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Turning old slow obsolete laptops into dedicated Classic 99 units

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On 12/24/2019 at 12:47 PM, wierd_w said:

Omega, you can set whatever win32 application you want to be the "Shell" for windows.

 

You just need to set a registry key, and bob's your uncle.

 

http://georgechetcuti.com/windows/tweaks/changing-the-default-windows-shell-in-windows-7/

 

*the same key works for XP

 

Basically, just point that key at classic99 and see what happens.

did this once to create a kiosk program for a client. he wanted the kiosk to boot straight to his demo. worked well.   there are some things to take into consideration since there is no way to exit out of the program since there is no explorer and explorer does supply some of the file access. but it should work. if I remember right you still got the startup screen, but that can be altered too. then it would jump straight to classic99. 

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A quick search shows this simple process to disable the Welcome screen:

 

1. Start -> Run

2. Type: control userpasswords

3. Click "Change the way users log on or off"

4. Uncheck "Use the welcome screen" and apply it.

 

I did a quick test here and it also turns off Fast User Switching, but it appears to work, though it takes you to the login prompt. To bypass that you also need to set auto-login (even if you have no password set)

 

1. Start->Run

2. Type: control userpasswords2

3. Uncheck "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer (NOTE: this of course is killing login security on the machine, and will prevent file shares from working IIRC)

 

You'll have to confirm the password when you dismiss the dialog, then reboot to test. That all appears to work.

 

As for replacing the shell - done it in the past! If you do exit the application in question, you can always press Control-Shift-Escape to get Task Manager up. From there, File->Run will let you restart anything. (This also is true if the replacement shell is still running). There are security settings that can be used to prevent that, but if you didn't set them, you're fine. ;)

 

The laptop voting question is indeed moving up quickly, likely as the only item getting any votes. ;) The voting program weights newer votes heavier than older votes.

 

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12 hours ago, Tursi said:

As for replacing the shell - done it in the past! If you do exit the application in question, you can always press Control-Shift-Escape to get Task Manager up. From there, File->Run will let you restart anything. (This also is true if the replacement shell is still running). There are security settings that can be used to prevent that, but if you didn't set them, you're fine. ;)

 

The laptop voting question is indeed moving up quickly, likely as the only item getting any votes. ;) The voting program weights newer votes heavier than older votes.

 

your right, I forgot I had set a group policy to lock out the Ctr-Shft-Esc on the kiosk so there was no way to exit.

 

I have actually done several test this thread is discussing a while back. I just set windows to autostart MAME (didn't bypass explorer or anything as this was a test) and put the the .dsk file on a floppy and the cartridge (and emulator) on an SD card. boot Windows, autostart the SD with the emulator (and selected cart), then pull drive 1 data off usb floppy as disk.dsk. just like real TI99. the problem I had with MAME if you changed the floppy MAME didn't recognize the new disk.dsk (all floppies had the name disk.dsk) looks like MAME cached the disk.dsk data and forgot about the source unless you changed the disk.dsk via MEMU.

I also remember testing Classic 99 in the  same manner with the floppy a FIAD. I don't remember if changing the floppy in Classic99 changed what what Classic99 saw in drive 1.  

Edited by hloberg

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MAME loads the disk image when you insert it via the menu or on startup (when specified as a parameter). It creates a magnetic cell image in memory (so the disk image is not cached directly but in another form), and it writes back the image again when swapping disks via menu, or when shutting down the emulation. In between those events, the disk image is not changed.

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And Classic99 only accesses the disk image when the emulated TI does, so if you change the disk image it will access whatever it is set to at the time of access. Naturally, if you change the disk image while files are open, you're responsible for both pieces when it breaks, just like in real life. ;)

 

(Edit: there is a caveat for FIAD folders - while the /file/ access is always direct, the /directory/ is only rescanned every 15 seconds or so, so if you get a FIAD listing, change the floppy, then do it again, and you're quick enough, you'll get the old listing even though the new files are actually available. Directories can be slow and require sorting, so they are cached.)

 

I forgot earlier to address the full-screen at startup issue. I tested here on the current version, and it correctly remembers the full screen setting for me...

 

Of course, since you can not exit the emulator normally when in full screen mode (since I removed the menu bar - seems like that will be an issue with the laptop concept unless I open a new hotkey to activate it), this means you need to set it in the Classic99.ini. You can do it all in there, but it's probably easiest to configure it through the GUI first, use the Video menu option to select the full screen resolution you want, then alt-enter back to windowed mode and exit. Then open Classic99.ini, find the [video] section and change "StretchMode" to '3' (as documented in the manual, this is DX Full).

 

However, you'll currently have to alt-enter to exit it, which will change it back to NOT full screen mode, so this isn't a very good workaround. ;) I'll have to do something about that.

 

Edited by Tursi
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Well, the 2GB of memory arrived today.  It snapped right in.  I turned on my computer and.... NOTHING.  All I got was a black screen.  Oh well, I'm not out much.  The DVD-R's also came today, so I'm ready to install whatever image Tursi ends up making.

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Well, some one just gave me an old working laptop with Win 8 (ugh, replace with 7) and just the Ftn 12 key missing. doesn't have a floppy so going to use SD cards for now to test exchanging FIAD. after I install an OS i'll set it up as a kiosk boot straight to classic99.

a hot key like MAME to access the menu in classic99 would be a thing, if not too much trouble.

now it has a SD slot, any way classic99 could use that as a game cartridge (on SD cards) to add even more to the realism. of course could just boot the classic99 from the SD card. 

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2 hours ago, hloberg said:

now it has a SD slot, any way classic99 could use that as a game cartridge (on SD cards) to add even more to the realism. of course could just boot the classic99 from the SD card. 

Haha, that would be a fun idea, wouldn't it? Kind of a waste of space on most SD cards, but I suppose many of us have lots of old ones lying around...

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The laptop I'm using for this project is so old it has no SD card slot, although it does have a couple of ancient USB slots.

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13 hours ago, Tursi said:

Haha, that would be a fun idea, wouldn't it? Kind of a waste of space on most SD cards, but I suppose many of us have lots of old ones lying around...

believe it or not, I still have some old 256k SD cards around. :) the cool part would be to create cartridge labels for the SD cards.

I think I'm going to test the concept on my old IBM XP machine 1st that has a 3-1/2 floppy and just hang a SD card reader off it. won't direct boot to TI99 (I do use this machine for other things) but it'll still get a feel for it. I make pictures if works.

tried this idea long ago. tell you how long ago it was on a PC with a ZIP drive installed. i actually had the PC boot then look for whatever emulator was on the ZIP then boot it. I had separate ZIP disk with TI99-XB, TI99-Parsec, TI99-(whatever) along with a Atari 800 emulator, Atari ST, etc... (someone have gave me several boxes of old ZIP disks and a drive). in most cases I read the data off a floppy for realism. I even went so far as creating labels for each of the zip disk and floppies. worked until the zip drive died and I got rid of the whole lot.

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For my birthday just got a Raspberry PI 4 and thought would be great to put MESS on it as it uses Linux Distro for a OS.

 

Would it be that hard? 

 

I know about TI SIM is out there but that sucks as it does not include 32K or even SAMS 1 Meg let alone Disk or Hard Drive support or RAMDISK. 

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Just now, RXB said:

For my birthday just got a Raspberry PI 4 and thought would be great to put MESS on it as it uses Linux Distro for a OS.

Would it be that hard?

Unfeasible, unless the Raspi 4 has become 20 times faster than the Raspi 3. My tests with the Raspi 3 utterly failed, see the bottom of my page: https://www.mizapf.de/en/ti99/mame

 

I'll probably give it a try when I can get hold of a Raspi 4.

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5 hours ago, hloberg said:

I think I'm going to test the concept on my old IBM XP machine 1st that has a 3-1/2 floppy and just hang a SD card reader off it. won't direct boot to TI99 (I do use this machine for other things) but it'll still get a feel for it. I make pictures if works.

I took some notes for how I'd implement it... I can just add an option for 'dedicated cartridge port' or something, and monitor the specified drive for changes. Then we'll just load the first thing on it and reset on insertion, just like the real machine. This will probably bypass the "are you sure?" warning, but for people who just want to play, it seems a good idea. ;)

 

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1 hour ago, Tursi said:

I took some notes for how I'd implement it... I can just add an option for 'dedicated cartridge port' or something, and monitor the specified drive for changes. Then we'll just load the first thing on it and reset on insertion, just like the real machine. This will probably bypass the "are you sure?" warning, but for people who just want to play, it seems a good idea. ;)

 

i'm going to play around with setting the user cart to an SD tonight and drive 1 FIAD as a floppy. I remember when I did this a long ago had timing issues with accessing the floppy, but can't remember which emulator.

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test worked fine with Classic99 on my XP with a floppy. FIAD files read off floppy OK. LOAD booted, swapped disk found new files. write, read OK.

put the XB-EA .bin files on a SD card and setup the user cartridge in .ini to look to the SD card. cartridge read fine. but, not practical as is. had to put the user cartridge setup info in the .ini. each kind of cart would have to have another entry in the .ini. maybe put the user cart info on the SD card in a small file with the .bin files?

 

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We already have the CARTRIDGE>USER>OPEN> where we can stick hundreds of BIN images, but it would still be neat if we could get permission to have an FG99 cartridge among the main selections linked to a emulated SD card for that little extra bit of realism.

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On 1/22/2020 at 9:49 AM, mizapf said:

Unfeasible, unless the Raspi 4 has become 20 times faster than the Raspi 3. My tests with the Raspi 3 utterly failed, see the bottom of my page: https://www.mizapf.de/en/ti99/mame

 

I'll probably give it a try when I can get hold of a Raspi 4.

My buddy Ross got it for my birthday and he had a PI 3 and really was impressed at the better performance, he is running a emulator on his.

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well, I'm out of this project. had to use the laptop I was going to set aside for it in a project for work instead. keep posting, love see how this falls out.

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4 hours ago, hloberg said:

well, I'm out of this project. had to use the laptop I was going to set aside for it in a project for work instead. keep posting, love see how this falls out.

 

Ah maaaaan, sorry to hear that.  

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