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Atari Yearnings... Increasing as you get older?

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19 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

In a way, I liken my computer life to that of a space explorer: I'm given a new ship meant for deep-space voyages, and a mission to reach Alpha-Centauri on a journey that takes a hundred years, but by the time I reach my destination I've been surpassed already by newer, faster ships and all has already been said and done and colonized by younger generations by the time I get there. But it's all good still, because at least I made it and used the hell out of that first deep-space ship and learned it inside and out, upgraded and improved it, and had a wonderful journey doing it all. Like Super Tramp, I'm taking the long way home...

and what about all of those other explorers who got the same ship at the same time, or earlier, or later...and took the same route...or different routes? and as for those faster ships that overtook you...some of those will have been available when we got our first A8s...and could well have reached deep space long before we even launched.  😀

i have no idea where I'm going with this - the permutations seem infinite. all i know is your last paragraph killed about 100,000 functioning braincells this end. perhaps deep-space exploration was a bit too much a stretch - as analogies go? 😀

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Ours was the little 14" wood effect one where you pulled the round dial out to turn it on....Lovely little TV it was and also why I always gravitate towards small displays rather than 32" and above views...Its how I remember it so feeds the good vibe.

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2 hours ago, brenski said:

and what about all of those other explorers who got the same ship at the same time, or earlier, or later...and took the same route...or different routes? and as for those faster ships that overtook you...some of those will have been available when we got our first A8s...and could well have reached deep space long before we even launched.  😀

i have no idea where I'm going with this - the permutations seem infinite. all i know is your last paragraph killed about 100,000 functioning braincells this end. perhaps deep-space exploration was a bit too much a stretch - as analogies go? 😀

You are over-thinking it, the Atari 8-bit is just the computer I have on the ship, no opportunity for a newer faster computer, just like the ship I'm on, so I work with what I have, upgrade what I can and enjoy the journey, not worrying about other ships or computers until I reach my destination. Have you ever seen the show 'Mystery Science Theater 3000?' The theme song says "...if you are wondering how he eats and breathes and other science facts, just repeat to yourself it's just a show and I should really just relax..."

 

And the analogy isn't meant to think of fleets of ships constantly being made better and faster and constantly launching (like computers), just one every few decades as new propulsion technologies are discovered and improved. Constantly advancing computer tech is just a microcosm over decades and brands and CPU's don't matter, just generations and macro-leaps, not micro-advances (pun intended) compared to a macrocosm over centuries in regards to space ships and propulsion technology. 

Edited by Gunstar

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My first computer was actually a TRS-80, which I saved up money to buy from a paper route when I was 11 (I got the upgrade to 16K!). It was like a puzzle toy to me; figuring out how to work it, learning Z80. I remember bringing my Zilog manual to middle school. I just may have been a geek.

 

As nice as the TRS-80 was, it was clearly a thrown-together computer. I remember "sound" programs where you placed an AM portable radio next to it and ran computationally intensive routines that would produce frequency interference to the radio. Good times, but clearly garage-level design, which was part of the appeal I suppose.

 

When I first saw an 800, I knew I had to have it. You could just see it had actually been engineered, by professionals and everything. Shielding for the interior. An exposed bus with removable components (we all thought it would eventually be used for more than memory, but not so much). And wait it understands independent sprites? It has a dedicated sound chip? Dedicated GRAPHICS chip? That is just crazy! I got one - a 400 - by hook or crook, I don't remember (we were very much not wealthy), and two good friends followed with theirs. Later there was an 800, and in due time a C64. But there was something about the total A8 experience that was so compelling back then. Atari had learned from its video game group to do things like news letters, and loyalty rewards, and they spoke to their audience as fellow hobbyists who loved their machines. The packaging had (for the time) futuristic, bold tones and fantastic art.  The games were like having an arcade in your house. You had this gateway to an entire world of experiences that most people around you didn't have. Powerful stuff for a young teen.

 

And the programming - the 6502 just made sense. Two registers and an accumulator with a memory pad area in page 0 felt a lot more natural than the Zilog's larger set of registers that could be combined. This was so ingrained in me that when I became a professional programmer at first on 68000s, it seemed like zero effort. "Relative indirect? Yes, I speak Motorola".

 

I never really lost interest in the A8. I've owned one since those childhood days. In college it sat next to my ST, and I would still use it. As I got older and owned my own places, there was always one set up. There still is, it's a 1088XEL now, but I play the same games on it. So I wouldn't say it's increased for me, it's been about the same.

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1 hour ago, gnusto said:

My first computer was actually a TRS-80, which I saved up money to buy from a paper route when I was 11 (I got the upgrade to 16K!). It was like a puzzle toy to me; figuring out how to work it, learning Z80. I remember bringing my Zilog manual to middle school. I just may have been a geek.

Yes I did the exact same thing with Apple II. Did the odd-job, mowed lawns, took out the garbage for my street. Returned the cans back to the backyard. Collected recycling. And more.

 

I never thought of the system as a puzzle, but more of an entity I could boss and push around.

 

And I took my Applesoft and DOS manuals to school with me. They were far more interesting than reading about dead-for-200-years men riding horses or kings and castles that have since turned to dust.

 

1 hour ago, gnusto said:

As nice as the TRS-80 was, it was clearly a thrown-together computer. I remember "sound" programs where you placed an AM portable radio next to it and ran computationally intensive routines that would produce frequency interference to the radio. Good times, but clearly garage-level design, which was part of the appeal I suppose.

I also did the radio next to the computer thing. I went a step further and made a coil hooked to a small tuner or resonance circuit and fed it to that pocket amplifier from RS. I even stuck a pin inside the IC socket and tapped from there too.

 

I never felt the Apple II was a garage design despite history never letting anyone forget it was.

 

1 hour ago, gnusto said:

When I first saw an 800, I knew I had to have it. You could just see it had actually been engineered, by professionals and everything. Shielding for the interior. An exposed bus with removable components (we all thought it would eventually be used for more than memory, but not so much). And wait it understands independent sprites? It has a dedicated sound chip? Dedicated GRAPHICS chip? That is just crazy!

I think I was just a bit young (or stupid) to understand completely what a graphics chip and sound chip was. I mean I knew that certain chips controlled the speaker and that certain chips drew pictures on the screen. But I didn't know the concept of a co-processor. Not yet. But I could tell when a system had a good one.

 

I also so wanted those memory cartridges and O/S cartridge and CPU card to have had upgrades back then. That would have been really something!

 

1 hour ago, gnusto said:

I got one - a 400 - by hook or crook, I don't remember (we were very much not wealthy), and two good friends followed with theirs. Later there was an 800, and in due time a C64. But there was something about the total A8 experience that was so compelling back then. Atari had learned from its video game group to do things like news letters, and loyalty rewards, and they spoke to their audience as fellow hobbyists who loved their machines. The packaging had (for the time) futuristic, bold tones and fantastic art.  The games were like having an arcade in your house. You had this gateway to an entire world of experiences that most people around you didn't have. Powerful stuff for a young teen.

There's always this debate about the C64 vs Atari going on. And for a long time I tended to consider them equal, each having strengths and weaknesses that balanced out in the end. Only very recently (to me) it's become apparent that Atari had a higher quality product and better factory support. Whereas the C64 was cheap-o but had a ton of user and third-party support.

 

Arcade games at home, indeed. They played really well. The 400/800 had real arcade hardware like a POKEY chip. Though I didn't really realize it back then. If it was common knowledge, then shame on me for missing it!

 

1 hour ago, gnusto said:

And the programming - the 6502 just made sense. Two registers and an accumulator with a memory pad area in page 0 felt a lot more natural than the Zilog's larger set of registers that could be combined. This was so ingrained in me that when I became a professional programmer at first on 68000s, it seemed like zero effort. "Relative indirect? Yes, I speak Motorola".

 

I never really lost interest in the A8. I've owned one since those childhood days. In college it sat next to my ST, and I would still use it. As I got older and owned my own places, there was always one set up. There still is, it's a 1088XEL now, but I play the same games on it. So I wouldn't say it's increased for me, it's been about the same.

 

I also like 6502, but am rather rusty with it these days. I know more about x86 however.

 

The 400/800 was one of the last machines I got rid of in the late-80's, make way for the PC! Needed money and room for a computer that the industry was using. And Atari 8-bit consoles weren't cutting the mustard.

 

Though today I thoroughly enjoy gaming and experimenting through Altirra. It's an emulator that keeps getting better year after year. And it offers all kinds of conveniences, space savings, and reliabilities that are part and parcel of a virtual machine.

 

It has been said that Altirra has some features which real-hardware owners would like to see (somehow magically) retrofitted to their rigs.

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Damn this thread 😂 We used TI994A, TRS-89 Models 3 & 4, and CoCo 2s in school (before getting IBM PCs, but they don’t count). After reading through this thread I’ve went to storage and grabbed a couple more Atari 8 bits, TRS-80 Model 4, TI99 4A, C64 breadbox, C128, and CoCo 3 and brought them home :) It was like winning a lottery if one of them worked correctly on the first boot...or second...or at all. I rationalized all of this by “needing” to bring the 1902A monitor home.

 

It seems that the majority of us on AtariAge’s A8 section is in the same age group, so most all of this is so relatable to me.

 

 

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On 11/25/2019 at 8:41 AM, Mclaneinc said:

Ours was the little 14" wood effect one where you pulled the round dial out to turn it on....Lovely little TV it was and also why I always gravitate towards small displays rather than 32" and above views...Its how I remember it so feeds the good vibe.

I don't know the size of the one I am getting, as my nephew didn't measure or whatever. I know it's 19" or larger, that is it.

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4 hours ago, 777ismyname said:

Damn this thread 😂 We used TI994A, TRS-89 Models 3 & 4, and CoCo 2s in school (before getting IBM PCs, but they don’t count). After reading through this thread I’ve went to storage and grabbed a couple more Atari 8 bits, TRS-80 Model 4, TI99 4A, C64 breadbox, C128, and CoCo 3 and brought them home :) It was like winning a lottery if one of them worked correctly on the first boot...or second...or at all. I rationalized all of this by “needing” to bring the 1902A monitor home.

 

It seems that the majority of us on AtariAge’s A8 section is in the same age group, so most all of this is so relatable to me.

 

 

some of us might be a 'little' older 😎

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23 minutes ago, TGB1718 said:

some of us might be a 'little' older 😎

I’m sure :) I’ve read a few people that were quite a bit older than the typical Gen X member :) More power to them 🤘 

Edited by 777ismyname
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3 hours ago, TGB1718 said:

some of us might be a 'little' older 😎

Does that mean the 1718 in your name is your birth year?😁

 

Yes, we have to remember those who were already 20 or 30 something (maybe 40- 200+) when they got their first Atari 400/800. If I had gotten an 800 when it came out, I would have been 11. I got a 130XE at 17 instead.

Edited by Gunstar
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