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Blast from the past.

Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:59 pm

I have to say how much I enjoyed reading your magazine. I had a realization and sort of a flashback the other night. Back when I was a teenager in the early 1980s I got started with an Atari800. We didn't have internet back then, but we did have magazines. I had to order my Atari and wait weeks for it to come in. I had read every magazine I could find at the time from cover to cover just waiting for it to arrive. When it arrived, the magic began and I found myself typing in program listings for games, ultilties, you name it. It was hands on learning. No cut and paste either. You read every line and had to process it through your brain at least once to type it back in. For years I have lamented how my children will never experience this feeling, especially when something you typed in comes to life. Well imagine my surprise when I started reading MagPi. There are program listings and explanations of projects just like when I was a teenager. Like the topic states this was a real blast from the past. I picked up my new RPi this weekend and have been in love. I have linux laptops and desktops, and have been programming since back when I picked up my Atari, and this seems to have captured the same magic as my old Atari. It really hit home when I realized this I was sitting at my TV with a computer hooked to it. It has been since I was a teenager that I have sat in front of a TV to type programs into a computer. Now if I could just get a cassette tape drive to store the programs. :lol:

Thanks to everyone at MagPi, and RaspberryPi. I am loving this.

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Re: Blast from the past.

Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:55 pm

FigNewton wrote:Now if I could just get a cassette tape drive to store the programs. :lol:
That stuff is still possible, although it's completely undesirable. There's still some documentation about CUTS (computer users' tape standard) and you could drive a cassette from a GPIO pin. Getting the CUTS stuff read back in is going to be more of a challenge.

There's a circuit diagram for the CUTS interface on my Microtan65 at but you'd need to modify that for 3V3 rather than 5V0. ... andard.htm
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Re: Blast from the past.

Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:01 pm

And that leads into yet another similarity from my computing roots. GPIO. The Atari800 has the four joystick ports that, like GPIO, could be used as input/output. There were kits back in the day for things like weather stations, audio devices, etc. My first modem was 300 baud and used the joystick ports as the interface. I am really having fun with this. The hardest part seems to be trying to figure out what project to work on.

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Re: Blast from the past.

Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:52 am

I think it would be more in the spirit of what people are doing with the RPi if you embedded one into a tape recorder and let it slowly serve files. IIRC, you could listen in on the tape to make sure it was working. Could probably simulate that as well. When you're ready to upgrade, stuff one in an acoustic coupler and step up to 2400 bps.

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Re: Blast from the past.

Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:55 am

@ FigNewton

I agree with you 100%. Although I may be a bit older because for me it was my Commodore 64, that I would use to type out games from the magazine INPUT (anyone remember that?)

But this is just a brilliant introduction to computers and programming for kids. And I'm ashamed to admit that although I've been a Microsoft SQL DBA for about 15 years, and started my career as a C++ programmer but all in windows. And now I'm actually learning things about Linux as I show the kids. It's brilliant!!!

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Re: Blast from the past.

Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:27 pm

Oh ya! The Atari 800 was a marvelous machine. Its SIO was really powerful.
I started with a KIM-1. Built my own printer driver, memory board and tape I/O. Had the tape I/O designed so that I could have 2 tape recorders attached, one for reading and one to write to automatically controlled by the software. Those were the days!

I soon moved on to the Ataris - 400, 800, 520ST (modified to a 1040ST) and finally a megaSTe. I was really upset when the Tramiels trashed Atari. I then moved on to CP/M. What MSDOS should have been. That was the last OS I really understood. I now use MACs.

At work I got to play with SGI computers and their version of UNIX. Unfortunately I have been retired over 10 years and have forgotten all I ever knew about UNIX. Having to learn all over again. But it is fun. I forget who said it and am probably quoting it wrong, but if you don’t learn you die. I just turned 76 and am too young to die.

Mike Allen aka GrampaMike

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Re: Blast from the past.

Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:18 pm

I just read the August issue. I am completely flattered. Thanks again to all involved.

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