Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Latest news in the Atari world

Moderators: Mug UK, Silver Surfer, Moderator Team

mikro
Atari God
Atari God
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:11 am
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Contact:

Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby mikro » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:38 am

Hi guys,

one day I was browsing some old Atari documents and noticed a name I had seen before -- Jerry Smith. Quick search has revealed it's one of the Atari's main guys after the Tramiels, i.e. a person who had to approve every hardware modification, PCB change, issue new revisions, talk to the HW/SW guys and the Tramiels, simply to make sure the production of the given Atari goes as planned.

One way or another I managed to get in touch with him and he agreed to participate in an interview (still not sure whether it will be written, via skype or both). So I'd like to brainstorm some questions, as the title suggests, he spent the worst and best times at Atari, during production of the TT/MegaSTE (perhaps only took over), Lynx, Falcon and Jaguar right to the bitter end.

So far I've been thinking about:
- the famous "how many Falcons is out there" :)
- what was the deal with C-Lab, did they really produce new units (I think so) or just bought old stock from Atari
- who was responsible for cancellation of the Falcon? Was it because of poor market performance, lack of developers (moved to Jaguar?)
- can you remember the Falcon hardware engineering team, who had designed it?
- can you think of some way to obtain ASICs, schematics etc for the Falcon ICs?
- were there any plans to stay in Jaguar business after the JTS merge?
- is it true that the Tramiels had ordered to destroy content on all developer machines after their demise?

As you can see, mine are mostly Falcon specific, so anything Lynx/Jaguar/Tramiel related is more than welcome. Remember it's stuff from 20 years ago so have mercy. :)
Last edited by mikro on Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nimrod
Atariator
Atariator
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:21 pm

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby Nimrod » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:04 am

You should squeeze in a question about the licensing of TOS. Who licensed it? What licensing terms? Rights to sub-license etc...

Another questions (observation) comes to mind!

Was the Falcon modeled after the NeXT? Same processor + DSP! Was the idea to produce a cheap NeXT?

User avatar
Cyprian
Atari God
Atari God
Posts: 1405
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 11:23 am
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby Cyprian » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:24 am

- Is it true ST line wasn't closed, and ST was still produced after 1989 (when STE was released). If yes, what was the purpose of that?
Jaugar / TT030 / Mega STe / 800 XL / 1040 STe / Falcon030 / 65 XE / 520 STm / SM124 / SC1435
SDrive / PAK68/3 / CosmosEx / SatanDisk / UltraSatan / USB Floppy Drive Emulator / Eiffel / SIO2PC / Crazy Dots / PAM Net
Hatari / Aranym / Steem / Saint
http://260ste.appspot.com/

User avatar
Gaiyan
Captain Atari
Captain Atari
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:39 pm
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby Gaiyan » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:43 am

You're a legend! Thanks for doing this.

My questions:

- Was the TT ever supposed to have a successor, or did the Falcon take over as the "pro" machine?
- Were there any TTX units produced? (Multiple VME slots)
- Are you in possession of any Atari prototypes and would you be willing to share photos?
Image

User avatar
frost
Captain Atari
Captain Atari
Posts: 346
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:50 am
Location: Limoges
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby frost » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:21 am

How far went the Falcon 040 design ?
My blog, mostly about Atari and demo stuff.

User avatar
ST Graveyard
Obsessed with homicide
Obsessed with homicide
Posts: 2023
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2002 11:53 pm
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby ST Graveyard » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:43 am

Why was the original case design of the Falcon cancelled and is it true it was bought by Sony for the PS2 slim?
Atari Legend IS back!

joska
Hardware Guru
Hardware Guru
Posts: 3684
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:55 pm
Location: Florø, Norway
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby joska » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:59 am

Ask him if he knows where the casemolds are.
Jo Even

Firebee - Falcon060 - Milan060 - Falcon040 - MIST - Mega ST - STM - STE - Amiga 600 - Sharp MZ700 - MSX - Amstrad CPC - C64

User avatar
Frank B
Atari Super Hero
Atari Super Hero
Posts: 905
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:28 am
Location: Boston

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby Frank B » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:06 pm

Who would we need to talk to to make a Falcon next kickstarter happen? :)

User avatar
catmando
Atari Super Hero
Atari Super Hero
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 9:56 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby catmando » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:53 pm

joska wrote:Ask him if he knows where the casemolds are.
+1
Atari Falcon Tos 4.04 | 14mb | IDE CF 2GB
Atari STE Tos 1.62 | 4mb | HxC Slim SD 8GB
Atari STE Tos 1.62/2.06 | 4mb | Floppy A-B Mod | IDE SD 4GB
Atari STFM
Android Devices (Running Hataroid and SToid)

Atari Forum Wiki - Use it before asking

mzry
Captain Atari
Captain Atari
Posts: 275
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:39 pm

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby mzry » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:24 pm

Wow amazing!
How about a less 'black and white' question, maybe more personal? like: 'Do you still have a passion for Atari machines, or was it just a job and you moved on?' or maybe something free-form like 'could you share an interesting story to do with the machine development? Anything can do, nothing is too geeky for us :)'

pinkman
Atarian
Atarian
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:37 am

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby pinkman » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:10 pm

ask him who had the idea to include midi ports with the ST,and if there were any arguments about it.

User avatar
Frank B
Atari Super Hero
Atari Super Hero
Posts: 905
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:28 am
Location: Boston

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby Frank B » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:29 pm

mzry wrote:Wow amazing!
How about a less 'black and white' question, maybe more personal? like: 'Do you still have a passion for Atari machines, or was it just a job and you moved on?' or maybe something free-form like 'could you share an interesting story to do with the machine development? Anything can do, nothing is too geeky for us :)'


+1 :)

User avatar
Mindthreat
Captain Atari
Captain Atari
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:39 am
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby Mindthreat » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:55 pm

I would like to know more about the JagDuo and just how far along that got and if there were any actual working units outside of the foam mockups. Also, if he got to work much with Ira Valenski and if he can confirm who actually created the JagDuo casing/housing.

Thanks! =D
"To create the future, you must first embrace the past." - http://cerka.weebly.com

User avatar
christos
Fuji Shaped Bastard
Fuji Shaped Bastard
Posts: 2314
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:24 pm
Location: Greece
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby christos » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:33 pm

Does he still own an atari machine?
Did he think that 32 - 24 years later there would still be a fanbase?
Were they hopeful that the falcon would take off or did they just release it?
How was it like working at Atari back then? Did they use Ataris for their work? If so, what software did they use?

Other stuff I would like to ask have already been mentioned so...
Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.
My Atari blog

STOT Email address: stot(NoSPAM)atari(DOT)org

User avatar
lp
Fuji Shaped Bastard
Fuji Shaped Bastard
Posts: 2257
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:09 pm
Location: GFA Headquarters
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby lp » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:24 pm

I'm curious who made that decisions about what software was included with the machines, especially the awful ST-BASIC.
Were other BASIC interpreters considered, any deals that fell through?

User avatar
dhedberg
Atari Super Hero
Atari Super Hero
Posts: 559
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:36 am
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby dhedberg » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:09 pm

Lots of good questions already... here's a few more:

- Was Atari aware of the noise problems on the Falcon030 motherboard when they released it for production? Did they try to fix it on the later revisions but failed?
- Did Atari ever consider a 32bit data bus and/or 32MHz CPU for the Falcon030? If yes, why was it scratched?
- Was the Falcon030 rushed to be released?
- Some questions related to the DMA problems on the STe? Would be very interesting to hear his view of it. Maybe he would be interested to read exxos findings: http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/DMAfix/index.htm
- Why did they choose the ST case and not the MegaSTe/TT case for the Falcon030?
Daniel, New Beat - http://newbeat.atari.org

User avatar
Frank B
Atari Super Hero
Atari Super Hero
Posts: 905
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:28 am
Location: Boston

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby Frank B » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:28 pm

Was the Falcon planned with a 68000 initially? Did Commodore's 1200 announcement result in a spec increase to an 030?

penguin
Obsessive compulsive Atari behavior
Obsessive compulsive Atari behavior
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:43 am

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby penguin » Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:55 pm

I'd like to read something about the other two members of the Falcon family, the Microbox and the Falcon 040. Did Atari design two different computers?
Does he know anything about the fate of TOS 5 and its supposed feature set?
When was the PowerPad (not the Jagpad) released? Why was there no support for the STE's enhanced joystick ports?
Atari also worked on the STE+ with an integrated PC emulator. Did Atari develop the PC part themselves or did they outsource this part to Sack (PC/AT Speed) or Vortex (ATonce)?
How many units of the Lynx 1/2 were produced/shipped?
I'm also curious of the various Falcon games that Atari commissioned but didn't release (Steel Talons, Llamazap) etc. Were they not ready for launch?
AtariUpToDate - Atari ST/TT/Falcon software database and version tracker: http://www.atariuptodate.de
st-computer magazine - http://st-computer.atariuptodate.de/

User avatar
dhedberg
Atari Super Hero
Atari Super Hero
Posts: 559
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:36 am
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby dhedberg » Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:59 pm

Llamazap was released. I have it...
Daniel, New Beat - http://newbeat.atari.org

penguin
Obsessive compulsive Atari behavior
Obsessive compulsive Atari behavior
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:43 am

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby penguin » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:33 pm

dhedberg wrote:Llamazap was released. I have it...


Yes, but by 16/32 Systems. They also released all the other developed games. IIRC, 16/32 released them after Atari had given up the Falcon.
AtariUpToDate - Atari ST/TT/Falcon software database and version tracker: http://www.atariuptodate.de
st-computer magazine - http://st-computer.atariuptodate.de/

mikro
Atari God
Atari God
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:11 am
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby mikro » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:49 pm

Thanks a lot guys, keep it coming! I guess I'll start compiling the questions in a week or so, so feel free to post anything you have in mind. :) If you're referring to some special hw, please include a link or something so he (or I, for that matter) knows what we're talking about.
Last edited by mikro on Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
iceman
Captain Atari
Captain Atari
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:03 pm

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby iceman » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:57 pm

What (in your opinion) was the reason for Atari's demise?
Atarian since 1989. Atari 1040STFM, 4MB 520STe with UltraSatan and Unitor N, A dodgy 1 MBSTe that bombs out after a few minutes, and a 14MB 48MHz Falcon 030 with NetUSBee and Soundpool 8 channel DAC. Plus my new MiST!

mikro
Atari God
Atari God
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:11 am
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby mikro » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:09 pm

Btw, to tease you a bit, this guy's superior was no one else than Richard Miller, the (co-)author of the Falcon. :)

ijor
Hardware Guru
Hardware Guru
Posts: 3157
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 7:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby ijor » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:57 am

Very nice, looking forward for the interview.

Since when he worked at Atari? Because if he wasn't at Atari before 1991, then most of the questions related to the early days and the original ST are not relevant.

mikro
Atari God
Atari God
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:11 am
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Contact:

Re: Call for (not so technical) questions -- Atari's product manager 1991-96

Postby mikro » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:06 am

ijor: I kind of hoped that when the titles says "Atari's product manager 1991-96" it's obvious but, well... on the other hand, he might have information why certain things had happened before he came aboard.


Social Media

     

Return to “News & Announcements”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests