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Atari 8-Bit as a Legitimate Business Machine

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But OF COURSE !!!

 

You have NO idea how many times I have swept that very same thread... :-D

 

ACE80 is a *masterpiece*, kind of the bar-setting achievement that defines how good (or not) everything else works. Not just on screen / scroll performance (completely out of an SDX-like environment), but its masterful, now-you-see-me, now-you-don't management of $8000-$BFFF rom space on a Right-Cart port 800. Simply WONDERFUL !!! And, best of all, born out of a true need of extending the use of the sweet 800 well beyond what was originally envisioned.

 

I can't hardly hold ACE80 any higher... The only thing that comes close enough in speed (but within a more complex working environment) is Last Word (very, very fast), followed by Trub's Terminal for CP/M, which does a wonderful job in the single-purpose context of a terminal emulation and on-screen display... SDX, on the other hand, is definitely the slowest of the bunch, but I am not sure (yet) if it is due to its operating environment and overhead, rather than its GFX routines...

 

But make no mistake, there is NOT a single day I wish I could add ACE80 (RIGHT-cart, NOT the XL version) to my collection. A real MUST-have!

 

In absence of a real cart, I have already completed all RIGHT-cart extensions for Atari OS XEGSr04, to the point that, if I could modify the original RIGHT-cart ROM of ACE80, and, instead of fiddling with its cart-bank registers, we just load it on $8000, and only bring down RAMSIZ ($02E4) and MEMTOP ($02E5 and $02E6) to the right level, I could invoke (right after) a call to $C3C4 (PRS21, the effective entry-point of both the legacy and upgraded cart-manager in XEGS OS), and it would boot your masterpiece after-the-fact, like the cart was there physically! ;-)

 

Forever Kudos, Claus!!!!

Edited by Faicuai
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I still can't believe people still print on the old Epsons etc, I was recent offered and FX80 with paper and spare ribbons etc (god knows if they work 100%) but I turned it down due to space needed to store it...

 

*might* take the offer back up purely for retro effect but to actually use it, probably not..

 

Isn't there some sort of old printer emulation program to print out as they would but at proper speed...

 

Don't even get me started on the noise :)

 

It's usually done for carbon copy ability. As impact printers, carbon paper tech works wonderfully with them. You ask why don't they use laser and just print two copies? Well, it's because of the customer signature. The carbon paper allows the customer to sign once, and then both original and carbon copy have the exact same version of the signature. Some places use laser now, print two copies, and have the customer sign the copy the business keeps. Also, in business, a lot of times changes to things like that are deferred if and until it becomes necessary or overwhelmingly advantageous make. The idea of "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." has a lot of value in business.

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One of the best ways forward for Atari at the time was to sell a better designed 1200XL. Add 80 columns support, update the graphics, add the PBI, and release the 1090XL. Give people something they couldn't get with the 400/800, but still make it backwards compatible. Lose the RF. Rebrand the computer line.

 

They would have beat the Apple //e to market by a year, and would have had AtariWriter and Visicalc/SynCalc. Everything a business needs. :-)

 

Even 5 years later Atariwriter was still an amazing wordprocessor even if it was limited to 40 columns.

Did Atariwriter have mail merge? That was one of the major attractions of WordStar. There were some other features aimed at businesses that made it popular, but I think that was the first thing that originally set it apart.

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Did Atariwriter have mail merge? That was one of the major attractions of WordStar. There were some other features aimed at businesses that made it popular, but I think that was the first thing that originally set it apart.

 

Yes, but it was undocumented. I read about it in Antic, and used it to send my girlfriend's cover letters to prospective employees .

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I stated earlier, really depends on the business and people would need to use computers and related technology. Small businesses and work from home entrepreneurs may get away with using the 40 column display, AtariWriter, Visi calc, Speed Calc, Basic, etc. If the business is larger, trying to do employee payroll, need network communications, and make professional documents, it it better to use PCs and Mainframes. If the business is big enough, they can afford it. The Banks, Large Corporations, and Government Agencies rarely touched most of the home computers in the early 1980s. Went right for the IBM PC.

 

There was a lot of hesitancy of Atari, Commodore, Apple, Tandy, Sinclair, and Texas Instruments to make computers with 80 column display abilities. Most likely they wanted to make stuff affordable and use TV sets for a 40 column display. Some had 22 column, and 32 column displays, Monitors were expensive. TV sets only accepted RF signal through coaxial cables. It took a few years before TV sets had S-Video,Chroma-Luma, Component inputs. If TV-Set manufacturers got on the ball earlier to accept alternate input from external devices earlier like Home Computers, Video Game Consoles, VCRs, Laser Disk Players, Camcorders, there might had been a bigger push for computers to have higher resolution displays.

 

However, I think the Atari 800 and 800XL could had made good business machines because of the faster CPU than Apple. Could handle spread sheets, data base, and word processing. Has some graphics options can help enhance the display, Antic 3 (Descender Mode), Display List manipulation different text modes of blank line between each row of text. Player/Missile graphics can be used for cursors or different background for onscreen text. Plus have smooth horizontal and vertical scrolling.

Edited by peteym5

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I believe JT made a good decision. Left 8-bits where it belonged - hobbyists and gamers. At the time, a viable attempt to produce a business computer was the ST. Not easy, of course. Fighting with PC and also Apple Macintosh.

...

It was really too late to change the direction of the 8 bit by the time Jack took over.

1978-1982 was probably the time frame to seriously establish the machine in the marketplace, and mostly those first two years.

The first cheaper color+sound machines came out in 1980 with the Tandy Color Computer, and VIC20 as the first price war entrants.

The final blow came in 1982 with the Timex Sinclair TS-1000, and C64.

The C64 even had multi-color sprites, and a great sound chip which hit the Atari in it's strengths.

Anything that wasn't in place by then is pretty much not likely to happen.

 

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...Last Word (very, very fast)...

In the previous video, scrolling was deliberately locked to vertical sync for reasons of presentation. For interest, here it is not locked to Vsync:

 

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In the previous video, scrolling was deliberately locked to vertical sync for reasons of presentation. For interest, here it is not locked to Vsync:

 

 

That is SICK-fast, in relative terms (!)

 

Well, in all fairness, what is immediately striking (as soon as you boot Last Word) is how RESPONSIVE the 80-col screen display is (and not by means of merely dumping a buffer, but with actual scrolling of files' content, navigating over-populated HD directories, etc.) In other words, a REAL working environment!

 

Is that with CTRL-J? Is that result expected on real HW? Or did you turn off VSYNC on the Emulator? Output looks like Emulated, to me...

 

I am preparing an 80-col. emulation benchmark (with real timings), comparing Last Word, ACE80, Trub's Terminal and SDX...

Edited by Faicuai
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I still can't believe people still print on the old Epsons etc, I was recent offered and FX80 with paper and spare ribbons etc (god knows if they work 100%) but I turned it down due to space needed to store it...

 

*might* take the offer back up purely for retro effect but to actually use it, probably not..

 

Isn't there some sort of old printer emulation program to print out as they would but at proper speed...

 

Don't even get me started on the noise :)

Printing with a dot matrix is extremely cheap, so where quality doesn' matter, dot matrix is a solution. Impact printing allows to use carbon paper too.

 

There are software emulators of Epson printers. Accepting ESC commands and printing to PDF.

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Is that with CTRL-J? Is that result expected on real HW? Or did you turn off VSYNC on the Emulator? Output looks like Emulated, to me...

'V' from the menu, but the invoking a preview from the editor does the exact same thing.

 

The video shows the software running in emulation (Altirra, PAL) with Vertical Sync on. I do not expect any measurable deviation between the emulator and actual hardware, since the IDE benchmark results obtained in the emulator are not meaningfully different from those obtained on real hardware, and of course everything else is tied to cycle-exact 6502 emulation. All I did here was comment out 'JSR VBWAIT' in the code which scrolls the display up (by dynamically modifying the display list). The VBLANK pause is there to prevent output from scrolling by too quickly when the file resides on a fast hard disk partition.

 

I am preparing an 80-col. emulation benchmark (with real timings), comparing Last Word, ACE80, Trub's Terminal and SDX...

This would make sense if the objective is to compare the relative performance of various rendering methods, but a fair comparison between - say - ACE80 and TLW will be difficult without replacing TLW's internal renderer with that of ACE80. TLW does not use the CIO to output characters to the screen, and therefore one cannot simply make TLW render via ACE80. I understand that at least one word processor is able or was modified to be able to render via ACE80's 80 column screen driver, but I have no idea of the relative performance of the two word processors in the first place. TLW is designed to support 240 column sideways scrolling editing on an 80 column display and maintains an absolute line number counter relative to the start of the file, among other things. On the other hand, its use of a gap buffer makes text insertion performance constant regardless of the size of the file or the position of the insertion, so it has an advantage over some other editors in that respect. The text editing engine may therefore be more or less efficient than that of any other given word processor; we do not know which. Another word processor could appear sluggish owing to slow rendering, or mask the inefficiencies of the editing engine by means of highly efficient rendering.

 

It will be easier, meanwhile, to perform like-for-like comparisons between something like the SDX RC_GR8.SYS and ACE80, since they perform the exact same job in the exact same context.

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While stepping though my code to see what the bug is (swearing... indexed absolute addressing should not do that!), I noticed that the code can draw an entire line of text in the time it takes for a VBLANK+redrawing less than half of the screen when outputting 2 characters at a time. Drawing 1 character at a time is going to take over twice as long. Moving screen address calculation up a level could speed the code up a little, but it wouldn't work with every program.

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Bug fixed. This one had been hanging around for a long time but I didn't want to step through the code to find it.

So... the question is, could you live with this for a business program?
Admittedly, a couple characters could use some work. (I took the font from a Spectrum program)
TLW users clearly don't have issues with it, and I think if there is also a larger text mode you can use to double check the text it shouldn't ever be an issue.

51 characters per line (5 bit wide characters, 256 pixel wide screen) was what I used for word processing on my color computer, and the program also had 64 and 80 column modes (80 was strictly to view page layout, as it was unreadable).

With the 320 pixel wide screen on the Atari, that's 64 and 80 columns with the 80 column being pretty readable, and there would be no need for the layout view that isn't readable, but it could display a 106 column layout view if needed.
*edit*
And you would have your choice of amber, green, white, grey, blue, or whatever for the color of your screen.
post-10422-0-77024900-1545593022.jpg

*edit*
The taller lower case characters on TLW seem to be a little easier to read than this font.

Edited by JamesD
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Font design at this size is very important (we have Mister Fish to thank for the 40 and 80 column font designs in TLW). You can dynamically switch back to 40 column mode in that program as you say. I wouldn't be using black on yellow but to each their own. :)

 

64 column mode is a little easier on the eye and something I would consider supporting in TLW if I get time to work on it more. Drac030's SysInfo tool is worth checking out since it uses a 64 column display to great effect. The main issue with the software 80 column mode is that while it looks grand in emulators and on VBXE displays (where you might as well use the VBXE hardware 80 column mode anyway where the software supports it), on real hardware using chroma/luma video output, things can be less readable. Some CRTs make a decent job of it (although some don't), and on LCD displays, much depends on the decoder. You can end up with very obvious variation between the thickness of the uprights on the 80 column characters caused by inconsistent scaling which is far less noticeable with the chunkier 40 column font.

 

Anyway: if the picture's nice and sharp and the scaling good, I can live with the software 80 column mode just fine. I wrote most of the readme files for the various TLW releases on real hardware in 80 column mode.

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Font design at this size is very important (we have Mister Fish to thank for the 40 and 80 column font designs in TLW). You can dynamically switch back to 40 column mode in that program as you say. I wouldn't be using black on yellow but to each their own. :)

...

LOL, I chose that because it was kinda amber and I could use different colors between 6502 and 65816 versions of the code in a video.

I've just never worried about changing it because there was a little trial and error going on when I came up with it.

Atari as a 2nd language sort of thing, as this is the only thing I've written for the Atari.

 

 

64 column mode is a little easier on the eye and something I would consider supporting in TLW if I get time to work on it more. Drac030's SysInfo tool is worth checking out since it uses a 64 column display to great effect. The main issue with the software 80 column mode is that while it looks grand in emulators and on VBXE displays (where you might as well use the VBXE hardware 80 column mode anyway where the software supports it), on real hardware using chroma/luma video output, things can be less readable. Some CRTs make a decent job of it (although some don't), and on LCD displays, much depends on the decoder. You can end up with very obvious variation between the thickness of the uprights on the 80 column characters caused by inconsistent scaling which is far less noticeable with the chunkier 40 column font.

 

Anyway: if the picture's nice and sharp and the scaling good, I can live with the software 80 column mode just fine. I wrote most of the readme files for the various TLW releases on real hardware in 80 column mode.

 

Anyway: if the picture's nice and sharp and the scaling good, I can live with the software 80 column mode just fine. I wrote most of the readme files for the various TLW releases on real hardware in 80 column mode.

And Atari didn't release their own monitor, which would have made this hit and miss.

So another blunder on their part I guess.

Edited by JamesD

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I created ACE80's font from scratch, though using Atari's native 40-column font as a guide, so lower case heights and descenders are the same. The three pixel width sounds daunting at first but many characters fall into it well. It helps that the native font is 6 pixels wide in most cases and that vertical lines are 2 pixels wide (to reduce artificing on color TVs). Two exceptions are M and W which are 7 wide and have single pixels in their middle points. With only 3 pixels, there is no room for those middle points, so M is approximated by H with the horizontal bar raised. W is just inverted M. What about N? I tried a few variations on my BASIC custom character editor before I settled on H with a thick bar. I found it easy to get used to and so did my friends. I'm not a fan of the tall n solution since it differs from native too much (plus it's just not upper case).

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I created ACE80's font from scratch, though using Atari's native 40-column font as a guide, so lower case heights and descenders are the same. The three pixel width sounds daunting at first but many characters fall into it well. It helps that the native font is 6 pixels wide in most cases and that vertical lines are 2 pixels wide (to reduce artificing on color TVs). Two exceptions are M and W which are 7 wide and have single pixels in their middle points. With only 3 pixels, there is no room for those middle points, so M is approximated by H with the horizontal bar raised. W is just inverted M. What about N? I tried a few variations on my BASIC custom character editor before I settled on H with a thick bar. I found it easy to get used to and so did my friends. I'm not a fan of the tall n solution since it differs from native too much (plus it's just not upper case).

There is DEFINITELY something special about ACE80's font... When running it with 710=0 and 709=12, there is some sort of pixel-fine sharpness that becomes favored by my analog-to-digital video path... Looks SUPERB and surprisingly easy to read on my DVDO iScanHD + Viewsonic VP930b. Upsampling (and sharpening) are being done at two stages (720x480p to XGA @ DVDO) and final upsampling on Monitor (XGA to 1280x1024 5:4), because in this way the monitor's Sharpening (digital-to-digital) function becomes available, and such sharpening targets higher spatial frequencies than the DVDO sharpening engine (thus rendering Gr.8 detail superbly well).

 

But the point is that, even with ALL 80col emulators passing through the above path, it is ACE80 the one that CLEARLY looks the best... It is hard to describe, but on this end, it really is... and then comes Last Word (the closest of all other options).

 

I will shortly post the speed-test reports, from both text-file dumping on screen (with NO CR on lines), and from simply printing characters sequentially from compiled basic program.

Edited by Faicuai
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There is DEFINITELY something special about ACE80's font... When running it with 710=0 and 709=12, there is some sort of pixel-fine sharpness that becomes favored by my analog-to-digital video path... Looks SUPERB and surprisingly easy to read on my DVDO iScanHD + Viewsonic VP930b. Upsampling (and sharpening) are being done at two stages (720x480p to XGA @ DVDO) and final upsampling on Monitor (XGA to 1280x1024 5:4), because in this way the monitor's Sharpening (digital-to-digital) function becomes available, and such sharpening targets higher spatial frequencies than the DVDO sharpening engine (thus rendering Gr.8 detail superbly well).

 

But the point is that, even with ALL 80col emulators passing through the above path, it is ACE80 the one that CLEARLY looks the best... It is hard to describe, but on this end, it really is... and then comes Last Word (the closest of all other options).

 

I will shortly post the speed-test reports, from both text-file dumping on screen (with NO CR on lines), and from simply printing characters sequentially from compiled basic program.

Just remember, as long as the font has the same size characters (4x8), that data could be put in any similar program.

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I'm sure there were isolated cases here and there, and especially in very small businesses, and in particular, home businesses, but I doubt usage extended much beyond that in a significant way. By the time the Atari 800 hit and had a decent selection of software, CP/M-based systems, the Apple II, etc., probably were far more attractive targets for those businesses who didn't have terminal/mainframe/minicomputer setups.

 

I remember back when I got my first job at 16 in a variety store (like a small K-Mart) circa 1988, the store manager was using a CoCo 2 and a cassette player to keep books for the store! I think that's as good evidence as any that even the most modest personal computers were put to use in professional settings.

 

On a side note, I wonder if Atari had some issues with business adoption because they couldn't offer a complete branded system, e.g., they never badged their own monitors until the ST?

saw them with some frequency in the day my company sold packages and did well with that but only up to mediumd sized businesses, large ones we still pretty dim whited , but when you have unlimited funds.. like the later saying "nobody got fired for buying IBM".

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Jack Trameil made the right decision for Tramiel Technologies. As I said, Atari was already dead by the time Jack came along. All the 8-bits Tramiel Technologies produced were repackaged cast-offs from the old Atari R&D labs. I would have been happier if he had repackaged the 1450XLD or the 1090 expansion box.

 

There had been a future path for the 8-bit Atari, but Warner/Atari dropped that ball. A 16-bit Atari using the65816 or a 32 bit using the 65832 could have given Atari a backwards compatibility and a path forward, but Warner-Atari looked at those chips and shrugged. Warner Atari made one more bad decision and killed Atari forever. If they hadn't dropped the ball and let Jack Trameil sink their deal with Amiga, the Amiga could have been the next Atari. It wasn't any more of an Atari than the ST was, but it was at least related.

 

Tramiel Tech. was just the first of many companies to follow that wore the Atari name for their own purposes. At least he was more successful than people gave him credit for. Atari was killed by an extreme lack of interest by the public after Commodore brought the Amiga out. It took Commodore's own incompetence to sink the Commodore name.

 

Maybe the writing was on the wall already once IBM got in the game, but an updated Atari might have made a decent office computer with more CPU, More RAM, and 80 columns, but we'll never know because Trameil's Atari never created an updated Atari, any more than Warner Atari did.

As and Atari and commodore dealer back then I can say there was little know so therefore NO disappointment about amiga lol! Customers all wanted an ST and we sold tons vs the A1000. Sure it would have been better as an atari but that crap commodore os made it a hard sale (yes powerful blah blah but customers thought it looked like a little kid made it). Being a person who made his living on this stuff we did what worked. Atari 800 were traded in for ST's in droves,8 bit lingered on for awhile and we were happy to do it as long as we could but eventually not enough,people wanted that latest and greatest (just like now) and that was the ST.

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Just remember, as long as the font has the same size characters (4x8), that data could be put in any similar program.

True of course, once you allow for byte order. Byte order is one variable available for the sake of optimization of the rendering algorithm.

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So here are the results of the mini-benchmark, head-to-head, of Last Word, ACE80, Trub Terminal, SpartaDosX (RC_GR8), & OMNI-80 OS.

 

ACTUAL screen photography from Last Word's 80-col output (s-video) from an i-800 with essentially unmodified s-Video output, via DVDO iScan HD + Viewsonic VP950b monitor:

 

post-29379-0-09295100-1545619442_thumb.jpg

 

The testing methodology is simple:

 

  1. Whenever possible, dump "SCR80X24.TXT" file on screen, with available dump command, from within rendering application or environment, and hand-record the timing with stop-watch (x10 times). Only LAST WORD (v or CTRL-J) and TRUB TERMINAL (ICDS, "T" from 2: drive on Atari side) allow a direct on-screen dump, from within these two apps.
  2. If direct, within-APP dump is not possible, then run SCRCHR06.OBJ (in SDX and Atari DOS) which prints N lines of a pre-programmed 80-character string (with NO carriage-return). N is set to 72 lines (tree pages, exact same size as SCRCHR06.TXT file). Timing is recorded from within, automatically.
  3. Last test is running "TYPE" and "LESS' or similar commands from operating environment (SDX, DOS, CP/M, where available). Target file is the same "SCRCHR06.TXT", and time is also measured by hand, 10 times.
  4. For ACE80 results, I used E80.XEX which is an executable proxy that can be loaded easily, but "naked" in RAM.
  5. Attached is disk image with cocktail ingredients. Procedure is shown on screen-capture above, if anyone wishes to play on their ends. Scratchpad-SDX-180K-II.atr (==> UPDATE: now including ACE_E80.XEX)

 

Last Word and Trub Terminal direct dumpings (which depends on SDX's RC_GR8.SYS driver) came tied at first place, followed very closely by ACE80 but rendering OUTSIDE any application's direct renderer (including possible OS overhead). Which means, it could match or surpass all of the results shown here if it were running in a similar framework like Last Word (this is my speculative opinion, though).

 

Also, notice how the timings rapidly increase (become really slow) as you start involving DOS commands, and, ultimately, HOW SLOW the Omni-80 OS renderer is (!!!)

Edited by Faicuai
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True of course, once you allow for byte order. Byte order is one variable available for the sake of optimization of the rendering algorithm.

I group the 6502 font data by first bytes of all characters, 2nd bytes, etc...

The 680X and Z80 code is grouped by character.

 

The tab size got messed up here, but this is how characters are written to the screen: (2 characters at a time code)

twochar:
	ldy		#BytesPerLine*0		;start at zero offset from screen address
	ldx		secondchar			; offset to 2nd character
	lda		FCol20-' ',X		; load byte of the 2nd character font (-' ' for first font character)
	ldx		firstchar			; offset to 1st character
	adc		FCol0-' ',X			; load the next byte of the 1st character
	sta		(fscreen),y			; write to the screen

.if Plus4 = 1
	iny							; point to next screen byte
.else
	ldy		#BytesPerLine*1		; point to next screen byte
.endif
	lda		FCol1-' ',X			; load the next byte of the 1st character
	ldx		secondchar			; offset to 2nd character
	adc		FCol21-' ',X		; add the next byte of the 2nd character
	sta		(fscreen),y			; write it to the screen

.if Plus4 = 1
	iny							; point to next screen byte
.else
	ldy		#BytesPerLine*2		; point to next screen byte
.endif
	lda		FCol22-' ',X		; add the next byte of the 2nd character
	ldx		firstchar			; offset to 1st character
	adc		FCol2-' ',X			; load the next byte of the 1st character
	sta		(fscreen),y			; write it to the screen
etc...

Edited by JamesD
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I guess what I am wondering is if there was a period, however brief, when an Atari 800XL and pair of 1050's might have been seen on a business desktop and used as a daily driver for spreadsheets, word processing, etc. Did our beloved have it's day in the mainstream sun?

 

If Atari had any aspirations to being taken seriously as a business machine they should have delivered on CP/M compatibility, 80-column text and high speed disk drives.

 

CP/M was an already established standard when the Atari was released in 1979, and Microsoft shipped the Z80 Softcard for the Apple II in 1980 further expanding the CP/M market.

 

Of course there were vague plans. The 815 dual disk drive, the 1060 CP/M module, the 1090 expansion module and an 80-column card but it was all half-hearted. Atari ploughed R&D dollars into holograms and hopelessly unrealistic video phones while Apple, learning from the mistakes of the III, sensibly brought us the IIe with vendor supported 80-column mode and 128K of RAM. At the same Atari thought the future of home computers was a built in 2400 baud modem and a speech synthesizer.

 

There there third-party solutions. The Bit3 80-column card. The ATR8000 etc, but who seriously would run a business on an Atari 800 with a third-party 80-column card to act as a dumb terminal to a CP/M solution from yet another vendor who had almost no distribution network?

 

And seriously guys. You could have put a full stroke keyboard on the 400 it would have no difference. No one was going to run a business on a 16K computer with RF only output and no factory authorized way to increase the RAM (until 1983).

 

Atari could have better positioned the 800 as a business machine. Indus' idea of using a Z80 as the CPU in the disk drive would have been a master stroke of brilliance had Atari done it first with the 810. An Atari "800 Plus" stripped of the RF shielding and with externally exposed expansion slots might have helped by making expansion cards feasible. A 1200XL that included 80-column mode as a default option perhaps?, and a dual disk drive that support actual double-density mode or better yet double-sided would have helped.

 

Amstrad proved there was a market for a small-business/prosumer 8-bit machine with their Amstrad PCW range (which was CP/M based - and even used a 3 inch disk drive). I remember Atari briefly packaged the 600XL with a 1027 printer and a copy of Atariwriter, but would you really expect your secretary to type the company letters on that sorry excuse for a real keyboard, and then save her work to a 1010 tape deck? And that would assume your office fire marshal didn't freak out at the multitude of power supply bricks now dotted around the floor, and that no typed letter required more than about 10K of RAM.

 

I recall the Atari 8-bits were often used by cable TV companies to run TV listing channels, and Atari User magazine in the UK carried stories of them being used by the Lawn Tennis Association for something-or-other. But I also seem to recall that Atari themselves used VAX terminals to do the serious work in the Atari offices, probably using the VAX/VMS All-in-1 software package.

 

Given Atari Inc didn't eat their own dog food. I don't think many others would have either.

Edited by oracle_jedi

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I'm not sure CP/M was so much required, as you had to have alternative application software.
Once Lotus 1 2 3 came out in 1983, office suits quickly replaced separate apps like Visicalc and Wordstar.
Apple answered this with AppleWorks in 1984, but Atari said... have some games.
The IIe version of AppleWorks took advantage of the 128K IIe upgrade's RAM and 80 column support.
AppleWorks quickly ousted Lotus 1 2 3 as the most popular selling software package, and between different versions, the 1 millionth copy sold in 1988.
80 column hardware may have been needed, but so was 128K, and more importantly, the software to go with it.

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A slight side track but related, I said earlier re the obsession for printing on the Atari and quite rightly people showed me exactly why they use it and all power to you people, its great to see all the old hardware not only being used but actually having a NEED, who would have thought it.

 

Excellent...

 

But what I remember about all the shows like PCW one were the great displays, great games, FREEBIES!!!! and a chance to meet some screen friends. What I also noted back then were the more older folk in the computer communities often huddled around hardware, ESPECIALLY printers making all sorts of nerdy noises about them, now being young, carefree and seriously in to my games and computers I looked at these folk and thought, "god no, I never want to be one of them", them, being OLD and into Printers rather than games. But every show I went to I saw the same thing, groups of men and women huddled around printer stands like they had found a secret bit of computer porn which NO ONE else was allowed to see but older folk with me never keen to see what the fuss was about.

 

I'm still the same, call it delayed mental growth, stupidity or a youthful outlook, I still love the games but printers for me are a needed use, back then for office reports, letters etc and now for my daughters fine art wort work and the odd letter for Bob and the in laws trying to get them help. I still see these printers as a use only. Sadly I now have visions of you lot huddled around paste tables looking at some sort of weird porn rather than printers in my head...

 

D'oh..Stupid me..

 

But before I'm savaged, I think its odd but great at the same time just as many might think an old guy loving games is just as weird...As they say, it takes two to make a world go round...Difference / diversity is the key..

Edited by Mclaneinc

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