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jmccorm

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About jmccorm

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  1. SHORT VERSION: I'm looking for someone in Oklahoma (Northeastern area) who has some track record as a software preservationist for Atari software (ability to handle a small quantity of 3.5" and 5.25" IBM floppies is a plus) who will take ownership of several hundred disks and archive them and release them to the public as appropriate. Also some assorted books, disks, papers, manuals, etc. LONG VERSION: I've got a specialized career in IT. Interestingly enough, my early days with the Atari 8-bit were a great early career prep, and I was surprised to discover that one of my peers also shared that same Atari 8-bit childhood experience! So I ended up being in one of those jobs where if you have the chops and you find the right company, you're invaluable and they'll pay a princely sum for your services. But if you are out there in the job market and looking for a new place to work, there aren't going to be a large number of matches. What matches exist are almost certain to be in a large city, and it'll probably be with a Fortune 100 company or the US government. Recently, my current employer offered thousands of its employees a pretty good employment buyout package that becomes even more generous based on salary, job tier, and seniority. I'm almost certain to accept, if just to avoid the hellscape that results when most of the people leave a department and all the other departments you work with on a day-to-day basis are equally stripped of their talent and institutional knowledge. But I'm not in a city with a large amount of IT opportunities. I'm preparing for a move to another state, but I've got way way too much stuff. I have to pair things down, and the Atari media is part of what I have boxed up that takes a pretty good amount of room. BTW: There are a few Atari and IBM disks which look BBS related that (as a former Sysop) might contain who knows what, but I'd appreciate seeing those pulled out and converted for my own personal review. I'm hoping for the off chance that my custom Atari 8-bit "Utopia" BBS software can be located, or we might find the source code to some of the doors / modules I created for both Atari 8-bit and IBM (AVB, SLAVE, SLAVE-II, and a few others I know that I've forgotten). Other than that, I'm not too particular about the rest of the media. Somehow I ended up with one or two other people's Atari 8-bit software collections, so there will be some public domain software and a mix of official and "unofficial" copies of commercial software. I'm hoping that my collected media (disks, books, papers) can still be of service to a known preservationist and the community. Let me know, jmccorm
  2. You know, you might just have actually hit the hammer on the nail. The FBI has had issues with how their seal was used along with copyright warnings. For example, from a modern-day website on the FBI website regarding their new Anti-Piracy Warning Seal: ...it has come to the FBI’s attention that “Fair Use Warnings” accompanied by an image of the official FBI Seal (or similar insignia) have been posted on various websites, giving the appearance that the FBI has created or authorized these notices to advise the public about the fair use doctrine in U.S. copyright law. These warnings are not authorized or endorsed by the FBI. Perhaps as far back as the 80s, they might have had concern with how their logo was used and its potential to seem like an endorsement of whatever message was on the screen. That's just speculation, though. Heck, they could have just had angst over the FBI agent in the E.T. Cartridge for the 2600. Once we get the docs, we'll know the real issue for sure. jmccorm
  3. UPDATE: I've followed up with the FBI. After loosening my search constraints, they've identified 900 more pages of Atari documents. I've requested them. Additionally, they found 50 more pages which did not strictly match my request, but they thought might interest me. (My feel is that it is unusual for them to go out of their way like this.) It turns out to be 50 pages an involves the "misuse of the FBI name" by Atari. I think that this might have piqued the agent's personal interest? I've requested a total of 950 pages, and they've been upgraded from the "large case backlog" into the "medium backlog". No ETA, so expect a year or two. Thanks, Jmccorm
  4. Emkay, I just wanted to say that your efforts continue to be appreciated and that I hope to see you continue to deliver new material for years to come. My own story, years ago, I remember reading through the forum and coming across a completely awesome tune that you had created -- only to watch others on the scene totally savage you for the most esoteric and minor issues. I can only believe that it was some sort of rivalry between artisans, because for those of us who appreciate sound and music but lack that special gift for musical composition, your works have always impressed. Keep up the great work! Thanks, Jmccorm PS: I wish I had the gift for musical composition but it looks like my only creative artistic pathway that has gotten some traction has been 8-bit graphical conversion leading me into 8-bit graphical composition. Your stuff takes something special.
  5. Thank you all for your response. I'll keep my Atari SC1224 in its current role as a portable arcade monitor.
  6. None of the Atari 8-bit machines have motherboard taps for RGB(+Sync), correct?
  7. Hey, I learned something too: don't remove the initial section of your post that gives the correct answer. I had removed it because I saw that I confused the IRQ with the HALT lines, but nevertheless ended up at the correct source of the problem. Here's what he was referring to, for those who wondered how I ended up with credit for the ANTIC diagnosis: Hardware is not my area of expertise, but my understanding is that the ANTIC/CTIA/GTIA gets primary control over the bus and it is the device which has the authority (via hardware) to tell the 6502 to yield for this clock cycle, not the other way around. A high NMI pin on the 6502 seems to tell me that the ANTIC/GTIA is not releasing the CPU to access the system bus (including memory). Is my understanding correct? Personally, I'd focus on the ANTIC chip itself and spread out from there (basic board issues, GTIA, memory, etc).
  8. Was there a particular model or two on Amazon that you might suggest?
  9. I realize that you're venting, and it seems that you've been unusually unlucky with your issues. IMHO, all of this is far from typical. I don't think that Atari ever earned a bad reputation for quality control issues with the build/assembly on their shipped computers. Your issues are both unusual and bad. At least worth a reference is Atari's official Field Service Manual, but because your problems are so severe, the fact that you don't have the SuperSALT Cartridge or Test Assembly is something that won't make a difference. Also worth trying (as an experiment to gather more info) is temporarily reconnecting the keyboard and seeing if holding OPTION or if holding START while powering on has any impact on behavior. Any sounds, by chance? What does the RESET button do for you? And, as someone else mentioned, if you have any cartridge, try it. I'm sure you've already unplugged any existing cartridge, joystick, SIO device, or any other accessories plugged into the motherboard. I'd be pretty sure that if a chip is in a socket that you've already resocketed it at least once, right? I'm assuming that you're not using anything crazy/unusual connected to the video output of the Atari that could somehow backfeed a problem into the motherboard that way. But verify/reinforce grounding (between your video device and the Atari computer) if possible or switch to a more basic form of video output (RF, channel 3). Your problems goes beyond what most people face. EDIT: Removed section where I confused the CPU's high NMI line with the HALT line. Just some thoughts and best wishes, the jmccorm
  10. Stargate Atlantis Daedalus daedalus.xex Original Image was rotated 12 degrees to the right to try to best fill the Atari's visible frame (it probably ends up being too tight unless you've got some additional overscan). I decided not to brighten the image because, at least at full size, it looked CGI or cartoonish that way. I'd put this one as a work in progress. It could use a starfield (or a nebula) and perhaps some colored windows or glow from the engines. Image source: The Stargate Invasion Team
  11. Synthpopalooza -- Trying to figure out how to communicate your request. You have two images. You want rows with character sets based on those two images. You want that nice G2F optimization. You might have an image in the first Work Area and an image in the second Work Area. When the character set is optimized, it looks at both Work Areas but creates character sets which are shared by both. EDIT: Or better yet... Wants Work Area 1 and Work Area 2 to share the same optimized character set. Even if it requires more frequent character set changes.
  12. Tebe: I'll try to use pictures to help communicate. This is a hypothetical example. It is not perfect, but it will illustrate. I want to convert a wide area to PMG. The destination image will be PRIORITY MODE 4. PMG will be used as "6th color" layer below part of the image. (The PMG will exist in front of BAK, but will be masked by PF0-PF3.) WANT TO PRODUCE A GOOD 2X PMG THAT WILL FILL THE RED PIXELS (AND OVERFILL IF IT NEEDS TO): DESTINATION IMAGE WHICH USES PF0-PF3 AS A MASK FOR A 2X PMG: BUT I CAN'T DIRECTLY CREATE THE PMG THAT I WANT SO I HAVE TO RESIZE THE SOURCE IMAGE: TOO MANY HOLES CREATED WHEN IMPORTING A PMG CREATED FROM HALF WIDTH IMAGE: (output) Size -> PMG x 2 is perfect. I would like an Image -> Convert to PMG option that will work with a 2x larger bitmap area as input. User should select between overfill and underfill when converting a pair of pixels where one is on, one is off. So... INPUT PIXELS ARE XX = OUTPUT PMG = X INPUT PIXELS ARE __ = OUTPUT PMG = _ INPUT PIXELS ARE _X = USER SELECTS (I WOULD WANT IT TO BE X) INPUT PIXELS ARE X_ = USER SELECTS (I WOULD WANT IT TO BE X) HOW G2F CURRENTLY CONVERTS (READING 1x, OUTPUT 1x, 2x, 4x): You know, I could probably get this to work in this particular example by regularly shifting over the starting point of the PMGs with each line, and manually reworking a 4x PMG where I can't. This is an imperfect hypothetical example. Acknowledging that, let's go on... WANT (USER SELECTS READING 2x, OUTPUT 2x AND UNDERFILL WHEN AVERAGING MIXED PIXELS): WOULD USE HERE (USER SELECTS READING 2x, OUTPUT 2x AND OVERFILL WHEN AVERAGING MIXED PIXELS): Because the target area has almost no BAK pixels in the middle of the image, I want to import an overfilled PMG that is masked by PF0-PF3 that I can more easily work with. DESIRED FINAL PRODUCT: ...so without getting caught up on the details of this particular example: Is this a decent feature request, or is there a better way to create a 2x PMG from a 2x wide pixel selection that overfills instead of underfills? I was hoping to create something visual that would better communicate what I'm trying to do to Tebe. I acknowledge that I ending up making this too complex of a production. <sigh> With apologies to Nolan Bushnell for mangling his otherwise fine portrait.
  13. I wanted to jump on this one and say "me too". The actual breaks seem to be happening around, but not at, the breakpoint. I don't have a documented session to back this up (and as a new Altirra user, I wanted to blame myself). I feel better hearing that I'm not alone. If necessary, I'll document when I next run into it.
  14. Perhaps a silly question for both of us: How much have you gotten into G2F? (Hey, you're being gracious to plug in your expertise here, so I totally understand that G2F isn't the center of your toolset.) The option that Tebe has for this is Options -> Optymizing. [i can't tell if he was being awesome, or if this was just a typo.] In the images below, look at the numbers on the left (representing groups of character sets). BEFORE CHARACTER SET OPTIMIZATION: AFTER CHARACTER SET OPTIMIZATION (watch the numbers on the left side): Forgive the odd aspect ratio of the moon. I usually correct the aspect ratio before I bring it into G2F so that it comes out good in NTSC. So, two cool things to point out. We went from 10 character sets down to 6. That's some efficiency. But one more thing, and let's make this easy to talk about by skipping down to the last three character rows of the image. Do you see what is going on there? It goes back to character set 0, character set 1, and finally character set 4. WOW! So, I checked to make sure that it wasn't vertically flipping the character set, which is an option that G2F lets you manage. (Answer: No.) Then I thought that it might have been reusing at least some of the actual characters. It is reusing the blank space. Perhaps in other circumstances it might do more? (Answer: Yes.) Most of what you see is it going back and finding a use for some of the unused/unassigned characters towards the end of our previously used character sets (before allocating yet another character set). Because these last few lines have less unique data, they require less unique characters to fill, so it could squeeze those into existing character sets that weren't fully utilized. Smart, no? Here's a look at the raw screen data (characters without fonts): RAW CHARACTERS, NO FONTS, AFTER OPTIMIZATION: You'll see some reuse. Of course, the entire background is represented by the (inverse) blank [space] character, and that's constantly reused (and consistent between character sets). I wonder if Tebe actually forces it to happen that way (or it is just works out that way), because it is really nice to work with. Harder to spot might be the reused characters in the graphically white area inside of the moon. There are some other tricky areas but you just have to look for characters that are out-of-order, so to just pick an example, the second "N" on character set 01. If first appears (in alphabetical order) on the second row of character set 01 and then it appears again on the third row of the character set, after the inverse Z. It looks like Tebe has some really nice optimization code going on in G2F. ...and with optimization like Tebe is doing, you can do dynamic DLIs to change fonts at irregular intervals to take advantage of font optimizations (with the fonts otherwise being fairly memory hungry). So much fun stuff to get into! EDIT: Oh! I almost forgot, in case someone wanted to view those moon pictures on the 8-bit. I have this image "moon2" in orange and blue (well, NTSC colors, anyhow) and then a slightly different picture "moon3" in yellow. Simple 5 color, standard width, no massively cool Atari tricks this time. Enjoy. ATARI 8-BIT BINARIES: moon2-240o.xex Blood Moon! moon2-240b.xex Blue Moon! moon3-240y.xex Yellow Alternate Moon!
  15. Tebe, FEATURE REQUEST IN IMAGE -> CONVERT TO PMG It would be nice if there was an option to sample at double-width (or an option to select quad-width) . It looks at two screen pixels and converts to one PMG pixel. If either screen pixel is set, then the PMG pixel is set. Then the INPUT could match the OUTPUT that I select in the Size option. REASON: When my final image uses Priority Mode 4, the PMG is masked by the artwork in PF0-PF3. In my case, the PMG is used for pixels below the bitmap and above the background. If I am using the PMG as 6th color which is masked off by the rest of the image, I want to convert at 2X size, save at 2X, import at 2X. The ability to select sample width in Image -> Convert to PMG will help me do more. Saving at 2X via thte Size option is understood. WHY THE OBVIOUS ALTERNATIVE DOESN'T WORK: If I import the image with HResize (or I horizontally resize 50% before importing), when I do Image -> Convert to PMG, I can cover the whole width of what I want. But then I can be missing a lot of the pixels in the final PMG. I would rather have too many PMG pixels (because PF0-PF3 will mask most of them) than too few (and have to go back and repaint a lot of PMG pixels into the image). Thanks, jmccorm
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