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About Rossman

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    Star Raider
  1. @Vorticon - all good points. Completely agree it was a unique time: home computer tech was powerful (it was not just a game console as @pixelpedant points out), affordable (as @InfernalKeith points out), and accessible. IMHO, accessibility was the key (which @InfernalKeith also touches on): it didn't take a lot to push the boundaries of the base machine, which fueled interest, which led to learning more fundamental things, which led to more pushing, which led to so many creative things from so many people. And the cycle repeated. Given what I do for a living, not too many days go by that I'm not grateful for having lived through that period of time. The accessibility factor is why I wanted my daughter to learn 9900 assembly. It doesn't get more real than that. The wildcard in the wake of TI's exit (and the others) was the community factor. People have formed communities around a craft or a technology for centuries, both professional (guilds) and non-professional (interest groups). While there might not have been communities that formed around computer technology prior to that time, community is a basic human need. A sociologist might have spotted this. My point (admittedly, poorly made) was simply this. Commercial logic might have dictated that the absence of a deep-pocketed investor hoping to develop a market made it irrational for individuals to continue a commitment to a technology sponsored in a proprietary manner by that investor. Sociological logic would perhaps have drawn a vastly different conclusion, even at that time. Perhaps. I'm not trying to be overly critical of the author of the original article. Or any of us in our teenage or later years reading that article when it first appeared. I'm not a sociologist by intuition or training. I missed it as well. But we are all of us in this community beneficiaries of the fact that it turned out differently than the commercial logic would have suggested it should have. And for that I am grateful.
  2. If memory serves - and as we all know, memory doesn't serve, it double-faults - that article appeared in the first edition of Home Computer Magazine, the reboot of the 99'er Magazine helpfully expanded to include coverage of home computers conveniently not discontinued (at least, at that time) by their manufacturers. I seem to recall quite a few months passed between receiving the last edition of 99'er and the first edition of HCM. And I recall reading that article many times over. With the benefit of hindsight, the ironic thing about that article is that it describes TI's exit from the home computer business in almost funeral-like terms. It missed even the slightest hint of what would eventually happen, of what would turn out to be a vibrant homebrew and small-commercial-firm story that has not just preserved but advanced the core product, a story arc that has lasted 36+ years.
  3. This is so cool. It's been a joy watching you iterate on this as you've demonstrated at the annual TI Faires. Well done, Walid. This is just so cool.
  4. Hi, Retrospect. With mizaph's help some months ago I was successful at getting multiple disk drives working on the 99/8 emulation. In case it helps you at all, my mame command line is: mame64 ti99_8 -ui_active -uimodekey PGDN -hexbus hx5102 -hexbus:hx5102:d1 525dd -flop1 [path_to_first_diskette.dsk] -flop2 [path_to_second_diskette.dsk] -cartridge diskman3 Good luck, and I hope you are able to sort it out. Best regards, R.
  5. Hi, Retrospect. One habit that has been effective for me is that I log the night's work experience - what I've tried, done, learned, discovered - before calling it a night. It's not an abstract of lessons learned, it's just a raw dump of tried-failed-tried-worked-researched-learned-tried-succeeded. (Yes, I try to end every night's work on a success.) Compile time being what it is, I can update the log while I'm working. Helps me to record context, priority, conclusions, available information, questions, doubts, ambitions, etc. I have found this log helps when resuming a project. It puts me back into my frame of mind at the time I did something. Recreating my frame of mind in a cumulative fashion helps me to recapture a substantial portion of the body of understanding I had acquired at the time I suspended work. That, for me, is the most valuable thing to the log. I picked up Pascal development a few weeks ago after a half-year hiatus. A few weeks into it, I realize there was a standard (such as it is) I was driving to last year that can only be achieved through more than banal familiarity with language syntax. A few weeks ago, I logged "Now I know why Boston's second album was so bad compared to their first album." My formulaic approach to development was a function of me treating this exercise as an obligation rather than a learning exercise. "Beginner's mind" is so much more rewarding, especially in a hobby. There is joy in capturing it at the time, and value in capturing it to future you. And I most certainly do not want to be on a path to creating the Pascal equivalent of Boston's third ablum. Should that happen, it will be time to sell the p-code card. I use Evernote as my logging tool, but obviously there are many choices. Best regards, R.
  6. This is awesome. Thank you for posting your code. I was able to harvest the unit_10 code and it works. I now have 4 disk drives on my p-system. This will help me with developing my new project and refactoring my old project. Thanks again! Edit to the original post: Made a simple copy of my work disk. Seeing "Warning units 9 & 10 have the same name" in the filer after an Extended Directory operation was very satisfying!
  7. Hi, Videofx. I set out to re-learn Pascal a little over a year ago. I broke the problem down into two parts. The first part of the problem are Pascal basics: conventions, structures, etc. To do that, I bought a used copy of the text I used at university, Oh! Pascal! It's quirky, but I liked it in the 1980s, and I like it today. You can also look through the USUS library disks for example code. I also found it useful to explore the turtlegraphics code. apersson850 created a package a long time ago that largely works, and I posted about my experience getting it to work somewhere in Atariage. You may find the same a useful exercise as you get familiar with the environment. The second part of the problem are the TI extensions, things like Sprites and what not. The TI documentation (in the PDFs in the TI development resources) is pretty good. Supplement that with your own trial and error, and the occasional question to the Atariage forum, and you should be just fine. I find Pascal to be a fun and satisfying language. I hope you find it so as well.
  8. I always enjoy your posts because you make me realize there is so much I am not doing that I could be, and therefore I have that much more to learn. UCSD Pascal is an operating system, and I do not know it very well in this regard. I have started another small game project on Pascal. I want to harvest from last year's project (chemin-de-fer), but the combined codebases will exceed a single disk. At some point, it would be nice to have common code units for things like screen i/o so that they could be distilled to a single disk. But that is a big refactoring project and for now I want to work on a small refactoring project. It would be a convenience to have a fourth floppy drive. I've never tried this before. Are you modifying SYSTEM.MISCINFO to do this? Is that in the p-code firmware? I'm curious to know anything you can share about modifying that (or other) OS files.
  9. Welcome to the small but dedicated p-code community. There is a collection of useful p-code disk images on whtech. This directory contains Pascal programming disk images as well as TI-Pilot and the Freeform spreadsheet. There is another directory on whtech with some other Pascal related resources. And don't forget to look at the TI Development Resources page in Atariage. If you didn't get the manuals, you can get them in PDF format here. I use a combination of 705.dsk and 712a.dsk as my boot disk. It has both the Filer and Editor on it, as well as some other useful utilities such as a character set mapping for true lower case characters, and a utility for changing the default screen colors. These are modest but nice touches for customizing your programming environment. If you have just the standard disk drives from TI, boot the Filer disk. I do most of my development using Classic 99. I use a modified version of 712a in drive 1 (#4:), the standard Pascal compiler disk in drive 2 (#5:), and my work disk in drive 3 (#9:). This works very efficiently. Again, welcome to the p-code community.
  10. These are interesting. I loaded these as user carts in Classic99 and got the following menu options: 1 FOR TI BASIC 2 FOR PASCAL TIBUG 3 FOR PASCAL DOWNLOADER 4 FOR PASCAL BOOT LOADER (Sorry for not posting an image, Atariage and my browser are not cooperating just now.) No idea what these are, or what the system requirements are to run them, or what the right configuration is for them. But they are certainly something fun to investigate as they appear to be UCSD Pascal goodies on a cartridge. I know that over the years, there have been posts in Atariage about p-code implemented as a cart. Perhaps this is it? Or what somebody suspected it might be? Best regards, R.
  11. I bought mine a little over a year ago for $179.95. At the time, it seemed oddly precise. Some time later, flipping through some old 99'er magazines or product catalogs or something, I realized that was the list price for it new in 1984 or so. Apropos.
  12. It's an old HP laptop (vintage 2011) that I pulled out of the scratched-and-dented pile. It's not a development machine. One day a few years ago I found myself running Classic 99 and it just became one. I'll give it a try on my work laptop (vintage 2017) to compare the numbers.
  13. I used the -bench 20 setting as you suggested. With the hx5102 the results were 51%, 54% and 55% on multiple runs. Without, they were 80%, 81% and 82%. So I'm nowhere close to 100%. I'll look at the MAME configuration options to figure out if I can allocate more resources to it while it is running.
  14. @tursi You wrote this infinitely more eloquently - not to mention accurately! - than I could have. This is how I understand it. The p-system is a virtual machine from which things like the JVM are modeled. The JVM is a soft implementation while the p-system is a hard implementation, in that it is encoded onto ROMs. We take it for granted now, but RAM was expensive way back when.
  15. Not at all. I'm just some goofball screwing around with the 99/8 p-system to re-work a software development project I first did in the early 1980s. What I am doing pales in comparison to the sophistication and complexity of emulating a machine that never made it out of the prototype phase. Any comments I have about things like "performance" have to be taken in this light. If I'm not sure why it is slow, I want you to know that I mean no disrespect, nor am I being critical of MAME. I'll try the command line setting you suggested. Enjoy your holiday. Years ago, I went on vacation to Ireland with my family while I was in the middle of a very stressful program rescue (the vacation was on the books before I was asked to take on the rescue). 48 hours in, we're at a national park that was a medieval walled village castle property somewhere outside of Galway, and it was among the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. Nobody there but my family and the person handling admission. Before the week was out, I realized that driving on rural Irish roads was more exciting than any video game I have ever played. It wasn't reckless or aggressive. It was just fun. Best regards, R.
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