Atari 520 STM
Having just read The Jackintosh: A Real GEM – Remembering the Atari ST, I feel a massive nostalgia rush coming on:
After Commodore Founder Jack Tramiel was forced out by his board, he decided, after a brief hiatus, to get revenge.
Tramiel knew that a 16-bit computer was next on the horizon for Commodore, and he wanted to beat them to the punch. So, in early 1984 he formed a new company, Tramel Technology (spelt without an ‘i’ to encourage people to spell his name correctly), and lured a number of Commodore engineers to jump ship and come work for him. […]
Back in the late 1980s, after several years of following Sinclair Research’s product line up to and including the Sinclair QL1 I found myself tempted by the Atari 520STM, the model with a decently high-resolution (for the day and price) monochrome monitor. OK, so the 520STM was never going to be a games machine, but it was a cracking little workhorse for Desktop Publishing (I adored Timeworks Desktop Publisher) and I spent way too much money on nifty GEM-based word processors and spreadsheets over the years. That first version of Digital Research’s GEM environment worked beautifully on the hardware, to the point that several years later when I finally gave in to the rising tide and bought a Windows 95-based machine for my personal use (having long since been using DOS/Windows systems at work) I genuinely felt like I was taking a step down usability-wise and looks-wise.
- Which, I maintain to this day, had the potential to be a fine machine if someone could just have persuaded Sir Clive to drop the Not-Invented-Here attitude so that they could equip it with a decent keyboard and ditch the bloody MicroDrives! At one point, I had my QL, the circuit board re-housed in a decent keyboard and the maximum RAM (128KB on board plus a whopping great 512KB in the expansion slot!) installed, happily multitasking with multiple copies of Psion’s Abacus spreadsheet and Quill word processor happily coexisting thanks to a patch to QDOS – I wish I could remember the name! – that enabled limited multitasking/task switching that worked remarkably smoothly.