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Joey Kay

Atari Computers Shatter the Myth 1988 Flyer

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Found this Canadian flyer from 1988 in a box.  Enjoy and sorry for the massive file size, but figure it will require some zoom-in to read!

 

0?ui=2&ik=3db3f82f58&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1701803243541371305&th=179e050890e419a9&view=fimg&sz=s0-l75-ft&attbid=ANGjdJ8Trpb7onuT887oTrhRsYu_CnSTZNEvadnVgrC-4EjDrE_I4vPbYzA09_CijdNC7UGnF2SpkQIPg4y9sxviuuT6MlHudDSwrcgw1ObTRtE-kEoinIV9j_AElTI&disp=emb

0?ui=2&ik=3db3f82f58&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1701803251862767478&th=179e050a80e28776&view=fimg&sz=s0-l75-ft&attbid=ANGjdJ9sij-zAMVTKY2fnbsE9Bptky14JAw9W3AnLadcPjI3d9Q4yQw4vHBIz9apA89BIOad3GdncrTE3JoybrFH_SFbGOxY7lyhv7VyGrwFfVeYvh_0dMiR1CYcF4k&disp=emb

0?ui=2&ik=3db3f82f58&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1701803268929549191&th=179e050e7a24f387&view=fimg&sz=s0-l75-ft&attbid=ANGjdJ-P6855XUrOucuO20UJ4vHhSNfuQFTxSVaB9MfYVaydPh_g1t4eyeP7jUbhpEjsO42yJzlmiT8NmlVTez7JJBw2Psy8S57VHLQ9hKPujMk5IHG9MYBZJrbE4Xc&disp=emb

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15 minutes ago, OldSchoolRetroGamer said:

Thanks but this is all I see in your post. No links. 

Same here

 

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Joey Kay, thanks for sharing this awesome flyer.  These were the reasons I was hoping my dad would buy an Atari computer in the late 1980s (especially for the MIDI).  He ended up getting a Tandy 1000 EX from Radio Shack for the first family computer but I found a secondhand STFM a few years later.

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Atari had an excellent DTP offering back in the day.  I cant remember exactly what a Mac+Laser cost but it was easily double if not triple the Mega price.  Too bad Atari couldnt just get over the hump on the software support and product production side to make a dent.

 

I had a Mega 2 with an HP Deskjet and Pagestream.  People were blown away with what I was able to produce on my $1700 setup for the time.

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A Mega ST plus Atari Laser Printer was lower priced than just an HP Laserjet at the time.

A local newspaper here laid out and printed their newspaper with such a setup.

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Atari Laser was one of the first “windows printers” - printer that does not have cpu and memory!

 

Back in 80s it was normal that printer had more “hardware” then pc that run DTP application. (More hardware in sense of cpu and memory; more processing power).*

 

Atari was first company to offer laser printer without cpu and own memory. Thanks to ST DMA port, it was possible to use computer memory and cpu to drive the laser printer thus Atari Laser printer cost fraction of Apple, IBM, Xerox... printers. 
 

 

* I just bought Apple Performa 7200 with intel 960 card and xx MB that was used to drive some kind of linotronic film printer...

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14 hours ago, calimero said:

Back in 80s it was normal that printer had more “hardware” then pc that run DTP application. (More hardware in sense of cpu and memory; more processing power).*

They typically ran Postscript, which is a full language in its own right.    Plus the license to run Postscript would add hundreds of dollars to the cost of such printers.

 

Atari took the cheap approach as usual,  it was kind of scandalous that this approach ended up outperforming the big boys by a wide margin!

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Yes, I should mention why printers needed cpu and memory: coz of PostScript. 
 

PostScript was so influential back in days that even Next Computer based user interface of operating system on PS! (I should re-read about it...)

 

Was Atari laser printer first of it’s kind or there was other printers based on same principles (first thing that cross my mind is slowness of printer port as a major problem on other computers and buying SCSI card for e.g. PC or Amiga would dismiss price advantage of such printer.). ASCI port was really big deal for ST: laser disc, cheap laser printers, hdd, terminal for transputers... to bad that there was no networking over ASCI among ST computers (or at least MIDI networking build in TOS). 

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13 hours ago, calimero said:

Was Atari laser printer first of it’s kind or there was other printers based on same principles (first thing that cross my mind is slowness of printer port as a major problem on other computers and buying SCSI card for e.g. PC or Amiga would dismiss price advantage of such printer.). ASCI port was really big deal for ST: laser disc, cheap laser printers, hdd, terminal for transputers... to bad that there was no networking over ASCI among ST computers (or at least MIDI networking build in TOS). 

I suppose that given the slow speed of parallel ports,  dumping raw page data at 300dpi (which was common for lasers of that era) would be extremely slow,  and computers of that era often didn't have enough to memory to fully render the raw pages anyway.  Postscript would allow you to say "render this text, in this font with this point size at this location",  and that was relatively little data to send

 

Of course a prior example would be dot-matrix printers-  you could send raw data to them.   Some might have built-in fonts,  but they were line oriented, so you couldn't tell them to render at 96 point,  they would be 12 point or whatever your line size was-  so if you wanted to print the output of a WYSIWYG program on them, you had to use bitmap mode.

 

So to me it didn't seem like making a "dumb" printer was innovative so much--  Atari was just doing what dot-matrix printers already did.  The real game changer was the ACSI port speed.

 

As for networking-  yeah that's something the ST could have used- a faster communications port  Even the MIDI port was fairly slow, it wasn't even twice the speed of the RS232 port.    Something ACSI-based would be the only option for earlier models.

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Bitmap mode was function quite well on dot-matrix printer over parallel port (I did print some Atari fanzine during 90s... http://milan.kovac.cc/sr/oldschool.php) using Calamus or Signum... because dot-matrix printers were slow enough :)

 

You are right; dot-matrix printers (in bitmap mode) was already doing same thing that Atari Laser printer did over ASCI.

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How about that... "shatter the myth" TV spots, too.

 

 

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I worked in an electronics development lab and purchased a Mega ST, it did all our Desk Top Publishing, but also

all out CAD for circuit diagrams and used it to drive an HP 10 Pen Plotter, surprisingly GFA Draft had drivers for

most HP plotters. 

It fascinated everyone once the plotter started (those were the days).

 

We didn't have a Laser printer, but a wide choice of dot matrix ones (Epsom, Tally etc.)

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That first flyer mentions busting the myth that Apple are the only affordable business computers....what?

 

There was only ever 1 value for money Macintosh ever, that was the LC 475, pretty much an Amiga 4000/040 but at half the price of the A4000 in the UK. Convenient?...hmmm another place to discuss that! lol

 

Although I had no use for DTP it did fascinate me and I do remember what an awesome technical solution to the expensive Postscript laser based existing DTP standard the Mega ST + SLM804 DTP bundle was. Reminds me of just how great a 'home computer' the ST was when it can do professional quality DTP and music production work with just the addition of 2mb of RAM and a hard disk to even my vintage 520STM I had at home. 

 

I wonder how many serious users back in the mid-late eighties ignored the ST machines due to the Atari logo on the machine hmmmm. 

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1 hour ago, oky2000 said:

I wonder how many serious users back in the mid-late eighties ignored the ST machines due to the Atari logo on the machine hmmmm. 

When I was a kid, in my surrounding (Yugoslavia) I see STs at home, as much in business. Here people take ST seriously. 

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4 hours ago, oky2000 said:

That first flyer mentions busting the myth that Apple are the only affordable business computers....what?

The myth was that Apples were business computers.  :)

 

They weren't so much until the last decade or so.    You might find a small groups of people inside a corporation working on Macs usually doing art or other creative-type stuff,  but the vast majority of the companies would be running on Microsoft/Unix/Vax/Mainframe, etc.

 

It's only since 2010 or so that I've seen large groups of people in corporations use Macs for everyday tasks.

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On 7/16/2021 at 9:12 AM, zzip said:

The myth was that Apples were business computers.  :)

 

They weren't so much until the last decade or so.    You might find a small groups of people inside a corporation working on Macs usually doing art or other creative-type stuff,  but the vast majority of the companies would be running on Microsoft/Unix/Vax/Mainframe, etc.

 

 

Tell that to John Scully who priced the Macintosh II's to be really expensive high end machines for the business market, even pricier than the PC's themselves.

 

The ST's were more afforable but sadly in the US big businesses would rather spend more money for "Lotus compatibility".  It's only the small office/home office plus personal users that the value of the ST would be more appriciated so Atari should have focused more towards that market instead of trying to compete with IBM & Apple for corporate contracts.

 

 

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Quote

trying to compete with IBM & Apple for corporate contracts.

If one listen a Jack Tramiels interviews, than he can see that Atari Corp. intentio was not to compete with PC or Mac in corporate arena. Jack repeat many times that “individu”, person, is his “boss”...

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16 minutes ago, calimero said:

If one listen a Jack Tramiels interviews, than he can see that Atari Corp. intentio was not to compete with PC or Mac in corporate arena. Jack repeat many times that “individu”, person, is his “boss”...

You're right, back in '85 and '86.  Once he turned the reigns over to his son Sam in '87, that's when the focus was towards the high end market (Mega ST & PC line) and the low end video game market (2600/7800/XEGS).  Or at least in the States, Europe obiviously faired better with the ST's and the market Jack was reaching.

 

Source: https://www.atarimagazines.com/v6n1/AtarisNewComputers.html

 

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16 hours ago, calimero said:

If one listen a Jack Tramiels interviews, than he can see that Atari Corp. intentio was not to compete with PC or Mac in corporate arena. Jack repeat many times that “individu”, person, is his “boss”...

If that's true, why did they try building high-end workstations with the Transputer fiasco?   Seemed like they were trying to stick their finger in every market they could see and spreading themselves too thin in the process.

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^

good question zzip.

 

I think that MrMaddog already gave pretty good explanation: "he (Jack) turned the reigns over to his son Sam in '87, that's when the focus was towards the high end market (Mega ST & PC line)".

 

Fact is that Jack was telling that ST is all-around computer, good for students and good for business... and I think it was. It was years ahead of PC crapware (software and hardware wise).

 

...but it seems that there was a shift of focus after ST release:

There was Atari EST that Shiraz Shivji talk about (and work on) in 1986. (even case for EST was made).

And then nothing. Nothing. Shiraz quit Atari Corp.

Then there was Mega, PC and TT - high end computers.

 

It was very dynamics and turbulent time. It was hard to keep focus and that was Atari Corp. main problem.

Just look at Transputers that you mentioned: Commodore, Atari, Sinclair... all of them was interested in Transputers since they look like next big step in computer evolution. Foobar. 

 

I think that MrMaddog is right: Sam change focus of Atari Corp. from "make another C64 aka ST" to "lets go for business users" which ended pretty bad 😕

 

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1 hour ago, calimero said:

^

good question zzip.

 

I think that MrMaddog already gave pretty good explanation: "he (Jack) turned the reigns over to his son Sam in '87, that's when the focus was towards the high end market (Mega ST & PC line)".

 

Fact is that Jack was telling that ST is all-around computer, good for students and good for business... and I think it was. It was years ahead of PC crapware (software and hardware wise).

 

...but it seems that there was a shift of focus after ST release:

There was Atari EST that Shiraz Shivji talk about (and work on) in 1986. (even case for EST was made).

And then nothing. Nothing. Shiraz quit Atari Corp.

Then there was Mega, PC and TT - high end computers.

 

It was very dynamics and turbulent time. It was hard to keep focus and that was Atari Corp. main problem.

Just look at Transputers that you mentioned: Commodore, Atari, Sinclair... all of them was interested in Transputers since they look like next big step in computer evolution. Foobar.

Yeah I don't know who's decision it was, could well have been Sam.   They didn't seem to understand that Atari lacked the credibility to be in some of these markets.    What I mean by that when you get to corporate markets and universities and whoever else is buying these high-end workstations-  the purchaser needs to justify the purchase to their higher ups, and therefore they are going to go with the safe, established brands.   So Sun, SGI, Digital get taken seriously.   Atari, Commodore not so much.   It takes time to develop that credibility.   Atari seemed to have this attitude of "build it and they will come".

 

Home and small business, fine.   Those people don't have bosses to answer to and can buy what they like,  and I'm sure many small businesses would appreciate the "power without the price" philosophy.   

 

1 hour ago, calimero said:

I think that MrMaddog is right: Sam change focus of Atari Corp. from "make another C64 aka ST" to "lets go for business users" which ended pretty bad 😕

Part of their problem was price.   While the ST was cheaper than anything comparable.   It was too expensive to be the next C64.   Originally launched at $799 and $999 (for 1040 monochrome).   It was far above the price of a C64 when it was selling tons of units.   Even when they produced models with the RF modulator so you didn't need a monitor, it was still $400.   So I guess that's why they felt the need to chase other markets because the home user sales weren't cutting it?

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