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

Alexander Jacocks jjacocks at gmail.com
Mon Jun 27 17:18:05 UTC 2022


Thanks so much to all of the folks that contributed to this!

- Alex

On Sat, Jun 25, 2022 at 10:05 PM Adam Michlin via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> 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
> Federation.
>
>        -Adam
>


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