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Ksarul

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Everything posted by Ksarul

  1. Rasmus, my only weird question on Stargames: I wonder if they have permission from Jaime to reproduce his devices--or if they just purchased them from him in bulk quantities? Since Jaime rarely produces more than a few at a time, I'm suspecting they are building them on their own (this is not a hit on them either here, just a question that popped up in my mind when I looked at their site, since it didn't specify).
  2. The IDE card would be functionally identical to the Nouspikel card--but it would use through-hole components. No SMT, which would make repairs/troubleshooting a lot easier. I also plan to put dual connectors on the back so that folks have the option of connecting a small CF/IDE board directly to the tab sticking out or running a cable to either an IDE drive or a CF/IDE box. Note that the tab would be able to power a CF combination directly (yes, there will be a 4-pin connector there, but it won't carry 12V and the 5V is strictly for low-power applications, so no direct connection to IDE hard drives). And I would make more than one of the RXB carts--assuming Rich gave me permission to do so. I'd even put them in new-manufactured cartridge cases using my case molds.
  3. One note on the SAMS: Mike Dudeck of Tex*in Treasures did a new run of them a few years ago, and I believe he still has them available. Just send a question to MDUDE on eBay to ask him to put one of them up for auction. I believe he sells them in both kit and complete form. For that matter, the necessary files to get your own made are up on the SWPB group's files section, IIRC. Dan Eicher and I did a short run of 8 of them before Mike made his. It is possible to get them, all of the parts are readily available, and it is a relatively straightforward build. In truth, there are only a small number of truly valuable TI expansion peripherals (note I exclude a lot of routine, useful items from this list just because they are necessary to a standard expanded system, and not because I don't find them to be useful). The really short list would be GRAM devices (all types), the SAMS, 80-Column cards (only the 9938/9958 devices, as I have to exclude the Foundation 80 Column card (does anyone other than me even have one of these anymore?) due to rarity and the fact that it is monochrome), and the F18A. Hard disks and RAM disks are great too--but they are primarily for storage, and don't allow programmers to push the bleeding edge of the possible with our machines (but they do help to keep all of the data a programmer needs connected to the machine while they work). Note I also exclude the NANO PEB/CF7 devices from my short list--and I own several of them too. They are a great user device, but they don't wxpand the realm of the possible for the programmer. The same goes for adding a Lotharek CF drive--they are nice to use, but don't push the programming envelope. The SAMS finally has enough utility support to make it very useful, so much so that it is now usable with the newest version of RXB (thanks, Rich) by anyone who wants to write truly humongous BASIC programs. This will actually let me port a program back to the TI from my Geneve once I have the free cycles (it lets me generate 1st Edition AD&D characters quickly and without error). Cartridges are great too--and that's why I worked on the various extensions of the format with Jon and Tursi. Like the SAMS, cartridges having 512K (plus about 128K of GROM) to fill gives the programmers our community is blessed with a lot of possibility. Bottom line, please don't knock it because you don't see a use for it yourself--I like ALL of the TI hardware I own (and I own more obscure items than most folks have EVER heard of). Everything built gives new capabilities and spurs programmers to do more with our systems--it is just that some of those hardware items are more equal than others when it comes to adding capabilities. The one thing that most folks forget is that new capabilities hardware-wise cost money, sometimes a lot of it. A good, 9938-based video card will cost upwards of $180 to build--and that is just the PARTS. Could it be built into an FPGA-type board? Maybe yes--maybe no. It depends on the device used and how much additional logic is required to put the necessary memory on the board (similar to what the TIM did, with an FPGA replacing the 9938). Postle assembled half a dozen of the IDE cards--and tried to sell them at his cost ($250) and met with much resistance because those who wanted them decided that the cards cost too much to buy. When the hardware IS available, our community balks at the price if it is more than about $75. Not many things can be built for less than that, so many good ideas wither on the vine. Marc Hull went to a lot of trouble to develop his SID Master card (I helped with the layout), but finds few buyers even when selling the cards at a LOSS. It is a wonderful thing that brings over 8,000 pieces of music from the Commodore 64 over to the TI and makes it possible to add some really interesting music to TI software too--but only a dozen or so have been sold (I doubt it is over 20 so far), and that is unfortunate. It is a nice, useful device, easily worth $75-$100, but which struggles to sell for $45-$55. I'm working on a through-hole layout for the IDE board too--and I don't expect that more than 20 people will buy one, even as a bare board sold at cost. Will I still do it? Yes--because I am committed to furthering the TI community. There are others who have that kind of committment too. Rich can be a bit brusque and monomaniacal when it comes to showcasing RXB--but he's DOING something to further the community. I respect that. I really want to burn a copy of the newest RXB into one of my 512K boards, just to see that expansion of BASIC where it truly belongs--in a real cartridge. Tursi, Marc, Jon, Rasmus, Willsy, Ox, Walid, Postle, Kevan, Fred Kaal, Michael Zapf, Dan Eicher, Bob Carmany, Jaime Malilong, Ernie Pergrem, Hal Shanafield, Tim Tesch, Bill Gaskill, Tom Wills and many others are doing the same, all in different ways. That is community, and I love being part of that community. We end up destroying more ideas with infighting and pooh-poohing than I care to count--when the real goal is to encourage and refine the idea to make it even better than the originator thought it could be. Look at the interaction that went into the development of Scramble--that was a beautiful collaboration between programmer and user community. We need more of that. Lots more!
  4. This is truly an outstanding set of scans! Many thanks for the effort!
  5. Scott Foresman color coded a lot of their cartridges to make it easy for teachers to use them in school--with different cartridges in a series using different colors. A really good example are the three combined game modules (Module A, Module B, and Module C) One was Red, one was Green, and one was Yellow in their original production incarnations (later runs used regular black cases, and I've seen Yellow used for at least two of them, so they weren't always consistent). That told the teacher at a glance that the student was using the right one, without needing to disturb the student to get a closer look at the screen. Most of the color cases I've seen from Scott Foresman came in sturdy library cases--not boxes, and came with manuals that were burnt orange print on a white background.
  6. Actually, thinking about it--the Wiesbaden Supermodul II does have 4 banks of RAM (and 5 banks of GRAM). It lets you load your code with the memory unprotected and uses a physical switch to write protect it when you want to run it without overwriting it. I may have to ask Sven Dyroff if he'll let me make more of them, as they are a really good development tool. The board isn't too hard, as I have printouts of the original layouts and can redo them in Express PCB. I may want to eliminate the stack of 32Kx8 chips and replace it with a 128Kx8 chip though to make assembly a bit easier. . .even if that does waste a bit of the space because it isn't set up to use additional GROM bases.
  7. . . .and the wolf huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down. Looks like it is time for a good pig roast! Looks like we need a good conversion of Pooyan on the TI (and not just the ported Tomy Tutor version that only runs on the Geneve). Maybe I should look at that code and see if I can read out the other 17 Tomy Pyuuta carts I have and convert them for the Geneve too. Barry Boone mentioned that it was a pretty easy process when I asked him about it a few years ago.
  8. Actually, only some of the TI prototypes had the mismatch color cases. I have also seen solid color cases (Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, or Blue), and even standard Black cases. The Black ones were most often used in a Qualification Run (per Mike Bunyard, a qualification run was a minimum of 50 pieces to validate the assembly process), while the other types (solid or mixed color) were usually built using non-production components on an EGROM cartridge circuit card, and would be hand soldered. These latter carts are true prototypes and may have code different from the final production release. I recently purchased a pair of bare EGROM cartridge circuit cards on eBay (TI actually sold these to outside cartridge developers at one time to allow them to test their code prior to sending it to TI for release, documented in a brochure sold on eBay about two months ago that I did not win, unfortunately). Note also that many of the earliest Scott-Foresman cartridges also came in production cartridges using all of the above solid colors mentioned, along with a medium Gray--this last one was used for all of the School Management applications and nowhere else that I've seen. It is distinctly different from the later cream cases.
  9. I have one, but they are probably more difficult to find than you might imagine. I have only seen 3-4 sold on eBay since I started looking back in 1999. . .they haven't been too expensive though, I think I paid about $100 for mine.
  10. Don't forget that Guillaume's MLC (My Little Compiler) has support for your GPU already Matthew--so there is some response to your published information, just not a lot yet. He tends to add features as people ask for them or as his own needs take him, so as demand increases, his compiler gains more functionality.
  11. Klaus, a goodly number of the Mechatronic silver label cartridges are really XB2+ cartridges in disguise. Mechatronic had a program where you could send in the cartrifge board for upgrade and they sent the uprated board back--but a lot of folks never changed out the labels. I have two or three silver-label modules in this category! Note also that the Exceltek Extended BASIC cartridge is also one of those binary-identical versions (there is a seller on eBay that has sold several of them over the last couple of months (and had something like 10 or so of them in total)
  12. Matthew, I just saw confirmation that the F18A works fine in a Powertran Cortex (I still haven't had time to put one of mine into my Cortex, but Jim Hearne installed one in his). It needs the long pins. I'll probably put one into a Pyuuta Mk II next (replacing a TMS9118), since I have two of the computers to experiment with and can thus keep one unmodified.
  13. You do have a means of doing serial without much more then the console--you could build a Joytalk interface using the stock console and some control software. On the splash screen--you can redefine the display characters to build a full-screen logo (note that each character tile on the screen would be limited to two colors). Lastly--you could do an awful lot using one of the 512K cartridge boards, as it has an ATMEL1284 on board already programmed to act as an interface device to the TI--and the SIO and other special control pins are all available and brought out to connectors on the board. I might be able to spare one of my bare boards for this (I did the layout for the 512K board, Tursi programmed the ATMEL1284, and Acadiel tested the ROM side functionality).
  14. I would almost guarantee that this is the Hardware store that all of this stuff is coming out of--and it explains a lot. Especially as it is in the right town--Waterloo, IA. Dhein's was one of the largest TI dealers out there--not as big as Triton, Tenex, Unisource, or Tex-Comp, but there probably wasn't anyone between them size-wise. Joy Electronics, the original Competition Computers, Texin-Treasures, and Elek-Tek were probably all a bit smaller--and lots of nice things were squirreled away in their stock too!
  15. I'm about 75% finished converting my scans into an editable text file. It is slow going because the OCR software truly mangles about one page in five, so it requires a lot of careful hand corrections. The most important thing is that now I have electronic copies in two locations, so I can't misplace it again.
  16. Aaaaccckkk! It appears he doesn't ship here!
  17. The answer was along the line of: thanks for the info, but here's one that sold for buchu bucks back in May, with this link: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.ca%2Fitm%2FRare-Munch-Man-II-TI-99-Texas-Instrument-Home-Computer-Command-Module-%2F261216585321 And when I responded that that was an anomaly and showed hin one that was much closer to the norm and that sold after his example (this link): http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fitm%2FTI99-4a-Game-Munchman-2-Munchman-II-%2F151087586370%3Fpt%3DVideo_Games_Games%26hash%3Ditem232d859c42%26nma%3Dtrue%26si%3DuiPXSujTJa1nof14aMKUum8zL2U%25253D%26orig_cvip%3Dtrue%26rt%3Dnc%26_trksid%3Dp2047675.l2557 He said that wasn't an example and told me not to bid on his auction. Oh well, it looks like another clueless treasure hunter lives on eBay.
  18. I sent the seller a copy of my analysis--I wonder what type of bluster (or simple acceptance of the facts) I'll receive in return? One never knows when the seller thinks they have a "treasure" that's never been seen before.
  19. That is NOT an original label. It looks like someone either lost the original label (the black and white one from Triton--which appeared in two versions, with the differences being type and placement of lines to either side of the text) or decided to make their own for some reason. Both Triton labels were glossy white and had square corners--I have both types. The text of Munchman II on the cartridge label is also using a font that neither TI nor Triton used. The cartridge number is fictional, the text of Texas Instruments, the cartridge number, and the copyright are black--and not the white norm for Red-Label cartridges. Based on the analysis above, the label is fake. The cartridge may be an original Triton cartridge with a new home made label, or it may be an aftermarket copy. The bottom of the cartridge case can tell us which answer is most likely (all Triton cartridges have the blanked-out square on the bottom), as could the circuit card and even the EPROM manufacture date/manufacturer. It is a nice fantasy issue, but it has less value to a collector than the original, just because of the fake label. I strongly suspect it is a new copy on a Guidry Board, but I could only be sure by opening it.
  20. Even if the lower seals are broken, it makes no difference. You can only get to the PEB through the top, as it sits in a womb of foam that protects it from shock. I have three or four of those boxes at my house to protect my PEBs during moves.
  21. If you look in the 512K cart status thread, there are pix of the cartridge cases I cast as part of the project (on the first page of the thread). The Hexbus case may be too big for me to make a good mold of it, due to the size of the pressure pot I have for the curing. I have an empty Speech Synthesizer case in Hexbus style (and a pair of the Hexbus interfaces--one very early model and a later one that was feature complete), so I can at least look at the problem. If it is too big, I may have to scout out a larger pressure vessel than the one I have or work with the one I have on a side frame to use more of the vertical volume effectively. http://atariage.com/forums/topic/193163-512k-cartridge-status/
  22. There are apparently two sellers with items from this stash, I've bought items from both of them now (and they are different people, based on the names and shipping addresses used). That store had a lot of stuff, more NOS Navarone and third-party disk/cassette programs than I've seen hit the market in the last 10 years combined. between them, they had almost as many copies of Exceltek Extended BASIC as I've seen sold over the last five years. I'm glad they put all of these things up for sale instead of trashing them though! I was missing some of those items in my collection.
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