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FmrAdamuser

Virtual Adam - 2 Issues

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I have two issues with Virtual Adam, one I was able to address on my own, but I wanted to bring it to people's attention.  The first issue was installing VA.  It appears to look for a specific version of MS Framework .NET, version 2.0.  I tried to load newer versions to see if the installer would allow the program to install and it would not.  It took some digging but I did finally find a version of .NET that would work, 2.0.6, I think.  I emailed the creator of VA yesterday to let him know.  I recommended either, if it was possible to do easily, modify the install to not look for a specific version of .NET or to bundle the correct version of .NET with it, since it is several generations old and at some point I expect MS will drop it from its website.  Anyway, after getting the right version of .NET, the installation went fine and it does work fine.  Per another thread on the subject, you do need to install it into a folder that you have full access to or you will get an error.

 

Issue #2 I accidentally found a workaround, but still have a question for anyone who uses it.  I had been trying to use SmartBasic v. 1.0, cassette image (.ddp file).  The version is plain "1.0", not 1.x or 1.0 with the disk access enhancements.  Anyway, SB boots fine when it is the only thing in one of the drives.  When I include a blank disk image or a disk image that I put a text file in, it no longer boots to SB but boots to Smartwriter.  And, no, I do not have the "Boot to WP" checked.  If I remove the virtual disk and try booting to SB, it works, add the disk, it does not work.  The work around I found was that I accidentally put in a disk image of SB 1.0 with disk enhancements and I was able to boot to SB with the blank disk image in another drive.  That may be the only way it will work, but I was wondering if anyone is able to use a .ddp SB image and a blank disk image in a disk drive together?  I have yet to try to use a blank .ddp image and try booting with the original SB.ddp and a blank.ddp together. 

 

I am running VA 1.03 on a Windows 10 laptop.  Windows tells me that I fully up-to-date.

 

Thank you,

Paul

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3 hours ago, FmrAdamuser said:

I have two issues with Virtual Adam, one I was able to address on my own, but I wanted to bring it to people's attention.  The first issue was installing VA.  It appears to look for a specific version of MS Framework .NET, version 2.0.  I tried to load newer versions to see if the installer would allow the program to install and it would not.  It took some digging but I did finally find a version of .NET that would work, 2.0.6, I think.  I emailed the creator of VA yesterday to let him know.  I recommended either, if it was possible to do easily, modify the install to not look for a specific version of .NET or to bundle the correct version of .NET with it, since it is several generations old and at some point I expect MS will drop it from its website.  Anyway, after getting the right version of .NET, the installation went fine and it does work fine.  Per another thread on the subject, you do need to install it into a folder that you have full access to or you will get an error.

 

Issue #2 I accidentally found a workaround, but still have a question for anyone who uses it.  I had been trying to use SmartBasic v. 1.0, cassette image (.ddp file).  The version is plain "1.0", not 1.x or 1.0 with the disk access enhancements.  Anyway, SB boots fine when it is the only thing in one of the drives.  When I include a blank disk image or a disk image that I put a text file in, it no longer boots to SB but boots to Smartwriter.  And, no, I do not have the "Boot to WP" checked.  If I remove the virtual disk and try booting to SB, it works, add the disk, it does not work.  The work around I found was that I accidentally put in a disk image of SB 1.0 with disk enhancements and I was able to boot to SB with the blank disk image in another drive.  That may be the only way it will work, but I was wondering if anyone is able to use a .ddp SB image and a blank disk image in a disk drive together?  I have yet to try to use a blank .ddp image and try booting with the original SB.ddp and a blank.ddp together. 

 

I am running VA 1.03 on a Windows 10 laptop.  Windows tells me that I fully up-to-date.

 

Thank you,

Paul

The author of Virtual ADAM abandoned any development of it years ago. That's why it's stuck in the "world" of an older version of NET Framework.

 

As for your booting problem...if you put a blank disk or some other kind of disk in and are trying to boot from a ddp image, ADAM defaults to the disk drive so it's going to try to boot the disk. If it's blank or is a non-bootable disk, it's going to drop into SmartWriter.

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1 hour ago, jblenkle said:

The author of Virtual ADAM abandoned any development of it years ago. That's why it's stuck in the "world" of an older version of NET Framework.

 

As for your booting problem...if you put a blank disk or some other kind of disk in and are trying to boot from a ddp image, ADAM defaults to the disk drive so it's going to try to boot the disk. If it's blank or is a non-bootable disk, it's going to drop into SmartWriter.

Thank you for that.  Is that how the actual Adam behaves?  I forgot when I posted my original question that I likely booted to SB and then inserted a disk once it was booted, so I likely never ran into this when I was actually using my Adam.  Unfortunately, this is not something that looks like it can be done using the emulator, once its booted, it does not appear I can add another disk or cassette.

 

I am waiting for my membership to be approved over at Smartbasic.net, I will let the Admin over there know about the issue with .NET.  Since it looks like he also maintains the Adamarchive.org site, perhaps he'd be willing to bundle the correct .NET with VA or at least keep it alongside VA.

 

Thanks again for your help,

Paul

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11 minutes ago, FmrAdamuser said:

Thank you for that.  Is that how the actual Adam behaves?  I forgot when I posted my original question that I likely booted to SB and then inserted a disk once it was booted, so I likely never ran into this when I was actually using my Adam.  Unfortunately, this is not something that looks like it can be done using the emulator, once its booted, it does not appear I can add another disk or cassette.

 

I am waiting for my membership to be approved over at Smartbasic.net, I will let the Admin over there know about the issue with .NET.  Since it looks like he also maintains the Adamarchive.org site, perhaps he'd be willing to bundle the correct .NET with VA or at least keep it alongside VA.

 

Thanks again for your help,

Paul

Yes, the real ADAM does that. It looks for bootable media in Disk 1 first. If Disk 1 is empty then it will check for Disk 2, Data Drive 1 and lastly Data Drive 2

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The Virtual ADAM Frontend is a great addition to the ADAMem DOS emulator, but unfortunately there are issues as you have found because it has been abandoned. The most frustrating issues are due to conflicts with key assignments used by DOSbox that is loaded before ADAMem. You have discovered the worst conflict in that you can’t use ADAMem’s CONTROL F9 function to enter into the emulator configuration in order to mount or unmount image files. I had a lengthy list of work arounds by changing DOSbox settings and key assignments but unfortunately can’t find it now. I still use Virtual ADAM quite a bit but my go to emulation setup is using ADAMem Manager Frontend (by Marcel de Kogel) and ADAMem SDL v2.xx beta (by Geoff Oltmans).

 

if you stick with Virtual ADAM, due to ADAM’s boot hierarchy, stick with disk images as to load programs like SB, mount a blank disk in disk drive #2 for storage. You can always use Virtual ADAM’s convert image option to convert a disk image into a data pack image if the need arises.

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3 hours ago, NIAD said:

The Virtual ADAM Frontend is a great addition to the ADAMem DOS emulator, but unfortunately there are issues as you have found because it has been abandoned. The most frustrating issues are due to conflicts with key assignments used by DOSbox that is loaded before ADAMem. You have discovered the worst conflict in that you can’t use ADAMem’s CONTROL F9 function to enter into the emulator configuration in order to mount or unmount image files. I had a lengthy list of work arounds by changing DOSbox settings and key assignments but unfortunately can’t find it now. I still use Virtual ADAM quite a bit but my go to emulation setup is using ADAMem Manager Frontend (by Marcel de Kogel) and ADAMem SDL v2.xx beta (by Geoff Oltmans).

 

if you stick with Virtual ADAM, due to ADAM’s boot hierarchy, stick with disk images as to load programs like SB, mount a blank disk in disk drive #2 for storage. You can always use Virtual ADAM’s convert image option to convert a disk image into a data pack image if the need arises.

When I was experimenting with running ADAMem through DOSBox on my Rasberry Pi recently I was able to delete DOSBox's default CTRL-F9 keypress which is the key combination to terminate DOSBox. Then I was able to bring up ADAM's menu. I remember trying this with Virtual ADAM a long time ago and could never get it to work right. But that very well could be because I had never done any configuration of DOSBox before and didn't know what I was doing. It was either that or Virtual ADAM overrides the DOSBox configuration. I will give it another try and see if I am successful or not.

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Yeah, I just fiddled with DOSBox in Virtual ADAM again. There actually is no keypress configured within DOSBox to exit out of the program so the CTRL-F9 that ordinarily would bring up the ADAMem menu, but exits out of Virtual ADAM, must be contained within the Virtual ADAM program itself.

 

I went ahead and changed it to another key in the DOSBox keymapper, but when I pressed CTRL-F9 with SmartWriter on the screen, it still killed the program and exited to the Virtual ADAM screen.

 

I wish Steve Pitman would have changed this. I alerted him to it late in the process, but he never did any further updates to the program. There are some other bugs in the program as well, but the only one I remember for sure is that sometimes when you create a disk, it doesn't always initialize properly. In that case you either need to create it again or use a program like File Manager to format and initialize it properly.

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Thank you both for your help.  I will try those other emulators.  I saw over on the Adamarchive that there are disk images of the original SB, so I assume someone already converted a .ddp image over to a .dsk image.  It's a workaround I can use.  However, being able to add disks without exiting would be handy, but not sure it is something I would do much of. 

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13 hours ago, jblenkle said:

Yes, the real ADAM does that. It looks for bootable media in Disk 1 first. If Disk 1 is empty then it will check for Disk 2, Data Drive 1 and lastly Data Drive 2

OK, then the reason I never ran into that issue is likely because I added the disk after.  I only bought one disk drive for my Adam, so I needed to use the cassette for SB and saved my basic programs on the disk.

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On 3/24/2021 at 9:40 AM, FmrAdamuser said:

OK, then the reason I never ran into that issue is likely because I added the disk after.  I only bought one disk drive for my Adam, so I needed to use the cassette for SB and saved my basic programs on the disk.

Issue #2 from first post is resolved!

 

Unlike what I suspected was happening in my previous post, I found the answer to my question while investigating why I still could not get SB to recognize the second disk I wanted to load/save SB code to.  Thinking there was something I was forgetting about the "Catalog" command that I spent about an hour going through some old Adam newsletters and found my answer in one of the issues between #3 and #5 of the Adam User Group's newsletter that reminded me that the disk drive came with a rudimentary "dos" disk that was needed for SB and SmartWriter to be able to "see" the disk drive.  Which confirmed what I knew, that I did not have a separate SB disk.  After about an hour of searching adamarchive.org and passing over a file called "AdamDiskManager (1984) (Coleco).dsk" over on adamarchive.org, I decided to give it a try and when I put that disk in drive #1, and boot it up.  While I can't say that all my memories came flooding back, I did see a very familiar screen and did have some memories come back.  It was a rudimentary, quasi-gui that allowed you to use the special keys to select different actions, and you could use the cursor keys to select any files or programs shown.  The special keys allowed you to switch between disks and datapacks and allowed you to run SB from the datapack or essentially exit the dos and go to SW.  Anyway, now I remember that that is how I used to use SB and my DD together since I only had (have) a basic Adam system with a single cassette drive and single disk drive. 

 

In the end, I find you don't need all that, but it helped me to diagnose that I was using the wrong blank disk format. I had selected the 320K disk format under the assumption that someone had found a way to get double the capacity out of it, but still be backward compatible with SB.  Unless I am missing something, it is apparent the original verison of SB is not compatible with that format of disk.  Once I switched to a 160K format disk, I was able to simply book SB using the disk image version in disk drive #1 and was able to read the disk in #2 using the "catalog,d6" command.  Took a long road to figure it out since I have not played with Adam stuff, literally, since 1989 (except for playing just the roms on emulators, not trying to actually use SB). 

 

Sorry about being long winded, but it has been a bit of a journey re-learning the in's and out's of an Adam, even virtually. 

 

Thank you for your help,

Paul

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By using Disk Manager, you are circumventing pressing the Computer Reset switch which is a hard reset that starts the Adam a-new, loads in the operating system called EOS and then proceeds through the boot hierarchy described previously. Within  Disk Manager’s options, you can load a Machine Language file such as SmartBasic (Basicpgm is the filename) and therefore you are not resetting the system, but in all actuality are adding numerous extra steps to get to the same result of just placing the disk or data pack of SmartBasic into the drive and pressing the Computer Reset.

 

Seeing as you want to load SmartBasic from data pack with a data disk inserted in the disk drive, using Disk Manager or another program such as Adam’s Desktop becomes a requirement.

 

SmartBasic is compatible as it was supplied by Coleco with all sizes of disks or disk images that include 320K, 360K, 720K, 1.2Mb, 1.44Mb... no patches are required. Place the SmartBasic disk image in disk drive #1 and the 320K disk image in disk drive #2 in virtual Adam and boot. Once SmartBasic is loaded, enter CATALOG,D6 and the directory of the 320K disk image will be displayed and IIRC it will list 318 Blocks Free. In order to use these larger sized disks on a real ADAM, you would need a disk drive that has been upgraded with 320K drive mechanics and firmware.

 

Understand completely about having to relearn the basics after all these years. It took me a while to re-familiarize myself with the C=64 when trying out a couple emulators.

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18 hours ago, NIAD said:

SmartBasic is compatible as it was supplied by Coleco with all sizes of disks or disk images that include 320K, 360K, 720K, 1.2Mb, 1.44Mb... no patches are required. Place the SmartBasic disk image in disk drive #1 and the 320K disk image in disk drive #2 in virtual Adam and boot. Once SmartBasic is loaded, enter CATALOG,D6 and the directory of the 320K disk image will be displayed and IIRC it will list 318 Blocks Free. In order to use these larger sized disks on a real ADAM, you would need a disk drive that has been upgraded with 320K drive mechanics and firmware.

 

 OK, that is what I did and it still did not recognize the 320K image, for some reason.  It recognized the 160K right away.  When I would type "catalog,d6" it gave an I/O error.  I will try it again.  Perhaps it was because it was an image created by Adam Image Manager?  Again, I'll try it both ways, creating an image from AIM and also a d/l'd image from adamarchive.   

 

Really, the only two reasons why I wanted to load SB from a ddp was to, first confirm my memory of being able to do that back in the day and second to troubleshoot why booting using a SB disk image, I still could not see the 320K disk image.  Since the article in AUG made it sound like SB needed the "dos" disk included with the drive to be able to work with the disk drive, I thought it loaded some extensions into RAM that SB needed to be able to access the disk drive (under the assumption that in the rush to get the Adam to market, Coleco left out the capability to use a disk drive).  However, when I still could not read the disk, I knew it had to be something else that went wrong, so when I was able to have SB access the 160K disk image created by AIM and not the 320K disk image, I concluded, wrongly apparently, that SB cannot access it. Other than that, I really don't wish to go through all of that to boot to SB, I'll just use the disk image and keep my blanks in one of the other drives.

 

At this point, I am not sure I will ever feel the need to actually write a disk image to be used my Adam.  Not sure I'll ever set it back up, though it is on my bucket list.

 

BTW, I don't mean to go off topic, but are you a member of SmartBasic.net?  I registered for an account there a week ago, yesterday and it still has not been approved.  I used the form on the site to contact the administrator and still have not heard if I needed to do anything else.  I keep checking my Spam folder and trying to log into the site and my account is still inactive.  I see some fairly new comments there (from earlier in this month) but am wondering if its pretty much a defunct forum or if the Admin is busy.

 

Thanks,

Paul

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