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Mr Robot

What do you DO with your Atari?

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There are some people on here with really complicated setups, IDE controllers, SDX, MyBIOS, memory expansions, Incognitos, SiDES, real time clocks CPU accelerators, graphics upgrades, multiple machines with equally complex setups using a variety of different hardware, software and aftermarket add-ons, People with MyDOS and SDX partitions on IDE drives, Multi OS ROMS, printers, modems etc.etc. The way these machines have been upgraded in some cases is incredible. There are loads of people discussing various versions of different assemblers and all manner of programming languages some well known, some really obscure.

 

So the question is... What do you actually DO with your machines?

 

If you are a programmer, what are you writing that needs that level of hardware and software? If you aren't programming what are you doing with all those machines? It can't be just for playing the occasional game of Star Raiders! If you have a room full of tricked out Ataris, what are you doing with them all? If they are museum pieces why upgrade them beyond original spec?

 

Inquiring minds want to know.

 

I have two machines; an NTSC 800XL with U1MB, Stereo and UAV, and a PAL 1088XEL with all the bells and whistles. This is so I can run all the original NTSC software as well as all the newer high spec PAL homebrew and demoscene stuff. I have an SDriveMax plugged into the NTSC machine and an Ultimate Cart + XEL-CFIII in the XEL for loading/saving software. I intend to get some way to get online and some way to print from both machines.

 

I'm hoping to get back into programming these machines at some point when time allows but I'm struggling to think of other things I can do with all the cool hardware other than use it as a loader/player for games, midi files and movies.

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While I do use my machines for a variety of things, and think up new ways to use them all the time, I constantly upgrade and modify because using the machines and upgrades is just part of the overall hobby for me, an even larger part of the hobby is the actual upgrading. For me it's the journey, not the destination.

 

Some say they climb a mountain simply because it is there. This doesn't mean, as those who don't climb it may think that this means, just for the heck of it, just to act "manly" or whatever. It means they like to climb, the activity is the reason, the accomplishment of it gives one satisfaction, but they don't do it just to prove they can and feel that satisfaction of accomplishment, they do it because it's an activity they like to do.

The ability to do it and the satisfaction from doing it are pointless if the activity of doing it isn't enjoyed. I've been asked many times before why, and if I explain fully, most of the time they just don't get it anyway, so I just end up saying "because I can" which is exactly the same as saying "because it is there," but those few words hold a mountain of meaning in them.

 

But I also like using them, and making use of them. The last thing I do is have them for mere museum pieces, if that were the case, just mounting a picture of it on the wall would be enough and a lot cheaper too. So I do go out of my way to find uses for it all which often brings me back full-circle, because some things I decide to use it for, may end up requiring me to upgrade even more, as I start using it for something and find it needs more than it has now to fully realize the new use I decided to use it for. But I find ways to use it practically and just for fun.

 

Yes, that's all very vague, intentionally, because we recently had other threads with the title asking what you use your Atari for or what plans do you have for it, and I was very specific there and have no desire to repeat myself all over again. I do that enough already without going out of my way to do it.

 

So your question "what do you actually DO with your machines" is like asking me if I drink while I am currently chugging a beer. upgrading and fixing my machines IS mostly what I do with them. Mostly. Actually using them for anything is just what I do with them while I'm deciding what next to DO to them, which is also what I DO with them, and so the world turns.

 

Though I am expanding my hobby now, just like I'm expanding my machines, this is where learning to program is coming into it, so eventually, the using them may become a larger part than the upgrading them, especially since I'm bound to run out of ways to upgrade them very soon. learning new things and expanding my knowledge is also a hobby of mine. And many of my other interests, like reading, writing,art, music, playing games also converge on my Atari's. Those are all things I DO with my machine too. Expanding the machines allows me to DO all those thing more too.

Edited by Gunstar
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A lot of the upgraded machines I try to take to various shows to let people see what's out there. I keep a fully upgraded PAL machine (U1MB, HDD, etc.) so that I can run any of the latest demos. I haven't done any coding which would require anything over a 16kB machine so far, but hoping that will soon change. I guess I just like having lots of gadgets - I have everything from a stock 16kB 400 to a few fully tricked out 1MB PAL and NTSC machines. I'll finally be putting together a VBXE machine as well. That I plan to code both on, and for.

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Games and SillyPacks!

 

Oh and some electronics.

Edited by foft
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Games and a flexible setup to do disk based saves and stuff, Occasional basic programming.

 

Like most, the fact that the A8 can be upgraded so far advanced yet keep its charm is too irresistible.

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1. Productivity (writing on The Last Word (TLW), a perfect distraction free single task environment) and doing my business administration in Syncalc

2. Coding (when I have time, I love to code stuff without the need of any pc/mac tool; mostly in assembler; moved recently from Synassembler to MA65

3. Playing Games

4. Composing music (Chaos Music Composer)

5. Betatest software/firmware

 

Although I love all the upgrades, I try not to rely on them. If I really need I could rather easily move to a stock 64K machine, except for the use of TLW, which could still be used on a stock 130XE though.

 

Fabulous system.

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I play games mostly, and have been working on a general-use SDX "desktop" image. I still love the little stuff, like writing BASIC programs and formatting floppy disks in DOS. I still love duping a disk with Disk Wizard II. You know, the oldies.

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I totally understand the journey being the fun, for me the XEL was a journey back into the world of Atari after nearly 30 years away and spending nearly a year making it bit by bit was hugely rewarding. All the time my wife was asking "but what is it for?".

 

I'm currently spending an enormous amount of time working on an Atari database for the web that nobody needs but I want to do it anyway. I'm also learning PCB design and electronics.

 

All of these things are for the Atari, but not on the Atari and I'd really like to find something to do _on_ them.

 

Having said that I can't even seem to find time to join in with the HSC!

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The Atari is whatever you make of it but the fact its still inspiring people and giving fun is a testament to both the machine and the people around it..

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I wind my friend up by telling him i have a real Atari home computer and he has a crappy Commodore games machine

Oh and play games too and some point i want to learn some basic

:grin:

Edited by 256 colors
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Sadly, all but one of my machines (7 1200xl's, an 800xl and a pair of 600xl's) sit in a cupboard. But I do use one of my 1200xl's along with a CX85 daily as a keyboard for my PC at my office. I also have a DVD drive mounted in a 1050 case on my desk.

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It's like owning an classic car. Sure, it's a lot less comfortable and easy to drive, and it won't (generally) go as far, but tinkering, playing around, and going for a drive are still fun, and you have way more control than you do with a modern car.
Same deal with the Atari. I play lots of games, tinker with SDX/Ultimate1mb/Side2 etc, and do some word processing on Last Word.

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All of my hardware traveled in boxes and crates for over two decades, because I didn't really have the time or the space to fully set them up and do anything with them. That said, I've pulled it all out, and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how I want to organize it. :)

 

What I do now, is try to remember everything I've forgotten in the past 25 or so years. Once upon a time, I loved programming. I played a lot of games as well, and I spent a lot of time on BBSes and running my own BBS, and I used to spend time online in the early 90s on local telnet BBSes, IRC, and browsing whatever else I could get into when I still had a dial-up shell account to allow me to hop around the internet.

 

What I do now:

  • Look at all of the cool demos that have come about since I got out of things.
  • Browse all of the amazing hardware that has become available, and I've made a few purchases.
  • Dig through all of my old disks to see what the hell I was up to, and try to figure out how the hell it all works.
  • Dial into a BBS or two.
  • Played a few games here and there.

 

What I hope to do:

  • Dedicate one system to bringing my BBS back online.
  • Regain my previous level of knowledge in programming and see what cool bits I left off with back in the day.
  • Get my 8" drives connected and working again to recover all of that old data.
  • Modify the hell out of at least one system.
  • Mess around with music. I used to experiment a lot with trying to write basic programs to get sounds I wanted that were beyond the basic capabilities of the XL/XE. I see people have done that now, and I'd like to go back and play with that more.
  • Write something cool.
  • Put them all online, so I can access whatever I want from whichever I want at any given time.

 

Maybe there is more... We will see. This is a very part-time hobby for now, and my first really big goal is to back up disks.

 

While I'm at it, I will say, that from the very beginning, I wanted more out of my Atari computers. Better graphics, better games, better connectivity, better storage, etc. I know a lot of people have made that happen, and even in the past year and a half, I've seen much more come out and read about even more things that are possible that seemed like a dream just a couple of short years ago. It is cool to see that dedication to the hobby by people who have enough skill to make it happen. I'm preferring to continue my experience on real hardware to a large extent, but peripherals were always out there, so I'll definitely take advantage of the newer ones where I can.

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I print my checks, labels, and envelopes on a laser printer with my 1200XL.

 

I like modified machines to mount CF cards, not only for fast data transfer, but also the ability to search hundreds of 'disks' on the CF card.

 

I like faster clock systems because they make many BASIC programs practical.

 

I like expanded linear memory for search or sort applications.

 

Bob

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To me it's a hobby and I like to go back and try all the languages I couldn't afford the first time around. I like doing comparisons and "shoot-outs" to see which is "best in class" in terms of performance and ease of use.

 

I have to admit that C and Pascal is frustrating on the Atari because of the closed eco-systems. It's very hard to get them to react well with other DOSes.

 

I do appreciate the bare-bones environment. The programming is purer, I think.

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Now I've got more time, I unboxed all my 8 bit and ST stuff, working my way through it all, fixing broken bits and pieces.

Also running though all my old disks (shame so many have degraded and are unreadable).

 

I also Program, interface with external hardware (latest:- emulate a Centronics printer on an Arduino via Serial interface);

 

I am planning to try and interface a 5 1/4 ST floppy drive to my 130XE, might be a long one :)

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What I actually do:

  • Doing correspondence with The Last Word / VBXE-based machines (XEGS or 1088XEL)
  • Assembling A8-extensions / hardware
  • Looking (and hearing;-) demos
  • a little bit Turbo-Basic-programming
  • Playing
  • Try to take part on AAs and ABBUCs highscorechat
  • beeing astonished what new effects programmer still elicit the A8

 

What I hope to do:

  • Finishing an unfinished Turbo-Basic-game
  • Learnig to program the A8 in assembler

Sleepy

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emulate a Centronics printer on an Arduino via Serial interface

I am interested in this, have you documented your progress anywhere online for further reading?

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