[vcf-midatlantic] It Takes a Federation or The Tale of the Atari Mega STe

Adam Michlin adam.michlin at vcfed.org
Sun Jun 26 02:05:40 UTC 2022

Hi Everyone,

We have a new exhibit in the Mid Atlantic Museum at InfoAge. Here's
the back story.

A few years ago, Bill Lange was kind enough to reorganize the Atari
collection in the warehouse. He also provided plastic bins for most of
the equipment, inspiring the ongoing project to protect as many
artifacts as possible in plastic bins. During his work, he found a
lonely and dirty Atari Mega STe that needed some love and care.

Bill repaired the machine and we put it on display in the museum, but
something was missing...

You see, we are always looking for ways to demo machines and
especially ways that involve something other than productivity
software and games. We were reminded that the Atari ST was well known
for its MIDI prowess, having MIDI built into the core of its
architecture. A music demo, now that would be cool...

Lessons were learned along the way. The Atari ST can use a color
monitor or a higher resolution B&W monitor. Some programs work
properly only with the higher resolution B&W monitor, particularly
Cubase, which was to be the highlight of the demo. Luckily, we have
both monitors, so that problem was solved. It was fun trying to figure
out which USB floppy drives played nice with the 720K FAT (MS-DOS but
old school MS-DOS) file system. Oh, and Cubase is *really* picky about
what directory it is installed in.

Thus the quest was on to get the machine doing MIDI. An external
Yamaha MIDI box was donated. A period correct Tandy speaker system
(thanks to Dean Notarnicola!) was borrowed. And a live music demo was
all but ready. We just needed music, or so we thought.

Frustratingly, this was not to be as the hard drive decided it didn't
want to play nice anymore. Ugh! In swoops Pete Fletcher, though, who
took the machine home, repaired it, and moved heaven and earth to get
a solid state solution (good luck getting an Ultrasatan from Europe
these days, but a different solid state solution was acquired). Just
this morning, Pete delivered the Mega STe in perfect condition full of
all sorts of goodies for demonstration and we have the first external
MIDI demo in the history of the VCF MA Museum.

Stop by to see and hear it yourself. Send us your favorite MIDI file
and we can put it on the playlist.

Thanks to Bill, Pete, and Dean. All three of you helped create
something none of us could have done alone. It truly takes a


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