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

Surfer Bob, Warez Sysop

"Surfer Bob", real first name Carlos, ran The Pipeline BBS, an Atari bulletin board system that offered warez for download -- pirated software.

This interview took place on January 28, 2016.

Teaser quote:

"He didn't have anybody to back him up but he had a stun gun ... he had that in his pocket, and he walked up to Shlomo and grabbed him ... took out the stun gun and just, like, sparked it in his face."

Direct download: Surfer_Bob.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[2]

David Stoutemyer, The Soft Warehouse

David Stoutemyer was co-founder of The Soft Warehouse, a company that specialized in mathematics software for several computer platforms. The company published three programs through Atari Program Exchange. Algicalc and Polycalc first appeared in the summer 1982 APX catalog for $22.95 each. Algicalc was described as a "valuable tool for students and teachers of algebra and calculus and for professionals who want a quick way to perform operations in symbolic algebra and calculus." It won third price in the education category in that catalog.

Polycalc was described as "a computational tool for performing symbolic algebra and calculus operations. It differs from ALGICALC in that POLYCALC supports polynomials that are generalized to permit fractional and negative powers of variables, and the program can use many unassigned variables, whereas ALGICALC can use only one. However, POLYCALC is essentially a polynomial system rather than a rational expression system."

Their third Atari program was Calculus Demon, which was first available in the fall 1982 catalog. It also cost $22.95, and was described as "a comprehensive tool for automatically deriving symbolic partial derivatives and indefinite integrals of expressions."

This interview took place on January 29, 2016.

Links:

Ways to implement computer algebra compactly by David Stoutemyer: http://www.sigsam.org/bulletin/articles/178/stoutemyer.pdf

International Derive User Group: http://www.austromath.at/dug/

Direct download: David_Stoutemyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[1]

David Crane, Pitfall! and Atari 400/800 OS

David Crane started his programming career at Atari, making games for the Atari 2600. He also worked on the operating system for the Atari 800 computer, as well as the games Outlaw and Howitzer, which were sold through APX.  David left Atari in 1979 and co-founded Activision, along with Alan Miller, Jim Levy, Bob Whitehead, and Larry Kaplan. While at Activision, he was best known as the designer of Pitfall!

This interview took place October 23, 2015

Links

“Meet David Crane: Video Games Guru”, HI-RES Vol. 1, No. 2 / January 1984 / page 46 - http://www.atarimagazines.com/hi-res/v1n2/davidcrane.php

David Crane Interview at Good Deal Games - http://www.gooddealgames.com/interviews/int_David_Crane.html

PRGE 2015 - David Crane (Activision) - Portland Retro Gaming Expo - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbinkHyWde8

Direct download: David_Crane.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[0]

Bill Rice, HYSYS

Bill Rice published one program in the Atari Program Exchange catalog: HYSYS, or Hydraulic Program. It was a tool that did calculations for sizing hydraulic systems and components. HYSYS first appeared winter 1982 APX catalog.

This interview took place on January 27, 2016

Teaser quote:

"So you can imagine with something like a hydraulic program, they're like 'No we've got our scientific calculators and we look really cool punching in these numbers. We're not going to get a home computer and do that.'"

Direct download: _Bill_Rice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[0]

On this episode of ANTIC the atari 8-bit podcast: I cause a robot invasion in Portland, Bill Kendrick goes ultra-mega-retro gaming with Game ‘N Watch inspired games for the Atari, Randy wraps up the retrochallenge, and we still manage to keep the podcast under 3h 21m.

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

What we’ve been up to

Interview Discussion

News

New at Archive.org

Bill’s Modern Segment

Feedback

  • Reverse-engineered, extensively documented assembly language source code of STAR RAIDERS directly from the binary file of the ROM cartridge by Lorenz Wiest - http://github.com/lwiest/StarRaiders

 

Direct download: 30ANTIC_2016_02_Robots_Have_Taken_Over.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59am EDT
Comments[0]

Jerry Falkenhan, Finance Software

Jerry Falkenhan had three programs published by Atari Program Exchange: Family Cash Flow, Family Budget, and Family Vehicle Expense. Atari bought Family Cash Flow and Family Budget and packaged them as an Atari-branded product, Family Finances.

This interview took place on January 26, 2016.

Teaser quote:

"I get my first royalty check. I'll never forget: $35,000. I go down to Wells Fargo and they wouldn't cash the darn thing."

Picture of Jerry during our Skype session: http://i.imgur.com/5y2yFMc.png

Inverse ATASCII podcast on Atari Family Finances:

http://inverseatascii.info/2015/01/27/s1e9-atari-family-finances/

Inverse ATASCII podcast on Family Vehicle Expense: 

http://inverseatascii.info/2015/10/13/s2e02-apx-family-vehicle-expense/

Direct download: Jerry_Falkenhan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[0]

Bill Louden, CompuServe and GEnie

Bill Louden was part of the team that built CompuServe, the first consumer online service, where he was director of the computing, games, entertainment, e-mail, chat, and forum products. He went on to be the founder of the GEnie online service (General Electric Network for Information Exchange.)

This interview took place October 15, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

"You know, we expected at CompuServe customers to spend $10 to $15 a month. ... We never expected people to come online and spend $1,200, $2,000 a month playing MegaWars."

"We're there to serve the customer so I want [a name] that sort of embodies a service configuration, and it's magical. It's something new. And the best name they came up with was Albert, for Albert Einstein. This cost me $50,000. I literally came home from that meeting crying."

Direct download: Bill_Louden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[0]

Jerry Jewell, co-founder of Sirius Software

Jerry Jewell was co-founder of Sirius Software. Sirius published many Atari titles including Alpha Shield, Capture the Flag, Fast Eddie, Gruds in Space, Sneakers, Wavy Navy, and Wayout. The company was probably best known in the Apple ][ world, but also published software for the Commodore and other platforms - more than 160 titles in all.

This interview took place October 15, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

"In the latter days it got down to where a game would sell for two weeks, three weeks, and then it would die."

"It was like the boys hadn't discovered girls yet and my job was to keep them from doing that ... Whatever it took to keep these guys off the streets and away from alcohol and women, it would keep them busy, you know? Keep them programming."

On-Line and Sirius Finalize Merge Plans: https://books.google.com/books?id=Hj0EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA6

AtariMania's list of Sirius software for Atari: http://www.atarimania.com/list_games_atari-400-800-xl-xe-sirius-software_publisher_1418_8_G.html

Direct download: Jerry_Jewell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[0]

Bob Polaro

Bob Polaro was an Atari employee from 1978 through 1984, where he wrote several programs for Atari Program Exchange — very early programs in the APX catalog: Lemonade, Mugwump, Preschool Games, Reversi, Space Trek, and Dice Poker.  He also wrote the States & Capitals and European Countries & Capitals educational programs for the Atari computers, both published by Atari.  He programmed several games for the Atari 2600, including Defender and RealSports Volleyball.

This interview took place on January 22, 2016.

Teaser quote:

“At that time they were starting to request that we put in easter eggs, which kind of took the whole idea away. It was supposed to be hidden, and yet, it ended up being part of the design at some point.”

Links:

Bob’s web site: http://www.polaro.com

Lemonade in Antic magazine: http://www.atarimagazines.com/v4n6/lemonade.html

Direct download: Bob_Polaro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:29am EDT
Comments[0]

Dave Pratt, founder of Digital Vision (ComputerEyes)

Dave Pratt was founder of Digital Vision, the company that made ComputerEyes for the Apple //, Commodore 64, and Atari 8-bit computers. ComputerEyes was a slow-scan video digitizer that plugged into the joystick port (on the Atari version). You'd connect a video camera or VCR into the ComputerEyes box, and software on your computer would create a black-and-white or greyscale version of the image on the computer screen.

This interview took place October 12, 2015. After we did this interview, Dave set up a nice web site with a history of Digital Vision and photographs of the early products, at www.Digital-Vision-Inc.com.

Teaser quotes:

"Even just running tight machine language loops, it barely could keep up with that kind of rate pulling samples from the scan lines."

"That same signature from the very first scan -- literally the very first scan that was done by the prototype initial product -- literally, that same image was used to sign the company's checks for half a dozen years."

Digital Vision History site: http://www.Digital-Vision-Inc.com

Dave’s personal web site: http://www.dvpratt.com

Antic magazine review of ComputerEyes: http://www.atarimagazines.com/v4n8/VideoStar.html

ComputerEyes in Creative Computing magazine: http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v11n7/70_Choosing_an_image_process.php

Direct download: Dave_Pratt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[0]