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Hindsight and brain farts

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Drum Synth- Antic 2/85, MIDIfied

Drum Synth/Bass Synth by Glen Gutierrez are 2 programs featured in the Antic Feb. 1985 issue. Antic Editor: "These are the most realistic instrument simulations we've ever heard at Antic." The Drum Synth program has been MIDIfied to except data from an Arduino+MIDI shield through the joystick port. Now the drums can be beat from a MIDI keyboard(MKB) or sequencer. Software: The chart follows the data from the MIDI NOTE ON source to the Atari Computer running the Drum program. The gene

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A8 MIDI and the Atari Age of rediscovery

When I started the Computer Blues Project I really thought there was no way to program the MIDI MATE from BASIC and that using the RS232 port was an option. If you don't have a MIDI Mate or MIDI Max, it is an option. If you do, there are ways of programing BASIC MIDI applications for them. I am just now starting to discover those methods. That’s at the end of this blog story. Where to start? Once upon a time….. I wasn't going to replace the MIDI Mate I sold after getting the ST but whe

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The Voice Synthesizer - before I move on

Getting the DFRobot voice synthesis shield working was an interim project until I could justify the procurement of a Wizztronics MidiMax unit. Now that it is here I want to get the last experiments documented, in case I ever want to turn the shield into a MIDI device. The last modification to the type and talk program added the ability to re-transmit the last words typed, if just hit the return. The program is still 3 lines of BASIC. 100 DIM A$(200),B$(200):CLOSE #1:OPEN #1,8,0,"R2:":XIO

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Type & Talk, just 3 lines of BASIC Code

How many lines of Atari BASIC is required to make the Arduino shield from the last blog post talk? 3 lines - type some text, hit return, send text to the 850 interface and repeat. The Arduino receives the text, does a little reformatting, then sends that string to the XFS5051CE chip for speech synthesis. This isn't just for the Atari8, any computer with an RS232 port can be made to chit-chat. The Shield is going to use the Serial pins 0 and 1 to talk to the Arduino. A TTL to RS232 converte

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The $42+$10+$7 Voice Synthesizer

Warning: This entry is about the hardware of an ongoing project. It may create more questions then answers. Please post any answers, along with the question, in the comment section.   Be careful what you put on your Amazon Wish list. You just might get it. Before the holidays I loaded mine up with Arduino shields, breakout boards, servo motors and 2n2222 transistors. The speech synthesis shield for Arduino from DFROBOT was put on list without doing much research. No ratings or reviews sho

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How to play Star Raiders with a 3 year old

My wife tells me that our three year old granddaughter may be a little to young to enjoy a game of Star Raiders. To which I said, "You may be right." And then I put the cartridge in. I have to admit that the first try was not all that successful. I gave her the joystick and she found the fire button. She just kept firing till she hit something. I told her it was a rock and then everything she hit was a rock. I worked the keyboard while she fired away. She wasn't much of a pilot, the joyst

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SIO2MIDI - Home Made MIDI Interface.atr

A disk image with Chris Terpin's Home Made MIDI Interface(1991) had been downloaded at some point during the MIDI Blues project and was not examined until now. The disk contained a text file giving a brief (and somewhat incomplete) explanation of how to build the MIDI I/O circuits and hook it up to the SIO port. That was Part 1 of 2, I'm wondering what part 2 of 2 might have said.   This is a message thread in the Forum that contains a link to an FTP site in response #9. Look for "Home Ma

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Tired of the Blues

How much can you change a program before it becomes a different program? I believe I have reached that point with Computer Blues. Version 4 got rid of the base repeats and Version 5 gave each voice its own channel and different patches for the JAM() and base notes. Fixing the timing can be done but would require a major rewrite.   Here are the resulting sound and program files for Version 5. MIDI Computer Blues 5 - 3 channels.zip These are the changes made to version 4 to produce Versio

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Implementing the MIDI Implementation Chart

Playing MIDI notes has turned out to be quite easy for Atari BASIC through the RS232-Arduino-MIDI OUT (RAMO) interface (see previous posts in this blog). Most MIDI instruments have additional functions beyond receiving the note ON and note OFF commands. Each MIDI instrument should come with a MIDI Implementation Chart (MIDI-IC) that will indicate which functions are implemented. The MIDI-IC for the CASIO CTK-481 will be used to build some BASIC programs to control the CTK-481. That is to

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A8 Wind Chimes - Gentle Breeze in C minor

There is a sound recording of the first attempt to simulate wind chimes within the following .ZIP file. It was recorded using Window 10's Voice Recorder. The A8 used Atari BASIC's RND(0) function to pick note, volume, and delay values for the chime strikes. Then sent the MIDI data to the Yamaha TG33 Tone Generator, Preset 2 #87 PC*Bells. You don't need the A8 setup to hear the recording. Its in .m4a format. A8 Wind Chimes - Gentle Breeze in C minor.zip If you are interested in the A8 sid

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Better Blues - MIDI Computer Blues V3

After listening to MIDI Computer Blues V2, I decided to try to simulate some wind chimes but before that was going to happen I had to be able to transmit data at a faster rate. If the tempo of MIDI Computer Blues V2 could be improved there was a chance of making the wind chimes sound real. The Arduino Uno interface loop() was shortened to two lines. I didn't think this was going to make much of a difference and it didn't. /*RS232 to MIDI v2 - 9/14/16 * Pack007 * * This program reads bytes

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MIDI Computer Blues - V2.0

After hearing Computer Blues through a MIDI synthesizer, I can understand how some parents feel while hearing their child's first recital. Its not so much listening to the music as it is hearing the potential.   It is in this spirit that I post these zipped sound files. Atari computer blues 8.m4a - the original sound from the A8 with 8 as the speed Midicb piano.m4a - recorded the Casio CKT-481 synth at speed 1 Midich organ.m3q - Organ sound Midich organ and dr

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MIDI Computer Blues: Note On - Note Off

The Arduino is receiving data from the 850 and can send data to a MIDI device. The trick now is to get the MIDI command data from the 850 and send it to the MIDI device. There was nothing but silence from the synthesizer during the first day of programming. I would have had a sleepless night but decided to go to bed and skim the 850 manual for possible fixes. Fell asleep within 5 minutes. The Arduino sketch seems simple enough. Read 3 bytes - Write 3 bytes. Just be sure the pin assignment

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MIDI Computer Blues - Setting up the Hardware

Within the Atari 800 computer manual is a program called Computer Blues. "This program generates random musical notes to "write" some very interesting melodies for the programmed bass." Maybe the first program I typed in . That same program is in the 1030 XE manual. It was while listening to this program and trying to figure out what to do with an Arduino MIDI shield that I thought, "What would Computer Blues sound like if played through a synthesizer?"   Gone is my MIDI Mate, CZ-101 and Rolan

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A8 Hardware Project Literature

This bibliography (of sorts) began while researching previous projects and has expanded greatly while organizing my magazine collection. Articles or books on hardware projects requiring a screw driver and/or a soldering iron were added to the list along with a general interest piece or two. Most of these articles/books can easily be found on the web and will be in hard copy forever. I'm hoping that someone will find the inspiration within this list to build or update some of these projects

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Going Retro: Checking on the A8

Retrofying the checking account gave me a chance to think about how much of my every day banking has changed over the last 30 years. Debit cards, ATMs, automatic deposits, automatic bill payment, automation of data entry at the window, and online banking came about after opening up my first checking account. Now that my balance is one password away I didn't even bother to keep the Transaction Register (that little book that comes with the checks) up to date. Maybe one of the biggest changes i

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Torpedo Projector - screen shots

The Torpedo Projector has been sitting on the shelf for a few years. The instructions were written around 2007 and that's about how long its been sitting on the shelf. I played a couple of games of Star Raiders on the 6 foot screen, but I can't believe I was overly impressed since that was the last time it was out of the box.     For playing your 1980's video game machines that have a composite output, you might be happy with one of these toys. Just keep your expectations low. After a

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RTC v2.1

I wanted the RTC project to be over but it wasn't long before daylight savings kicked in and I needed to reset the clock. All I wanted to do was be able to run a program on the Atari8 to set the time on the RTC and then have it rerun the SETCLOCK.BAS to update the clock on the Atari8.   And as long as I was going to do that I may as well reconfigure the hardware and………. . So by the time I was finished it needed to be called version 2.1.   Hardware: When I found Arduino Uno clones for $6.50

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Soldering Arduino Shield Stackable Header Pins

The more you play around with Arduino circuits for your Atari8 the more likely it is that you will be soldering stackable header pins onto prototype boards. The better the solder job, the easier it is to stack your boards. No mater how many times I try I haven't seen an improvement in my skill set. At lease not until I built this LEGO fixture to hold the pins perpendicular to the board while soldering.   The fixture uses LEGO Technic parts. They are all standard parts. Attached is the buil

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Atari Clock & RTC pt.3 of 3

The Arduino is sending data to the 850 every second, the Atari has the Clock and R: handler loaded, and the only thing left is to write the BASIC program to get the time from the 850 and set the clock. I took the original CLOCK2.BAS and turned it into a pile of spaghetti code and called it SETCL850.BAS. It gets the job done but I know there are more errors then have been anticipated. This ATR is a single density disk image with DOS.SYS 2.5, the AUTORUN.SYS from pt.2, and the SECTCLOCK.B

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Atari Clock & RTC pt.2

Part 1 ended with the Arduino/RTC/RS232 shield able to send the time and date to the Dell. The next step was to hook the unit up to the 850 and read the data using Bob Term. Once the Baud rate, translation and duplex were set to 9600bps, ASCII and Full, the time and date were updated every second, just like on the Dell. As I watched the stream of data being printed to the screen I said to myself, "This is going much to smoothly. I bet the RS232 device handler and clock are going to use th

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Atari Clock(ANALOG 31) & RTC(DS1307) pt.1

In the June 1985 issue of ANALOG (#31), the "ATARI CLOCK" by Jonathan Buckheit was published. It is a machine language program that added an extra text line to the top of the screen display and printed the time once per second. I remember typing in CLOCK1.BAS to create an AUTORUN.SYS file and CLOCK2.BAS to set the time. I also remember using it but soon tired of inputting the time for each REBOOT. Download ANALOG issue #31 for more information. http://www.atarimania.com/atari-magazine-analog

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Going Retro: What's the DIF?

Having chosen Calc Magic as my A8 spreadsheet program, the next logical step seems to be to transfer the data into Calc Magic. Several of the files that are to be transfered started out as Visicalc files then migrated to Calc Magic, then to the ST, then to the IBM running Lotus 1-2-3, then to Microsoft Office, then to the iMAC running Microsoft Office, then back to an IBM compatible running Microsoft office, then to Open Office, then to Excel 2013, and now back to Calc Magic. I could have save

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DDT for MAC/65 Reference Sheet

You would think that at some point, while writing programs for the Diamond GOS using the MAC/65 V1.01 assembler cartridge, I would have learned how to use DDT(Dunion's Debugging Tool). I was much to busy trouble shooting the programs to read the manual. It wasn't until reading Atari Roots by Mark Andrews that learning DDT seemed advantageous. Now that the manual has been read, DDT will be used. But the question remains, How many commands will be remembered when next it is used? (As often

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Going Retro: A8 Spreadsheets

My first opportunity to go retro was when I wanted to build a spreadsheet to calculate wheel rpm and pulse duration for the bike speedometer project. At about 12mph the computer readings start to become erratic. So I started at the beginning and booted up VisiCalc. VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program I ever saw. I had talked the company into purchasing an image analysis system that used an Apple II. Of course the finance people saw this as an opportunity to try out VisiCalc without

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