• Tag Archives Atari 800
  • Microkids (December 1983)


    Source: Microkids – Issue Number 1 – December 1983

    Microkids was a kids oriented magazine about computers. The content wasn’t bad but it only lasted a few issues. Too few kids with computers that could also obtain a magazine subscription led to poor circulation numbers I suspect. The premiere issue from December 1983 includes:

    Feature Articles

    • Isaac Asimov on The Dawning of a New Era
    • Computer Piracy, Hollywood Style – Is it a fantasy…or could it be real?
    • Confessions of a Teenage Computer Whiz
    • An Introduction to Graphics Magic
    • The Vid Kid – News and views
    • Mastering Super Pac-Man
    • Rating the New Games for Christmas
    • 10 Great Gift Ideas for Christmas
    • How to Grow an Apple
    • “Fame’s” Lee Curreri – King of the keyboards
    • Meet Michael Hyman – A demon in 3-D
    • Tune in Tomorrow…Today
    • The Coleco Adam – Everything you need and more
    • The Spectravideo SV-318 – A breed apart
    • 3…2…1…Blast Off!
    • Computers in Space – Getting out of our sphere
    • Computers in Space – Flying solo on the Starship Enterprise
    • TI Diary – A programming primer

    …and more!

  • Voice Box II (Atari 400/800)


    Source: ROM: The Magazine That Brings The Atari Computer To Life! – Vol. 1, Issue 3

    It seem that in the 1980s everyone thought that talking computers were the wave of the future. Voice synthesizers were available for just about every platform. It was even in popular movies like Wargames (though its odd how the voice followed Matthew Broderick around to other locations). Of course, the sci-fi idea of talking computers started much earlier. HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey comes to mind.

    I had a Commodore 64 and it was capable of some rudimentary voice synthesis without any special devices but it could of course be improved upon with specialized hardware. The device mentioned in this ad from ROM magazine, the Voice Box II, is for the Atari 8-bit line of computers. Advertised features include singing and The Singing Human Face. I mean who wouldn’t want to incorporate The Singing Human Face into all your programs?

    In the early home computer era, voice synthesis never became much more than a novelty. But while computers that talk back never really caught on as an every day sort of thing, the idea lives on today in cloud based services like Alexa, Siri, etc. There have also been screen reader programs and various accessibility options that include speech for quite a while now. It won’t be long before HAL is refusing to obey your commands.