Jack Tramiel

A few days ago Jack Tramiel past away. For most people it’s the his product the Commodore 64 that has them teary eyed in rememberance. For me however it is the Atari ST. When it came out the 520ST not only competed with the Mac it bested it on many fronts and it cost much less. I remember the first time seeing the Atari monochrome screen. People rave about the clearness of the new iPad 3′s screen and like today’s raves for the iPad that Atari screen was something to behold. It was so sharp and clear for the time. In addition the ST had something no other main computer system had: MIDI ports. I used DR T.’s KCS (Keyboard Controlled Sequencer) and later Cubase on a 1040ST. By the way theses were also in my own opinion beautifuly designed machines. Just look at that image above. Like my Apple products today I really loved that machine. It tempted me to create. I did also own an Amiga and loved it as well.

“In 1953, while working as a taxi driver, Tramiel bought a shop in the Bronx to repair office machinery, securing a $25,000 loan for the business from a U.S. Army entitlement. He named it Commodore Portable Typewriter.” – Wikipedia

For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Tramiel

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on April 11, 2012 at 3:07 am, filed under hardware and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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4 Responses to “Jack Tramiel”

  1. Lee Faulkner says:

    Nice video … never seen an interview with JT before!

    The Atari ST holds a special place in my memory. After bumbling around connecting a couple of keyboards together with those weird MIDI leads I wasn’t sure what point it would serve other than rock stars with dozens of instruments to string together.

    Then, on a visit to the local music store I saw it … the ST … with MIDI cables going in and out. And the most stunning picture I’d ever seen on a screen … Steinberg’s Pro24 MIDI sequencer. I played the keyboard, the computer played it back. I changed the notes … sped it up … created a score.

    Needless to say I spent more than I thought that day, and in a tangible way the direction of my whole life changed. For the better I think … though on a day I’m mired in editing woes, the rendering won’t ever finish and the network is acting up, sometimes I wonder! ;-)

    As an aside i still use Steinberg’s Cubase … more a hobby these days but IMO it’s clearly the best ‘Recording Studio’ metaphor DAW out there.

    • Thanks for your story. I’m thankful MIDI has remained a standard all these years. It’s almost strange to have a technology last so long.

      • Lee Faulkner says:

        Yeah can you believe that?

        If you download the MIDI ‘Spec” it’s still V1.0. That’s testament to an insanely well thought out protocol from Roland (via Sequential Circuits) who made it free for everyone. Surely the best business decision they ever made … it ensured their own products had a place amongst everyone else’s and created an environment for all to thrive. And they still do. It’s MIDI that drives the wonderful iPad App development we’re witnessing …

        Clearly no one in business these days has even heard of the MIDI story, let alone the lessons to be learnt.

        I think there was talk of MIDI extensions … I know Peavey introduced SMIDI which enabled audio sample data to be sent via MIDI from a sampler to a PC/Atari. But it fit within the MIDI V1 spec .. so nothing was changed. It was slow, but near to a miracle when I got it working! :-))
        I read some people advocating the need for MIDI V2 … but hell, can you imagine the mess the patent obsessed, licensing driven, bean counting corporate leaders would make of that?

        iMidi anyone? Available at the App Store. 60 pin magnetic socket, $70 cables, won’t transmit protected/copy-written notes. LOL!

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