - Louis Massucci, Atari Bench Tech

"And it kind of came out of nowhere. I mean, we were repairing these things for a year, and really never had a problem with the keyboard. Then all of a sudden we're starting to get this rash of defective 800s with spacebar problems."

 

I'm listening to this episode now. It reminded me that the entire reason I got into Atari computers was because of a defective space bar!

 

A friend of mine invited me over one weekend to help him out with his new computer. I was considered an expert because I already owned a TI-99/4A. He had an Atari 800, BASIC cartridge, a game (Star Raiders, maybe), cassette recorder, and a few manuals. The 800 had scuff marks, the space bar had a crack which was covered in green electrical tape, and it generally looked abused, but those things were built like tanks. It seems another friend had "just gotten tired of computers" and gave it to him. My friend's father was a TV repair man back when such a thing still existed and was able to fix it up and get the space bar working again. I showed him how to program in BASIC (it was close enough to TI BASIC that I had a leg up) and was impressed with the graphics. When I felt ready for my next computer, I bought a 130 XE and didn't buy a non-Atari until they stopped making computers.

 

Thanks for the memories!

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Per request on this thread, I'm announcing an upcoming interview with Mr. Keithen Hayenga, author of Tempest for the Atari 5200 as well as other software.

 

If you have any questions for Keithen, please let me know and I'll try to include them.

 

The interview is occurring this Thursday evening (7/9), so I would need your questions before then.

 

thanks!

 

Randy Kindig

co-host Antic

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Thanks Randy,

Looking forward to listening to this one. Keithen did two of my favorite 5200 games, Tempest and Baseball.

 

You could ask him if he remembers any other programmers working on stuff that was never published.

 

One guy I always wanted to know more about was Joe Copson who did Spitfire, StarRaiders, and the finished but lost Elevator Action, all for the 5200. There is nothing known about this guy other than he did these three games at Atari.

 

I wonder if Keithen knew him.

 

Allan

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Ron and Lynn Marcuse, productivity applications

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-61-ron-and-lynn-marcuse-productivity-applications

Ron and Lynn Marcuse, also known as RLM Microsystems, are the husband-and-wife team who created many applications for the Atari 8-bit computers, including Weekly Planner, Home Inventory, Data Management System, Diskette Librarian, and Utility Diskette II, which were all released by Atari Program Exchange. Weekly Planner was later reworked and became Timewise, which was released as an Atari product. They also created medical and dental office software for MMG Micro Software.

Thanks to Wade of Inverse ATASCII for his help in research and writing questions for this interview. Wade has reviewed several of the Marcuse applications on his podcast - visit www.inverseATASII.info for those.

This interview took place on May 14, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“When what’s his name, the guy who started Atari [Nolan Bushnell] it was more open. In other words, the people there were friendly, it was fun working with them, it was fun writing stuff for them. It was fun flying out there, you know? It was fun. But eventually, it became a business, I think. And then the fun stops.”

Kevin's note: we are lucky to have this interview — Ron was very reluctant to do it due to his stutter, and told me no several times. I'm grateful that he was willing to take a chance and do the interview anyway.

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When you started the interview podcasts, I found some of the interview partners rather less "inviting" but after listening to them (being far from "up to date" as I simply can't listen to them as fast as you produce them) I didn't find a single one to be boring and have yet to find an interview that didn't give some new insight or surprise in matters Atari. It's great that you cover such a large variety of people.

 

Not being a native speaker I value good sound quality as poor sound quality makes it very hard for me to understand what people are talking about, especially while commuting.

 

If you ever run out of interview ideas, I'd nominate Cathryn (formerly William) Mataga, author of Shamus, my favourite Atari 8-bit game. And I'd love to hear you talking to Clinton Parker.

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**** Nolan Bushnell Interview - CALL FOR QUESTIONS ****

 

Unbelievably, for Antic we've been given the opportunity to talk with none other than the Atari founder Mr. Nolan Bushnell! We obviously want to make the best use of this tremendous opportunity and are opening up to the Atari community the chance to offer questions to Mr. Bushnell. Help us make this the best interview we can with the limited amount of time we will have to talk with him.

 

Nolan has been tremendously free with his time and has been interviewed numerous times about his Atari days. So, we're looking for questions that perhaps have not been asked before. Since we are an Atari 8-bit computer podcast, even though Nolan didn't have a lot of involvement with the computer line, we'd like to at least partially focus on what led up to the development of the 8-bit computers.

 

The interview is to take place on July 30, so we have some time for the community to offer questions.

 

Please respond to this post with any questions you might want to offer, or send your questions to [email protected] Obviously, we will not guarantee that we will use your question(s), but we appreciate any and all that you offer and will consider every one.

 

Thanks much for your help and we look forward to your questions.

 

The Antic Staff

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Bill Crooks, Atari Video Production Lab

Bill Crooks worked in the coin-op division of Atari, where he facilitated the production of Atari games’ multi-million dollar television production facility, and worked on the FireFox laserdisc arcade game.
In this interview we talk briefly about Cassie Maas whom I have previously interviewed.
This interview took place on April 17 2015.
“We had Clint Eastwood’s Lear jet standing by to get us there at the last minute, and we just kept telling them, ‘It will be ready for the show.’ And meanwhile we’re thinking ‘How will this ever be ready for the show? It doesn’t even work in the shop.”
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