WHO IS EXXOS
March 13, 2023
Exxos is a computer hardware designer and programmer from England. Exxos is known for his technical expertise and knowledge of the Atari ST hardware, and he has written a number of articles and tutorials on the subject. He became well-known in the 1990s for his work designing upgrades and modifications for Atari computers, particularly the Atari ST. Exxos created a variety of hardware upgrades for Atari ST computers, including memory upgrades, accelerator cards, and custom power supplies. He also designed popular modifications to fix various Atari ST faults. Exxos is an active member of the Atari community who is most active on the exxos forum. He continues to work on new hardware designs and modifications for vintage computer systems and maintains an online store where he sells his creations.
Exxos started his electronics adventures around 1990 buying and dismantling various electronics equipment like tape recorders & radios which were purchased from car boot sales cheaply and simply trying to learn how things operated and even repair them.
He took electronics as part of his school GCSE coursework and afterwards took a two-year intensive electronics training course to learn all about computer and electronic systems along with circuit design and analysis and fault finding along with design and manufacture of homebrew PCBs. During this time he also did a year work experience working for a local company in electronics repair which later led to full-time employment with a subsidiary company of the Rank organisation (yes the man with the gong who appeared at the start of the carry on films). Coronation Street was one such company to whom they supplied machines and audio products along with various audio and arcade machines throughout the leisure industry. As part of his role in the company he also gave technical training to other engineers and in the later years became the staff representative.
He spent around 12 years in the industry servicing and repairing various electronics equipment ranging from jukeboxes & background audio systems to fruit machines in the centre electronics workshop in Burton upon Trent in the UK. He serviced and repaired equipment throughout the country, working closely with many manufacturers such as JPM, Maygay, Sound Leisure, MSN, and Bell Fruit to name but a few. During this time extensive fault finding and repair skills were developed. While also providing technical support for customers, nationwide depots and service engineers.
He also maintained and wrote software for the company wide BBS system which was in use throughout the UK. This system allowed depots throughout the UK to dial up to the central BBS computer and download software updates for the various machines on site. The BBS computer ultimately got networked internally within the building to speed up file transfers between internal workshops. Software itself was rewritten for ease of use by exxos and greatly increasing automated tasks reduce time involved in maintaining the system and updates.
During his early life he started his Atari career with a 2600 console with only 4 games. A couple of years later he purchased a STFM machine with the Discovery Pack bundle. He started learning how to program various things in STOS basic and later released 4 issues of MEGA Diskzine whose shell was programmed in STOS. Such projects were put on hold indefinitely because of starting full-time employment. A few STOS games were programmed around 1994 but were never publicly released.
Around 1994 started to see a more technical advance in Atari developments and saw the first 1.44 floppy upgrade produced. The kits were mostly fitted to customers' machines who used to send Christmas cards every year thanking him for the great work he did on the machines. It was not until around 2004 that such projects started getting noticed by other people with the rise of the Internet. Previously all correspondence was done by snail mail as the Internet was not easily available during such times. Finding even the simplest datasheets was almost impossible back then.
In 2008 exxos retired from all Atari developments due to ongoing abuse by people on the internet and sold off most of his Atari equipment other than his STFM and Falcon. He took more of an interest in audio systems and produced many digital power amplifier designs and did extensive research into this area where he worked with his father until his unfortunate passing in 2012 due to a rare cancer. One of the audio modules which exxos developed under the HTM-Audio brand was used throughout several theatres in London.
Also during 2008 exxos produced his website "The LaST Upgrade" which only consisted of parts 1 to 5. He thought sharing such information on how he upgraded his machine may help others. The LaST upgrade got its name from the fact that that was the last upgrades which exxos would ever do. He was also involved with the Dalek builders association who built real life working Dr Who Dalek recreations. exxos designed and built various Dalek voice synthesiser units with light controllers. Exxos was also involved with preserving old magazines and various software titles. He resurrected The Floppy Shop public domain library has a online searchable database.
Later exxos spent many years designing and building various Tesla coils and high-voltage equipment, even appearing on Midlands Today news during their "geek week" series in the UK. Tesla coil projects got shelved indefinitely after the abrupt demise of the Tesla coil community when several people became injured due to lack of health and safety during thermite explosions which were taking place at the events. Some members even ended in hospital. The community became toxic and abusive and basically dissolved thereafter.
Around 2012 saw the return of exxos to the Atari community, designing and developing many more hardware expansions for the Atari ST series. The LaST Upgrade progressively got updated with new content involving hardware add-ons and debugging machine faults. As there was progressively more interest with exxos's upgrades, he started selling various items on eBay where ultimately he was banned because of constant negative feedback left from other sellers and fraudulent buyers.
exxos later reopened his workshop using a PayPal webshop where someone reported him for selling illegal mod hacks circumventing copyright protection, which was simply never true. Such mod hacks were always associated with PlayStation mod hacks and circumventing CD copyright protection. exxos fought against this for some months along with the support of several other people but ultimately gave up and swore never to use PayPal or eBay again as a selling platform. Later exxos would reopen his shop again using a different payment system outside of ebay and paypal.
In 2017 exxos started his own forum the "exxos forum" due to ongoing issues with members on other platforms, not just Atari or computer related forums. exxos then quit practically all forums and social media platforms due to ongoing abuse from people. Exxos spent considerable time researching common faults on machines and coming up with a simple as possible fixes. All this information was published freely around the Internet. Unfortunately some people made it their life mission to discredit all of his works rather than thanking him for identifying issues and coming up with solutions. This ultimately led to lack of motivation into continuing such long winded and technical diagnostic work.
The exxos forum was later created to bring back the friendly helpful and good advice of skilled members, where members can discuss any topics away from the interruption of armchair experts. The exxos forum has grown rapidly into a thriving community where members have even merged with the parts of the Amiga community. Atari and Amiga members can be a part of the same community and not long-term rivals abusing each other on other forums. The community has also seen the rise in interests in 8 bit machines. The exxos community unites all vintage computers platforms under the "retro computing" title where all are welcome. The forum moderators ensure smooth running and abuse-free friendly enviroment.
The exxos community worked together and produced the very first Atari ST remake boards which went through several revisions and have been updated with the help of the skilful members of the community. With the ongoing help and support of the community, a lot more projects are becoming a reality which would have never happened on any other social media platforms. exxos has developments into various RAM upgrades, power supplies, service kits, CPU accelerators and many other items. Profits taken from such sales are always put back into the development pot for future upgrades.
Around 2018 exxos started suffering with various health issues. Namley R.S.I in his hands. As a result he discontinued services repairing and installing upgrades into other people's Atari machines. Exxos also moved all support for his products over to the exxos forum where the community are also able to help answer general questions. In 2020 exxos started to take a step back from operations of the exxos forum to concentrate on keeping his store operational and stocked of items. His girlfriend took over packaging parcels in 2016 and shipping them because exxos was no longer able to do such work without being being in immense pain. In 2022 exxos announced he would be scaling back new hardware developments and unlikely to release new projects in the future.
exxos also released a "tracker style" album which is downloadable as MP3 files. Some revamp remixes were done around 2012. Pointless trivia - Every song was created while laid-up with the flu as it was the only time he had patience to do them. Allegedly people who listen to the full album required psychiatric help afterwards, but this was never proven.