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Please find a major update to the APT soft-drivers, PBI BIOSes, and partitioning and hard disk management tools here: http://atari8.co.uk/apt/ All drivers are updated, with brand new tools provided on customised SDX 4.46 builds and an APT Toolkit ATR if you prefer to run them from disk or with another DOS. Existing tools like FDISK have been heavily revised, while most other tools are brand new. The tools are: FDISK MATR APTDISK APTDEV ATRMNT MOUNT CHECKAPT UFLASH General documentation is provided in PDFs, while detailed coverage is included in text files on the toolkit ATR, which also includes all the soft-drivers and both PBI ROMs. SDX soft-drivers (pre-installed on custom SDX ROMs) are provided for the following hardware: MyIDE / MyIDE+Flash MyIDE 2 SIDE SIDE2 Colleen Most important, perhaps, are the major updates to the Ultimate 1MB and Incognito PBI BIOSes. These updates provide very greatly improved compatibility with SpartaDOS 3.x, MyDOS, RealDOS, as well as many, many ATR-based game titles and demos. Non-standard ATRs are now supported, and a raft of efficiency and stability improvements have been made. Several bugs have been fixed, and useful new enhancements implemented. See the BIOS changelog for details. I won't say too much more, since it's getting late and preparing these updates has taken almost a month of intensive work. I must express my thanks to AA member ProWizard for inspiring the recent frenzy of development and assisting me so ably and generously via testing and bug reports. Thanks also to Candle for his work on the latest SIDE loader and his provision for UFLASH support direct from FAT32. If you find bugs, experience issues or just discover broken links, etc, please let me know and I'll fix anything as soon as possible. There is such a lot of material here that I could hardly expect perfection, but at least I guarantee any problems will now be easy to rectify and probably caused by my own stupidity or tiredness. Ultimate and Incognito users my simply want to flash the PBI BIOS update and SDX 4.46 build and then read the manuals later on. PS: IDEa BIOS to follow... just ran out of time and steam tonight.
This doesn't really fit anywhere else, since several hard disk interfaces are using APT these days, so I'm giving it its own topic. Following some helpful suggestions regarding the APT Partition Editor (FDISK: thanks Marius and others), I've been doing some significant revisions on that program, aimed both improving usability, and paving the way for some cool future enhancements to the way we move data around. While looking for inspiration for the new FDISK's UI improvements, I found myself (re)reading DrCoolZic's excellent UltraSatan manual, and noticed something I hadn't seen before: namely where he talks (in Chapter 4) about a driver which allows the use of partitioned removable media in Windows. Now, Linux has always been able to do this (AFAIK), and GPARTED will partition CF and SD cards without issue. But while one may use third-party partitioning applications in Windows to partition removable media, Windows won't mount those partitions when you put the card in the reader. However, DrCoolZic's method appears to circumvent that problem, and I'm now able to use the Windows 7 Computer management console to partition CF cards. What's this got to do with APT? Well - maybe you want three FAT partitions on your SIDE CF card, as well as APT partitions that the Atari file system can see. FDISK doesn't provide an MBR partition editor: it just asks some simple questions about how you want to chop up the media between FAT and APT. And - while the new version of FDISK will be more flexible in this respect - it still won't provide a full-blown MBR partition editor. What it will do is allow you to tag an APT onto the end of a pre-partitioned card, or even assign an existing MBR partition entry as an APT area. Anyway - I've just started playing with these removable media drivers, but I thought I'd share. Here's the info: http://www.atari8.co...gRemovableMedia
I'm pleased to announce the release of the v.2.0 'alt' firmware for the Ultimate 1MB, Incognito, 1088XEL and SIDE/SIDE2. The update had been slated for release late in 2017, but the emergence of the 1088XEL and the requirement for custom U1MB firmware for the new motherboard heralded a prolonged period of firmware development and redesign for all supported devices. Since the 1088XEL's XEL-CF compact flash adapter can handle dual physical disks, I redesigned the U1MB PBI BIOS to accommodate primary and secondary devices, which in turn prompted significant alterations to the XEX loader. Many useful changes and augmentations were carried back to the 'standard' firmware builds (targeting the SIDE cartridge). Since releasing the 1088XEL U1MB firmware here a couple of weeks ago (which has been subject to a minor fix pertaining to DracOS compatibility since then), I realized that the SDX "soft drivers" (for SIDE, MYIDE, Colleen, etc, which hadn't been updated since 2014) could also benefit from some fixes and augmentations. Likewise the various APT tools (FDISK, ATRMNT, MOUNT, etc) on the 'toolkit' disk, many of which required amendments in order to work with the updated PBI BIOS. Then I remembered that the APT Toolkit manual and the APT API Programmer's documentation hadn't been updated in years either... It seemed imprudent to relase - say - the new SIDE/SIDE2 ROMs with old versions of the soft-drivers and outdated documentation, so the past couple of weeks have been spent on documentation and toolkit/driver updates. I finally started assembling the ROMs and ATRs a few days ago, and even this was a painstaking process. I closed my website down imagining that the site updates and media uploads would be completed within twenty-four hours... five days later, it was still closed. In any case, I completely underestimated the sheer volume of software, firmware and documentation, so I can only apologise to those who have recently been gently pestering me for the U1MB update via email. Many complain of poorly documented hardware and software products in the A8 community, so I hope the time I've spent on four fairly lengthy PDF manuals has not been wasted. Not everything is complete. The MYIDE SDX ROMs and drivers are not yet uploaded and many download sections have placeholders for the moment. But U1MB, Incognito, SIDE and 1088XEL owners may download the latest firmware and tools and consult freshly updated documentation: Download here: https://atari8.co.uk/firmware/ Installation instructions and readme files will be updated in due course. I reached the stage this evening where not uploading everything would delay release by another week or more. As usual, please use this thread to discuss any installation or usage issues. The updates to the SDX soft-drivers (SIDE.SYS, COLLEEN.SYS, etc) have not been subjected to testing by anyone but myself, so if any early adopters encounter problems, please let me know. Also released is the RAPIDISK driver (which allows faster HDD transfers at 20MHz) and Rapidus-specific BIOS plugins for U1MB (also on the 1088XEL). I hope to make some 'quick-start' videos and general guides over the coming days/weeks, but as usual it's all a question of available time.