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Savetz

Byte Magazine — Atari Articles

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Byte magazine published 287 issues from September 1975 through July 1998. It covered all platforms, from the RGS 008A in issue #1 to IBM ThinkPads running Windows 98 by the end. In the middle, there was lots of Atari and Commodore and TRS-80, the fun '80s microcomputers. I wanted to create an edit of the entire run of Byte — with only the Atari-related articles.

 

I did so by downloading VintageApple's set of complete Byte PDFs using wget. (https://vintageapple.org/byte/) I used pdfgrep to find occurrences of the word "Atari" and pdftk to extract just those pages. Then the time-consuming part: editing by hand. Removing ads with the word Atari and incidental mentions. Also re-adding pages that were relevant but missed — e.g. a 10-page article that didn't use the word Atari on every page.

 

Byte's 23-year run encompassed 287 issues — 103,973 pages. I found significant mention of Atari in 101 issues — 729 pages. So, 0.7% of Byte's pages had some Atari content.

 

You can read the best 729 pages in Byte here: https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine-atari-articles

 

-Kay

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Wow! That sounds like an enormous amount of work.

 

Thank you for doing this! It is much appreciated.

 

I look forward to reading through this.

 

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4 hours ago, Savetz said:

Byte magazine published 287 issues from September 1975 through July 1998.

 

Byte's 23-year run encompassed 287 issues. I found significant mention of Atari in 101 issues.

 

That's pretty significant, considering Atari was mainly an active/commercial platform from 1979 to the early 90's.

 

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That's awesome! Thank you for your enormous effort, I will enjoy going through this material.

 

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Just to add my thanks for all your hard work (on this and over many years)!

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Thanks for that! BYTE was the best IMO.

 

In 1976 our high school computer club subscribed to BYTE and some others. I was a novice programmer and BYTE was over my head, a bit heavy on hardware, so I ignored it. Later in college, I frequented a computer store with a book and magazine rack. I had learned much more about software and hardware so I started buying and reading BYTE. It had a great overview of the budding industry. After the store closed, I subscribed. Later I went back to the high school and bought the back issues from the club. I finally completed my collection, buying the earliest issues, none too cheaply, from classified ads. I've kept those first ten years' issues as a chronicle of microcomputing history and nostalgia.

Edited by ClausB
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22 hours ago, Savetz said:

Byte magazine published 287 issues from September 1975 through July 1998. It covered all platforms, from the RGS 008A in issue #1 to IBM ThinkPads running Windows 98 by the end. In the middle, there was lots of Atari and Commodore and TRS-80, the fun '80s microcomputers. I wanted to create an edit of the entire run of Byte — with only the Atari-related articles.

 

I did so by downloading VintageApple's set of complete Byte PDFs using wget. (https://vintageapple.org/byte/) I used pdfgrep to find occurrences of the word "Atari" and pdftk to extract just those pages. Then the time-consuming part: editing by hand. Removing ads with the word Atari and incidental mentions. Also re-adding pages that were relevant but missed — e.g. a 10-page article that didn't use the word Atari on every page.

 

Byte's 23-year run encompassed 287 issues — 103,973 pages. I found significant mention of Atari in 101 issues — 729 pages. So, 0.7% of Byte's pages had some Atari content.

 

You can read the best 729 pages in Byte here: https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine-atari-articles

 

-Kay

 

I'm an idiot now, I saw your Tik Tok of the steps you took, and didn't even put together your voice from the Podcast and the video on Tik Tok. 🙂

 

This looks amazing!

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From the first page...

 

Tremendous Growth of Personal Computer Systems Predicted for 1979. Mike Shea, marketing director for Atari, 
who recently brought two personal computer systems to the market, predicts a four to sixfold increase in personal 
computer sales for this year. He feels that between 200,000 and 300,000 personal computer systems will be sold 
this year, compared to 50,000 last year, and said that in the future Atari will pay less attention to developing new 
game consoles and instead concentrate on bringing out new software for existing units

Fairchild Camera & Instruments predicts that 4.6 million programmable video games will be sold this year, 
worldwide, compared to 2.1 million in 1978. Further, they predict that 18 million cartridges, worth $110 million, 
will be sold, compared to 5.7 million, worth $18 million, last year. 


Nonvideo games growth should prove even more dynamic, according to industry pundits. Sales should reach 
$290 million in 1979, and possibly $500 million in 1980.

 

Have to wonder how tremendous the growth would have been without video games.

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Well this is interesting! Page 51 has a letter asking about Atari RAM and RS-232 upgrades in summer of 1981. By then I was reading BYTE profusely and Ciarcia in particular. That is exactly the time when I did my first RAM upgrade on my 400 and built a modem kit. I added 8 4116s to my Axlon 32K, just as the letter suggests. And I connected the modem to the SIO port, just as the answer suggests. I wonder whether I got the inspiration from this page.

 

Ciarcia clearly didn't research the Atari architecture before answering, as it already had the refresh logic built into the RAM boards and the ANTIC chip. His answer about RS-232 was spot on though, since POKEY could do all the serial work. All you need to add is voltage level conversion.

 

Here's the RAM upgrade:

 

Here's the modem project:

 

Edited by ClausB
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Here is that letter from page 360 of BYTE, September, 1981:

 

b.png

Edited by ClausB

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Amazing effort to catalog the Atari history via Byte.  Love seeing the products as the came to market.  Last page, the Falcon.  How appropriate.  

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These are pretty amazing to read.  I'm probably up to 1981 or so right now (GTIA programming).

 

It's also interesting to read the other stuff that was published the same time as the Atari stuff... for example, watching the IBM PC pretty much killing the S100 bus.

 

Thanks for putting this together.

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