1985 Computing : Atari and Commodore

I happened upon a stash of episodes of the television series The Computer Chronicles from 1985.  At the time, I watched this show as often as I could.  The primary sources for computer news in those days were magazines and bulletin-board systems.  Although the interview style was sometimes quirky, it was nice to see a television program that addressed topics in contemporary computing.


There are a couple of episodes in the 1985 group that pertain to the fight for market share between Atari and Commodore.  The link I present below is one of them including an interview with Jack Tramiel; the man who made Commodore and then went over to Atari.

The episode can be viewed here:

The episode is supposed to be themed “Low-end Computers.”  However, they discuss the Atari ST at length and mention the Amiga.  I don’t consider those lines of Motorola 68K machines from the mid-80’s to be “low-end.”

They do talk briefly about the Commodore 64 and some unusual uses for the machine in the early portion of the show.  They discuss its use in “Just Intonation” … a musical technique demonstrated by a group from San Francisco.

What I found interesting was the software they were using ( “Just Intonation Demonstrator” by David B. Doty ).


I found it interesting because it looks to have been written in Forth:


My favorite portions of the show were the discussions with Tramiel.  He was an enigmatic figure, back in the day.

There’s another episode in the 1985 series that contrasts the Amiga and the Atari ST.  Guess what’s next on my viewing schedule? 😉


About Jim Lawless

I've been programming computers for about 37 years ... 31 of that professionally. I've been a teacher, I've worked as a consultant, and have written articles here and there for publications like Dr. Dobbs Journal, The C/C++ Users Journal, Nuts and Volts, and others.
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One Response to 1985 Computing : Atari and Commodore

  1. I love the music of the show, it’s so eighties.

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