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IRATA.ONLINE and TI/99 development possibilities.


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#1 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:01 AM

Hello all.

 

I'm Thom Cherryhomes, the systems operator and shared shitless leader for IRATA.ONLINE. :)

 

IRATA.ONLINE's website is here: http://www.irata.online/

 

IRATA.ONLINE is a PLATO system that has been set up, to be targeted toward the greater scope of the retro computing communities, and to this end, not only am I providing a place for everybody with vintage computers to log into, I am trying to foster the following:

 

* Terminal programs. IRATA.ONLINE uses a very special ASCII based protocol (and boy do we use every single character, even the control characters!) to provide not just text, but graphics, touch screen interaction, color, and other unique features. So, systems wanting to access need their own terminal program. To this end, I provide on the website, not only a complete protocol description, I also provide TWO example terminal programs written in plain C to show the needed protocol and example display implementations. The official terminal program for PC, Mac, and Linux also has source code too, so this can be used as a reference...A very enthusiastic programmer can provide a terminal for the TI 99 in very short time, perhaps even F18A enhanced for greater screen resolution and color fidelity.

 

* Hardware access devices - I am trying to consolidate, as well as foster development of vintage computer TCP access devices, so that they can connect to this service. Such a project is already underway for Atari 8-bit systems to provide a complete interface that plugs directly into the serial I/O port without any additional hardware.

 

* Provide author and systems staff access to anyone interested. I need help to run this thing, and we need content, this system was literally designed to foster not only content, but social interaction around creating said content! We can leverage this to create a truly unique experience that you just can't get anywhere else.

 

* Tell people about this thing. I am hosting regular google meets to show people how this thing works, from every angle, from the user, to the author, to the systems staff. I want people to see just how unique this system really is. It sure beats running a BBS!

 

The next meet is today (Saturday, March 31, 2018), at 9pm to 11pm CDT, on Google meet. Details on top of the site.

 

The following meet is tomorrow (April 1, 2018), at 4pm to 6pm CDT, on Google Meet, details again, on top of the site.

 

If anyone wants to come, please do.

 

Enthusiastically,

-Thom



#2 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 1, 2018 9:35 PM

The TI-99/4A actually has had a standalone implementation of PLATO since 1982. Lessons were built on the Control Data terminal machines using the TUTOR language and then output from the system as standalone packages for the /4A (the /4A just needed a disk system and the PLATO cartridge to run them). It was one of the only PLATO implementations back then that didn't need the mainframes and terminals to run the lessons.



#3 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 1, 2018 10:24 PM

Yes, There was a MicroTUTOR resident that was made for the 99. What I would like to do, is to help foster a functional resident for the TI 99 4A to connect to IRATA.ONLINE (or the other extant PLATO system, cyber1.org). I am extremely familiar with the ASCII protocol, and can help with the ins and outs of the protocol. What I am not familiar with, is the peculiarities of providing connectivity options that will be beneficial to the most 99/4A users possible, and the intricacies of the 9918 and its cousins.

 

The benefits to doing this, far outweigh any negatives, and will provide an aspect of the PLATO experience that you couldn't get with MicroTUTOR (by the same token, MicroTUTOR offered its own unique possibilities that were simply not possible on Central PLATO at the time.)

 

If you guys want to see what this system can do, ping me, I can jump on Google Meet, and run through the entire system, from top to bottom, both of the integral capabilities of PLATO, as well as the customizations that I've made to my running instance, and WHY this system is relevant, WHY it would be beneficial to the retro computing community, and WHY I need help to bring this service to its intended audience, for the freest possible definition of free, mind you. 

 

I have also scheduled two google meets this next Saturday and Sunday, details are on the site, to introduce the system and its capabilities.

 

I want every single branch of the retro-computing community to be able to access this thing on their native machines, and I will bend over backwards to facilitate this.

 

-Thom



#4 moocowmoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2018 10:40 AM

Interesting to see how things changed from the original to the TI-99/4A version.

 

Attached File  plato.PNG   63.47KB   2 downloads

Attached File  plato2.PNG   42.08KB   2 downloads

Attached File  plato3.PNG   85.64KB   2 downloads


Edited by moocowmoo, Thu Apr 5, 2018 11:08 AM.


#5 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2018 12:01 PM

Oh wow, that's awesome. :)

 

-Thom



#6 moocowmoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2018 3:11 PM

To get to where I took those screenshots, press g at the main menu, then type 0gbrouter and press enter. Press enter again to get to the main menu, then choose option "b... descriptions of clusters". That seems to have everything from disks PHD 5201-PHD 5264.



#7 moocowmoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2018 7:37 PM

Now THIS is interesting...

Attached File  pcd2.PNG   196.23KB   1 downloads



#8 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2018 10:49 PM

I am amazed that the FAA system still has PCD2.

 

-Thom



#9 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2018 11:08 PM

Ok, I've dug into PCD2, and while it's there, it shouldn't be run. at all.

 

While files can still be made with it, the PCD2 authoring system has "year" issues, and won't work much beyond approximately 1986, it looks like.

 

I verified this by creating a nameset to the PCD2 specifications, and going into the environment. While editing appears to work, the authoring environment will crash at different points in the program, corrupting ECS and CM, and leave the system in an unusable state (nobody can log on). The only fix is to literally stop MASTOR, idle NAM, unlock, checkpoint the system, step, shut down, and do a fresh deadstart of the machine.

 

I will ask anyone who is on IRATA to PLEASE not use PCD2, as its crashes literally affect everybody on the system.

 

-Thom



#10 moocowmoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 6, 2018 1:20 AM

Ok, I've dug into PCD2, and while it's there, it shouldn't be run. at all.

 

While files can still be made with it, the PCD2 authoring system has "year" issues, and won't work much beyond approximately 1986, it looks like.

 

I verified this by creating a nameset to the PCD2 specifications, and going into the environment. While editing appears to work, the authoring environment will crash at different points in the program, corrupting ECS and CM, and leave the system in an unusable state (nobody can log on). The only fix is to literally stop MASTOR, idle NAM, unlock, checkpoint the system, step, shut down, and do a fresh deadstart of the machine.

 

I will ask anyone who is on IRATA to PLEASE not use PCD2, as its crashes literally affect everybody on the system.

 

-Thom

So it works with the date set back to before 1986?

 

If anyone else wants to try figuring out how to use this, download your own copy of CYBIS at http://www.control-d...bisRelease.html so we don't crash IRATA.



#11 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 6, 2018 5:13 AM

That is some very useful information on PCD2. Based on some data I tracked down in another thread, it also appears that a version of PTERM for the TI also existed (and a copy of that survived as well--Klaus has it).



#12 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:24 PM

I've scheduled two more Google meets for:

 

Saturday, April 14th, 10am to 12pm

Sunday, April 15th, 10am to 12pm

 

Details on the website. :)

 

-Thom



#13 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:41 AM

Next IRATA.ONLINE meets are on Apr 21, and Apr 22, at 10am to 12pm CDT for both days. Google Meet links on http://www.irata.online/

 

I want to talk to TI-99 programmers, to try and get a terminal written for these machines, as I am very familiar with the protocol, as I am finishing an Android implementation.

 

-Thom



#14 kl99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:04 AM

there is a lot of terminal software for the TI-99.

there is also emulation of a TI 820 and a TI 911 Terminal.

Nevertheless I assume you are talking about a specific TE.

 

with my 99/8 unit came a lot of software from the former owner and TI employee who was involved in testing Plato software it seems.

I guess you have the Plato Terminal Emulator Software there to download from my preserved and shared disk images.

both d021 and d036 are featuring the software:

http://atariage.com/...-3#entry3412128

 

BR Klaus



#15 kl99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:06 AM

a pic of the welcome screen is here

http://atariage.com/...-3#entry3411906



#16 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:44 PM

Yup, it looks like indeed, this is the PLATO terminal. I have it running in mame, but I am needing to install it on linux, so I can do a bridge with tcpser (trying to use rxtx and ti image tool is proving to be a major pain in the ass, under windows.)

 

-Thom



#17 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:32 PM

so ok I loaded this in EA and set the rs232 settings to 8n2400 as that's what my modem likes..  I can dial and it connects to my bbs.. so that works.. there seems to be zero handshaking so I'm going to slow it down to 1200

 

So now what is there something I can dial into over telnet? or modem? I can hook up a courier if need be.

 

Greg



#18 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:11 PM

Ok i figured out how to get on with your telnet info off fb
The first pic was with the disk36 program 1200 8n1 then I switched to the disk21 7e1 and was able to login66cc1849fcd38a9e015e61f85027b80a.jpg3b5add95ebd937508d001ba07d575c5c.jpg

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk

#19 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:28 PM

Ok i figured out how to get on with your telnet info off fb
The first pic was with the disk36 program 1200 8n1 then I switched to the disk21 7e1 and was able to login66cc1849fcd38a9e015e61f85027b80a.jpg3b5add95ebd937508d001ba07d575c5c.jpg

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk

Heres 36 w 7e1b4e53a1329889946751c7b5809550213.jpg

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk

#20 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:59 AM

x9gafbz.pngHere's the same view from MAME:

 

 



#21 BeeryMiller ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:53 AM

Does this mean the Plato terminal emulation needs for the TI-99/4A have been met?  Sounds like it.  

 

Beery



#22 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:00 AM

Well, it needs work, particularly:

 

(1) implementation of software flow control (XON/XOFF), so that faster speeds can be done. PLATO did not implement hardware flow control.

(2) Definite protocol mismatches due to possibly incorrect terminal type. The Atari terminal definition had been replaced by Macintosh in the intervening years, so we had to change the terminal type that the cartridge reported to IST-III. Something similar will need to be done here.

(3) the bottom 4 or so lines are cropped from the terminal output. Not sure what to do here.

 

I do think a new terminal implementation would be worth doing, and I will  help anyone who wishes to do so, there are tons of useful documentation on the website to this end, as well as two sample C implementations.

 

-Thom



#23 BeeryMiller ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:59 AM

Can anyone comment whether the C implementations mentioned have many/much/nil issues with the current C compilers for the TI-99/4A and/or Geneve?

 

I realize the RS232 interface would need some work.  Just curious if our C compilers we have can handle that code.

 

Beery



#24 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:03 AM

They should be compilable with gcc. It's very standard C89. (The code was written in 1990). 

 

The MacPAD implementation is notable because the protocol decoding (pad.c) is seperate from the computer specific bits (in the MacPAD) folder, it was originally written in ThinkC, but it should be compilable in gcc.

 

And failing that, I've implemented a protocol decoder on github for a friend working on the commodore 128 implementation that compiles in gcc and cc65:

https://github.com/t...ster/protocol.c

 

-Thom



#25 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:11 PM

Ok, I've now moved the meets to a self hosted service running on the same server as the main service:

https://meet.irata.online/demomeet  This will be used starting with the demo meet, tomorrow.

 

Links on the website have been updated.

 

-Thom

 

p.s. would really like to see some TI users.






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