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irishmike
July 6th, 2009, 10:42 AM
I am seeking an Atari Falcon but know little about it other than it was a great machine and has the slanted F-Keys. Before I actually purchase one can anyone tell me what to look for as far as what comes with it and if there are any "gotchas" that I should be aware of.

For example, when buying an Amiga 4000, it is imperative that you check to make sure that it has not had a [CMOS] battery leak.

Many thanks on advice and leads would be nice.

Thanks,

Mike

jens
July 6th, 2009, 11:57 AM
You should ask if the time is correct. If not, you'll have to replace the nvram chip, which is some soldering trouble. Please note that the Falcon has a board with four layers.

Fourteen megs of ST-Ram would be nice, Speeders also.
If you plan upgrading it to the latest accelerator card, the CT63, then you should try to get a Falcon without other speeders (except for a bus speeder), as you'd have to build the Falcon back to its original state.

If you should have other questions you can ask them here or write me a pm.

irishmike
July 6th, 2009, 12:05 PM
@jens: Thanks for the information. I assume the NVRAM chip has a built in battery and therefore could fail?

I would hope to find one that was close to factory if I buy one though.

Always can use as much information as possible. Thanks.

jens
July 7th, 2009, 02:08 AM
Yes, it has a battery, and those batteries tend to have consumed up power after about ten to fifteen years.
One of my Falcons got a new chip, while the other gets the time from the Internet, and MagiC (replacement OS) is handling the graphic and keyboard settings. ;)

If you want a basic box, just get a Falcon, upgrade the ram, and maybe speed the system to 25 mhz which makes using it much nicer.
After that you can think about ethernet and, if you ask me, CrippleMiNT as small, but fast operating system which is freely available (MagiC, which I like over MiNT is quite pricey).
Setting up STinG, a basic TCP/IP stack is described on my page (http://jens-inge.dyndns.org), while MiNT needs another setup.

irishmike
July 7th, 2009, 02:23 AM
@jens: 10 to 15 years on the battery? Wow, that is great. I was thinking that the chip would be like the Dallas Clock chips in early PCs -- those batteries had a definite shelf life of max 5 years and more likely they would last like 3, as I recall.

So how much should a decent Falcon go for? Are we talking Amiga 1200 money (+/-$400 USD) or Amiga 4000 (+/-$800 USD), or are we more in a "human" range in prices (under $400)? I am looking for an estimate in US Dollars naturally.

irishmike
July 9th, 2009, 02:22 AM
Can someone tell me what the difference between the Falcon and the 520ST are, other than the obvious lack of a disk drive. Just wondering, because I might want to pick up a 520ST as well :-)

carlsson
July 9th, 2009, 04:13 AM
About the same difference as between an IBM AT 5160 and a IBM PS/2 Model 90. :)

The 520ST has a 8 MHz 68000, 512K memory, a palette of 512 colours IIRC.. basically an entry level 16-bit machine from 1985/86. There are models with built in floppy drive, the 520STF and 520STFM (M = RF modulator). The STE came later and is more advanced. You also have the 1040ST and 1040STE models.

The Falcon is rather the last in the line of ST-related machines launched in 1992 or so. While some ST software might run on the Falcon (I have no clue really), software written for the Falcon of course won't run on an older ST.

irishmike
July 9th, 2009, 05:35 AM
@carlsson: cool. I was just wondering. It seems that all the research I am doing on the Atari's the only models that seem to exist on certain people's timelines are the 520ST and one they refer to as "Stacy".

Is there a good resource for all the lines of Atari computers?

Appreciate all the help.

carlsson
July 9th, 2009, 11:37 AM
Stacy is a portable computer, probably even more rare and collectable than any Falcon is.

Here are some obvious links to start with:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_ST
http://www.old-computers.com/museum/company.asp?st=1&m=10
http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/16BITS/a1632bit.html
http://www.myatari.com/ataristh.txt

The 520ST(FM) probably is the most common one, and loose you can sometimes get it for free or very little money, about $10 at a local flea market? Then you have the rare machines on the other end of the scale, those people mention due to their rarity so it is not so surprising the other machines in the middle of the list only get mentioned in specific contexts.

irishmike
July 9th, 2009, 11:50 AM
@carlsson: That is cool. I am not wanting a stacy, just wondered what it was and noticed the lack of the Falcon being mentioned on some history of computer timeline I came across.

I definitely want to acquire the Falcon. I am currently actually reading this link:

http://www.islandnet.com/~kpolsson/comphist/

It seems fairly comprehensive so far. I am up to 1977 I think. The history starts in the 1940's for this site. Very interesting so far.

Starshadow
July 10th, 2009, 08:15 PM
Wasn't the Stacy a Laptop or a Luggable?

irishmike
July 11th, 2009, 06:29 AM
@starshadow: I believe it is established that it was a "portable".

@all: I have decided to try to seek a 520ST (fm) and would like to find one here in the states. I saw an auction on ebay for one in Australia, but I REALLY don't want to pay to have it shipped Internationally. So if anyone has one for sale in the US please PM me.

carlsson
July 11th, 2009, 11:10 AM
Atari 520ST (probably STF or STFM) (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330342356996) in Sanford, FL. Perhaps a bit late to bid, depending on whether you read the forum when this is posted.

Atari 520STE 4MB RAM, 540MB HDD (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170356513832) located in Meadville. I believe the STE model is completely backwards compatible with the older ST series, but adds new features. It is also less common to find. This one even comes in its original box which despite being tatty should add to the value if you manage to get it cheaply.

Otherwise, I would think you may post an ad on some freecycle list or likewise. Perhaps there is a usergroup nearby? I don't know about how common the Atari ST line was in the USA, but over here they're reasonably common and usually don't go for much money unless in a very good condition or something extra included.

You should also look for 1040's. It has twice the memory than a 520 but otherwise should be the same. I would expect the cost for those two being the same.

Atari 1040STF with two Megafile hard disks (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270424054501) located in Daly City, CA. However those are mostly untested, and STF means you need to have a monitor cable since it won't connect to a TV (no internal RF modulator).

Atari 1040STF with SCSI (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180379986464) located in Vancouver, WA. The seller adds a lot of nonsense sales pitch, but I believe all the technical details he mention are standard features, no particular upgrades. At least it is said to be tested working, but again STF means you need a monitor and/or a cable.

Atari 1040ST of unknown variation (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310154380358), located in Victoria, BC, Canada but will ship to the USA for $28.75.

Oh well, those were the ones I found right now without going further abroad than Canada. You need to search for combinations of Atari, ST, 520, 520ST, 1040, 1040ST and perhaps those STF, STFM, STE variations as well to spot all. Good luck.

irishmike
July 11th, 2009, 12:24 PM
@carlsson: Thanks man. Watching a couple of those.

irishmike
July 11th, 2009, 01:03 PM
While I am thinking about it, What kind of monitor do these use. Is it like an Amiga monitor or is it standard (eg VGA). What cable would I need. I should probably get a hold of one of those (monitor plus cable) as well.

irishmike
July 11th, 2009, 08:31 PM
I also am definitely going to acquire one of these machines -- Carlsson of course helped in that manor, so hopefully later this week I will be buying one of those on ebay.

To that end: I need to find some software for the ST. I would need:

1. Terminal software (very important for a BBS guy)
2. Word Processing software

I think that covers the gammut. If anyone has suggestions on what are good packages and/or can help me obtain it, please let me know. Also online resources to get software would be VERY helpful.

carlsson
July 12th, 2009, 06:31 AM
The ST series uses a very uncommon 13 or 14 pin DIN connector. Which kind of signal it is, I'm not sure but should be easy to look up. If you're satisfied with a 12" small, monochrome display those SM124 should almost be free if you pick it up yourself. At least they are over here.

Micom 2000
July 12th, 2009, 04:19 PM
There were several Falcon-based machines produced when Atari went out of business. Mostly produced in Europe. I believe one was called the Mark II. They were superior to the Falcon and in architecture were somewhat like the NEXT. Many of the Atari enthusiasts went over to these clones when Atari closed shop. It's possible that some of these machines are available at a cheaper price than the Falcon which has a collector price tag attached to it. Most would be found in Europe, but there was also one dealer in Alberta and several in the US.

If you are interested in an ST, you should realise that the ST520 was the minimal ST produced. Limited ram as compared to the 1040 and in many cases even restricted to a double-sided 3.5 fdd. The ST-E was the best of the STs and going prices reflect that. It had more memory-expansion capabilities and sterio sound, like the STfm, but also the could accept a better TOS, vers.2.06.

A later ST was the MEGA, which could be expanded to 4megs of memory among other things. The Mega STe was the final expansion of the ST line and resale prices reflect that.

One of the things which made the ST so popular with musicians, especially in Europe was the built-in MIDI ports, meaning , at that time you didn't need sn expensive Midi adaptor.

There is a vast amount of Atari ST material out there. Perhaps you should consult that before buying one.


Lawrence

carlsson
July 12th, 2009, 10:21 PM
Actually I believe there exists a 260ST but that may be more out of curiosity. :-)

irishmike
July 13th, 2009, 03:06 AM
@micom 2000: Thanks for the input. I think I am coming along fine with the research and so far, while I am inclined to go with a 520STE or 1040STE -- I really do want to stick with the REAL Atari computers... I mean it is kind of like going with a Laser instead of an Apple IIe, though both are technically alike, there is something about the original Apple II that appeals more.

@all: I appreciate the help in this, still need to know about the monitors and specifically the cable. One of the auctions I am watching is willing to include the ST to SVGA upon request at the close of the sale... but he mentions that that only shows up in monochrome (greyscale) no color. So I need to find a real RGB I think.

irishmike
July 15th, 2009, 11:55 AM
Greetings Folks:

I have been ordering various items for my pending purchase of an Atari 1040STf I am watching. I have come to an impass and need to find a silly adapter that appears to be not very easy.

It is called an ICD "The Link 2" SCSI adapter. I either need to find one of these or figure out how to build my own ACSI to SCSI interface. Does anyone have one of these for sale? Need the Software too.

Thanks,

Mike Needham

Micom 2000
July 16th, 2009, 10:59 PM
Ah, your problems with the ST, were the bane of STers. First of all the ordinary ST monitor SC1224 came with 2 color resolutions. Low and medium. Atari produced a Hi-resolution monitor SM124 sometimes called the "paper-white". There were some programs such as the Calamus Desk Publisher and some music programs which would only work in HI-Res mode. There were several Hi-Res emulators, such as "Sebra" which would work on regular color monitors in mono, but not all programs would.

The STe was more expandable memorywise and there were many indie-hacks including a VGA interface and an accellerator. Most of them required the TOS 2.06 installation.

The stock ST was limited to 1meg memory, but since TOS was in ROM, that still gave you much more available memory than a DOS machine. There were also mod packages which could raise that to 4 megs, the memory limit. In the Mega models they had memory sockets which could do the same. The STe also had available memory sockets, IIRC 8 megs, but with mods could be raised to 12.

The ICD program was limited and there is another program put out by a German programmer which overcame most of the limitations of the ICD one. It's well-known in ST forums.

Sam Tramiel(may he rot in hell), as was his wont, had proprietary SCSI HD sockets on this Motorola box. called Assci (?), so only ST-licensed HD, etc. could be attached. ICD(which is no longer in business) put out an adaptor for this port to supply a normal SCSI interface and one of their last products was the "Link-II". IIRC. For a while there was another company IIRC who made an adaptor, but any are hard to find. I'm not sure but possibly a PP interface device might work.

There are a bunch of terminal and other programs available, and the ST has possibly the largest number of music programs available of any platform. Many old ST music people still use them but now generally using an ST emulator called STEEM on newer WinTel machines.

Lawrence

irishmike
July 17th, 2009, 03:33 AM
Hi Lawrence, I wouldn't call them "problems" yet. Challenges maybe. But every time I add a retro computer to my collection, there are certain challenges that come with and the Atari ST is no different.

I am resigned to building my own SCSI interface as the only ICD Link I have found for sale was on Portland Oregon Craigslist and $140 USD. I refuse to pay that for an adapter. I am little different in my obsession with vintage machines as I tend to eventually find what I need at what I am willing to pay and the budget for my collection is capped by many factors, the biggest being my wife :-)

Anyhow, hopefully I can build my adapter and have a hard disk working on the system. I have another thread in the support area which pointed me to the "SatanDisk" project and though that project uses an SD card, I figure I can modify something from that to go to my old SCSI drive and voila, a workable interface.

I am going to consult with a friend of mine who does electronic repairs and see if he can help me come up with something. Also I have been in contact with a former Atari/Amiga dealer here in the Kansas City Metro area who may have some of the stuff I am seeking in new/old stock or just lying about anyhow.

Oh, and I did get the 1040ST I was watching from eBay! I won it just last night so should have it maybe sometime next week!

jens
August 11th, 2009, 10:29 PM
I believe one was called the Mark II. They were superior to the Falcon and in architecture were somewhat like the NEXT. Many of the Atari enthusiasts went over to these clones when Atari closed shop. It's possible that some of these machines are available at a cheaper price than the Falcon which has a collector price tag attached to it.
The MkII is a Falcon as well with hardware patches for audio and SCSI.
It has been built by C-Lab that got a licence from Atari to do so.
I believe it's sitting in a different case, probably a rack case.
As it's the latest Falcon you can buy and there have not been sold too many of those, it also has the collectors badge upon it, sorry.

PrintStar
August 13th, 2009, 04:46 AM
The stock ST was limited to 1meg memory, but since TOS was in ROM, that still gave you much more available memory than a DOS machine. There were also mod packages which could raise that to 4 megs, the memory limit. In the Mega models they had memory sockets which could do the same. The STe also had available memory sockets, IIRC 8 megs, but with mods could be raised to 12.

The STe has a 4MB limit, just like the Mega ST and Mega STe. Atari produced Mega ST models with 4MB I believe. But STe models (including the Mega) all had regular SIMM sockets.



The ICD program was limited and there is another program put out by a German programmer which overcame most of the limitations of the ICD one. It's well-known in ST forums.


I'm not following you here... ICD produced a lot of accessories for the Atari and Amiga, but they're most known for their multitude of Atari hard disk adapters.



Sam Tramiel(may he rot in hell), as was his wont, had proprietary SCSI HD sockets on this Motorola box. called Assci (?), so only ST-licensed HD, etc. could be attached. ICD(which is no longer in business) put out an adaptor for this port to supply a normal SCSI interface and one of their last products was the "Link-II". IIRC. For a while there was another company IIRC who made an adaptor, but any are hard to find. I'm not sure but possibly a PP interface device might work.


There's a lot wrong here. First of all, Atari didn't use a true SCSI port for a number of reasons, but the oft-quoted reason is that SCSI was not yet a "standard". The SCSI standard wasn't released until 1986 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scsi#History), long after the first ST's were released. Furthermore, they were shooting for a computer under $1000. Adding SCSI chips, especially experimental ones, was an expensive undertaking. If anything, they should be congratulated for even having the foresight to include a hard disk port.

Also, the ASCI port was used for a few other things. The ASCI port allowed for DMA, which meant peripherals could read/write directly into ST RAM. This functionality is why Atari was able to produce such cheap laser printers; the printers themselves had no memory whatsoever. They relied on the Atari's RAM for everything.

Obviously, once the SCSI standard was finalized, Atari was stuck. They had already created their ASCI standard, and it couldn't be just dropped. That's why Atari TT's have ASCI and SCSI ports.

Atari had no licensing fees on the port. Anyone could produce ASCI peripherals, and a lot of companies did. ICD is just a single example.

I never understood the Tramiel bashing, though. They brought us the ST line of computers along with the C64. They were cheap, sure, but that was their business strategy. Atari fought an uphill battle and made some missteps, but they probably would have been doomed regardless.

irishmike
August 13th, 2009, 06:01 AM
This information is indeed interesting. I have not been "under the hood" of my Atari STf yet. A local fellow tells me though that it has four SIMM sockets, I have to verify this. I have not yet had to time to hear myself think with regard to my vintage machines -- I just also acquired a nice Amiga 2000 which is going to need a ROM 3.1 update and some other odds and ends, but mainly I have decided to dispense with the older monitors and I will be investing in RGB to VGA adapters for both my STf and my A2000. I have to wait until October (at the minimum) for the A2000 adapter... a company called Individual Computers makes a lot of cool boards for Amigas and he has already made Indivision adapters for A1200 and A4000 (the AGA systems) -- I went with the A2000 because of cost mainly. I loved my A1200 I had and I built an A4000 from parts I scrounged together, but sold it a while back. If I do get another AGA system, it will definitely be an A1200 with accelerator card!

The Atari ST is going to be fun to play with and of course I finally got a 1GB SCSI hard drive (actually 3 of them) from a friend who needed his closet cleaned out, so I can make my poor PS/2 model 95 go again when I get a moment. This means that I am no longer planning to dispose of it (another post on here someplace).

Thanks for the information everyone for the ST!

PrintStar
August 14th, 2009, 05:34 AM
This information is indeed interesting. I have not been "under the hood" of my Atari STf yet. A local fellow tells me though that it has four SIMM sockets, I have to verify this.

Only Atari STe systems have SIMM sockets. Unless you have a highly modified 1040 STf, you don't have SIMM sockets. Don't let the "f" fool you, either. The "f" simply stands for "floppy". The STe was a later model (the "e" stands for "enhanced") that contains quite a few other hardware and software enhancements.

Micom 2000
August 17th, 2009, 02:07 PM
The STe has a 4MB limit, just like the Mega ST and Mega STe. Atari produced Mega ST models with 4MB I believe. But STe models (including the Mega) all had regular SIMM sockets.

>> The ICD program was limited and there is another program put out by a German programmer which overcame most of the limitations of the ICD one. It's well-known in ST forums. <<

> I'm not following you here... ICD produced a lot of accessories for the Atari and Amiga, but they're most known for their multitude of Atari hard disk adapters.{Quote}

I was referring to the ICD program which came with most ICD HDs. IIRC it was called AHDI, and was also supplied with the Link 2. There was no implied criticism of ICD which produced some superior peripherals for the ST but had some drawbacks because of the time, including the 20meg maximum of a HD partition. The groundbreaking German program was "HDDriver" which did away with most of the problems and is still available.

> There's a lot wrong here. First of all, Atari didn't use a true SCSI port for a number of reasons, but the oft-quoted reason is that SCSI was not yet a "standard". The SCSI standard wasn't released until 1986 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scsi#History), long after the first ST's were released. Furthermore, they were shooting for a computer under $1000. Adding SCSI chips, especially experimental ones, was an expensive undertaking. If anything, they should be congratulated for even having the foresight to include a hard disk port.

Also, the ASCI port was used for a few other things. The ASCI port allowed for DMA, which meant peripherals could read/write directly into ST RAM. This functionality is why Atari was able to produce such cheap laser printers; the printers themselves had no memory whatsoever. They relied on the Atari's RAM for everything.

Obviously, once the SCSI standard was finalized, Atari was stuck. They had already created their ASCI standard, and it couldn't be just dropped. That's why Atari TT's have ASCI and SCSI ports.

Atari had no licensing fees on the port. Anyone could produce ASCI peripherals, and a lot of companies did. ICD is just a single example.<

What you are saying is undoubtably true, but misses what most critics and former Atari technicians maintain, which is that Tramiel was convinced that the profit was in the peripherals. One example is the Portfolio which was produced by DIB, which had nonstandard ports. Tramiel rejected the Portfolio 2 which Sharp scooped up, and called the PC3000 but of course the designers had already included the same non-standard ports which could have
only been demanded by Tramiel, despite the standardization which had already occured in the industry. Similarly when Tramiel was the CEO of Commodore the Parallel port on the CBMs and Pets was non-standard long after it had been accepted by the industry.

The STe included many major inovations and changing to a SCCI port would have not produced much additional costs. Then comes the pitiful expression of advertising for the Jaguar(which was a superior gaming machine for it's time) for which Tramiel abandoned the TT and the Falcon, seeing gaming as a more lucrative field for fast cash. The winding down of Atari was disgusting in it's methods including the sale of games to Hasbro and had no sense of pride in the Atari line, but simply getting out with as much cash as possible.

>I never understood the Tramiel bashing, though. They brought us the ST line of computers along with the C64. They were cheap, sure, but that was their business strategy. Atari fought an uphill battle and made some missteps, but they probably would have been doomed regardless.

While Tramiel may have been head of the companies, it was the technicians which made it possible. He obviously blew it with giving up his hold on the Amiga. Tramiel started as a peddlar of business equipment and his acumen was based on that despite the enthusiasm of his technicians. As a reminder I have a Commodore File Cabinet produced ere-long.

Please excuse the attempt at editing here, and some of the quote has my comments.

Lawrence

PrintStar
August 18th, 2009, 06:18 AM
While Tramiel may have been head of the companies, it was the technicians which made it possible. He obviously blew it with giving up his hold on the Amiga. Tramiel started as a peddlar of business equipment and his acumen was based on that despite the enthusiasm of his technicians. As a reminder I have a Commodore File Cabinet produced ere-long.

Please excuse the attempt at editing here, and some of the quote has my comments.

Lawrence

I'll agree with you on a few points above...

I don't remember the ICD software for hard disks, but AHDI was Atari's hard disk driver. It shipped with all their hard disks up through the Falcon, I believe, which still relied on AHDI. Early versions were quite limited, but I believe the final version for the Falcon supported up to gigabyte partitions or thereabouts. HDDriver is superior, as is CBHD, a freeware driver. I always thought paying for a hard disk driver was silly, though...

As far as the STe goes, I can understand that maybe Atari should have considered using a true SCSI port here. Same goes for the Mega. However, I'm not convinced the cost would have been insignificant. Remember, Atari was into producing "cheap" computers, as that was kind of the Tramiels' signature.

Atari was a bit nutty for custom ports, which might partly explain the ASCI port, but then again the Atari contained a standard parallel and serial port as well. I still think the original reason for an ASCI port was not so much the control of peripherals, but more the crazy cheapness of its design and its flexibility. It gave the cheapo base ST models an upgrade path while not introducing many costs to the design. In any case, I think just about every company is guilty of proprietary ports and such nonsense in order to control peripherals, at least during that era.

Back to the Tramiels, though... They were cheap and not especially technical, but they sure knew how to get things done. Atari was quite successful under them for many years, especially compared to the mess they purchased from Warner Communications. "Holding on" to the Amiga obviously wasn't going to work due to the wacky contract between Atari and Amiga (very strange indeed...).

However, their handling of the Atari computer line and the Jaguar/Lynx/etc. was probably as good as could be. The Falcon, while a great machine, was not particularly popular. I believe I've read (although I'm having trouble finding a link) that approximately 50,000 Falcon computers were produced. While that might seem like a lot, it probably isn't even close to enough to support ongoing hardware design and software development. It was produced for about a year and they ceased all computer development to focus on the Jaguar. The non-IBM-compatible personal computer industry was not a particularly pleasant market.

By the time the Jaguar was released, Atari was quite a small company. Their balance sheet was around $200M in assets with plenty of ongoing losses. I'm not sure what you'd expect out of a small company in terms of advertising. Not only that, but they had to pay 3rd party developers to continue Jaguar development. For example, Sony's advertising budget for the original Playstation exceeded all of Atari's cash reserves. The problem is further exacerbated by the Jaguar not being the easiest platform to develop for. Also, it contained plenty of bugs, and Atari misjudged the desire for texture mapping (the Jaguar can't do this in hardware), which doomed its ability to "wow" the masses.

So yes, the Tramiels were shooting for a quick profit in a lot of cases, but because Atari was a public company, they were obliged to do so.

This is a fun discussion! I hope I haven't seemed scathing or crass. I think I might come off that way because I have a different view of Atari and the Tramiels than most Atari fans.

Micom 2000
August 26th, 2009, 10:09 PM
It does intrigue me that we are both ST and DEC Rainbow fans. When years ago I discovered your DEC Rainbow site, which was so welcome at the time, that would be my furthest consideration. DEC people and ST fans seem like the opposite sides of any rainbow.

One the sternest of computer uses, the other the use of computers for not only gaming, but multimedia approaches to it's uses. One such ST program I'm reminded of was one which could change a baby into an old woman visually. One of the Byte reviews of the Rainbow said that the Rainbow should only be used in color. Both encouraged creative development.

Unfortunately the Rainbow, which was so innovative and spanned the OS gap was dropped by DEC before it had a chance to really fullfill it's enormous potential. To me it was the NEXT of it's time and like the NEXT succumbed to marketplace mediocracy, demanding business accumen and ability with spread-sheets rather than an expansion of the creativity that has proven so profitable to present-day corporations. Both the ST and the Amiga had similar traits but couldn't parse stockmarket expectations, no matter how good they were at producing entertainment media. Considering the $millions now garnered by multimedia corporations it was certainly short-sighted.

Lawrence

jens
September 15th, 2009, 04:26 PM
HDDriver is superior, as is CBHD, a freeware driver. I always thought paying for a hard disk driver was silly, though...
Well, HdDriver is the best hard disk driver for Atari 16/32 machines.
While others are quite limited in several ways HdDriver allows to use F32 in combination with replacement operating systems like MiNT or MagiC, plus you can use big hard drives. On one of my Falcons I have 120 gigs attached to listen to mp3 files - this is just possible through HdDriver.
Uwe Seimet, the programmer is doing a terrific job, and the software is worth every cent you pay if you ask me. ;)

I'm using other drivers on earlier machines as well (on which I don't need so much features), so I think I know what I'm talking about.

PrintStar
September 16th, 2009, 07:36 AM
Well, HdDriver is the best hard disk driver for Atari 16/32 machines.
While others are quite limited in several ways HdDriver allows to use F32 in combination with replacement operating systems like MiNT or MagiC, plus you can use big hard drives. On one of my Falcons I have 120 gigs attached to listen to mp3 files - this is just possible through HdDriver.
Uwe Seimet, the programmer is doing a terrific job, and the software is worth every cent you pay if you ask me. ;)

I'm using other drivers on earlier machines as well (on which I don't need so much features), so I think I know what I'm talking about.

I agree that HDDriver is the best. CBHD is pretty good as well. I used that on my TT030 with an 8GB drive (2GB partitions) with FAT32 and Minix partitions for years.

That said, I still don't want to pay for hard drive software for my Atari, so I don't. Since I personally don't have a need for a 120GB hard drive on my Atari, I guess I'm ok :).

jens
November 2nd, 2009, 12:24 AM
Btw:
I recently heard that a system like NetBSD will run without Atari hard disk drivers, so this should make bigger drives available as well, if you just want to run any operating system on your machine to fiddle around with it.

kvanderlaag
November 3rd, 2009, 08:26 AM
I think you should integrate an Atari Falcon into a Ford Falcon as a carputer.

kickback999
November 16th, 2009, 11:30 AM
Well you need 14mb ram and a 1gb at least hard drive in it I would just keep tos on with the standard hard disk drive ahdi.
Just use a serial null modem put on some games, mp3's, pictures, aniplayer, nvdi, set up sting for internet and your off.
Excellent little computer really still usable as ones main computer if you so wished.

martyg
December 22nd, 2009, 11:14 PM
While Tramiel may have been head of the companies, it was the technicians which made it possible. He obviously blew it with giving up his hold on the Amiga.

Lawrence

He never had a hold on it, the suit was launched as a counter suit strike against Commodore. They had launched suits against Shiraz and several other former Commodore engineers in early July, getting an injunction against them doing any work on a computer for Atari Corp. The Amiga contract was discovered in late July by Jack's son Leonard and Jack had the contract transferred over from Warner in early August (it wasn't part of the original purchase). He then launched a suit against Amiga in mid August to strike back against Commodore.



I'll agree with you on a few points above...
Back to the Tramiels, though... They were cheap and not especially technical, but they sure knew how to get things done. Atari was quite successful under them for many years, especially compared to the mess they purchased from Warner Communications.


I'm not sure what you mean to imply with the above. The only thing they purchased from Warner was Atari Consumer, which included the consumer IP, facilities, distribution network, and the Atari brand name. Atari Inc. itself ceased to exist, Atari Corp. was a separate company.


"Holding on" to the Amiga obviously wasn't going to work due to the wacky contract between Atari and Amiga (very strange indeed...).

What wacky and strange contract? It was pretty straight forward. Unless you're going by RJ Mical's misinformation that was put out there for years?



Marty
ClassicGaming.Com

Atari Gaming Headquarters
www.atarihq.com

Electronic Entertainment Museum (E2M)

PrintStar
December 28th, 2009, 05:15 AM
I'm not sure what you mean to imply with the above. The only thing they purchased from Warner was Atari Consumer, which included the consumer IP, facilities, distribution network, and the Atari brand name. Atari Inc. itself ceased to exist, Atari Corp. was a separate company.

What I was implying was that all the "stuff" that the Tramiels purchased was not in particularly great financial shape. They (Tramiel & Co.) sold off plenty of hard assets that they purchased in that transaction, for example, that they considered overkill for a consumer electronics company. Atari Consumer was the bulk of "Atari," I'd argue, although possibly wrongly...


What wacky and strange contract? It was pretty straight forward. Unless you're going by RJ Mical's misinformation that was put out there for years?

I think I was agreeing with you here. Atari had made an odd loan to Amiga. I consider it a bit wacky in my opinion business-wise. I understand the situation.

I don't think it really matters anymore anyway. It's all documented in SEC filings. If someone really gave a crap (i.e. not me), they could look all this up.

martyg
December 28th, 2009, 10:27 AM
What I was implying was that all the "stuff" that the Tramiels purchased was not in particularly great financial shape. They (Tramiel & Co.) sold off plenty of hard assets that they purchased in that transaction, for example, that they considered overkill for a consumer electronics company. Atari Consumer was the bulk of "Atari," I'd argue, although possibly wrongly...

I think there's a bit of confusion here. There was no "financial shape" to what they bought, they bought IP, facilities, etc. The financial shape was Atari Inc.'s which as a company ceased to exist. The debt aspect was a separate part of the transaction and had to do with how Jack was able to buy the properties with no actual money - promissory notes to Warner, stock, and an agreement to take a large part of the Atari Inc. debt so Warner could write it off it's books. (Since Jack wasn't buying Atari Inc. itself, only a portion of it's IP and assets). Warner also kept any open accounts to be able to pay the remaining debt as well. What hard assets are you claiming they sold off btw?


I think I was agreeing with you here. Atari had made an odd loan to Amiga. I consider it a bit wacky in my opinion business-wise. I understand the situation.

I don't think it really matters anymore anyway. It's all documented in SEC filings. If someone really gave a crap (i.e. not me), they could look all this up.

That's what I'm asking, what was wacky about it? You stating that leads me to believe you may be going off the misinformation that's out there. I have the contract in front of me (signed in March of '84, with a second one with the full licensing, royalty, and stock terms to be signed in June/July on the delivery of the chips). I don't see a single wacky thing in there. And yes, we paid for the entire box full of federal court documents, conducted direct interviews, etc. in an effort to clear it up - which we have. I actually did a full presentation on it back in September for the Commodore convention in Chicago.

Marty
ClassicGaming.Com

Atari Gaming Headquarters
www.atarihq.com

Electronic Entertainment Museum (E2M)

PrintStar
December 29th, 2009, 04:44 AM
I think there's a bit of confusion here. There was no "financial shape" to what they bought, they bought IP, facilities, etc. The financial shape was Atari Inc.'s which as a company ceased to exist. The debt aspect was a separate part of the transaction and had to do with how Jack was able to buy the properties with no actual money - promissory notes to Warner, stock, and an agreement to take a large part of the Atari Inc. debt so Warner could write it off it's books. (Since Jack wasn't buying Atari Inc. itself, only a portion of it's IP and assets). Warner also kept any open accounts to be able to pay the remaining debt as well.

Fair enough. The specifics aren't particularly important (at least to me). The Warner Atari was a financial mess, is that a fair statement? When Tramiel & friends arrived, bought some stuff, and started Atari Corp., the new Tramiel Atari was in significantly better financial shape.


What hard assets are you claiming they sold off btw?

Dadhacker (http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=995) has covered this. I'm not "claiming," I'm just reiterating stuff I've read.


That's what I'm asking, what was wacky about it? You stating that leads me to believe you may be going off the misinformation that's out there. I have the contract in front of me (signed in March of '84, with a second one with the full licensing, royalty, and stock terms to be signed in June/July on the delivery of the chips). I don't see a single wacky thing in there. And yes, we paid for the entire box full of federal court documents, conducted direct interviews, etc. in an effort to clear it up - which we have. I actually did a full presentation on it back in September for the Commodore convention in Chicago.

Marty, I don't think you read what I said in my last post. I'm sure the contract is just dandy and legal and all that. All I said was that it seemed to be an odd business decision to loan Amiga (or whatever they were called at the time) the money because I don't see what Atari got out of it. In my opinion, it was an odd choice to make the loan, that's all. I wasn't implying that it was shady or anything like that. I'm sure you do know plenty more than myself about this; I was simply stating an opinion based on my limited knowledge and the fact that Atari didn't seem to get much from the deal, making it an odd business decision.

If I'm wrong, so be it. I'll live... I've never seen so much passion about a minor business transaction from the 1980s.

martyg
December 29th, 2009, 12:51 PM
Dadhacker has covered this. I'm not "claiming," I'm just reiterating stuff I've read.

Understood. He's making an assumption though. They had plans to trim down the divisions, properties, etc. of course - something that was already being done under Morgan. But it was more to remove dead weight rather than coming in to see what they could make money selling off. And actually, they had a full plan already in place for both the home console division and the computer division (not just minor upgrades).


Marty, I don't think you read what I said in my last post.

Jeff, I did read your last post. I don't think you were fully reading mine or the context was lost. RJ Mical put a lot of misinformation out there regarding all this, so much so that it's always regurgitated as canon. Rather than jumping to conclusions that you were coming from the same place, I was simply giving you a chance to explain your self.


I'm sure the contract is just dandy and legal and all that.

I was not commenting on the legal matters, nor accusing you of stating anything was not legal.


All I said was that it seemed to be an odd business decision to loan Amiga (or whatever they were called at the time) the money because I don't see what Atari got out of it. In my opinion, it was an odd choice to make the loan, that's all. I wasn't implying that it was shady or anything like that. I'm sure you do know plenty more than myself about this; I was simply stating an opinion based on my limited knowledge and the fact that Atari didn't seem to get much from the deal, making it an odd business decision.

a) When someone asks you questions, it's because they want to engage in dialogue. And they want to continue that dialogue better informed on the other person's viewpoints rather than make assumptions on what they think the other is referring to.
b) I asked you repeatedly why you thought it was "wacky" and "odd". Now you finally gave the answer "I don't see what Atari got out of it".
c) What Atari got out of it:

In Fall '83, Dave Morse and Jay Miner approached Atari Inc. and Warner for money and a possible licensing of technology. Dave had already had several investors in Amiga, but it was taking to long in development and they were having problems making ends meet. They signed an initial talking agreement and NDA then, and then met up again privately with Warner at the January '84 CES. It was decided then Warner and some of the Atari top management wanted to pursue this for their next generation technology. The initial details would be hashed out over the next month, with a "pre-contract" contract signed in early March. Atari Inc. was going to be using the Amiga chip set in -

- Their next generation console to be released that Winter '84. Codenamed Mickey, under the agreement a keyboard expansion could be added in '85 (a time stipulation required by Amiga), allowing it to be used as a full fledged computer.
- A regular computer was targeted for release in '86.
- This chips were also to be used in coin as well for next generation 68000 platforms.

The $500,000 was only an initial payment to secure the licensing signing agreement which was to take place in June/July. There was no "pay us back by this time or we get the company". All the tech docs and such were being held in escrow until then, and if Amiga folded before then Atari would get access to the chip set and materials without the need for a license in lieu of the $500,000 initial investment. The stipulation was there because Amiga already had several investors that would be chopping it up and staking claims in attempts to recover. Upon delivery of the first chip fabs (Mickey was all ready, the pcb was laid out and ordered and they were just waiting for the chips), Atari would then pay $500,000 for each chip, purchase 1 million shares at $3 a piece, and pay a $2 royalty on each unit produced.

So in summary, Warner and Atari were planning on using this across the board. Both in the Consumer division for a console, the Computer division for the next gen computer, and in Coin for their next gen system boards.



If I'm wrong, so be it. I'll live... I've never seen so much passion about a minor business transaction from the 1980s.

On the contrary, it's hardly a "minor transaction". It's still a major point of contention between the Atari and Amiga communities, is intimately tied to the corporate histories of both companies during this transition period and what was going on overall, and is tied to the "origins" of the entire ST line.

PrintStar
December 30th, 2009, 08:02 AM
Understood. He's making an assumption though. They had plans to trim down the divisions, properties, etc. of course - something that was already being done under Morgan. But it was more to remove dead weight rather than coming in to see what they could make money selling off. And actually, they had a full plan already in place for both the home console division and the computer division (not just minor upgrades).

Probably true that Warner was already planning at least a portion of that. But when I mentioned Atari selling off hard assets, that was what I had been referencing. I would say he is a reasonably reliable source.


Jeff, I did read your last post. I don't think you were fully reading mine or the context was lost. RJ Mical put a lot of misinformation out there regarding all this, so much so that it's always regurgitated as canon. Rather than jumping to conclusions that you were coming from the same place, I was simply giving you a chance to explain your self.

I think there was some miscommunication here. Although I have no idea who this RJ is...


I was not commenting on the legal matters, nor accusing you of stating anything was not legal.

That was how I read it, my bad...


a) When someone asks you questions, it's because they want to engage in dialogue. And they want to continue that dialogue better informed on the other person's viewpoints rather than make assumptions on what they think the other is referring to.
b) I asked you repeatedly why you thought it was "wacky" and "odd". Now you finally gave the answer "I don't see what Atari got out of it".

Your "question" came off more confrontational when I read it. I probably wasn't clear when I said I thought it was an odd business deal, but I felt you were striking me down outright as totally wrong. Again, a miscommunication on both sides, I suspect.


c) What Atari got out of it:

Fantastic! Mystery solved! This makes much more sense. Now the business deal doesn't seem so odd. A licensing agreement, what a snore... The "wrong" version was much more interesting ;).


On the contrary, it's hardly a "minor transaction". It's still a major point of contention between the Atari and Amiga communities, is intimately tied to the corporate histories of both companies during this transition period and what was going on overall, and is tied to the "origins" of the entire ST line.

Let me correct myself, in that case. It is a minor transaction to everyone outside the fans of two dead computer companies ;).

martyg
December 30th, 2009, 11:05 AM
Probably true that Warner was already planning at least a portion of that. But when I mentioned Atari selling off hard assets, that was what I had been referencing. I would say he is a reasonably reliable source.


In regards to GEM development yes, in regards to business goings on, no. He was not involved in any of that, and I'd trust my talks with Leonard Tramiel a bit more. It was not their intent to come in and see what money they could make off of things. It was certainly their intent to "trim the fat" and start making the company profitable in the face of all the debt they took on (which they did by '87). But it was no different than what Morgan was doing trying to reorganize the company in to NATCO before it was split up on him.



I think there was some miscommunication here. Although I have no idea who this RJ is...

RJ Mical was the designer of the Amiga's GUI and a few other related things, and was co-creator of what became the Atari Lynx. He's also the chief Amiga storyteller.

Here's his resume (http://www.mical.org/workhistory/).


Let me correct myself, in that case. It is a minor transaction to everyone outside the fans of two dead computer companies ;).


Much like the DEC Rainbow. ;)

PrintStar
December 31st, 2009, 08:33 AM
Much like the DEC Rainbow. ;)

Now be fair, there are far fewer fans of the DEC Rainbow...

solidstate
January 17th, 2010, 02:10 PM
If anyone is interested, I have a Medusa T40 for sale. I am the original owner.

Thanks

wthorbjo
January 18th, 2010, 07:19 AM
solidstate, you have a PM!

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wthorbjo