What do you think of my second computer?

That was an Atari 800. Bought it at the tail end of 1980. I believe the clock speed was 35 MHz and the memory 64K. About a year later, I got a kit that permitted bank switching and the use of 128 K of memory. Though the clock speed and memory nothing compared to today's computers, it had some pretty fast graphics though very low definition. It also handled math pretty fast. As to memory storage that was via cassette recorder. I would type in programs copied from computer magazines and store. This is really precious. One weekend I was typing in a long extensive program. I ad actually been up over 24 hours. I think I was about 2 lines short of completing the entries and a drunk hit a pole knocking out the power. All the work gone in an instant. When you would put the tape into computer you would hear the sound from the data flow. Often after 10 or 15 minutes of almost musical flow of data, you'd get this flat tone. That ment it had screwed up and you had to start from the beginning.


Had some good games though. I remember one called Crunch, Crumple and Chomp, the movie monster game. You created different monsters and picked a city to destroy. Except for robot monsters you had to keep your monsters fed, with people. They preferred pedestrians instead of passengers in vehicles. Toward the end of 1982 other computers were starting to show up. People called the Atari 800 a game computer. But I had read that the aircraft carrier Enterprise had several Atari 800's for their fire control (missiles and guns) as well as doing inventory and maintenance. So for its time it was very useful. Took it to Saudi Arabia with me and used it to inventory all the electronics items for Northrop.I forget the details of how I did it, but ended up hooking it to my radio which had short wave and would get radio messages from ships to print out on the TV monitor. In off time someting to listen to. Saudi TV ran about 3 hours a day and perhaps an hour in English. Seriously, I would often watch

Update 2:

Sesamee Street. Ended up selling the computer when I left. Oh I had added a disk drive.

Totally unrelated to computers. I was in Khamis Mushat Saudi Arabi. Northrop provided me with an 8 bedroom villa, 3 bathrooms and two kitchens. Except for TDY personal on occassion all to myself. I was there about 7 months and the TV reception had never been good. One evening I was watching and they did the announcement of their broadcast power frequency and "Verticle polarity." They just gave the reason for the bad reception. Every TV station I ever heard of was horizontal. I went to the roof and bent the mast pole 90 degrees. After that, great reception. The difference was a signal gain of about 120 db.

Update 3:

Thanks for the correction on the clock speed.Gee, I really had thought it faster. On math it seemed to return answers almost instantly. I remember a program of an Achaemedes screw tat sure would run slow.

Following and with the Atari came a Kaypro II. The attraction there the software package. No graphics though and the two 5-1/2 inch disk drives. I don't think made very well as circuit board problems developed in about 2 years. But, it traveled the world wit me. That could also have been the cause. In 1984 we were using the HP's for automatic electronic calibration programs. We also had IBMs with a 10 Meg drive for inventory and scheduling. Later a 20 Meg drive one along with all the comments "What are you going to do with all that storage." Well, the programming then was more efficent for space.

Update 4:

One of the few things I recall about the HP computers as well as their calculators is the HPL language was in a different order than everyone else. I first was on line in early 1982 through Compuserve. I believe my first modem was just 1200 baud and there was quite a flury of faster ones. That cost me monet going to 2400, 4800 and 9600 when is stopped a while. At 9600 they were saying that or perhaps 14400 was as fast as the phone lines would handle. And it was years ago I couldn't stand phone lines because I was only getting a reported 53K, so I switched to Hughes satellite. No cable wher I live till a couple months ago. You have to have their phone service and it is rotten. They allow outside companies to tack on text messaging service charges without your permission. That's why I got rid of them 4 years ago and switched to Hughes. Expensive, but safer.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Actually the Atari 800 had a clock speed of 1 MHz (and it did not handle maths very fast compared to modern computers, only compared to puny humans was it fast).

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, dinosaurs did exist...

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