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Everything posted by oracle_jedi

  1. Let's do a quick sanity check here. Boot the TI and select TI BASIC, then enter CALL MOUNT(1,99) Now exit and go to TI Extended BASIC. You should get a ready prompt. Type: >SIZE 11840 BYTES OF STACK FREE 24488 BYTES OF PROGRAM SPACE FREE If we get that the 32K is recognized and working. Now go back to TI BASIC and remount any usable volume as DSK1, a blank one is preferred. Then from TI BASIC write a hello-world program and save it to DSK1. Load it back and check it works. If that works repeat the load/save test for TI Extended BASIC. You might have a bad Extended BASIC cart, you might a bad 32K expansion. Are you sure your TI doesn't have an internal 32K upgrade or wait-state bypass? Hope this sheds some light on what is going on.
  2. Wow! Nice work! - when can we expect a port to the 8-bit Atari? :-)
  3. E/A games are either Option 3 "Load and Run" or Option 5 "Run Program File". Select the relevant option and enter the name of the program. For example, to run Submarine Commander from disk 1, select option 5 and enter in upper case: DSK1.SUBCOMMAND Extended BASIC games often auto-load. It looks for a file called "LOAD" on disk 1 and runs it if it finds it. If not, you can use the RUN command as follows: RUN "DSK1.MYPROGRAM" You can also load and run as follows: OLD "DSK1.MYPROGRAM" RUN To catalog a disk, beside the Disk Manager module, you can use a program like Disk Manager 2000 which runs under EA. Most EA3 and EA5 games can be run under Extended BASIC using a tool like YLOAD. So... you can insert Extended BASIC, load YLOAD and use that to EA3 load Disk Manager 2000. Really all you need is Extended BASIC.
  4. Forget the disk drive. Get a uIEC device from Jim Brain and mount it inside the 1530 cassette drive. I have mine mounted under the smoked door of the unit, so when I press eject the unit lifts to allow me to replace the SD card. The power is provided from the cassette cable and the whole unit matches the VIC perfectly. Combined with the MegaCart you'll have the ultimate VIC set up.
  5. Step One - go to this link and scroll down the the Compact Flash Utility. This is a graphical front end to the cfmgr.exe program and should help with using the unit. http://www.avjd51.dsl.pipex.com/ti/ti.htm To use the disk image included, you need Extended BASIC, then the program should auto-load. To make sure it is mounted, connect your CF7 to your TI and boot up, you should see the "CF7+ Installed" added to the opening screen. Select TI BASIC and when you get the ready prompt enter this: CALL MOUNT(1,1) You mounted disk image 1 as DSK1. Now go back to the Master Title Screen and select Extended BASIC, the CF7 Manager Program should auto-load. You can use the graphical front end at the link I gave you to add new PC99 and TIDisk images to your CF card on the PC, and use the CALL MOUNT (x,y) method to mount them on the TI as disks 1, 2, or 3. Hope that helps
  6. Unless you have a specific desire to use the PEB, the simplest method is the CF7 - this great little device plugs into your console, provides 32K of CPU RAM, a CF card reader that emulates all three disk drives, and a parallel port. You just copy your PC99 or TIDisk images onto the CF card on the PC, plug the card into the CF7 and away you go. eBay Auction -- Item Number: 200422616560
  7. Some beige consoles had the 1981 ROM like the last of the black/silver consoles. Later beige consoles had the V2.2 ROM. The V2.2 shows up at power up, with a copyright date of 1983. If you have this model, Atarisoft cartridges wont play, plus I am guessing any cartridge that by-passes the GROM. Beige consoles with the 1981 ROM play Atarisoft games just fine. Corcomp did sell an adapter to defeat the lock-out, I have seen only one come up on Ebay. My beige console has a 1981 ROM and plays Atarisoft games. However, side-car games like Miner 2049er do not play, the title never appears in the opening menu. I am guessing other side car games like Espial, Arcturus and Killer Caterpillar would also refuse to play.
  8. If you have an Atarimax 1Mb Flashcart there is a Diamond cartridge image you can download from the Atarimax forum. It reports version 2.0 on the banner but has the XF551 disk icons that Curt mentioned. Given how limited the software is, its a good way to play with the tool without spending alot of money. I am guessing an cartridge on Ebay would go for quite a lot.
  9. I worked for IBM at Hursley Park, Winchester back in 1989 when we were developing OS/2 and the XGA adapter for the PS/2 line. All of this is from memory as I don't have many of my papers from then.. I thought the PS/2 sold very well throughout most of its life but I don't have actual numbers to compare to Macintosh. IBM did bundle OS/2 with the PS/2 machines capable of running it - the Model 50 and above with 286 CPUs and an MCA bus. The PS/2 Model 25 and 30 were 8086 based machines with an ISA bus and could not support OS/2, so were bundled with IBM PC-DOS. IBM, being IBM, also offered each machine a-la-carte - inside of IBM you could order your PS/2 part by part down to the bezel, and I think that was offered to the public too, so if you wanted your PS/2 with Xenix you could do that. Windows was not really that well established at that time. In 1989 it was still Windows 2.0 and was not widely used compared with non-GUI PC-DOS (or MS-DOS for the clones). IBM and Microsoft collaborated on OS/2 and then Microsoft took the OS/2 presentation manager and rolled it into their Windows code base creating the popular Windows 3.0 OS/2 wasn't established either, and most buyers wanted machines to run Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect, and those needed PC-DOS, not OS/2. Again, from memory, OS/2 supported the native IBM hardware pretty well. It had a lot of teething problems and I recall issues with running time-sensitive software such as MIDI music applications, but overall I remember it running IBM's own hardware okay. Third-party support was another problem however, as vendors were reluctant to invest time and money in OS/2 until they saw the market going that way, and of course, it didn't, it followed Microsoft with Windows 3.0 instead. As for Macintosh, I am not sure it was really seen as the enemy in 1989. The Mac had become the desktop publishing niche machine, and the lower end of the market was being fought over by the Atari ST and Amiga lines. The Acorn Archimedes was also still a player at that time. The PS/2, OS/2 and MCA were an attempt to take on the real enemies - the clone makers - specifically Compaq and Dell. The attempt ultimately failed because Compaq, Dell and their partners did a better job of putting together and pushing E-ISA than IBM did with their platform. The MCA bus for example was expensive to license and certain features didn't work right. One thing I do remember from 1990 was a product meeting, where it was announced that the whole PC line would be dead by 1995. Many people were very confident that RT/PC POWER platform was going to be the next dominant standard and the x86 and Windows would all be a thing of the past. Things didn't quite work out as planned.
  10. Back in the mid to late 80s, if you really had $700 to drop on a "REAL LQ printer" you probably weren't using an Atari for word processing in the first place. I had a 1027 from about 88 to about 93 when the ink ran dry. I did exactly what Atari said it did. Letter Quality print, albeit extremely slowly. Plugged straight into the SIO jack and was supported by all the two word processors I used - Mini Office and First XLent Word Processor. For those people like myself who needed very occasional letter quality print, it also had the advantage of being extremely light and compact - it would sit on the small shelves those old computer desks came with that were meant for your tape cassettes. The price was very attractive. I checked back in Atari User magazine from 1985, and the 1027 is offered for 150 pounds, whereas other daisy-wheel printers were closer to 300, and typically required the 850 interface and a special cable, or one of the 3rd party Centronics print interfaces. The 1025 was never offered in Europe and even if it was, it was still a dot-matrix who's NLQ print was nowhere near as good as the 1027. The Europeans got the 1029 printer which IIRC used a 7-pin head and so was not even capable of the print quality of the 1025. To level criticism at the 1027 because its print head design was not consistent with a device meant for printing hundreds of pages is just silly. The printer was never offered with a sheet feeder. It was suitable for printing one or two pages, such as a short letter to the bank, or your school, or your CV - back when we used letters and not e-mails for everything.
  11. The short answer is yes. You can download pretty much every game ever released for the VIC20 including ROM games and play them on a real VIC. You will need to overcome two problems: 1. How to get the downloaded games onto a media the VIC can read. 2. How to install physical RAM into the banks needed by the downloaded game. The first issue is most easily solved by using a uIEC device from Jim Brain. It costs $55 plus shipping and allows you to take SD cards from your PC to the VIC. The uIEC allows entire disk images in .D64 and .D81 format as well as individual PRG files to be easily loaded. http://www.jbrain.net/products/uIEC%7B47%7DSD.html If you don't want to do that, you can buy or make your own X1541 cable that allows you to connect the 1541 disk drive directly to a PC's parallel port. Software such as Star Commander can then be used to writes directly to the Commodore disk. I used this technique for a long time, but found that Star Commander does not work under Windows and is highly temperamental. Downloading files from the internet, copying them to PC floppy to be transferred to an ancient laptop running DOS 6.2 and then hooking my home brew 1541 cable to the Commodore disk drive gets really really tedious. The VIC disk subsystem does not require any machine memory but as such uses an utterly bizarre syntax to interface with the disk drive. The disk system is also unbelievably slow. The second problem concerns the VIC's memory map. The VIC memory map is divided into eight 8K banks numbered 0 through 7. The standard machine shipped with bank 0 partially populated - 5K. This leaves a 3K hole in bank 0. RAM memory could also be placed in banks 1, 2 and 3. Bank 5 was used for ROM cartridges and so RAM will need to be present here if you wish to load ROM games from disk or tape. Many great games will play on the standard 5K but some require the 3K hole to be filled using a 3K memory expansion unit. Memory can also be placed in banks 1, 2 and 3 using 8K, 16K and the rare 3rd party 24K memory expansion units. The best VIC20 games typically require a 16K expansion unit. There are a few games that require a 24K expansion. Oddly perhaps, the BASIC interpreter will not recognize the 3K expansion if memory is present in bank 1. The 8K and 16K cards do not back-fill the 3K hole so games that require the 3K expansion will often not run on a 8K or 16K expanded machine. Some memory expansion cards offered a switch to move between 3K expansion and 16K expansion. These are now quite hard to find. All ROM games used memory in bank 5. Larger ROM games used a second bank - usually bank 3. This presents a problem as the standard Commodore 8K and 16K memory expansion cards only fill banks 1 and 2. To place memory in banks 3 and 5 you will either need to open the 16K memory card and change the jumpers to relocate the memory banks. Alternatively some third-party expansion adapters allowed multiple RAM expansion cards to be inserted and dip switches could be used to change the location of the extra RAM. The Stonechip 4-slot expansion card offered this feature, but is rarely seen on Ebay. Some third-party RAM expansion cards also offered dip-switch solutions to allow the user to dictate which banks would be filled, such as the Cardco expansion unit. Again these are quite rare. To further complicate matters, some ROM dumps including Atarisoft Pole Position and Battlezone require a soft reset to initialize the game. There are instructions on the web that show how to wire a simple switch to the Reset line of the cartridge port, but it will require some soldering to implement. By far the simplest solution to the memory question is the MegaCart which besides including almost every VIC20 ROM game, also features a full 32K + 3K memory expansion option allowing you to place memory in all banks. The implementation of Pole Position and Battlezone on the Megacart force a soft-reset by-passing the need for a user-installed soft-reset. If you can work your way through the quirky disk system and the quirky memory map, you can enjoy some classic retro gaming including: A.E. Arcadia Avenger Bandits Bongo Capture the Flag Country Garden Hellgate (PAL systems only) Jelly Monsters (best home Pacman conversion of any 8-bit system. Period.) Jetpac Jupiter Lander Lazer Zone Matrix Omega Race The Perils of Willy Trader Victoria I hope you have fun.
  12. I love my 1200XL keyboard way too much to consider exchanging it for some generic PC keyboard styled in XL colours. If you take away the 1200XL keyboard you might as well just use a 130XE - more memory, an ECI slot and a Freddy chip. So... feature creep notwithstanding, what is the possibility of a 1200XL replacement bottom plastic? One that would accommodate a 130XE motherboard and provide a 1200XL keyboard to 130XE interface? Something like what Metalguy did with his 1200XL case but done professionally? - that I would definitely buy! Thanks Graham
  13. I used an 800XL with 1050 disk drive for a long time and loved the machine. Then saved my money to buy a 520ST (not FM) and SF314 disk drive in early 1987. I tried hard to like the new machine. I wanted the bragging rights, it was 16-bit! - had so much memory! This was the new-age. I did write one paper on the machine using First Word Plus. But it was a frustrating experience. The word processor was slow, frequently missing key strokes. The TOS/GEM OS was terrible, frequently powering up to bombs on the screen. At other times it would boot up and then scramble the contents of the disks. I got into the habit of write protecting all disks all the time in case the ST threw a temper tantrum and wiped out my work. I tried to get into programming with it, but ST BASIC was slow and buggy. I did acquire a C compiler (I forget which version) but it too was slow and buggy. The whole platform (and software too) seemed to be thrown together in a hurry with little though to long term use. I bought a SM125 hi-res monitor which provided a very nice flicker-free display, but was awkward to unplug when i wanted to switch to the colour display and play games. I heard alot of my problems might be due to a buggy TOS and I should get a new one. But the new one was a 2-chip design and my machine was a 6-chip design, and Atari UK didn't seem to know what I could do. Additionally the 3.5 disks seem to suffer regular failures. My 5.25 disks on the XL never ever had problems (and still don't to this day!) - but the 3.5 disks seemed to go bad all the time. There were some good games - Virus and Elite Frontier are fondly remembered - but other "block buster" games like Starglider or Capt Blood sported wonderful graphics but lousy game play. Star Raiders on the ST was a dud. Black Lamp played better and sounded better on the 800XL. My favourite app was one to remove the graphical desktop and let me just use a command-line. With the buggy applications and buggy OS, and with access to the glorious Turbo Pascal v2 at college, I set about trying to run PC apps on the ST with PC-Ditto and some other approaches. Each attempt brought limited success and more frustration, that could be solved with some additional hardware or another upgrade.... and in the end I realized that for the same hassle I could just buy a PC. Before I sold my ST in 1989 I got the serial transfer cable (from Page6 magazine) to move all my files back to the 800XL. Unable to quite afford the PC I wanted I moved my word-processing to Mini Office and later the First XLent Word Processor on the XL. With a printer interface to allow me to connect my Epson LX-800 printer I had all I needed, and I was glad to see the back of the ST. The XL software was stable and fast enough, the machine powered up without scrambling disks and the 40-column display was a small price to pay for reliability. The ST's bigger memory was largely negated by the OS overhead - as long as I could write a chapter of a paper it was good enough for what I needed. A few years later I ran into a guy at University who raved about his ST and so I gave him my thoughts on the platform's limitations. He responded that his ST was tricked out and he could run Apple Macintosh software on it, therefore it was the better machine. All that means is you like the Macintosh I told him, not the ST. I know some people loved their STs, just as I love my VIC-20. They are both products of the same Tramiel design philosophy - "make them as cheaply as possible". And both machines spawned some great games inspite of their hardware limitations. But whereas the Amiga and the Atari 800 were built to a spec, the ST and the VIC were built to a price - and a low one at that.
  14. Two CF7s sold on Ebay today, apparently from the original creator - Jaime Malilong. Hopefully we will see more coming soon.
  15. Not necessarily no. I bought an 800XL from Silica Shop in England in December 1983 and it had Rev C BASIC installed. Since I stupidly fried that one with a Commodore power supply later in life, I too bought a PAL 800XL from B&C last year. Mine actually came with two "9" keys, but B&C promptly sent me a replace key cap and all was well. The unit I have did not have the split chroma/luma video output so I had to add that myself. It does not have a FREDDY chip. All ICs are without sockets except for the MMU. I installed a Wizztronics 256K memory upgrade and also disabled the internal BASIC. I believe it is possible to add more memory to the Claus Bucholz design but I have not tried it myself. It is nice to get a brand-new factory fresh Atari after all these years :-)
  16. The same disc drive and datasette for the C64 will work with the VIC. The video cable is the same one as used on the Atari 800/XL/XE and North American TI-99 computers, and NOT the same as the C64. It's the same V2 BASIC so the commands are identical as the C64. You're right that there was never very much disc software, with most software being released on ROM cartridge or cassette. There are many excellent games, including one of the best Pac-Man conversions ever released on a home system - Jelly Monsters. Other great games include Omega Race, Radar Rat Race, Gridrunner, Matrix, Hellgate, Jetpac, Robotron, AE, Bandits, Arcadia amongst dozens of others. Recently a very talented team of VIC enthusiasts put together the Mega Cart, a plug in ROM that provides every possible memory expansion as well as a broad selection of great and not-so-great games. It is expensive compared to many Retro-gaming purchases, but I have gotten far more than my money's worth from the unit. You can review the unit here: http://www.mega-cart.com/ There is also an active VIC community still developing new games and applications for the computer: http://sleepingelephant.com/denial/ Have fun.
  17. I think the TI-99/4 took the TI calculator designs and super-sized them. TI went with a high-tech black and silver (slightly bronze on the original 99/4 IIRC). Atari opted for wood grain effects on the VCS to promote user acceptance in the home at a time when most TVs came in wooden cases, but I believe they used the IBM Selectric type writer as the inspiration for the design of the 800, using a fetching shade of 70s brown. The Atari 400 was an 800 that was shrunk and made more angular, possibly to reduce the cost of the moulding process. It shares the same 70s colour scheme as its big brother, but opts for a truly 70s wedge shape. Perhaps Curt could shed more light on the designs here? The PET 2001 design seems to draw from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey", using a similar font on the keyboard as seen on board the Discovery in the Kubrick classic, as well as the use of red and blue keys which mirrors the use of primary colours in the film. The case design was pure opportunism, as Jack Tramiel owned a sheet metal manufacturer and decided it was cheaper to use that to case the PET computer than develop a real plastic case as Apple had done for the II. Commodore later realized the keyboard and case of the PET limited user acceptance outside of business and academic institutions, and choose an effective white plastic case design with full type writer keyboard for the VIC-20. The look of the VIC almost certainly helped the machine sell, being seen as a "real computer" versus the odd looking Atari 400 or calculator TI. In almost every other category both the Atari and the TI out-classed the VIC. Personally I think the late 70s and early 80s produced some real experimentation in consumer electronic designs, far more so than today where everything is shrunk so small than anyone with big fingers finds it impossible to type.
  18. Microsurgeon "paging Dr. Lavine" MASH
  19. Totally agree! - The VIC version was by far the best. The chunky graphics just worked so well. The sound effects were awesome. The Gridrunner game looks great so far! Can we expect more Llamasoft conversions? Laser Zone? Hellgate?
  20. I'd love to see XEP80 support in Last Word! Graham
  21. I am thinking of getting a UK spec Playstation2 to play the European versions of Singstar (my wife... dont ask..) So quick questions.... I want to play Euro sing star - cant do that on a US spec unit right? Not because of any NTSC/PAL issue - but because a software region lock out. Is this right? If above is YES - is there a simple and reliable way to defeat this lock out? If the lockout cannot be easily defeated - where can I buy a UK PS2? Most Ebay sellers demand a Paypal verified UK address - that is going to be a problem. Amazon UK listed PS2s until last week - but now they list them as "no longer available". Cheers. Graham.
  22. I thought the SV318 had a chiclet keyboard? Is this a mis-labeled unit? A replacement keyboard? Or did Spectravideo sell the 318 with the full keyboard in some markets?
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