Task: Purchase a FujiNet
Needed: Web browser
Time: 10-15 mins
One of the most exciting aspects of Atari 8-bit computers is the emergence of new devices which expand our fun and simplify our experience. Flash-based cartridges and SIO devices were revolutionary in that way because they eliminated the need for original media such as cassettes and floppy disks which are slow and unreliable. I finally got my hands on a FujiNet device which definitely falls into the category of revolutionary.
The following is a description of FujiNet taken from their website. “FujiNet was intended to be a network adapter that attaches to the SIO (Peripheral) port of an Atari 8-bit computer system but has become an all encompassing SIO peripheral emulator. The current hardware is a design based on the ESP32-WROVER module and contains a custom 3D printed SIO Plug and Receptacle.”
FujiNet plugs into your SIO port and boots into a user-friendly terminal program allowing you to easily connect to your WiFi. From there you can connect to online servers allowing you to boot software, use network-enabled apps, and play multiplayer games online. The opportunities to develop software taking advantage of the internet are limitless. There is also a microSD card allowing you to load disk images and boot them from the FujiNet. This is an amazing device. Highly recommended!
You can purchase FujiNet from several places including the Brewing Academy ($55) and the Vintage Computer Center ($55). Both allow you to choose a case matching the 800, XL, or XE series of computers.
The hardware and software are all provided as open-source on Github if you would like to build your own or extend it in some way.
Here is the Quickstart guide which makes getting started really easy once you have the device.
The ability to emulate a wide-range of devices over SIO will make the opportunities to develop software for the Atari limitless. I am sure we will see an explosion of projects and applications which take advantage of FujiNet.
The post was written just after the U.S. election of 2020. One of the apps made for the FujiNet was an election tracker reporting the electoral college votes in real time. Below is a photo taken before the election was called. There is also a weather app you can try.
Here is the FujiNet thread on AtariAge where you can find lots of discussion about the project since its inception. Here is an episode of the Antic podcast featuring Thomas Cherryhomes, one of the developers, speaking about the project.