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Dr. D.

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About Dr. D.

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    Space Invader

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    Healer of Appliances
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  • Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
  • Interests
    Coleco ADAM and ColecoVision (hardware and software), Z80 assembly programming

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  1. I attended Herman's funeral yesterday (Sat. 29 Dec. 2018). Here is a link to a PDF with hi-res color scans of the funeral program: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OPmTzGGMeML1Yja7CQoWNoMi26E7sJ60/view?usp=sharing This is public, so feel free to share. One of the pictures in the photo montage shows Herman and his partner in all things Coleco ADAM, George Koczwara, at ADAMcon VIII. Herman Lawrence Mason, Jr., was the first person I knew in the local (Cleveland) ADAM computer community. I discovered the ADAM Sig on the old Cleveland Freenet in Fall 1990; Herman, George Koczwara, Nick Poulos, and Mark LeAir were sysops, and Herman and George each ran ADAM BBSes. At the time, I was a Ph.D. student at CWRU (which operated CFN), and had just bought a 286 laptop with 2400-baud modem to write my Ph.D. dissertation. I'd helped my Dad with his ADAM when he got it for Christmas 1984, and got it in 1988 when he junked it for a Tandy 1000-TX. On my own, I had disassembled EOS and SmartBASIC and had written a program in x86 assembler to read and copy ADAM 160K disks on an IBM-PC. I learned that there was a users group (B.A.S.I.C. = Best ADAM Support In Cleveland), and that I had valuable programming skills and hardware/software knowledge. I attended ADAMcon IV and met ADAMites from all over the USA and Canada. I have made lifelong friends; we became a family. By the late 1990s, the monthly B.A.S.I.C. meetings were often held in my basement. I had to make sure there was plenty of Coca-Cola for Herman (he hated Pepsi); I kept a special 32-oz logo cup just for him. And his pizza had to have hot pepper rings and extra onions, to which he would then add salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Nobody but him could eat it I think. Herman withdrew from the ADAM community for about a decade, following the sudden death of his son, for whom he had bought his first ADAM. Money was also too tight for travel to ADAMcons. Herman did eventually come back to ADAMcon 26 (in Cleveland), and we were hoping to see him again at ADAMcon 31 (again in Cleveland) in July 2019. But it's not to be. We will miss you, Herman, and drink some Coke to your memory at the banquet. *Dr. D.* (Chairman, ADAMcon 31)
  2. The routine is is not fully coded in the boot block, because it would be too big. Instead, it has even more code in an overlay file, called LOGOS in the directory, but in the evil way of Coleco boot blocks, it does not use file I/O to get the overlay by name, but rather relies upon it sitting in defined blocks on the disk/tape. The overlay loads 3 1024-byte blocks to a defined address, then the loader calls an address in the overlay. Overall, the boot code sets up the VDP and copies color and pattern information to VRAM, which makes the image appear on the screen. Hey, it was me that did the disassembly 17 years ago :-) BTW I fixed your broken URL. In the particular example, the data at I$C9FA is the pattern data for the ADAM bitmap logo. I just gave it as hex data to save space. I do have a disassembly utility that interprets pattern info and shows the bitmap for each byte. Many Coleco programs use the same kind of boot block, with the same ADAM logo in it. My SmartBASIC 1.x interpreter uses a modified version of this code. The disassembly could be used to make a template. You would just have to figure out your own bitmap and colors and where to put that data into VRAM. The ASCII text at BOOT_TEXT is just to get something on the screen fast, for you to look at, while the rest of SmartFiler loads. IIRC it's about 24K, so that would take awhile from the tape drive. Hope this helps! *Dr. D.* (Dr. Richard F. Drushel)
  3. You did say "open fantasizing", right? :-) (1) "Cuphead". Brilliant retro game. I haven't played it myself (don't own any of the systems it runs on), but I have watched videos of people playing it, and friends who have it play it for hours. (2) This game doesn't exist anywhere, but it should :-) Here's my prototype box art from 2009 (a Christmas present for my kids). Click on the thumbnail to enlarge, you'll enjoy it! *Dr. D.*
  4. Dr. D.

    Dr. D.'s Stuff

    Stuff that I can't make an external link to in a post. Could be anything!
  5. According to my recollection of poring over the keyboard 6801 disassembly by Chris Braymen, they are not even decoded in the row/column matrix (i.e., pressing them is not detected, and no ASCII code is assigned to them). It would not surprise me, however, if there were development versions made for R&D internal use for debugging prototype systems, to trigger breakpoints. (Some of you might remember that old Macs had "programmer buttons" on the side that could break into a running program and dump you into a debugger.) Or perhaps they were used in some final hardware test of the key/matrix units before they were assembled into cases. I will dig out my 6801 listings and take a closer look. It has been over a decade... *Dr. D.*
  6. #include <std_disclaimers.h> Sometimes we hobbyists do things not because they are economical, but because they are fun or cool -- to us. If others like it or find it useful, it’s a bonus! *Dr. D.*
  7. Daniel is awesome, no doubt about it. *Dr. D.*
  8. The last "commercial-type" ADAMcon with an "ADAM store", "name" attendees, and "large" attendance was #6 in Sarasota, Florida, in 1994. Since then, it has slowly transformed into an annual meeting of friends who still do/try to do stuff with their ADAMs, picking up some ColecoVision homebrew folks from Quebec along the way. But I agree with Pixelboy: if you come to ADAMcon 30 expecting a San Diego Comic-Con atmosphere and hoping to move thousands of $$$ in stuff, you will be sorely disappointed. But we welcome anyone who wants to come and show/talk about anything they are interested in, and we are willing to buy and support new stuff. *Dr. D.*
  9. Hi folks, due to a networking policy change at my university (from “allow everything except what we block” to “block everything except what we allow”, in the interests of “security”), my personal webservers drushel.cwru.edu and rinette.cwru.edu are no longer visible to the outside world. My exemption request was denied, ostensibly because the machines are vintage PPC Macs and thus “unsupported”, although there is currently a strong sentiment in IT to get rid of all personal servers and wikis. So, effective yesterday morning (2016.08.18), none of the ADAM, ColecoVision, ADAMcon, etc. material that was hosted on drushel or rinette is available live on the net anymore. No doubt Google will cache things for awhile, and the Wayback Machine might have captured some snapshots over the years. My next step is to get a new Mac Mini to replace drushel (then they can’t say the machine is old and “unsupported”) and reapply for an exemption. If IT still says no, then I will have to find some other option; but of course that means that 20 years of accumulated references to drushel links will become dead, with no way to redirect. (rinette is recent and only a little bit of stuff is there.) I would probably have to create some master index.html at the new host and seed it here so that search engines could find it and then crawl it, plus go through Wikipedia and manually fix some links that I know about (for the ADAM and some NASA things I have done). So, your patience is requested if you are trying to find my stuff online. I will post updates when available. *Dr. D.*
  10. In the last decade, 15-20. There is a core of about a dozen who have been to 20+ of them. The rest is made up of returning prodigals or (significantly) new ColecoVision homebrew people like NewColeco and Pixelboy. hardhat is the only person left who’s attended every one, and adamcon has been to all but #1. I myself have been to 20 ADAMcons — I didn’t know about 1–2, was trying to finish my Ph.D. during 3, first attended 4 (probably the largest in terms of attendance, over 100 delegates), missed 10 because it was during the school year and I had to teach classes, and missed 18, 19, 21, and 23 due to finances (multiple kids in college). There has been attrition as people’s lives change, they lose interest, they get old and die... it’s like family. The different ADAMcon “eras” in my new “ADAMite™” board game (Early, Middle, and Late) reflect some of these changes over time. Where the ADAMcon is held also affects who can attend. It is hard for some of the Canadians (especially those from Quebec) to get to US ADAMcons. We had some West-Coast folks at one time, and even ADAMcons out that way (5 in Salt Lake City, 11 in Seattle, 15 on Vancouver Island), but those folks have gradually faded away. The last decade of ADAMcons is centered around the Great Lakes, with 3 excursions into Quebec. All kinds of stuff :-) It depends a lot on who is coming. Only a few of us are programmers anymore (me, hardhat, NewColeco, Pixelboy), only a few of us are hardware types (me, hardhat, adamcon and his son Doug), and there are a lot of spouses and family who are game players at best. After ADAMcon 26, it was decided collectively that it was too hard anymore to have 3 full days of sessions, so we cut it back to about 1.5 (Saturday and Sunday), making the traditional Thursday night and Friday optional, to make it cheaper for those who wanted just sessions and not “family” time. In the 2 subsequent ADAMcons, this has not changed who has come, or for how long (i.e., we did not pick up 2-day delegates or day-pass delegates). Pretty much I talk about whatever I have done with my ADAM (software or hardware), or meta-ADAM stuff like hacking the Time Pilot game cartridge for the 2013 Mighty Mitchell Award™. Pixelboy has demonstrated games, NewColeco has talked about music and graphics programming (including DAN1 compression this year), hardhat has run hands-on tutorials in SmartBASIC (where we build a game or project together as a group) and even assembler. In the old days, ADAMcon was where you could see in person the people you read about in newsletters, or who wrote the newsletters, or who wrote the games/software that you used, or who ran the BBSes that you logged into. You could come and absorb and be a tourist and not really have to contribute anything, because you were just one person in a sea of activity. The first 5–6 ADAMcons were 3 solid days of one-hour sessions, 2–3 at a time in parallel, so you could never see them all. It was not all happy times either, because there were personalities and disagreements and turf wars and fights. Those days and most of those people have now passed away, figuratively and in some cases literally. As noted above, the number of sessions has been greatly reduced over the last decade, as attendance has shrunk and delegate interests have changed. You can still meet new people, but if you are expecting to just come and be a sponge, getting what you want and disappearing back into the ether as if it were a glorified Google search, you may be disappointed. We still have some personalities, but I have not seen turf wars or fights for a very long time, so things are pretty pleasant nowadays. We don’t bark much and certainly don’t bite :-) Just my thoughts from my own experience. Anyone else, feel free to chime in! *Dr. D.*
  11. Hehe, glad to oblige! I hope the karmic Murphy is good to you (or at least doesn't find you with anything bad). BTW, the game was well-received at ADAMcon 28 and I only had to close 2 obscure loopholes (found by NewColeco) to keep the game balanced. These rules changes will get folded into revised docs on the website. After 2 practice sessions (to acquaint the unfamiliar with D&D concepts like character generation and probability tables for game events), we played 2 games in parallel (5 and 6 players respectively) from start to finish in 2 hours. It was greatly helped by having one non-player DM/banker per game, as well as me floating back and forth between the two games to answer questions. Once people play it enough, though, I think it will be pretty easy for the DM/banker to be a player as well. Think about your early experiences with Monopoly. BTW2, the winner was adamcon (so he went home with the prize copy of the game), with hardhat coming in second. *Dr. D.*
  12. Great! We will be getting into Guelph on Wednesday afternoon. newcoleco found some typos that I fixed. I also made some minor changes and clarifications that came up as I was finalizing the artwork for the action cards. There might be more; I will fix them as I find them. So make sure that you look at the most recent versions (i.e., refresh the page or dump your browser cache). *Dr. D.*
  13. Hi gang, I know it's been forever since I was here. Probably not since last ADAMcon :-S This is a modified repost of an E-mail announcement that I made yesterday to people who I know are attending ADAMcon 28 next week, or would probably be interested. Some folks here might be interested as well. I am again responsible for this year's Mighty Mitchell Award™ (MMA) contest at ADAMcon 28. (You may remember the special Time Pilot CV cartridge I made in 2013, won by newcoleco). This year, I wrote a board game, ADAMite, which we will play in some kind of tournament to determine a winner. The MMA prize this year will be a physical copy of the board game. ADAMite is part Life, part Monopoly, and part Dungeons and Dragons. The idea is to play 30 years of your ColecoVision/ADAM hobby, including attending ADAMcons, in a game lasting 90 minutes or so. (There are ways to make it longer, if people want to.) Since the rules are complex, I have made a website for people to look at before ADAMcon. I have not posted all the graphic elements, but all the rules, game board, text of action cards, and money are finalized. See the game webpage at http://rinette.cwru.edu/~drushel/adamite/ for more information. Feel free to forward this link to anyone who you think might be interested. But please don't steal the game! I worked very hard on it. Some day it could be written in SmartBASIC or even made into a ColecoVision cartridge game for Pixelboy. Hope to see you at ADAMcon sometime! *Dr. D.*
  14. Just reminiscing here... so dates may be inaccurate. I was born in 1962. Some friends of our family had a Pong, 1975ish because we were still going to their house a lot and they were still coming to our house a lot. I remember everyone sitting in the living room watching people play it. I only got to play it a little. We got a Coleco Telstar (black and white) with the revolver attachment for target shooting. Black and white. My sisters and I played all the games on it (Pong, hockey, and target shooting) a few times a week. I think my Dad still has it. A family I babysat for in 1979-1980 had an Atari 2600. I remember playing Breakout and Football with the older of the kids, and then lots of Breakout after they went to bed. And some kind of flying game like the World War I section of Time Pilot. It had a fly-2-planes-at-once mode (they paralleled each others moves). My first encounter with wraparound (i.e., cylindrical universe). We got an Intellivision for Christmas 1979. We played lots of Frog Bog and Dungeons and Dragons. I still think it was way cool the way that night fell in Frog Bog and it finally got too dark to play. And also the inventory function for D&D (had to count fast clicks to know how many arrows you had left). I don't remember other cartridges offhand (they were expensive). My Dad still does have it and it is in working order. In college, summer of 1983 or 1984, I stayed at my fraternity house while working a research job. A brother had an Atari 800. Everyone played Star Raiders on it for hours and hours. I would just fly around for the Star Trek moving starfield effect. I later wrote an x86 assembly program for the IBM PC to duplicate the starfield in CGA graphics, with keyboard controls because there was no joystick for the computers at the computer lab. There was also a game called SHRDLU, but I don't remember if that was for the Atari 800 or his C64. My last semester in college I took a biological computing lab that had a PDP-11/34 minicomputer and a bunch of Tektronix graphics terminals. We learned a BASIC dialect (MUBASIC, Multi-User). There were many text-based games, like GOLF, WUMPUS, and STARTREK. Later I translated them all to Microsoft BASIC for the IBM-PC. My Dad got a Coleco ADAM for Christmas 1984. I had graduated, in medical school and out on my own, but when I was home I played with it some (plus helped them debug SmartBASIC programs). They had Carnival and Space Panic cartridges, but played the Donkey Kong Super Game most of all the games. This was the ADAM I ended up with when Dad junked it in 1988 for a Tandy 1000HX. A friend gave me HACK version 1.03 (a text game with ANSI graphics) on disk for MS-DOS. I played it all through graduate school. It took me years but I finally got the (genuine) Amulet of Yendor and won the game. You really did have to hack the game to win (including saving the game on multiple floppies so you could go back to a previous version if you died, or tried a spell or potion that was bad, decrypting strings in the .EXE, and figuring out the data format of the "bones" files). When I discovered the greater ADAM community in 1990 (through the Cleveland Freenet), I was given a bunch of ColecoVision game cartridges and games converted to floppy disk. Of these, my favorites were Spy Hunter (my all-time favorite video game ever), Gyrus, Root Beer Tapper, and Pitfall II (I never did get past the last batch of flying vultures). But I was more interested in EOS and SmartBASIC and tech, so I never played games much. In the 1990s and early 2000s, my kids played some of the ColecoVision games on my ADAM, and also on an emulator for MacOS 9.x (once I got a zipfile of about 100 ROM images). In the late 2000s, my kids had a second-hand Nintendo Gamecube (a free gift) and an N64 (also used). I watched them play some games, but I never played any of them. I can't even remember the titles. One was some sequel to Zelda, the other was some Sims version, and the other was a build-your-own-cutesy-world-with-animals game. For me, Pong/Telstar are one group, Atari 2600/Intellivision/ColecoVision are another group, and then my data are too fragmentary. #include <std_disclaimers.h> *Dr. D.*
  15. It is a power transistor in TO-220 package (like the 78xx and 79xx regulators). Any device with 3 terminals can be made in TO-220 form. The one CV power supply I tried to disassemble many years ago was completely filled with clear (yellowing) epoxy, making it a solid block, and the organic solvents I tried didn't touch it. So I don't know what the actual circuit is. However, if there is no actual 5V regulator in the circuit, it is quite possible that (for cheapness) it's actually an UNREGULATED power supply, with a tap off the transformer at around +6V, that relies upon the current load from the CV to pull it down to the correct voltage. It certainly is a linear design, not switching. Most of your cheap wall transformers are like that: you have to test them under a load to actually see the advertised voltage, otherwise you see something greater. Remember, V=IR. Coleco was known to be cheap with power supplies. The voltage regulator circuit on the ADAM disk drives has poor little 78xx regulators screwed to the back frame for heat sinks, and they will burn your fingers if you touch them. The board artwork on the ADAM printer power supply suggests that the original design for the power transistors was similar, with 2N3055s substituted later because the current draw was too much for TIP41As. (The regulators for some of the voltages are in DIP packages, LM723s I think.) *Dr. D.*
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