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Looking ahead to the next "TI need"... (I think it's possible)

TI-99/4A FG99

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#1 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:28 PM

Many of us here on Atari Age have P-Box's.  Many of us also have RS-232 cards, but what about users without RS-232 cards or HxC's?  How are they going to get new software to their disk drives?   RS-232's are starting to get rare and more expensive, all while the TI user base is continually growing, so what about an alternative method?  

 

I'm wondering if at some point in the future a "virtual diskette" could be made on the PC, similar to the method used to make them for the NanoPEB or CF7?  Sure, this disk would probably be 'read only' and considering the way the FG99 operates, this disk would probably operate like an executable program that would transfer its contents to the users disk drive. 

 

The new FinalGROM 99 is 512K, factoring the embedded programs overhead it should still be able to transfer a decent amount of data to users drives.  Fact is, for most users 360K is max, so this could do a whole disk at one time for most people.



#2 jedimatt42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:51 PM

Are you imagining a GROMDISK with a true DSR in GPL that hosts something like a .DSK image packed inside? Maybe the DISK image is in the ROM side...

Something like being able to put Quest for the King & the TOD cartridge in one FinalGrom 99 image, and be able enter 'G.QUEST' for the file to load?

Or are you thinking of something else? I want to understand the use cases...

-M@
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#3 atrax27407 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:09 PM

There are a number of ways to get TI software transferred to your TI after downloading it on your PC. Many of these methods do not require any fancy or exotic hardware. 


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#4 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:26 AM

Or are you thinking of something else? I want to understand the use cases...
 

 

Hi Matt,

    I was not thinking about anything that complicated, although I like your train of thought!  :)  As mentioned by atrax27407 there are already various methods of getting software to a P-Box.  For the benefit of newbies I'll list a few of them here:

 

1) Via RS-232 (various methods)

2) Via diskette (provided you have an obsolete computer with disk format compatible with and capable of using the program) 

3) Via HxC or similar device

 

Sadly not everyone has an RS-232 card, an HxC type device or the ability to make TI compatible diskettes on the PC.  Looking ahead I believe that Ralphb's FinalGROM99 is going to be quite the popular device among EVERYONE.  Newbies & returning TI'ers will want it for it's ability to do so much without a P-Box, advanced users for it's speed and utility.  As we've witnessed over the years, many returning TI'ers get the upgrade bug, so I'm figuring the FG99 could be the right tool already in their toolbox for this specific job as well.

 

A use case with the concept laid out... (fictional future scenario)

 

User "T. I. Fanatic" just bought a new P-Box, from eBay, but it's useless to him.  He cannot get any files from the Internet onto his newly acquired P-Box's 5.25" 90K disk drive.  Lucky for him he has the FG99 he bought 6 months ago when he was getting back into the TI.  What is he gonna do?  Simple, TI user, "Uber Programmer" wrote a two part suite of software that covers that!

 

Step #1 is the PC program.  You load it and "drag" all the TI files you want into it's window.  When you are ready, press EXECUTE.  The program then combines a TI loader routine into a single package with the TI files for transfer. 

 

Step #2 You take this TI program created by the PC, and put it on the FG99's SD card.

 

Step #3 Select the file and run it.  To the TI the program appears to be like any other disk manager program, except in this case the data is coming off the TI and out of this special program itself.

 

Sure, it's essentially a one time use program (unless you want to keep it as a backup), but I imagine a PC can stitch something like the required program together in mere seconds.  



#5 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:11 AM

XB2.7 has CFHDXS1. I've been doing all my transfers that way, including file transfer programs (just in case my 2.7 cart ever gets abducted by aliens)

#6 Asmusr ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:43 AM

User "T. I. Fanatic" just bought a new P-Box, from eBay, but it's useless to him.  He cannot get any files from the Internet onto his newly acquired P-Box's 5.25" 90K disk drive.  Lucky for him he has the FG99 he bought 6 months ago when he was getting back into the TI.  What is he gonna do?  Simple, TI user, "Uber Programmer" wrote a two part suite of software that covers that!

 

Wouldn't he be able to run 99% of the programs directly from the FG99?  :)

 

I have been thinking about implementing a GPL DSR that would work with a virtual disk image in either ROM or SAMS, but the problem is that the DSRLNK used in most assembly software won't find this DSR, so it would have limited use.



#7 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:15 PM

 

Wouldn't he be able to run 99% of the programs directly from the FG99?  :)

 

Of the compiled programs, yes.  Indeed a large percentage (most actually) are already in FR99 format, however there are other games not yet converted due to required disk access requirements or the fact that they are in BASIC or Extended BASIC.  Some programs also require disk access, one example is the 80 column version of BA-Writer.  Multiplan needs something off of disk too IIRC.  Still other utilities like compilers or graphics programs have libraries on disk as well.  Then there are music compilations, text files and other assorted things that people might need as well.



#8 Lee Stewart OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:33 AM

...

I have been thinking about implementing a GPL DSR that would work with a virtual disk image in either ROM or SAMS, but the problem is that the DSRLNK used in most assembly software won't find this DSR, so it would have limited use.

You probably already know this, but fbForth 2.0 and RXB will have no problem finding a GPL DSR because they both use the MG GPLLNK and DSRLNK.  This DSRLNK ultimately calls the console’s GPL DSRLNK, which searches for GROM (GPL) DSRs.

 

...lee



#9 InsaneMultitasker ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:30 PM

 

Of the compiled programs, yes.  Indeed a large percentage (most actually) are already in FR99 format,

I assume you are referring primarily to games?  There is quite the vast selection of programs that I am quite certain is not in FR99 format for one reason or another.


Edited by InsaneMultitasker, Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:32 PM.


#10 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:03 PM

I assume you are referring primarily to games?  There is quite the vast selection of programs that I am quite certain is not in FR99 format for one reason or another.

 

Yes, I was referring to the games as those things that had mostly been converted.  And yes, that vast selection of programs you mentioned that are not in FR99 format is exactly why I started this thread.  I'm thinking the FG99 will be a PERFECT solution for many people...  if a program is developed.







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