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Atari 800 XE Laptop 180

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
Lester Oats writes "Benjamin J. Heckendorn (of Atari VCSp, NES Micro, & PS2p fame) has been at it again! Summary from his site: "Of all the portable videogame devices I've ever built over the years one system has always been my 'Holy Grail' to make - my 'dream portable' if you will. (Yes, even more so than my Neo Geo arcade machine) And now after a couple years of tinkering it is complete! Without further ado - the Atari 800 XE Laptop!""
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Atari 800 XE Laptop

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  • Handy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by lastchance_000 (847415) * on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:10PM (#14044910)
    I love the error list right by the screen. Windows machines should come with that. Of course, it would need a bigger monitor...
  • Mirror (Score:4, Informative)

    by quark007 (765762) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:10PM (#14044918) Journal
    Without further adieu, the site crashed! Here is the mirror [mirrordot.org].
  • I want it, I want it, I want it!!!

    I just wish I could see the fscking website...
  • Best line (Score:5, Funny)

    by bobdinkel (530885) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:11PM (#14044926)
    From the linked-to page:
    Thankfully it hasn't been on Slashdot yet, I'd know as that usually tears my bandwidth a new one.

    Poor bastard

  • coral cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:11PM (#14044931)
    click click [nyud.net]
  • Just in case (Score:5, Informative)

    by Krast0r (843081) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:12PM (#14044940) Homepage Journal
    In case this gets slashdotted, here are the main features (from the website):

    Uses (what's left of ;) ) an Atari XE GS (Game System) the last model Atari 800 type computer from 1987.

    8" TFT active matrix display

    Compact Flash "hard disk drive" utilizing MyDOS 4.53 for maximum drive size of 16 megabytes. Card is removable for swapping.

    Built-in NiMH battery pack and charger (uses external plug like a normal laptop) Also battery is removable from base as with most laptops.

    Full (Atari 800) sized keyboard

    Built-in Player 1 & 2 controls, plus joystick ports. Built-in joypads great for playing Robotron 2084!
    bullet

    Brushed aluminum and wood grain everywhere! A weird combo style, sure, but I like it!
    bullet

    Cursor control knob - Allows you to move the cursor around the screen without pressing control+arrow keys. That's awesome if you're an old-school Atari programmer "from the day"
    bullet

    Slim (compared to an original SIO port) DB25 printer-style port for connecting to disk drives, printers or PC's using an SIO2PC cable.

    I have to see, it's looking pretty sweet.
    • Not just pretty sweet, this is a piece of art! Coming from a guy whose first computer was an Atari 400 back in December 1979, all I can say is it's too bad he didn't use the keypad from a 400 rather than the more conventional keyboard of the 800. But that's quibbling...
    • Re:Just in case (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Lynxpro (657990)
      "Slim (compared to an original SIO port) DB25 printer-style port for connecting to disk drives, printers or PC's using an SIO2PC cable."

      And let us not forget that the Atari SIO (serial input output) port is the forerunner of USB. The same engineer who created the SIO port is also the same gentleman who created USB for Intel if I am not mistaken. It was a great idea then, as it is today.

    • FTA "Note the hole in the bottom of the keyboard - this is where I intended my "Cursor Mushroom Button Knob" to go. In the olden days we didn't have "mice" to move the cursor around the screen, no sir-ee! We had to use KEYS, and sometime we'd have to press a couple keys even! (Then walk to school barefoot uphill through the snow fighting dinosaurs) With the Atari you had to hold "Control" then press one of the direction keys (which are normally +, -, etc) This worked but was clunky."

      This has to be one of (i
  • Ok.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalkerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:12PM (#14044946) Journal
    But how did he get it to support Dos or the flash drive????
    • by Scoth (879800)
      Even the 8-bit Ataris supported hard drives with later versions of DOS (I always liked SpartaDOS personally). The flash is just an adapter that makes the CF show up as a standard HD to the Atari. Nothing too terribly fancy there. And it only makes sense that an Atari would support its own DOS ;)

      These days you can even get ethernet and an IDE adapter for the things (though not cheaply).
      • Re:Ok.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by zakezuke (229119) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:59PM (#14045400)
        Even the 8-bit Ataris supported hard drives with later versions of DOS (I always liked SpartaDOS personally). The flash is just an adapter that makes the CF show up as a standard HD to the Atari. Nothing too terribly fancy there. And it only makes sense that an Atari would support its own DOS ;)

        These days you can even get ethernet and an IDE adapter for the things (though not cheaply).


        "MyDOS 4.53 for maximum drive size of 16 megabytes"

        I had an atari back in the day with a 15gig drive using a scsi to mfm controler... so I imagine with the right hardware anything ide could be supported. I recently saw an "ICD multi-io" with scsi and 1meg sold on ebay for $700ish. While the ram wasn't an expantion it could act as a printbuffer or ramdisk and was powered seperatly so it acted like a small hard drive. That's there and abouts of what they cost new in 1990 or so. Atari dos near as I'm aware never supported anything above and beyond 360k or 720k floppies... the largest drive Atari them selves came out with was 360k drive called an XF-551.

        I got the atari when the whole atari dos thing went crazy. You had atari dos 2.0 which supported only 90k floppies, but then they came out with some odd ball enhanced density dos which but shipped with atari dos 3 which wasn't compatable the old disks... not even the discs that shipped with the drive. It had a utility that would convert old disks to the new format... but not back again which was a problem as most disks that were shipped employed copy protection... so atari dos3 had a nice feature to render disks totally unreadable. And the only reason anyone knew this is if they had access to a handy dandy user's group... it's not like the places that sold them actually were able to support them.

        Eventaully I was able to get the newer dos 2.5 which was compatable with the new enhanced density yet could read the older single dos 2.0 disks... which was the standard of all boxed software. Most annoying was when they released a double sized double density drive and didn't ship it with a version of dos that supported it. Probally the most interesting were the various other DOSes that were on the market including SpartaDOS and MyDOS both of which could support hard drives and just about any disk standard available.

        There was lots of really good hardware for the Atari... the problem is that most games didn't support anything above a single drive, and those that did only used flippable disks and didn't allow you to say copy side B to another floppy and run the game flipless.

  • The site appears to be struggling already: none of the images came across, but here is the text description. You'll just have to use your imagination. :-)

    Measuring 11 3/8" x 7 1/2" x 2" my Atari 800 laptop kicks major butt and includes the following features:

    Uses (what's left of ;) an Atari XE GS (Game System) the last model Atari 800 type computer from 1987.

    8" TFT active matrix display

    Compact Flash "hard disk drive" utilizing MyDOS 4.53 for maximum drive size of 16 megabytes. Card is remov

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:13PM (#14044957)
    I can't get to the web site, but they never found the Holy Grail either, did they?
  • Wow, that thing is beautiful. Can you imagine pulling that out on a plane and plugging a 2600 joystick into it for some gaming goodness? The dual thumbpads are a nice touch too...
    • Can you imagine pulling that out on a plane and plugging a 2600 joystick into it for some gaming goodness?

      Yes, I'm sure that will impress the honnies in first class.
  • Safe (Score:4, Funny)

    by 3CRanch (804861) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:14PM (#14044979)
    Interesting...

    and probably the only OS left that doesn't have exploits / virus' targeting it ;)
  • Thankfully it hasn't been on Slashdot yet, I'd know as that usually tears my bandwidth a new one.

    Consider it torn... ;)

    Coolest project I've seen in ages.
  • Odd Site (Score:3, Informative)

    by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:15PM (#14044992) Journal
    According to whois, the website is hosted by iPowerWeb. A quick shot over to their website and it seems to still be up with no hiccups. These guys appear to have both the bandwidth and the horsepower to survive a slashdotting so it would seem that something else is wrong with his site.

    Or it could be that they just pulled the plug when they got a slashdot referrer ;).
  • I love the double-wide "System Reset" key about where the F3/F4 keys would be.
  • Lucky guy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:17PM (#14045010) Homepage Journal
    This guy is a lucky builder.

    The Radio Shack LCD he buys just happens to have NiMH batteries in its base.

    The same LCD has a memory socket supplying enough 5V juice to run the 800.

    He cuts a chunk out of the mobo to fit a hard drive that he later cans. The aforementioned NiMH batteries fit perfectly in that space.

    Anyone think his tinfoil "mouse" will fail in short order?

    Great article though. I'd love to make a portable Aquarius (4K) with Utopia. Screw Civ4 Bugs.
  • Obviously he has plenty of free time. I'll give him the Atari 800, Atari 400, a couple drives, joysticks, manuals, tons of software that I bought off a co-worker for $20 about 5 years ago.
  • That looks very, very nice. I couldn't find any specs as to what kind of battery he's using or how much power it drains.. Anyone want to hazard a guess?

    If you can't have a 6-hour gaming marathon on it, I don't want it.
    • Re:sweeeet (Score:2, Informative)

      by spongebue (925835)
      I'm not sure of the required power/battery size, but I know he's using NiMH's, probably AAs. That's kind of surprising, since he usually uses Sony Camcorder batteries. Probably because his screen came with NiMH rechargables :)
    • You probably couldn't. The system itself probably uses almost no power whatsoever, since it is an ancient processor and has no moving parts on it. The screen, however, would be a power hog, and I imagine the battery life the the screen alone would only be 2 hours or so, so somewhat less for the whole system. I could be wrong though, you should e-mail him.
  • Picture (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    For those like me who can access the site or the morros... enjoy [engadget.com]
  • Where's a good place to get wood grain veneers and laser engraved plastic for making stuff like this?
    Not to mention the LCD and laptop assembly.
    • The LCD assembly he scavenged from a small LCD purchased at Radio Shack. This guy goes WAY above and beyond the average tinkerer - he's made several portable NES, SNES, Playstation and Genesis systems that he built from the original systems. He has access to CNC machines and built the lapto case himself, as well as wiring up each individual key on the keyboard. I caught the story yesterday before it was on Slashdot, and got to read the whole thing. Very interesting.
      • Ya, don't think this is a regular hobby project. This guy has Illustrator skilz, CAD experience, and mysterious access to CNC routers, and professional printing equiptment. Not to mention a serious working knowledge of computers and electronics. Do you have any idea how hard it is to cut a chunk out of a motherboard and wire it back together?
  • Pictures (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    For those that just want to see the pictures of the finished product:

    http://img280.imageshack.us/img280/9113/mainpicbig 3jx.jpg [imageshack.us]
    http://img280.imageshack.us/img280/1714/topandrear 2tc.jpg [imageshack.us]
  • But (Score:2, Funny)

    But does it run Linux?
    • For once, I don't care if it runs Linux, just so long as it runs Gateway to Aphasi. I had so much fun playing that game back in the day...
  • by GoodOmens (904827) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:39PM (#14045230) Homepage
    Further down the page ... his custom build arcade machine ... my favorite:

    It has all custom graphics, brushed aluminum side panels and a LED coin counting display that also computes how many cases of beer the money stash will buy.

    Awesome.

  • Was there really a game named BallBlaster???
    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Urchlay (518024) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @02:38PM (#14045762)
      Was there really a game named BallBlaster???

      Yes.

      Well, actually, Ball Blaster was an early leaked version of Ball Blazer (which was one of the first games Lucas Arts ever released). Ball Blaster was leaked to the Atari BBS scene some months before Ball Blazer was released... it was playable, but lacked the computer player's AI (so it was two-player only). And yes, everyone thought the "Ball Blaster" name was hilarious back then, too...

      More than you really wanted to know, isn't it? :)

  • Even 10 pt bold arial/verdana font is very unreadable on his site... I feel like my monitor is doing 60hz on his site...

    Thank goodness for bookmarklets to make my eyes better. Just what I need after staring at emacs all day it to have my rods and cones gently shaved off the back of my eye with a scalpel.

    Thanks 1998 design. *rubs eyes gently*

    snif.
  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:52PM (#14045342) Homepage
    Create a link in your favorite browser that points to the following "location":

    javascript:location.hostname=location.hostname+".n yud.net:8090"

    (remove the silly space that slashdot puts in the "nyud" part)

    Then whenever you get to a site that is slashdotted or otherwise not very available, just hit your shortcut (ideally right on your top bar) and there you go!
    • Another way (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Craig Davison (37723) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @02:50PM (#14045878)
      Try this:

      javascript:location.href=location.protocol+'//'+lo cation.host+'.nyud.net:8090'+location.pathname

      Works in Firefox.

  • Some of the old Atari 800 games ought to be re-released on the GameBoy platform, especially the Micro! Not via emulator, but just recode them. I, for one, would like to see Star Raiders and Star Raiders II for the GBM - it had the essentials: good game play, interesting graphics. And since the chips on the 800 were designed to work in basically a 320 x 240 layout, the graphics ought to be pretty portable without scaling.
  • I tried to access the site and all I got was:

    Boot Error
    Boot Error
    Boot Error
    Boot Error
    Boot Error
    Boot Error

    Boy, do I feel nostalgic. But should it be called an Atari 800 system? There was an Atari 400 before an Atari 800. And a 600XL, 800XL, 65XE and 130XE afterwards.

    Now, where did I left my "backup copy" of Spelunker...
    • "Boy, do I feel nostalgic. But should it be called an Atari 800 system? There was an Atari 400 before an Atari 800. And a 600XL, 800XL, 65XE and 130XE afterwards."

      Because the *800* was considered the best models of the Atari 8-bit line. The 800 was better than the 400 because it didn't have a membrane (sic) keyboard and had more standard memory and better upgrade options. The 800XL was considered the best of the XL line, and even better than the follow-up 65XE which was its direct replacement. Thus the *
  • 99.9% of the Atari games work with the 800. But a small but fair number of games did not work with the XL/XE series. Other thing is, with the 800 you got 4 joystick ports. If you can't play 4 player M.U.L.E., you are missing out on the biggest reason for having an 800.

    I am in awe of his craftsmanship nonetheless.
    • by cliveholloway (132299) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @03:56PM (#14046425) Homepage Journal
      Be fair dude - this is $7.95 a month web hosting in a shared environment, with set limits (and very generous they are too for the price). If you bought a car would you be surprized that it doesn't go as fast as an airplane?

      I called Ben up and said he had two options - suspension for going over bandwidth, or quick hack to keep the pictures up until we can work out a better solution.

      So, we hacked him on to an empty machine, and will work out a dedicated server for him soon so that this can't happen again.

      Last time he got slashdotted, he used over 130Gb of transfer in 24hrs (actually, for the first 3hrs we had a suspended page, so it would have been even more if we'd done this before (we left him on the host last time and watched the load *very* closely).

      No warning this time either, hence quick hack. By the time he next gets slashdotted, we'll have a solution in place so that we don't need to do this again.

      cLive ;-)
      ps - still damn funny point though.
  • Cool project but can it run OS X?
  • Does this guy have a job? This guy is writing a book, working on a movie, making various portable game devices and who knows what else he is working on. Where do people find time to do all this stuff?

    I assume this guy does not have a girlfriend/wife.
  • From the link...

    hello /.

    Much as we love our shared hosting solutions, they can't survive a death by slashdotting.

    But, we love Ben so, rather than suspending him for bandwidth abuse, we've quickly moved his site to an empty machine.

    So, head on over to Ben Heckendorn's site (or use the Coral Cache - if it's working). Or, why not stay around and buy some web hosting from us. You know you want to :)

    cLive ;-)

    ps - this is a quick hack, so only the static parts of the site will work - but heck (sic), it's better t
  • I would like to build my own laptop, too. But it seems difficult to research this topic at Google. Are there any other resources besides Make Yourself a Laptop or Notebook: BareBones and DIY Machines [repair4laptop.org]?

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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