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ijor last won the day on July 31 2011

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About ijor

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  1. I might have something. Will probably PM you later
  2. This doesn't have much to do with the specific drive. Some drives do are slightly worse than others depending on the pressure exerted by the heads. But it mostly depends on the media much more than the drive. Most Synapse disks of the period are known to be extremely fragile and they could be destroyed by being read (actually, just by rotating with the head engaged) in any drive including an 810 or 1050. Blue Max and Zepellin are probably the worst titles, in this sense. Just for the record, 3.5" drives, at least normal PC ones, rotate at 300 RPM, not at 360 RPM.
  3. Sorry, but with all due respect, I think you don't know what you are talking about. Did you actually try that? Did you also test the difference writing with or without a track buffered write? Did you tested the time that it takes in each case to copy a simple copy protected disk? I guess you didn't. Note that you can nowadays perform most of these tests under emulation thanks to Altirra full drive Happy/SuperArchiver emulation capability. The old Archiver/Chip is rather limited. The Super Archiver alone can create weak sector, but can't copy some titles like the Synapse or ECA supertracks (Syncalc, Archon II, etc). The Super Archiver + BitWriter combination can indeed copy almost all Atari 8-bit and the copies would run on any disk drive. I don't think this is the case. I think the main reason is that the Happy simply lacks the hardware capabilities to actually copy those disks. Happy eventually produced the Discovery Cartridge for the Atari ST. This cartridge can copy virtually every floppy disk and not just for the Atari, but for virtually any platform, except those disks with physical alteration like laser burn holes. Furthermore, it produces digital file images so that you send them to somebody else. So it doesn't seem like he was looking for legal coverage.
  4. Well, it depends. But seems you are more interested in a hard drive functionality. Then, as other recommended, it might make be much better to get a hard disk (emulator).
  5. As I said already, this is not necessarily anymore if you are using a Gotek with a recent HxC firmware version.
  6. The SA doesn't have enough RAM to hold the Happy code, let alone the track buffer. It can't even "emulate" a stock 1050 (run the exact original 1050 firmware relocated) as the Happy does. The Happy Archiver emulator was written by Bob Puff. It's called "Happy To Chip" and it was released by CSS long before the SA. So obviously it emulates The Chip, not the Super Archiver. But it is perfectly possible to implement an updated version that would emulate the Super Archiver except, of course, for the Fuzzy Sector Maker and the slow speed mods because they are not present at the Happy. Sure Bob could have released an updated version but guess he wasn't interested in creating more competition with his own product. Now, if you mean that the original Chip (and not the Super Archiver) was superior than the emulated Archiver running on the Happy, I'm not sure that would make much sense. Btw, there is also an Archiver for the Happy 810 that was written by Gustafson himself and published by Spartan.
  7. I think he meant that when you use a Gotek and then manage the Pen Drive on a PC, you don't see the files directly, you see disk images. So he probably finds a little annoying the need to deal with disk images. But as I just replied, newer versions of the firmware can take a directory on the Pen Drive and convert them to a virtual disk on the fly. So actually you don't necessarily need disk images anymore, at least not for many cases.
  8. This is not accurate anymore. Later versions of HxC firmware for the Gotek does allow you to use actual files directly, without need to embedding them in a disk image.
  9. I doubt many would agree that a track buffer is not important, to say the least. The track buffer was the most important feature of the Happy. The much faster loading time thanks to the track buffer was probably the main reason that people bought the Happy in the first place. The track buffer has several other benefits, including the possibility of uploading a completely new OS. The Happy could "emulate" The Chip/Archiver for that reason. But all of these were hacker tools that many people didn't care too much. Use a sector copier with a Happy (or other similar enhancements like the Speedy), and you can never go back to a drive without track buffer.
  10. Interesting information indeed about the stepper. I'm not sure, but I still believe the WST mechanism should be "backwards" compatible. Otherwise all the 1050 enhancements would not work reliably and the issue would have been known. If it is the other way around, if the WST ROM can be used reliably on a Tandon mechanism, this is less certain. Anybody knows more or less when the first WST mechanism were brought to the market?
  11. Unfortunately he does not, and he doesn't accept interviews either, I understand. The same as Mike Gustafson (Sparta & ICD), the same as Richard Adams (Happy) ...
  12. Bob Puff (CSS) is extremely talented and he designed great products. Although, IMHO, they were sometimes a bit "cheap", hackish designs, especially when you consider the prices. That solution was very clever, typical of Bob, but there are more elegant and simple solutions that would allow you to control the FDC pin 31 NAND without affecting the bank switching. One possibility is to use a mux decoder to get 4 separate control signals from two RIOT outputs. This might have increased the cost, but by how much? The BitWriter requires the Archiver and the total price was something like U$150. Doesn't look like an extra small gate would be very significant for such a product. Could probably include a full 6502 as well.
  13. If this is an original demo and not just a copy of the original disk, then it is extremely rare. I never heard about a demo of MULE. Can you post a picture of the disk please.
  14. No. The author was using an Intel 8271 FDC in this case, which belong to the PC FDC family. Later BBC micro changed the FDC and used the WD1770. So you have BBC models with different FDC chips. But the WD1770 is very different than the FD1771, just the number is almost the same. The FD177X is the earliest FDC generation by WD and was used in the 810. The WD177X is the latest generation and was used on the XF-551. Only the FD177X supports that odd sector size scheme. Not at all. There is no relation, historically, between the different terms and the different variations. There wasn't any formal terminology. There were no formal bibliography and most of the information on the subject was pretty much secretive. Each one came up with his own terms. Even with double sectors you have the same things. What is the difference between double or dup sectors, even called Phantom in some cases? No difference, just different terms assigned by different people and companies. Back at the day I never heard the term flaky. I used the term weak because that's the first one I heard, I believe from Happy computers. Later I also heard the term Fuzzy, used by CSS of course (Fuzzy sector maker), also used at the Advanced Copy Protection book. Btw, checking the book now, I see it also uses the term "unstable" and "phantom". So you can see, there are even more terms. May be there were even more used in other platforms.
  15. Actually the FD1771 supports a maximum sector size of 4K. But there is no need to restore to that trick. The WD FDC format command works in a very different way than the PC FDC. You can easily format a track without sectors if you want. Obviously copiers like the Happy must create blank tracks and it's not a problem at all. No. The article is wrong. You can't create reliably weak bits with such a method. It might work in some cases, but even then if won't be very reliable and might produce weak bits when read in some drives, but not when read on others. IMHO the article is not very accurate at all. His distinction about the different meaning for the flaky/fuzzy/weak terms is his own pure interpretation/speculation. The BitWriter is not designed to create weak bits. For this purpose the SuperArchiver has the fuzzy sector maker that is a very simple piece of hardware.
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