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Kurt_Woloch

Crazy file transfer idea

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After my tries of connecting the PC to the TI-99 via the RS232 link went unsuccessful so far (maybe only because I don't have MFM on a TI disk?), and TI99-PC also doesn't work for me (because the PC which was supposed to run it doesn't start up anymore even after the BIOS battery has been replaced), the only option for me at the moment is the cassette port. This is actually not too bad for BASIC and XBASIC programs... you just connect the cassette cable with the sound card of your PC, and then you save the programs to CS1 and record them on the PC. After that you can convert them with Tape994a to FIAD files and continue to process those on the PC. For the other way round, you load your disk image into MESS, create a tape image and do a SAVE CS1 there. After that, you do an OLD CS1 on the TI-99 and play out your WAV file from your PC.

 

So far, so good... but what do you do if you've got a file which isn't a BASIC or XBASIC program, or which is too big (over 12K) to be transferred via the cassette port (like, for instance, MFM is, unfortunately)?

 

After some thinking, I got an idea here... I could write a TI-99 program which acts as some kind of "program generator". It would take any file you give it (except for program files for as far as I know, you can't open those for reading on the TI-99 from a BASIC program) and converts it into a series of XBASIC programs. The number of programs generated depends on the length of the file. The first generated program would open a file that's equivalent to the original file and write the part stored in it into the file, then it would run the second program (if you specified Autoload on). The second generated program would add the part it has stored in its DATA statements to the file, the third one would go on with its stored data and so on, until the file has been completely recreated.

 

Basically, you would operate the program as follows:

 

File transfer from TI-99 to PC:

1. Copy the file you want to transfer to a blank disk (or a disk with a lot of free space on it)

2. Load and start the generator program and enter the file name you want to convert, and set Autoload to Yes.

3. Wait while the converter program generates several other programs on disk

4. For each generated program, load it into XBasic with MERGE and save it to CS1 while recording it on the PC.

5. Convert all the recorded programs with Tape994a and store them in a disk image

6. Emulate a TI-99 in MESS (or another emulator supporting disk images) and run the first program. This should run all the programs in sequence, and after that you have your original file on your disk image.

 

File transfer from PC to TI-99:

1. Copy the file you want to transfer to a blank disk image (or a disk image with a lot of free space on it)

2. Load and start the generator program on an emulated TI-99 supporting disk images and enter the file name you want to convert. Set Autoload to No.

3. While the converter program generates several other programs on the disk image, start up your real TI-99 and prepare a disk to create your target file on.

4. For each generated program, load it into XBasic with MERGE on the emulated TI-99 and save it to CS1 while OLDing it on the real TI-99, then run it on the TI-99, which will create a portion of your file on disk.

5. After running the last generated program, you will have your file on a real TI-99 disk.

 

Does this sound like a viable option? Do you think it would be worthwhile if I write the generator program I've described? If I don't have any other option, I could certainly use it to transfer over those files I have which are not BASIC or XBASIC programs (like, for instance, saved Music Maker songs, or, most importantly, MFM).

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Any useful program for making the TI experience more accessible is a "worthwhile" endeavor.  If you need a copy of mfm though, I will gladly send you one.

Edited by Opry99er

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