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Marty, no question preserving the sheer volume of history that Curt possessed will be a lasting spotlight on Curt's legacy.  Thank you.

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Rest In Peace, Curt. The Atari community will never be the same.

 

Besides my condolences, I also wanted to share these images, which I thought were very nice.

 

SmartSelect_20200902-230731_Firefox.jpg

SmartSelect_20200902-232220_Twitter.jpg

Edited by AnakiMana
adding another attachment
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I didn't know him personally either, but I learned so much from his work on the history and was continually fascinated with his unfolding discoveries of Atari's history.

 

RIP Curt.

 

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18 hours ago, Retro Rogue said:

 I’m going to be working with his wife at some point in the near future to bring some order into the sad chaos that has arisen from his sudden departure. That includes going through the voluminous Atari museum archive, all the projects he was working on for people, any business related things, and so on. It’s quite the undertaking but it has to be done. And I want to make sure I do everything possible to preserve his legacy and what he was trying to accomplish, and what I was fortunate enough to be a part of for sometime now.

Good luck and God Speed Marty. 

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I haven't really logged-in here or at Facebook in a while, so I just caught wind of this earlier this morning. I swear...this year. 😢

 

There's not a whole lot to say that hasn't already been said. He was a cool guy, gracious, opinionated. I always liked that he was a hardware guy and I still treasure my 800 Series USB joystick from Legacy. It's kind of amazing how someone's contributions can touch so many different people over the years, in so many different ways. He's going to be missed.

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35 minutes ago, Karyyk said:

I haven't really logged-in here or at Facebook in a while, so I just caught wind of this earlier this morning. I swear...this year. 😢

 

There's not a whole lot to say that hasn't already been said. He was a cool guy, gracious, opinionated. I always liked that he was a hardware guy and I still treasure my 800 Series USB joystick from Legacy. It's kind of amazing how someone's contributions can touch so many different people over the years, in so many different ways. He's going to be missed.

Opinionated.?  Think that New Yorker in him might have a bit to do with that?  I love opinionated people.  We are ALL opinionated, otherwise you are a 'bot.  

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I always imagined him with long beard and so - just like a santa - so many gifts in his sleeves, and now I saw that interview posted here, and i'm stunned - he looks heathy to me, not like someone that was struggling with his heart for many years

i'll miss you, Curt

 

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Yeah, he was a great guy. I've spoken with him a couple of times over the years, and like many of you, I've been very surprised/intrigued/thankful at the vast amount of documentation, prototypes, code, and information that he pretty much single-handedly saved from the dustbin of history and released here. A hundred years from now, that will be remembered much the same way that collectors who saved early film are remembered today. That history will even have a lot of that early Atari information and software is because of him.

He'll be missed. My condolences to friends and family.

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9 minutes ago, Lord Thag said:

A hundred years from now, that will be remembered much the same way that collectors who saved early film are remembered today. That history will even have a lot of that early Atari information and software is because of him.

I agree. He should be remembered (in part) as a pioneering historical preservationist for the world's last great art form.

Edited by fultonbot

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5 hours ago, gilsaluki said:

Opinionated.?  Think that New Yorker in him might have a bit to do with that?  I love opinionated people.  We are ALL opinionated, otherwise you are a 'bot.  

I think it's pretty obvious that I meant that as a compliment.

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15 hours ago, Karyyk said:

I think it's pretty obvious that I meant that as a compliment.

Good Lord, you're a sensitive bunch.  i was making light.  Smile.

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3 hours ago, ClausB said:

VCFE, 2019

IMG_20190504_130453642.jpg

That's a great picture 👍 . It shows Curt completely immersed in his element.

 

What's deceiving about it, is that you would never suspect that a year later he would be gone, because he truly looks happy and healthy and could have passed for being in his late 30's, not 52 that he was at the time.

 

My first and only meet up with Curt to the best of my recollection happened in 2002. It was at a vintage computer swap meet in Santa Clara (or was it San Jose?). I had loaded up my Honda CRV with all of my Atari gear and drove down there with my brother intent on finding someone to take it all for free. I was done with all things Atari and was ready to move on.

 

So we get down to the show, and me and my brother are walking around checking out all the stuff when we saw a couple of guys with a table that had some A8 equipment scattered on top. I introduced myself and asked if they would be interested in a car load of free Atari gear. They immediately looked at each other and almost simultaneously said the name Curt, at which point they spotted him and called him over. So we get acquainted, and my first impression was that this guy is very knowledgeable and certainly an extreme fan of Atari (although I didn't have a clue as to who he really was at the time). And yes he was very interested in seeing what I'd brought.

 

So out to the back parking lot we all went and I popped open the hatch of my CRV, and Curt immediately starts rummaging through the pile. Every item he pulls out he starts going into a bit of the history behind it. Then he gets to a bunch of TransKey1 bare PCBs, does a double take, and then looks over at me and asks how I got those. I simply said it was a project I had worked on back in 1990 to allow IBM AT style keyboards to be used in the A8, of which I had sold a few of them during that time. He immediately lit up and says to me "You're that Michael St. Pierre!". Next thing I know he's taking me around to see several other people at the swap meet, energetically proclaiming that I was the one responsible for the creation of the TransKey. It was too funny, and certainly unexpected that he would have even known who I was from over a decade ago. But that was my first introduction to what Curt was really about - an Atari historian at heart.

 

Later that day we transferred everything I had brought into his Hi-Cube truck that he had driven out to California from New York, including some prototypes I had been working on that had never seen the light of day, exchanged emails and then parted ways.

 

Over the next several months we conversed back and forth via email, with a lot of questions focused around the TransKey boards and the hardware prototypes. And then unfortunately I let the emails fade away as I continued to move on from the Atari and into website design on the PC. It would be yet another decade or more before we would once again exchange emails and PMs on AtariAge, prompted by the release of his book, which had drawn me back into the world of Atari and filled an empty spot I didn't even know was there.

 

I feel very fortunate to have gotten to spend time with Curt before he left this planet. And I thank him for bringing me back to my roots. He was a great man and will be dearly missed by all of us.

 

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4 hours ago, ClausB said:

VCFE, 2019

IMG_20190504_130453642.jpg

That is a great photo.  I have been driving myself crazy trying to find a digital photo of Curt and I promoting Flashback 2 at a gaming event.  He had a similar look on his face and it is my favorite photo of us together during the Flashback/Flashback 2 development era.  I am almost positive that event was held in Philadelphia.  I remember Albert had an Atari Age booth set up and Matt Reichert was there as well.  For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the show or the time of year it was held.

 

 

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Great photo.  I actually was considering going to that vintage fest but had something come up which now obviously I rue because I would have liked to chat with Curt.

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3 hours ago, mytek said:

That's a great picture 👍 . It shows Curt completely immersed in his element.

 

What's deceiving about it, is that you would never suspect that a year later he would be gone, because he truly looks happy and healthy and could have passed for being in his late 30's, not 52 that he was at the time.

 

My first and only meet up with Curt to the best of my recollection happened in 2002. It was at a vintage computer swap meet in Santa Clara (or was it San Jose?). I had loaded up my Honda CRV with all of my Atari gear and drove down there with my brother intent on finding someone to take it all for free. I was done with all things Atari and was ready to move on.

 

So we get down to the show, and me and my brother are walking around checking out all the stuff when we saw a couple of guys with a table that had some A8 equipment scattered on top. I introduced myself and asked if they would be interested in a car load of free Atari gear. They immediately looked at each other and almost simultaneously said the name Curt, at which point they spotted him and called him over. So we get acquainted, and my first impression was that this guy is very knowledgeable and certainly an extreme fan of Atari (although I didn't have a clue as to who he really was at the time). And yes he was very interested in seeing what I'd brought.

 

So out to the back parking lot we all went and I popped open the hatch of my CRV, and Curt immediately starts rummaging through the pile. Every item he pulls out he starts going into a bit of the history behind it. Then he gets to a bunch of TransKey1 bare PCBs, does a double take, and then looks over at me and asks how I got those. I simply said it was a project I had worked on back in 1990 to allow IBM AT style keyboards to be used in the A8, of which I had sold a few of them during that time. He immediately lit up and says to me "You're that Michael St. Pierre!". Next thing I know he's taking me around to see several other people at the swap meet, energetically proclaiming that I was the one responsible for the creation of the TransKey. It was too funny, and certainly unexpected that he would have even known who I was from over a decade ago. But that was my first introduction to what Curt was really about - an Atari historian at heart.

 

Later that day we transferred everything I had brought into his Hi-Cube truck that he had driven out to California from New York, including some prototypes I had been working on that had never seen the light of day, exchanged emails and then parted ways.

 

Over the next several months we conversed back and forth via email, with a lot of questions focused around the TransKey boards and the hardware prototypes. And then unfortunately I let the emails fade away as I continued to move on from the Atari and into website design on the PC. It would be yet another decade or more before we would once again exchange emails and PMs on AtariAge, prompted by the release of his book, which had drawn me back into the world of Atari and filled an empty spot I didn't even know was there.

 

I feel very fortunate to have gotten to spend time with Curt before he left this planet. And I thank him for bringing me back to my roots. He was a great man and will be dearly missed by all of us.

 

Wow!  That is an amazing story.  Curt was a true Atari fan for sure.  I too recall your TransKey back in the day and yearned to have one.  I have one now for my XEGS.  I love it.  Sadly, however, I don't write letters like I used to, thus the ultimate clicky keyboard, my Model M, doesn't see much use.  Anyway, what amazes me about your story, and what has always amazed me about people like yourself that were not just users of Atari, but innovators, can so easily dump all things Atari.  Just like that.  "Want some free Atari hardware?".  Amazing.  A couple of years ago I needed advice about how to get sound for a set up I had using my XEP-80, and a Zenith monochrome monitor.  From one of the magazines from the day, I recalled Benjamin Poehland mentioned he'd used an Archer (Radio Shack) small speaker to get the sound.  I found him on the internet and wrote to him (email).  He mentioned he'd not used Atari in almost two decades, just got rid of all his stuff...development documents and all.  I just could not understand it.  I must be a real pac-rat, hanging on to all I ever got for my Atari (to my spouse's angst).  Anyway, I guess you re-acquired some of your Atari bits.  

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7 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

Anyway, what amazes me about your story, and what has always amazed me about people like yourself that were not just users of Atari, but innovators, can so easily dump all things Atari.

I got lots of Atari stuff once again, and it was fun being a collector for a short while re-buying stuff off of eBay before the prices went crazy, (1) 1200XL, (6) 800XLs, (2) 600XLs, (1) 65XE, and (2) XEGSs. The stuff I let go of had been sitting in boxes taking up space in my garage for nearly 7 years, and I needed an extra room for my son with the garage becoming a room conversion project.

 

You know what they say... if you haven't used something in a couple of years it's time to let it go ;) . I usually wait at least 5 years before doing that.

 

Glad you liked the story, and that you are enjoying the TransKey on your XEGS :) .

 

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7 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

Wow!  That is an amazing story.  Curt was a true Atari fan for sure.  I too recall your TransKey back in the day and yearned to have one.  I have one now for my XEGS.  I love it.  Sadly, however, I don't write letters like I used to, thus the ultimate clicky keyboard, my Model M, doesn't see much use.  Anyway, what amazes me about your story, and what has always amazed me about people like yourself that were not just users of Atari, but innovators, can so easily dump all things Atari.  Just like that.  "Want some free Atari hardware?".  Amazing.  A couple of years ago I needed advice about how to get sound for a set up I had using my XEP-80, and a Zenith monochrome monitor.  From one of the magazines from the day, I recalled Benjamin Poehland mentioned he'd used an Archer (Radio Shack) small speaker to get the sound.  I found him on the internet and wrote to him (email).  He mentioned he'd not used Atari in almost two decades, just got rid of all his stuff...development documents and all.  I just could not understand it.  I must be a real pac-rat, hanging on to all I ever got for my Atari (to my spouse's angst).  Anyway, I guess you re-acquired some of your Atari bits.  

 

Wow as well! I was a subscriber of Ben Poehland's ATARI Classics in the nineties, it's a shock that he did let go of everything.

 

I can only talk from a personal point of view but we all go through stages in life.

 

For a very long time, all my ATARI assets (except those bought locally in CA) were stored in Paris, France and, while I never stopped purchasing locally, there was a big hole in my heart as I didn't have access to my childhood setup and the software I coded as a kid.

 

Long story short, my dad, who bought me my 600XL PAL when I was just 10, passed away 5 years ago.

 

Loosing him was such a shock and memories of us were so far and between, I suddenly HAD to get all the stuff I had in Paris shipped to California.

 

Over the next couple of trips to Paris, I would rent a mini van, go to the "ATARI Paris reserve" (or so called in the family) which was WAY out of town and, bit by bit, I would pack everything up with bubble wrap, peanuts and sturdy (crate compatible) carboard boxes.

 

It was tremendous work and nights spent on location but, spread over 14 months, 4 crates shipped over 2 different airlines, everything eventually landed safely at L.A.X. and U.S. customs (I always dealt with the same person so that helped tremendously) did let me grab everything at no extra charge. I just had to get a u-haul and pay for warehouse storage at L.A.X. while the crates were waiting for me.

 

And now, thanks to @Panther, who helped me fix my PAL 600XL, I can finally fool around again with my childhood computer.

 

At the end of the day, if you love your stuff and it means something truly special to you, don't let it go.

 

Same for all things I got from Curt and that I learned from him, those things were special before, they are even more special now. :)

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On 8/31/2020 at 8:37 PM, jaybird3rd said:

I remember that, in the years after the Flashback 2, Curt was floating the idea of doing a Flashback 3 based on the 5200 or 400/800 hardware.  I did my best to try to pitch the idea at the time, and Curt's involvement, in the (perhaps naïve) hope that someone at Atari would see it.  I'm still saddened that it never came to be; I'm sure that you and he would have done an amazing job with it.

It might please you to know that in my last email conversation with Curt back in May of this year he was discussing a new project going in a slightly different direction, and was really excited about doing this following the XM project completion. Essentially he wanted to create a drop-in motherboard for the 5200 making it fully 8-bit compatible and provide for easy VBXE upgrade.

 

Here's a snippet of that conversation (the 'he' in the email is referring to a well known person on AA, but I don't feel comfortable revealing that name without his permission).

Quote
Hi Mike,
 
 Was having a conversion with...  ...vbxe for the 5200.
 
He and I were discussing how the Expansion port is useless and the cartridge port is unable to support any kind of upgrades...
 
So I said to him I wish there was a way to convert the 5200 back into a 400.
 
Then it dawned on me... why couldn’t I take the 800XL design and put it onto a 5200 motherboard outline, basically make an 800XL fit into the 5200 case?
 
So, is the 1088XL design done in PCB Express?  I’ve never looked at it and I’m thinking if it is, it would be a good starting point to do in native chips, then people could take their 5200’s and move the needed chips over (the CPU would need to be replaced with the SALLY) and the XL mmu would be moved over.
 
 I’m thinking also...  to design the board and bring all of the lines necessary to a side board with the ANTIC & GTIA on it to be a simple removal & plug in board for a VBXE upgrade?  
 
Let me know your thoughts.
 
Curt

My response.

Quote

Hi Curt,

Yes the 1088XLD was done in ExpressPCB, but it is not in the public domain, being used solely by MacRorie to produce boards that he sells. However the 1088XEL board files are in the public domain and the files are on my website at: https://ataribits.weebly.com/1088xel.html

Keep in mind that the 1088 series boards were meant to utilize the U1MB for it's ROM, MMU, and expanded RAM. So depending upon what you are trying to do, you might need to do some modifications, and possibly add an OS ROM and MMU for a minimally operational system. There is already 64K x 8 SRAM on board, so unless you need expanded RAM for your application that should be enough for most things. It also uses the UAV board for video output.

Bottom line you are looking at a lot of work to do what you are suggesting. Even considering that my files would be of some help. Since you are looking at an entirely different board footprint, I doubt that what I've done on the PCB layout would make things any easier. It might be better to start from scratch with the board layout. Although I'm pretty sure that the schematics will be of some use, and give you a good starting point.

I think the premise you are proposing is a good one to make the 5200 into an 8-bit 800 computer instead. However all you would be doing is to use the enclosure and not much else, since the original motherboard is to be replaced. I guess you would also get some useful chips from the old board as well. Since the goal is to open up aspect to all the cool computer upgrades, then you might want to keep the U1MB aspect, since that is a highly desired upgrade.

All the files on my website are to be used for whatever you wish, so feel free to take what you want 🙂 .

Michael

My biggest regret is that I got too busy to continue this conversation, but I always intended to get back to him at a later date and see how things were going with his plan.

 

I waited too long, and now I'll never know 😥 .

 

Just another example of how it's important to always make the time for others and ask the questions you are thinking about, because you never know how long our time is on this planet.

 

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3 hours ago, mytek said:

I got lots of Atari stuff once again, and it was fun being a collector for a short while re-buying stuff off of eBay before the prices went crazy, (1) 1200XL, (6) 800XLs, (2) 600XLs, (1) 65XE, and (2) XEGSs. The stuff I let go of had been sitting in boxes taking up space in my garage for nearly 7 years, and I needed an extra room for my son with the garage becoming a room conversion project.

 

You know what they say... if you haven't used something in a couple of years it's time to let it go ;) . I usually wait at least 5 years before doing that.

 

Glad you liked the story, and that you are enjoying the TransKey on your XEGS :) .

 

You guys do not realize what you mean to true Atarians.  We vested lots of energy and cash into the Atari Computer.  When someone, like you and Curt, come along and do amazing things (amazing to us users) for our beloved computers (things Atari would never do...for whatever reason), we hold you (and him) in great esteem.  You, along with Ben and Whooley, are really the Rock Stars of our hobby.  I thank you, Ben, Bob, Curt, and all the rest for all that you have done for our lives.  It is not just a hobby, it's a way of life.  We are invested in all things Atari.  I could no longer give up Atari than a family member.  It is a part of my life, my history.  You, and the rest, are a part of it.  Even though some have moved on (and I totally get it), they are a part of our history, and lives as well.  So, from the bottom of my heart, and this is no foolin', Thank you. Thank you for your time and your interest in this.    

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8 hours ago, mstulir said:

That is a great photo.  I have been driving myself crazy trying to find a digital photo of Curt and I promoting Flashback 2 at a gaming event.  He had a similar look on his face and it is my favorite photo of us together during the Flashback/Flashback 2 development era.  I am almost positive that event was held in Philadelphia.  I remember Albert had an Atari Age booth set up and Matt Reichert was there as well.  For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the show or the time of year it was held.

 

 

Maybe @Tempest remembers?

Edited by ClausB

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23 hours ago, mstulir said:

That is a great photo.  I have been driving myself crazy trying to find a digital photo of Curt and I promoting Flashback 2 at a gaming event.  He had a similar look on his face and it is my favorite photo of us together during the Flashback/Flashback 2 development era.  I am almost positive that event was held in Philadelphia.  I remember Albert had an Atari Age booth set up and Matt Reichert was there as well.  For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the show or the time of year it was held.

Could it have been a Philly Classic?  I met Curt at PC5.  Sadly, I do not have have any photos of Curt from that event, but we discussed some of the really old Atari gear he had there, and if I had more cash on hand, I would have purchased a mint in box 800 from him.  My pictures for this event (1st day) are dated 3-20-2004 is this helps.

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