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ratwell

White House Computer

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Posted (edited)

My first modem was a 1030.

My second was an XM301.

My fourth was a Supra 2400.

My third modem was a disaster.

 

It was an Avatex 1200 purchased from non-other than White House Computer:

 

1767872078_Avatex1200.thumb.jpg.8b3c1b3eb27e70a74dd88eec9313b445.jpg

 

The ads were full page inside cover on Antic (this one is from Feb 1987):

 

16228338_WhiteHouseComputerofWilliamsportAd.thumb.jpg.76d9632089dbe6abb8dc8fcb4a7fea88.jpg

 

The Avatar was a very low cost 1200 baud modem at the time ($95) and gave me all sorts of grief.

 

However before I could complain about it, I was waiting over 6 months for it to arrive!

Digging through Antic Magazine Vol 6 No 6 (Oct 1987) I was reminded of this debacle:

 

1581102650_WhiteHouseComputerofWilliamsportBankruptcy.thumb.png.e6ce5d97b36b6eebff6b6c403de4df9c.png

 

I thought I read at the time that more people complained to Antic about this one advertiser than all others combined.

 

I did eventually receive the modem but what a experience for a young person to go through...


 

Edited by ratwell
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I did eventually receive the modem but what a experience for a young person to go through...  I was a young person then and couldn't afford the online charges.  Lucky you.  

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And I was expecting revelations about an Atari tucked into a corner of the Oval Office...

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There was an Atari 8-bit 3 1/2 inch drive advertised in Antic or Analog that I ordered. It took forever and when I got it, it was missing stuff. I couldn't use it. I returned it but never got my money back. They went out of business soon after. I think there was mention of the problems people were having with the company in one of the issues. I don't remember any more than that.

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On 4/16/2021 at 2:00 AM, Allan said:

There was an Atari 8-bit 3 1/2 inch drive advertised in Antic or Analog that I ordered. It took forever and when I got it, it was missing stuff. I couldn't use it. I returned it but never got my money back. They went out of business soon after. I think there was mention of the problems people were having with the company in one of the issues. I don't remember any more than that.

You would have been off better keeping it, missing stuff or not. Those are rare as hen's teeth and probably worth a fortune now ;)

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I had one of those Avatex 1200s.  I don't remember it being terrible other than the fact that it was not 100% Hayes compatible.

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My first modem was an Avatex 1200. I remember buying it at the West Coast Computer Fair and the only reason I bought it was because it was the only Hayes-compatible modem that it was under $100. 1200 baud modems were around $150+ (as seen in the advertisement above), and being a poor teenager, I had to save every cent I can, so it was a real bargain. I later found out it was only 95% Hayes-compatible, but I never had a problem with the few missing Hayes-compatible modem commands, so it wasn't a big deal to me. That lasted until 2400 baud modems fell under $100. (see a pattern? 🤑)

 

I order twice from White House Computer. The first was an Indus GT drive which I still have and worked last time I used it. The second was weird. It was about the time they started winding down operations or something weird was happening. I ordered two Wico bat handle joysticks. It also took a while to arrive and what I got instead was a 3-way Wico handle joystick (score!) and a cheap Quickshot (I think?) joystick which was not very good. Instead of returning it, we decided to keep it. Luckily we did, because we later found out the above - that they were going out of business.

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Can't help it but every time I see this thread title I'm thinking "Bill and Monica".

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Another interesting mail order house failure was Black Patch Systems, which has 1-800-ATARI-02 as their phone number.  You can find ads for them in Current Notes starting in June, 1985, an interview with the owner in November, 1986 (where he claims a 300k per month run rate), and a brief mention in the June 1987 issue about their bankruptcy.

 

Some of their ads have a small reference to "Toad Services", and I believe David Troy was an employee of Black Patch.  He started Toad Computers around the time Black Patch closed (their first Current Notes ad is May 1987), and it grew into the largest Atari mail-order firm in the US.

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10 minutes ago, Atari_Ace said:

Some of their ads have a small reference to "Toad Services", and I believe David Troy was an employee of Black Patch.  He started Toad Computers around the time Black Patch closed (their first Current Notes ad is May 1987), and it grew into the largest Atari mail-order firm in the US.

 

I remember getting the Toad Computers catalogs. They were like the Sears Wish Book for Atari fans.

 

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I also had an Avatex modem.  2400 Baud, IIRC.  After starting out at 300, this was a dramatic improvement.  Worked well, and when a surge took it out, they sent me a new one, free! But I don't remember where I bought it.  How far we've come on this journey!

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1 hour ago, Larry said:

I also had an Avatex modem.  2400 Baud, IIRC.  After starting out at 300, this was a dramatic improvement.  Worked well, and when a surge took it out, they sent me a new one, free! But I don't remember where I bought it.  How far we've come on this journey!

 

Yeah, I went from a 300bps Atari 1030, to a U.S. Robotics 14.4Kbps with my first PC style computer. Talk about a speed jump!

 

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Posted (edited)

 

On 4/17/2021 at 10:41 PM, atarian1 said:

 I later found out it was only 95% Hayes-compatible, but I never had a problem with the few missing Hayes-compatible modem commands, so it wasn't a big deal to me.

I can't remember if the Hayes compatible version appeared at the same time but I originally went with the lower cost model because of my budget.

 

When you couldn't connect to a BBS because of line noise or baud rate mismatch, the lack of a speaker, voice/data switch and 300/1200 mode button just made it unnecessarily difficult to figure out why.

 

When it worked it worked, but it also felt a step backwards from my XM301.

Edited by ratwell

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I had the 1200hc version.  It was my first "high speed" modem.  I started with the 1030, and a MPP something after that, then the Avatex.  I got the Avatex mail order but dont remember from where.  Could very well have been White House, but maybe one of the other "big" advertisers.

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12 hours ago, ratwell said:

 

I can't remember if the Hayes compatible version appeared at the same time but I originally went with the lower cost model because of my budget.

 

When you couldn't connect to a BBS because of line noise or baud rate mismatch, the lack of a speaker, voice/data switch and 300/1200 mode button just made it unnecessarily difficult to figure out why.

 

When it worked it worked, but it also felt a step backwards from my XM301.

Are we talking about the same modem here? The Avatex 1200 did have a voice/data switch and 300/1200 baud switch. It did not have a speaker which they fixed in the 1200hc version. I always had a rotary telephone on top of the modem to make up for the lack of a speaker.

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