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Submission + - releases a $5 computer (or free!) (

LoTonah writes: Today, announced the release of the Raspberry Pi Zero, a smaller form factor but mid-spec member of the growing Pi family (about 3x faster than the original Pi).

And if that wasn't cool enough, they are giving away 10,000 of them on the cover of this month's MagPi magazine!

Submission + - Father of Videogames Ralph Baer dies at age 92 (

LoTonah writes: Invented the Odyssey videogame system (pre-Pong). Invented the classic Simon electronic game which sold millions. He invented light guns, too. Oh, and he had 150 patents to his name.

Damn. Rest In Peace, great one.

Comment Re:Without the use of a loop!? (Score 1) 438

I hope you're just forgetting that "Atari BASIC" was pretty synonymous with the 8-bit Atari 400/800/1200XL/600XL/800XL/65XE/130XE/XEGS line of computers. Since it was based on Microsoft BASIC (but NOT written by Microsoft), a lot of the same tricks could be applied. Including multiple statements per line.

The Atari VCS BASIC cartridge is a aberration that should not be mentioned in the same breath ;) Besides, I think the flickering gave me seizures.

Comment Are plagiarism tools going to work? (Score 1) 210

I'm currently taking the Internet History, Technology, and Security course through Coursera. There was a written assignment, 200-400 words in length where you could describe how people, technology and information connected to create the internet, within the timeframe of 1930 and 1990.

It was hinted at that I plagiarized my answer, mostly because I didn't cite my sources. Well, let's see... I've been programming since 1979, online since 1982, and started using the web in 1994. Did I take my answers from Wikipedia? Did I take them from the web at all? No, because I love computers and have read thousands of books and magazines, talked to thousands of like-minded people, and I lived through a decent chunk of that history. There isn't a clear source to cite, and I doubt that I could say something like: "Tonah, Lo (2012). "Crap I Remember," 'My Old Brain', 00(00)."

So in a 400 word essay, how is there enough room to write something self-created that a plagiarism tool won't trip over?

Comment Re:Wring another decade? (Score 2) 301

Thank you. :)

I never know what to think or say when I think about the last decade of Atari. Warner had no idea how to run a tech company, and there were too many projects going nowhere. They took a look at a few months-worth of profits and decided that they could spend money like that forever. Suddenly the videogame market, then the home computer market tanked.

So Jack comes in, and has a lot of hard decisions to make. Cut here, slash there. Discontinue products. Write off factories and warehouses full of product that isn't moving. Kind of like how Steve Jobs came back to Apple and had to gut things fast.

He knew that selling the Atari 8 bits wasn't going to work for long--PC compatibles and Macintoshes were starting to make inroads into homes and smaller businesses. Game machines were dead. He knew what Amiga had cooking, and when Commodore got ahold of that he knew he needed a counter-product. So, like the IBM PC, Atari used off-the-shelf components and built something quick and dirty.

A lot of people took him to task for not advertising. There was advertising, just not in expensive publications. Very little in Byte, for instance. There was a big campaign at first, but then it seemed like nothing. Atari turned inward, producing magazines like Atari Explorer instead. Besides, who is to say that spending $5 million dollars a month on advertising actually is effective? BTW, I heard that it cost $1 million to do a full page colour ad in Byte. So how much for Newsweek, Time, etc., and how effective is it?

I think Atari did a lot with the little money they had. I doubt Tramiel got any richer from his time there. He came into Atari with $40 million personal worth--how much did he leave with?

Comment Re:Good Riddance you fuck! (Score 1) 301

Okay, I'm forced to agree with this. Atari did very little to upgrade the ST, and it pissed me off too.

Its a bit of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. It was always said that Atari didn't want to confuse users by having to pay attention to hardware specs when buying software, but the rest of the industry was doing just fine with that dilemma.

I would have killed for an expansion slot on the ST. A cheaper Mega ST. Anything. I did some crazy upgrades to my ST (Stereo sound, 4096 colour video expansion, 4Mb memory). I got a 20Mb hard drive (bought it from Bill Wilkinson himself). You shouldn't have to jump through the hoops that I did to expand a machine. I had the Magic Sac, then the Spectre 128, then the Spectre GCR.

But then Windows 3.0 came out, and I got a 286 with a mono VGA card, 2Mb RAM, and a 20Mb internal hard drive. That's when Atari stopped being my main computer.

Comment Re:Good Riddance you fuck! (Score 1) 301

I think I would blame Irving Goulde rather than Tramiel for sucking the money out. Tramiel wanted new designs, he wasn't afraid of trashing an architecture in order to move on.

Commodore had all sorts of 68000, 8080 and Z8000 designs (although most were co-processors to the 650x) that never saw the light of day. But because they saved so much money on using MOStek processors, they kept going back to that well. I think their biggest failures were not forcing MOStek to come up with the 65816 themselves.

Comment Re:Good Riddance you fuck! (Score 1) 301

Geez, Tramiel didn't come to your house and force you to buy it at gunpoint. The world couldn't help you from being a dumbass Atari fanboi, so why blame him for smacking you back to reality?

Atari couldn't afford to take three years to design the next Amiga. They did great considering the time/money constraints.

Comment Re:Where are the Apple fanbois now? (Score 1) 301

If Commodore hadn't bought MOStek, the Apple // would have probably had to use the 6800. Commodore bought them in 1976, just before the Apple came out. Of course, if Commodore hadn't strangled MOStek into being so broke, it likely wouldn't have had to sell itself to Tramiel.

So...if Apple had to use the 6800, the price of their computers would likely be around $200 higher.

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