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Atari 1200XL Stacked Up Against a Dell Inspiron 253

Posted by timothy
from the ok-it's-actually-stacked-on-top dept.
Bill Kendrick writes "My first computer was the short-lived 1200XL model of the Atari 8-bit computer line. I finally got ahold of one again, after having to settle with a lesser Atari system. My immediate reaction was: 'Damn, it's as big as my Dell Inspiron laptop!', and I couldn't resist doing one of those side-by-side comparisons, complete with photos of one system sitting atop the other. (I also put the 1983 storage and speeds in 2009 terms, for the benefit of the youngin's out there.) While in many ways the Atari pales in comparison to the latest technology they cram into laptops, I do get to benefit from SD storage media. It also still boots way faster than Ubuntu on the Dell, has a far more ergonomic keyboard, and is much more toddler-proof."
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Atari 1200XL Stacked Up Against a Dell Inspiron

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  • Youngins (Score:5, Funny)

    by ubergamer1337 (912210) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:14PM (#28627675)
    "I also put the 1983 storage and speeds in 2009 terms, for the benefit of the youngin's out there." We would thank you, but we're too busy getting off your lawn.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Moblaster (521614)

      >>"I also put the 1983 storage and speeds in 2009 terms, for the benefit of the youngin's out there." We would thank you, but we're too busy getting off your lawn.

      Considering the Atari 1200 was powered by the 6502 microprocessor, the assembly code of which drove the original Terminator, that would be an entirely wise idea.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      keep your dendrophilia to yourself

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      He just graduated ten years ago? He is a young'n!

  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jimbobborg (128330) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:15PM (#28627683)

    I had an Atari 800XL back in the day. With a 300 Baud modem, two floppy drives, and a color monitor! I miss that machine. Had way too many pirated games for it.

    • by chimpo13 (471212)

      Pirating Atari software. Tsk, tsk.

      Nolan Bushnell is still a pretty neat guy. I remember years ago when slashdot posted his email and he'd answer just about everything.

      I asked about the rumored "Kramer vs Kramer" game where you lure your kid to your side of the screen with gifts and threats. He said if they worked on that, it was past the time he worked there.

      I wonder if Bill Gates will answer my question about a possible bug in my Windows 1.0 version of Reversi.

    • by anss123 (985305)

      Had way too many pirated games for it.

      A pal of mine had an Atari XEGS. It looked awesome and futuristic, but was a bit of an oddball considering Atari already had the cheaper 2600 and superior 7800 out on the market. Apparently one could convert the XEGS to an XL so I suspect Atari just wanted to cash in on XL games that wouldn't run on a 7800 without a rewrite.

      • XEGS was actually just an XL/XE with built-in Missile Command and a funky, detachable keyboard. (The Atari 5200 game system was also similar to the 400/800 (predecessor to the XL/XE), so a lot of games were identical and/or pirated+ported.)

      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dogtanian (588974) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @06:32PM (#28629339) Homepage

        A pal of mine had an Atari XEGS. It looked awesome and futuristic, but was a bit of an oddball considering Atari already had the cheaper 2600 and superior 7800 out on the market.

        Atari's problem seemed to be that they tried to do too many things at once and lacked focus.

        Bill himself has already mentioned [slashdot.org] the Warner-era [wikipedia.org] 5200, which was a previous attempt at building a console derived from the 400/800 8-bit computer hardware. From what I know, internally the hardware was virtually identical to the 400/800, but for some reason they changed round the location of a few registers in memory and removed some of the OS. They also changed the cartridge interface.

        Therefore, despite the hardware and most of the system being identical, the 5200 couldn't directly run 400/800 games (*1) and vice versa, even if you could get it to load them.

        AFAIK, they launched the 5200 around the same time that the 400/800 was replaced with the XL line. The XL was backwards-compatible (*2), so it ran (most) 400/800 games and hardware, and it *wasn't* compatible with the 5200.

        Why did Atari do this? Was it a cynical attempt at marketing? Or were the divisions within Atari just more concerned at scoring points off each other? It happens.

        Anyway, the 5200 flopped, not least (I heard) because the joysticks were horrible.

        Re: the XEGS. This was launched later on, circa 1987, during the Tramiel era [wikipedia.org]. I heard that Atari were originally planning on releasing the 7800 in Europe then changed their mind and launched the XEGS instead. Since the XEGS was (unlike the 5200) fully compatible with the 400/800/XL/XE line, it was probably a quick and easy way of exploiting existing hardware that had a lot of pre-existing software.

        Thing is though, I later saw the 7800 for sale in Europe (more specifically, through Argos in the UK) and I think they sold the XEGS in the US anyway. So I'm not sure what the story was. I don't think Atari did either.

        Then during the early-1990s there was the launch of the ST's successor, the Falcon 030. The ST had been quite successful in Europe, but was later overtaken by the Amiga 500 when the price of that came down. I *knew* that regardless of whether it was a nice machine or not, the Falcon 030 was going to flop because (a) Even then the ST market was seriously declining with no obvious likelihood of things getting better and the PC compatibles were taking over, (b) Atari probably didn't have the budget to do it justice and (c) Atari couldn't market ****.

        The Falcon 030 flopped.

        It was withdrawn after just a year or so, I seem to remember so that Atari could commit to the Jaguar console, but that was a relative flop as well. If they'd launched it properly, it might have done some business before the far superior PlayStation came out and wiped the floor with it, but they didn't.

        Oh yeah, and the technically-brilliant-for-its-time Lynx was a flop as well, even though it should have done well.

        Atari sucked.

        • by Dogtanian (588974)
          Forgot the footnotes(!)

          (*1) Though the changes required to port 5200 games to/from the 400/800 would likely be limited to tweaking a few locations

          (*2) Almost; some games didn't run, but the majority did.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by anss123 (985305)

          So I'm not sure what the story was. I don't think Atari did either.

          LOL. Probably true that :-)

          Oh yeah, and the technically-brilliant-for-its-time Lynx was a flop as well, even though it should have done well.

          The Lynx should have been smaller with a bigger BW reflective screen. The Lynx hardware itself was quite innovative, but its "huge" size and hunger for batteries made it a poor portable. The Game Gear was similarly troubled but Sega somehow managed to attract buyers though.

    • by killmenow (184444)
      I still have my 1200XL, tape drive, Atari /BASIC cartridge, Jumpman Jr. cartridge, floppy drive, original Zork disks, and my Mapping the Atari book. This computer and my then pre-teen self attending a 6502 assembly class started me off on my technology love affair. I also still have old issues of Compute magazine, including the one with the code for keying in Lunar Lander. Lost my modem with acoustic coupler, unfortunately.
      • You had to have a cartridge for BASIC? If you didn't hit a special button on the 800XL, you defaulted to basic. Sucked if you programmed anything, as you couldn't write to a floppy if you didn't boot from it.

    • Why did you steal those games from a freighter? Couldn't you just have copied them from others like normal people?

      Or are you just already indoctrinated with **AA newspeak?

    • Don't Copy That Floppy!

      • Thank god Black Ops didn't throw you in "get the crap beat out of you" prison for copying games back then.

        • by Rycross (836649)
          Between terrible rap music and black-ops busting my door down, I'd have to say its a toss-up.
  • by XPeter (1429763) * on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:17PM (#28627715) Homepage

    No SSD? No blu ray? No multiple core processors? No high clocked graphics cards? No ram with heat-spreaders attached? And worst of all no big case with lights inside?!

    What kind of world did you people live in?

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moblaster (521614) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:27PM (#28627853)

      It was a world where almost every kid grew up learning at least a little BASIC, because virtually all computers booted right into the BASIC command line. Which skill-wise puts the early 80s generation ahead of every generation before or after, young whippersnapper.

      • by tsa (15680)

        As I recall most kids in the 1980s couldn't care less about BASIC or assembler. They just wanted to play games on their home computers.

        • Which was only possible if you could do basic!

          And many kids actually later started making their own little games. For FUN. Yes!

          I loved my ASCII-art games, until I found out, that my crappy 8088 PC could do graphics on his black/green AGA (CGA+Hercules+Monochrome) graphics system. Then I got really sad that I did not find it out earlier.
          My father was such a cheap ass. Wanna know what computer I wanted when I got that thing instead?
          A 386DX with 33 MHz! Yes. That's how old that thing was!

          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            As I recall most kids in the 1980s couldn't care less about BASIC or assembler. They just wanted to play games on their home computers.

            Which was only possible if you could do basic!

            We had these things called tapes and disks when I was a kid. You could buy them with other people's games on and stuff!

            And no, I don't count 'LOAD ""' or whatever the C64 equivalent was as knowing BASIC. :-)

            BTW, BASIC was a ******* horrible language for encouraging bad habits, for myself included.

        • just wanted to play games on their home computers

          Yes, and often the way you got games was to painstakingly key them in (in basic) from the source code printed in magazines.

          You couldn't help but pick up a little basic along the way...

    • by Hatta (162192) *

      No SSD?

      Actually, depending on your definition it does have a solid state drive. SD cards are solid state media, and his SIO2PC emulates an atari drive.

      That's actually a really cool device, I just got a 600xl, and I'm going to have to pick one up. Very reasonably priced at $60, considering a comparable solution for the IIgs costs twice that.

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:45PM (#28628085) Homepage Journal

      What kind of world did you people live in?

      As primitive as the world is today, the world I grew up in was WAY primitive. Computers took entire buildings to house but were less powerful than a pocket calculator (my "pocket calculator" was a slide rule), there were no mice, no laser pointers (no lasers at all). there was color TV but only one family in the neighborhood could afford one and besides there were only two station (this was in St Louis, a major metropolis). No VCRs, no video games, no microwave ovens, no cordless phones (the phones had dials instead of buttons), no remote controls. Cars had no fuel injectors, air bags, or seat belts. Most electronics still used tubes. No accomodating lenses for cataract patients (in fact the first IOL was developed only a few years before I was born). Most folks didn't have air conditioning, and nobody had air in their cars. Cars only had AM radio.

      When Star Trek came on TV (I was 12 iirc) everything about it was pure science fiction - doors that opened by themselves (now every grocery has them), flat screen desktop computers, "communicators" (cell phones), etc.

      You don't realise how primitive your world is until you get older. I can't imagine some of the stuff you guys will get to see. I never dreamed that some day I wouldn't have to wear glasses!

      Hell, the laser didn't exist until I was 8 or 9. Talk about primitive.

      • Did you know that when it was invented, the bosses at Bell labs said "there will never be an application for a room-temperature laser"?

        Anyway, speaking of times changing: Before I was born, my dad got out of the Navy and went into an electronics store to buy some items for a home project.

        "I'd like to buy some LEDs."

        "Uh, what are those?"

        "Small round lights, solid state, produce a red light when you apply power."

        "They... uh... they don't make anything like that, sir."

        *remembers that they were Not Released Yet

        • by bughunter (10093)
          That sounds like the 1970s version of walking into a Turner's Outdoorsman and asking the man behind the gun counter for a "phased plasma pulse-laser in the forty watt range."
      • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:45PM (#28628813)

        Computers took entire buildings to house but were less powerful than a pocket calculator

        A very common misconception. Actually they were far, far more powerful than any modern computer. One mainframe could run multinational corporations, put a man on the moon, etc. In comparison, on a good day, a modern computer might be able to balance my checkbook, with alot of help, play a game, or maybe replay some music.

        That is what motivates people like myself toward retrocomputing... Its not that its a low clock speed, who cares about that, but that on my desk I can now use technology that ran entire research labs, major corporations, etc.

        You can either learn how to solve scalable, ultra high reliability, enterprise grade computing problems by studying how the ancients solved those problems, or flail around blindly while re-learning the ancient's wisdom... Your choice.

        Power is applied by changing the world, not toggling a flipflop at GHz speeds but not really doing anything out in the world.

    • by bughunter (10093)

      What kind of world did you people live in?

      A world without insanely cheap, plentiful CPU cycles, digital mass storage and RAM. Therefore, games were all analog and generally involved things called balls, and lots of dirt, and it carried the risk of a range of bodily injuries from scuffed knees to broken bones. Similarly, porn was recorded in analog form -- i.e., stored in your biological neural network (aka, "spank bank") -- for, ahem, later retrieval. If you were lucky, you could find a photographic al

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Arguing with my friends between the Commodore 64 and Apple //e.

      But mutually laughing at the friend with the IBM PC.

    • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @06:34PM (#28629381) Journal
      What kind of world did you people live in?

      We lived in the kind of world where one could fully reboot a computer faster than one could type the words "full reboot". We lived in a world where installing a program was faster than ejecting a DVD. We lived in a world where one could double your storage with a hole punch.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zak3056 (69287)

      No SSD? No blu ray? No multiple core processors? No high clocked graphics cards? No ram with heat-spreaders attached? And worst of all no big case with lights inside?!

      No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

  • I look forward to your IBM 1401 versus the Dell laptop comparison.

  • Not again! (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:18PM (#28627731)

    Slashdot's continuing trend to post stories late continues, with one now finally exiting the queue that came from 1983. And even then; The 1200xl was so horrible that people bought up its predecessor to avoid having to succumb to the evil. Someone quick, draw an analogy to the current Vista v. XP debacle as a distraction while I run away now!

    • Do you want to have some car analogy in there?
      We offer nice Edsel ones today!

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      The 1200xl was so horrible that people bought up its predecessor to avoid having to succumb to the evil

      As far as I'm aware the 1200XL had two problems that caused this; intentionally "closed" design with a lack of expandability (and loss of compatibility with some older peripherals), and also some software incompatibility with older 400/800 software.

      This is why (AFAIK) it was replaced with the 600XL and 800XL computers.

  • by EdipisReks (770738) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:19PM (#28627745)
    I'm going to compare my horse to my car! My dog to my Xbox! My socks to my power outlets!
  • Missile command (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) * on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:19PM (#28627749) Journal

    Unfortunately, the Atari trakball is digital so you don't get that much benefit from using the trackball over a regular joystick. If you want to play a real game of Missile Command, you need an Atari 5200, and it's giant ass trackball.

    • Digital in the same sense that a ball-based mouse on a PC is digital. Though the Trak-Ball I have also has a switch to change between trackball and joystick mode, so you can play joystick-based games with it.

      • by Hatta (162192) *

        Mine doesn't have that, I know there were a few different models so maybe that's the difference.

        • Hrm. Tried holding the [Select] button down while you turn it on? That _should_ boot it into Missile Command, if my Google-fu is working for me.

  • I think I was the only guy who bought an Apple III; it had 5 meg hard drive that sat between the box and the monitor - meaning that the drive was as wide as the monitor.
    • And five or six inches tall. ProFiles came in 5 meg (what you had) and 10 meg (what I got with my Lisa, er, "Mac L").
  • Longevity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordaximus (566304) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:22PM (#28627795)

    That dell won't be running in 27 years to make a similar comparison. It may be huge and slow, but that atari is still running in 2009. That's no small feat.

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:35PM (#28627949) Homepage

      I'm here from the future to tell you that in fact, the Dell lapto-

      BZZZTT *crackle*

      OH NO THE ROBOTS ARE OUT! *bzzzZZT* EVERBODY RUN, RUN! AAAAAAAAA ...*ZAP*

    • I bet you could find an original 100XT today and still get it running. Those were available.. what, mid-1980's? That's getting close to 27 years... though not quite yet, so can't be 100% sure. Just as you can't be 100% sure that if somebody keeps that dell laying about for 27 years, it won't start back up.

      At least with the Dell, you won't have to worry about finding a display, etc. Just a power source.. that should still be doable in 27 years, long after the battery's died you can still hook it up to -a

      • Heh. I _already_ can't seem to get a replacement keyboard from Dell. :^( (They've got all sorts of wireless crap they can sell me.) Maybe I didn't dig around the service section of their website long enough.

      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        I booted my Atari 800XL with disk drive just a year ago, to test. It booted DOS fine and its own unique ''self test'' was all fine. BTW for people who never seen/used them, ''diskette drive'' on 8bit age (except Woz'es genius Apple) is actually a computer, having same CPU as the main computer and ''chats'' to computer via serial port. That is why diskette drive still working is a big deal.

        BTW, Atari 8bit diskette/printer port provided chaining support, you could plug 3-4 diskette drives and a printer to the

    • by Nimey (114278)

      What percentage of 1200XLs still function, do you think? Remember that people think "they made stuff better 100 years ago", but that's because only the stuff that was any good in the first place survived 100 years of use. Plenty of crap was made back then too, but it's not around to admire.

  • 1KB != 1B (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mprx (82435) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:23PM (#28627803)
    Some of the "In 1980s terms" calculations are out by a factor of 1024. I'd love to have a laptop with 2TB ram, but I don't think they exist yet.
  • Sound (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bill Kendrick (19287) <bill@newbreedsoftware.com> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:38PM (#28627967) Homepage

    Plus... sound _always_ works on my Atari, unlike the latest version of Ubuntu ;^P

    • by Bambi Dee (611786)
      I've paid more attention to the SID in some Commodores, but I was quite impressed with the nasty, gritty POKEY sound in these Atari 8-bit demos: Zero [youtube.com], Pure [youtube.com], Unfused [youtube.com], Recall [youtube.com]... I don't even know if those are the best. (I do have an 800 XL somewhere but precious little working software, most importantly Archon.) The PC beeper was one reason not to envy PC users...
  • ...on boot time, I reckon. The Dell will still be flipping through its BIOS screens when the Atari has checked its RAM and started its OS from ROM.

      Seems to be a trend - my (1981) ZX81 started almost instantly, the ZX Spectrum (1982) took a few seconds, my Atari ST (1987) a bit longer, and these days a PC needs to check a couple of gigs of RAM and load a bloated OS from disk....

  • ... does it run Linux? :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bill Kendrick (19287)

      "Does it run Linux?"

      Sadly, no. But I love it anyway. :) Everything else in the house does, though. (The SmartStor NAS, the Roku Netflix Player, the TiVo DVR, my laptop, my wife's laptop, our toddler... oh wait, not yet.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Aliotroph (1297659)

        The closest thing it might run with sufficient hacker dedication would seem to be LUnix [sourceforge.net].

        • Ooh! And that reminds me... need Contiki and for someone to build a decent Ethernet or Wifi adapter. :)

  • Keyboard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:45PM (#28628087) Journal

    The Atari Keyboard looks cooler. That's enough for me!

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      The Atari Keyboard looks cooler. That's enough for me!

      The XL line had very nice industrial design- not just the computers, but the matching peripherals as well.

  • by east coast (590680) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:49PM (#28628129)
    As nifty as your comparison is I've always found that the computing experience is based more on the ass in the chair than the box on the desk.

    In other words: I knew how to get more out of my Commodore 64 at the age of 17 than my 17 year old nephew can get out of his Dell. At least as far as how to do it without Google support and a slew of gadgets and gimmicks.
  • Cost? (Score:3, Funny)

    by AdamTrace (255409) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:52PM (#28628177)

    Did I miss it somewhere? It would be interesting to know the retail cost at time of purchase for each computer.

    I knew/knew of the submitter (Hi Bill!) in college. He had a real hard-on for Atari's. Still does, apparently. :)

    Adman

  • ERROR 9 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nvrrobx (71970) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:54PM (#28628207) Homepage
    This reminds me of one of the most impressive things about my Atari 800XL. I ran into this error when I first started to learn anything about computers. I was thoroughly stumped. (I was also 8 years old.)

    I wrote a letter to Atari (using Atari Writer!) and I got a reply back in the mail just a few weeks later. They told me what I did wrong, included a bunch of software, an Atari BASIC book and a years subscription to Antic.

    No computer company has impressed me like that since then.
    • Ahhh. The days when technology companies were run by engineers for engineers, not marketing whores worshipping their quarterly bonus.
      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        Ahhh. The days when technology companies were run by engineers for engineers, not marketing whores worshipping their quarterly bonus.

        I suspect that some nice people in engineering were responsible for that. But except possibly for their early days (long before the GP's 800XL was even launched), Atari were never the company you dream of.

        They considered software writers to be little better than towel designers, which caused many of their most talented people to leave and form Activision- hence starting off the massive market in third-party VCS games. They considered licenses and such more important than good software, resulting in them r

    • by wcrowe (94389)

      I like your story. It reminds me of the time I was having a problem with an Epson MX-80 printer. I found the phone number for the company via information and in a few minutes I was surprised to be talking to the actual president of Epson America. Instead of directing my call elsewhere, he actually took a few minutes to help me troubleshoot my problem. Yep, all in all, I think I liked computers better when I was the only guy I knew who had one.
         

    • by fliptout (9217)

      Reminds me of something similar.

      When I was in the fourth grade I wrote a letter to Jack(or Sam, I don't recall) Tramiel, the president of Atari. I had a few ideas for video games, and I got a personal letter back. Quite an awesome experience for me at the time. I need to dig out that letter.

  • Oooh oooh I know! Compare an Asus EeePC to a Speak and Spell next! Or maybe an Asimo to a Teddy Ruxpin.
    I first read the comparison between a C64 and an iPhone and thought that was dumb, but I am surprised to see another "comparison" story.
    Yes, back in the day, things were old and different, but comparing them really does not do much.
    It might be more useful to compare an array of things like storage methods over time (washing machine platters, real to real tape, cassette, floppy, HD, zip, jazz, opti
    • When I got my Eee, I actually did a comparison to the (SCO) Unix server we used circa 1992.

      Systems: EeePC 900, Target model; Austin WinTower 486/33E.

      CPU:
      Eee - 900MHz Celeron
      WinTower - 33MHz 486/33 (note that this predates the DX/SX split)
      Comparison: Eee - 30x faster

      RAM:
      Eee - 1GB DDR
      WinTower - 32MB FPM
      Comparison: Eee 32x more, runs at higher speed, wider bus.

      Storage:
      Eee - 4GB IDE SSD (added 16GB SDHC)
      WinTower - 1GB 5.25" Full Height SCSI-2 HD (added 4GB SCSI-2 drive and 1GB Tape drive)
      Comparison: Eee 4x larg

  • I read through it and it seemed pretty plausible until I ran across

    He lives in Davis, California with his wife and son

    They don't really expect us to believe that, do they?

  • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:05PM (#28628339)

    If you're dealing with say, realtime embedded devices for managing air travel or life-support systems, sure.

    But who cares how long it takes to boot your desktop or laptop? I reboot my laptop maybe once a week, the rest of the time it's either running or hibernating.

    I'd rather have a slow boot up that verifies everything is working correctly than a fast one that skips sanity checks. It's not the OS that causes bootup slowness anyway but rather the 5400RPM honey-encrusted hard-drives that slow things down.

    Drop an SSD HDD in and the time is reduced to trivial levels on any operating system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by n30na (1525807)
      If my laptop booted faster I'd be more likely to boot it down and carry it around. Enough of a reason to complain about boot times imo.
  • No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
  • Just does not carry the snap that "Dude, you're getting a Dell" does. Sorry :(
  • Action! Woot! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @06:00PM (#28629023)

    I got through college in the 1980s with an Atari 800XL. Action! was the first programming language ever did anything interesting in, including two games- a vertical scroller and a side scroller. I remember side scrollers being harder because of the way the video memory was setup, or something. You had to do things in the video blank interval.

    For classes, though, I also had QuickBASIC, Deep Blue C, Kyan Pascal and versions of Forth and FORTRAN. It was amazing how many languages were available for those things. I could write initial code at home before heading to the (always crowded) computer lab to enter the final version to be submitted for a grade.

    [bleep] I feel old now. :-(

  • A 2000 MHz clock rate is 1116.318... times greater than a 1.79 MHz clock rate. It's 1117.318 times that rate. The "greatER" means that you're implicitly adding one to the value.

    Another example, $150 is 50% greater than $100, NOT 150% greater; $150 IS 150% of $100, $150 is also 1.5 times $100.

  • I was a die-hard 800XL user for many years. At some point during the 80's or very early 90's, I remember an article in either Analog or Antic magazine that detailed how to get S-Video out of the XL's composite output. I built the connector with parts from Radioshack, but for no reason as I didn't have a single TV or VCR with an s-video input to try it out on.

    A quick check of Google reveals this - http://www.8bitclassics.com/vmchk/Other/TI-99/Peripherals/5-Pin-DIN-to-S-Video-RCA-AV-Cable-6-Ft-New.html [8bitclassics.com]

    Apparen

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