Commodork vs. Atari Nerds : Common Ground?

A few days ago we received a nice message from Rob O’Hara, the author of the the book Commodork.  Rob had written in response to this blog entry, the first one that I wrote when starting this site last December.   I mentioned then that while I liked his book, and it was similar to a story I wanted to tell, I would have had much more content about programming.  Rob wrote to explain why he cut much of that content from his book.

Rob is an unabashed Commodore fan, while Jeff and I are Atari fans through and through.   After 25 years of feuding, can Atari and Commodore fans now get along?   Here is a section of Rob’s message where he describes why he wrote his book Commodork, and why it might not have contained as much information about programming as he would have liked.

Greetings guys! I just ran across your website while Googling for the title of my book, “Commodork”. Thank you for your kind words about my book; I really appreciate it. For years I had a nagging desire to “tell my story,” but it wasn’t until after I released the book and began reading reviews and getting e-mails from readers that I realized that I had really told “our” story (“our” being all of us who were there). Before I released the book I was naive enough to think that my story was unique; it was only after receiving the umpteenth e-mail from readers from other continents thanking me for telling “their” story realized just how many of “us” there were out there.
When I began writing Commodork I threw all my ideas down on a piece of paper and just began writing. When I read these stories back I noticed a common theme (piracy) and so that became the thread that I hung the entire narrative on, more or less. As a result there were a few “mini threads” that I ended up dropping from the book, strings of stories that weren’t long enough for a chapter of their own and didn’t really flow together with the rest of the stories. (On a side note, before I released Commodork I felt like the book was too long which is why I dropped some of these “threads”. In retrospect, almost every single person who’s reviewed it has commented on how short the book is. Hindsight, and all that.) Anyway, one of the threads that I cut out of the book was my stories about programming. I, like you guys, was amazed the first time I actually made a computer “do” something with a few lines of BASIC.

… (Rob continued to described his many programming exploits)

Anyhoo, I’ve rambled on long enough. Thanks again for the kind words, I’m glad you guys enjoyed the book. I look forward to scouring every inch of your website; I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far this morning.
Rob “Flack” O’Hara
PS: Atari sucks.

Whaaa?  It was going so good, and then he had to add that last line!  Still though, I think we can get along.   Atari or Commodore?  At this point, who cares?  The only thing that really matters is that Rob and Jeff and I many 1000’s of others like us, all learned that we could “create” things with these early computers.  Our common ground is that we learned to love computers at a time when writing your own software, tools, and games for it was almost foregone conclusion.    

So yeah, we can get along, and we can bury the “Atari vs. Commodore” hatchet. 

…but that doesn’t mean I can’t send him a picture of toilet seat  labeled “Commode-Door 64”, just for old times sake, does it?


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