Retrochallenge 04/2017 – Day 1 – Dorsett Tapes Post 1

Retro Challenge Day 1

A brief intro I guess would make sense, I’m Tom Raidna (@TRaidnaComputes on twitter)
and this is my fourth run in the RetroChallenge. For my first project I wrote a baseball game for Timex Sinclair 2068 / Spectrum, for the second run I wrote a Visual Basic IDE for the CC65 C compiler for Commodore 64, 128, Apple II, Atari 400/800 and Oric Atmos, the third run was to set up a Commodore128 and do some programming.  The first two projects were recognized by the judges, the third was a DNF, did not finish, sometimes life……

My background is in Math and Science education, and after teaching for 4 years I went back to school for Computer Science earned another BS degree, and then 20 years later, I went back to school again for a graduate certificate in Applied Statistics to support my work in Lean Six Sigma (process improvement methodology) , thus the combination of programming, Dorsett Stats learning for this RetroChallenge.
So onto the project:

To document this project I will post separately for the review of the Dorsett Tapes and for the STATS program that will be written in Kyan PASCAL for Atari 400/800.  This will be the first post for the Dorsett Tapes course in statistics.

In order to set up to use the Atari, Altirra Emulator, Dorsett Educational System Tapes for Statistics, I downloaded the wav files in a zip file from

And one also need to have the Education System Master Cartridge (Thanks Keven Savetz for the guidance here or I’d still be trying to figure out to use the wave fiels)

The cartridge can be found here :

Once downloaded to both the master cartridge and individual cassette wave files need to be loaded in the emulator (just like putting the cartridge in the Atari 800 and then cassette in the tape drive).

Starting with File / Attach Cartridge…

and then select the Education Master Cartridge

tape0 attach cart

tape0 educational system master cartridge






Next the cassette (.wav file) can be loaded by selected File / Cassette / Load from the Altirra menus and selecting the cassette .wave file, st1.wav in the picture for the first tape in the course.

tape0 load cassette

tape0 load cassette 2

Now by resetting the emulated computer with Shift / F5 the system will boot to the Education Master startup and the screen below will be seen:

tap1 start screen

To access the Tape control to press plan use File  / Cassette / Tape Control and then press the > play button.  Then use the F2 Key (Start) to start the lesson.

While this seems like it might be a lot to just get started, written out, it’s really quite simple.  Now one can navigate the lessons.  In general the lesson flow is there is a voice over on screens of material.  To advance to the next screen a key press is needed, or there may be a knowledge check and correct answer to a multiple choice.

Tape 1 – Frequency Distributions

For each tape I’ll post a brief outline of the topics covered and a couple of screen shots, and I will make a YouTube video of part of one lesson as an example.

Tape 1 Topics

tape1 title

  1. Observations
  2. Population vs Sample
  3. Finite vs Infinite populations
  4. Random vs Biased Samples
  5. Continuous and Discrete data types
  6. Frequency distributions (Tables)
  7. Class frequency
  8. Class boundaries, lower and upper, class intervals, Interval width
  9. Frequency and cumulative frequency

Sample Screens:

This lesson gave an good introduction to stats and the concepts listed in the outline.  The one thing that caught my eye, is the multiple colors on the text screen, I’ll be interested into looking into how this was done (time permitting), as I thought only one color, hue combination was allowed in text mode.  (There may be some text windowing being used).  Frequency Histogram are planned for the STATS program.

Next posts will cover the introduction to the STATS program and Tape 2.



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