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ScuzzBlog: Diaries May 2018

Entry 12th May 2018: Post: 1

Atari - More 'Candy' for the Atari 400

OK so I had arrive today the BASIC Cartridge for the Atari 400.
This computer has been sharing a cartridge with the 800 which does
get a little frustrating at times swapping them out. 'Candy' was
the name Atari gave to this computer and I scratch my head thinking
why. Anyway, neither the 400 or 800 comes with BASIC as standard
and so you have to use the BASIC cartridge to do this. Without the
cartridge you are greeted with this Memo Pad which in truth is pretty
much useless... No idea what it is there for.

BASIC on the Atari is pretty easy to get into, though the setting a
DIM statement for string variables took me a few moments to appreciate.

I have the BASIC reference manual which is very easy to use. The book
has notes on various pages from a previous user that corrects and
explains certain aspects of the programming.

It really is amazing that this computer dates from 1979. What is even
more interesting is that it was coming to the end of its production
time by the time I bought the ZX81. As ever if I had had one of these
I doubt I would have spent much time doing anything else.

Has stood the test of time very well, and although the keyboard takes
a little getting use to I didn't have much trouble using the computer.
I do like this machine, along with the 800. The cartridges are essential
and without them the machine is pretty much dead in the water. I just
wish the cassette was on a more traditional port and there was other
options for video. This unit really is designed for the TV and
without the Atari cassette players it is difficult to save data.

Atari 400 from the USA dating from 1979-82
Has a QWERTY membrane keyboard.
Uses the 6502 CPU running at 1.79 MHz
Scrolling , Sprites and Video is provided by the ANTIC processor.
RAM is 8KB though the unit was later shipped with 16 KB
Sound is very good for the day using 4 voices at 3.5 octaves.
Has its own power supply.

For the day a pretty advanced machine. Quite sturdy and well built.
The weight of the unit is from the metal shielding inside. Has just
the one cartridge slot. The 400 is the cheaper version of the 800 though
in truth once you get use to the one cartridge and membrane keyboard
it functions pretty much the same.

And so here is my little adventure into BASIC using my newly acquired
BASIC Computer Language cartridge. 

The Atari 400

Without the BASIC cartridge

And with the cartridge

First let me check the maths

And each is random OK

Hmmm.. string variable not working

Interesting I have to enter a DIM setting

OK that's string variables sorted

Next columns and rows


And finally subroutines

The cartridge works fine

So time for some serious computing

As you do !!!!

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Last updated 12/05/2018

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scuzzscink 2018