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

Andrew Soderberg, Atari Product Manager

Andrew Soderberg was a product manager at Atari from 1980 through August 1983. He oversaw projects including the XL line of computers, and De Re Atari. He was also production manager for several of Atari's TV commercials, one of which won a Clio award. He was a member of the team that build the first computer/laserdisc interactive kiosks for use in retail.

In this interview we discuss Tandy Trower, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on November 18, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“So here I am, 21 years of age, in New York City, being put up in the junior suite of the Plaza, for a week. It’s all been downhill ever since!”

Links:

Andrew’s web site: https://about.me/AndrewSoderberg

Conversational French commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXZN9o7qlWU

Direct download: Andrew_Soderberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Mike West, Pirate

Mike West was an east coast software pirate who went by the handle “Jolly Roger.” He was — and still is — friends with Gary Walton, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on October 9, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“The whole thing was kind of bizarre. It’s like, on one side of their moth they would scream about piracy. On the other side of their mouth they would kind of — I don’t know, promote it in some way. It was very weird.”

“Piracy did not kill Atari. Atari killed Atari.”

Direct download: Mike_West.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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On this episode of ANTIC the atari 8-bit podcast: We explore the possibilities of new Atari software and hardware mods (yea faster Star Raiders explosions); and Randy delves into the turtle-y goodness of Atari Logo. Trigger warning: there may be some Amiga lust and gentle Apple // bashing in this episode.

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

News

  • Upcoming Shows:

New at Archive.org

Of the Month

Programming Languages Segment (Atari Logo)

Closing

 

Direct download: 29ANTIC_2016_01_Turtle-y_Goodness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT
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Landon Dyer, Donkey Kong and Super Pac Man

Landon Dyer started as a software engineer in the Atari home computer division in 1982, where he specialized in converting arcade games to the Atari 8-bits. There, he programmed the Atari 400/800 versions of Donkey Kong, and Super Pac Man — which was never officially released by Atari (but has been widely available for many years.) After the Tramiels bought Atari, he worked on the Atari ST, including BIOS boot code and the floppy disk driver. Landon’s blog, at DadHacker.com, has many interesting posts about his Atari days.

This interview took place December 9, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“In many ways, Atari marketing was completely divorced from the process of making games. They didn’t understand what programmers did, they didn’t understand what manufacturing cycles were.”

“To get ROMs made inside of Atari you had to go through a mastering lab. So basically you’d hand a couple of guys disks. They would disappear into their lab, smoke some dope, and come out with ROMs. And often, keep the disks.”

Link

Landon's web site: http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=987

Direct download: Landon_Dyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Tom Briscoe, APX Software Evaluator

Tom Briscoe worked at Atari as an intern in the summer of 1981, where he evaluated the user-written software that had been submitted to Atari Program Exchange.

This interview took place on September 26, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“Hangman was sort of the obvious game for people to submit, and if I recall the obvious business application was the personal finance and record keeping ... budget programs.”

Direct download: Tom_Briscoe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Bob Brass and Peter D’Amato, Cauzin Softstrip

If you read certain computer magazines from the early days of microcomputers — magazines like Byte, Family Computing, II Computing and InCider — you might see long, black-and-white strips of bar codes. Those are computer programs encoded for use with the Cauzin Softstrip reader.

Introduced in 1985, the Cauzin Softstrip was a hardware peripheral that attached to your Apple //, Macintosh, or IBM computer (there was no Atari version.) It optically read the printed two-dimensional bar codes, which were published in those magazines and in books - allowing you to quickly input data - for instance, inputting programs without having to laboriously type them in.

This interview is with two of the people at that company: Bob Brass was co-founder of Cauzin (along with Dr. Jack Goldman, who has passed away), and Peter D’Amato, who was Manager of OEM and VAR Support at Cauzin from 1984 through 1988.  

This interview took place on October 5, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“I remember being stumped. How are we going to get something with gears to move 1/100 of a degree? It just won’t happen because the slop in a gear would exceed that. ... I said, ‘That’s it. We’re going to have a spiral gear, and we’ll have the equivalent of a phonograph arm and it will track to a hundredth of a degree without a problem.’”

Links:

Softstrip information: http://www.softstrip.info

Scans and documentation at Apple2Scans.net http://www.apple2scans.net/2015/12/20/cauzin-softstrip-reader-manuals-software-etc/

1985 NY Times article about Cauzin: http://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/15/science/personal-computers-supermarket-bar-codes-are-applied-to-software.html

Direct download: Cauzin_Softstrip.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Jim Inscore, Documentation Manager

Jim Inscore was hired at Atari in 1981 as a writer in the marketing department, then became documentation manager, where he managed writers and production staff to produce technical and consumer documentation for Atari computer hardware and software.

This interview took place on December 9, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“A process where ... 12 different design firms came in and did 12 different versions of the packaging. Those of us who had been around for a while were just kinda sitting back and going ‘What is going on here? I don’t understand any of this.’”

Direct download: Jim_Inscore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Russ Wetmore: Preppie!, Sea Dragon, Homepak

Russ Wetmore started at Adventure International, where he worked with Scott Adams on Savage Island Part II. He then went on to program Preppie!, Preppie! II, and Sea Dragon - all of which were published by Adventure International - and Homepak business software, which was published by Batteries Included.

This interview took place on September 24, 2015, and then a little bit more on January 4, 2016. 

After the main interview took place, Russ sent me the source code for Preppie!, Preppie! II, and Sea Dragon, plus an demonstration disk of an unfinished Atari game called Lulu. I successfully archived all of those disks and have posted them to archive.org. I also made a YouTube video of the Lulu demo. Links are below.

Links

Game source code

Video of Lulu

Lulu discussion and ATR download

AtariMania list of Russ Wetmore software

JavaScript version of Preppie

AtariAge discussion about the source code

Teaser quote:

“I actually only spent about 18 months writing those three games, and I probably would have done them in much sooner time, but I was 23 and lazy.”

Direct download: Russ_Wetmore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT
Comments[1]

Paul Lewandowski, APX Puzzler

Paul Lewandowski was in high school when he wrote Puzzler, which was published by Atari Program Exchange and won the Atari Star Award in fall 1983: first prize in the learning category.

Puzzler is a game that shows you a picture on the screen, chops it into equally sized squares, and scrambles them. Then, the player uses the joystick to try to put the picture back together - like one of those plastic puzzles where you slide numbers around to put them in order. Puzzler had three difficulty levels: 4x4 was easy, 8x8 was hard, and 10x10 was “insane”.

This interview took place on December 9, 2015

Teaser quote:

“The whole thing was such a great idea ... having users write programs. It was so ahead of its time.” 

Links

APX catalog featuring Puzzler

Puzzler download at AtariArchives.org

Paul on Twitter

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