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hloberg

what good is the mini-memory for

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Is there any reason to own a mini-memory cartridge if you own Editor/Assembler cartridge. I been eyeing a guy on eBay who been selling off about 1/2 dozen mini-mem carts and trying to justify to myself the purchase of one.

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I always wondered why no one had a conversion to make them 8K super carts instead and still function as Mini Memory carts.

I mean you could use the Debugger to switch banks of 8K Super Cart RAM.

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The Mini-Mem was an option for learning assembly without the need for the Editor/Assembler and the expansion system. Compute! even wrote a book that makes use of MiniMem to teach assembly.

 

The only reason I keep a Mini-Mem cartridge around is for peripheral card repairs. I use the debugger to turn on/off cards, set CRU bits, and test some of the basic IO functionality. Beyond this, I've yet to find any really good use for the cart given its limitations.

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There is not much of a reason now but when it was first released it was the only realistic way to get some form of assembly on the machine without spending a small fortune.

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Not IMNSHO. There were very few titles which required the Mini Memory, and most required the E/A if they could not run in XB, anyway. The only benefit would be the 4k of battery-backed RAM at >7000, but that is only natively dump/load capable with cassette. In most cases, if you have an E/A you have a disk drive.

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I like it for small and quick assembly language and/or hardware tests - don't need a PEB, don't need to load an editor or assembler, just directly read and write memory. (Through Easy Bug).

 

I wouldn't get rid of mine.

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I like it for small and quick assembly language and/or hardware tests - don't need a PEB, don't need to load an editor or assembler, just directly read and write memory. (Through Easy Bug).

 

I wouldn't get rid of mine.

 

Yeah, I forgot about your special case scenario.... seriously, this guy punched in a program to run a robotic arm at last year's Faire using Easy Bug. Few people can out-nerd that.

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Does it only work with the cassette, I can't remember. Also, isn't there other programs that do the same as easybug.

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Does it only work with the cassette, I can't remember. Also, isn't there other programs that do the same as easybug.

 

Sure, if you have a way to load them and RAM to load them into. ;)

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I like it for small and quick assembly language and/or hardware tests - don't need a PEB, don't need to load an editor or assembler, just directly read and write memory. (Through Easy Bug).

 

I wouldn't get rid of mine.

 

I can vouch for that! Having forgotten my program disk, I would not have been able to demonstrate the robotic arm at the Chicago Fair last year if it wasn't for your quick and dirty low level access to the arm controller via the Mini Memory :thumbsup:

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Sure, if you have a way to load them and RAM to load them into. ;)

 

That is the Achilles Heel, IMO. The native routines for saving and loading are cassette-based. That said, you can define a quick-and-dirty program to load and save from disk and punch it in via Easy Bug if you desire.

 

I will say this about the Mini Memory, now I give it a little more though: the Line-by-line Assembler is actually very useful for prototyping. It is a lot less heavy than the E/A for banging out small programs or sub-routines since it assembles as-you-go. I guess Funnel Web can do a lot of that, too, but I have never even seen it so I can only go on what others have mentioned here and there. FW notwithstanding, the LBLA is about as close to an ML monitor as you can get with the added benefit of minimal assembler functionality.

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That is the Achilles Heel, IMO. The native routines for saving and loading are cassette-based. That said, you can define a quick-and-dirty program to load and save from disk and punch it in via Easy Bug if you desire.

 

I was talking about the "other programs that do the same as EasyBug".

 

I would disagree about the cassette code being an Achilles Heel, though, though probably not for the reason one would expect. I have not used the load or save function in the Mini Memory since the early 90's. I don't need to. If I /do/ need to load an assembly program, then Editor/Assembler or XB is a much better choice. I used the LBLA a lot back in the day, because the MiniMemory was the first tool I had for the TI, but after I got the Editor/Assembler I never loaded it again.

 

The Mini Memory is another tool in the toolbelt, not a replacement for the other tools. :)

Edited by Tursi
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When I was learning 99 assembler waaaaay back in the day I actually found the line by line assembler rather OK.

Alright Tursi you convinced me, I'll get it. :grin:

update:

... wouldn't you know it, finally decide to purchase the Mini-Mem after weeks of indecision and the guy is on vacation and not taking orders now. :mad:

Edited by hloberg

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Okay, so would it be possible to write a program which can load both into a Mini Memory and E/A?

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Yea copy the ROM from Mini Memory into a 8K supercart and use a GRAM device for the GROM.

 

I did this with my 8K supercart, of course the GRAM for Mini Memory was in 9804 not 9800 but it did work fine.

 

9800 had the Super Space EA GROM there.

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Okay, so would it be possible to write a program which can load both into a Mini Memory and E/A?

 

Yes. Simply do NOT put an AORG statement in your code. Then the loader can decide where to load it by itself. For the EA environment it will load it somewhere in the high memory region of the 32K, whereas the MM will load it somewhere in the >7000 region. I don't know if the Loader in the MM is "32K aware" (i.e. if it detects it, will it use it in preference to the 4K in the MM. It might be documented in the MM manual).

 

Re-locatable code has potential pitfalls with accessing your own internal subroutines. This is because one normally calls subroutines with BL which of course uses a physical address. The solution to that problem would be to REF the addresses of your subroutines:

 

REF MYVSBW

 

...

...

MYVSBW ... ... ...

 

Then the loader can resolve the addresses at load-time, hence the entire program can be relocatable.

 

If your code isn't reliant on doing everything as fast as possible then just REF the standard TI internal VDP (and others, e.g. KSCAN) utilities. The loader will resolve their addresses (the EA and MM carts have many of the same utilities, but obviously they are at different addresses. The respective loader resolves this at load-time).

 

Use the editor assembler to assemble with (or ASM994A). Not MiniMem :D

 

HTH

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