[Coco] The Maestro on CoCoTalk

Dennis Bathory-Kitsz bathory at maltedmedia.com
Tue Aug 14 23:04:40 EDT 2018


I've been out of the CoCo world for a veerrrrrry long time. My company went
under in 1986.

On Tue, August 14, 2018 6:03 pm, Carlos Camacho wrote:
> I just listened to CoCoTalk and they interviewed the owner of this mailing
> list, Dennis Bathory Kitsz. Was very good to hear Dennis 'live' after
> seeing his face and name on the various CoCo related media all these years.
> Kudos to Ron for getting him on the show!

It was fun. I felt a bit doddery, especially with my lack of knowledge of
current developments beyond reading this list and checking out the FB group
now & then.

> As I was driving and listening to the show, many questions popped into my
> head. Would love to ask them (but feel free to reply off list in your own
> time or over on the Facebook group!)
> Q. I know Steve Bjork worked on some hardware projects for Tandy. With your
> early expertise on the TRS-80 and then CoCo, I always wondered if Tandy
> approached you for potential hardware projects? You would have made a good
> project person for the Speech/Sound Pak IMHO, considering your music
> background.

They never approached me. And I didn't approach them. My interest was
exclusively in sharing knowledge about hardware and software as far and wide
as I could. I founded my company to service readers who said I should start a
company; when it failed I lost pretty much everything!

> Q. Wondering if you considered an Atari ST/Amiga after the CoCo to
> express/fulfill your music side? (I moved to Amiga myself for
> graphics/music and Motorola.)

No. After the company failure in 1986, I continued to do analog electronic
music, but gave up programming and hardware development. I then moved to
Amsterdam in 1991-92, where I learned a great deal (including from a composer
who used an Amiga to do some pretty sophisticated stuff). I visited other
composers and spent some time at STEIM. After returning to the U.S., I turned
my attention to using Windows-based software -- as an end-user, not a

> Q. We have some retrospectives these days on what Tandy could have done. In
> terms of the CoCo. If you could change something in our history, what would
> it have been? (ie Deluxe CoCo with better sound, MC-10 follow-up (ha ha),
> 3rd party offering in Radio Shack, etc)

I did do a Lowerkit for the MC-10, by the way. :)  What would I have changed?
The CoCo's appearance and the keyboard. It wasn't professional. And I bet with
its fast processor and easy programming, it could have become a notable
machine. I built special devices using the CoCo as the core computer via my
company (including a granite-cutting blade controller, a medical monitor, a
locomotive manufacturing plant power monitor, and a pen to calculate room size
by tracing blueprints). It was incredibly powerful and needed someone willing
to take it to the business and industrial markets. Tandy never did 'get it'
with respect to small computer significance, beginning with the Chuck Tandy
story of dismissing the Model I.

It was powerful. Probably the biggest personal project was this one, which
used several CoCos to manage a sonic environment, create electronic sound,
control tape playback, and modify its own code to learn the museum space over
five weeks:
That stuff is all gone now, including the EPROMs that controlled the system,
which self-erased over 30 years.

> Optional
> Q Could you give a listen to all competing music products recently
> developed for the CoCo and command a standard for all of us to live by?
> Q. How was the CoCo's musical performance in the movie, 'Revenge of the
> Nerds?'

I can't do the first and haven't seen the second!

> Thanks for inspiring me to study electronics way back in 1984 Dennis! I
> still go back to all of those articles to learn new things!

Thanks, Carlos. As I said in the interview, I've moved on (except for managing
this list). I'm glad you can still be inspired -- I can barely understand what
I wrote after all this time!

If you're interested, you can listen to my music on my site:
Or listen to it or watch my conducting & compositions & opera & other stuff on

Thanks again for your kind words!

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