ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast

Hosted by Randy Kindig, Kay Savetz, Brad Arnold

We cover Atari news, reviews, and a special feature each show for the Atari 8-bit line of computers (400/800/XL/XE/XEGS)

495 Episodes

News
Technology
Leisure
                        

ANTIC Interview 413 - Valerie (Atkinson) Manfull, Atari Game Research Group

     5/1/2021

Valerie (Atkinson) Manfull, Atari Game Research Group

Valerie Atkinson was a member of Atari's Game Research Group. Now named Valerie Manfull, she was on the team that designed and programmed the game Excalibur, along with Chris Crawford and Larry Summers. Excalibur was published by Atari Program Exchange in fall 1983. She is also one of the programmes of Ballsong, along with Douglas Crockford. Ballsong is a music and graphics demo program released by Atari, in which a ball bounces on the screen in response to an improvised tune. She was one of the programmers, with Ann Marion, of TV Fishtank, a demonstration of an artificially intelligent fish. (It's unclear if the fishtank program was released anywhere, though it apparently was shown at the 1984 SIGgraph conference.)

This interview took place on April 22, 2021.

ANTIC Episode 4 - Chris Crawford

ANTIC Interview 240 - Douglas Crockford

TV Fishtank at SIGgraph

Jim Leiterman describes TV Fishtank

Chris Crawford describes the development of Excalibur in The Art of Computer Game Design

Excalibur announced in Atari Program Exchange, fall 1983

Excalibur review in Atari Connection

Excalibur at AtariMania

Video of Ballsong


Jason Moore PhD

     4/30/2021

ANTIC Episode 77 - Jason Moore, PhD

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-Bit Computer Podcast… Jason Moore joins us to discuss his atariprojects.org Web site and we discuss all the news rocking the Atari 8-bit world.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

 


ANTIC Interview 412 - Linda Brownstein, Atari VP Special Projects

     4/24/2021

Linda Brownstein, Atari VP Special Projects

As I've researched Atari and it's 8-bit computer projects over the years, one name has come up over and over again, attached to the most interesting projects. Linda S. Gordon. Executive Director of Atari Computer Camps. Linda. Executive Producer of The Magic Room, Atari's movie about its camps. Atari's collaboration with Club Med to offer computer labs at vacation destinations — Linda again. Atari Club, the fan group that published Atari Age magazine - Linda launched that. More recently, in my interview with Ann Lewin-Benham of the Capital Children's Museum, Linda's name came up once again -- she was the liaison between Atari and the museum. Linda worked on the most interesting projects.

Today, her name is Linda Brownstein. Linda joined Atari in December 1980 as Vice President of Special Projects, where she worked on most of  the projects that I mentioned before. In October 1983 she became Senior Vice President in Atari's  Education group. She left the company in July 1984 after Jack Tramiel took over the company.

This interview took place on April 21, 2021.

ANTIC Interview 78 - Manny Gerard, The Man Who Fired Nolan

ANTIC Special Episode - Atari Summer Camp

ANTIC Interview 410 - Ann Lewin-Benham, Capital Children's Museum

ANTIC Interview 185 - Ted Kahn

Atari Computer Camps — The Magic Room

Video version of this interview


ANTIC Interview 411 - Mark Simonson, Atari Artist and Font Designer

     4/17/2021

Mark Simonson, Atari Artist and Font Designer

Mark Simonson used his Atari computers who create art that was published in magazines in the 1980s, including a portrait of Nolan Bushnell that was commissioned by TWA Ambassador, an inflight magazine; a colorful street scene for the cover of Minnesota Monthly, the magazine of Minnesota Public Radio; and a juggler for the cover of Credit Union Advantage magazine, among others.

Professionally, Mark is a font designer. He created Atari Classic, a free TrueType font family for modern computers that looks like the Atari 8-bit screen font. Today, you'll see Atari Classic used in many Atari emulators, web sites, the WUDSN IDE, and elsewhere.

This interview took place on April 15, 2021.

Mark's Atari reminisce blog post

Mark's Mac/Atari Fusion site

Mark's Nolan Bushnell portrait in Hi-Res Magazine Issue 1

A wild Mark appears on AtariAge

FujiNet

This interview on YouTube


ANTIC Interview 410 - Ann Lewin-Benham, Director of Capital Children's Museum

     4/10/2021

Ann Lewin-Benham, Director of Capital Children's Museum

Ann Lewin-Benham was executive director of the Capital Children's Museum in Washington, D.C. The museum was home to the first public-access computer center in the nation’s capital, and indeed, one of the first in the United States. In 1981, Atari and Apple each donated dozens of computers to the museum. The exact number is unclear, but 30 is the number I've seen most often for Atari's contribution.

The computer lab was called The Future Center. There, the museum offered computer literacy classes for people of all ages, from Compu-Tots for preschoolers, to programming classes for adults, there was even a computer literacy session for members of Congress. It also used the lab for birthday parties. (Last year, I interviewed a woman who had her 8th birthday party at the museum.) The museum used more of its computers in its exhibit on communication. It established a software development laboratory, called Superboots, in which developers created custom softare for the museum, and one product that was released commercially: the graphics program PAINT!

In a 1982 article titled A Day At The Capital Children's Museum, Melanie Graves described the scene:

"My twelve-year-old friend Sarah and I went to the museum to explore the computers. There are several dozen computers scattered throughout the building which are used for exhibits, classroom teaching and the development of educational software...

A machine that calls itself "Wisecracker" is the noisest of the computers that beckon visitors to the Communication exhibit. "My-name- is-Wise-crack-er," it says in a monotone, "Come-type-to-me." This message repeats endlessly until someone types at the keyboard or turns off the computer. "Hello, how are you?" Sarah typed, and pressed the return key. "Hel-lo-how-are-you," the machine’s voice responded. Sarah typed for awhile longer and then proclaimed, "It sure is dumb, but its voice is kind of cute."

The computer next to Wisecracker has a data base program that asked Sarah her name, where she came from, and other questions. It informed her that she was the thirty-seventh person from Virginia to type in data that day... "Fifty-five percent of the people who came here were girls," she told me. Next to the data base, a computer is set up with a music program. Sarah pressed some random keys, causing notes to sound. At the same time, the letter names of the notes appeared on the keys of a piano that was displayed on the screen.

There is also a Teletext terminal that tells inquirers about weather predictions, and news releases, the latest acquisitions at the public library, local cultural events and whatever else has been entered into the data base for that day...

After playing with Teletext, Sarah and I went to the Future Center, a room equipped with twenty Atari 800s. On weekdays, the classroom is available to school groups ranging from prekindergarten to high school. On weekends, families arrive for courses in programming. Classes have also been created for working people, senior citizens, community groups, congressional spouses and other special interest groups. This summer more than sixty students from the Washington, D.C. public schools attended one of two free month-long computer camps at the museum."

This interview took place on April 2, 2021.

Ann's web site

Museum in Atari ConnectionVolume 1 Number 4

A Day At The Capital Children's Museum

 
 


ANTIC Interview 409 - Ed Fries: Romox Ant Eater, Princess and Frog, Sea Chase

     4/3/2021

Ed Fries: Romox Ant Eater, Princess and Frog, Sea Chase

Ed Fries programmed three games for the Atari 8-bit computers, which were published on cartridge by Romox: Sea Chase, Ant Eater, and Princess and Frog. His forth game for Romox, Nitro, was unfinished because the company went out of business before Ed was done coding it.

Years later, Ed became vice president of game publishing at Microsoft where he oversaw the creation of the Xbox. In 2010, Ed released Halo 2600, a demake of the Halo video for the Atari 2600. In 2013, he coded an Atari 2600 version of Rally X.

This interview took place on March 11, 2021.

After the interview, Ed sent me the assembly language source code to five games, which he graciously released as open source. You'll find the code for Sea Chase, Ant Eater, Princess and Frog, the unreleased/finished game Nitro, and a chess game, at GitHub.

AtariMania's list of Ed Fries' games

2015 Atari Compendium Interview

Ed's Blog

Ed on Twitter

This interview at Youtube

ANTIC Interview 76 - Tim McGuinness, founder of Romox

The Paper Computer Unfolded

Sea Chase source code

Ant Eater source code

Princess and Frog source code

Nitro source code

Chess source code

 


The Bill Kendrick Show

     3/28/2021

ANTIC Episode 76 - The Bill Kendrick Show

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-Bit Computer Podcast… Bill Kendrick gets more mentions than when he’s on the show, Kay discovers he owns more Atari disk drives than the rest of the Atari community combined, and we discuss all the news rocking the Atari 8-bit world.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

What We’ve Been Up To

News 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

New at Archive.org

Commercial

New at Github 

Listener Feedback 

Closing


ANTIC Interview 408 - David Maynard, Electronic Arts Worms?

     3/27/2021

ANTIC Interview 408 - David Maynard, Electronic Arts Worms?

David Maynard created the game/simulation "Worms?" Published by Electronic Arts in 1983, it was a launch title -- one of the five initial releases from the company. David, one of EA's first employees, wrote Worms? for the Atari 8-bit in FORTH. It was later ported to the Commodore 64.

Worms is an interactive version of Paterson's Worms, a family of cellular automata devised in 1971 by Mike Paterson and John Conway. It is an unusual program, in which the player teaches wormlike creatures how to move on a hexagonal grid -- what direction to move in various situations. The worm's goal is to to grow and survive, and to capture more space on the grid than its competitors. Up to four worms could play simultaneously, with any combination of human- and computer-controlled worms.

But the program's manual didn't tell you all that straight off. In fact, here's the first thing you saw after opening the package: "You will find detailed instructions enclosed. Do not read them. Instead, sit down and get started. Don't ask how. Just start. You know how these things work... Resist them. Do not read them for a very long time. In fact, do not read them until you know how the game works... Then never read the instructions. Innocence is bliss."

David also collaborated on Cut & Paste, a word processor published by Electronic Arts in 1984.

After our interview, David sent me a binder of Worms? development documentation and source code for Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64, all of which I have scanned and are available at Internet Archive and GitHub. The originals are going to the Strong Museum of Play, at David's request.

This interview took place on March 4, 2021.

Worms? source code for Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64

Scans of printed Worms? source code

Worms? Development Notes

David's blog

Worms? at AtariMania

Michael Beeler's original Paterson's Worms paper

Martin Gardner's article in Scientific American

Darworms, Javascript version of Worms?

Darworms instructions and explanation

More Paterson's worm math

EA We See Farther poster 

This interview at YouTube 


ANTIC Interview 407 - Guy Nouri, Interactive Picture Systems

     3/20/2021

Guy Nouri, Interactive Picture Systems

Guy Nouri was co-founder of Interactive Picture Systems, a company that created software for 8-bit computers from 1982 through 1984. The company's first program was PAINT! for the Atari 8-bits, which was developed at the Superboots software development lab located at the Capital Children's Museum in Washington, D.C.. Its next program was Movie Maker, an animation program. Next came three educational titles for the Atari: Trains, a business simulation; Grandma's House, a sort of digital dollhouse; and Aerobics, a fitness program. The company also created Operation Frog, virtual dissection software for the Apple II and Commodore 64; and First Draft, an outline processor that helped kids plan their writing.

This interview took place on March 7, 2021.

PAINT! manual

First Annual IPS Computer Film Show

PAINT! in K-Power magazine


ANTIC Interview 406 - Atari at the Science Fair: Michael Fripp, Silent E

     3/13/2021

Atari at the Science Fair: Michael Fripp: Silent E

An article was published in the Daily Press newspaper of Newport News, Virginia on February 13 1985, titled "Best in Show at Science Fair: Computer program helps young readers conquer the 'silent e' challenge'.

Two years ago Michael Fripp wanted to make sure his younger brother didn't face a hard time learning how to deal with the "silent e" principle in reading lessons. Putting his own Atari computer to work, Michael developed a fun, educational computer program designed to teach then 6-year-old Daniel how to successfully pronounce words like "cap," "tub" and "man" when an "e" is added to each.

"I remember the trouble I had with 'silent e' and didn't want him to have that trouble," says 13-year-old Michael, an eighth grader at Queens Lake Intermediate School. "There are lots of math but few English programs for computers. I hope to bridge that gap."

Michael went on to expand the "silent e" program, complete with more detailed instruction and graphics, through his computer science class at school and entered it as an exhibit in the York County Science Fair. Michael's educational reading program — "Silent E: A Program for K-3" — was judged best in show.

"We were pleased and surprised a computer program was picked because usually the judges pick pure science," says Carolyn Gaertner, who teaches math and computer science at the intermediate school.

Michael's computer program involves a simple story outline about an earthling named Tim and his spaceship landing on the planet EOP which is ruled by the Silent E's. There, Tim learns how the Silent E's simply and quickly turn words such as "pan" into "pane" with the addition of their favorite letter...

He has copyrighted the program and hopes to market it commercially. More than 100 hours of work have gone into the project...

"Computers are like a fever; they grow on you," says the young man. "I try to do a lot of programming at home but homework really limits me."

The large photograph accompanying the article shows young Michael, replete with calculator watch, in front of an Apple II computer, not an Atari.

I talked with Dr. Fripp to hear all about his program.

This interview took place on February 28, 2021.

Intro song: Silent E by Tom Lehrer


ANTIC Interview 405 - Heidi Brumbaugh, Antic Magazine

     3/6/2021

Heidi Brumbaugh, Antic and START Magazines

Heidi Brumbaugh worked at Antic Publishing, where she started off as editorial clerk, then was promoted to editorial assistant, for both Antic magazine and START magazine, then was programs editor for START Magazine. She wrote many articles for Antic and START, including three programs for the 8-bits published in Antic: Red, White and Blue, a board game; Hot and Cold, a Master Mind-type game; and Antic Prompter, a teleprompter application.

She met her husband through Antic publishing, START author and programmer Jim Kent, who also created the Cyber Paint program for Atari ST.

This interview took place on February 28, 2021.

List of Antic articles by Heidi Brumbaugh

List of START articles by Heidi Brumbaugh

Heidi's programs at Atarimania

Heidi's review of Linkword Languages

Cyber Paint by Jim Kent

2013 Interview with Jim Capparell, Founder of Antic Magazine


ANTIC Interview 404 - Atari at the Science Fair: Scott Ryder: Atari-Controlled Robot

     2/28/2021

Atari at the Science Fair: Scott Ryder: Atari-Controlled Robot

Here's an article from The Fresno Bee (Fresno, California) dated April 15, 1982: "Science proves Fair game to young minds".

"Joseph Paul Ogas, 17, has designed a cheaper way to manipulate material beneath a microscope. Garey Nishimura, 13, has evaluated the relative flammability of several household fabrics. Theirs were the big winners among the 693 projects that filled the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall for this year’s California Central Valley Science and Engineering Fair.

"There were other interesting projects that didn’t win big [such as]
'The Effects of Birth Control Pills on Plants,' and 'Determining the Correlation Between Canine Howling, Cockroach Activity and Earthquake Prediction'."

And later -- in the article's final paragraph, the reason for this interview: "Runners up [included] Scott Ryder, a sixth-grader at Ayer Elementary School: "Can an Atari 800 Control a Robot With Software?"

Can an Atari 800 control a robot with software? And if so, why did an awesome Atari-controlled robot only earn a runner-up award at the Science and Engineering Fair? I talked with Scott to find out.

This interview took place on February 21, 2021.


Video Wars

     2/27/2021

ANTIC Episode 75 - Video Wars

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast… we discuss the merits of Sophia vs. VBXE for video upgrades, kick off the BASIC 10-liners contest, discuss some new games, and talk about numerous hardware upgrades that are coming.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

What We’ve Been Up To

Recent Interviews 

News 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

New at Archive.org


My Atari by Suzanne Ciani

     1/30/2021

ANTIC Special Episode: My Atari by Suzanne Ciani
 
Over the years many of the people I've interviewed have generously sent me all different kinds of historical Atari material — including source code, schematics, documentation, books and articles, and design documents — and allowed me to share them. This is the first time someone has sent me a professionally produced song they created for Atari.

After I published my interview with Suzanne Ciani, she sent me an email: she had found an unpublished Atari spot in her archives. It's a tune titled "My Atari". She sent it to me and graciously allowed me to share it with you.

She wrote "I don't think it is a final. There are a bunch of mixes. Maybe you could shed some light on this as to whether it was ever used." Well, I'd certainly never heard it before, and don't think it was ever used. I suppose it might have been used internally by Atari, but it wasn't released to the public. Suzanne later said that she believes it was a demo for a campaign, but as far as she knows it was never used. She hasn't found records indicating what year the song was made. My guess is probably between 1981 and 1984.

Lyrics:
I've been to lots of places
There's more I wanna see
And being young is all that's stopping me

Beyond my time I know there's more
A whole world waiting to explore
But I can't seem to get past my back door

But when I sit
At my Atari
I know the world is mine
And the future is my time

When I sit
At my Atari
There's no mountain I can't climb
No adventure I can't find

I know the world is mine
When I sit behind
My Atari

I know the world is mine
I know the world is mine
My Atari
I know the world is mine
I know the world is mine

It's a rockin' tune with a powerful bassline that propels the song forward, but beyond that, the lyrics tell a poignant story of a person who feels ready to explore and conquer the world — but is still too young. Until their time comes, their Atari video game provides an exciting glimpse into a future of exploring the world for themselves. It strikes me sad, but hopeful.

Suzanne sent me several versions of the song, and there doesn't seem to be a definitive final version. Some have differences in length of a few seconds. My untrained ear can't tell any difference between some variations. One is significantly shorter, leaving out some lyrics. Others abruptly stop, due to technical issues during mixing or perhaps because they were meant as insertion edits.

You've heard one of the complete versions. For completionists and the curious, I'll play the other versions she sent me now. I've uploaded high-quality versions of all of these audio files to Internet Archive.

Thank you to Suzanne Ciani for taking the time to recover these files, and for sharing them with me and the world.

"My Atari" audio at Internet Archive

My interview with Suzanne: audio, YouTube, Internet Archive


ANTIC Interview 403 - Dan Kramer, Atari Trak-Ball Controllers

     1/23/2021

Dan Kramer, Atari Trak-Ball Controllers

Dan Kramer worked at Atari from 1980 to 1984 in the consumer engineering group where he created products for the home computers and home video games. He championed the creation of the Trak-Ball accessories for the Atari game consoles and computers, and received a patent for his digital-to-analog interface for the Atari 5200 trak-ball. He also worked on the French (SECAM) version of the Atari XL computers, the Atari 2700, and various other projects.

This interview took place on December 18, 2020.

Playing Catch-Up: Dan Kramer (2005 interview): https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/97175/Playing_CatchUp_Dan_Kramer.php

Patent: Digital-analog conversion for shaft encoders: https://patents.justia.com/patent/4496936

Video version of this interview at YouTube: https://youtu.be/l0E6BCrhka0


Name Wars

     1/16/2021

ANTIC Episode 74 - Name Wars

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast… Kevin (er... Kay) and Randy have a name fight and, as usual, we bring you all the Atari 8-bit news that’s fit to print.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

What We’ve Been Up To

Recent Interviews 

News 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

New at GitHub

New at Archive.org

Feedback

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender. 


ANTIC Interview 402 - The Famous Computer Cafe

     12/19/2020

The Famous Computer Cafe

This is a podcast episode featuring three interviews with people who created a radio show that did hundreds of interviews.

The Famous Computer Cafe was -- not a restaurant -- but a radio program that aired from 1983 through the first quarter of 1986. The program included computer news, product reviews, and interviews.

The program was created by three people — who were not only the on-air voices, but did all the work around the program: getting advertisers, buying air time, researching each day's computer news, booking interviews -- everything. Those three people were Andrew Velcoff, Michael Walker (now Michael FireWalker), and Ellen Fead Hansen (later Ellen Walker, now Ellen Fields.) For this episode of Antic, I got to talk with all three of The Famous Computer Cafe's proprietors.

There were several versions of the show, which aired on several radio stations, primarily in California. A live, daily half-hour version allowed phone calls from listeners. Taped versions (running a half-hour and up to two hours) also aired daily. The show started in 1983 on two stations in the Los Angeles area: KFOX 93.5 FM and KIEV 870 AM. In 1985 it began airing in the California Bay Area: on KXLR 1260 AM in San Francisco and KCSM 91.1 FM in San Matro, and KSDO 1130 AM in San Diego.

Also in 1985 a nationally syndicated, half-hour non-commercial version of The Famous Computer Cafe was available via satellite to National Public Radio stations around the United States, though it's not clear today which stations ran it.

To me, the most exciting thing about the show was the interviews. The list of people that the show interviewed is a who's-who of tech luminaries of the early 1980s.  But not just computer people: they interviewed anyone whose work was touched by personal computer technology. musicians, professors, publishers, philosophers, journalists, astrologers.

The cafe aired interviews with Philip Estridge, the IBM vice president who was responsible for developing the PC; Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates; Atari Chairman Jack Tramiel; Bill Atkinson, developer of MacPaint; Infocom's Joel Berez; Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek; musician Herbie Hancock; Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts; author Douglas Adams; Stewart Brand, editor of the Whole Earth Catalog; psychologist Timothy Leary; science fiction writer Ray Bradbury; synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog; and pop star Donny Osmond. The list goes on and on and on. By mid-1985, the show had run more than 300 half-hour interviews.

Here's the bad news. Those episodes, those interviews, are lost. Today, a recording of only one Cafe episode is known to exist. That show, which aired January 2, 1986, includes an interview with Rich Gold, creator of the Activision simulation Little Computer People; a call-in from tech journalist John Dvorak; and commercials for Elephant Floppy Disks and Microsoft Word. The entire 29-minute episode is available at Internet Archive, with the gracious permission of the show's creators. It's an amazing time capsule -- which survived because Rich Gold, interviewed on the program, saved a cassette of that show. Perhaps, somewhere, there are hundreds more episodes waiting to be re-discovered — if someone has the recordings. If you do, contact me at antic@ataripodcast.com.

The good news is that transcripts of six interviews do exist (and are now online): Timothy Leary, Donny Osmond, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky; Frank Herbert, author of the Dune series; Tom Mahon, author of Charged Bodies; and Jack Nilles, head of the University of Southern California Center for Futures Research.

Check this episode's show notes, at AtariPodcast.com, for links to the one episode, the six transcripts, and the cool Famous Computer Cafe logo.

You'll hear the interviews in the order in which I recorded them. First up is Michael FireWalker, then Ellen Fields, then Andrew Velcoff.

The interview with Michael FireWalker took place on May 27, 2020. The interview with Ellen Fields took place on June 1, 2020. The interview with Andrew Velcoff took place on July 3, 2020.

Special thanks to fellow researcher Devin Monnens, and the Department of Special Collections at Stanford University.

This podcast used excerpts from the one The Famous Computer Cafe episode that is known to exist. That episode, now available at Internet Archive, was digitized by Stanford University (the physical tape is in their special collections located in the Stanford Series 9 of the Rich Gold Collection (M1510), Box 2.)

If you have any other recordings of any Famous Computer Cafe episodes, please contact me at antic@ataripodcast.com.

The Famous Computer Cafe 1986-01-02 episode

The Famous Computer Cafe interview transcripts

The Famous Computer Cafe ads, photos, articles


ANTIC Interview 401 - John F. White: Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer & Superquerg

     12/12/2020

John F. White: Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer & Superquerg

John F. White is author of the book Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer and the creator of Superquerg and Negaquerg, computer chess programs that were distributed in New Atari User magazine.

He was also a contributor to the UK computer magazines Popular Computing Weekly, Personal Computing, Practical Computing, and Computer Weekly, often writing about computer chess and game strategy.

His book Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer, published in 1983, offers “techniques for intelligent games,” with advice and BASIC code for programming tic-tac-toe, checkers, chess, and other board games.

New Atari User’s description of SuperQuerg — it was a “disk bonus,” not a type- in program — was: “SuperQuerg Chess is a third generation program with alpha-beta pruning and iterative deepening. An alpha-beta window is also employed. Uses Shannon A and B strategies, killer heuristic and chopper functions, new methods for searching to deep levels and for other game strategies. ... Querg Chess is unusual among chess programs in that it relies more on the strength of its positional strategy than on its tactical play. Artificial Intelligence methods are used to switch between strategic and tactical searching, as the program considers appropriate.”

John organized the 1982 Chess Computer Symposium, the first major tournament to assign gradings to chess computers by their play against human opponents. He is co-creator of Blitz Latin, Latin-to-English language translation software.

This interview took place via email from July 13 through 16, 2020. You will be hearing John’s words but not his voice. John preferred not to do a voice interview, so for this audio podcast, his emailed responses will be read by Victor Marland.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Writing Strategy Games on Your Atari Computer: UK versionUS version 
 
 
Weather Center adventure game articles: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
 
 


Randys Personality Board

     12/9/2020

ANTIC Episode 73 - Randy’s Personality Board

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast… we have a ton of Christmas gift ideas for that Atari nerd in your life (even if that nerd is you); we find out Randy has a broken personality board; and we bring you the Atari 8-bit news to fill out your life.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

What We’ve Been Up To

Recent Interviews 

News 

Shows

Christmas Gift Ideas

YouTube videos this month

New at GitHub

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 400 - Suzanne Ciani, pioneer in electronic music

     12/5/2020

Suzanne Ciani, pioneer in electronic music

Suzanne Ciani is a pioneer in electronic music, Grammy-nominated composer, and recording artist. In the 1980's, she created music for television commercials, corporate tags, and audio logos for Atari as well as many other companies. She also created the soundtrack for the 1980 Bally pinball machine, Xenon. In addition to being an early adopter of electronic music, she educated the world about it, demonstrating sound design techniques on The David Letterman Show, 3-2-1 Contact, and other popular media.

This interview took place on November 5, 2020.

Suzanne Ciani's web site

Suzanne Ciani Creates The Soundtrack For A Pinball Machine

A Life In Waves trailer

Suzanne Ciani interview in ANP Quarterly Vol 2/No 7

2012 Suzanne Ciani interview in LA Times Music Blog

Suzanne Ciani on Letterman

Suzanne Ciani on 3-2-1 Contact

Atari Video Game Summer commercial

This interview at YouTube 

After the interview, Suzanne found an unreleased Atari song 


Pick and Place

     11/7/2020

ANTIC Episode 72 - Pick and Place

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast… we have as a guest Mr. Gavin Haubelt who runs the Vintage Computer Center and who is feverishly producing #FujiNets for the Atari community, Brad as the host of this episode shows why he’s considered the master of segues, and we talk about all the new hardware available or coming (such as the world’s smallest Atari 8-bit).

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

What We’ve Been Up To

News 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

Making the Boxes for collectors of the Atari 800 xl and the Drive 1050 to keep the collections in perfect condition The scheme and prints in:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zE68...

New at Archive.org

Listener Feedback 

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 399 - Jim Tittsler, Atari 1600 prototype

     11/1/2020

Jim Tittsler, Atari 1600 prototype

Jim Tittsler got my attention with a tweet, an old photo of a computer in a PC-style case, connected to Atari joysticks and disk drive. In the tweet, Jim wrote: "A prototype of what we hoped would become the #atari 1600: an Atari 800 grafted on to an IBM PC compatible. A Jekyll/Hyde mashup allowing you to plug in cartridges, SIO drives, and  PC expansion cards. It seemed a good idea at the time."

So I reached out to Jim to learn more about that computer, and his time at Atari.

Jim worked in Atari's Special Projects Group, where he worked on several pie-in-the-sky, unreleased, home computer projects including the Atari 1600. When Atari was sold to Jack Tramiel, he was re-hired, where he worked on the Atari ST, the Atari PC-1 IBM compatible, and other projects. He worked at Atari for more than a decade.

This interview took place on September 9, 2020.

Video version of this interview at YouTube

Jim's Atari 1600 tweet

Atari Museum on the Atari 1600


ANTIC Interview 398 - Dan Noguerol (Farb): Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative

     10/24/2020

Dan Noguerol (Farb): Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative

Two interviews with the same person, recorded more than four years apart. Dan Noguerol is better known to the Atari community as Farb. He is the mastermind behind the Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative, and years ago created SIO2Arduino, an Arduino-based disk drive emulator.

I interviewed Farb on August 29, 2019, where we talked primarily about the Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative. That interview took place at the Fujiama Atari event in Lengenfeld, Germany. Our friend Roland Wassenberg sat in on the interview. Shortly after doing that interview, I learned that Randy Kindig had also interviewed Farb, on April 20, 2015, but got busy and hadn't published the interview.

So in this episode, two interviews with Farb: my more recent interview first, then we'll go back to 2015 to hear Randy's interview.
...
Since this interview was recorded, I received my SuperCard Pro, and have used it to digitize a couple hundred Atari disks. I've also digitized dozens of Atari cassette tapes. With the Software Preservation Initiative web site, the process has gotten a lot easier. The Kryoflux and SuperCard Pro hardware and software still isn't as foolproof as I'd like, but there's been progress on that front for sure.

Next, Randy's 2015 interview. In it, they discuss the Software Preservation Initiative, which was at a much earlier stage at that point, and SIO2Arduino. SIO2Arduino is an Atari 8-bit device emulator that runs on the Arduino platform. It connects to Atari 8-bit hardware and emulates a single Atari 1050 disk drive. In the years since this interview was recorded, the project has largely been made obsolete by projects like the S-Drive-MAX and FujiNet. But Farb's work on SIO2Arduino, and making it open-source, absolutely laid the groundwork for those newer hardware projects.

Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative

SIO2Arduino web site

SIO2Arduino at GitHub

Farbish.com is offline but archived at Internet Archive


Goodbye, Curt Vendel

     9/26/2020

ANTIC Episode 71 - Goodbye, Curt Vendel

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast...we say goodbye to good friend and Atari legend Curt Vendel and bring you lots of other Atari news.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

What We’ve Been Up To

Recent Interview Shows

News 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

New at Github

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 397 - Youth Advisory Board: Steve Cohen

     9/20/2020

Youth Advisory Board: Steve Cohen

This is the eighth in a series of episodes featuring the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. In 1983, Atari formed a Youth Advisory Board, selecting teenagers from around the United States to share their opinions about computers and video games, test software, and promote Atari's computers at events. The group consisted of kids aged 14 through 18, including Steve Cohen.

He attended George Washington High School in Denver Colorado, where his teacher, Dr. Irwin Hoffman, taught. George Washington High School received a grant from the Atari Institute for Education Action Research, Atari's educational support arm, The Atari Institute Newsletter (fall 1982) wrote: "High school students in a model math and computer program will use their grant of ATARI Home Computer systems to develop individual and group research projects in their own fields of interest. Extensible programming languages, such as FORTH, will be used to develop new syntax for use in other high school subjects: electronics, music, art, history, mathematics, and home economics. This project supports a major 'model school' known for its innovations in computer education over the last twenty years."

This interview took place on May 21, 2020.

Enter Magazine—When These Kids Talk, Atari Listens


ANTIC Interview 396 - Kai and George Esbensen, Micro-Ed Software

     9/13/2020

Kai and George Esbensen, Micro-Ed Software

I first heard about the Micro-Ed software company when a member of the Atari community sent me a batch of educational cassette tapes to digitize. The tapes had titles like Maps and Globes, Punctuation, and Spelling Level E. Intriguingly, the tape labels said "Micro-Ed, creators of more than 2,500 programs, pre-school through adult." 2,500 programs? Why had I never heard of this company?

I asked 4AM, a software preservationist specializing in the Apple II — and specializing in little-known educational software — if they had heard of the company. The answer was also no. So I started to research.

A two-page advertisement in Compute! magazine issue 4, May 1980, provided my first glimpse into the company: "LOOK at all the MICRO-ED programs for the PET!" The titles listed include Agreement of Subject and Verb; Run on Sentences; Higher, Same, Lower; Word Demons; and (oddly) Usage Boners. Many of the software tapes were sold in packs, for instance $84 for a pack of 12 elementary school programs. $49.95 for a grade's worth of spelling lessons on 7 tapes.

An item in the Washington Apple Pi journal, four years later, January 1984, intrigued me: "$10,000 EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE GIVEAWAY. Micro-Ed Incorporated has announced its willingness to donate up to $10,000 worth of software to any school district, Special Education cooperative, or parent group willing to establish a school-to-home lending library. No limit has been established on the number of grants Micro-Ed will make. The donation is not contingent upon the purchase of any Micro-Ed products. ... Thorward Esbensen, Micro-Ed's president, 'envisions the establishment of a free lending library of educational software for families.'"

Less than a year later, in November 1984, the Commodore magazine The Transactor (v5n3) wrote that Micro-Ed had donated "more than a half million dollars worth of its instructional programs to school systems" for those free software lending libraries.

So. Micro-Ed was established in 1979 by Thorward (Tory) Esbensen. Based in Eden Prairie, MN, the company specialized in low-cost educational software. The software, written in the BASIC programming language, was available for Commodore PET, VIC-20, and Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, Apple II, TRS-80, and Texas Instruments computers. Micro-Ed's best-known title was perhaps "Trail West," an Oregon Trail-like game.

Mr. Esbensen died in 2012. I interviewed two of his sons, both of whom worked with their father at Micro-Ed. First, I talked with Kai Esbensen, the youngest in the family. Kai told me in email: "My siblings had all moved out by the time Micro-Ed was in motion, but I lived it. Helping out with Micro-Ed was my first paid job, in 2nd/3rd grade, and I was still on the payroll helping out through age 22." This interview took place on May 28, 2020.  ...

Next, I talked with Kai's older brother, George Esbensen, who was a salesman for Micro-Ed, and later was president of Cycle Software Services, a software duplication company that spun off from Micro-Ed. This interview took place on June 3, 2020.

Very old Micro-Ed/Thorwald Esbensen web site

AtariMania's partial list of Micro-Ed Software for Atari

Micro-Ed advertisement in Compute! magazine May 1980

Thorwald Esbensen obituary in StarTribune

Thorwald Esbensen obituary in Duluth News Tribune

Washington Apple Pi, January 1984

The Transactor v5n3


ANTIC Interview 395 - Myra Marshall, Computer Applications Tomorrow

     9/5/2020

Myra Marshall, Computer Applications Tomorrow

Myra Marshall, along with her husband-at-the-time Roger Marshall, was co-founder of Computer Applications Tomorrow, a small software company that specialized in educational software for microcomputers. Most of the company's software was self-published and sold in small computer stores, including titles such as USA States and Capitals, Spelling Exam, and Alphabet Keyboard Primer. One title, Musical Computer: The Music Tutor, was sold by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the spring 1982 APX catalog. It was available on disk and cost $14.95.

This interview took place on August 26, 2020.

Musical Computer in the spring 1982 APX catalog

AtariMania's list of Computer Applications Tomorrow software


ANTIC Interview 394 - Michael Darland, Microperipheral Corporation and Sofcast

     8/29/2020

Michael Darland, Microperipheral Corporation and Sofcast

Michael Darland was co-founder of Microperipheral Corporation, and president of Sofcast, a system that sent computer data over AM and FM radio.
 
Founded in 1979, Microperipheral Corporation produced 300 BPS modems for several brands of microcomputers, including models compatible with the Atari 8-bit computers. Using telecommunications software called TariTerm, the Atari compatible-modems worked with the Atari 850 interface, or by connecting directly to the SIO bus.

Michael was also co-founder of Sofcast. Launched in August 1984, Sofcast was a system that sent computer programs and other data over traditional AM and FM radio stations. Listeners would use a $70 receive-only modem, called a Shuttle Communicator, to receive the programs that were transmitted over radio waves at up to 4800 bits per second.

According to an article in the June 1986 issue of Modern Electronics magazine, "The software itself actually originates at the radio studio as a tape recording of what is essentially a modem’s output. It’s the same as if you fed an ASCII file through a modem, but recorded the modem’s output instead of sending into a telephone line."

An article in PC Magazine, May 28, 1985, provides more detail:

"The show’s format falls under the bailiwick of Robert E. Lee Hardwick, a veteran radio announcer of 25 years. Harwick’s articulate voice serves as the common thread tying together the distinct parts of the weekly 30-minute show. At the microphone, Hardwick interviews guests like Bob Landware, developer of software for synthesizing music on PCs, or he demonstrates computing curios such as the Ghostbusters theme played over a Commodore computer speaker. ...What separates Hardwick's show from its counterparts, though, is the transmission of software, or sofcasts.

Midway through the show, Hardwick advises the listening audience to ready their equipment for sofcasts. He briefly describes the program or data file to be sent and counts down the sofcast like a rocket launch. A 1-second beep follows, after which the actual software is broadcast. This typically lasts 10 to 12 seconds, terminated by another 1-second beep. Then Hardwick’s voice returns.

To transmit or download software across the air, Hardwick cables a device called a Shuttle Encoder to the serial interface port of his PC. With a program written by Microperipheral, he transfers the file to be sofcast to the Encoder, which converts it to analog signals. These signals can be taped or broadcast directly. ... The show is subsequently played on two AM stations in the Seattle/Tacoma area on Sunday nights, KAMT...and KXA.

...On the receiving end, the audience has an AM radio tuned to the show. Prior to the sofcast, listeners attach a Shuttle Communicator to the radio. A cable coming from the Communicator connects to the radio earphone jack. Another cable connects the battery-powered Communicator with the computer through the serial port.

...A special program, also developed by Microperipheral, is executed on the computer... It accepts a stream of data sent by the Shuttle Communicator to the serial interface and writes the data to a disk file.

Since the show first went on the air in August 1984, Hardwick has sofcast a plethora of programs. The list includes spreadsheets, flight simulators, picture files, and games aimed at Commodore, Atari, Macintosh, Radio Shack, and IBM PC computers, among others. The public-domain programs distributed through the sofcast were initially received by only a few computers because of the limited availability of Shuttle Communicators."

Later in the article, it says: "One of the biggest tasks facing Hardwick and his colleagues is to convince radio stations to air the show. ...Sofcast airs Sunday nights, sandwiched, on one station, between two religious broadcasts, a time when there 'is no revenue possibility at all, and hasn’t been for 20 years.' Yet a computing audience is tuning in, and businesses can reach them through advertising without paying exorbitant rates."

Sofcast would grow to broadcast on 30 radio stations in the United States.

Michael Darland's co-founder for both ventures, Donald L. Stoner, was a world-renowned ham radio operator who died in 1999.

This interview took place on May 24 and May 31, 2020.

"Software Takes To The Air" in PC Magazine 1985-05-28

"Free BASIC programs by Radio" in Modern Electronics 1986-06

"Software On The Air" in Computer Shopper 1985-08

Cable Systems Talk to Computers by Donald L. Stoner

Wave of Future in Computer Software May Come Over The Radio
 
Sofcast receive-only modem

Donald L. Stoner obituary


Who Wants a FujiNet Anyway... I do!

     8/25/2020

ANTIC Episode 70 - Who Wants a FujiNet Anyway… I do!

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast… we discuss the roll-out of the first 50 units of FujiNet, “virtual” shows remaining this year, new software, hardware and all the current Atari news riding the waves.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue 

Next Without For 

What We’ve Been Up To

News 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

New at Github

Commercial

New at Archive.org

Listener Feedback

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 393 - Charles Marslett, MYDOS and FastChip

     8/16/2020

Charles Marslett, MYDOS and FastChip

Charles Marslett wrote floppy disk and hard drive drivers for Percom, and was the creator of MYDOS, a disk operating system for the Atari 8-bit computers that offered support for double density sectors, subdirectories, and hard drives. He also created FastChip, a hardware add-on for the Atari, sold by Newell Industries, that claimed to speed up floating point routines by 300%. He also created the A65 Assembler, a macro assembler. He has released the source code for MYDOS and FastChip.

This interview took place on July 13, 2020.

Charles' web site

MyDOS at AtariWiki

MyDOS 3.0 User Guide

A65 Assembler at AtariWiki

ANTIC Interview 212 - Wes Newell, Newell Industries

ANTIC Interview 7 - The Atari 8-bit Podcast - Bill Wilkinson, OSS

ANTIC Interview 11 - The Atari 8-bit Podcast - David Small

ANTIC Interview 22 - The Atari 8-bit Podcast - Kathleen O'Brien, OSS

Michael Abrash

Zen of Assembly Language by Michael Abrash 

Zen of Assembly Language by Michael Abrash: free eBook version; code at GitHub 


Bill Collector

     7/22/2020

ANTIC #69 Show Notes, July, 2020

Title: Bill Collector

Guests

What We’ve Been Up To

News

Shows

YouTube

Feedback


ANTIC Interview 392 - Dorothy Siegel, Pioneer in Computer Music

     7/21/2020

Dorothy Siegel, Pioneer in Computer Music

I'm Kay Savetz, and this is ANTIC: The Atari 8-bit podcast. This interview, however, is about events that happened before Atari released its first computers.

This interview is with Dorothy Siegel, a pioneer in computer music. The music she created was on an IMSAI 8080 computer and a clarinet.

The First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival was held August 25, 1978 as part of a show called Personal Computing '78 held at the Philadelphia Civic Center. In 1979, Creative Computing Magazine published a record album, also titled First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival. The 12" 33 RPM record was of music performed at the festival: 18 pieces, including Dorthy's.

Dorothy was co-founder of Newtech, along with her husband Michael Abram and business partner Stuart Newfeld, a company that built add-on music cards for two S-100 bus computers: the IMSAI 8080 and the Southwest Technical Products Corporation 6800. The Newtech Music Cards cost $59.95 each. (Newtech was not the same company as NewTek, the company that sold the Video Toaster in the 1990s.)

Dorothy performed Johann Wanhal's Rondo from Sonata in B-flat for Clarinet and Piano. The IMSAI, with three Newtech music boards, performed the piano part, and Dorothy accompanied it on clarinet.

I'm going to play the song now. It's about four minutes long.

Regarding Dorothy's song, the album notes read: "Newtech's music card for the S-100 bus is essentially a digital-to-analog converter controlled by an output port on the computer. The analog output is fed into amplifiers to be heard. This approach to computer music synthesis is extremely flexible since hypothetically any possible sound can be created. In actual practice the performance of the music circuitry is somewhat limited by the speed of the host computer. Each card can produce up to three voices output to one channel.

Newtech's music software consists of a BASIC program which converts music into binary tables, and a machine-language interpreter to play the music with three voices and different envelopes. The piece on this record uses three cards each playing one voice."

Check the show notes for an extensive list of links to people that we talk about and the articles that Dorothy wrote for ROM Magazine and Popular Electronics. You can hear the entire First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival at VintageComputerMusic.com or buy the album on a remastered audio CD directly from Dave Ahl of Creative Computing Magazine.

This interview took place January 7, 2014, when I was doing research for a book about the first personal computer magazines. Although I've decided not to write the book, I am publishing the interviews that I did while doing the research.

Personal Computing '78 flyer

Popular Electronics magazine, January 1975

Edward Miller's Piece for Clarinet & Tape

Stan Viet

Electro-Harmonix

ANTIC Interview 332 - Mike Matthews, founder of Electro-Harmonix

ANTIC Interview 280 - David and Betsy Ahl, Creative Computing Magazine

Samuel Abram, Dorothy's son

ROM Magazine Issue 4: Scott Joplin on Your Sci-Fi Hi-Fi by Dorothy Siegel

ROM Magazine Issue 5: Make Me More Music, Maestro Micro by Dorothy Siegel

Popular Electronics November 1979: CP/M: The Standard Microcomputer Software Interface by Dorothy Siegel

Listen to/download First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival album

Buy the album on a remastered audio CD from Dave Ahl


ANTIC Interview 391 - Tracy Frey, Atari Birthday Girl

     7/14/2020

Tracy Frey, Atari Birthday Girl

There's an article in the New York Times, dated April 9, 1982: "8-Year-Old's Birthday Party in a Computer Center." The story, written by Barbara Gamareklin, is about the birthday party of Tracey Pizzo — now Tracey Frey — which took place at the Capital Children's Museum in Washington, DC.

Quoting the article:

Tracy Pizzo decided that Chunky’s Cheese Pizza Parlor was not the place for her eighth birthday party after all. She chose the Future Center of the Capital Children’s Museum, where her 13 guests were able to try their hand at the video games on 20 Atari 800 microcomputers.

Without waiting to remove their coats and jackets, the girls, most of them 6 to 8 years old, rushed toward the glowing multicolored screens. In no time they were engrossed in computer games — from Asteroids and Find Hurkle to Lemonade Stand.

"Go, Megan, go!" cried 6-year-old Enid Maran, who was still wearing her black kid gloves. "We have to explode those little stars." Megan Thaler worked her control lever and sent a stream of blue and red simulated antiaircraft fire across the screen in the direction of a small green airplane.

Tracy’s mother, Peggy Pizzo, said that Tracy’s older sister, Cara, had been to the Future Center on a school field trip "and Tracy got so excited when she heard about it that she insisted we have a computer birthday party.” ...

"Tracy said the reason she wanted to come was because her friends liked to push buttons," said 11-year-old Cara, who had baked the white birthday cake with pink frosting that had "Eight" spelled out in strawberries.

"What is your name?" the Birthday Banner computer asked. "And how old are you now? Are you a boy or a girl?" As Tracy typed in the answers and her friends serenaded her with “Happy Birthday,” a five-foot computer tape slowly emerged from the machine, reading in letters six inches tall: "Happy Birthday Tracy."...

Tracy, aided by her friends, Katherine Herz and Annamaria Hibbs, tried out her entrepreneurial skills at Lemonade Stand. ... Tracy played Hangman with her father, Dr. Philip Pizzo. She said, "Make it hard, but not too hard," as she closed her eyes and her father entered the word "Christmas" for her to guess, each incorrect guess slowly forming a hangman’s noose on the screen....

Asteroids is the only noneducational game offered in the computer room...

Computer birthday parties cost $5 a person, with a minimum of eight in a party...

As for Tracy Pizzo, as she and her friends filed down the hall to the balloon-festooned party room for ice cream, cake and presents, she pronounced the day "just perfect."
 
(end quote)

In 1981, Atari donated 30 Atari computer systems to the Capital Children's Museum. The contribution allowed the museum to establish the Future Center "computer learning environment", to put computer programs in exhibits, and to create a software development lab.

By the way, the Capital Children's Museum still exists — it's now called the National Children's Museum, but there probably aren't any Atari computers around to play with anymore.

This interview took place on June 26, 2020.

NYT — 8-Year-Old's Birthday Party in a Computer Center:
https://www.nytimes.com/1982/04/09/style/8-year-old-s-birthday-party-in-a-computer-center.html

Picture of Tracey and her friends: https://imgur.com/a/pD7RTF6

National Children's Museum
https://nationalchildrensmuseum.org


ANTIC Interview 390 - David Gedalia, Atari-controlled Telescope

     7/6/2020

David Gedalia, Atari-controlled Telescope

Listener Paul Somerfeldt sent me a blurb he found in a book titled "The Dobsonian Telescope" by David Kriege and Richard Berry. The book reads: "Computer-controlled Dobsonian telescopes entered amateur astronomy in the late 1980s. An outstanding early example was David Gedalia's 10-inch f/4.5 Dobsonian driven by an Atari 800XL computer, shown at the 1987 Riverside Telescope Makers Conference. With the Atari driving altitude and azimuth stepper-motors, the telescope would move automatically to coordinates entered on the computer’s keyboard. David was a third-year engineering student when he built this telescope."

I sought out David to find out more about his Atari-controlled telescope.

This interview took place on May 29, 2020.

Photos of David with his telescope

The Dobsonian Telescope by David Kriege and Richard Berry

New Horizons in Amateur Astronomy by Grant Fjermedal


ANTIC Interview 389 - Brad Stewart, Covox

     6/29/2020

Brad Stewart, Covox

Brad Stewart was the co-founder and chief designer of Covox, the company that created Covox VoiceMaster. VoiceMaster was speech digitizer and voice recognition hardware for the Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, and Apple II computers. Covox's own demonstration audio tape describes it well, although the demo tape that I found doesn't mention the Atari.

This interview took place on May 21, 2020.

Aerosynth

Brad's blog post about Covox Voice Master

Kay plays with VoiceMaster in 2014

Covox Voicemaster Demo cassette

A Bionic Approach to Speech Processing

Escape from Planet X at AtariMania


ANTIC Interview 388 - Henry and Nancy Taitt, Creative Learning Association

     6/22/2020

Henry and Nancy Taitt, Creative Learning Association

Henry Taitt was founder of the Creative Learning Association, which created books and classes about how to program computers in BASIC. Henry, along with his wife Nancy Taitt, ran the company from 1982-1988.

The book series, TLC For Growing Minds — TLC means Thinking, Learning, Creating — delivered self-paced lessons about the BASIC programming language. Versions of the series were available for Atari 8-bit, Apple II, IBM PC, TRS-80, and other platforms. Each platform series had seven books with color-coded covers: the red cover was level 1, orange for level 2, yellow for level 3, and so on down the rainbow. Another series offered platform-agnostic microcomputer projects.

The material was used as the bases for in-person classes at computer labs around the United States. Creative Learning Association also published a newsletter and a "national registry of computer programers" highlighting students who had progressed in the book series.

I have been able to find and scan some of Creative Learning Association materials and upload them to The Internet Archive. 

This interview took place on April 14, 2020.

TLC for Growing Minds book scans

 


ANTIC Interview 387 - Claudia Cohl, Editor-in-Chief of Family Computing and K-Power Magazine

     6/16/2020

Claudia Cohl, Editor-in-Chief of Family Computing and K-Power Magazine

Claudia Cohl was the editor-in-chief of Family Computing Magazine for its entire run. Published by Scholastic, the magazine ran for 49 issues, from September 1983 through September 1987. Then it published 11 more issues, though August 1988, as "Family and Home Office Computing." Finally, it was rebranded "Home Office Computing". Claudia remained editor there until a new division was formed, and she moved to the Professional Publishing department to focus on magazines for teachers.

In a 1983 New York Times article "Children's Magazine for a Computer Age," Claudia is quoted: "Our magazine is primarily for parents. Parents feel confused about computers and software and they feel they have no place to turn. We think parents will be using our magazine themselves or with their kids. Children will be picking up the magazine too."

Claudia was also editor-in-chief of K-Power magazine, a computer magazine for kids. Only eight issues of K-Power were published, running from February 1984 to November/December 1984, after which it was merged with Family Computing.

Our interview took place in two portions, on June 29, 2018 and December 11, 2019.

Read Family Computing at Internet Archive

Read K Power at Internet Archive


What SIDE Are You On? With Jonathan Halliday

     6/14/2020

ANTIC Episode 68

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast… Jonathan Halliday joins as we discuss his amazing work on the SIDE loaders for the Incognito and Ultimate 1MB  and the work going on for the SIDE3 cart.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

What We’ve Been Up To

News 

  •  

Shows

YouTube videos this month

New at Github

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 386 - Sherman Rosenfeld, Atari Institute for Education Action Research

     6/8/2020

Sherman Rosenfeld, Atari Institute for Education Action Research

Dr. Sherman Rosenfeld is an internationally-known leader in informal learning and science education. He was a consultant to the Atari Institute for Education Action Research. Founded in June 1981 and led by Ted Kahn, the Institute provided equipment, advice, and financial support to non-profit educational organizations. It granted more than $1 million in hardware and software to schools, science museums, vocational and special education programs, even a prison.  

Ted Kahn, whom I have previously interviewed, recently dug through his files to uncover several documents about the Institute, including "Informal Learning and Computers," the working paper written by Sherman Rosenfeld for the Atari Institute for Education Action Research in September 1982. Ted also graciously scanned a 1981 Atari Institute brochure, a 1983 progress report, and "Atari in Action," the Institute's newsletter, dated fall 1982.

This interview took place on May 25, 2020. Sherman talked to me from his office in Israel. A video version of the interview is also available.

Informal Learning and Computers

Atari Institute For Educational Action Research Brochure

Atari in Action — Atari Institute Newsletter fall 1982

Atari Institute Report Feb. 1983

Caspi Towards Creative Self Education Synopsis
 


ANTIC Interview 385 - Software Automatic Mouth: Mark Barton

     6/1/2020

Software Automatic Mouth: Mark Barton

Mark Barton was creator of SAM — Software Automatic Mouth. Released in 1982, SAM was the first software-only speech synthesizer for personal computers. It was available for the Apple II, Commodore 64, and Atari 8-bit computers. He later developed Macintalk, speech synthesis for the Macintosh computer; and narrator, the speech system for the Commodore Amiga.

This interview took place on May 22, 2020.

SAM Demo Disk

Steve Jobs movie
 


ANTIC Interview 384 - Fandal: Atari programer and archivist

     5/27/2020

Fandal: Atari programer and archivist

Frantisek Houra is better known to the Atari community as Fandal. He's an Atari computer programmer and long-time archivist of European Atari software. He has created many original Atari games and conversions from other platforms: including Fruity Pete, Mashed Turtles, Crescent Solitaire, and Diamondz.

This interview took place on August 28, 2019, during the Fujiama Atari conference in Lengenfeld, Germany. Roland Wassenberg sat in to assist with the interview. Shortly after, Fandal and I and several other attendees hooked up a multijoy and played some rounds of Mashed Turtles with six players (up to eight can play), and it was so. much. fun.

Fandal's web site

Mashed Turtles

Xenophobe game for sale at Video61


ANTIC Interview 383 - Gregg Squires, Atari Manager of Hardware Engineering

     5/21/2020

Gregg Squires, Atari Manager of Hardware Engineering

Gregg Squires was a Manager of Hardware Engineering at Atari from 1982 through 1984, working from their New York office. He was project manager for Val, a cost-reduced version of the Atari 2600; and project manager for the Atari XL computer series. He was co-designer of the 65816 microprocessor architecture.

Greg sent me a scan of an Atari 600XL Product Status Meeting handout dated January 1983. It's an impressive 45 pages and paints a clear picture of the timeline, costs, and issues involved with creating that computer.

This interview took place on February 13, 2019.

Atari VAL photo

Atari 600XL Product Status Meeting Handout

The Working Clock-Timer by Joel Moskowitz

ANTIC Interview 65 - Steve Mayer, 400/800 Designer


ANTIC Interview 382 - Rik Dickinson, Encore Video Productions

     5/13/2020

Rik Dickinson, Encore Video Productions

Rik Dickinson is founder of Encore Video Productions, a company that rented Atari 8-bit computers to hotels for use as character generators. The computers would show information about the hotel on channel 2 of guests' televisions. This was part of a service that Encore offered to provide in-room movies that ran off videotapes. The tape machines ran on a timer, and when the movie ended, the video feed switched back to the text information displayed by the Atari.

This interview took place on April 20, 2020.

Forum about Encore Video Productions Display System

Encore Video Productions


Still Socially Distant

     5/10/2020

ANTIC Episode 67 - Still Socially Distant

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast...Randy forgets to call the artist, formerly known as Kevin, as Kay about 100 times, we continue discussion on AtariFests and World of Atari, we help you with your free time by telling you about papercraft computers and RetroPie, and help you navigate what’s happening with vintage computer shows; plus a whole lot more Atari news!

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

What We’ve Been Up To

Recent Interviews

News 

 

 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

New at Github

New at Archive.org

Feedback

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender. 


ANTIC Interview 381 - Youth Advisory Board: Tracey Cullinan

     5/3/2020

Youth Advisory Board: Tracey Cullinan

This is the seventh in a series of episodes featuring the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. In 1983, Atari formed a Youth Advisory Board, selecting teenagers from around the United States to share their opinions about computers and video games, test software, and promote Atari's computers at events. The group consisted of kids aged 14 through 18, including Tracey Cullinan.

Tracey worked as a salesperson at the ComputerLand store in Los Altos, California — starting at the age of 12. He started a software company, Superior Software, which produced custom software for local businesses, as well as a couple of games for the Apple II computer. At 14, Tracey was invited to be a member of the Youth Advisory Board. As part of that job, he went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago to demonstrate Atari computers. The next year, as a 15-year-old, Tracey was interviewed on the "Today" show as a young entrepreneur.

There's a chapter about Tracey in the 1984 book "Computer Kids" by George Sullivan. (His picture in on the back cover of the book.) I'm going to read several passages from that book, quotes from Tracey.

...A Computerland store opened
in a mall near my home. I made friends with the people
who worked in the store, and they let me use the computers
there.

The store happened to be within walking distance of
where I live, and I'd go there after school and on week-
ends, or almost anytime I had free time. I often wrote
game programs on the computers, and I bought a disk on
which to store the programs. They let me keep the disk
at the store.

When customers came into the store, I'd sometimes
help out by showing them what a computer could do.
They'd be amazed. "What’s this nine-year-old kid doing
showing me how a computer works?"

I’m now working at the store. I started as an employee
when I was twelve. I was in sales at first but later I shifted
over to computer repair...

I now know five or six computer languages — BASIC,
Pascal, LOGO, plus three machine languages: 6502, the
one that’s used on the Apple and Atari and the one I use
the most, Z-80. I’m starting to learn 8086, the language
for the IBM Personal Computer...

The company that I operate is called Superior Software.
I prepare custom programs for businesses in the
area. One program involves inventorying and invoicing
for a company that sells charcoal fire starters. I’ve got
another program that gathers stock market prices from a
computer, and then correlates them and prints them out
for a local stockbroker.

A third program I wrote for the Los Altos Little
League. It’s a mailing list program. They use it in sending
out notices about tryouts, practices, and things like that.
I became a member of the Atari Youth Advisory Board
because someone at the consulting firm that was getting
the names of kids together for Atari happened to know
my dad. When the consulting firm found out that I was
into computers, they put my name on the list. Then the
people at Atari picked me.

We've been giving Atari advice mostly on their home
computers. Later, I think they're going to ask us for advice
on their video games and arcade games...

I also use the computer to write game programs once
in a while. One that I’ve written is called Glutton [for the
Apple II.] You, the shooter, are armed with little missiles
and positioned on the right side of the screen. You can
move up and down only. You shoot to the left.

The glutton moves back and forth across the screen.
The glutton likes to eat. Different kinds of food fall from
the top of the screen. Some of it is good food, like apples,
carrots, and chicken drumsticks. But some of the food is
junk food, like cupcakes and soda pop. The object of the
game is to keep the glutton well fed, but healthy, You try
to eliminate the pieces of junk food by blasting them with
your missiles.

I've tried to sell Glutton to some of the companies that
market game software to computer owners, to companies
such as Broderbund and Sirius. But I haven’t been successful yet.
...As far as the future is concerned, I plan to go to college.

I'd like to go to a good private university, a technical
one, like MIT, Cal Tech, or Stanford... After that, I
think I'd like to be a game programmer, and maybe work
for Atari, Imagic, or Activision, or some company like
that.


Tracey didn't go to any of those colleges. He died 1986 of brain cancer. He had just turned 18.

I talked with Tracey's mother, Leola Wooldridge; and his younger brother, Cory Cullinan, about their memories of Tracey.

This interview took place on April 17, 2020. In it, we discuss John Dickerson, whom I previously interviewed.

Tracey in Computer Kids book

Demystifying Excellence by Cory Cullinan

John Dickerson interview 

Tracey Cullinan On Today Show on Youtube or Internet Archive 


ANTIC Interview 380 - Atari Speed Reading: Karlyn Kamm and Brad Oltrogge

     4/26/2020

Atari Speed Reading: Karlyn Kamm and Brad Oltrogge

The Atari Speed Reading software package was released by Atari in 1981. It was a self-paced program, for use with the Atari computer and a cassette drive, that promised to teach you to increase reading speed and comprehension with 30 days of practice. The package contained a workbook and five cassette tapes.

This is an interview with two of the people who created the Atari Speed Reading package. Karlyn Kamm created the speed reading educational material at the University of Wisconsin with Dr. Wayne Otto. In 1975, she and Dr. Otto published a book titled "Speedway, the Action Way to Read." Dr. Otto died in 2017.

Brad Oltrogge is president of Learning Multi-Systems, the software publisher that was contracted by Atari to turn Kamm and Otto's speed reading material into a product for the Atari home computer.

This interview took place on April 16, 2020.

Atari Speed Reading Workbook

Atari Speed Reading at AtariWiki

Dr. Otto obituary

Speedway: The action way to speed read

The Study Skills Component of the Wisconsin Design

Learning Multi-Systems 


ANTIC Interview 379 - Gabriel Baum, Atari Conversational French and Spanish

     4/17/2020

Gabriel Baum: Atari Conversational French and Spanish

Gabriel Baum worked at Thorn EMI, where he managed the project to create two early language learning programs that were published by Atari: Conversational French and Conversational Spanish. (Atari's language learning series would also include Conversational German — Gabriel started that, but left Thorn EMI before that project was finished — and Conversational Italian.)

After Thorn EMI, Gabriel moved to Mattel where he became one of the "Blue Sky Rangers," creating Intellivision games. If you'd like to hear more about that, Paul Nurminen interviewed him about that time in episode 37 of The Intellivisionaries podcast.

For a deep dive into the Atari Conversational French software, listen to season 5, episode 1 of the Inverse ATASCII podcast. You can download the software and audio for all of the conversational language series from AtariWiki.

This interview took place on March 31, 2020. In it, Gabriel mis-remembers a bit of the technical capabilities of the Atari cassette drive, which was a lot less sophisticated than he recalls. If you'd like to read the technical details of how the Atari 410 and 1010 program recorders worked, check out Appendix C of De Re Atari.

Conversational language series at AtariWiki

Inverse ATASCII podcast covers Atari Conversational French

Gabriel interview on the Intellivisionaries podcast

De Re Atari on the Atari cassette capabilities


Socially Distant

     4/8/2020

ANTIC Episode 66 - Socially Distant

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: We talk about what we’re doing Atari-wise in these socially distant times and we bring you all the Atari news from around the world.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

What We’ve Been Up To

News 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

Commercial

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender. 


Cats with umbrellas and dogs!

     2/20/2020

ANTIC Episode 65 - Cats with umbrellas and dogs!

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  Kevin’s dogs do their best to be a part of the podcast, we tell you all about a very busy month of personal Atari stuff, all the programming contests going on, and all the other news we could find.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

Interview index: here 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz 

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com 

What We’ve Been Up To

Recent Interviews

News 

https://gkanold.server.deerpower.de/ 

https://twitter.com/Basic10L/ 

AtariAge discussion - https://atariage.com/forums/topic/301250-2020-basic-10liner-contest/ 

https://atariaction.tumblr.com/post/190760859977/10-line-poker-machine 

https://atariaction.tumblr.com/post/190761401187/10-line-blackjack 

Atariage Thread - https://atariage.com/forums/topic/300855-kaz-kompo-2019-vote-for-the-best-game-of-2019/#comments 

https://twitter.com/possan/status/1225530633621032961 

http://forum.atarimania.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18847 

Shows

YouTube videos this month

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 378 - Craig Hickman, Atari Photography Software and Security System

     2/1/2020

Craig Hickman, Atari Photography Software and Security System

Craig Hickman was featured in the June 1982 edition of Atari Connection magazine for his photography software tools. "Craig has developed two programs written in Atari BASIC for use in his darkroom. One of the programs times the negative’s development, and the other monitors and times enlargements and the making of the positive prints." His Developing program could store up to 30 film processing combinations. "Once the film is developed into a negative, you are ready to use Craig's Enlarger/Timer program to make a positive print." The Atari 400 was connected to the enlarger with relays: the computer would turn the enlarger on and off at precise intervals for making photographic prints.

Craig also rigged up an apartment security system using his Atari 400, which he wrote about in an article on his web site. He wrote: "I designed a home surveillance system for our apartment in Seattle that used little magnetic switches from Radio Shack. It displayed a representation of our apartment on the screen and showed when a door or window was open. It worked so well I expanded the system to include little tilt switches placed on bushes outside the windows. This also worked fine until one windy night when I was away from home and it set off the alarm every few minutes. The next day my wife told me to dismantle it."

Later, Craig created the popular program Kid Pix for the early Macintosh computer.

This interview took place on January 29, 2020. See the show notes for links to Craig's web site and YouTube channel, and the Atari Connection magazine article.

Craig's web site

Craig's darkroom timer in Atari Connection Magazine
 
Craig's YouTube channel


Living in the Future

     1/26/2020

ANTIC Episode 64 - Living in the Future

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: 
We talk about our Atari-related resolutions for the new year, how 2020 sounds like we’re living in the future, and bring you news and feedback from across the Atari 8-bit landscape.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz 

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com 

What We’ve Been Up To

Interviews

Atari News 

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

YouTube Videos

New at Archive.org

Feedback

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender. 


ANTIC Interview 377 - James Hugard, Neanderthal Computer Things

     12/20/2019

James Hugard, Neanderthal Computer Things

James Hugard was co-founder of Neanderthal Computer Things, a company that created just one product. "810 Turbo" was a hardware conversion board for the Atari 810 disk drive that promised true double density storage, and faster data reading and writing. The device, released in 1983, could be installed inside your 810 disk drive with "no jumpers, no soldering, no extra box." It cost $295. James wrote the firmware for the device.

Check the show notes for links to the 810 Turbo Manual and advertisement, photos of the board, and a lively discussion on AtariAge (in which James has answered some questions and added more commentary.)

This interview took place on June 7, 2019.

810 Turbo ad

810 Turbo Manual

810 Photos and software

NCT Letter to Atari users groups

Discussion on AtariAge


SillyVenture and FujiNet!

     12/15/2019

SillyVenture and FujiNet

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: In the tradition of bringing you the latest Atari 8-bit news, we have a couple of very special guests in this episode.  First of all, Bart comes to us literally direct from the fabulous SillyVenture show to give us a rundown, and then Thomas Cherryhomes tells us all about the amazing work going on with FujiNet!

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz 

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com 

What We’ve Been Up To

  •  SDrive Max from Vintage Computer Center - 

https://www.vintagecomputercenter.com/product-category/atari 

Guests

Interviews

Atari News 

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender. 


ANTIC Interview 376 - Dennis Zander: Artworx, Hazard Run, Strip Poker

     11/30/2019

Dennis Zander: Artworx, Hazard Run, Strip Poker
 
Dennis Zander was one of the founding partners of the software publishing company Artworx. He programmed a number of games and educational titles, including Hazard Run, Rings of the Empire, Monkeymath, Giant Slalom, Intruder Alert!, Monkeynews, and others. He collaborated with Roger Harnish on Artworx popular Strip Poker game.

This interview took place on June 13, 2019. In it, we discuss Art Walsh, whom I previously interviewed.

Atarimania's list of Dennis' games

Dennis' software at Archive.org

ANTIC Interview 284 - Art Walsh, Dynacomp and Artworx

Z-Stuff for Trains


ANTIC Interview 375 - Bruce May, Unreleased Magic Castle Game

     11/24/2019

Bruce May, Unreleased Magic Castle Game

In 1982 Bruce May created Magic Castle, a game for the Atari 800 computer. He finished the game but was unable to find a publisher for it, so hardly anyone played it. In October 2019 he sent me scans of his original documents regarding Magic Castle: his design notes, and even rejection letters from the three companies that he submitted the game to: Catalyst Technologies, Avalon Hill, and Origin Systems. He hasn't been able to find the floppy disks with the game, but he does have printouts of the source code — which he also scanned and sent to me — so it could potentially be resurrected by the Atari community.

This interview took place on October 13, 2019.

Bruce's Magic Castle documents


ANTIC Interview 374 - Wolfgang Burger, President of Atari Bit Byter User Club

     11/21/2019

Wolfgang Burger, President of Atari Bit Byter User Club

Wolfgang Burger is the president and a founding member of the Atari Bit Byter User Club, the world's largest user group dedicated to the Atari 8-bit computer. The group was founded in 1985 in Herten, Germany. Today, the group has about 500 members from around the world. The group's quarterly magazine — still produced on an Atari computer — is almost certainly the longest continually published computer magazine anywhere.

This interview took place on August 28, 2019, during the Fujiama Atari conference in Lengenfeld, Germany. Wolfgang doesn't speak much English, and I don't speak any German, so Roland Wassenberg provided real-time language translation.

ABBUC web site


ANTIC Interview 373 - Bruce Irvine, Atari VP of Software

     11/14/2019

Bruce Irvine, Atari VP of Software

Bruce Irvine was Atari's Vice President of Software — heading the company's new computer software division — from September 1980 through approximately July 1982. Among other responsibilities, he oversaw Atari Program Exchange and the opening of Atari "software acquisition centers." After leaving Atari, he co-founded Mindset Corporation with Roger Badertscher.

This interview took place on November 7, 2019. In it, Bruce mentions Steve Gerber, Fred Thorlin, Dale Yocum, and Manny Gerard, all of whom we have previously interviewed.

Infoworld — Atari Opens Second Software-Acquisition Center

ANTIC Interview 268 - Steve Gerber, VP of International New Product Development

ANTIC Fred Thorlin interview

ANTIC Dale Yocum interview

ANTIC Interview 78 - Manny Gerard, The Man Who Fired Nolan


Incognito and 40 Years of Atari 8-Bits

     11/9/2019

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  Kevin hobnobs with Atari celebrities at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Brad and Randy find out they’re podcast hosts #2 and #3, respectively, and together we cover all the Atari news that’s fit to print. 

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz 

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com 

What We’ve Been Up To

Atari News 

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

YouTube Videos Since Last Show

New at Archive.org

Listener Feedback

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender. 


ANTIC Special Episode — Atari 800 series computers: 40 years

     10/27/2019

ANTIC Special Episode — Atari 800 series computers: 40 years

This is Antic, the Atari 8-bit podcast. I'm Kevin Savetz. On Saturday, October 19, 2019 I had the privilege of taking part in a panel at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. The session was titled "Atari 800 series computers: 40 years." The panelists were Joe Decuir, one of the hardware designers of the Atari 400 and 800; David Crane, who was one of the developers of the Atari's operating system before he famously left Atari to co-found Activision; and myself.

The session was attended by roughly 50 people. There were some difficulties getting Joe's computer to throw its video to the projector, and you can hear some fussing with that in the recording before it gets resolved. I had a great time participating in this panel celebrating the Atari 800's 40th birthday.

Joe Decuir's slide deck for this panel

Joe Decuir 1977 Engineering Notebook

Joe Decuir 1978 Engineering Notebook


Fujiama, Ahl Collection, and Bill Lange

     9/25/2019

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  Kevin comes back from Fujiama with a report and Bill Lange joins us to talk about the David Ahl Collection that he acquired.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz 

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com 

What We’ve Been Up To

Atari News 

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

YouTube Videos Since Last Show

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 372 - Andrew and John Lenz: Atari Still in Use

     9/2/2019

Andrew and John Lenz: Atari Still in Productive Use in Store

It’s very difficult these days to find vintage computers still in productive use out in the wild.  Andrew and John Lenz have an Atari 8-bit still in use, at the time of this interview, in the picture framing department at Lenz Arts in Santa Cruz, CA, a store that sells art materials and custom framing services.  The Atari computer has over 200,000 hours of operational time. (That's on and in use!) Running a program written in BASIC by Andrew in the mid-1980s. According to Andrew, it boots from a floppy every morning without fail.

Store Web Site - http://www.Lenzarts.com


Podificating

     8/8/2019

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  We try to catch up after being on hiatus for 2 months by bringing you all the Atari news we could find and we learn a new word in the process.

READY!

Recurring Links 

Floppy Days Podcast 

AtariArchives.org 

AtariMagazines.com 

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd” 

New Atari books scans at archive.org 

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge 

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge 

ANTIC Facebook Page 

AHCS 

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz 

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com 

 

What We’ve Been Up To

Atari News 

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

YouTube Videos Since Last Show

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 371 - John Anderson: Rally Speedway and Arex

     5/23/2019

John Anderson: Rally Speedway and Arex

John Anderson worked at Adventure International, where he coded several games: Eliminator, Rear Guard, and Sea Dragon for the Apple II, then Rally Speedway and Arex for the Atari 8-bits.

This interview took place on May 22, 2019. In it, we discuss Scott Adams and Russ Wetmore,  both of whom I have previously interviewed.

List of John's games at Atarimania

 


Atari Computer Roundtable 2.0

     5/19/2019

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: We have a special round table episode with Nir Dary, Darren Doyle, Roland Wassenburg, Thomas Cherryhomes joining the usual hosts of ANTIC where we discuss what everyone is up to in the Atari 8-bit world, including the latest shows (VCFSE and VCFE).  It’s an Atari mega-show!

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

Links Mentioned in Show:

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 370 - Roy Goldman, Daisy Dot

     5/12/2019

Roy Goldman, Daisy-Dot
 
Roy Goldman was the creator of Daisy-Dot, a typesetting program for the Atari 8-bit computers which he published from about 1987-1990. There were three versions of Daisy-Dot, the original plus Daisy-Dot II and Daisy-Dot III. The earliest version was freeware, and later versions asked for payment for access to special features.
 
This interview took place on May 11, 2019. After we talked, Roy sent me scans of memorabilia from that time, see the links below for those.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Show Fever

     4/13/2019

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: Kevin regales us with his exploits in the 10-Line BASIC Contest, we discuss the renewed efforts to show off Midi-Maze on the Atari 8-bits, and the entire staff prepares to be involved in several great shows this year ...

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Atari News

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

YouTube Videos Since Last Show

New at Archive.org

Commercial

  • tweet from Andrew Borman, Digital Games Curator at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY: “We're underway with our U-Matic digitization project at @museumofplay. Check out this clip from Atari's First Decade celebration! We are dialing in some settings and comparing to some of the previously digitized footage” - https://twitter.com/Borman18/status/1100143648476487680

Feedback

End of Show Music

  • The Czech composer Adam J. Sporka published this week "For Ember", album with 18 chiptune songs composed using an Atari 800XL computer.

The album is available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Deezer, Amazon and SoundCloud. More information on the official page of For Ember - http://kcdsoundtrack.com/for-ember.html

 

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


Atari Pascal

     2/20/2019

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: Bill Lange joins us as a special guest, and he has lots of Atari Pascal news; we have all the Atari news fit to print, and more shows coming in 2019 than you can shake a stick at ...

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

https://www.facebook.com/groups/181644898539691/permalink/1963165623720934/

Interviews

Atari News

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

YouTube Videos Since Last Show

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 369 - Philip Bouchard, The Oregon Trail

     2/4/2019

Philip Bouchard - MECC, The Oregon Trail

Philip Bouchard spent over 30 years designing computer software, 18 of which were focused on educational software. He was the principal designer for the Apple II games The Oregon Trail and Number Munchers.

The Oregon Trail is a computer game originally developed in 1971 and produced by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) in 1974. The original game was designed to teach school children about the realities of 19th-century pioneer life on the Oregon Trail.   "The Oregon Trail" is the world's longest-running video game franchise.

This interview took place August 26, 2017.

Links:


Where's Randy!?

     1/15/2019

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: late-breaking up-to-the-minute Atari news, Randy disappears mid-episode, and we hear what Atari was like in Chile...

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Interviews

Atari News

Upcoming Shows with Atari Computers

YouTube videos since last show

New at Archive.org

Feedback

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 368 - Stan Gilbert, Tricky Tutorials

     1/12/2019

Stan Gilbert, Tricky Tutorials

Hello, and welcome to an interview-only episode of Antic, The Atari 8-bit computer podcast. Stan Gilbert worked for Educational Software (previously known as Santa Cruz Educational Software) in the early 80’s and developed several products in the Tricky Tutorial series for the Atari 8-bit computer line.  He later also worked for Apple.

This interview took place July 29, 2017.

Links:


Have an Atari Little Christmas Time

     12/13/2018

In this special Holiday episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:

Nir Dary regales us with stories about SilliVenture 2018.  We share Atari gift ideas for yourself or others for Christmas.  Plus, all the Atari 8-bit news we could find...

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Atari News

  • BAD APPLE demo by MadTeam won 2nd place in the Silly Venture 2018 Atari Rapidus / VBXE Demo competition - BAD APPLE VIDEO.
  • new digital book The A-Z of Atari 8-bit Games: Volume 3 is now available to buy on both Amazon and Kindle Store - Kieren Hawkin

UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Z-Atari-8-bit-Games-Gaming-ebook/…/

US Link: https://www.amazon.com/Z-Atari-8-bit-Games-Ga…/…/B07KYVVWDM/

YouTube videos since last show

New at Archive.org

Nir Dary - SilliVenture 2018

Atari Christmas Gifts

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


News and More News

     11/5/2018

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:

What we’ve been up to in the past month PLUS all the Atari 8-bit news we could find...

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com
ANTIC Interview Index - here

What We’ve Been Up To

Recent Interviews

Atari News

YouTube videos since last show

Commercial

Mini-interviews

New at Archive.org

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 367 - George Morrison: Alpha Systems, Atari Software Protection Techniques books

     10/23/2018

George Morrison: Alpha Systems, Atari Software Protection Techniques books
 
George Morrison was founder of Alpha Systems, a company that produced many hardware and software products for the Atari computers, including The Parrot, and audio digitizer; MagniPrint II, a printing utility; and The Impersonator, hardware for copying cartridge-based programs; and other products. He was author of two books — Atari Software Protection Techniques and Advanced Atari Protection Techniques.
 
This interview took place on October 16, 2018. In it, we discuss Ed Stewart and Richard Leinecker, both of whom I have previously interviewed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Summer Vacation and Atari Party

     10/1/2018

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:

Bill Lange guest-hosts with us and tells us all about the recent Atari Party East.  We talk about all the traveling and Atari things we did over the summer. Kevin throws in a mini-interview he did.  And, Jeff Fulton reviews Tempest Elite Plus. Plus, all the Atari 8-bit news we could find...

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Atari News

YouTube videos since last show

Commercial

Mini-interviews

New at Archive.org

Jeff Fulton

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 366 - Bruce Artwick: Flight Simulator II, Night Mission Pinball

     9/7/2018

Bruce Artwick: Flight Simulator II, Night Mission Pinball
 
Bruce Artwick was co-founder of SubLOGIC, and creator of the best-selling program, Flight Simulator II. FSII was first available for the Apple II, with versions released later for the TRS-80, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, and other platforms. His 1976 master's thesis, A Versatile Computer Generated Dynamic Flight Display, about creating a real-time flight simulator on the PDP-11, provided some of the early research for his flight simulation software. 
 
Bruce was also creator of Night Mission Pinball, a popular pinball game that was available for Apple II, Atari 8-bit, C64, and DOS computers.
 
This interview took place on August 7, 2018.
 
Bruce's article, 3-D Computer Graphics (Kilobaud magazine, October 1977)
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 365 - Jon Williams: Jet Boot Jack, Timeslip

     9/3/2018

Jon Williams: Jet Boot Jack, Timeslip
 
Jon Williams created several programs for the Atari 8-bit computers, including Jet Boot Jack, Timeslip, Atari Cassette Enhancer, and Linkword German.
 
This interview took place on August 6, 2018.
 
 


ANTIC Interview 364 -Carlos Reyes: Quick Menu, Rent Wars

     8/30/2018

Carlos Reyes: Quick Menu, Rent Wars
 
Carlos Reyes wrote the game Rent Wars for the Atari 8-bit computers for First Star Software, which was never officially released but found its way onto the Internet years later. He also wrote Quick Menu, a 384-byte program that would display a menu of programs on a floppy disk and let the user choose one to run. The program was designed to fit into a floppy's three boot sectors, so it didn't eat into any of the usable space on the disk. The program was a popular interface to distribute disks of pirated programs, but most people didn't know that Carlos was the author — there was no room for his name in the tiny program. Carlos has found the source code and released it into the public domain. 
 
This interview took place on August 3, 2018. In it, we discuss Jerry White, Fernando Herrera, and Bill Wilkinson, whom I have previously interviewed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 363 - Greg Gibbons, Automated Library II

     8/26/2018

Greg Gibbons, Automated Library II 
 
Greg Gibbons was the creator of Automated Library II, software for running school libraries, which was available for the Atari 8-bit and Apple II computers.
 
There's an article about the software in the April 1985 issue of American Libraries:
 
“The Automated Library II is a bar-code circulation system that runs on the Atari line of microcomputers. The program, designed for school libraries circulating 30 to 500 items per day, checks books in and out, compiles overdue lists, and prints class records and daily circulation summaries by Dewey Decimal numbers.
 
Software developer Gregory Gibbons studied the day-to-day activities of a junior high school librarian and then designed a system to automate as much of the repetitious work as possible. The program was extensively tested in a Los Angeles school for over a year before its release.
 
All inputs are prompted with simple English. The system is so easy to use that the test library used students to perform most of the operations.
 
The program produces bar codes for the books in the library and student-ID bar codes, which are entered into the computer and attached to books and student IDs. … If the student is authorized to check out books the computer will make a short beep and print ‘OK to check out books’ on the screen. If the student is on the overdue list, the computer makes a different noise to alert the staff.
 
At the end of the day, the librarian instructs the computer to perform a daily update, which incorporates all transactions into the database. The update takes about 15 minutes per 1,000 students, and automatically generates a new overdue list that can be printed at any time.
 
The program works best with 200 to 3,000 students, although a larger number of students will simply cause the program to take a little longer to update each day.
 
The Automated Library II runs on the Atari 800, 800XL, and 1200XL computers…The system costs $700, including the light wand.”
 
This interview took place on May 24, 2018.
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 362 - Tom Snyder, educational software

     8/23/2018

Tom Snyder, educational software
 
Tom Snyder was the founder of Computer Learning Connection, which was later renamed to Tom Snyder Productions, a company that created many educational software titles for the school and home computer markets.
 
The company's home software included Agent USA and Bannercatch (published by Scholastic,) Halley Project (published by Mindscape,) Run For the Money (published by Scarborough Systems,) and In Search of the Most Amazing Thing
(published by Spinnaker.) Snooper Troops I and II, both published by Spinnaker, were the first educational software to make the industry's bestseller list. The company made many more software products that it sold directly to schools, including Decisions Decisions and The Other Side.
 
This interview took place on July 2, 2018.
 
"I think my favorite memories of all the programs I designed was sitting in bars with a legal pad writing the design out, you know, long before you write code. It was all on paper ... And the longer you can wait before you start programming, the better off you are."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 361 - Bob Ertl, REWRITE Word Processor

     8/20/2018

Bob Ertl, REWRITE Word Processor
 
In 1987, Bob Ertl’s master's thesis was titled "Narrowing the Gap Between the Word Processing Needs of Teachers and the Capabilities of Word Processors for Atari 8-bit Computers." As part of that project, he created a word processor for the Atari computers, aimed at the needs of math teachers. The word processor is called REWRITE and was never widely available. It was only used by a handful of teachers.
 
Bob has released two versions of the word processor in ATR format, along with the Mac/65 source code and the manual. I scanned his thesis. All of this is available at Internet Archive.
 
This interview took place on July 10, 2018.
 
"My wife would help me with this. The way she would help me is she was patient enough to let me explain what my assembly language code was supposed to do. So I had to say it clearly enough for her to be able to follow it, and in doing so I was often able to find the errors that I was looking for."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 360 - Ed Meyer, physical chemistry experiments with Atari computers

     8/17/2018

Ed Meyer, physical chemistry experiments with Atari computers
 
In the 1990s, Ed Meyer was a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, where he taught physical chemistry. In August 1990, The Journal of Chemical Education published his article, "An Inexpensive Computer Station for Undergraduate Laboratories Using the Atari 800XL" in which Ed showed how to interface the Atari controller ports with a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter chip to do chemistry experiments. (The article includes schematics and code in assembly language and BASIC.)
 
From the article:
 
"The kind of “interfacing” that has been emphasized in
chemical education thus far in this country has been largely
limited to using the “game paddle inputs” of a home com-
puter, which allows the connection of any device that looks
like a variable resistor to the computer. This approach has
served admirably as an introduction to the power and versa-
tility of inexpensive home computers as data collectors and
handlers but suffers from significant disadvantages. The
most obvious is the limitation to 8 bits of information; one
would like to be able to obtain better precision than this
provides (at half scale we can expect roughly 1% reproduc-
ibility). Another is the requirement that the resistance of the
transducer used be consistent with that of the game paddle it
replaces.
 
It is possible, without spending inordinate sums of money,
to convert one of these home computers into a research-
grade instrument with a resolution of 1 bit in 4096, if one
knows a little about digital electronics. This article describes
an interface for the Atari 800XL computer based on a 12-bit
analogue-to-digital converter (ADC). We have incorporated
six of them into “computer stations” in our upper track
freshman laboratory. In general, the variables in question
(e.g., temperature vs. time for coffee cup calorimeter experi-
ments, pH vs. volume titrant) are plotted in real time on the
monitor screen, and after collection of the data, a hard copy
of the plot is produced on a printer, along with a table of the
data. We use similar stations in our physical chemistry lab-
oratory, where more sophisticated curve-fitting routines are
included."
 
This interview took place on July 9, 2018.
 
"Once the thing is able to read a DC voltage, you have all kinds of opportunities. ... I mean the most obvious one is to use a pH meter to do acid-base titrations."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 359 - John Harris, APX Can’t Quit

     8/10/2018

John Harris, APX Can’t Quit
 
John Harris published one program for the Atari computer: Can't Quit, a game that was published by Atari Program Exchange. Can't Quit first appeared in the summer 1983 APX catalog. It was the only program published by this John Harris — although he has the same name as the John Harris who created Jawbreaker (whom I previously interviewed.)
 
This interview took place on July 5, 2018.
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 358 - David Young, Omnimon

     8/7/2018

David Young, Omnimon
 
David Young was the creator of Omnimon, the popular hardware monitor/debugger for the Atari 8-bit computers. His other products included DiskScan, a floppy disk utility; Supermon, the predecessor to Omnimon; Omnicom, a terminal program; and Omniview, an 80 column E: handler. 
 
This interview took place on June 11, 2018. In it, we discuss Wes Newell, whom I previously interviewed. 
 
"The IBM PC came out. I looked at it really hard. ... And I thought, 'You know, I really should develop products for this guy.' But it was just such a ugly beast."
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 357 - Rockie "RJ" Morgan, APX Piano Tuner

     8/3/2018

Rockie "RJ" Morgan, APX Piano Tuner
 
Rockie “RJ" Morgan published one program through Atari Program Exchange: Piano Tuner, which first appeared in the summer 1983 APX catalog.
 
This interview took place on June 5, 2018.
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 356 - Michael McInerney, physics experiments with Atari computers

     7/29/2018

Michael McInerney, physics experiments with Atari computers 
 
In the 1980s, Michael McInerney was a professor in the physics department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, when he wrote several journal articles about how to control experiments and gather data using Atari computers. 
 
The articles included Interfacing the Atari Microcomputer in the Science Laboratory, which appeared in the spring 1983 issue of Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching; Game Port Physics - Introductory Experiments in Linear Dynamics, which appeared in the spring 1984 issue; and Computer-Aided Experiments with the Damped Harmonic Oscillator, which appeared in the October 1985 issue of American Journal of Physics.
 
This interview took place on May 21, 2018.
 
"The reviewers refused to believe I could do it which such cheap equipment. ... They said it wasn't possible to do it."
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 355 - Norm Draper, Draper Pascal

     7/25/2018

Norm Draper, Draper Pascal
 
Norm Draper was the creator of Draper Pascal, a version of the Pascal programming language for the Atari 8-bit computers. Draper Pascal started as a commercial program sold directly though advertisements in computer magazines, then later became shareware.
 
This interview took place on July 3, 2018.
 
"I offered club members to pay them for every bug they would find in my software. I'd pay them $3. ... There were a few. I didn't have to pay out that much money at all, really."
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 354 -Brooke Alderson, Atari TV Commercials

     7/20/2018

Brooke Alderson, Atari TV Commercials
 
Brooke Alderson was an actor in the 1980s and 1990s: she appeared in several television shows including Murder, She Wrote and Family Ties; and is perhaps best known for her role as Aunt Corene in the 1980 film Urban Cowboy. She also appeared in many TV commercials. She did a 30-second spot for Atari home computers, and was featured on Atari's in-store point-of-purchase laserdisc.
 
In the commercial, Brooke played the part of a mom who is teased by her teenage daughter for not knowing the states and capitals. By the end of the commercial, having learned from her Atari 400 computer, she can quickly and correctly name the capitals.
 
On the Electronic Retail Information Center (E.R.I.C.) laserdisc, Brooke also played the part of a mom who extolls the virtues of Atari's educational software, with an emphasis on Scram, the nuclear power plant simulation; and My First Alphabet, software for teaching letters and numbers to small children.
 
This interview took place on July 2, 2018.
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 353 - Dennis Koble: APX Avalanche, Imagic

     7/17/2018

Dennis Koble: APX Avalanche, Imagic
 
Dennis Koble was an early Atari employee, where we would become manager of the computer and consumer divisions. He designed Atari's "Touch Me" handheld electronic game. He also wrote three programs that were published by Atari Program Exchange: Avalanche, an adaption of the coin-op game which he also created; and the text adventure games Chinese Puzzle and Sultan's Palace. 
 
He was at Atari for about 4 1/2 years before leaving to co-found the video game publisher Imagic. There, he was perhaps best known for creating "Atlantis" for the Atari 2600 (which we don't actually talk about in this interview.)
 
This interview took place on May 15, 2018. A video version of this interview is available.
 
"We had to show our best stuff. And we wanted to show technological tricks that we figured the Activision guys hadn't seen before. I don't know if they felt that rivalry toward us at that point, but it became a rivalry a little later, it really did." 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 352 - Joe Hellesen: Deluxe Invaders, Pac Man, PQ: The Party Quiz Game

     7/12/2018

Joe Hellesen: Deluxe Invaders, Pac Man, PQ: The Party Quiz Game

Joe Hellesen programmed the Atari 8-bit versions of Deluxe Invaders (published by Roklan), and Pac Man (published by Atari,) Gyruss (published by Parker Brothers), and Mickey in the Great Outdoors (published by Disney.) He also coded PQ: The Party Quiz Game (for SunCom.)
 
This interview took place on April 14, 2018.
 
 
 


Atari Computer Roundtable

     7/9/2018

Atari Computer Roundtable

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:

We got some of the biggest names of the current Atari computer community on a live, international conference call to ask: what’s happening in your Atari 8-bit world? Guests Thom Cherryholmes, Ethan Johnson, Joe Decuir, Simon Wells, Curt Vendel, Jeff Fulton, Nir Dary, and Roland Wassenberg. The conversation went in amazing and unexpected directions.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Roundtable Discussion

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 351 - Stephen Romejko: APX Melt-Down, Moon Marauder

     7/4/2018

Stephen Romejko: APX Melt-Down, Moon Marauder
 
Stephen Romejko published two games through Atari Program Exchange: Melt-Down and Moon Marauder. Melt-Down was first available in the winter 1982-1983 APX catalog. Moon Marauder was first available in the fall 1983 APX catalog, where it won third prize in the consumer category.
 
This interview took place on April 14, 2018.
 
"Melt-Down was causing some special issues ... Apparently the American Nuclear Society took offense to it. ... 'People would develop harmful misconceptions and phobias about the peaceful use of nuclear power.'"
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 350 - Allan Moose, Atari Assembly Language Programmer's Guide

     6/29/2018

Allan Moose, Atari Assembly Language Programmer's Guide
 
Allan Moose was co-author of the book Atari Assembly Language Programmer's Guide, which was published by Weber Systems in 1986. He wrote the book with his wife and writing partner, Marian Lorenz. She passed away in 1992. The two also wrote many articles for Antic and A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing magazines.  Their articles included many about display list interrupts and vertical blank interrupts, and pretty mathematical graphics routines. 
 
This interview took place on May 12, 2018.
 
"...pretty much a joint, cooperative effort in writing articles. Sometimes I would have an idea and would sketch something out. Other times Marian would have an idea."
 
 
 
 
 


5 Year Anniversary and Windows-Only Dealy-Bob

     6/24/2018

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  In this five-year anniversary episode of ANTIC, we reminisce back to show #1 all those years ago, our friend Nir Dary tells us all about Atari Invasion, Jeff Fulton of the Into the Vertical Blank Podcast gives us a game review of Star Island, plus all the Atari 8-bit news that we could find.  Happy 5-Year Anniversary to us!

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Interview Discussion

News

YouTube videos this month

New at Archive.Org

Nir’s Segment - Atari Invasion Party Netherlands 2018

Jeff Fulton’s Segment - Star Island Game Review

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 349 - Larry Breakwell, Toronto Atari Programmers Society

     6/14/2018

Larry Breakwell, Toronto Atari Programmers Society

Larry Breakwell was founder of the Toronto West Atari Computer Support Group, then president of the Toronto Atari Programmers Society, which was the largest Atari user group in Canada.

He adapted the Atari version of the book "Academy on Computers Hands-On Atari 400/800 Beginner's Manual" from a version of the book focused on the Commodore PET. These beginners manuals were part of the Academy on Computers, a self-directed learning activity based on "Bits and Bytes", a television program produced by the TVOntario network.

This interview took place on May 10, 2018.

Academy on Computers Hands-On Atari 400/800 Beginner’s Manual


ANTIC Interview 348 - Mike Sandau, Atari-CB Radio Hacking

     6/8/2018

Mike Sandau, Atari-CB Radio Hacking
 
In the mid-1980s, Mike Sandau and his friend connected their Atari 8-bit computers to their citizens band radios to create a small radio-telephone computer network. Their "DIALOG" project combined the radio hardware with custom software (first in Atari BASIC, then later in Action!) to allow chatting, broadcasting messages, and binary file transfers over the air.
 
Mike has uploaded the software, source code, and screenshots to the Internet Archive, and placed it in the public domain. 
 
This interview took place on April 26, 2018.
 
DIALOG screenshots, software, and source code: https://archive.org/details/about_201803


ANTIC Interview 347 - Charlie Kulas: Musical Pilot, UpN Down

     6/4/2018

Charlie Kulas: Musical Pilot, UpN Down
 
Charlie Kulas published Musical Pilot, an educational game, through Atari Program Exchange. Musical Pilot first appeared in the fall 1983 APX catalog, where it was awarded third prize in the Learning category. He later worked at McT (AKA Microcomputer Technologies), a company that was contracted to program games by Sega. There he programmed the game UpN Down for the Atari 8-bit computers.
 
This interview took place on April 20, 2018.
 
Musical Pilot in the fall 1983 APX catalog:
 
 
 
 
 
How to Build a Working Digital Computer Out of Paperclips: https://www.evilmadscientist.com/2013/paperclip/


ANTIC Interview 346 - Youth Advisory Board: Yoon Park

     5/31/2018

Youth Advisory Board: Yoon Park
 
This is the sixth in a series of episodes featuring interviews with the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. This time, I got to talk with Yoon Park.
 
In 1983, Atari formed a Youth Advisory Board, selecting teenagers from around the United States to share their opinions about computers and video games, test software, and promote Atari's computers at events. The group consisted of kids aged 14 through 18, including Yoon.
 
Before these interviews, I like to read from an old newspaper or magazine article that mentioned or quoted the Youth Advisory Board member, to give a sense of who that person was then before we hear from them today. All I can guess about Yoon of 1982 was that he was shy. Of the twenty Youth Advisory Board members, Yoon was never quoted or mentioned in the articles that I could find.
 
This interview took place on May 17, 2018.


ANTIC Interview 345 - Youth Advisory Board: Musa Mustafa

     5/29/2018

Youth Advisory Board: Musa Mustafa
 
This is the fifth in a series of episodes featuring interviews with the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. If you're just joining us: In 1983, Atari formed a Youth Advisory Board, selecting 20 kids, aged 14 though 18, from around the U.S. to share their opinions about computers, test software, and promote Atari's computers at events. 
 
This is an interview with Musa Mustafa, who was one of those kids. 
 
A March 25, 1983 article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel by Loretta Noffsinger said:
 
"Computers without keyboards, toys that come to life at the sound of a child's voice and programs that shoulder the chores of thank-you letters — that's what the whiz kids see in the future. They envision a computer disguised within a toy to tell youngsters about the workings of the universe and others 'far beyond man’s imagination.' And Atari is listening to them."
 
Later in the article, Noffsinger wrote: "Musa Mustafa, 15, says he hopes to design an astronomy program to chart the location of stars and planets at specific times ‘so that I can easily track them down in a telescope.' The Walnut sophomore, who will skip his junior year at Rowland High School, also envisions computers designing computers. This year, they're helping him make a movie about the 1984 Olympics. A combination of computer animation and film, the endeavor will 'open a new category' in the Los Angeles International Film Exposition this spring, he says."
 
My interview with Musa took place on April 26, 2018. In it, we discuss Ted Kahn, whom I previously interviewed. 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 344 - Youth Advisory Board: Robert Allbritton

     5/26/2018

Youth Advisory Board: Robert Allbritton
 
This is the fourth episode in a series of interviews with the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. Robert Allbritton was one of the 20 kids who, in 1983, were accepted into the Youth Advisory Board, a group of teenagers who were able to take a trip to Atari's headquarters in California, enjoy free 1200XL computers, and he even got to work at Atari's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show.
 
Robert was, and still is, friends with John Dickerson, another Youth Advisory Board member, whom I previously interviewed.
 
 
This interview took place on April 24, 2018.
 


ANTIC Interview 343 - Youth Advisory Board: John Dickerson

     5/23/2018

Youth Advisory Board: John Dickerson
 
This is the third episode in a series of interviews with the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. A quick recap: In 1983, Atari formed a Youth Advisory Board, selecting 20 teenagers from around the United States to share their opinions about computers and video games, test software, and promote Atari's computers at events. The group consisted of kids aged 14 through 18, mostly regular kids, some computer geeks, and a couple of celebrities.
 
This interview is with John Dickerson, who was one of the computer geeks.
 
There was an article about the Youth Advisory Board in the March 1984 issue of Enter magazine, with a quote from John:
 
"'We were an added dimension to what they already do,' says 14-year-old John Dickerson. 'Atari's problem is that they don't get close enough to the consumer. We'll bring them a lot closer. But, so far, we haven’t found out which of our decisions they really listened to.'"
 
 
This interview took place on April 16, 2018.
 
If you were a member of the Atari Youth Advisory board, I'd love to hear from you: email antic@ataripodcast.com.
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 342 - Youth Advisory Board: Anneke Wyman

     5/20/2018

Youth Advisory Board: Anneke Wyman
 
This is the second episode in a series of interviews with the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. 
 
In 1982-1983, Atari invited 20 kids, aged 14-18, to be on its new Youth Advisory Board. Atari was looking for well-rounded, computer-literate kids, with equal representation of sexes and a mix of ethnic groups. Anneke Wyman (now Anneke Wyman de Boer) was one of those kids.
 
A wire service article about the Youth Advisory Board, by Kathy Holub, ran in several newspapers around March 25, 1983. Here's an excerpt from that story:
 
"The fat world of corporate perks isn't just for executives anymore. On Sunday, 14-year-old Anneke Wyman of New York flew to San Francisco on a prepaid plane ticket to dine out on pizza and attend her first corporate board meeting. ...
 
"As members of Atari Inc.’s new Youth Advisory Board, they got the sort of pampering reserved for top corporate clients, including a private movie screening, a tour of San Francisco and all the food they could eat.
 
"What did they do to deserve all this? They can’t figure it out. 'It's almost a fantasy,' Anneke said, giggling. 'I had a three-minute interview calling from a pay phone at school. The dime ran out and I thought, well, I’ll never hear from them again. A few weeks later, they told me I was in. Now I'm sort of nervous.'
 
"The video game market, once monopolized by Atari, has become as fiercely competitive as the home computer and educational software markets, and Atari hopes the kids can keep the company on the right track on all fronts...The 20 young board members are expected to keep Atari in touch with its market. ...
 
"Anneke has danced in about 60 performances of The Nutcracker Suite with the New York City Ballet and can write computer programs in four languages. Her career? 'I don’t know yet,’ she said. 'But I'm much better in math and science.'"
 
This interview took place on April 5, 2018. A video version of this interview is also available.
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 341 - Youth Advisory Board: Kerrie Holton and Tina Bartschat

     5/17/2018

Youth Advisory Board: Kerrie Holton and Tina Bartschat
 
This is the first in a series of episodes featuring interviews with the kids of Atari's Youth Advisory Board. 
 
In 1983, Atari formed a Youth Advisory Board, selecting 20 teenagers from around the United States to share their opinions, test new software, and promote Atari's computers at trade shows.
 
The group consisted primarily of regular kids - some computer geeks, but most well-rounded teenagers. The group also included a couple of celebrities: Todd Bridges, the actor who played Willis in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes; and Matthew Labyorteaux, the actor who played Albert on the show Little House on the Prairie, then Richie Adler on the adventure show Whiz Kids.
 
The first (and I believe only) meeting of the Youth Advisory Board took place in March 1983 at Atari's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. Was Atari genuinely doing in-depth market research into the opinions of teenagers? Or was the Youth Advisory Board a publicity stunt? Maybe it was a little of both. Either way, the idea is fascinating, and I wanted to ask the board members to share their memories of that time.
 
In this episode are my first two interviews with Youth Advisory Board kids: Kerrie Holton (now Kerrie Holton-Tainter) and Tina Bartschat (now Tina Volker.)
 
There's an article about Kerrie in the October 1983 issue of Family Computing (the first issue of that magazine) by Bethany Kandel. Titled "When Kerrie Holton Talks, Atari Listens", it features a great photo of Kerrie at her desk, sporting a tie and fedora, with a telephone handset in one hand and a cigar in the other, looking for all the world like a business mogul or 1920's mobster. On her desk there's an Atari 1200XL computer, floppy drive, printer, plus a frilly doll and Snoopy plush toy. Here's an excerpt:
 
"While other seniors were busy bragging about which college they'd been accepted to, Kerrie had something else to show off—she'd been chosen to serve on the Youth Advisory Board of Atari, one of the best-known video game and computer companies in the country.
 
Plenty of high school students have sat in study hall daydreaming about a V.I.P. tour of the inner sanctums of Atari, Inc.; Kerrie is one of the few who've been there. She took a private tour last spring, and was included in meetings with top officials, and discussions of Atari's confidential plans for software and hardware development."
 
..."Atari brought her to the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago earlier this year, and this fall will fly her to a special meeting to 'brainstorm' with the other 19 members of the YAB.""
 
..."Travel isn’t the only benefit of being a YAB member. Kerrie’s received an Atari 1200XL to review software, and a modem, so she can telegraph her latest opinions and recommendations to other YAB members and Atari's elders. 'When we say something, Atari jumps,' says Kerrie.
 
“'It's great fun having someone listen to your opinions for a change, especially when adults are always telling us what to do. Now we get to tell them.'”
 
[Interview with Kerrie]
 
Next, my interview with Tina Vokler.
 
There's an article about Tina in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper, dated June 16 1983, by Jan Ackerman. It features a photo of Tina typing on her Atari 1200XL, with an Atari joystick prominently in the foreground. 
 
"Sixteen-year-old Tina Bartschat of Upper St. Claie is multilingual. The pert, blond-haired teenager learned to speak German while growing up near Hanover, Germany, where she lived until age 10. She knows other languages, too, languages with such strange names as Basic, Pilot and Assembler, all machine languages.
 
"These are the languages of the computer age, languages that are Greek to anyone who doesn’t know a word processor from a printer.
 
...“'Basic is an all-purpose language,' she explains, leading the way to the Atari 1200XL computer in her bedroom. It comes equipped with printer, a taping system, a screen and a word processor.
 
"Atari gave the system to Tina after she was picked to serve on a newly created Atari Youth Advisory Board, a select group of 21 computer-astute teen-agers from across the country, who will advise the computer and video games giant about how to cater to young consumers.
 
Tina is the only teenager from Pennsylvania selected to the elite group, which held its first meeting in Sunnyvale, California March. Besides a free trip to the West Coast, she also was given an Atari system, worth more than $1,500.
 
"She was recommended for the program by Mr. Saunders, a calculus and computer science teacher. She credits Saunders and Dr. John DeBlassio, a math and computer science teacher at her high school, with helping to sharpen her computer skills.
 
[Interview with Tina]
 
The interview with Kerrie Holton-Tainter took place on November 17, 2017. (A video version of that interview is also available.) The interview with Tina Volker took place on January 27, 2018.
 
If you were a member of the Atari Youth Advisory board, I'd love to hear from you: email antic@ataripodcast.com.
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 340 - Hal Segal, Association of Time-Sharing Users

     5/14/2018

Hal Segal, Association of Time-Sharing Users
 
Hal Segal was founder and president of the Association of Time-Sharing Users, and the Association of Small Computer Users, and several other groups dedicated to early computer systems. The Association of Time-Sharing Users was formed in 1974: it published a newsletter, which Hal wrote, as well as directories of terminals, applications, database management systems, and so on. Group members held meetings in various cities around the United States.
 
Hal is also author of the books How to Select Your Small Computer Without Frustration and How to Manage Your Small Computer Without Frustration, which were published in 1982 and 1983 by Prentice-Hall.
 
This interview took place January 9, 2018. A video version of this interview is also available.
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 339 - Steve Englehart, Atari Advanced Games Group

     5/11/2018

Steve Englehart, Atari Advanced Games Group
 
Steve Englehart worked in the Advanced Games Group of Atari, where he developed ideas for new computer games. He was the designer of E.T. Phone Home!, Final Legacy, and Garfield for the Atari 8-bit machines, and worked on several unfinished games. He wrote the manual for Eastern Front: 1941.
 
This interview took place on November 17, 2017. A video version of this interview is available.
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 338 - Jack Smyth, The Learning Company and Add-On Software

     5/7/2018

Jack Smyth, The Learning Company and Add-On Software
 
Jack Smyth was the first CEO of The Learning Company, the educational software publisher best known for Reader Rabbit and Rocky's Boots. He was also involved with Add-On Software, a company that sold CP/M software for several computer platforms, including the Atari 8-bit line. The company built a hardware card, for use with the Atari 1090XL peripheral expansion box, that would have added CP/M functionality to Atari computers. That device was never sold, or at least was not widely available. 
 
This interview took place on March 8, 2018. After the interview, Jack sent me anl Add-On Software CP/M catalog (primarily focused on the Apple II) which I have scanned and uploaded to Internet Archive. 
 
Teaser quote: "I took my 5-year-old daughter with me to see how my daughter liked the software. ... Well my daughter loved it, and so I bought the company."
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 337 - Bryan Talbot, APX Cartoonist

     4/30/2018

Bryan Talbot, APX Cartoonist
 
Bryan Talbot published one program for the Atari computer: Cartoonist, which was published by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the fall 1983 APX catalog, where it was awarded first prize in the systems/telecommunications category.
 
This interview took place on December 8, 2017.
 
"I was just trying to contemplate what to do, and finally — I'd been going to all the missionary classes and I did the thing that they taught us to do. I just knelt down on the floor and I grabbed my 810 drive, and I prayed that God would fix my drive."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 336 - Dwight Johnson, Lake County Atari Computer Enthusiasts

     4/28/2018

Dwight Johnson, Lake County Atari Computer Enthusiasts
 
Dwight Johnson was founder of Lake County Atari Computer Enthusiasts, a users group based in Waukegan, IL. He started the group in April 1983. The group still exists today as a general PC computer users group, and is now called Lake County Area Computer Enthusiasts.
 
This interview took place on April 12, 2018.
 


ANTIC Interview 335 - Colin Hume, Computer War

     4/25/2018

Colin Hume, Computer War
 
Colin Hume worked at Thorn EMI for about a year, where he programmed one game for the Atari 8-bit computers: Computer War. Computer War was based on the 1983 movie War Games.
 
Thomas Cherryhomes joined us to ask Colin some questions of his own.
 
This interview took place on April 12, 2018.
 
"Of course it was so totally different. There was no specification, no one ever checked through your code. There was no documentation. There was no maintenance."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 334 - Matthew McGinley, Elite Personal Accountant

     4/22/2018

Matthew McGinley, Elite Personal Accountant
 
Matthew McGinley was the creator and publisher of Elite Personal Accountant, financial management software for the Atari computer. He released it in mid-1985 after working on it for several years.
 
The review of Elite Personal Accountant by Stephen Roquemore in Antic magazine said, "This new program from a small company has just about every capability built into it that anyone could dream up. And the manual is one of the finest I have ever encountered. ... Elite Personal Accountant will handle 79 categories divided into income, expense, asset, and liability groups. As many as nine credit cards are handled separately, but counted as liabilities. There are 17 different transaction codes available. The reporting capabilities go well beyond the competition, with an option that allows you (within limits) to design your own reports."
 
I found Matthew through an eBay listing, where he is selling the source code disks, printouts, and development notes.
 
This interview took place on April 10, 2018.
 
"Being stuck on certain routines that would give me an error, and I knew there must have been a simple answer. So I'd be going off to sleep, and I'd wake up two hours later. My mind was — ah, that's it! "
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 333 - Cynde Moya, Collections Manager at Living Computers: Museum + Labs

     4/19/2018

Cynde Moya, Collections Manager at Living Computers: Museum + Labs
 
Cynde Moya is Collections Manager at Living Computers: Museum + Labs. Located in Seattle, Washington, Living Computers is a computer museum that provides hands-on experiences using computers ranging from micros to mainframes. (Last time I was there, there was a Xerox Alto, an Apple I, and yes, an Atari 400 with a number of game carts, plus big iron like a Control Data 6500 and DEC PDP-10 - all those machines and more usable by visitors.)
 
As Collections Manager, Cynde takes care of the museum's collection, and catalogs it.
 
This interview took place on April 9, 2018.
 
“It's definitely not all glory when you're cleaning dead rats out of an old computer."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 332 - Mike Matthews, Alien Group Voice Box

     4/16/2018

Mike Matthews, Alien Group Voice Box
 
That voice you just heard in an Alien Group Voice Box II connected to an Atari 800.
 
Voice Box was a external speech synthesizer box for the Atari 400 and 800. Voice Box, and its successor Voice Box II, was marketed by "The Alien Group" starting in July 1982. The device used the Votrax SC-01A speech synthesizer chip to add speech and singing to the Atari. Versions were also available for the Commodore 64 and Apple II computers.
 
The Alien Group was actually an offshoot of Electro-Harmonix. Electro-Harmonix was founded by rhythm and blues keyboard player Mike Matthews in 1968. The company is still is business today, and is well-regarded for its guitar pedals and other musicians' gear.
 
For more background on The Alien Group and Voice Box, I recommend reading Bill Lange's blog post "Atari Says Its First Word."
 
This interview with Mike Matthews took place on November 13, 2017.
 
***
 
One more thing: I talked with Scott Matthews, Mike's son. He told me in email:
 
"My first big software project was for my dad, when I was about 13. What I wrote was an Atari BASIC function that would take a number as input, and would output the phonetic equivalent of that number. The idea was that other people -- who wanted to write applications that would speak a number -- could use the function to convert application-generated numbers to a speakable string."
 
Scott also doesn't remember who, if anyone, won the $5000 contest for best talking software. 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 331 - Winchell Chung, Avalon Hill games

     4/11/2018

Winchell Chung, Avalon Hill games
 
Winchell Chung worked at Avalon Hill computer games, where he was the Atari 8-bit computer programmer. He worked on Nuke War, B-1 Nuclear Bomber, Free Trader, Paris in Danger, and Vorrak. His best known game is probably Gulf Strike.
 
This interview took place on April 10, 2018.
 
"A good game with lousy graphics doesn't sell, but a lousy game with great graphics will."
 
 
 


ANTIC Special Episode Bits and Bytes

     4/7/2018

This is ANTIC, the Atari 8-bit podcast. I’m Kevin Savetz.
 
I love old computers. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you knew that already. I also love musical theater. So when I found out about Bits & Bytes, a 1983 musical about computers — well, that’s right in my wheelhouse. 
 
Bits & Bytes was an educational touring production, created by South Coast Repertory Theater, a professional theatre company located in Costa Mesa, California. It was a 45-minute musical show, aimed at school kids, that was performed at elementary schools across Southern California from January through June of 1983. More than 60,000 children saw the show.
 
The story is about Happy, a naive girl who goes into a computer store for the first time, wondering if a computer can “solve all her problems and make her truly happy.” Morton B. Norton, a pushy, overzealous computer salesman, tries to sell her a computer, with the help of wacky sidekicks, Bits and Bytes. Through speech and song, the team teaches Happy about computers — what they can and can’t do. A computer could help her be more organized, get her homework done, and play games. But Happy learns that a computer cannot really think, and is not a substitute for real, human friends. 
 
***
 
The goal of the play was to “show the realistic capabilities of computers as distinguished from commercial hypes and science fiction fantasy.” Another goal was to emphasize the “talents unique to human beings — what makes us different from computers.” 
 
South Coast Repertory Theater’s educational touring productions took short original plays into area primary schools. The topic of computers was chosen for the 1983 production because surveyed teachers, parents, and principals overwhelmingly chose “computer literacy” as a topic they wanted to see covered. (Previous educational touring shows included Tomato Surprise, about nutrition; The Fitness Game, about physical fitness; and The Energy Show, about conserving energy.)
 
The play was written by Michael Bigelow Dixon and Jerry Patch, with music by Diane King. It was directed by John-David Keller, with set design by Dwight Richard Odle. The assistant director/choreographer was Diane dePriest.
 
An ensemble of five played all the roles, with one doubling as stage manager.  The cast was Robert Crow, Sam Hamann, James Le Gros, Laura Leyva, and Deborah Nisimura. 
 
Bits & Bytes won the 1983 Pioneer Drama Service award for best new play. It ran for 246 performances, breaking the booking record for South Coast Repertory.
 
The January 29, 1983 issue of the Los Angeles Times said:
“...in some respects the current show is the most impressive so far. Now that computer technology has entered the home and workplace—as well as the shopping mall—it’s noteworthy that a play can tell us how much more computers can do than launch missiles and
gobble up space villains. … Diane King composed such a fine score—which includes evocations of different eras in pop music—that it almost has commercial possibilities of its own.
 
“Laura Leyva plays Happy, the girl who, for a very long time, is led to believe—along with the rest of us—that the computer will solve all our problems. That’s a dangerous and depressingly facile notion whose emphasis, early on, far outweighs the authors’ concluding moral that ‘computers can only deal with facts, not feelings.’
 
“But Bits & Bytes humorously shows its audience of kids how advanced and widespread the computer revolution has become and that they stand well ahead of their parents at its ramparts.”
 
***
 
Texas Instruments donated a computer to the production: a TI 99/4A with monitor, peripheral expansion box, speech synthesizer, disk drives, and software. The computer was used as part of the set.
 
I interviewed three people who helped create Bits & Bytes: first, Michael Bigelow Dixon, who is co-author of the play. Next we’ll hear from Diane King, the composer. Finally we’ll hear from Laura Leyva, the actress who played the roll of Happy.
 
The interview with Michael Bigelow Dixon took place on March 9, 2018, with Diane King on March 6, and with Laura Leyva on March 16.
 
Look at the show notes, where you’ll find several photographs of the Bits & Bytes cast, reviews of the play, and articles about it. If you’d like to read the play or the score, that’s trickier. They are not online due to copyright. I borrowed copies via interlibrary loan.
 
If you saw this play, I would love to hear your memories of it. You can always email me at antic@ataripodcast.com.
 
Special thanks to Tania Thompson at South Coast Repertory for providing background information about this production, to Laura Leyva for providing photographs, to Michael Bigelow Dixon for providing articles from his archive, and to Diane King for digitizing her recordings from tape and allowing me to use them for this episode.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


50 and Counting!

     3/22/2018

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  In our 50th episode, Kevin tells us about all his secret tours, we tell you about upcoming contests, review new books, and read lots of feedback from our listeners.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

Interview index: here

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

News

YouTube videos this month

  • YouTube videos this month - using the search term “Atari 800”

A Word From Our Sponsor

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End of Show Music

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 330 - William "Ted" Farmer, Eastern Front (1941) Scenarios

     3/6/2018

William "Ted" Farmer, Eastern Front (1941) Scenarios
 
Ted Farmer created one product for the Atari 8-bit computers, with an unwieldy name: “Eastern Front (1941) Scenarios For 1942, 1943, 1944". The disk of add-on scenarios for Eastern Front 1941 first appeared in the fall 1983 APX catalog, alongside Chris Crawford's Eastern Front (1941) scenario editor, the program that Ted used to create the scenarios.
 
This interview took place on January 27, 2018.
 
Teaser quote: "Some time later, I got a message on my telephone answering machine, and it was from Chris [Crawford]. It was very short. He said, 'Stop working on the article, and I can't tell you why.'"
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 329 -Douglas Wilder, Ultimate Renumber Utility

     3/3/2018

Douglas Wilder, Ultimate Renumber Utility
 
Douglas Wilder published one program though Atari Program Exchange, Ultimate Renumber Utility, which he co-wrote with his father, Justin Wilder. It first appeared in the winter 1981 APX catalog, but was featured in the catalog for less than a year: in the winter 1982 catalog, it was replaced by BASIC/XA, which did renumbering as well as other functions for programmers.
 
This interview took place on January 26, 2018.
 
Teaser quote: "So we got enough money off the sales of that through APX that it paid for both my father's computer and mine."
 


ANTIC Interview 328 - Jerry Horanoff, Carina BBS Software

     2/15/2018

Jerry Horanoff, Carina BBS Software
 
Jerry Horanoff was the creator of the Carina bulletin board system software for the Atari 8-bit computers, and later, Carina II. 
 
The October 1986 issue of ANTIC Magazine wrote: "This expandable, module-based bulletin board software package is written in understandable BASIC and includes XMODEM upload/download transfer protocol, message editor with word processor-like functions and a total of 44 commands, including 17 sysop functions. It operates at 300, 1200 or 2400 baud and works with most DOSs and BASICs."
 
Jerry also created Ultramon, a disassembler. Later he worked at ICD and Commodore. 
 
This interview took place on January 25, 2018.
 
 
 
 


Thomas Cherryhomes and PLATO

     2/10/2018

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  In this first episode of 2018, we talk about the fact that ANTIC has been downloaded over ½ million times,  we get a surprise visit from Thomas Cherryhomes, who talks about PLATO for the Atari, we offer Atari 8-bit gift options for Valentine’s Day, Nir Dary tells us about some things he’s been exploring, plus all the Atari 8-bit news that we could find.  Happy New Year!

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Interview Discussion

News

YouTube videos this month

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Nir’s Segment - SilliVenture 2017

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 327 - Rawson Stovall, The Vid Kid newspaper column

     2/2/2018

Rawson Stovall, The Vid Kid newspaper column
 
As you no doubt gleaned from the clips of his appearances on CBS Morning News and The Tonight Show, Rawson Stovall was only a child when he started writing a syndicated newspaper column in which he reviewed computer games and home video games. The column, called Vid Kid, appeared in 20 newspapers around the United States. He was in fact the first nationally syndicated reviewer of video games in the country.
 
He is author of The Vid Kid's Book of Home Video Games — a compilation of his reviews — which was published in 1984, when Rawson was 12 years old. 
 
This interview took place on January 23, 2018.
 


ANTIC Interview 326 - Chris James, Thorn EMI

     1/29/2018

Chris James, Thorn EMI
 
Chris James worked at Thorn EMI, where he was a programmer and later a project manager. Later he founded James Software, which specialized in game conversions to various computer platforms. His long list of Atari game credits includes Darts, Tank Commander, and several jigsaw puzzle games such as European Scene Jigsaw Puzzles and Hickory Dickory Dock.
 
He is also the husband of Hanan Samara, whom I interviewed previously, and whom you can hear providing color commentary in the background from time to time.
 
This interview took place on November 13, 2017.
 
Teaser quote: "We didn't feel like we were sort of on a frontier as such, but we were, I guess — and breaking ground."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 325 - Hanan Samara: Jumbo Jet Pilot and Jinn Genie

     1/26/2018

Hanan Samara: Jumbo Jet Pilot and Jinn Genie
 
Hanan Samara was a programmer at Thorn EMI, where her work included programming the game Jumbo Jet Pilot. Later she founded Dalali Software, a company that specialized in converting games to various computer platforms. There she created the Atari computer game Jinn Genie.
 
This interview took place on November 13, 2017.
 
Her husband, Chris James, can be heard in the background, and is the subject of my next interview.
 
Teaser quote: "We just had to really learn fast. I mean really, really learn fast."
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 324 - Geoffrey Card, kid game reviewer

     1/23/2018

Geoffrey Card, kid game reviewer
 
In my interview with Orson Scott Card, he mentioned that his son, Geoffrey, helped him review Atari games — thoroughly playing games, then providing a sort of executive summary for his dad, who then wrote about the games for Compute! magazine. I thought it would be fun to get Geoffrey's perspective about that time.
 
This interview took place on January 19, 2018.
 
Teaser quote: "One of the interesting, great things about that era was the fact that somebody could sit there in their garage and they could make something, and it really was indistinguishable from what the professionals were making."
 
Video version of this interview: https://youtu.be/r17r_AzoLrI
 


ANTIC Interview 323 - Orson Scott Card, Compute! Books

     1/18/2018

Orson Scott Card, Compute! Books
 
Orson Scott Card is a Hugo Award winning, best-selling science fiction author, perhaps best known for his 1985 novel, Ender's Game. 
 
But we're not here to talk about that — because for about nine months, Orson Scott Card was an editor at Compute! Books, where we worked on several books about the Atari 8-bit and other computer platforms. His work appears in Compute!'s Third Book of Atari and Compute!'s Second Book of Atari Graphics.
 
He also wrote extensively for Compute! magazine, primarily about computer games. His FontByter and ScreenByter graphics utilities for the Atari computers were published in Compute! His short story The Lost Boys features a character that plays games on an Atari computer.
 
This interview took place on January 5, 2018. A video version of this interview is also available.
 
Teaser quote: "I really miss programming. I miss those nights, starting after the kids were in bed — 8:30, 9 o'clock — just solving problems ... noticing that there was now light coming through the basement windows, and realizing that I had pulled an all-nighter ... just debugging three minutes of a game."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 322 - Maurice Molyneaux, Atari animation guru

     1/7/2018

Maurice Molyneaux, Atari animation guru
 
Maurice Molyneaux was a game artist, Atari graphics animator, and writer. He wrote articles for Video Games & Computer Entertainment Magazine and A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing Magazine, and wrote "The Animation Stand" column for ST-Log magazine.
 
He created many animations primarily using MovieMaker, an animation program for the Atari published by Reston Publishing.
 
This interview took place on November 20, 2017.
 
Teaser quote: "[Lee Pappas] said 'Oh, we get the reader service cards in, your column is like the most popular thing in the magazine.' And I said, 'Well, then you won't mind paying me the technical rate instead of the standard rate.' ... He said 'Oooh, you got me.' So I ended up making my rent every month writing that damn column.”
 
Video version of this interview: https://youtu.be/4W6NtaEKccI
 
Maurice's web site: http://mauricemolyneaux.com
 
Maurice's blog posts about Atari animation: https://mmolyneaux.wordpress.com/category/animation/
 
Maurice Molyneaux's articles in ST-LOG magazine:
 
YouTube playlist of Atari MoveiMaker animations: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLT-oeGyO1WeNvjmDEV3cyCAfOiIRAWysi
 
Colecovision vs. Atari 5200 Hardware Comparison: http://www.atarihq.com/5200/cv52/
 
Maurice's Atari ST game demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrqcawTaWqg


Happy New Year!

     1/1/2018

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  In this 2017 year-end episode, we get a surprise visit from our international correspondent, Nir Dary, we hear about Kevin’s dream find, and we unwrap our surprise Christmas gifts from Nir Dary.  Nir Dary tells us about his visit to SilliVenture. (It’s a whole lot of Nir Dary!)  Plus all the Atari 8-bit news that we could find.

Happy New Year!

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

Donate to Ted Nelson project at: https://paypal.me/Savetz

TEH: Tech Enthusiast Hour - https://tehpodcast.com

What We’ve Been Up To

Interview Discussion

News

YouTube videos this month

New at Archive.org

Nir’s Segment - SilliVenture 2017

Commercial

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation;

increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 321 - Databar OSCAR

     12/16/2017

Databar OSCAR
 
This is a story about the rise and fall of a compter peripheral and the company behind it. The company was Databar, and the product was called OSCAR, which was short for Optical SCAnning Reader.
 
In 1983, it wasn't easy to get inexpensive software for your home computer. Floppy disks were expensive. Modems were slow and expensive. You could get software in magazines — a variety of computer magazines offered computer program listings that you could type in. You might spend hours laboriously typing in a program, and it might work. Or more likely,  it wouldn't, because of a typo or because of errors in the published listing. It wasn't easy to get inexpensive software for your computer.
 
One solution that a couple of companies came up with was to distribute software in books and magazines — but instead of printed listings that you'd have to type in, the programs were distributed as bar codes — long collections of black and white dots. You could use a bar code scanner to read the programs into your computer. 
 
The best known solution was, perhaps, Cauzin Softstrip. And although Softstrip may have been the best known, it was by no means a success. I've already published interviews with the people who created Softstrip
 
Another contender in this niche — and the one that this episode is about - was the Databar OSCAR. OSCAR was released two years before Softstrip. OSCAR had two parts — the hardware, the Optical SCAnning Reader that would connect to your Atari 8-bit computer, or your Texas Instruments 99/4A, or your Commodore 64. And, the bar code software, which was to be published in a special magazine, called Databar.
 
First, let's talk a little about the hardware. A silver plastic device, a little smaller than a loaf of bread, was the brains of the operation. A hand-held removable wand, connected via a telephone-style coiled wire, held the optical reader. That's the part that you would roll over the bar code to read the software into your computer. Finally, there was an interface cable that connected the main device to your computer. This is the only bit of hardware that's different in the Atari, Commodore, and Texas Instruments versions of the product. The Commodore version, for instance, connects to the C64's cassette port. The Atari version also emulates a cassete tape drive, and connects to the Atari's SIO port.
 
The hardware alone cost $79.95, but it wouldn't do much good without the bar-code printed software, which was the Databar magazine. A 1-year subscription to the Databar magazine would cost an additional $120.
 
So let's talk about the software: the magazine. "Databar - The Monthly Bar Code Software Magazine" which was published in 1983, and turned out to only have one issue published, so it wasn't very monthly after all.
 
Databar ran some advertisements in the Atari, Commodore, and Texas Instruments computer magazines. I'm going to read a bit from one of them. [ad excerpt]
 
The magazine was published in three versions: one for the Atari 8-bit computer, one for the TI 99/4A, and a version for Commodore 64. The cover and front part of the magazine was the same in all editions, with general-interest articles like "Computer Gaming," "To Your Health - Your Health Is Up To You," and "Climbing the Slippery Financial Hills." The second part of the magzaine was different in each edition. This was the part with the bar codes. Each version has pretty much the same set of programs, but customized to the dialect of BASIC used on that particular computer. The selection of non-confrontational, milquetoast programs includes OSCAR's Match (a memory game), Financial Quiz, Math Challenge, Health Assessment, The Law and You, and Miles Per Gallon Calculator.
 
Only 9 programs were ever published in this format for the Commodore and TI, and they are all in the magazine. 13 Atari programs were ever published in this format, in the Atari version of the magazine. 
 
The OSCAR box claims that the hardware is also compatible with the Timex Sinclair 1000, 1500, 2000, and the TRS-80 Color Computer. But I haven't seen any evidence that versions of the magazine were created for those systems, nor the hardware adapters to connect to them.
 
One of the benefits of the reader was that it was supposed to be faster than typing. My favorite ad for the OSCAR reader says "Programming the Home Computer — Expert Typist with Keyboard vs. Eight-year-old with OSCAR." The task: entering a two-page BASIC program. The expert typist with a 100 word-per-minute speed and a degree in computer programming can do it in 1 hour and 9 minutes. The little girl with bows in her hair and bubble gum in her mouth, with no prior computer experience, can enter the program using OSCAR in 8 minutes.
 
Now that we've set the stage, it's time for the interviews. There are three: first, Don Picard, the Executive Editor of Databar magazine; then Kim Garretson, the publisher of the magazine; and finally Neal Enzenauer, the principal engineer for OSCAR.
 
## interview 1: Don Picard
Don Picard worked for Webb Publishing, a large printing company that owned a number of magazines. Don worked in a division called  Creative Communications, that was a custom publishing house for corporate clients. The division did work such as in-flight magazines for airlines, and custom magazines for Farmer's Insurance and the American Automobile Association. He was the Executive Editor of Databar magazine.
 
Teaser quotes:
"Concept was basically dead before it got born."
"When money's invested there becomes a sort of momentum involved. Nobody wants to say, 'This was a mistake.'"
 
## interview 2: Kim Garretson
The next interview is Kim Garretson, the founding editor and publisher of Databar magazine.
 
Teaser quote:
"Sometimes you had to go across a single line of code three or four or five or seven times to hear the little beep."
 
## interview 3: Neal Enzenauer
Our final interview is with Neal Enzenauer, the principal engineer for OSCAR.
 
Teaser quote:
"We thought we were going to set the world on fire and make magnetic media obsolete — but I guess we didn't."
 
## closing
Thanks to Don Picard, Kim Garretson, and Neal Enzenauer. Thanks to Allan Bushman for scanning the Atari version of the Databar magazine and OSCAR instructions; @doegox on Twitter for writing the python script to decode the barcodes without the scanner, @paulrickards for wrangling the Commodore software, and @travisgoodspeed for the PoC||GTFO 'zine, which was instrumental in bringing the pieces together. Thanks to the Internet Archive for hosting scans of the magazines and all the software. 
 
The interview with Don Picard took place on April 5, 2016. The interview with Kim Garretson took place on June 27, 2016. (A video version of that interview is available, including an extended version where we also discuss CD-ROM publishing and the Prodigy online service.) The interview with Neal Enzenauer took place on April 12, 2016.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 320 - Robert Jaeger, Montezuma's Revenge

     12/13/2017

Robert Jaeger, Montezuma's Revenge
 
Robert Jaeger is best known in the Atari community as the programmer of the popular game Montezuma's Revenge, which was published by Parker Brothers in 1984. He also programmed Chomper, published by MMG Micro Software; and Pinhead, published by Robert's own company, Utopia Software.
 
This interview took place on December 2, 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 319 - Tay Vaughan, Atari Connection and Antic magazines

     12/10/2017

Tay Vaughan, Atari Connection and Antic magazines
 
Tay Vaughan used Atari computers in his school for maritime skills and as a marine surveyor. He was featured in that capacity in a 1983 Atari catalog "Atari Home Computers — The Next Generation." Next, he was hired by Atari and was an editor of The Atari Connection magazine, where he wrote the Bits & Pieces column. Later, Tay was senior editor at Antic magazine, and he edited the book The Best of Atari Software, published by Consumer's Guide.
 
In this interview, we discuss Ted Richards and Jim Capparell, whom I have previously interviewed. 
 
This interview took place on December 4, 2017.
 
"Those guys came to the school, the Atari marketing people, and said 'we'd like to give you a couple of computers to let your students play with them and so forth. In exchange, we'll come and take some pictures and maybe use you for marketing."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 318 - Linda Schreiber: T.H.E.S.I.S. Software and author

     12/7/2017

Linda Schreiber: T.H.E.S.I.S. Software and author
 
Linda Watson-Call is better known to Atari users as Linda Schreiber, which was her name at that time. Linda was the founder of T.H.E.S.I.S. Software, an educational software publisher for the Atari 8-bit and Apple II computers. The company was best known for her game, Big Math Attack. She wrote several books about the Atari 8-bit computers: Atari Programming with 55 Programs, Advanced Programming Techniques for your Atari, and Atari Fun & Games: Discover New Heights in Game-Playing Excitement on Any Atari, as well as books about the TI 99/4A and Atari ST computers. She also wrote the Education column in very early editions of Antic magazine. 
 
This interview took place on November 25, 2017.
 
"Oh my gosh, I was like kicking out a program every other month. That was a lot of coding."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 317 - Richard Taylor, Digital Devices Corporation

     12/4/2017

Richard Taylor, Digital Devices Corporation
 
Richard Taylor was an employee of Digital Devices Corporation. DDC built a number of adapters for the Atari 8-bit computers — it's most well-known product was probably APE-FACE, an inexpensive ($90) device that connected the Atari's SIO port to standard parallel printers. The company's other products included UPRINT, a printing buffer; and the Ape-Link Serial Peripheral Input/Output Expansion Cable.
 
Richard's job? He said in an AtariAge message board message "I was the warranty repair department, shipping department, prototype builder, janitor, etc. while I was going to Georgia Tech in 1984/85."
 
This interview took place on November 14, 2017.
 
Teaser quote: "The printer buffer was just a huge hit. It blew me away. Wow, look, it'll take it all in 10 or 20 seconds and just sit there and spool it out to the printer!"
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 316B - Dave Comstock, part 2

     12/1/2017

Dave Comstock, part 2
 
A couple of days after our interview, Dave Comstock (who worked at Atari on E.T. Phone Home, Superman III, and Clock & Dagger) e-mailed me saying he had remembered more stories from his Atari days. So we set up a second interview. 
 
This interview took place on November 14, 2017.
 
“The project team was actually treated to a meal with Ray Kassar and some other executives in the executive dining room … it was like, one of the fanciest restaurants that you’ve ever been to.”
 


ANTIC Interview 316 - Dave Comstock: E.T. Phone Home!, Superman III, Cloak & Dagger

     11/30/2017

Dave Comstock: E.T. Phone Home!, Superman III, Cloak & Dagger
 
Dave Comstock worked at Atari from 1980 through 1984, first as a software and hardware tester, then as a programmer. Dave worked on three games for the Atari 8-bit computers: E.T. Phone Home!, Superman III, and Cloak and Dagger.
 
This interview took place on November 8, 2017.
 
"He said 'We've got to go out tonight, and it has to be a comedy.' ... He's like, 'I have something to tell you, and if I tell you we could both be fired.'"
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 315 - Sarah Haskell, Computerized Weaving

     11/27/2017

Sarah Haskell, Computerized Weaving
 
There's a column in the November 1983 issue of Family Computing magazine, by Jon Zonderman: "Home Business — Compute, Control, and Create. A weaver combines the traditional skills of her craft with a computer and reaps more than one reward." 
 
The article is about Sarah Haskell, a weaver who used an Atari computer to design patterns for weaving, and also to computer-control her loom. 
 
[Excerpts from the article.]
 
My interview with Sarah took place on November 13, 2017.
 
Teaser quote: "But with the electronic system, you did not have to get down on the floor and physically re-configure all of the treadles with these little metal hook things. You would basically just change it."
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 314 - Randall Lockwood, Choose-A-Pooch

     11/24/2017

Randall Lockwood, Choose-A-Pooch
 
There's an article in the August 1984 issue of Family Computing magazine, by Bill Camarda — Behind The Screens: Family Dog. It's about Choose-A-Pooch, an Atari computer program created by Dr. Randall Lockwood, to help match people with the breed of dog that will work best in their living situation.
 
I interviewed Dr. Lockwood on November 10, 2017.
 
"Trying to get away from the fact that people were often choosing dogs based more on just appearance, without knowing that much about the breed."
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 313 - Frank Schwartz and Richard Lewis, Virtusonics

     11/21/2017

Frank Schwartz and Richard Lewis, Virtusonics
 
Last last year, I received a batch of Atari disks. One of the disks was labeled Virtuoso Play Mode Sampler — a music demonstration disk from Virtusonics, a company I had never heard of.
 
Thanks to some old articles in Antic magazine, I learned a bit about the product and the company. In 1985, Nat Friedland first wrote about the Virtuoso software: "Virtuoso is such a unique new approach to musicmaking that it's not easy to describe. ... Virtuoso gives you a user-friendly method of tapping the extremely fast and powerful changes that a computer can control in every aspect of music performance. It bypasses the limits of traditional musical notation and uses an almost self-explanatory color graphic display that delivers mathematical insights into the structure of music. ... In technical terms, Virtuoso is a sound generator that produces four voices from the POKEY chip. You can make instant real-time changes in the voices in any of six parameters. Four computers running Virtuoso can be linked together to have up to 16 independent channels controlled by one Atari."
 
Virtusonics was primarily three people: Frank Schwartz, the programmer; Joseph Lyons, the music guy; and Richard Lewis, the CEO. I have interviewed two of them. First you'll hear my February 15, 2017 interview with the programmer/R&D director Frank Schwartz. Then, you'll hear the February 10, 2017 interview with CEO Richard Lewis. I haven't been able to interview the other partner, Joseph Lyons, who is serving 24 years to life in prison.
 
After our interview, Richard Lewis sent me an envelope of Virtusonics papers and disks. The material includes the preliminary version of Virtuoso Software, and the final release which by then was called Virtuoso Desktop Performance Studio, boxes, manuals, flyers and advertising slicks, and stock prospectuses. I scanned and digitized all of the material, which is now available at the Internet Archive.
 
Teaser quotes: 
Frank Schwartz: "Change the curvature of the sine wave just via software. And that was a concept which was revolutionary in those days."
 
Richard Lewis: "We were criticized by a lot of the top names in computers back in the '80s. As, how that this small company in an apartment in New York City come up with something that we've been working on for years and we cant do?"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 312 - Paul Wehner, APX Saratoga

     11/18/2017

Paul Wehner, APX Saratoga
 
Paul Wehner created one program for the Atari 8-bit computer, Saratoga, which was published by Atari Program Exchange. The American revolutionary war game first appeared in the fall 1983 APX catalog, where it won second prize in the Entertainment category.
 
This interview took place on October 24, 2017.
 
 


ANTIC Interview 311 - Alan Reeve, Reeve Software

     11/15/2017

Alan Reeve, Reeve Software
 
Alan Reeve is the founder of Reeve Software, a company that stated in 1984, creating software for the Atari 8-bit computers. Reeve Software published a variety of applications including Diamond GOS, News Station and News Station Companion, Publishing Pro, The Business Manager, and Diamond Write. The company's games included Battle Tank, Bomber, Castle Attack, Space Hunt, and Star Intruder.
 
This interview took place on October 14, 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Artificially Intelligent?

     11/12/2017

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  The artificial intelligence that acts as the hosts of the show laments the lack of Atari goodness this month.  Nir Dary avails us of his world travels, this time to the ABBUC meeting.  Plus all the Atari news we could find.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

What we’ve been up to

Interview Discussion

News

Welcome to the official website "Silly Venture 2k17"! One of the biggest international events devoted to the platforms of our favorite brand - Atari - returns.

YouTube videos this month

New at Archive.org

Nir’s Segment - ABBUC 2017 Meeting

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation;

increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 310 - Guy Ferrante, S&S Wholesalers and Star BBS

     11/9/2017

Guy Ferrante, S&S Wholesalers and Star BBS
 
Guy Ferrante worked for S&S Wholesalers, a Miami Florida-based computer mail order company, where he was in charge of creating magazine advertisements and managing the warehouse. He also ran Star BBS, a bulletin board system based in South Florida, for 11 years.
 
This interview took place on August 25, 2017.
 
"There's merchandise all over the place. I can't even walk in there. I'm stepping on the merchandise. ... And I said, 'Sandy, what's going on here?' He says, 'Guy, the advertisement was a success, I need you here full time.'"
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 309 - Ben Heck, Internet celebrity and console modder

     10/22/2017

Ben Heck - Internet Celebrity and Console Modder

Benjamin J. Heckendorn (aka Ben Heck) is an American console modder and Internet celebrity. He is the star of element14's The Ben Heck Show, a popular online TV program.  It also turns out that he grew up with the Atari 8-bit line of computers and has built a couple of mods involving the Atari line.

This interview took place on April 13, 2017.


ANTIC Interview 308 - Jim Schuyler, Founder of DesignWare

     10/15/2017

Jim Schuyler, Founder of DesignWare
 
Jim Schuyler was Founder of DesignWare. Founded in 1980, Designware created educational software that was published by other companies — including SRA, Xerox, and Spinnaker — as well as software that it published under its own label. Designware's titles included Creature Creator, Grammar Examiner, Mission: Algebra, Spellicopter, and Trap-a-Zoid, among others. Jim programmed Story Machine himself, which was published by Spinnaker Software. Designware was acquired by PeachTree in 1984.
 
 
This interview took place on September 11, 2017. In it, we discuss Peter Rosenthal, David Seuss, and Bill Bowman, all of whom I previously interviewed. 
 
The intro and outro music is Confusion Reigns, composed by Jim Schuyler. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 307 - Dan Pinal: Alternate Reality - The Dungeon, Atari Graphics and Arcade Game Design

     10/12/2017

Dan Pinal: Alternate Reality - The Dungeon, Atari Graphics and Arcade Game Design
 
Dan Pinal contributed to the book Atari Graphics and Arcade Game Design, with Jeff Stanton, a book published by Arrays in 1984. He was one of the programmers of Alternate Reality - The Dungeon, which was published by Datasoft in 1987. He also created the game Stargate Courier, published by COSMI; and worked on the Atari port of Goonies for Datasoft.
 
This interview took place on September 1, 2017.
 
"They said, 'How long?' and we said '18 months.' And they said ‘We can’t wait that long to put something out.'"
 
 
 


Tinkle and Poo

     10/1/2017

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast:  Victor Marland of the Ten Pence Arcade Podcast joins us over Kevin’s pancake breakfast, Bill Kendrick reviews Tempest Elite, and we discuss Tinkle Pit and Uncle Poo.  Plus all the Atari news we could find.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

What we’ve been up to

News

YouTube videos this month

New at Archive.org

Bill’s Modern Segment

Of the Month

Commercial

Feedback

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 306 - Dan Reinhart, Yahtman

     9/28/2017

Dan Reinhart, Yahtman
 
Dan Reinhart published one program for the Atari 8-bit computers: Yahtman, a Yahtzee-style game that was published by Atari Program Exchange. Yahtman first appeared in the winter 1982-1983 APX catalog.
 
This interview took place on August 28, 2017. In it, we discuss Paul Cubbage, whom I previously interviewed.
 
"Paul [Cubbage] had said, 'You know, you have good potential at this sort of thing but you really need to choose: are you going to keep building earth movers and equipment? Or do you want to live in programming and doing games?' ... And as it turns out, I chickened out."
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 305 - David Seuss, co-founder of Spinnaker Software

     9/23/2017

David Seuss, co-founder of Spinnaker Software
 
This interview is with David Seuss, co-founder of Spinnaker Software. Spinnaker was one of the first companies to focus exclusively on educational software. Spinnaker's software line-up included Snooper Troops, Delta Drawing, FaceMaker, Adventure Creator, In Search of the Most Amazing Thing, KinderComp, and many other titles.
 
This interview took place on September 11, 2017.
 
Teaser quotes:
 
"We invented the educational software market. It really didn't exist until we came along."
 
"We were making out first packaging run, we're just so excited, and all the packages melted! Oh no."
 


ANTIC Interview 304 - Hal Glicksman, Datamost

     9/20/2017

Hal Glicksman, Datamost
 
Hal Glicksman was head of the book division at Datamost.
 
In two years from 1982 to 1984, Datamost was one of largest publishers of computer books. In 1983 alone, Datamost published over 40 titles and shipped 100,000 books per month. Their Atari books included Atari Roots, Kids and the Atari, ABCs of Atari Computers, and The Elementary Atari. Hal himself wrote The Musical Atari, Games Ataris Play, and The Musical Commodore. 
 
Datamost also published software: the company's Atari software titles included Cohen's Towers, Cosmic Tunnels, Jet Boot Jack, Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory, and The
Tail of Beta Lyrae.
 
This interview took place on April 7, 2017 for me; April 8 for him in France.
 
"It was a second career for me. I was the oldest person there, older than the boss by 10 years, almost. And for me to be able to get in with all these young people and learn — I mean, I wasn't as fast as any of them but, just to hold up my own."
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 303 - Lee Konowe, American Software Club

     9/17/2017

Lee Konowe, American Software Club
 
Lee Konowe was founder of American Software Club, a mail-order software company. American Software Club sold software for CP/M, Atari 8-bit, TRS-80, Apple II, IBM PC, Commodore 64, and other platforms. It started out with a sort of Columbia House "software of the month" model, where you automatically received a "choice of the month" software package each month — which you could keep and pay for, or return at no cost. Later the company switched to a more traditional mail order catalog model.
 
The company was founded around June 1981. In an article about software clubs in InfoWorld magazine, the company said it had about 2,000 members by the end of its first month. By February 1983 it claimed 10,000 members, and by September of that year had 15,000 members.
 
This interview took place on June 7 2017 for me, and June 8 for Lee in New Zealand.
 
 
"Very quickly it occurred to me that there was a need to put people who were producing software together with people who were consuming it."
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 302 - Patricia Mitchell, Thorn EMI

     9/14/2017

Patricia Mitchell, Thorn EMI
 
Patricia Mitchell started at Thorn EMI in 1981.  She worked in the home computer software division, evaluating software that had been submitted by programmers. 
 
Thorn EMI published many games for the Atari 8-bit computers, including River Rescue, Carnival Massacre, Orc Attack, Kickback, Submarine Commander, Computer War, and Jumbo Jet Pilot.
 
Later she worked at Virgin Games.
 
This interview took place on April 27, 2017.
 
In it, we talk a little about about Steve Green. Steve bought Patricia's old Atari computer on eBay, which included pre-production versions of five Thorn EMI games. Steve made ROM dumps of those games and uploaded them to Internet Archive. 
 
 
"One of the most embarrassing things for the management at the time was they turned down a game that was submitted that was called Elite ... It was the first 3-D graphics that were rendered in wireframe."
 
Steve Green’s ROM dumps:


ANTIC Interview 301 - James Burton, APX Drawit

     9/11/2017

James Burton, APX Drawit
 
James Burton published one program for the Atari 8-bit computers: Drawit, a graphics utility that was published by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the summer 1983 APX catalog, where it was awarded first prize in the personal development category.  
 
This interview took place on August 24, 2017.
 
"Many hours. Many, many hours. Late at night, don;t want to go to sleep. Just plugging at the computer."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 300 - Lance Leventhal, Author of Assembly Language Books

     9/4/2017

Lance Leventhal, Author of Assembly Language Books
 
Lance Leventhal wrote 25 computer books, spanning 1978 through 1992. His books include  6502 Assembly Language Programming, 6502 Assembly Language Subroutines, Z80 Assembly Language Programming, Z80 Assembly Language Subroutines, 6800 Assembly Language Programming, 6809 Assembly Language Programming, and Why Do You Need a Personal Computer?
 
This interview took place on August 25, 2017.
 
"Be careful about avoiding sidetracks. Don't go down them. There's always things you'd like to say and things you'd like to talk about. But they're not central to your topic and you've got to be brutal about not saying them."
 


Open Atari

     8/31/2017

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: Mike Maginnis of the Open Apple and Drop III Inches podcasts joins the Antic crew and starts a computer war, Nir Dary tells us about disk drive upgrades, we catch up with Curt Vendel about his projects including the 2nd Atari history book, and more Atari news than you can possibly imagine!

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

What we’ve been up to

Interviews

News

YouTube videos this month

Commercial

End of Show Music

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation;

increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 299 - John Skruch, Atarisoft

     8/28/2017

John Skruch, Atarisoft
 
John Skruch worked at Atari from 1982, under Warner Communications, all through the Tramiel era, until 1998 when the company was owned by JTS.
 
During that time, he was operations manager for Atarisoft, the arm of Atari that produced software for competing computer systems; software product manager for the 8-bit computer line; and director of licensing. He was involved wth the design and development of the XM301 modem, and the Atari Lynx game system.
 
This interview took place on March 18, 2017.
 
"Atari was bleeding. We used to kid that there was a guy who would go up on the roof every day at noon and toss a million dollars off the roof, and come back inside."


ANTIC Interview 298 - Tom Hunt, Closer to Home BBS

     8/13/2017

Tom Hunt, Closer to Home BBS
 
Tom Hunt ran an Atari BBS called Closer to Home for 28 years. He also created a variety of utilities for the Atari 8-bit computers, including M.T.O.S. (Multi-Tasking Operating System), and The Armorizer (a file corruption detector). He created several languages including Atari implementations of the Brainfork and Mouse programming languages, and forks of Atari BASIC and Turbo BASIC with various feature additions. He also built a system for porting Inform 5 and Z-Code text adventures to the Atari platform.
 
This interview took place on August 5, 2017.
 
"Just as soon as one caller would get off another one would come on. We had so much going on, before the Internet we had worldwide networking — we had message bases, emails, and file mail going around the world to Christchurch, New Zealand and everything. It was just great!"
 


ANTIC Interview 297 - Robert Anschuetz, Eric Anschuetz, John Weisgberber, Antic magazine games

     8/9/2017

Robert Anschuetz, Eric Anschuetz, John Weisgberber, Antic magazine games
 
Robert Anschuetz, Eric Anschuetz, and John Weisgberber are childhood friends who published three games in Antic magazine: Kooky's Quest was published in the February 1985 issue; Overflow in July 1985; and Robot Dungeon was the "disk bonus" in the November 1985 issue. They also wrote several other games in Atari BASIC — some of which they submitted to Compute! and A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing magazines - that went unpublished.
 
Fast forward to August 2017, when the three posted on the AtariAge forum: "We are now releasing all of these games to the Public Domain ...  These are not new games, but they are new to the Atari 8-Bit community. Many of these games really pushed the envelope at the time for what could be done in Atari BASIC, including bi-directional smooth scrolling, assembly language subroutines, parallax scrolling, cut scenes, attract modes, display-list tricks, interleaved-displays, etc."
 
In addition to releasing their games — some for the first time — the group wrote a new article describing how they got together as a team to write these programs, along with game instructions and development notes.
 
I wanted to find out more, so we got together for a four-way interview over Skype.
 
If you want to see our talking heads, there’s a video version of this interview.
 
This interview took place on August 4, 2017. The first voice you'll hear after mine is Robert Anschuetz.
 
Teaser quotes:
"It was just a small little corner of the page that says 'Disk Bonus — Robot Dungeon'. We didn't subscribe to the disk bonus of Antic. So luckily we saw that or else we never would have known it was published."
 
“One thing about this experience of working together on these games, it's very multi-disciplinary, and it's all about collaboration."
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 296 - Stan Osborne, Atari Design Research

     8/6/2017

Stan Osborne, Atari Design Research
 
Stan Osborne was a freelance software engineer in Atari's Design Research department from 1981 through 1984. He also worked on projects for coin-op and home computing departments. He created micro-kernels, proof of concepts, proto-applications and device drivers.
 
There are two versions of this interview: the podcast version is about an hour shorter. The extended version is at the Internet Archive, and includes a lot more of Stan's education, jobs, and history before he was at Atari. 
 
This interview took place on May 16, 2017, with a short additional segment added on August 4.
 
"I was being paid to do whatever I wanted to, if I had time. When you're a freelance independant contractor, you set the clock schedule for when you're going to be there and what you're gonna go. I could visit anybody, anywhere on the Atari campuses." 
 


ANTIC Interview 295 - Harry Stewart, Pilot and WSFN

     8/2/2017

Harry Stewart, Pilot and WSFN
 
Harry Stewart was a contractor for Atari from August 1978 through October 1983. He contributed to the operating system design and the manuals for the Atari 400 and 800; created the Atari implementation of the WSFN language (which was released in the first Atari Program Exchange catalog, summer 1981). He worked on Atari's PILOT programming language and the unreleased sequel, Super PILOT (also known as Summer Camp PILOT.)
 
Harry saved an enormous amount of material: source code, memos, notes, and more. He scanned some of it, I scanned some of it, and it's online at the Internet Archive at the AtariAge forums. 
 
This interview took place on June 29, 2017.
 
"You debugged in your head. It wasn't sitting at the machine single-stepping and doing breakpoints. If you had a problem, you thought it out. Why is this happening? ... Working on the hardware only as necessary."
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 294 - Carol Shaw, Atari and Activision

     7/30/2017

Carol Shaw, Atari and Activision
 
Carol Shaw was a software engineer at Atari from August 1978 though 1980. She programmed for the Atari 2600 and Atari 8-bit computers. She programmed on 3-D Tic Tac Toe for the Atari 800 and 2600; and the math application Calculator. She worked on Video Checkers, Othello, and Super Breakout for the 2600. She also co-wrote the Atari BASIC Reference Manual. Carol joined Activision in 1982, where she created the hit game River Raid, which she programmed for the 2600 then ported to the Atari 8-bit computers, and Happy Trails for the Intellivision.
 
This interview took place on June 29, 2017.
 
"Originally it was going to be a boat going up a river, but my boat was kind of boring looking ... How about an airplane going up a river? We'll have it kind of a canyon or something like that."
 
 
 
 
 


Hackin' The Atari

     7/24/2017

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: Kevin hacks the heck out of the Atari 8-bits, we’re back on the interview bandwagon, Josh Renaud tells us about ATASCII animations, and Nir Dary gives us the scoop on the Outline Demo Party.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

What we’ve been up to

Interviews

News

Nir Dary videos this month

YouTube videos this month (not Nir Dary) - 552 using the search term “Atari 800”

New at Archive.org

Nir Dary Segment - Outline Demo Party 2017

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 293 - Merl Miller, dilithium Press

     7/11/2017

Merl Miller, dilithium Press
 
Merl Miller was co-founder of dilithium Press, a publisher of computer books that was in business from 1977 through 1986. Merl was co-author of Computers for People (with Jerry Willis), a book that heavily features Atari 8-bit computers; and Things to Do With Your Atari Computer (with Jerry Willis and Nancy Morrice) as well as several other books about other types of personal computers. dilithium Press also published An Atari for Kids, An Atari in the Classroom, 32 BASIC Programs For the Atari Computer, Peanut Butter and Jelly Guide to Computers, and is perhaps best known for Computers for Everybody.
 
This interview took place on June 26, 2017.
 
Teaser quote: "When I worked for Prentice Hall, when I worked for West Publishing, when I started my own company, I never forgot that: a good book is one that sells."
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 292 - Claus Buchholz & Lance Ward, ACE-80

     7/8/2017

Claus Buchholz and Lance Ward, ACE-80

Hello.  Welcome to an interview-only episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast.  I am Randy Kindig.  In 1985, Claus Buchholz and Lance Ward released the ACE-80 and ACE-80XL cartridges, which gave 80-column text capability to the Atari 800 and XL computers, respectively.  These were released through their newly-formed company, Amiable Computer Products.  Claus also developed a 256K upgrade for the Atari 800XL and wrote an article on converting Atari computer programs to the 5200.

This interview took place on April 8, 2017.

Links:


ANTIC Interview 291 - Robert Veline, Astro Pyrotechnics

     7/4/2017

Robert Veline, Astro Pyrotechnics

 
The July/August 1987 issue of ST-Log magazine has an article by Matthew Stern called "Atari Sets Off Fireworks!" It features an interview with Robert Veline of Astro Pryrotechnics, a California-based fireworks company. I'll read some snippets from the article. ...
 
I found Robert — who is still in the pyrotechnics industry today — to get more of the story. This interview took place on June 2, 2017.
 
Thanks to Wade at the 1632 Atari ST PodcaST for pointing me to the article in ST-Log magazine.
 
After our interview, Robert sent me pictures of his Atari-based firing box -- as well as all of the software for running it, the assembly language source code, Old Mother Hubbard's GCHIP Cook Book, his fireworks simulation software, and more.
 
Teaser quote: "We did have one or two shows where you plugged the box in and turned it on -- and it was a 10-second show."
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 290 - Gary Koffler, VP at Datasoft and Datamost

     7/1/2017

Gary Koffler, VP at Datasoft and Datamost
 
Gary Koffler was VP at two publishers: Datasoft and Datamost. He was VP Software at Datasoft in 1980–1981. Datasoft published many Atari computer games, including Canyon Climber, Clowns and Balloons, Pacific Coast Highway, Sands of Egypt, and Zaxxon. At Datasoft, Gary managed creation of the AtariWriter word processor under contract for Atari.
 
Next, Gary was VP Software and Talent at Datamost from 1982–1984. Datamost published Atari games including Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory, Tail of Beta Lyrae, Cohen's Towers, and Super Bunny. Datamost also published many books for the Atari computer, including Atari Roots, Kids and the Atari, The Elementary Atari, and Games Ataris Play.
 
This interview took place on April 4, 2017.
 
Teaser quote: "I didn't program ... I basically programmed programmers because I realized early on that if I wanted to have anything that was going to appear on these machines that I wanted to have appear on them, I was going to have to work with artists and programmers and musicians and animators."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 289 - Dan Hale, EasyGrader

     6/25/2017

Dan Hale, EasyGrader
 
Dan Hale published one program for the Atari 8-bit computers: EasyGrader, which first appeared in the fall 1982 APX catalog. 
 
This interview took place on May 30, 2017.
 
 


ANTIC Interview 288 - David Thornburg, Koalapad inventor

     6/22/2017

David Thornburg, Koalapad inventor
 
David Thornburg invented the KoalaPad, a touch tablet that was available for the Atari 8-bit computers, Commodore 64, Apple II, and the IBM PC. A version for the TRS-80 Color Computer was also available, sold as the TRS-80 Touch Pad. He is also the author of The KoalaPad Book, which was published in 1984.
 
This interview took place on May 22, 2017. In it, we discuss George White, the founder of Koala Technologies, whom I previously interviewed.
 
Teaser quote: "You know how to take things apart. Good for you. But you've never built anything in your entire life. You have no idea what it's like to invent something that has generated livelihood for hundreds of people, and is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people."
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 287 - George White, Founder of Koala Technologies

     6/19/2017

George White, Founder of Koala Technologies
 
George White was the founder of Koala Technologies, the company that made the KoalaPad. KoalaPad was a touch tablet, versions were available for the Atari 8-bit computers, Commodore 64, Apple II, and the IBM PC. A version for the TRS-80 Color Computer was also available, sold as the TRS-80 Touch Pad.
 
This interview took place on May 20, 2017. If you want to see George and my chat, a video version of this interview is available, check the show notes at AtariPodcast.com for that link. I also interviewed KoalaPad inventor David Thornburg, whom we talk about in this interview. David's interview will be published next.
 
"I regret the fact that I wasn't more forceful in staying true to my original reason for starting the company which was to make mice."
 


ANTIC Interview 286 - William Leslie, OmniTrend Universe

     6/16/2017

William Leslie - OmniTrend Universe

William Bill Leslie was one of the authors of Omnitrend's Universe; a science fiction space trading and combat game.  The first version was programmed in valFORTH on an Atari 800, based on a board game created by Bill. It was Omnitrend's first game and was released in 1983. There were versions of Universe for the Atari 8-bit, Apple II and IBM computers.

Bill was also involved in the development of the sequels Universe 2 and Universe 3, and of Breach, a turn-based tactical squad combat game.

This interview took place on Jan. 7, 2017.

Links:


ANTIC Interview 285 - Jay Balakrishnan, HESWare

     6/13/2017

Jay Balakrishnan, HESWare

Welcome to an interview-only episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast.  My name is Randy Kindig.  Jay Balakrishnan bought his first Commodore PET in 1978, which spurred him to found Human Engineered Software (HES or HESWare) in 1980.  HESWare got its start on the Commodore PET but later moved into many other platforms.  They developed or sold software for C64, Vic-20, Atari 8-bit, Apple II, Atari ST, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Dragon, TI-99, DOS and others.  Many Llamasoft games, through an alliance with Jeff Minter, were published in the US by HESWare.  For the Atari 8-bit, they published games like Pastfinder, River Raid, Decathlon, Space Shuttle, Attack of the Mutant Camels, Gridrunner.

By early 1984 InfoWorld estimated that HES was tied with Broderbund as the world's tenth-largest microcomputer-software company and largest entertainment-software company.

In early 1984 they made their biggest splash when they acquired the services of Leonard Nimoy as spokesman.

This interview took place on November 20, 2016.

Links:


ANTIC Interview 284 - Art Walsh, Dynacomp and Artworx

     6/10/2017

Art Walsh, Dynacomp and Artworx
 
Art Walsh was co-founder of Dynacomp, an early software publisher that created software for many platforms, including many educational and game titles for the Atari 8-bit computer. He later founder Artworx, a software publisher that produced titles including Bridge, Cranston Manor Adventure, Gwendolyn, Hazard Run, Hotel Alien, and Strip Poker.
 
This interview took place on May 26, 2017. In it we discuss Jerry White, whom I previously interviewed.
 
Teaser quote: "Why is bridge selling when most card players play poker? ... Doug McFarland ... blurted out ...  'I bet if we had strip poker instead of poker, it would sell. ... We all kind of said 'That's it!'"
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 283 - Kathleen Pitta, De Re Atari

     6/7/2017

Kathleen Pitta, De Re Atari
 
Kathleen Marinell worked at Atari in 1981 or so -- she was Kathleen Pitta at that time. She is one of the contributors to De Re Atari, A Guide to Effective Programming, which was serialized by Byte Magazine in 1981 through 1982, and published by Atari Program Exchange in 1982. Kathleen is credited with Appendix E, which is about the GTIA chip.
 
This interview took place on May 25, 2017.
 
"I'm very logical, so the logic of computer languages -- I was fascinated by that. But the technology .. it changed to fast."
 
 


ANTIC Interview 282 - Matthew Householder, Atari and EPYX

     6/4/2017

Matthew Householder, Atari and EPYX
 
Matthew Householder worked at Atari from 1983 through 1985. There he ported Moon Patrol to the ColecoVision for AtariSoft. Later he worked on the Atari 520ST, where he wrote the line-draw/polygon graphics primitives for the ST port of the GEM operating system. Next he worked at EPYX, from 1985 through 1988, where he produced/created/designed many games including: Winter Games, World Games, Championship Wrestling, California Games, and Sub Battle Simulator. 
 
This interview took place on April 25, 2017.
 
"And she said, 'Hey! You guys should do a game with skateboarding in it.' And it was like a light, an epiphany. Oh yeah, skateboarding. Of course."
 


ANTIC Interview 281 - Amy Chen: Touch Typing, Amoeba Debugger, De Re Atari

     5/31/2017

Amy Chen: Touch Typing, Amoeba Debugger, De Re Atari
 
Amy Liu was an progammer at Atari. Her name was Amy Chen at the time. She wrote Touch Typing, which was released by Atari on cassette in 1980; an unreleased game called Aligator; and Amoeba, a debugger utility that was used internally at Atari to create assembly language games.
 
This interview took place on May 2, 2017. It in, we talk about Paul Laughton and Lane Winner, and Chris Crawford, whom I previously interviewed. 
 
Teaser quote: "Well actually now I come to think of it, assembly language is easier than C++. ... C++ is a total different concept.”
 
 
 
 
 
 


Corporate Wars

     5/28/2017

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast, Randy and Kevin spar over where the ANTIC corporate headquarters should be, Kevin steps out on the Atari 8 bit and makes us proud in the 10-liner BASIC contest, and Nir Dary brings us the scoop on Wopniak 2017.  Plus all the Atari news we could find this month.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

What we’ve been up to

News

New at Archive.org

Nir Dary Segment - Wapniak 2017

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation;

increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 280 - David and Betsy Ahl, Creative Computing Magazine

     5/24/2017

David Ahl and Betsy Ahl, Creative Computing Magazine
 
Dave Ahl was the founder and editor-in-chief of Creating Computing Magazine, which was the first personal computer magazine.  Four editors served in the first six years: Dave Ahl, Steve Gray, John Craig, and Ted Nelson. Betsy Staples (now Betsy Ahl) then took over for the rest of its run. Creative Computing was published starting in November 1974, was acquired by Ziff Davis in 1983, and ceased publication in December 1985. 
 
In addition to Creative Computing, Dave and Betsy published a variety of other magazines including Sync (dedicated to the Timex Sinclair computers), Microsystems, Small Business Computers, and Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games Magazine. They also released a record album -- First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival (1979), a board game called Computer Rage, and software for a variety of platforms under the Creative Computing Software label. Dave was author of BASIC Computer Games, the first million-selling computer book; plus its sequel, more BASIC Computer Games, and many other early computer books.
 
After Creative Computing, Dave was publisher and Betsy was editor of Atari Explorer magazine for five years and he started Atarian magazine in 1989. Later, he published Military Vehicles magazine. 
 
This interview took place on April 3 and 4, 2013, when I was doing research for a book about the first personal computer magazines. Although I've decided not to write the book, I am publishing the interviews that I did for them. The other major interview was with Wayne Green: there's a link to that interview in the show notes. 
 
The first part of the interview took place in the bar at the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon. (There's some ambient background noise and music — remember, this recording was meant to be my notes for a book, so a little background noise wasn't an issue.) The second part of the interview was recorded in my dining room, a much quieter atmosphere.
 
The day before this was recorded, Dave and Betsy attended a grand opening get-together of tech luminaries at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle, Washington. This event is mentioned several times during the interview. 
 
A full transcript of this interview is available at ComputingPioneers.com. Also, there are many links to related articles, interviews, and magazine scans in the show notes at AtariPodcast.com.
 
Teaser quote: "When I started Creative Computing, I mean there weren't even personal computers at that point. I was convinced, I guess, that they would come about. I had no idea that it would be three months later that the Altair came about."
 
Outro music: Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, played on an RCA COSMAC by Joe Welsbecker on the First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival record (1979.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 279 - Tom Eckmann, Kyan Software

     5/21/2017

Tom Eckmann, President of Kyan Software
 
Tom Eckmann was president and co-founder of Kyan Software. Kyan's flagship product was Kyan Pascal, an implementation of the Pascal programming language which was available for the Apple II, Atari 8-bits, and Commodore 64/128 computers.
 
This interview took place on May 19, 2017.
 
Teaser quote: "We sneered at Turbo Pascal because it was non-compliant, there were all of these un-pure features. ... He [Philippe Kahn] just looks looks at me and goes, 'Nobody gives a damn.'"
 
 
 


ANTIC Interview 278 - Bill Bowman, CEO of Spinnaker Software

     5/17/2017

Bill Bowman, CEO of Spinnaker Software
 
Bill Bowman was co-founder and CEO of Spinnaker Software, one of the first software companies that focused exclusively on educational software. He was at the company from its founding in 1982 through 1987. Spinnaker's software line-up included Snooper Troops, Delta Drawing, FaceMaker, Adventure Creator, In Search of the Most Amazing Thing, KinderComp, and many other titles. In early 1984 InfoWorld called Spinnaker the 16th largest software company in the world, with $10 million in 1983 sales.
 
This interview took place on May 16, 2017.
 
"All of a sudden, one Friday at 6:30, she came through the door with beer and soda pop and lots of snacks, and six children ... Of course it shut down the office completely."
 
 
 


No, MAM!

     5/9/2017

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast, Kevin wows us with his winners in the NOMAM BASIC 10-liners contest, we discuss the preparations for VCFSE, Nir Dary tells us all about disk drives, and we discuss all the Atari news that’s fit to print.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue  

What we’ve been up to

News

New at Archive.org

Nir Dary Segment - Disk Drives

End of Show Music

  • “I Love My Atari” by Zygomatik, 2006. Available in itunes.

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation; increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.


ANTIC Interview 277 - Rob Zdybel, Atari, Part 2

     4/19/2017

Rob Zdybel, Atari (Part 2)

Hello, Atari fans, and welcome to another interview episode of Antic, The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast.  My name is Randy Kindig.  This interview is a bit different in that it’s the second interview with someone that we’ve interviewed before - Mr. Rob Zdybel.  The reason for this is that Rob worked for Atari so long, and was involved in so many projects, that I felt like some information was left undiscovered in the first interview.  At the request of some listeners, I decided to do a follow-up interview and Rob was kind enough to agree.

Rob Zdybel was a very long-time employee at Atari, having worked there beginning in 1979 all the way to 1996, when the Tramiels left.  Rob has a long line of credits including Pigs in Space, Real Sports Football, Stellar Track and Star Trek for the Atari 400/800, SOS for the Atari 2600, Missile Command for the Atari 5200, and Bug Hunt for the Atari XE.  He also designed the system BIOS for the Atari 5200.

Please note that this interview does have some profanity, although I did beep out the most obvious instances.

This interview took place on July 10, 2016.

Links:


ANTIC Interview 276 - Chris Byrne, Intern at Atari Ireland

     4/2/2017

Chris Byrne, Intern at Atari Ireland
 
Chris Byrne was an intern at Atari Ireland in 1982, where he programmed a quality lot tracking system on the Atari 800, and on the IBM System/38.
 
This interview took place on March 20, 2017.


Atawi Fowever!

     3/28/2017

Atawi Fowever!!!

In this episode of Antic the Atari 8-bit podcast: Nir Dary talks about the Atari Invasion Show, Tom Raida brings back the programming language segment to talk about Kyan Pascal, we tell you about all the Atari shows going on this year around the world, and in order to head off lawsuits we tell you about all the possible side effects of listening to Antic.

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

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Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

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