Retrocomputing podcast about the Atari 8-bit line of personal computers

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hosts: Randy Kindig, Kevin Savetz, Brad Arnold
email: antic@ataripodcast.com
twitter: @AtariPodcast

Eunice Wlcek, Atari Quality Assurance

 

Eunice Wlcek started at Atari as a secretary in the sales and marketing department, then moved to quality assurance where she did software testing. Later, she worked as a QA tester at Mindset, the graphics workstation company which was founded by several former Atari employees.

 

This interview was conducted March 19, 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

“‘You’d be a great Ms. Pac Man.’ They made me Ms. Pac Man and I always had to dress up for these events with this big Pac Man costume on.”

 

“Mike’s company car was a Porsche. Whenever he wanted something done I got to take it and drive that around. And go do errands with the Porsche.”

Direct download: Eunice_Wlcek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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Curt Vendel & Marty Goldberg, Atari Historians

 

Welcome to Antic, the Atari 8-bit podcast.  I’m Randy Kindig, one of the hosts of the podcast, and your host for this episode.  To give you a little background on this interview and where it came from, I also host another podcast on retrocomputing called Floppy Days, where I cover various vintage computers in the order that they were introduced.  I recently covered the Atari 400 & 800 computers and had asked Curt Vendel and Marty Goldberg, Atari historians, to help cover the history portion of the podcast.  I used excerpts from that interview on the podcast, but only used a small portion of the interview for that.  So, I thought I would air the entire interview, since it covers Atari computers, on Antic.

 

In this interview we discuss the history of the 400 & 800 in-depth, as well as discussing the passing of Steve Bristow, an Atari icon, the status of the Atari history books by Curt & Marty, and much more.

 

This interview was conducted February 25, 2015 via Skype.

 

Teaser Quotes:

 

“the whole idea was to make a more advanced Atari VCS, Atari 2600”

 

“when you bring a microprocessor in there, a 6507, and then you're trying to make them as intelligent a peripheral as possible, it can add to the expense”

 

“When Atari designed the 400/800, it really was designed as a consumer computer”

 

“there's an ad going around now, it's popular on Twitter, to make fun of how Atari says the computer will never become obsolete”

 

“they only viewed Atari as an entertainment asset”

 

Links:

 

Retro Gamer Magazine

 

RETRO Magazine

 

“Atari Inc: Business is Fun" at Amazon

 

Atari Book site

 

Atari Museum

 

Steve Bristow

Direct download: Curt_Vendel_Marty_Goldberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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Tom Hudson is a name familiar to readers of A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing magazine. He worked at A.N.A.L.O.G., where we wrote articles, games, maintained the A.N.A.L.O.G. TCS bulletin board system. His game credits include LiveWire, fire Bug, and Planetary Defense. He also wrote the popular DEGAS paint program for the Atari ST; and CAD-3D, a 3D graphics package, in conjunction with Gary Yost.

 

This interview was conducted April 17 2015.

 

LINKS

Tom’s web site

Tom on Twitter

List of Tom’s software on AtariMania

 

Teaser quotes:

 

“Oh boy, probably one of the worst cases of vaporware I’ve ever seen.”

 

“We were dealing with stuff like cassette duplication. . . and none of us were crazy about that. I said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do a bulletin board? Have it’s so it’s subscription. Anybody who’s on the bulletin board won’t need to get cassettes anymore, because they can just download the stuff.”

Direct download: Tom_Hudson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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David Kano, Hex-A-Bug

 

David Kano wrote the Hex-A-Bug debugger which was published by Atari Program Exchange. He also wrote two educational software titles for the Atari: Monkey See Monkey Spell, and Don’t Shoot That Word, which were both published by Hayden Software.

 

This interview was conducted March 24 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

“I remember when I showed them the finished product they said ‘That’s great, except the monkey is too realistic. It’s too scary. Kids will be scared of that monkey.’”

 

“It was back in the day, when they were so desperate for programmers, they were taking anybody that seemed like they might be smart enough to learn how to do it. And then you learned on the job.”

 

LINKS

 

Hex-A-Bug in APX catalog

 

David’s Blog

Direct download: David_Kano.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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Nicholas Lefevre, Attorney for Commodore and Atari

 

Nicholas Lefevre was in-house counsel for Commodore under Jack Tramiel during the time of the Commodore 64, then in-house counsel for Atari after Jack Tramiel bought it.

 

This interview took place April 10, 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

"Particularly with Jack Tramiel, he was willing to give you enough rope to hang yourself. He was not a micromanager."

 

"At one point I think we had 160 or so collection lawsuits against us in the initial Atari years."

 

"I think really happily back on my Commodore times, less so on the Atari ones."

 

"When you made a computer, made it cheap, shipped it out, and sold it, that was perfect for Jack."

 

Nicholas Lefevre listened to his interview and send along these corrections to his statements:

 

"I did notice a couple errors in what I said which could be in an errata but they are probably not significant enough. At the beginning of my discussion of the Microsoft Multiplan story I introduced it by saying these things happened in 1984. Most of it was in 1983. Only the meeting at Softcon with John Shirley and Bill Gates was in 1984, after Jack's departure from Commodore. I also said that our claim was for $24M x 3. I think it was actually for $8M x 3 (total $24M)."

Direct download: Nicholas_Lefevre.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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Jason Scott, Internet Archive

 

Jason Scott is a digital historian and documentary filmmaker who for several years has worked for the Internet Archive, a nonprofit that has worked to save as much online - and offline - culture as possible. He is also known to attend the occasional vintage computer festival, so as luck would have it, ANTIC and Jason were in the same festival at the same time, and we interviewed him on May 2, 2015 on stage at Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 3.0.

 

LINKS

 

The Internet Archive

Pole Position - The Animated Series

Jason on Twitter

Jason’s Blog

Direct download: Jason_Scott.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[1]

Hello, and welcome to another interview edition of Antic, the Atari 8-bit Podcast.  I am Randy Kindig.  I am extremely honored to bring to you today an interview with one of the true pioneers of the personal computer, one of the primary designers of the Atari 400 & 800, Mr. Joe Decuir.  Joe worked closely with Jay Miner, Steve Mayer and others to design a computer in the days when personal computers were just in their infancy.  Joe shares with us the thoughts and reasoning that went into the design of the 400 & 800 and thus brings all of us a little closer to being a part of an amazing time in computer history.  Please enjoy!

 

Teaser Quotes:

 

“we wanted to build the next great game system and we wanted to build a computer”

 

“we were designing for home users not office people”

 

“We don't get to have slots; that drove us crazy”

 

“In retrospect, I wish we had built an 800-series machine with one built-in disk drive that was right on the bus”

 

Links:

 

Portland Retro Gaming Expo PRGE 2013 - Joe Decuir

Direct download: Joe_Decuir.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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David Heller, Dr. C. Wacko

 

David Heller may be better known to Atari users by his pen name - Dr. C. Wacko. As Dr. Wacko, David wrote the books "Dr. C. Wacko's Miracle Guide to Designing and Programing Your Own Atari Computer Arcade Games" and "Dr. C. Wacko Presents Atari BASIC" as well as similar books for other platforms. He also wrote the book "Free Software For Your Atari" (and similar books for other platforms) and Space Knights, a unique product that was a novella that included related Atari games on disk. He also wrote for The Atari Connection magazine.

 

This interview took place April 20, 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

"I think they sold well over 100,000 copies of that book. And they were very successful."

 

"A young engineer came up to me... and he says, 'You know, I am a professional software engineer now because I got so excited about writing software from your Dr. Wacko books.'"

Direct download: David_Heller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

Steve Carden, RealDOS

 

Steve Carden maintains RealDOS, a free, command-line DOS that's multiplexer capable, and still being actively maintained to work with modern hardware.  He also works on a variety of hardware products, some of which are available to Atari hobbyists, and some of which aren't. Steve also helped take over maintenance of BBS Express from Keith Ledbetter.

 

This interview took place February 27, 2015.

 

LINK

Steve's web site

 

Teaser quotes:

 

"Just the fact that we have an Atari, that was never designed to be on the Internet, OK? -- NEVER designed to be on the Internet -- on the Internet."

 

"Anybody who has an XE keyboard, sooner or later is going to have a keyboard failure. At least that's been my run-in with them."

Direct download: Steve_Carden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

On this episode of Antic, the Atari 8-bit podcast, AND Inverse ATASCII, the Atari 8-bit productivity podcast, we record live from Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 3.0!!

 

On this show we interview attendees with Atari stories, find out who's going to win the grand prize for our game show (hint: It's someone you may know!), and answer questions from the audience.  Come join us for the most fun-packed show we've had yet this month!  

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevins Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

 

Show

Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 3.0

 

Boisy Pitre Interview

Liber809

 

Wade - Atari Portfolio

UK Based Portfolio site with information about the system and a software repository

Information about the system and how to load a binary program by hand (without file transfer)

Atari Portfolio Wiki

Atari Portfolio Information

 

Sources for game show

Michael Current’s Atari Timeline

The Birth of the IBM PC

Atari Company Store Price List

Jewel-encrusted Atari 1200XL Article

Jewel-encrusted Atari 1200XL discussion

Computer lab on a bus article

 

Links to Inverse ATASCII

www.InverseAtascii.info

twitter.com/InverseATASCII

Direct download: 22ANTIC_2015_05_Live_From_VCF_SouthEast_2015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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