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How do I use VAPI?


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#1 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 6:20 AM

Okay, got everything set up. SIO2PC connected to laptop and 1050, downloaded VAPI so I can make an image of a disk and ... no idea what to do next. How do I use VAPI to make a disk image of copy protected disks?

#2 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 11:36 AM

*Sigh* Just realised I need a Happy Drive. :roll:

#3 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 5:29 PM

You don't need a Happy 1050 to get started anyway. ;)

If you want to use pre-existing VAPI images, go to the VAPI homepage and download VAPI2SIO. It functions as a disk server (along with your SIO2PC cable/adapter) so you can load the VAPI images directly into your 8-bit. Note that you can also download a patched version of Atari800Win, if you want to use VAPI images in emulation.

Atarimania has a selection of VAPI images for download.

You only need a Happy 1050 to image real floppies and write back VAPI (.atx) images. AFAIK the read/write tools have not been released to the public, I hope this changes sometime sooner than later...

#4 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 7:59 PM

That's a bit of a bummer. I wanted to make PL65 (rarity 9) available. For now I'll make a copy with the APE ProSystem for anyone who has an APE/SIO2PC and post it on here ... hopefully within the next hour or so.

#5 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 8:04 PM

That's a bit of a bummer. I wanted to make PL65 (rarity 9) available. For now I'll make a copy with the APE ProSystem for anyone who has an APE/SIO2PC and post it on here ... hopefully within the next hour or so.

I hear you. I have quite a number of original disks that have not been archived as well, and now that we have the technology I'd like to do it before they finally do one day give up the ghost.

Which is why I keep hoping the imaging tools will hit the public.

#6 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 8:18 PM

I can write the PRO back to disk and then try to make an ATX of that, which might work fine if its just simple copy protection.

You mentioned previously that the protection requires compiling a program to see if it works?

Steve

#7 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 9:04 PM

I can write the PRO back to disk and then try to make an ATX of that, which might work fine if its just simple copy protection.

You mentioned previously that the protection requires compiling a program to see if it works?

Steve

That's what it looked like when I last attempted to crack the protection. It seems to be a two-stage protection on it ... first, if it doesn't find the bad/skewed/whatever sector, it won't run the compiler. My theory, which I didn't check previously, is that when it does find the bad sector, it writes a value in memory which the compiler then checks against when it's compiling ... if it can't find the right value, it doesn't add the runtime library to the compiled program. Just a theory at this stage but something I plan on looking into over the weekend.

Anyway, here's a preliminary PRO copy of PL65. I've only tested to see if it will run after being loaded on APE - and it does. Haven't tested compilation yet, though. It's also preliminary in that I think it's still got MyDOS on it. It should have DOS 2.5 set to a maximum of 7 concurrent IOCB channels. I'll work on my backup copy to get it back to its original settings. (EDIT: Just ran it again and it has got DOS 2.5 on it)

Attached File  PL65Prelim.zip   46.63KB   95 downloads

Edited by Tickled_Pink, Fri Jan 5, 2007 9:17 PM.


#8 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 9:38 PM

Ok give this a try. I was able to load the ATX into APE and boot to the PL65 menu.

I don't have an ATX capable emulator set up, so I'll leave it to you to test it that way.

The disk actually has a duplicate sector and a CRC error. Not exactly fort knox but pretty interesting for a language disk.

Steve

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#9 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 5, 2007 9:52 PM

And a quick attempt at a cracked version, also needs verification.

Steve

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#10 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 6, 2007 7:01 AM

It just occured to me, what is the data integrity lifespan for data on atari 8bit/st stylee 5.25/3.5 inch floppies

#11 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 6, 2007 7:28 AM

It just occured to me, what is the data integrity lifespan for data on atari 8bit/st stylee 5.25/3.5 inch floppies

A very good question indeed, and I'm not sure that there is one right answer for it. I think firstly it depends on both how much the disk was used, and how well it's been stored. Unlike today's hard drives and CD/DVD's, the heads on magnetic floppy discs actually touch the magnetic surface, so like a record and needle, or cassette tape, they wear out faster the more they are used. If they were stored in conditions too hot or too cold or constantly changing tempature that will also shorten the lifespan. I have disks that are 25 years old that still work and look like new. It also probably depends on the quality of the disk manufacturing. The irony of all this is that modern discs like CDR's seem to have a shorter lifespan, I've heard about 5 years...though I do think regular CD/DVD's (not writable discs) have much longer or indefinate lifespans. The bottom line with floppies is get them backed up as soon as possible.

#12 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 6, 2007 8:16 AM

It just occured to me, what is the data integrity lifespan for data on atari 8bit/st stylee 5.25/3.5 inch floppies


Nobody knows for sure.

There are some estimates that talk about 25 years, but these are based mostly in video tapes (there is quite some experience in video tapes lifespan). Video tape magnetic recording have very different characteristic than floppies. We know that many A8 floppies from 1979 still work flawlessly.

The storage condition is certainly a major factor, of course. I don't think it is much relevant how much the disk was actually used, except in very extreme cases.

For sure there is a big difference between A8 and ST disks. Most A8 commertial disk were recorded in FM (single density), vs. MFM (double density) used in the ST. FM has some redundancy that make them more reliably.

Surprisinly, virgin disk manufacturing doesn't seem to be very important. It is much more important the quality of the recording. And in this case ST disks are the ones that take the lead. This is simply because duplicators were much more advanced during the late 80's and 90's than in early 80's. Professional duplication was also much cheaper during that period, so most ST disks were recording with industrial grade equipment.

However, as I commented recently in other thread, some disks do seem to have manufacturing defects. From my experience most Synapse disks published around 1983, are physically (not magnetically) damaged. It also happens in a lesser extent, with some ICD and Avalon Hill disks.

#13 jaybird3rd OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 6, 2007 8:34 AM

I know I have several dozen 5.25-inch diskettes that were formatted and recorded in stock Atari drives, in 1982 or earlier, that still work fine for me. The only ones that have bad sectors developed them not long after they were written.

I do agree that the longevity of the disks has a great deal to do with the quality of the drive that recorded them. Atari's drives from the 1980s might not have been the very best in the world, but in terms of reliability, even they are light-years ahead of the $12 floppy drive mechanisms of modern PCs.

#14 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 6, 2007 8:53 AM

Btw, I can recover data from (apparently) damaged disk. I recovered many disks that were completely unreadable by normal means, even from those Synapse disks that were already physically damaged.

If you have a very rare disk that is damaged, don't bin it and consider sending it to me. I will return it back. Data recovery is usually a painfull process, so this is worth only for very rare disks.

#15 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 6, 2007 5:05 PM

And a quick attempt at a cracked version, also needs verification.

Steve

Just had a go at compiling the sample.prg file that comes with the disk (it's just a game of 'Panic'). Same problem as before - the compiled code wouldn't run. I'll compile it on Atari hardware through the original disk later and see what the differences are.

At the minute I'm no nearer figuring it out. I've disabled the 'Append Runtime' option from the compiler but the memory location Xref is identical - I would expect the compiled output to start from the ORG address (which can be set to whatever you like from the 'Options' menu option). However, it's at exactly the same spot and the file size is identical. So not sure what's going on.

#16 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 7, 2007 12:28 AM

I do agree that the longevity of the disks has a great deal to do with the quality of the drive that recorded them. Atari's drives from the 1980s might not have been the very best in the world, but in terms of reliability, even they are light-years ahead of the $12 floppy drive mechanisms of modern PCs.


I understand carmel_andrews question was about commertial disks, not about home made ones. If so we are not talking about $12 PC drives. We are talking about duplicator drives that were a little bit more expensive than that :)

Also the quality of the recording depends not only on the drive, but also on a couple of additional factors, mainly the controller.

#17 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 7, 2007 1:07 AM

And a quick attempt at a cracked version, also needs verification.

Just had a go at compiling the sample.prg file that comes with the disk (it's just a game of 'Panic'). Same problem as before - the compiled code wouldn't run.


Seems there is a small problem with the crack. The compiled binary indeed doesn't run. It compiles and run ok with the VAPI image. But the generated binary seems to same size in both cases. I tested under emulation only. The compiler is slooow, and my real Atari doesn't have an F7 key as the emulator has :)

Steve, did you note it checks for the protection twice? Once when you load the compiler, and then again when it actually starts compiling.

#18 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 7, 2007 2:19 AM

Steve, did you note it checks for the protection twice? Once when you load the compiler, and then again when it actually starts compiling.


I didn't, I guess that means its only half cracked. :P

Steve

#19 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 7, 2007 7:08 AM

Steve, did you note it checks for the protection twice? Once when you load the compiler, and then again when it actually starts compiling.

Interesting. :? Did you follow the code since it doesn't need to have the compiler in the drive to compile (would be a bit dumb as you wouldn't be able to compile anything if you just had a single drive).

#20 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 7, 2007 8:28 AM

Sorry, my bad, it checks only once after loading the compiler.

Still something wrong with the crack, but don't know exactly what.

#21 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 7, 2007 11:19 AM

Sorry, my bad, it checks only once after loading the compiler.

Still something wrong with the crack, but don't know exactly what.

I know. Exactly the same problem I had when I attempted it. I do suspect that it is storing a value when it checks the existence of the bad sectors and that the compiler then checks for that value when it starts compiling. When I get a spare couple of hours, I'll take another swipe at it myself.

compiler is slooow,

I agree, but that's probably because it needs to do more work as it's a single-pass compiler and it doesn't store any code in memory. :ponder: I consider it to be a RAD development platform for the 8-bit - probably because the language and libraries are so easy to use that you can write many lines of code before you feel the need to test any of it. ;)

Edited by Tickled_Pink, Sun Jan 7, 2007 11:20 AM.


#22 dwhyte OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 4, 2007 8:00 PM

Sorry, my bad, it checks only once after loading the compiler.

Still something wrong with the crack, but don't know exactly what.

I know. Exactly the same problem I had when I attempted it. I do suspect that it is storing a value when it checks the existence of the bad sectors and that the compiler then checks for that value when it starts compiling. When I get a spare couple of hours, I'll take another swipe at it myself.

compiler is slooow,

I agree, but that's probably because it needs to do more work as it's a single-pass compiler and it doesn't store any code in memory. :ponder: I consider it to be a RAD development platform for the 8-bit - probably because the language and libraries are so easy to use that you can write many lines of code before you feel the need to test any of it. ;)


Any status on the full crack for this?

#23 poobah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 5, 2007 6:48 AM

I know I have several dozen 5.25-inch diskettes that were formatted and recorded in stock Atari drives, in 1982 or earlier, that still work fine for me. The only ones that have bad sectors developed them not long after they were written.

I do agree that the longevity of the disks has a great deal to do with the quality of the drive that recorded them. Atari's drives from the 1980s might not have been the very best in the world, but in terms of reliability, even they are light-years ahead of the $12 floppy drive mechanisms of modern PCs.


Not to get too far off the thread here, but those 5.25" disks were pretty resilient. I remember back one day at our local computer store, I was waiting for my mom to finish the paperwork on our brand new Atari 800 (Hey, I was only 11), anyway, dude at the desk behind the counter is eating a sandwich, big gob of jelly falls on a floppy disk on his desk. Chaos ensues. Another dude takes the disk, slits it open, takes out the really floppy part, rinses it off in the bathroom sink! Slits open a new disk, inserts the now dried floppy in the new empty 'envelope', puts it in the drive and copies that data!

I was floored. Alas, I only got a 410 for my computer that day, had to wait a while before I had disks :(




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