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Alien Thing

Thomas Keynote

Aftermath of World of Atari



Gravitar Review

Site Review

LaST Word

The LaST Word

by Scott Tirrell

The iMac has come out and the public seems to be interested. At least the media. There was a bit of shock from me when the iMac appeared on an 11 o'clock news broadcast here in Maine. A computer release newsworthy? Say what you want about Steve Jobs, but he's gotten the press excited about Apple again, and that seems to have made it a company worth mentioning again. Could Atari have done the same thing?

When I look at the Falcon, I see an early iMac. Tons of people berated the Falcon case when Atari released it. Granted, it was the old case from the ST. But, Atari broke the mold by making a *gasp* non-beige computer. It was also mostly all-in one. Okay, ya needed a monitor. But, let's admit it, the Falcon is much easier to lug around than a near-forty pound iMac. When I got the Falcon, I was going to school in Orono, Maine, a three hour drive from my home. When I'd return on breaks, I could tuck the Falcon under my arm and carry it home. It was a great machine to carry around. And everything you needed was in a small, sleek box.

Did you need to install tons of drivers for the Falcon030? Nope, 16-bit stereo sound and decent graphics (for the time) were included right into it. What about the modem you say? Remember when Atari planned to come out with software that would allow the Falcon to use the DSP port as a modem? There you go. Ready to connect, right out of the box. I'm sure I could've competed with the little kid and his dog getting set up. Well, um, maybe not with setting up Sting ;-). But setting the computer up is a breeze and it offered so much potential.

The Falcon held the potential to be as exciting as the iMac is. People who have owned it love it. It is a personal computer and, for awhile, it seemed that personal computing would die out. People wanted to use the same computers at home that they had at work. It seemed like the companies concentrating on the home computer, Atari and Commodore, were showing that the market wasn't big enough. Maybe it isn't but it looks as though Apple could surprise us.

It makes me nostalgic looking at the iMac and remembering how innovative Atari was. It also makes me wonder why the media didn't concentrate on Atari during the last days. Like Donald Thomas, Jr. relayed in his fine writing. Why does Apple have this mystique in American society while Atari passed away quietly? Because of Steven P. Jobs? Or because of the Tramiels? Would Nolan have done things differently?