ANTIC Interview 303 – Lee Konowe, American Software Club

Lee Konowe, American Software Club Lee Konowe was founder of American Software Club, a mail-order software company. American Software Club sold software for CP/M, Atari 8-bit, TRS-80, Apple II, IBM PC, Commodore 64, and other platforms. It started out with a sort of Columbia House “software of the month” model, where you automatically received a “choice of the month” software package each month — which you could keep and pay for, or return at no cost. Later the company switched to a more traditional mail order catalog model. The company was founded around June 1981. In an article about software clubs in InfoWorld magazine, the company said it had about 2,000 members by the end of its first month. By February 1983 it claimed 10,000 members, and by September of that year had 15,000 members. This interview took place on June 7 2017 for me, and June 8 for Lee in New Zealand. “>A video version of this interview is also available. “Very quickly it occurred to me that there was a need to put people who were producing software together with people who were consuming it.” American Software Club ad in H&E Computrpnics magazine, 1982 (page 11) American Software Club ad in A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing magazine, 1983 American Software Club ad in PC Magazine, 1983 1981 InfoWorld article about software clubs

Source:: ANTIC Interview 303 – Lee Konowe, American Software Club

      

ANTIC Interview 302 – Patricia Mitchell, Thorn EMI

Patricia Mitchell, Thorn EMI Patricia Mitchell started at Thorn EMI in 1981. She worked in the home computer software division, evaluating software that had been submitted by programmers. Thorn EMI published many games for the Atari 8-bit computers, including River Rescue, Carnival Massacre, Orc Attack, Kickback, Submarine Commander, Computer War, and Jumbo Jet Pilot. Later she worked at Virgin Games. This interview took place on April 27, 2017. In it, we talk a little about about Steve Green. Steve bought Patricia’s old Atari computer on eBay, which included pre-production versions of five Thorn EMI games. Steve made ROM dumps of those games and uploaded them to Internet Archive. “>A video version of this interview is available. “One of the most embarrassing things for the management at the time was they turned down a game that was submitted that was called Elite … It was the first 3-D graphics that were rendered in wireframe.” Steve Green’s ROM dumps: River Rescue Pre-Production Orc Attack Pre-Production Major League Hockey Pre-Production Computer War Pre-Production Carnival Massacre Pre-Production

Source:: ANTIC Interview 302 – Patricia Mitchell, Thorn EMI

      

ANTIC Interview 301 – James Burton, APX Drawit

James Burton, APX Drawit James Burton published one program for the Atari 8-bit computers: Drawit, a graphics utility that was published by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the summer 1983 APX catalog, where it was awarded first prize in the personal development category. This interview took place on August 24, 2017. “Many hours. Many, many hours. Late at night, don;t want to go to sleep. Just plugging at the computer.” Drawit in the summer 1983 APX catalog Download Drawit from AtariMania

Source:: ANTIC Interview 301 – James Burton, APX Drawit

      

ANTIC Interview 300 – Lance Leventhal, Author of Assembly Language Books

Lance Leventhal, Author of Assembly Language Books Lance Leventhal wrote 25 computer books, spanning 1978 through 1992. His books include 6502 Assembly Language Programming, 6502 Assembly Language Subroutines, Z80 Assembly Language Programming, Z80 Assembly Language Subroutines, 6800 Assembly Language Programming, 6809 Assembly Language Programming, and Why Do You Need a Personal Computer? This interview took place on August 25, 2017. “Be careful about avoiding sidetracks. Don’t go down them. There’s always things you’d like to say and things you’d like to talk about. But they’re not central to your topic and you’ve got to be brutal about not saying them.” Scans of many of Lance’s books at Internet Archive

Source:: ANTIC Interview 300 – Lance Leventhal, Author of Assembly Language Books

      

ANTIC Episode 45 – Open Atari

In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast: Mike Maginnis of the Open Apple and Drop III Inches podcasts joins the Antic crew and starts a computer war, Nir Dary tells us about disk drive upgrades, we catch up with Curt Vendel about his projects including the 2nd Atari history book, and more Atari news than you can possibly imagine!

READY!

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

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AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

AHCS

Eaten By a Grue

What we’ve been up to

Interviews

News

YouTube videos this month

Commercial

End of Show Music

Possible side effects of listening to the Antic podcast include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous; mild nausea, upset stomach, constipation;

increased appetite, weight changes; insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth, intense hate of Commodore, and Amiga lust. Certain conditions apply. Offer good for those with approved credit. Member FDIC. An equal housing lender.

Source:: ANTIC Episode 45 – Open Atari

      

ANTIC Interview 299 – John Skruch, Atarisoft

John Skruch, Atarisoft John Skruch worked at Atari from 1982, under Warner Communications, all through the Tramiel era, until 1998 when the company was owned by JTS. During that time, he was operations manager for Atarisoft, the arm of Atari that produced software for competing computer systems; software product manager for the 8-bit computer line; and director of licensing. He was involved wth the design and development of the XM301 modem, and the Atari Lynx game system. This interview took place on March 18, 2017. “Atari was bleeding. We used to kid that there was a guy who would go up on the roof every day at noon and toss a million dollars off the roof, and come back inside.”

Source:: ANTIC Interview 299 – John Skruch, Atarisoft

      

ANTIC Interview 298 – Tom Hunt, Closer to Home BBS

Tom Hunt, Closer to Home BBS Tom Hunt ran an Atari BBS called Closer to Home for 28 years. He also created a variety of utilities for the Atari 8-bit computers, including M.T.O.S. (Multi-Tasking Operating System), and The Armorizer (a file corruption detector). He created several languages including Atari implementations of the Brainfork and Mouse programming languages, and forks of Atari BASIC and Turbo BASIC with various feature additions. He also built a system for porting Inform 5 and Z-Code text adventures to the Atari platform. This interview took place on August 5, 2017. “Just as soon as one caller would get off another one would come on. We had so much going on, before the Internet we had worldwide networking — we had message bases, emails, and file mail going around the world to Christchurch, New Zealand and everything. It was just great!” Tom Hunt Atari memories document

Source:: ANTIC Interview 298 – Tom Hunt, Closer to Home BBS

      

ANTIC Interview 297 – Robert Anschuetz, Eric Anschuetz, John Weisgberber, Antic magazine games

Robert Anschuetz, Eric Anschuetz, John Weisgberber, Antic magazine games Robert Anschuetz, Eric Anschuetz, and John Weisgberber are childhood friends who published three games in Antic magazine: Kooky’s Quest was published in the February 1985 issue; Overflow in July 1985; and Robot Dungeon was the “disk bonus” in the November 1985 issue. They also wrote several other games in Atari BASIC — some of which they submitted to Compute! and A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing magazines – that went unpublished. Fast forward to August 2017, when the three posted on the AtariAge forum: “We are now releasing all of these games to the Public Domain … These are not new games, but they are new to the Atari 8-Bit community. Many of these games really pushed the envelope at the time for what could be done in Atari BASIC, including bi-directional smooth scrolling, assembly language subroutines, parallax scrolling, cut scenes, attract modes, display-list tricks, interleaved-displays, etc.” In addition to releasing their games — some for the first time — the group wrote a new article describing how they got together as a team to write these programs, along with game instructions and development notes. I wanted to find out more, so we got together for a four-way interview over Skype. If you want to see our talking heads, there’s a “>video version of this interview. This interview took place on August 4, 2017. The first voice you’ll hear after mine is Robert Anschuetz. Teaser quotes: “It was just a small little corner of the page that says ‘Disk Bonus — Robot Dungeon’. We didn’t subscribe to the disk bonus of Antic. So luckily we saw that or else we never would have known it was published.” “One thing about this experience of working together on these games, it’s very multi-disciplinary, and it’s all about collaboration.” “>Video of this interview Anschuetz/Weisgberber games and article

Source:: ANTIC Interview 297 – Robert Anschuetz, Eric Anschuetz, John Weisgberber, Antic magazine games

      

ANTIC Interview 296 – Stan Osborne, Atari Design Research

Stan Osborne, Atari Design Research Stan Osborne was a freelance software engineer in Atari’s Design Research department from 1981 through 1984. He also worked on projects for coin-op and home computing departments. He created micro-kernels, proof of concepts, proto-applications and device drivers. There are two versions of this interview: the podcast version is about an hour shorter. The extended version is at the Internet Archive, and includes a lot more of Stan’s education, jobs, and history before he was at Atari. This interview took place on May 16, 2017, with a short additional segment added on August 4. “I was being paid to do whatever I wanted to, if I had time. When you’re a freelance independant contractor, you set the clock schedule for when you’re going to be there and what you’re gonna go. I could visit anybody, anywhere on the Atari campuses.” Extended version of this interview

Source:: ANTIC Interview 296 – Stan Osborne, Atari Design Research

      

ANTIC Interview 295 – Harry Stewart, Pilot and WSFN

Harry Stewart, Pilot and WSFN Harry Stewart was a contractor for Atari from August 1978 through October 1983. He contributed to the operating system design and the manuals for the Atari 400 and 800; created the Atari implementation of the WSFN language (which was released in the first Atari Program Exchange catalog, summer 1981). He worked on Atari’s PILOT programming language and the unreleased sequel, Super PILOT (also known as Summer Camp PILOT.) Harry saved an enormous amount of material: source code, memos, notes, and more. He scanned some of it, I scanned some of it, and it’s online at the Internet Archive at the AtariAge forums. This interview took place on June 29, 2017. “You debugged in your head. It wasn’t sitting at the machine single-stepping and doing breakpoints. If you had a problem, you thought it out. Why is this happening? … Working on the hardware only as necessary.” Misc. scans from Harry Extended WSFN in the summer 1981 APX catalog Atari PILOT II, source code, discussion Atari PILOT: source code, discussion, Internal Specification, External Specification Extended WSFN manual, and draft version. Source code, discussion WSFN: An Introduction

Source:: ANTIC Interview 295 – Harry Stewart, Pilot and WSFN