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Casey

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  1. I think the CALL CHAR method works in standard TI Extended BASIC also? (Just during program run - it resets to a block when the program ends, right?)
  2. Sort of related to this question, and I am certain I may have asked a variation of it before, but since the TI BASIC interpreter can run BASIC programs that are stored in GROM (some of the TI cartridges are that) - what is required to make a TI BASIC program run from GROM? If it was possible to make one, then it seems like it would be possible to save a program in a format that would run from the FG99 via the TI menu screen. Certainly not the easiest thing to do I would imagine, but possible? It also wouldn't work for Extended BASIC naturally.
  3. I'd offer up the Commodore 1541 disk drive as a whole. The only reason it exists in the first place is that the 1540 was not compatible with the 64 because it was too fast. By that time, Commodore already had the hardware bug fixed and could have made a fast disk drive for the 64 (like the 1571 was later to the 128). But they chose to just make the 1540 even a bit slower so that it was compatible with the 64. That was a dumb decision.
  4. It might have been a bit more successful as a hybrid business/home computer if it had an 8088 instead of a Z80, though that would have driven the cost up. MS-DOS would have been a lot more useful in 1985 than CP/M. If it had been possible to use the REUs with the 8088, you could have had a fairly decent MS-DOS machine and yet still had all of the C-64 software available as well.
  5. I think the only thing the TI version lacks is multi-voice sound in some of the sound effects, and the "how high can you go?" screens. Strangely the blue barrels in the girder screen don't cause fireballs to spawn from the oil drum at the bottom of the screen. Graphically, it's an excellent version. I had this game back when I first got the TI in 1983, but I had a cartridge that would crash on the elevator screen almost every time you'd get to it, so it was exchanged for Pac Man.
  6. Some games (most) use port 2. Some games used port 1. BITD, if the joystick didn't respond to one port, you had to plug it into the other. On The C64, the default for the joystick is port 2. You can force a game to use port 1 by adding a _J1 to the file name. Example: my_game.d64 becomes my_game_J1.d64 You can't make it universal, because Commodore 64 software did not work that way. Port 1 is less frequently used because it interferes with several keys on the left side of the keyboard.
  7. There were 2 issues that Bill Herd stated was the reason for the Z80 in the 128. 1 was the CP/M cartridge. The 64's CP/M cartridge wouldn't run on the 128 when it was in development as was stated before. And the Magic Voice (speech synthesizer) cartridge would crash the 128 when it was plugged in. They utilized the Z80 to look for the Magic Voice cartridge and properly initialize 64 mode before booting. One thing I've always read but never fully believed. The 128's boot process was stated as using the Z80 to check for the presence of a CP/M boot disk before launching 128 mode. That seems backwards to how it appears to work. If you stick a CP/M disk in a 1571 and turn on a 128 - the first thing that happens is Commodore BASIC starts and it checks track 1 sector 0 for the boot sector. Finding none, it returns to the command level with READY. If it finds a boot sector, it initiates whatever the boot sector tells it to. In the case of a CP/M disk, that would switch the Z80 back on and load CP/M - but something in that boot sector has to initiate that. I feel like that's done via the 8502 and not the Z80. Does anyone know for sure? I've always been curious.
  8. Because BASIC 2.0 fit in 8K of ROM. Thus, it was cheaper to manufacturer. Remember also that when the VIC 20 was introduced, it only had 5K of RAM and no disk drive. So there was no perceived need for the disk commands in BASIC 4.0, which is really the main thing lacking in BASIC 2.0.
  9. The 1571 can read and write MFM formatted disks, of which MS-DOS is one type. I know there were programs made for the 128 that would allow you to read/write to MS-DOS disks (Big Blue Reader is one). Somewhere buried in my mind I used a procedure involving CP/M to do this, but I have no recollection of how to do it, or where I found it. COMPUTE! magazine published an article that contained a program that would copy PC disks on a 128 with a 1571. A google search found a page where a person used this utility program to make something that will make MS-DOS boot disks for PCs using a Commodore 128, a 1571, and an SD2IEC device that contains an image of the DOS boot disk. Rather impressive! Edit: I think the 1581 can do this also
  10. I think also that BASIC 2 on the 64 and VIC-20 has the same slow garbage collection routine as PET BASIC 2.0, doesn't it? I remember COMPUTE! articles talking about that relating to the 64. The 128's BASIC 7.0 had the fast routine that PET BASIC 4.0 had (or maybe it was even faster?)
  11. BITD I had a 128 and a 1571 (purchased from Sears actually!) that was given to me for Christmas. I used it 99% of the time in 64 mode as I didn't have a monitor for it (TV only). Aside from a few 128 BASIC games published in magazines, the only thing 128 mode had going for it was a lot of the later 64 games were set up to autoboot on a 128, set up the cartridge identifier, reset into 64 mode and continue loading. CP/M had one useful feature for me. It was possible to take an MS-DOS formatted disk, read in an ASCII file in CP/M, and transfer it to a CBM disk that I could use with a C64 word processor. But it was an elaborate procedure to do that. Otherwise I never used CP/M.
  12. Has anyone experienced any issues with disk images either not being written to, or being wrecked? I have a “The VIC 20” on the current firmware and a few times I’ve noticed things like high score files on disk images not being saved even though the program thinks it saved them. I also managed to wreck a .71 disk image somehow that whenever is mounted, any access returns a 74,DRIVE NOT READY error, and it won’t format. I’ve tried 2 different USB sticks.
  13. I received my 99/4A for Christmas in 1983. I had asked my parents (I was 8 years old) for an Atari 2600. My parents bought the TI 99/4A and several game cartridges for it because all of them were cheaper than an Atari. I remember we had Donkey Kong (which crashed and we exchanged it for Pac Man), TI Invaders, Dragon Mix (Math game), and my dad also bought Household Budget Management. Shortly after, we got a JCPenney cassette recorder and one of the TI tapes (Oldies But Goodies Games I). I never got to see that computer work in color - just had a black and white TV with it, but it really got my interested in computers. I never had any expansion devices, or Extended BASIC. That computer eventually had a keyboard that would repeat every key a million times when typed and it went away. Later on I had a Commodore 128, then PCs and Macs and back to PCs. Years later I got interested in the TI again, and bought an unopened beige one on Ebay (The one I grew up with was beige, so it holds memories for me) and that’s what I have now. I don’t use it much, but I have it hooked up to a TIPI and with the FinalGROM it does get occasional use.
  14. I grew up in central Iowa. My grade school had Apple IIs (1 per classroom by 1984). Mostly IIes but some II+s (and one Bell & Howell II+). Junior high and high school - each room had an Apple IIe (there was 1 IIgs). By my 10th grade year (1990), a handful of classrooms had Macintosh Classics instead of Apple IIes. The computer lab had a room full of Apple IIes that were placed with Compaq 386 PCs my senior year. The writing classroom had about 8 or so PCs of various types (IBM PC XTs, and Hyundai 386s I believe) and 8 Xerox CP/M machines.
  15. Correct. The FinalGROM is not a program storage device; rather it’s a cartridge image storage device. For program storage you’d need a NanoPEB, a TIPI, a cassette recorder, or something else along those lines.
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