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Atari's Plato Cartridge question

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The next two IRATA.ONLINE demo meets are:

Saturday, May 5th 2pm-4pm Central Daylight Time

Sunday, May 6th 10pm-12pm Central Daylight Time

Meet links on the website: http://www.irata.online/

As usual, for now, these are demonstration meets, to show the capabilities of the system, and to excite potential users, content developers, and coders wanting to write terminals for their vintage computing platform.

I hope to see you all there. :)


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So, some status updates:


VCF East was a success, with an approximate turn-out of about 50 people in the room, watching the presentation. Video was recorded, and is forthcoming from the VCF people.


I have been asked to speak at VCF West, the first weekend in August at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. I will be on after the talk given by Brian Dear (the author of The Friendly Orange Glow, the book about PLATO and its history who literally inspired me to DO THIS in the first place.) It will be a nice book-ended pair of talks, with Brian talking about the past, and me talking about the present and future of PLATO especially in the context of the vintage computing community that would benefit most from it.


I also have been asked to speak at VCF Midwest in Chicago in September.


I have been hosting meets weekly, the next pair of meets will be:


Saturday, June 2nd, 10am-12pm CDT

Sunday, June 3rd, 10am-12pm CDT


Meet links on the site in my signature.



Edited by tschak909
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I set up a booth at Classic Game Fest 2018 in Austin, Texas, to show off Irata Online on an 800XL. It was running The Learning Phone cartridge and was connected to the internet over Wifi, via the Raspberry Pi in the Lego case. There was a fair amount of interest and a whole lot of nostalgia, both for the Atari and for the PLATO service.



Edited by spiffster
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You're welcome. It all works out. I enjoyed it and if I had not done this, I probably would not have gone to CGF at all. And that would have meant missing out on an awesome weekend.


I saw a lot of 2600s and 5200s, and even a couple of Jaguars and a table-style Pong, but I only saw one other Atari 8-bit computer. Unfortunately, it was being sold for parts. So as far as I know, I had the only working Atari 8-bit computer in the whole place. I'm also pretty sure it was the only online 8-bit of any type.



Edited by spiffster
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I was able to connect successfully on a real Atari thanks to Thom and Steve's conversation on PLATO.


First thing was to change my flow control setting on my tcpser command line (from "&K0" to "&K1"). And second was to use the SHIFT-SUB key instead of SHIFT-STOP at the "group" signon screen.


So amending my instructions from earlier:


1. ssh to the raspberry pi

2. On the pi, I run: tcpser -s 1200 -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -i "&K1" -n5555555=cyberserv.org:8005

3. On the Atari, disconnect any disk drives and ensure the 850 is connected and powered on.

4. On the Atari, boot "The Learning Phone" cartridge. If the R: handler is successfully downloaded from the 850, you should see "1200 baud" message, otherwise it might say "Microbit 300 baud".

6. On the Atari, I need to press <OPTION>+0 (zero) to disable local echo (otherwise double-characters appear).

7. On the Atari, I enter atdt5555555 and press return. (This phone number is registered to the cyber1 server in the tcpser command).

8. A reply from the PLATO service appears: "Press NEXT to begin". Press <START>+n.

9. At the clock screen, enter username and press <START>+n.

10. At the group screen, enter group and press <START>+<shift>+<=>


- Michael S.


I'm curious. Would this method work with a Lotharek SIO2PC/USB instead of using a Serial-to-USB cable?


Similar to this method, which describes how to use SIO2PC/USB for serial connection: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/249426-sio2pi-atari-as-a-terminal-for-a-raspberry-pi-visiting-bbs/?do=findComment&comment=3450741


Atari > 850 > SIO2PC/USB > Pi


Or will it only work using the Port 1 on the 850?


Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Edited by Centurion

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If you get a capital letter or a lower case letter with an ascender underneath a letter with a descender they already touch -- with both the orginal font and the one I designed. You can see it happen with "space" and "objects" in the first paragraph, and with "help" and "things" in the lower-right info text section (in the Empire/History text that I used for a sample).


It's not the bottom and top line that you're seeing in each character, it's the bottom line of each character you're seeing. The bottom line of one character becomes the top line of another character and so on, which gives you the idea that there are two blank lines. And, as I pointed out above, this line is not always blank (for descenders). So, things are already quite tight for line spacing.


I'm basing my 220 on Altirra and my own CRT monitor. I did make a thread in order to get some samples of what most people's current monitor setups will allow them to see. But I only got about a handful of useful responses.


[Edit] Also, as stated previously, 220 still doesn't give the full 32 lines of text needed to support the current terminal configuration; and I'm not sure there's much that can be done to get around that -- aside from allowing text off screen to be scrolled to.

The last line is almost always blank or empty on any plato screen I remember.. it didn't scroll in my mind it just wraps to the top.. It would be safe to discard the last line or make it pop up or be 'peeked at' like the current options bar in the new platoterm being made. I really think your method would be rather cool to be seen.

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On 4/24/2018 at 7:15 PM, tschak909 said:

Well, there's two layers to it:


PLATO itself runs atop Control Data NOS 2.8.7, which runs on an

emulated Control Data CYBER 170/865 60-bit mini-super with approximately 4 MW of central memory, and 8 MW of ECS (extended core storage)

12 Control Data 885 disk packs which store approximately 524 equivalent megabytes of storage each (692 million 6-bit words)

and the usual emulated peripheral suspects, three 679 tape drives, a lp512 printer, 6612 console, and so on.. all emulated via dtcyber.


The hardware itself is currently a recycled Sandy Bridge PC, quad core i7 with 8GB of RAM, a SATA boot SSD (60GB), and an NVME SSD for everything else it runs:


* The website

* Jitsi, for meeting/videoconferencing

* The PLATO system itself via dtcyber


The system itself runs Debian, and is using btrfs for the underlying filesystems. Each day, twice a day, the filesystems are snapshotted to read-only snaps, and backed up.


I have each of the software subsystems contained in a set of docker containers, which can be transplanted to another system at a moment's notice.



Do plato systems have a means to share / transfer notes between different plato systems? 

Edited by sl0re

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17 hours ago, tschak909 said:

Short answer, yes. But the infrastructure has to be re-discovered and missing pieces re-implemented.



Ok. I was thinking it might be easier to get outside email working by having a modern email server act like it is another plato system. You could set it to be an open relay on a interface with vpn between systems. Or even easier if it is just another virtual machine.

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