This personal computer will never become obsolete

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/01/this-personal-computer-will-ne.html

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This personal computer will never become obsolete

Neither will this one.

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We used to pull my dad’s old Atari 800 out a couple times a year – all told it got (occasional) use over a span of 20 years. It’s still in a box in my garage; the biggest issue these days is the video output is coaxial RF-out; we chucked our last CRT with a coax input to the curb years ago.

One of these days I’ll get my hands on a coax adapter and show the kids Dandy Dungeon.

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The Atari 800 is the best computer money can buy and always will be.

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Ahhh the nostalgia… it burns!
I owned everything in that picture.

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There are emulators…

http://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/Atari_8-bit

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This was a popular claim back then. I keep this picture around for when I need an ironic chuckle.

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The sticker seems to claim that they will upgrade your machine every 2 years “to the latest” for a $99. If they had kept up that end of the bargain then the claim would be true, although you’re definitely in a Ship of Theseus situation if you’ve made the system future proof by simply upgrading every single part of it as it grows old.

It would be pretty funny if they actually followed through on that and some people had basically that machine but running an I3 with 4GB of RAM, upgraded power supply and optical drive as well as the motherboard obviously. New storage too. And probably have to get a new case at some point because the front panel connectors changed a few years ago. The only original part left would be the floppy drive.

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“This case will never be obsolete…”

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Well its not untrue that it will never be obsolete, even now one could make the argument that some things can be run on it regardless if its useful or not.

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Sadly this isn’t true. Putting a new motherboard in an old case is much more difficult than you’d expect because the front panel connectors got a new standard several years ago and it’s not 100% compatible with the old. Plus airflow requirements have increased over the years and modern components in an old case can overheat. None of this is a showstopper, but it requires a fair bit of hacking to get everything working, including literally cutting apart connectors and soldering on new (old) ends.

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I was given an Atari 800XL as a teen for my birthday, but I told them I wanted an Apple IIc. Oh well. I still had fun with it.

Also, the fact that the Atari 800XL came into existence indicated the 800 was…

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Oh, I know. But you can still put things in the case. Just not modern computer components.

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My first PC was an Atari 800, and my second was an Apple IIc! Funny things is, the 800 was for the most part a better machine, with much better graphics and sound. But all the cool kids at school had Apple IIx machines, so I wanted one as well. Trading games, SW, etc…

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It had one thing going for it: Chunky keys. I like chunky keys.

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and I cannot lie.

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My first was the Tandy 1000. Had a buddy (OK, many buddies) working at the Shack, and he alerted me to their new deal. You got to decide between a color monitor upgrade or a 2nd floppy drive. I picked the 2nd floppy. My friend picked the color monitor. A month later he saw the wisdom and traded in that monitor for another floppy.
I later paid $75 to upgrade the RAM from 128k to 384k. Soooo worth it.
I would program games in Basic all night and forget to eat or sleep!jpg

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Yeah, at the time I was learning to program using the IIc at school. My hope at the time was to be able to continue programming at home. Instead, I got the 800XL and a tape drive. But I did what I could. Even then Apple was priced higher than the competitors, and my parents couldn’t afford it.

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The hardware’s half the fun. Big clunky mechanical keyboard, one-button joysticks, and the massive, slow, noisy floppy drive.

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