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Bless and Curse of Atari and Amiga computer designs


calimero
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2 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

it means usually need to get new RAM boards, video card, sometimes hard disk - because connectors, slots change too.

Compatibility has it's limits. If you push it too much, will cause more bad than good

Point in fact :- Window 11 :( won't run on probably 90+% of current PC's

 

You've gotta love Micro$oft ☠️

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15 hours ago, NoBloodyXLOrE said:

Yes, there is most certainly a Mac clique, and I generally regard such people as idiots. Also, the Amiga eventually got far higher resolutions too, but you haven't really spoken to any ways the Mac is a good computer, just one that was marketed in the right way to become successful. You can get the mindless masses to buy anything if you're convincing enough. It was, in any objective, measurable sense, far inferior to its competitors, and still is.

Because you are looking at it as a hardware enthusiast.   If you are a professional who sees a computer as a tool to get a job done, you will evaluate them differently.

 

If you are a writer then you aren't going to care that your computer can bounce a pretty ball and have 4 channel PCM sound.   You want something with a comfortable keyboard and a screen that's easy on the eyes.   If you are a finance person, you need to be able to read the same spreadsheets your colleagues use, etc

 

In a professional setting, the Amiga really only excelled at one thing-  video production.   The Atari ST only excelled at music production.   For everything else, a better app ecosystem existed on PC and Mac.

 

Mac catered to a specific type of audience.  It was not the same audience that Amiga and ST were targeting (at least not targeting very well)

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11 hours ago, zzip said:

Because you are looking at it as a hardware enthusiast.   If you are a professional who sees a computer as a tool to get a job done, you will evaluate them differently.

 

If you are a writer then you aren't going to care that your computer can bounce a pretty ball and have 4 channel PCM sound.   You want something with a comfortable keyboard and a screen that's easy on the eyes.   If you are a finance person, you need to be able to read the same spreadsheets your colleagues use, etc

 

In a professional setting, the Amiga really only excelled at one thing-  video production.   The Atari ST only excelled at music production.   For everything else, a better app ecosystem existed on PC and Mac.

 

Mac catered to a specific type of audience.  It was not the same audience that Amiga and ST were targeting (at least not targeting very well)

This claims are pretty much based on some partial view on things, history of personal/home computers.

Atari ST was perfectly capable to run up to date professional SW in 80-es, and there was lot of it. Most of professional users were in Europe, they used mostly monochrome monitors. And prof. SW was made for it.  Keyboard was not bad at all, and there was Mega ST for those wanting little better.

It is simply that SW developers in USA preferred MAC and PC for prof. SW. And there were other things, like preferred firms HW sales, but I will not go in that.

 

Finally, HW is what determines power of some computer. But to utilize it well, some knowledge is needed. OS is bridge between user and HW. But still, user is who chooses on which track of that bridge to go ?

For instance, how Windows handles hard disks is good way to lose data, to lose working Win too - by default it wants only one, C partition. And even if user creates more of them, it sets all saves, temporary data, SW installs etc. on C.  While C is partition where most of disk access happens, all time - as part of way how Win works. That means that that section of disk will first go bad. Talking from experience. And it is even worse with SSD - used it for 8.1 , and C partition just gone bad after 1.5 years - surely as result of lot of writes, and it is known that Flash storage has limited write count.  I did not lost any relevant data, because I don't save it on C - that practice by me is from DOS times, about 25 years ago.

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1 minute ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

This claims are pretty much based on some partial view on things, history of personal/home computers.

Atari ST was perfectly capable to run up to date professional SW in 80-es, and there was lot of it. Most of professional users were in Europe, they used mostly monochrome monitors. And prof. SW was made for it.  Keyboard was not bad at all, and there was Mega ST for those wanting little better.

It is simply that SW developers in USA preferred MAC and PC for prof. SW. And there were other things, like preferred firms HW sales, but I will not go in that.

Yes in Europe it was a different story, and a lot of professional ST software came from Germany or UK.   But US market was dominated by names like Lotus, Wordperfect, Microsoft

 

The software packages from Germany might have been full featured, but often they were not localized or only partially localized,  and they were names that were generally not recognized in the US market so they didn't make much of a dent.  

 

The ST did eventually get Wordperfect, and a version of Microsoft Write (a precursor to Word), but no updates.   It did not have a brand name Spreadsheet, was not easy to hook them up to corporate LAN, didn't work with company email (which was generally proprietary and used fat clients in the 80s/early 90s.)   So there were many barriers to using them for professional work.

 

The Mega ST keyboard is nice,  but the keyboards found in the 520/1040's were not that great to type on for long periods.  The average PC clone had more comfortable keyboards.

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The Wordperfect release was a bit of a joke unfortunately.  I bought the student edition for $99 but the only ported the 4.1 release (I dont think we got even 4.2).  This was when they were coming out with 5.0 which was more GUI based.  Not that it wouldve saved Wordperfect in the ST arena but they would've gotten more support had they gone with 5.0 right from the gate.  I remember mags liking WP 4.1 for the ST but preferred GEM based WP's at the time for their ease of use.  If you had to do Mailing List type applications then WP was great, otherwise regular Word Processing duties were better on most GEM entries.

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To put this into perspective, Amstrad PCW (launched the same years as ST) sold ~8 million units , despite being a pretty much a one-trick pony. By comparison, Atari ST sold ~2-4 mil. But PCW was a cheap, focused workhorse and that's what people not interested in gaming were looking for.

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28 minutes ago, Goochman said:

The Wordperfect release was a bit of a joke unfortunately.  I bought the student edition for $99 but the only ported the 4.1 release (I dont think we got even 4.2).  This was when they were coming out with 5.0 which was more GUI based.  Not that it wouldve saved Wordperfect in the ST arena but they would've gotten more support had they gone with 5.0 right from the gate.  I remember mags liking WP 4.1 for the ST but preferred GEM based WP's at the time for their ease of use.  If you had to do Mailing List type applications then WP was great, otherwise regular Word Processing duties were better on most GEM entries.

I remember it getting mixed reviews in ST magazine.

 

But really it was a mess on DOS too.   I remember my school computer labs had posters hanging everywhere showing the Wordperfect key combinations because nobody could remember them all.  It was one of those apps that people used because it was the defacto standard and not because it was the best at what it did.

 

The GUI version was much better, but by that time MS Word made so many in-roads that it was too late.

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3 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

This claims are pretty much based on some partial view on things, history of personal/home computers.

Sure it's going to be partial. And even in the prime of things, a machine couldn't appeal to everyone every time. The Mac excelled at writing, and DTP. And the userbase large enough to warrant further development. Those that needed color had to go elsewhere.

 

3 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

Finally, HW is what determines power of some computer. But to utilize it well, some knowledge is needed. OS is bridge between user and HW. But still, user is who chooses on which track of that bridge to go ?

Technically yes. Today the OS is the user workspace. Today users care more about their desktop experience and how to get something done rather than what cpu is under the hood.

 

3 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

For instance, how Windows handles hard disks is good way to lose data, to lose working Win too - by default it wants only one, C partition. And even if user creates more of them, it sets all saves, temporary data, SW installs etc. on C.  While C is partition where most of disk access happens, all time - as part of way how Win works. That means that that section of disk will first go bad. Talking from experience. And it is even worse with SSD - used it for 8.1 , and C partition just gone bad after 1.5 years - surely as result of lot of writes, and it is known that Flash storage has limited write count.  I did not lost any relevant data, because I don't save it on C - that practice by me is from DOS times, about 25 years ago.

In the Apple II 300 baud BBS days (and by way of the excellent documentation at the time) I learned very early to separate the OS + Applications far and away from UserData. Drive #1 would hold DOS 3.3, and the BBS software. Drive #2 would hold logs and WaReZ and messages and user database. Or some similar separation.

 

It also makes for easier backups.

 

Regarding reliability and SSDs. My informal notes are:

1- Store only the OS and frequently used applications on them.

2- Large datasets like scientific models or games and their levels and many load-once-per-session things go on a fast file-placement-optimized spinner drive or a disposable SSD.

3- SSDs excel at handling a huge amount of tiny files.

4- Use only half their capacity. Leave room for wear leveling and extra provisioning.

5- SSDs are disposable and consumables, not unlike ink & toner.

 

Some newer large capacity NVMe drives have a cell life of 500-600 writes, compared against the early SLC drives with hundreds of thousands of writes per cell.

 

 

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2 hours ago, zzip said:

The GUI version was much better, but by that time MS Word made so many in-roads that it was too late.

Most of my early word processing was Apple II and some DOS PC stuff. And a few flirtatious experiments with Amiga that never fit the bill due to text/display readability.

 

When I got my 486 (can't stop mentioning it!) I got MS-Word and more or less took a day to learn it. It felt "premium" from the get go. With every feature I could imagine and then some. It worked and felt right. I was too green to have developed any hate or bias regarding Microsoft and fanboism.

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Well, since 486 was mentioned here couple times, I will add some experiences, and it will show that lot of manufacturers may have it's downsides too :

 

Lot of 486 motherboards were on market in period ~1992-1998, and I never bought one. The reason was  that what was here (southeast Eu) in shops was low quality in big part.  I knew it because worked part time in assembling PCs, and there were problems mostly with motherboards.   So, I decided to skip that, and waited - then Pentium and K5 arrived, and it was better with motherboards too. K5 was pretty good for it's price, while there were (as always) some smartheads claiming that it is not enough compatible and reliable (Intel propaganda) - I did not experience anything of it. Then, when DivX era started people could see some bad conversions - with errors in video (like small squares), and of course there was explanation for it: AMD CPU is culprit.  Nope, the reason was, oh surprise - motherboards, there were still low quality ones, for then actual CPUs like AMD Athlon, Duron. And people who went AMD line usually bought cheaper motherboards, and yes, they were what caused DivX errors.  I never experienced such problems with my AMD systems, because bought better motherboards, mostly ASUS.

 

For this thread this is interesting: I did not read, hear complains about Atari ST family build quality - machines were made well, from quality components.  Lot of manufacturers of PC motherboards made prices lower. Bad side is that some did not care for quality. And probably other factor: some sold faulty ones as good ones, and that went in big part in southeast  Europe (of course working ones, with some not visible errors after short test).

Case of Commodore is not so good: while Amigas were well made, C64 was not that - I know it well, because I worked on repairing them over years. Low quality chips, and PSU was just badly designed. It became better with later (non-fat) revision of C64.

 

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15 hours ago, Keatah said:

When I got my 486 (can't stop mentioning it!) I got MS-Word and more or less took a day to learn it. It felt "premium" from the get go. With every feature I could imagine and then some. It worked and felt right. I was too green to have developed any hate or bias regarding Microsoft and fanboism.

I loved MS Word at first too.   Didn't have my own PC yet, so I'd go down to the school lab to use it.   Usually I'd write the draft of my papers on my ST in the dorm, then go to the computer lab to pretty them up in Word.

 

But then I got my first lesson in MS software bloat.   One semester I came in to find they had upgraded Word on all the computers but the new version was slow and barely usable.   I couldn't understand how this was an "upgrade" :) Probably those PCs didn't have enough RAM and were swapping constantly.

 

4 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

then Pentium and K5 arrived, and it was better with motherboards too. K5 was pretty good for it's price, while there were (as always) some smartheads claiming that it is not enough compatible and reliable (Intel propaganda) - I did not experience anything of it.

I remember the K5 did not have a good reputation.   I don't think it was just Intel propaganda.   Intel was having its own PR nightmare with the Pentium FDIV bug at the time.

 

I think the issue with K5's were they just underperformed.  The K6's were much better received

 

4 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

Nope, the reason was, oh surprise - motherboards, there were still low quality ones, for then actual CPUs like AMD Athlon, Duron. And people who went AMD line usually bought cheaper motherboards, and yes, they were what caused DivX errors.  I never experienced such problems with my AMD systems, because bought better motherboards, mostly ASUS.

Yeah I have encountered some poor motherboards and chipsets with AMD.   Had one that was constantly setting off the overheating alarm if I did something like video processing.   I suspect the motherboard was misreading the temp because when I moved the CPU to another board it had no such problem.   It pays to research your board before buying it,  don't just get the best bargain board.

 

4 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

For this thread this is interesting: I did not read, hear complains about Atari ST family build quality - machines were made well, from quality components.

I suppose ST build quality was adequate.   The plastic felt a little on the cheap side, but still higher quality than the XE line.   A keyboard with a better feel would have been nice too.    But the only issue I remember with ST was a chip unseated in my STe once, but that was an easy fix.

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2 hours ago, zzip said:

I suppose ST build quality was adequate.   The plastic felt a little on the cheap side, but still higher quality than the XE line.   A keyboard with a better feel would have been nice too.    But the only issue I remember with ST was a chip unseated in my STe once, but that was an easy fix.

 

I always felt that the ST's were built fairly well. Especially the non 520/1040 machines like the Mega's, Mega STe's, TT's and STacy.

 

As to the keyboard, I feel that the 520/1040's are a bit "mushy". Easily fixed with a "TT Touch" keyboard upgrade. The keyboards on

the Mega ST, Mega STe, TT and STacy are *greatly* improved.

 

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18 minutes ago, DarkLord said:

 

I always felt that the ST's were built fairly well. Especially the non 520/1040 machines like the Mega's, Mega STe's, TT's and STacy.

 

As to the keyboard, I feel that the 520/1040's are a bit "mushy". Easily fixed with a "TT Touch" keyboard upgrade. The keyboards on

the Mega ST, Mega STe, TT and STacy are *greatly* improved.

 

Mega keyboard was much, much better.   My friend had one and I was jealous of that KB.   I did install one of those "spring kits" in my 1040STe.   It improved the feel slightly but it still wasn't exactly great.   Not sure if it was TT Touch or something else.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/28/2021 at 3:28 PM, calimero said:

 

Possible right but:

 

- ST did not waste any MC68000 cycles while drawing screen, like Mac did.

- so ST was 30% FASTER then Mac!

 

Also:

ST had 30% higher resolution then MAC

ST had 15% higher refresh rate on mono monitor then Mac

ST had colors modes

ST had full, numpad included, keyboard

ST also could replay samples

ST had ASCI before Mac got SCSI

ST had PC-compatible floppy format

ST could emulate Mac but with bigger screen, more memory, and FASTER then original!

ST cost 2.5x times less than Mac!!

(I could not understand why anybody would buy Mac back in 80s!)

 

Mac was pile of shit back in 80s. Software was also "child" like comparing to ST software back in 80s (I was using Aladin and Spectre emulators back then to test Mac software - Mac software was useless comparing to Signum, Calamus and Protext; Mac software was lcoming like from stone age)

 

Just to be clear: Mac was pile of unimaginableshit, engineering effort that fall short comparing to ST and Amiga...

 

 

That's all your opinion.  Let's see...

 

Since someone else mentioned the Mac's single floppy drive... The Mac's disc format had a higher capacity than TOS did. 400K, 800K, etc. That certainly beats 360K and 720K standards. [not counting hacked formats that the software houses didn't greatly support]. You can claim pseudo PC disc compatibility but how many of us back then actually used that "feature"? Not for the typical kids playing games on their STs. 

 

You're bringing up the numeric keypad? Well, the original Mac came out in early 1984. The Mac Plus in 1986 had a numeric keypad too. And it wasn't mushy like the 520ST/1040ST keyboards. Are you going to bring up the ST's 2 button mouse next? Because if so, then I could raise you macros being implemented in MacOS before TOS 1.04 if I recall correctly.

 

The Mac's standard fonts versus GDOS which Atari Corp promised to integrated into GEM/TOS standard but never did. Standard software on the Mac used those fonts. On the ST, you had to add GDOS via loading it and the software had to support it. Not to mention it ate away at your RAM since you loaded it that way. 

 

While the original Mac lacked SCSI or anything similar, once the SCSI standard was hammered together, Apple fully embraced it starting with the Mac Plus. Atari Corp kept sticking with ACSI for backwards compatibility purposes instead of switching to pure SCSI. So it became an added cost to have adapters bundled with the drives all the way up to the Mega STE/TT/Falcon030 days when SCSI and IDE were finally picked up.

 

Again, SIMM slots going at least back to the Mac Plus. That's 3+ years before the STe. Fire up the YouTube vids. You'll even see common 128MB upgrades for the Mac SE/30. Can you do that with a Mega STe? Although I'll concede there's a 128MB/256MB upgrade for the TT.

 

The Mac's DAC... better audio samples than the ST unless one wanted to burn through RAM and CPU cycles, or wait until 1989 with the STe's DMA sound chip.

 

HyperCard bundled.

 

Easier CPU and RAM upgrades with internal CPU slots. Consequently, there's decent 68020 and up support on the Mac platform compared to the ST. The same goes for the 6888x FPUs as I mentioned previously. 

 

Secondary monitors via expansion cards. Easier to do with the Macs compared to the STs unless you went the Mega ST, Mega STe, or TT routes. And then most of the software didn't support those expansion cards on the ST end.

 

How 'bout networking?  AppleTalk was easy to do on the Mac. Crickets on the ST outside of using the MIDI ports for MIDI Maze. I'm sure the folks at Atari Inc that had worked on the "Alan Kay Net" project had left by the time of the transition to Atari Corp. Otherwise, that could've possibly been implemented if it was considered cost-effective. But alas, it didn't happen. 

 

Yes, the Mac was much more expensive - not counting student or teacher discounts - and didn't handle color well unless you really spent a fortune on the platform. But they had plenty of plusses on their platform that the ST did not do well in comparison. I listed a few of them there...

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On 11/3/2021 at 8:42 AM, zzip said:

I remember the K5 did not have a good reputation.   I don't think it was just Intel propaganda.   Intel was having its own PR nightmare with the Pentium FDIV bug at the time.

 

I think the issue with K5's were they just underperformed.  The K6's were much better received

 

Yeah I have encountered some poor motherboards and chipsets with AMD.   Had one that was constantly setting off the overheating alarm if I did something like video processing.   I suspect the motherboard was misreading the temp because when I moved the CPU to another board it had no such problem.   It pays to research your board before buying it,  don't just get the best bargain board.

I built a couple 2 or 3 AMD K5/K6 rigs bitd. It wasn't the AMD part that would go wonky, but, rather, the chipset. Had issues with ALi and VIA (IIRC). One of the boards was a Micronics C200 with ALi. Sucked pretty hard. The Micronics board with "M" Micronics chipset in my 486 was/is pretty stable.

 

For Intel I liked the 440LX and 440BX parts in combo with a Slot-1 Pentium II. Today I have a "vintage" 1,400MHz Pentium III that I should really partly disassemble and put in long-term storage.

 

Abit quality sucked because of the caps, but otherwise pretty good once recapped. Comparable to Intel and Asus.

 

A recollection: I was really puke-green back in the day. I got my first 440LX (Pentium II) board from this local japcrap shop. The guy inflated my ego beyond belief when he sold me a "white-box" Intel AL440LX. Made a big stink about the word "SECRET" printed on one of the chips, saying shit like it was a leaked high-performance prototype. And I could have it for $200 above MSRP. But I couldn't tell anyone. I instantly bought it! I even hid it under my laundry in the closet for fear of being discovered. A couple of days later it cooled off and I got it all setup.

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3 hours ago, Lynxpro said:

You can claim pseudo PC disc compatibility but how many of us back then actually used that "feature"?

I think you'll find a lot of people used it, I certainly did as did most of my friends and work colleagues.

 

I think it was that feature that inspired a company to make (I think it was called Sidekick) a PC addon for the

ST, I believe it had a 268 processor and ran MS-DOS, a friend bought one and it seemed to work ok.

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TOS built in format can produce 360K or 720K floppies, in later machines 1.44 MB too.

But TOS floppy code is flexible and will work with practically any possible sector/track value. So, with 800K, 880K formats, for example.

And it is not true that SW companies did not support those 'hacked' formats . And it is not hack to use 400KB floppy format, for instance. All what is FAT12 compatible is not hacked.

There is plenty of floppy format programs for ST family available, so is really no need to talk about Desktop formatter - what is part of TOS in ROM, and we know that space there is limited, so it is just for basic formats.

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7 hours ago, Lynxpro said:

You can claim pseudo PC disc compatibility but how many of us back then actually used that "feature"? Not for the typical kids playing games on their STs. 

Hey that feature got me though college.  I could write papers on my ST in the comfort of my dorm.  Then take the disk down to the lab, read it on a PC and print on their laser printers.

 

6 hours ago, Keatah said:

Made a big stink about the word "SECRET" printed on one of the chips, saying shit like it was a leaked high-performance prototype. And I could have it for $200 above MSRP. But I couldn't tell anyone.

What was his plan here?   "Don't tell anyone" knowing you would tell everyone and they'd all flood to his store to get their own?   Or "don't tell anyone" so you don't find out you were being scammed?

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19 hours ago, zzip said:

Hey that feature got me though college.  I could write papers on my ST in the comfort of my dorm.  Then take the disk down to the lab, read it on a PC and print on their laser printers.

Same here. I was dumbfounded that Lynxpro minimized this very useful feature that I also know many ST users used.

 

If anything, it's the lack of this feature on the Mac that is a major problem. I remember in college, one person had a Mac SE in our lab and he could not exchange disks with everyone else who had a PC (or in my case, an ST) because his Mac did not support a SuperDrive. I was already using Papyrus which supported RTF format, so inserting my text into Word was easy. Piecing together our lab reports was a PITA to say the least. Retyping some parts and printing out chapters with different fonts surly must have been an eye-opener for the professor. At one point, I actually thought about getting a Spectre GCR to help this poor soul, so that I can transvert between his Mac disks to our PC/ST disks, but Spectre was still going for $400-$500 back then. (Mac ROMs were getting scarce IIRC) I couldn't afford it. The guy couldn't afford a new PC either since his Mac was a hand-me-down-used, but he really wanted a PC to make his life easier. This feature definitely comes in handy!

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On 11/13/2021 at 5:33 AM, atarian1 said:

Same here. I was dumbfounded that Lynxpro minimized this very useful feature that I also know many ST users used.

 

If anything, it's the lack of this feature on the Mac that is a major problem. I remember in college, one person had a Mac SE in our lab and he could not exchange disks with everyone else who had a PC (or in my case, an ST) because his Mac did not support a SuperDrive. I was already using Papyrus which supported RTF format, so inserting my text into Word was easy. Piecing together our lab reports was a PITA to say the least. Retyping some parts and printing out chapters with different fonts surly must have been an eye-opener for the professor. At one point, I actually thought about getting a Spectre GCR to help this poor soul, so that I can transvert between his Mac disks to our PC/ST disks, but Spectre was still going for $400-$500 back then. (Mac ROMs were getting scarce IIRC) I couldn't afford it. The guy couldn't afford a new PC either since his Mac was a hand-me-down-used, but he really wanted a PC to make his life easier. This feature definitely comes in handy!

Back then it was the norm that every system had its own format,  so being able to share disks with an otherwise incompatible system was novel and forward-looking.  We couldn't easily share files with email like we do now.   So getting files from one computer to another was always tricky if you couldn't share a disk.  

 

I remember the few Macs at college also happened to be the ones that had scanners.   So I had to use them a couple of time to scan some things.  I don't even remember how I got the documents to PC/ST,   maybe I used the LAN somehow.

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The story of Atari/Commodore vs. Apple/IBM is the story of the tortoise and the hare.  Atari and Commodore were building tight, proprietary, performant systems focused primarily on graphics and sound.  Apple and IBM were building extensible platforms, focused on modularity, reusability, and evolutionary readiness.  Atari and Commodore: Engineers.  Apple and IBM: Architects.  Everyone lost to IBM and the PC platform because no one else had the money or academic rigor it took to design and implement a platform that could last multiple generations; existing today in largely the same form.

Edited by pixelmischief
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/12/2021 at 2:25 AM, ParanoidLittleMan said:

TOS built in format can produce 360K or 720K floppies, in later machines 1.44 MB too.

But TOS floppy code is flexible and will work with practically any possible sector/track value. So, with 800K, 880K formats, for example.

And it is not true that SW companies did not support those 'hacked' formats . And it is not hack to use 400KB floppy format, for instance. All what is FAT12 compatible is not hacked.

There is plenty of floppy format programs for ST family available, so is really no need to talk about Desktop formatter - what is part of TOS in ROM, and we know that space there is limited, so it is just for basic formats.

 

Really? What mainline commercial software supported 400K, 800K, or 880K formats to ST users to save their data in from 1985-1990? I'm not talking about demo scene wares, pirate compilations, or British magazine pack-in discs. Could First Word? Word Perfect? Microsoft Write? Any of the databases or other productivity software? How 'bout the MIDI sequencers? CAD 3D or the Cyber Studio?

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10 hours ago, Lynxpro said:

 

Really? What mainline commercial software supported 400K, 800K, or 880K formats to ST users to save their data in from 1985-1990? I'm not talking about demo scene wares, pirate compilations, or British magazine pack-in discs. Could First Word? Word Perfect? Microsoft Write? Any of the databases or other productivity software? How 'bout the MIDI sequencers? CAD 3D or the Cyber Studio?

It is not SW, but TOS what takes care of data save. If floppy is formatted to 400 or 800 or for instance 410 KB, TOS will save to it, until there is free space. SW needs only to give   save memory to file   TOS calls.  Of course, there must be disk formatted to such formats, and SW companies for sure could afford such program, or asking some employee too write it. If I was able to make such SW in my first Atari ST year (1987), certainly some experienced programmer was able too.

Then, lot of games were published on 400 K, 800 K, even 880 K formatted floppies. Example:  Dungeon Master (it needed some packing to fit on single sided floppy - and that was important in 1987).

Btw. I had different kind of problem in 1987: bought 520 ST with single sided drive - to save some money. Plan was to buy double sided, what will be external, drive B (or A, using switch), also planned that myself expand RAM to 1 MB - did both some 5 months later, and saved some 200 DEM that way. Drive was EPSON, and worked with only +5V power.  But it had one little drawback - could access only tracks 0-79, so max 80 tracks. It was no problem for any commercial SW, for floppies formatted with my SW, only for number of cracks/demos, where they went on 82-83 tracks, just to have couple tens of KB more space.  Instead that I went rather on HD floppy support couple years later .

Ah, and to add: it is wrong to call floppies 720 KB floppies. Nope. Better is to call them DS DD - double sided, double density. Guess what ? Amiga people bought '720 KB' floppy, and after format they had 880 KB available. No wonder they felt so superior ?

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