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chad5200

Old pictures of our Atari 8-bit setups

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Dug up a couple of my own to contribute!

 

I have vague memories of my dad having a 400, 800, 800XL, 130XE, but my first computer that was "mine" was a 600XL with 16K and a 1010 tape deck. Many memories of tapes with 10-20 small BASIC programs saved to each side of a tape to run.. either simple audio/graphics demos or games. the "Big" games like Pitfall II and Galaxian on tape took 10-20 minutes to load, and the computer would not get turned off for a while for those :D Will have to ask my parents if they still have any old photos of any of those setups...

 

But the earliest photos I have at the moment are around 1988 - I would have been 10, my brother 8. My dad would have upgraded to an ST at that point, and the XE's were cheap enough I got upgraded. The 1050 in the pictures has a clone happy board, and a write-protect/write-always toggle switch.

 

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The Epyx 500XJ joystick was a great advantage over the wico bathandles for Decathlon races with the smaller travel distance. The Persistent RAM cartridge on the left I recently found again, and started another topic about it recently with some internal pictures. It was most useful to load a binary load game from tape, and use the cartridge to keep the game 'saved' in SRAM so you could skip loading from tape again next time, until you wanted to change the game...

 

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And my brother playing his favourite game Lode Runner... We spent a looot of time making custom levels, and playing them...

 

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Same table again 2 moves later, a decade+ later!

 

Photo evidence in my archives that my Atari 8-Bit BBS (The Last Hope lol, BBS Express Pro! 5.0b Node 244) was still up and running as late as August 2001, around when I got my first digital camera. Green-screen Monochrome monitor, external speaker since the monitor had no sound (had to be able to hear the sysop page! re-purposed from a desk CB radio of my dads). Stock 130XE (main machine was 320K, 4 switchable OS) 1MB MIO under the monitor stand (re-purposed printer stand), 40MB MFM hard drive with Adaptec 4000A controller in a big enclosure under the table) 16.8K USR HST Dual Standard modem, which ran reliably at a 19,200 DCE rate with hardware RTS/CTS flow control when paired with the HyperSpeed R: Handler by Len Spencer. The 40MB backup hard drive is sitting upside down at the front of the desk. (I have that one still, still works!)

 

I managed to recover all of the BBS hard drive data in 2017 I believe, and had it up and running online within Altirra for a few months in 2018. Need to tweak it a bit more but I do plan on getting it online again. :)

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I'm learning that I'm a bit older than many of you. If there were any pictures of my setups from back then, they would probably include several beer bottles and a dirty ashtray :) Fortunately I quit smoking a quarter century ago!

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The 70's were such a brown decade! Even with all the tie-dye and lava-lamps my overwhelming impression was of brown and wood paneling. 

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26 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

The 70's were such a brown decade! Even with all the tie-dye and lava-lamps my overwhelming impression was of brown and wood paneling. 

Yep!  Also, burnt orange.  Just look at that carpet!

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On 5/2/2019 at 6:51 PM, toddtmw said:

My first game was Galactic Chase. It took FOREVER to load from cassette!

That's an interesting coincidence.  I bought Galactic Chase and the original Jawbreaker cassettes as my first games.  I found that my 410 was very unreliable as well as incredibly slow, so replaced it after a couple of months with an 810.  I used to drive around 30 miles (one way) a couple times a month to see what the computer shop had new. 

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These are so cute ;) :D    I recently asked my dad if he rembered ever photographing us when we brought the Atari down to the Living Room :) That was because upstairs it was connected to an old black and white TV (hence my first "demos" are in black and white), but once in a blue moon we were "allowed" to bring it downstairs and connect it to the color television. That was when I first saw the 256 color GTIA mode (i.e. one line of luminance, one line of chroma, PAL blended) in full effect on a television. That was amazing!

But my dad didn't remember if he ever took pictures. We also played a lot Boulder Dash, finally in color. I guess next time I'm at my parent's house I have to check the attic and dig up some old photobooks from the 80's to see if anything's there :)

 

Thanks everyone for sharing these pictures!

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3 hours ago, chad5200 said:

Yep!  Also, burnt orange.  Just look at that carpet!

Except of course, Burnt Orange is still cool now :)

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OK - here we go.  Thread promise is "you won't laugh"!

 

1050 drive - 1984 - I did not ever remember getting the drive when I was 9 years old and still using a 9" B&W TV.

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Here we have a 13" Capehart colour TV

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This is xmas 1988 - I got the 130XE and my brother got a killer boombox!

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I can't help but notice that I seem to be the only person in this thread so far who was stuck using a membrane keyboard on a 400 back then, I still can't believe I put up with that for a few years like I did.  ("And we were damn glad to have it, too...")

 

And you people who actually had 800s when you were that young...you're killing me here!  ;)

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18 minutes ago, Agent570 said:

I can't help but notice that I seem to be the only person in this thread so far who was stuck using a membrane keyboard on a 400 back then, I still can't believe I put up with that for a few years like I did.  ("And we were damn glad to have it, too...")

 

And you people who actually had 800s when you were that young...you're killing me here!  ;)

LOL, we didn't even have calculators when I was that young!

 

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On 5/2/2019 at 9:42 AM, Sandor / HARD said:

My Atari & me - I'm guessing 1991-1992

All our demos were made on this one (my parts)

 

That's a monochrome Junost TV I worked on all those years, colored everything from memory (I guess we all knew our favorite color codes by heart back then). Only fine tuned colors on a color TV when the parts were completed.

 

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Yay, Junost 402B, if I am not mistaken :D I used to have that crappy TV with my Atari too. Incompatible with PAL so no sound with picture, and the screen did not have black. Just light gray and lighter gray.

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14 hours ago, Agent570 said:

I can't help but notice that I seem to be the only person in this thread so far who was stuck using a membrane keyboard on a 400 back then, I still can't believe I put up with that for a few years like I did.  ("And we were damn glad to have it, too...")

Not quite. I had a 400 when they first came out. And I thought the membrane keyboard was the future. And that we had better learn how to use it because we thought that was the way the industry was going. The ignorance of youth.

 

But, today, the iPhone and iPad have touch keyboards. Just a lot easier to use. So yes the future!

 

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I really enjoyed this thread!  I never had an Atari, but seeing people's individual setups and how much pride and energy were invested into them, makes one understand why AtartAge users are here using the old machines of our youth.  

 

Side-by-side THEN/NOW photos would be cool too!

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On 7/13/2019 at 10:00 PM, Stephen said:

Here we have a 13" Capehart colour TV

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I have that SAME TV still! Works just as good as it did when new (well maybe).

 

Was my first color TV. Had my 800XL, 1050 drive and 1200 baud modem set-up then.

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21 hours ago, Agent570 said:

I can't help but notice that I seem to be the only person in this thread so far who was stuck using a membrane keyboard on a 400 back then, I still can't believe I put up with that for a few years like I did.  ("And we were damn glad to have it, too...")

 

And you people who actually had 800s when you were that young...you're killing me here!  ;)

You guys with the 400's were even luckier than I. I seem to be a bit older than some of you posting pictures with your Atari's at 8, 9, 10 years old. At that age, for me, Atari computers hadn't even come out yet! When I was that age I was lucky to have had a Coleco Telstar pong machine! Not even an Atari 2600 until during the video game crash when my older brother bought one on clearance, and we collected about 100 carts in the first year, since they were all in clearance bins for dirt cheap. I always wanted a computer and begged my parents for one for years, but it was just an over-priced toy to them, just a 2600 with a keyboard. So I didn't even get my first computer until I was in high-school, around '83/84, and it was a Timex/Sinclair 1000 that my parents finally bought me for my birthday, and only because it was discontinued and in the bargain bin! I guess I was 15 or 16 at the time. My first Atari, the 130XE, I bought myself after saving up money in the summer of '85 when I was  17! 

 

So don't complain or feel bad that you only had a 400, I could only dream at the time!

If I ever come across some old pictures of those days I'll post, but I don't even remember ever photographing or being photographed by my Atari. My family was never much for taking photos during our regular, every day lives, not even Christmas, we only took photos of vacations (what you English blokes call a "holiday" or out on holiday, a word Americans only use for Christmas, Easter, Independence day, etc.) which we have a TON of, most on old slides and about once a year my dad would get out the old slide projector and we were practically forced to go through them all as a family.

Edited by Gunstar

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I can't get over how young most on here are, hell I was at work when you lot were kids..I was over 18 (and some)..

 

Lol @Gunstar I was that person who did the slide show, I was a mad keen amatuer photographer when I was younger and experimenting with long exposures, polarising filters, star filters etc and managed to bore my wife and mother with slide shows of my 'art'. Still got some of the slides but I refuse to enforce them on anyone now I realise how poor they were :)

Edited by Mclaneinc
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You like me Mclaneinc, I was also rather older and had my own kids by the time I bought my 800 (BUT IT WAS MINE 😁 ).

 

Unfortunately I didn't take any photo's which is a bit of a shame as like many on this forum I eventually got 130XE's

1050's, STM and STFM, Jaguar.  (and still have them all)

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Wow, this is such a great thread!  I really wish I had photos from my Atari 8-bit days.  I had an impressive assortment of hardware since I had two systems setup, with one of them running a BBS on a ton of hardware (and that system had two monitors hooked up to it!)

 

Keep the photos coming!

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15 hours ago, Keatah said:

 And I thought the membrane keyboard was the future. And that we had better learn how to use it because we thought that was the way the industry was going. The ignorance of youth.

 

But, today, the iPhone and iPad have touch keyboards. Just a lot easier to use. So yes the future!

 

Yep, it just took another 40 years, and now computers (pads, etc.) are all staring to use touch-screen keyboards instead of real ones. I think keyboards may get phased out completely, like the desktop computer, and probably laptops in favor of pads soon as well. I absolutely HATE using the tiny touchscreen keyboard on my Android phone though, and long for the days of the Blackberry with it's keyboard! 

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49 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

Yep, it just took another 40 years, and now computers (pads, etc.) are all staring to use touch-screen keyboards instead of real ones. I think keyboards may get phased out completely, like the desktop computer, and probably laptops in favor of pads soon as well. I absolutely HATE using the tiny touchscreen keyboard on my Android phone though, and long for the days of the Blackberry with it's keyboard! 

I put the blame for today's shitty keyboards squarely at Apple's feet.  Some time ago, their laptop keyboards were fantastic!  I'm talking about the black Powerbooks.  Those really were great machines.  Lots of ports as well, unlike today's Apple laptops.  Once Apple introduced laptops with the chicklet style keys, that spelled the end of getting decent keyboards in most laptops.  And Apple continues trying to make these keyboards even thinner, to the point of developing a keyboard that fails for a large number of its users, forcing Apple to start a program to replace these keyboards well after the warranty expires.  I think we're into year four of these butterfly keyboards now.  I won't even consider a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, not only because of the problems with keys dying on them, but because they are just abysmal to type on.  I'd be happy to have a laptop that's a bit thicker than what they have now, as long as it has a good keyboard and a decent selection of ports.

 

At least with a desktop machine I can choose my own keyboard, and generally use keyboards with nice mechanical key switches. 

 

As for "glass" keyboards, I don't mind it on my phone at all.  But for an iPad, I prefer a physical keyboard if I'm going to do a serious amount of typing.  I have several iPads (having done iOS development for a while), but I rarely use them.  Even if I had a nice, large iPad Pro, I'd still want a keyboard.  Apple is making them more compelling as "laptop replacements" (especially with the upcoming iOS 13), but if I cannot easily put it on my lap and type on it, it's not going to work out too well for me.  And you can't really do software development on one easily.  If I was forced to use a full-size glass keyboard for a significant amount of typing, I'd not be happy.  That's one aspect of Star Trek: The Next Generation I don't really want to see. :D

 

I love the keyboards on old personal computers.  The Atari 800 had a fantastic keyboard!  And the one on my first computer, an 800XL, was also good.  Then everything went to shit with the 130XE!  The 520/1040ST keyboards weren't great, but I love the keyboard on the Mega ST!  The original Mac keyboards were also fantastic to type on, and one of my favorites is the Apple Extended Keyboard II.  I tried using these with modern Macs (over five years ago) using an Apple ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) to USB adapter, but it could not keep up with my fast typing!  I may have to try again to see if those adapters are still being made, and if so, they work better with modern Macs. I still have several of those Extended Keyboard IIs somewhere!

 

Sorry for the (mostly) off-topic rant!

 

 ..Al

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On 7/15/2019 at 11:45 AM, Agent570 said:

And you people who actually had 800s when you were that young...you're killing me here!  ;)

Agreed, those were so expensive!  Along with the Apple II, which we could not even think of buying.  I had to save up money by cutting lawns and shoveling snow to buy my Atari 800XL.

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