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Telco DSSD

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I thought I had a copy of Telco somewhere that fit on a DSSD floppy. Unfortunately the one available on WHT is slightly too large to fit on a standard DSSD disk.

 

I have removed all documents from the disk, and am now left with JUST program files, but I'm still roughly 10K from having all program files on my disk.

 

I've attached the .DSK from WHT here, and was hoping to request some assistance from the group on how to get this thing down to an acceptable size. I know I used it last year, and I had it on a DSSD 3.5" floppy... I just don't remember how I got it all on there.

 

Thanks in advance.

TELCO.DSK

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Sorry, I no longer remember the specific modules to remove other than you can probably eliminate all of the terminal emulations like VT100, etc. and just keep the ANSI one. Also, Telco works best if you use it with a SUPERCART as it can utilize the space to store an extra module or two which can speed things up a little.

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Got it, coach! Thanks. :)

 

It was 2K heavier than my SSSD-formatted disk would handle, but that's potentially because I had a bad sector or two. I re-formatted the disk as DSSD and it got me all the way there.

 

Setting up all my preferences now. :) Medium green on black, Auto-dial for The Reef, the Keep, and Empire of the Dragon.

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What's Empire of the Dragon?

 

 

It's a BBS from the early 90s from my home town. Still up and running after all these years... Not TI based, but a decent BBS, nonetheless.

 

303-679-0161

 

 

post-24953-0-73085800-1543733214.png

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The telephone number conventions in the Denver area used to be fairly predictable. For comparison, my phone number as a kid was 303-659-7781.

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The telephone number conventions in the Denver area used to be fairly predictable. For comparison, my phone number as a kid was 303-659-7781.

There were so many BBSes in 303, they had their own magazine, PC Boardwatch, on newsstands.

I went to a local gathering in 1988 where more than 50 sysops showed up.

At that time I had an Opus (PC) and a TI-Net in 719.

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Okay, what fool thing am I doing wrong?

 

I've downloaded this file, flashed it to my CF card, put that in my nanoPEB, and attempted to run Telco.  I get the loading message, and then a totally blank screen with no key combinations responsive, not even reset.  This is the second copy of Telco I've found, and they both seem to crash this way, on either my hardware TI99+nanoPEB or in Classic99.  I just know I'm doing something stupid.

 

Ultimately what I'm trying to do is use a WiFi modem I constructed, and which has been proven in an 8088 environment.  First I tried the Terminal Emulator II cartridge.  Hoo boy, what a primitive relic that is!  I gather N,7,1 was an emerging "standard" when bicycles had gigantic front wheels.  Expensive paperweight.  What was "Terminal Emulator I", a Dixie cup on a string?

 

Any help getting this Telco package to run would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance,...

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Actually, the differences between Terminal Emulator I and II was the addition of speech capability, which was also interfaced as a BASIC extension. The rest was pretty much the same in both cartridges.

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What kind of modem is it you're using?  As far as I know, Telco uses legacy protocols for communicating via modem.  There is an auto-dialer which expects an actual phone number.  

 

See the video below.  It's me using Telco to dial out to a BBS.  I zoom in to the screen at the 3:45 mark, so be patient.

 

There are other options for getting online with the TI.  Maybe Telco is not the right choice for your application?

 

 

 

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Nice video.  "What kind of modem is it you're using?"  That may take a bit of explaining if you haven't heard of this before,...

 

On the Commodore side of this hobby, some bright spark coded an ESP8266 (an Arduino-like prototyping WiFi device) to act as a substitute smart modem.  Substitute, because instead of modulating/demodulating and dialing the telephone system, it connects (using Hayes-like commands) to your household WiFi and uses the modern Internet to Telnet to a destination BBS.


Many SysOps of the past have dusted off their archived floppy backups, re-activated their board, and put it on the Internet using one of these nifty "WiFi modems".  See this guide.

 

Instructions for interfacing this device/firmware to a C64 can be found here.

 

Following in the footsteps of the C64 version, I created a version that connects to a standard RS232 port.  (It is actually much simpler to build than the C64 version, though not quite as robust.)  I have used it successfully to contact many a resurrected board using a vintage 8088 machine, and a legacy terminal emulation package.

 

Now I want to try it on the TI-99/4A platform.

 

The firmware of the WiFi modem does not understand Terminal Emulator II's N,7,1, so I need a new telecom package.  (Hopefully one that supports XON/XOFF because my RS232 hardware implementation is too simple to support hardware flow control.)  I haven't gotten as far as connecting the (proven) modem yet.  I was using a DOS laptop and null modem cable to connect to the NanoPEB's RS232.  But I don't even get that far,...

 

Telco crashes on launch, even with nothing connected.  I never see a menu, a status bar, or anything beyond the initial "Loading" message.  He's dead, Jim.

 

Trying the copy of Telco posted in this thread, with Classic99, I get the same negative result.  What am I doing wrong?

 

Edited by TMA-1

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Testing Telco in Classic99 isn't definitive, because Classic99 doesn't provide the RS232 hardware.

 

Likewise, not all of the CF devices have a standard TI RS232 port that Telco can recognize on them - only certain ones did (and I don't know how to tell which). But, on the off chance the previously posted disk is your issue, here's the Telco set I have, which I believe I've tried on hardware in the last six months...

 

Telco - Complete Package.zip

 

In Classic99, this hangs on a green screen. The debugger shows it's waiting for the UART to respond. So if you get the same thing on hardware, your CF device might have the PC UART on it, which post-dates Telco by several decades. ;)

 

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Aw, rats,... yep--right there in the readme.txt:

 

"** NOTICE **

Be aware that Telco does -- NOT -- work with the Nano-PEB.
Please do not waste your time trying to get it to work with that device."

 

Your response is bang on.  Not the answer I wanted to hear, but thank-you very much Quadrunner for setting me straight.

 

So I guess the question then becomes, has anyone got another good telecom package that does work with the NanoPEB's serial port?  I'd still like to get this modem working on this platform. 

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Update:  I scored a copy of Fast-Term, which seem to run well.  Still no success in communicating however.

 

Meanwhile I checked the documentation of my nanoPEB, and it says it uses the TMS9902 UART, same as the original.  Checked the board and it's true.  Both packages should be working!  Conclusion:  I have a bad chip?  I spent a dollar and a half on eBay to find out 6 weeks from now.

 

Correction:  I said N,7,1 (twice) previously when I meant E,7,1.  Put that down to a senior moment.  For clarification, the Terminal Emulator II cartridge communicates at Even parity, 7 data bits, and 1 stop bit.  This cannot be changed and therefore requires a flexible communications partner, which the WiFi modem is not.  The modern world defaults to N,8,1, by which I mean No parity, 8 data bits, and 1 stop bit.

 

I'll report back if and when I have more news.  Cruising revived bulletin boards with these newfangled modems is a gas, and I've been thoroughly enjoying it on both the Commodore 64 and some IBM-ish 8088 machines.  The modem itself is dead simple to make, and I'll post instructions if and when I get mine working on the TI-99/4A + NanoPeb. 

Edited by TMA-1
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That's great!

 

To answer your previous question, I was using a USRobotics 56k V modem, dialing out over a land phone line to a BBS in New York.  :) 

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NO TERMINAL PROGRAMS WORK WITH THE NANOPEB OTHER THAN TERM EMULATOR 2 AND TIMXT 

 

this is due to incompatibilities with the serial port of the nanopeb.  It doesn't enable the port like the standard rs232 does it is also DTE instead of DCE so it's not compatible with a standard TI modem cable either.

 

from the FAQ POST which is pinned at the top of this forum:

What about the NanoPEB and CF7 sidecars?

  • NanoPEBs are available periodically on ebay and arcadeshopper.com a limited quantity is produced and sold without any regular schedule.
    • The NanoPEB has 32k ram expansion, floppy disk emulation off a proprietorially formatted CF card and a singleDTE 9pin RS232 port. This port is not software compatible with most serial programs (with the exception of TIMXT and the Web Browser software that are programmed for it) serial communication other than that only works with DSR calls (open RS232, etc..)

 

Greg

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Obviously this is deeply disappointing news to me, but thank-you for the post.

 

Disappointing because this WiFi modem I have managed to construct, (by standing on the shoulders of giants), and prove in the 8088 environment, can be made in a few minutes with less than $10 in off-the-shelf parts!

 

Further, the ESP8266-based modem configuration uses XON/XOFF software flow control, and does not even connect to DTE or DCE, or anything beyond power, transmit, and receive on the RS232.

 

So close to cruising BBS's on my TI99/4A plus NanoPEB, I'm frustrated at every turn here.

  • Can't use Terminal Emulator II, because it cannot be shaken from E,7,1.
  • Can't use TIMXT, because that requires the F18A video upgrade.
  • Can't use any of the other terminal packages, because they are all incompatible with the quirks of how the NanoPEB RS232 handles hardware flow control, which doesn't happen to matter in this case anyway.

Perhaps the shortest-path solution would be to bastardize one of the existing packages to just not care about hardware flow control.  Unfortunately they are all Assembler products, (which makes sense), and I don't "do" Assembler.

 

It might be relatively simple, even without source code.  If I understand the situation correctly (a big "if"), just snipping out a few instructions would be all that's required.

 

But it's 4:30am now so I'll have to consider this another day.

 

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It occurs to me that I'm being a snot.

 

1) I seem to have hijacked this thread.  Wasn't my original intent.  Sorry.

 

2) I've been sitting on my very simple design for this RS232 WiFi modem, only because I wanted to test it on the TI99 platform before "releasing" it.

 

What I really need, (while I find a solution for the Terminal Software to NanoPEB dichotomy), is a guinea pig partner with a genuine PEB and "original" serial port, to test my device in the mean time.  Those of you with the real deal could be surfing while I wallow in the Nano mud.

 

Any volunteers?  Contact me off-line.

 

I would send you the instructions what parts to obtain, how to flash the ESP8266 module with the correct firmware, and how to build the device.  Budget no more than $10 in material, and a leisurely hour of time.

 

You would use telecom software of your choice with the WiFi modem to surf Telnet BBS's, and just let me know your results.  I wouldn't want everybody doing it all at once, only to find there's some other problem that I didn't experience on the 8088's.

 

Cheers and Happy Holidays,

Ian

 

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Edited by TMA-1

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I guarantee it will work with the standard serial port.  I think someone proved it out a year or two ago... WiModem232 I think is what it was called.  

 

:) 

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I'm afraid I'm going to disagree a little bit.  Just because one company's rocket flies, does not mean that the competition's rocket will fly too.  This is a totally different design, with the emphasis on DIY with an eye towards simplicity and economy of materials and effort time.  Oh all right,... cheap.  I'm cheap.  There I said it.  🙂  Too cheap to buy a $55 USD WiFi modem.  I made mine for $6.

 

Maybe I'm just being paranoid because the NanoPEB RS232 thing messed me up, but I won't be happy until (1) someone tests one of these on a standard TI99 serial port, and (2) I find or hack terminal software for the NanoPEB serial port so I can use it too.

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Unfortunately,  the nanopeb hardware creator followed TI's convention for activating the serial port/card.  Yet in the case of the RS232, this convention does not hold, hence the software problem with most terminal emulators.  The fix is relatively simply to implement but requires a bit of disassembly/hacking to add the needed instructions. What will constitute a valid test with your nano?

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@MT74NANO.zip

You can try this version of Mass Transfer that I had modified for the nano. The ZIP file contains a TIFILES file.  Use TI Image Tool or TIDir99 to extract the three program image files onto a nano disk image. I had modified this some time ago but I have no notes on whether or not it was tested.  Since I created an archive, I am fairly certain it was tested by me or someone in the AA community.

 

Most TI terminal emulators run at a max speed of 2400 bps for sustained transfers.  You might be able to use 4800 but beyond that, you need something like TIMXT (f18a only) or ZT4/Term80.  The latter might need the same fix as all the other terminal emulators.

 

(Might be good idea to create a new topic for your testing/efforts)

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Since I know the WiFi modem works, (tested in an 8088 environment with XON/XOFF software flow control only), I expect the whole shebang would fly right if the terminal software would only talk to the serial port of the NanoPEB.  If a terminal software package were adjusted to suit the Nano, just communicating with the modem (an "ATI" information query for example--traffic in both directions) could prove that out.

 

I've got a FlashROM99 on order with an eye towards firing up Editor/Assembler and a Disassembler.  In the meantime I'm trying to learn 99 Assembler using Classic99.  If anyone else would make the fix for me, just post/email me the updated package and I could test it all right after this Christmas thing is out of the way.  🙂 

 

Was typing that when your last post came in.  THANK-YOU.  I'll test as soon as humanly possible.

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