Going Online Like it’s 1979: The Atari 800 #Atari @AuvikNetworks
Lawrence Popa looks at what an 8-bit Atari 800XE can do online:
Now working in the networking field, it’s only natural that I would want to try to get my Atari systems on to the network. Back in the day, of course, this would have been an impossibility. Although Ethernet was created in the early seventies, it didn’t become popular in the consumer electronics sector until much later, and there were no first- or third-party Ethernet options for the Atari 8-bit line during its commercial lifetime, from 1979 to 1992!
Remarkably, the Atari 8-bit is in a bit of a renaissance now, with many fascinating projects being developed both commercially and as open source. There are products to upgrade the memory to 1MB (significantly more than stock), upgrade the CPU to 20MHz (nearly 20x its original clock speed), and output modern digital video directly. One of the most impressive projects to hit the Atari 8-bit scene recently is #FujiNet.
#FujiNet is a peripheral that attaches to the SIO port (Atari’s proprietary IO port) of the Atari computer and provides hardware emulation for nearly all the hardware that was available back in the day. Specifically, #FujiNet allows the loading of cassette and disk images over the network (even over the internet), modem emulation—allowing original Atari modem terminal software to be able to talk over the network using telnet as if it were a modem, and a new device handler allowing the Atari to interact with the network directly using various protocols. The most interesting aspect of the #FujiNet device, for someone with my job at least, is the networking capabilities it gives the Atari 8-bit computers.
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