Home » Three Kinds Of 2600s: Cold Start

Three Kinds Of 2600s: Cold Start

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Have you ever noticed how some numbers tend to get more meaning associated with them than seems objectively fair? Trust me, it happens. Take the three digits 9,1, and 1, for example. That combination of numerals is a legendary rear-engined sports car, the American emergency services phone number, and the date of the terrorist attack against the World Trade Center. That’s a lot of baggage for three numbers to carry! There’s other numbers like this, perhaps less significant, but still notable. One of these is 2600, which also has three big things associated with it, one of which is the truck you see up there. A Dutch truck, even!

The three 2600s I’m thinking of are the DAF 2600 truck, the Atari 2600, and the 2600-hertz tone that was used by the telephone network. Each of these was incredibly significant in their respective fields in some way, and all contribute to putting 2600 in that rare class of number that has far more significance than you’d imagine.

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Let’s give a little explanation for each, why not? We’re still an automotive site, so let’s start with the big DAF 2600.

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The DAF 2600 is considered the first “international” (at least for European nations) truck, and was revolutionary in the way it focused on the driver. The huge cubical cab was comfortable and spacious and the layout of controls around the driver was one of the first truly ergonomic large truck designs. The layout and design of the 2600 were hugely influential in the heavy truck world, and the DAF 2600, which was in production from 1962 to 1973, remains a trucking icon.

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The next 2600 is the legendary Atari 2600, which for many, many people was the machine that brought video games into the home. The 2600 was a remarkable bit of technological cleverness and austerity, with only 128 bytes of RAM and really only designed to play pong-like games and simple tank games, but somehow managed to be able to be pushed far beyond those original limits. Imaginative and clever programmers were able to make the 2600 do things the original designers never meant it to do, and that gave it a far longer lifespan than anyone could have imagined. Sure, there were some legendary missteps like the half-assed Pac-Man adaptation or the legendary flop E.T., but overall the Atari 2600 was a triumph of fun and creativity within severe limits.

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Finally. we have 2600 as the 2600 hertz tone used by the telephone network to get linked to the long distance network, and if you could generate such a tone into a pay phone, one could make free long-distance calls. Incredibly, in 1971, the Cap’n Crunch cereal, represented by Captian Horatio Magellan Crunch, offered a plastic “bo’sun whistle” that just so happened to produce the exact 2600 Hz tone used by the phone networks.

A computer programmed named John Draper learned about the quirk of this whistle and helped to start the whole sub-culture of Phone Phreaking, where people would hack and explore the complexities of the phone network to make free calls and learn things and cause trouble and much more. Two people who were involved with this scene were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who were building “blue boxes,” which were electronic devices used in phone phreaking.

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Their partnership eventually expanded from Blue Boxes into other equipment and devices, like, you know, motherflapping iPhones.

All this for the number 2600! And I bet there’s more! Lots more!

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Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
15 days ago

Oh I love that DAF 2600! Just such a sweet 60ies design with those giant windows and straight shapes. I think I had it as a Matchbox or Corgi model at some time 🙂

Also, I went straight to my favourite tone generator, to listen to that 2600 hz tone:
https://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/#2600

James Carson
James Carson
17 days ago

A bunch of us high schoolers and post high schoolers used to 2600 regularly. We also had a side hustle cloning atari 400, 800, up through 2600 roms. We also hacked many other consoles and games such fun. Strangely ended up becoming a telecoms engineer with a cs degree side in OS design.

Twobox Designgineer
Twobox Designgineer
17 days ago

I respect your game console, but this is the console I’d rather have
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARP_2600

James Carson
James Carson
17 days ago

I’ll see your arp and raise you a Fairlight.

Twobox Designgineer
Twobox Designgineer
17 days ago
Reply to  James Carson

A Fairlight 2600? 😉
Studio I worked in had a CMI for a while. Had these two hard drives that had about a 10 by 18 inch footprint and were 10 inches high. And I think they were maybe 20 MB each.

James Carson
James Carson
17 days ago

Was just riffing on the synthesizer association. I never had a chance to mess around with one. Played with a few mini moogs and other keyboards. ARP 2600 and Fairlights were wayyyyy out of our band budget. I was a guitar and bass player but enjoyed learning other instruments when I got a chance.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
17 days ago

You guys are forgetting 2600 the Hacker Quarterly

https://www.2600.com/

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
17 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Technically the magazine is named after the 2600MHz tone.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
17 days ago

I’d like to add the Wright Aeronautical R2600 to the list:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_R-2600_Twin_Cyclone

Clupea Hangoverus
Clupea Hangoverus
17 days ago

Top content. In the spirit of the first of May, the international workers day, may I propose adding the Rover 2600 to the list of 2600’s? The cheapened SD1, famous for being screwed together/up by the happy british workers, probably singing the international.

W124
W124
17 days ago

There is also two very different cars using the same two characters, F and 1: Ford F-1 and, well, an F1 car.

W124
W124
17 days ago

There is also another 2600 truck, altough a pickup truck: Mazda B2600!

James Mitchell
James Mitchell
17 days ago

2600 is the weight of my mother-in-law!

/rimshot

Thank you, i’ll be here all week! Remember to tip your waitresses!

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
17 days ago
Reply to  James Mitchell

Also two drink minimum.

JKcycletramp
JKcycletramp
17 days ago

There’s just one thing that I want.

https://youtu.be/h5ihD6CZuRM?si=WQgESQvTr9H_bvkG

Last edited 17 days ago by JKcycletramp
Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
17 days ago

This got me thinking: What is the frequency of the “Brown Note” and is it really achievable with a recorder?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
17 days ago

You forgot 2600 being the year the universe implodes. Oh, spoilers, my bad. Back to the Tardis …

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
17 days ago

I’ll throw in a regional 2600 reference for shit-n-giggles: The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) 2600-series “L” car. Entered service in the early-80’s and still in service today, though being replaced by the 7000 series.

Large Marge
Large Marge
17 days ago

Those 7000’s are soooooo much nicer than the 2600’s. Massive improvements in ride and noise.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
17 days ago

I want to put a G right between the D and A= DGAF so it would show that the driver w/ a cig hanging from his mouth (also looks like he’s lacking eyes? Or just doesn’t want to open them since he’s a vampire) Doesn’t Give A Fuck…also the passenger not looking and pretending to read a map like he actually knows where to go. Also, I loved the Atari and Cap’n Crunch!

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
17 days ago

If I mentioned that one of the three might be a heavy sixer, you’d probably think that I’m talking about the large truck. That’s not how the world works my friends…. I’m describing a six-switch and physically heavy Atari – these were made very early on in the console’s life cycle.

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
17 days ago

Congrats! I still have my Sears Tele-Games sixer that you saw, but I’m honestly unsure if it’s heavy or light.

Toecutter
Toecutter
17 days ago

A computer programmed named John Draper learned about the quirk of this whistle and helped to start the whole sub-culture of Phone Phreaking, where people would hack and explore the complexities of the phone network to make free calls and learn things and cause trouble and much more. Two people who were involved with this scene were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who were building “blue boxes,” which were electronic devices used in phone phreaking.

When I was a small grade-school kid in the early 90s, I wanted to build the theorized Blotto Box. Never got around to see if it would have worked. Printing out the Anarchists’ Cookbook and the Jolly Roger from floppy discs using my grandmother’s dot-matrix printer when my age was in the single digits really made my imagination run wild. I’ll leave it to everyone else’s imagination which entries from both of those texts that I made toys with, but it was a non-zero number. Cheers.

Last edited 17 days ago by Toecutter
Jj
Jj
17 days ago

I knew you would work Captain Crunch in on this.

I used to have a lot of boxing / phreaking guides that I had collected back in the day. Just a bunch of text files from the days before you had to wrap one paragraph of actual information in 20 minutes of youtube nonsense to make it more appetizing to the algorithm. I think they were finally on a SuperDisk, and I think I gave away the SuperDrive when I was clearing out for a move (also gave away my Amiga 500).

Drew
Drew
17 days ago

You used a graphic pointing out why Atari is #1 to place it at #2 on this list. You truly are an agent of chaos, Jason. Never change.

Argentine Utop
Argentine Utop
17 days ago
Rapgomi
Rapgomi
17 days ago
Reply to  Argentine Utop

This exactly! I was going to post the fine Alfa but you beat me there.

William Eby
William Eby
17 days ago

Am I the only one that actually liked ET on the 2600? It’s the first game I ever tried to speed run.

Eephus
Eephus
17 days ago
Reply to  William Eby

I think it was the Indiana Jones series that was the real burn on Atari users.

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
17 days ago
Reply to  Eephus

I’ll never forget that endless loop of the first 1.25 bars of the Indiana Jones march.

Musicman27
Musicman27
17 days ago

The Atari 2600. The piece of crap that paved the way for Nintendo. Daf 2600, the truck that would have transported the Atari 2600.

A. Barth
A. Barth
17 days ago

I ran into a similar phenomenon in the late 1990s!

One four-digit number was simultaneously the model number of an off-the-shelf battery I needed for a device; the model number of an unrelated piece of RF (radio frequency) gear I’d bought; and the page count of my rather heavy go-to Linux book.

Dutch truck, even! … the DAF 2600 truck

Clearly that truck is Dutch AF.

CUlater
CUlater
17 days ago

For some odd reason one of my favorite Matchbox cars was the DAF truck, it just looked so… Put Together.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
17 days ago

Then there was the “Supercharger” system sold for use on the Atari 2600.

“The device consists of a long cartridge with a handle on the end, and an audio cassette cable. It adds 6 KB to the Atari 2600’s 128 bytes of RAM (increasing it 49-fold to 6,272 bytes of RAM),[6] allowing for the creation of specially compatible games which are larger and have higher resolution graphics than normal cartridges. A cable coming out of the side of the cartridge plugs into the earphone jack of any standard cassette player, for loading all Supercharger games from standard audio cassettes.”

My favorite game was “Communist Mutants from Space”

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