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Questions about the Atari Portfolio


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I was wondering how many of you out there had an Atari Portfolio...I see them all the time on ebay, but did they run regular dos programs? Do they have a floppy drive? What was the big draw for small computers like that? Can I dial up BBSES with them?



I had one, they ran some DOS programs but of course we are dealing with a very small amount of memory (and some of it is used for storage) so not much that wasn't programmed specifically for the Portfolio ran on it. I believe there was a floppy drive and I know there was a rs-232 interface and also a terminal card you could buy so you could call bbs's with it... not sure how fast of a modem you could use with a Portfolio or if there are any dial up bbs's left anymore though.

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I have one and I still use it. My friend has an Apple Iphone, that thing lasts 5 - 8 hours, I use my Portfolio, it last 2 weeks in use on the same batteries. Built in spreadsheet, WP, and many more goodies, just the right thing for jotting down notes, writing emails...etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Portfolio


The cards used with the Port were pre-PCMCIA cards, so that's a bit of a shame as the PC Card Drive stopped working from Pentiums (II?) and Win98SE onward. That's why I keep my PC Card Drive in my Teradrive for transferring, and then onto floppies.


Memory can be upgraded, up to 512 KB or more. I got the basic version and I never ran out of memory. Attach the parallel port, and print straight away. Serial port for online, not much use nowadays because it's slow as you can imagine. But it can dial up BBSs with no problems (Port modem required).


A UK shop called Maplin did sell a portable Disk drive, which worked on Portfolio, but back in the days it was something like GBP 250.00 just for the drive. I never managed to purchase one.


Atari did a great Chess program, which is excellent, and I also have lots of games, paint programms, utilities, back-up, PD softs, Mac transfer, ST transfer, PC transfer programms and lots more. Check out on my website for some Portfolio pics..

Edited by thomasholzer
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speaking of games I remember I had a Zelda-esq game on it and some other games that were good a Phoenix/Demon attack style game and a pac man clone+ a couple tetris clones... that is about it for fun games as far as I can remember and they weren't even up to Gameboy quality. The built in applications tended to be the most useful.

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Not rather well known,but......you could interface the Portfolio with a parallel port hard drive. I saw an article about it in the old "Current Notes" magazine/newsletter by John Barnes


You can also use CF cards but it requires a small mod to the portfolio (I haven't done this yet but I would like too):



I own 2 portfolios. I use them for WP, and for playing games. Standard parallel and serial interfaces are still available for them. You can hook up printers and modems. You can also use the interfaces to transfer data to a PC, Atari ST and even the 8-bit(serial only)


I even installed a back light in one of them! It was the hardest mod I have ever done for any Atari device but its awsome to be able to sit on my porch at night and write with my portfolio!


Its a great little computer and WAY ahead of its time.


Here are some more links for the Portfolio:









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I have 4 PoFos, one with 512KB and Overclocked CPU (haven't done the mod myself, so so don't ask how it is done). There is a ZIP-Drive Handler for the PoFo with an parallel Interface which you can still buy from Best Electronics (http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/portfoli.htm).


Also, the PoFo is great to do Text-base Internet from attaching a Mobile Phone with a serial cable (RS-232) to the PoFo with Serial Interface (I use Nokia Phones with Hayes AT Modem Interface) and dial into your local network and from there use Links for Webbrowsing, pine for Mail and Rhapsody for IRC Chat.


For Programming, I use VolksForth (what else ?) where I can write programs that are source code compatible across Atari XL/XE, Atari ST, Atari Portfolio, MS-DOS, Windows, MacOS X and Linux (latter three using GNU Forth, which is the "big brother" of VolksForth), without the overhead of Java ;)


VolksForth Atari Portfolio is specially adapted for the PoFo, for example for the small screen.


VolksForth for Portfolio can be downloaded at http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=146259

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I was wondering how many of you out there had an Atari Portfolio...I see them all the time on ebay, but did they run regular dos programs? Do they have a floppy drive? What was the big draw for small computers like that? Can I dial up BBSES with them?


I have a Portfolio with parallel and serial interfaces. I have done the system clock update, low battery update(supercap), and backlight, and have a 128k memory card. Will do memory upgrade one of these days.


I also have a zip driver from germany with zip drive for 100 megs of storage in 3 partitions, accessable with my laptop pc. The zip drive with battery works very nicely.


I do some work with it when I travel. But mostly now I use it for figuring out prices for things I sell thru paypal. I input shipping and base price, it gives me paypal/non paypal, tx/non-tx totals.


I do like to play with it and library software from time to time.

I still have about 100 programs to run I do not know anything about.


Rick d.

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  • 11 years later...

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