Retrocomputing podcast about the Atari 8-bit line of personal computers
hosts: Randy Kindig, Kevin Savetz, Brad Arnold
email: antic@ataripodcast.com
twitter: @AtariPodcast

Thomas Hudson, Atari sales trainer

Thomas Hudson was a trainer for Atari, where he taught computer store owners and others about the Atari 8-bit computer line, and attended trade shows to show off Atari's computer products. Later he became a product manager for three products: light pen, touch tablet, and mouse. 

In this interview we discuss Andrew Soderberg, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on January 21, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"And one was this little device that you plugged into the thing, and you moved it around to control the cursor. And he said "I don't know what this mouse thing is, but nobody is ever going to use a mouse on a computer.'"

"He called me up at work, and in the unmistakable voice said, 'Tom, this is Alan Alda. I've run into a little problem, and I think you're the only person that can help me. ... I've got a bunch of friends coming over tonight, I wanted to show this program off to them...'"

Links

Tom's web site: http://thehudsons.com/tom-and-patty/

Tom Swift fan fiction: http://tomswiftfanfiction.thehudsons.com/TS-Yahoo/author-TH.html

Direct download: Thomas_Hudson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
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Roger Hector, Atari’s Advanced Products Group

Roger Hector started at Atari back in 1976.  As a creative designer, he was originally hired by Pete Takaishi (Industrial Design Manager), before working in the Art Department, and then finally for Al Alcorn.  He managed Atari's Advanced Products Group and helped create the Cosmos system before leaving to co-found Videa with Howard Delman and Ed Rotberg.

This interview took place September 17, 2015.

Teaser Quotes:

  • “There’s a LOT of interesting stories!”
  • “There was an old saying around there, somewhat cynical, but they said ‘hey, we could make money faster than we can piss it away’”
  • “I think Atari was a place that deserved your fandom.”

Links:

Direct download: Roger_Hector.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
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Bob C., Software Pirate

Bob C. was an Atari software pirate in New York who went by the moniker The Missing Link.

This interview took place on January 19, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"It's all I wanted to do. I skipped going on vacation with my parents because I wouldn't be able to dial into these bulletin boards and see what was going on and leave messages to my friends. It just got, got like a drug."

"Sometimes I say, 'Jesus, that ate up a lost of my life, what the hell was I thinking?' But, they were such fun times."

Direct download: Bob_C_pirate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
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Peter Langston, LucasArts

Peter Langston was a founding employee at the game development company LucasArts, part of the team that created the Atari 8-bit games Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus. Peter composed Song Of The Grid, the memorable theme to Ballblazer. He also created the classic mainframe game Empire, and Oracle, the precursor to the Usenet Oracle (now called Internet Oracle.) Check his web site at langston.com for an interesting collection of papers, scans of LucasArts articles, and related material.

This interview took place on January 16, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"I remember at one point, some magazine said that LucasFilm has the ... best computer graphics in the game industry. And Alvy Ray Smith said that the games industry had the worst computer graphics that LucasFilm had ever done."

Links

Peter's Web site: http://langston.com/LFGames/

Internet Oracle: http://internetoracle.org

Empire on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_Classic

Peter Langston on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Langston

David Fox interview: http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-37-david-fox-lucas-artsrescue-on-fractalus

Direct download: Peter_Langston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
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Tom Harker, ICD

Tom Harker was co-founder of ICD, a company that created many popular add-ons for the Atari 8-bit computers including P:R: Connection, U.S. Doubler, and SpartaDOS. Later, they created several upgrades for the Atari ST and Amiga computers, and the CatBox networking hardware for the Atari Jaguar.

According to a 1987 article in Antic magazine, "Tom Harker started ICD in his basement in Rockford, Illinois, with Mike Gustafson, who then lived in Minneapolis. The company was incorporated in 1984, with Harker as president and Gustafson as vice president in charge of development."

This interview took place on January 19, 2016.

Teaser quote:

“It started out, when we did the U.S. Doublers, I was assembling all of those myself and we were baking them in our oven. We potted them in epoxy so people wouldn’t copy it. ... I remember baking them to cure the epoxy in my oven. My wife loved it.”

Links

Tom’s ICD memorial site: http://www.icd.com

Antic Magazine article about ICD: http://www.atarimagazines.com/v5n12/ICD.html

Direct download: Tom_Harker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
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Jerry White, Atari author and programmer

Jerry White was a prolific Atari software developer and writer. He published Player Piano, Bowler's Database, and other software for Atari Program Exchange. He wrote Poker S.A.M. and Chaterbee, two talking programs distributed by Don't Ask Software. He was co-author of the book The Atari User’s Encyclopedia, and wrote dozens of articles for Antic, A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing, Compute! and other magazines. He wrote two lessons in the Tricky Tutorial series, and was the founder of the Professional Atari Programmers Information Exchange (PAPIE).

This interview took place on January 1, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"Believe it or not, I think I got to like 30 things on the market at one time. I was really hellbelt on quantity rather than shoot-em-up games, because I didn't want to really spend my time trying to develop another game."

"My income from the Atari stuff was more than I was making [at my day job.] So I retired from the job I was doing so I could develop software 24 hours a day, and yeah - I was an addict."

Links

List of Jerry White software

Jerry's articles in Antic magazine

Direct download: Jerry_White.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm EST
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Steve Defrisco, H.E.R.O., Wing War

Hello and welcome to Antic, The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast.  My name is Randy Kindig.  This is another in the continuing series of Atari 8-bit related interviews.  This time, we talk to a former game developer for the Atari 8-bits, Mr. Steve DeFrisco.  Steve worked for Imagic and Activision, working on porting such titles as H.E.R.O. (Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation) and Wing War as well as developing software for the Intellivision and Atari 2600.  He also is the man doing the juggling in an Imagic video from 1983; link provided in the show notes.

Teaser Quote

“The next Spring, when my first game Tropical Trouble was done, was when Atari announced their big loss.  So, I put kind of a kibosh on the whole being a millionaire before I was 20.”

Links

Steve in Imagic Video (he’s the one doing the juggling for a few seconds beginning about 1:17 in) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3x6Idp8oT0

Steve’s Web Site - http://www.stevedefrisco.com

Direct download: Steve_DeFrisco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:38pm EST
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Thomas Newton, Basic/XA and Keypad Controller

Thomas Newton, published two programs with Atari Program Exchange: Keypad Controller, software for reading the keypad game controllers from BASIC; and BASIC/XA, a set of add-ons for Atari BASIC programmers.

This interview took place December 11, 2015.

Direct download: Thomas_Newton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
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Arlan Levitan, writer

Arlan Levitan wrote for many computer magazines including Creative Computing and Compute!, where he wrote the Telecomputing Today and Levitations columns. He helped design the menu system and feature set of the AMIS bulletin board system, and hosted the first AMIS BBS at his house. He was heavily involved with MACE, the Michigan Atari Computer Enthusiast user group, and wrote the book The User's Guide to Atari 400, 800, 1200XL Computers, Software & Peripherals.

This interview took place on December 10, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

"They [Atari] were either, depending on how you want to look at it, very generous or very foolish with their money."

"It's not so much about the hardware, I think, as the people." 

Link:

Arlan's articles in Compute!: http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/index/index.php?author=Arlan+R.+Levitan

Direct download: Arlan_Levitan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
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Sandy Dwiggins, AtariLab manuals

Sandy Dwiggins wrote the manuals for AtariLab - both the light and temperature modules - while she was an adjunct professor at Dickinson College, teaching Film Studies. She worked closely with Priscilla Laws, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on October 14, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“She [Priscilla Laws] found these two programmers who only came out at night and were barefoot all the time ... they didn’t take showers, they didn’t take baths, they didn’t do anything except sit in their nest.”

Links

AtariLab starter set/temperature module manual: http://www.atarimania.com/documents/AtariLab_Starter_Set.pdf

AtariLab light module manual: http://www.atarimania.com/documents/AtariLab_Light_Module.pdf

Direct download: Sandy_Dwiggins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am EST
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