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The Gram Kracker mega thread


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#1 acadiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:19 AM

Coming soon, source code and scans for everything Gramkracker related. There’s a lot for me to go though, but here’s a teaser:

c4f96ad6d66204a79f503e8920a1ae37.jpg

fabab300b98736898ad64971b045dd34.jpg

Still to come:

Disk image with DSR source
Disk image with GK editor source
Disk image with a test program used in assembly of these devices
*Disk image with Encryption, direct disk access, and patch routines for MG Explorer (GK version)
*Disk image of GK release disk
Schematic and board layouts/mylar scans
Note scans (quite a bit!)

* Going to try and borrow a KyroFlux to get these copy protected disk images made

Stay tuned in this thread!

(Note that DC Warren is giving this all to the community. He has been most awesome to talk to.)

#2 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:44 AM

Wow..... unreal....

#3 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:50 AM

I am extremely eager to see scans and disk images. :)

What an awesome cache of treasure!!

#4 retroclouds OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:19 PM

Absolutely magnificent. Really hope these sources are still readable.
Cant believe this really shows up after all these years.

#5 kl99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:39 PM

Thanks to DC Warren, his Wife and to you Jon for preservation work/effort.



#6 sparkdrummer ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:49 PM

Bravo - Even though I dig my FG99 carts - I still use one of my GK's



#7 acadiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:44 PM

I now give you the Gram Kracker disk images.  Below is the readme.  Someone, please upload it to whtech for me.  Enjoy. :)

 

-----

 

Thanks for downloading the GramKracker disk images.  Enclosed in this archive, you will find one HFE and one PC99 DSK for each disk.  Please pay attention to the notes below, because there are currently some caveats to two of these disk images.

 

GramKracker is © 1985 by Craig Miller and DC Warren (DBA Miller Graphics, MG).  We thank DC Warren, who has graciously donated this code to the TI-99/4A community.  

 

DC Warren has graciously given the TI community the permission it needs to utilize these disks as we see fit.  I have thoroughly enjoyed and considered it an honor to preserve these historical TI-99/4A materials.  Please remember to leave this README in the archive as a testament to the original copyright owners and their respective works.  (A release from DC Warren to the TI community is available upon request.)

 

The TI community is able to use these disks to understand, for historical purposes, the code that went behind the MG Gram Kracker.  Please feel free to recompile these programs, discuss how they are architected, and distribute them on TI websites.  

 

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.  Please enjoy.

 

Jon Guidry - 2/12/2018

AtariAge/Reddit:  acadiel

 

Contents: (note ** below)

------------------------

GK Editor:  This disk contains all the source code for the built in memory editor in the Gram Kracker.  GPL source is also included.

 

**GK Explorer Patch:  This disk contains the source code for a few things - 1) The patching program that patched MG Explorer to work with the GRAM Kracker, 2) Direct to disk protection routines, and 3) Encryption routines for protecting MG's programs

 

GK Loader:  This disk contains all the source code for the actual runtime for the GRAM Kracker Loader, including GPL source.

 

**GK Release Progs:  This disk is the actual production utlity diskette distributed with the GRAM Kracker.

 

GK Test Program:  This disk's program (GKTEST) was used to test GRAM Krackers after they were constructed to make sure they were operating properly.  Source is included

 

** NOTE:  These two disks have two files, EXPLORER and EXPLORER1, that were protected with the copyright protection noted on the Explorer Patch disks' source code.  These files are unable to load into the GRAM Kracker as they were read because of the protection on the disk.  As of 2/12/18, I am pursing using a KyroFlux disk reader to read the disks and put them into a preservation file format.

 

 

Attached Files



#8 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:47 PM

:o

#9 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:08 PM

These files are unable to load into the GRAM Kracker as they were read because of the protection on the disk.  As of 2/12/18, I am pursing using a KyroFlux disk reader to read the disks and put them into a preservation file format.

 

I can Kryo those for you if you want :)



#10 acadiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:16 PM

 

I can Kryo those for you if you want :)

 

I have someone that's coming to our Atlanta Historical Computing society meeting next month with a Kyroflux and another guy coming with whatever that other one was.  Hopefully we can get them dumped.  I'm having a horrific time getting the HxC floppy emulator to write the disk properly from a copy with COPY-C.



#11 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:17 PM

Right, and I have a SCP just a few hours south of you.

 

EDIT:

 


I have someone that's coming to our Atlanta Historical Computing society meeting next month with a Kyroflux and another guy coming with whatever that other one was.  Hopefully we can get them dumped.  I'm having a horrific time getting the HxC floppy emulator to write the disk properly from a copy with COPY-C.

 

Coolio.



#12 helocast OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:40 PM

Coming soon, source code and scans for everything Gramkracker related. There’s a lot for me to go though, but here’s a teaser:

c4f96ad6d66204a79f503e8920a1ae37.jpg

fabab300b98736898ad64971b045dd34.jpg

 

Those look amazingly similar to what Michael L. Bunyard proposed in his "blue book", 1986 Hardware Manual for the Texas Instruments 99/4A Home Computer. So I guess my question is which came first historically, the chicken or the egg aka Mike Bunyard or Gramkracker Creators?

 

Edit: Actually, scratch that question. Mike proposed only a GROM simulator on page 136 of his book ... the Gram Kracker is a little bit more than that compliments of the software.


Edited by helocast, Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:54 PM.


#13 acadiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:34 PM

Those look amazingly similar to what Michael L. Bunyard proposed in his "blue book", 1986 Hardware Manual for the Texas Instruments 99/4A Home Computer. So I guess my question is which came first historically, the chicken or the egg aka Mike Bunyard or Gramkracker Creators?
 
Edit: Actually, scratch that question. Mike proposed only a GROM simulator on page 136 of his book ... the Gram Kracker is a little bit more than that compliments of the software.


Some of the documentation I am scanning seems to maybe indicate that MG might have got the idea from Heinrich Martin of Germany’s GROM simulator cart board. In a letter circa 1985, Heinrich wrote Craig Miller and congratulated him on Explorer, and mentioned his GROM cartridge board and enclosed some PCBs and instructions in English. I have a couple of these in my hands now. They will be scanned. I can only infer that either Craig and DC knew about the circuit, or figured it out from Heinrich’s board and took it to the next level and significantly improved it with the GK

From what Jim told me, the GROM emulation circuit was published by TI and even had it in developer kits. So, folks figured it out quickly. The circuit is 4-6 standard 74 series chips and a regular ROM. Super Extended Basic used it. I’m sure it might have been in other carts too.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

#14 Schmitzi OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:20 AM

Wow :-o This is a wholey holy grale. :lust:



#15 mizapf ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:13 AM

Or was it Heiner Martin, the author of TI Intern?

#16 kl99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:38 AM

Attached Files

 

For the history books: I was download number 7 :)



#17 Flottmann1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:41 AM

Some of the documentation I am scanning seems to maybe indicate that MG might have got the idea from Heinrich Martin of Germany’s GROM simulator cart board. In a letter circa 1985, Heinrich wrote Craig Miller and congratulated him on Explorer, and mentioned his GROM cartridge board and enclosed some PCBs and instructions in English. I have a couple of these in my hands now. They will be scanned. I can only infer that either Craig and DC knew about the circuit, or figured it out from Heinrich’s board and took it to the next level and significantly improved it with the GK

From what Jim told me, the GROM emulation circuit was published by TI and even had it in developer kits. So, folks figured it out quickly. The circuit is 4-6 standard 74 series chips and a regular ROM. Super Extended Basic used it. I’m sure it might have been in other carts too.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

here Pictures from my first Gram Kracker, by a user who gave up his hobby with the TI-99 in the early 90s here in Germany

 

with Disc Pictures and the german Manual
 

Attached Files


Edited by Flottmann1, Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:42 AM.


#18 kl99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:45 AM

Original:

Hi Jon, there seems to be a german letter from Heiner Martin. Is all the letter content in the 3 photos or is there more text not shown here yet?

Can you provide a higher quality version of the photos? It's a bit hard to identify some words from the photos.

We german speakers can make a german digital .txt version and translate that to english for the archives.

 

Edit:

Sorry, I thought this was from the archives of DC Warren.


Edited by kl99, Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:02 AM.


#19 Flottmann1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:54 AM

3 more precise ones

Attached Files



#20 acadiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:52 AM

Original:
Hi Jon, there seems to be a german letter from Heiner Martin. Is all the letter content in the 3 photos or is there more text not shown here yet?
Can you provide a higher quality version of the photos? It's a bit hard to identify some words from the photos.
We german speakers can make a german digital .txt version and translate that to english for the archives.
 
Edit:
Sorry, I thought this was from the archives of DC Warren.


I have a whole box of scans still to do.

Phase two is schematics, board layouts and mylars.

Phase three is me scanning notes.

#21 kl99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:44 AM

Can you share how Gregory and you organized the things out?

Is everything related to the Gram Kracker project now at your place?

What about internal TI docs (Specs)? Any among the archive?



#22 acadiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:07 AM

Can you share how Gregory and you organized the things out?
Is everything related to the Gram Kracker project now at your place?
What about internal TI docs (Specs)? Any among the archive?


I currently have everything related to the Gram Kracker in my possession.

TBD are other technical documents and such. We are in discussions for those that the community does not have.

We currently have another surprise en route, and I’m working with several folks via email to see what we can do to make it available. Stay tuned :)

#23 acadiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:59 AM

42fc69d438a97b2c3f318616a65dccc8.jpg

The Gram Kracker test program in action!

#24 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:01 AM

Whoa!!!

#25 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:10 AM

We currently have another surprise en route, and I’m working with several folks via email to see what we can do to make it available. Stay tuned :)

 

What a tease!  Could you give us a little hint?  Is it older tech?  Is it new tech?  Is it a hackers/programmers only tool?  Would it be of use to the 'average user'?  With so many cartridges ripped and usable on the FG99, I have to wonder what this thing can do.  My curiosity is peaked.






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