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Milli Vee

Adam Expansion ROM

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13 minutes ago, timepilot said:

Is there a way to put SmartBASIC on an Expansion ROM, which would finally give the Adam a BASIC-in-ROM like almost every other computer of its generation?

I'm sure there is - I have a copy of it on a cartridge which is just as good.

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1 minute ago, Milli Vee said:

I'm sure there is - I have a copy of it on a cartridge which is just as good.

How do I get one of those cartridges?  And do you have the ROM image for use with an Atarimax Ultimate SD cart?  (Although I would really love to have a SmartBASIC-specific cart.)

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I like the SB on cartridge idea, the cartridge is probably how Coleco should have handled SB originally and just included a blank tape (or two) for saving SB programs.  If I ever setup my Adam again, I might consider purchasing such a beast.  Not sure if the SB on cartridge that is mentioned already has this feature, but better would be to include alternate SB's (minimum of 1.0 and 2.0, although additional bonus for including the variants by created by fans based on 1.0 and 2.0) with a menu to select which one to load. 

 

I will say that I don't disagree with Coleco's reasoning for having the Adam boot to a word-processor (well, technically electric typewriter). I admit I don't think I ever thought of this back in the day when I used my Adam, but having the computer boot to a menu where you choose which you'd prefer to boot to (i.e. SB or SW), would have been the best of both worlds, of course that might mean they would have needed to use either a larger ROM (capacity not necessarily physical size) or two ROM's.  Oh, what could have been, had they actually taken the time to refine it it before shipping it.

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15 hours ago, FmrAdamuser said:

I like the SB on cartridge idea, the cartridge is probably how Coleco should have handled SB originally and just included a blank tape (or two) for saving SB programs.  If I ever setup my Adam again, I might consider purchasing such a beast.  Not sure if the SB on cartridge that is mentioned already has this feature, but better would be to include alternate SB's (minimum of 1.0 and 2.0, although additional bonus for including the variants by created by fans based on 1.0 and 2.0) with a menu to select which one to load. 

 

I will say that I don't disagree with Coleco's reasoning for having the Adam boot to a word-processor (well, technically electric typewriter). I admit I don't think I ever thought of this back in the day when I used my Adam, but having the computer boot to a menu where you choose which you'd prefer to boot to (i.e. SB or SW), would have been the best of both worlds, of course that might mean they would have needed to use either a larger ROM (capacity not necessarily physical size) or two ROM's.  Oh, what could have been, had they actually taken the time to refine it it before shipping it.

Once one surmounts the catastrophic power surges, the unreliability of the tape media, and placing the PSU in the printer(!), the Adam is an incredible computer, especially for its day.  The best pre-NES home video game system in America, plus a competent word processor, plus an AppleSoft-compatible (but for the incompatibility of the PEEK, POKE, and CALL commands as a result of the different processor) BASIC, plus the graphics, sound, and sprite capabilities that blast the 8-bit Apple II line out of the water.  And I say that as someone who very much came to love the Apple II line when my copy of SmartBASIC failed, it was impossible to find a replacement, and I switched to the Apple IIe out of necessity.

 

Graphics and sound even equal to un-enhanced ColecoVision cartridges was impossible on a stock 8-bit Apple II.  I wonder whether, if Coleco had released the Adam with a disk drive and not locked software developers into such a restrictive non-disclosure/non-disparagement agreement, could the Adam have eaten Apple's and Commodore's lunch?  And become the basis (with occasional expansion modules) for the next five years of the American video game industry?

 

Or maybe that is all just silliness.  After all, the Apple IIgs and Amiga would have represented a leap forward that would have left the Adam behind anyway, IBM was already entrenched in offices, and the Apple II line had a huge head start on both software development and hardware (expansion card) development.  And the video game crash decimated the whole industry.

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6 hours ago, timepilot said:

Once one surmounts the catastrophic power surges, the unreliability of the tape media, and placing the PSU in the printer(!), the Adam is an incredible computer, especially for its day.  The best pre-NES home video game system in America, plus a competent word processor, plus an AppleSoft-compatible (but for the incompatibility of the PEEK, POKE, and CALL commands as a result of the different processor) BASIC, plus the graphics, sound, and sprite capabilities that blast the 8-bit Apple II line out of the water.  And I say that as someone who very much came to love the Apple II line when my copy of SmartBASIC failed, it was impossible to find a replacement, and I switched to the Apple IIe out of necessity.

 

Graphics and sound even equal to un-enhanced ColecoVision cartridges was impossible on a stock 8-bit Apple II.  I wonder whether, if Coleco had released the Adam with a disk drive and not locked software developers into such a restrictive non-disclosure/non-disparagement agreement, could the Adam have eaten Apple's and Commodore's lunch?  And become the basis (with occasional expansion modules) for the next five years of the American video game industry?

 

Or maybe that is all just silliness.  After all, the Apple IIgs and Amiga would have represented a leap forward that would have left the Adam behind anyway, IBM was already entrenched in offices, and the Apple II line had a huge head start on both software development and hardware (expansion card) development.  And the video game crash decimated the whole industry.

You guys (and gals) need to get a good ADAM or two.  I have never had all these problems with the ADAM; maybe I am just lucky.  I leave data packs in drives for boot purposes, use the original printer/ps on 2 different systems setup, and have had virtually no data pack failures that I can remember.  I am KEEPING my fingers crossed here!!!  :-)

 

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3 minutes ago, adamcon said:

You guys (and gals) need to get a good ADAM or two.  I have never had all these problems with the ADAM; maybe I am just lucky.  I leave data packs in drives for boot purposes, use the original printer/ps on 2 different systems setup, and have had virtually no data pack failures that I can remember.  I am KEEPING my fingers crossed here!!!  🙂

 

adamcon, I should clarify:  I had those problems with my OLD ADAM, back in the 1980s and early 1990s.  I have NOT had those problems with the ADAM that YOU sold me in 2013, which still works great (although I need to see about cleaning up the composite out, which generates just a bit of interference)!  If you ever get any more ADAM memory console units back in stock, please let me know!  🙂

 

That still doesn't make me trust the tapes completely--some PTSD from twenty years without being able to play Super Buck Rogers or program in SmartBASIC.  I now usually play Super Buck Rogers either from Team Pixelboy's cartridge or from John's ADE Pro Plus.

 

Let me know when you can help me to take your advice and go from "a good ADAM" to "or two"!  🙂

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I converted all my tapes to disks and never looked back.  I do love the tapes, but their unreliability worries me.

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2 hours ago, adamcon said:

You guys (and gals) need to get a good ADAM or two.  I have never had all these problems with the ADAM; maybe I am just lucky.  I leave data packs in drives for boot purposes, use the original printer/ps on 2 different systems setup, and have had virtually no data pack failures that I can remember.  I am KEEPING my fingers crossed here!!!  🙂

 

To be honest, I did not have those problems experienced by others, and I used mine back in the day.  Unfortunately, when I started college in 1989, I had only one computer desk and my college gave us freshmen new PC's, so the Adam had to go into boxes with the hope of putting it back together again once I got my own house.  Have the house, still waiting for the day to be able to put the Adam back together. 

 

The only problem that I think I had was, and my memory is fuzzy, is I think the tape drive ate my Dragon's Lair tape.  I don't believe it erased it due to the EMP surge, I believe it ate it like a cassette deck can eat a music cassette.

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1 hour ago, Tempest said:

I converted all my tapes to disks and never looked back.  I do love the tapes, but their unreliability worries me.

I wish I had done that.  I didn't know how to do that at the time and I thought all those Adam software adverts in Family Computer were fly by night companies, so I never trusted them.  I have been going through some of the old user group newsletters (Thanks Joe Blenke(? sorry if I misspelled your name)) and see now just HOW mistaken I was in my naive youth.

 

Should be "Family Computing" magazine.

Edited by FmrAdamuser

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9 hours ago, timepilot said:

Once one surmounts the catastrophic power surges, the unreliability of the tape media, and placing the PSU in the printer(!), the Adam is an incredible computer, especially for its day.  The best pre-NES home video game system in America, plus a competent word processor, plus an AppleSoft-compatible (but for the incompatibility of the PEEK, POKE, and CALL commands as a result of the different processor) BASIC, plus the graphics, sound, and sprite capabilities that blast the 8-bit Apple II line out of the water.  And I say that as someone who very much came to love the Apple II line when my copy of SmartBASIC failed, it was impossible to find a replacement, and I switched to the Apple IIe out of necessity.

 

Graphics and sound even equal to un-enhanced ColecoVision cartridges was impossible on a stock 8-bit Apple II.  I wonder whether, if Coleco had released the Adam with a disk drive and not locked software developers into such a restrictive non-disclosure/non-disparagement agreement, could the Adam have eaten Apple's and Commodore's lunch?  And become the basis (with occasional expansion modules) for the next five years of the American video game industry?

 

Or maybe that is all just silliness.  After all, the Apple IIgs and Amiga would have represented a leap forward that would have left the Adam behind anyway, IBM was already entrenched in offices, and the Apple II line had a huge head start on both software development and hardware (expansion card) development.  And the video game crash decimated the whole industry.

Other than remembering I had an issue with my Dragon's Lair tape, I don't believe I ran into any of the catastrophic power surges.  I want to say that the cassette drive ate my DL tape and not that it was erased.  And I was NOT biaching about my Adam, I actually liked a lot about it, still.  I have been playing with Virtual Adam lately, since I don't have anywhere to setup my actual Adam, assuming it will still function after being in boxes since 1989. 

 

It is kinda funny that one of my complaints about it was that if I needed to do a short paper for school, it took longer to do on the Adam than if I just typed it using my electronic typewriter (which I got after the Adam because while the Adam made a decent typewriter/WP, I recall trying to use it to fill out preprinted forms and having limited success, so my parents got me a typewriter when I had to fill out a lot of forms to apply for colleges).  The Adam was my first and only computer until I got the PC from college.  The funny part is, I ended up with the same complaint about that PC.  A one to three page report I could bang out in about 15 minutes on the typewriter took a minimum of 1/2 hour with either computer. 

 

One thing you bring up that I kinda disagree with, though, and perhaps I am missing something and perhaps I am bringing up an old argument, although I have not seen it brought up in any of the old newsletters.  I think the main reason that SB was not fully Applesoft compatible was more likely due to fear of copyright infringement or that SB would end up taking more memory.  Especially when it comes to the PEEK/POKE addresses.  From what I have been able to put together, many (though certainly not all, I have found a few examples of where they are the same) of the PEEK/POKE addresses between V1.0 and V2.0 were different, if it was entirely processor dependent wouldn't they be the same out of necessity?  The few V2.0 CALL's I have been able to find appear to be the same as the V1.0, I think, so there is some validity to the argument of processor dependence in that regard.  Anyway, my argument that Coleco could have made SB more AS compatible is with the understanding that the Basic interpreter is between the code and the machine language.  SB's interpreter could have been written in such a way that when you PEEK(#) it automatically redirects to the correct address so that the same # used for that PEEK in AS is the same # used in SB.  Of course, that likely would have taken up more memory space leaving less memory for your program to occupy, which is a real concern since RAM memory was precious back then.  CALL's may be a bit more difficult, but I believe they probably could also be handled similarly.  Perhaps I am missing something in my assumptions because I am not a computer or software engineer, but after trying to catalog all the PEEK/POKE addresses and CALL's that I can scrounge up from the old newsletters, that was my thought. 

 

As soon as I can get it in some semblance of shape, I plan on releasing on SmartBasic.net an Excel spreadsheet of all the PEEK/POKE and CALL addresses that I have compiled from the various newsletters, for both V1.0 and V2.0 as well as Apple -> Adam conversions where possible.  So far it is quite extensive as I have exhausted all the newsletters from Blenke's (again, sorry if I misspelled your last name) website and am currently going through the ANN newsletters (about 2/3 through 1993).  The advantage of putting it in Excel is that I am hoping to set it up to sort via different items, say sort the HGR related PEEK/POKE addresses, sort them via address # for V1 or V2, etc.  Anyway, I only mention that because when I talk above about how I believe Coleco could have made SB more compatible with AS Basic, despite the different processors, it is because I have been really digging deep into the PEEK/POKE and CALL's for SB to catalog them and then thinking about how I understand Basic to work (which I totally admit I might be way off base about) and I should also say that I am not seeking to start up an argument on that point, only provide another POV and am open minded enough to learn where my POV may be skewed since all of the material, both from professional publications and user group newsletters, state that it was due to the different processors.   

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A riddle, for any who know the answer:  Why is it that SmartBASIC accepts as valid command-line commands both FP and INT, despite the fact that neither does anything?

 

FP was the Apple DOS 3.3 command to enter Floating-Point AppleSoft BASIC, and INT was the Apple DOS 3.3 command to enter Wozniak's Integer BASIC.  Each switches out of the other BASIC language.  Neither, however, had any function on the ADAM, because the ADAM had no Integer BASIC to switch to or to switch from.

 

Since discovering that both commands are valid but without purpose in SmartBASIC, I have wondered whether, had the ADAM sold better, perhaps Apple would have sued Coleco for copyright infringement.  Or maybe someone at Coleco simply had an ironic sense of humor in coding SmartBASIC, and tossed those commands in as a wink and a chuckle to the Apple folks.

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@timepilot Personally, no clue.  There are other AppleSoft commands that are not used that I found funny/interesting in my investigations through the various newsletters.  SHLOAD - loads the Shape Table in AppleSoft, but while not used in SB is still considered a command; RECALL N (where "N" is a valid variable name), & STORE N - again same thing, these are considered valid commands but are not actually used in SB. 

 

My personal guess is that they added them into SB with the intention to make it more AS compatible, but because SB was rushed, they did not get a chance to actually implement them into the interpreter.  Or they were pulled because they were scared it was too much like AS that it may cause a copyright infringement suit.  I know that it was mentioned in some of the newsletters that they had information from some of the Adam developers to map out the memory locations and other physical parts of the Adam and perhaps they even provided insight into SB as well and that info. is actually answered in one of those newsletters.  I have not read through them, only browsed through picking up the CALL's, and PEEK's/POKE's out. 

 

What gets me is that the V2.0 of SB is not compatible with V1.0.  I don't know if that means it's even less AS compatible or why they would do that.  I have not dug into V2.0 since my Adam came with 1.0 and that's what I learned on and all I'm really interested in, but I may get more curious later. 

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28 minutes ago, FmrAdamuser said:

What gets me is that the V2.0 of SB is not compatible with V1.0.  I don't know if that means it's even less AS compatible or why they would do that.  I have not dug into V2.0 since my Adam came with 1.0 and that's what I learned on and all I'm really interested in, but I may get more curious later. 

What was the point of SB 2.0?

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39 minutes ago, FmrAdamuser said:

@timepilot Personally, no clue.  There are other AppleSoft commands that are not used that I found funny/interesting in my investigations through the various newsletters.  SHLOAD - loads the Shape Table in AppleSoft, but while not used in SB is still considered a command; RECALL N (where "N" is a valid variable name), & STORE N - again same thing, these are considered valid commands but are not actually used in SB. 

 

My personal guess is that they added them into SB with the intention to make it more AS compatible, but because SB was rushed, they did not get a chance to actually implement them into the interpreter.  Or they were pulled because they were scared it was too much like AS that it may cause a copyright infringement suit.  I know that it was mentioned in some of the newsletters that they had information from some of the Adam developers to map out the memory locations and other physical parts of the Adam and perhaps they even provided insight into SB as well and that info. is actually answered in one of those newsletters.  I have not read through them, only browsed through picking up the CALL's, and PEEK's/POKE's out. 

 

What gets me is that the V2.0 of SB is not compatible with V1.0.  I don't know if that means it's even less AS compatible or why they would do that.  I have not dug into V2.0 since my Adam came with 1.0 and that's what I learned on and all I'm really interested in, but I may get more curious later. 

Is there a way to use SmartBASIC without filling RAM with it?  In other words, is there a way to use SmartBASIC while having more RAM accessible to the programmer's BASIC program rather than occupied by SmartBASIC itself?

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@timepilot - Not to my knowledge, SB needs to take up a certain amount of memory to run.  I believe that was so you could remove the SB DDP and insert a blank one to write to, but as I have said, it has been so long since I messed with my actual Adam, I am not sure you could do that.  I had the floppy disk drive so I could always save to the disk drive while leaving the SB DDP in the tape drive.

 

@Tempest - SB2.0 was supposed to resolve many of the bugs in SB1.0.  However, 2.0 has different Peek and Poke addresses so if you use a SB1.0 program that utilizes Peek's and Poke's it won't work with SB2.0 unless you convert them over to the 2.0 addresses.  I don't have my list with me, but I believe all the Call addresses that I have found to be for 2.0 are the same as 1.0, but that may only be those few Call addresses and the others may be different. Either way, because of how late 2.0 came out, and how few people used it, the addresses are not as thoroughly documented as 1.0's are (at least not as far as I have found, so far).  BTW, from what I have gleaned from quickly browsing the information, it seems that 2.0 was never officially released by Coleco, at least not commercially.  I'm not too clear on what happened, but either Coleco released it to one or more user groups once they had discontinued all work on the Adam or it was leaked by a former Coleco employee to one of the user groups and it was shared via the user groups.  As I said, I have not thoroughly read through all of the materials yet, only quickly pulling out the Peek/Poke and Call addresses.  At some point I will go back and read that info. more thoroughly, but that is what I was able to glean from what little I have read.  I personally had not heard about V2.0 until a couple of months ago. 

 

As an aside, now I regret not joining any of the user groups that used to advertise in Family Computing (the only magazine that I had found that had any Adam support).  Being a naive kid, I thought those user groups were mainly regional (they had regional names) and none were near where I lived, I didn't put 2 and 2 together that they would actually mail their newsletters anywhere in the country, as long as you paid your subscription.

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On 5/3/2021 at 3:38 PM, timepilot said:

Is there a way to use SmartBASIC without filling RAM with it?  In other words, is there a way to use SmartBASIC while having more RAM accessible to the programmer's BASIC program rather than occupied by SmartBASIC itself?

Loading SmartBasic from DDP, Disk, Cartridge or Boot Prom places the basic interpreter into RAM along with EOS which is switched into RAM when you turn on the system or press the computer reset. No way around this just like Windows and say a programming language like C are placed into RAM on a PC.

 

If you have a Memory Expander installed in the ADAM, it can be setup as RAMDISK in SmartBasic by numerous programs released by Walters Software or Digital Express. If you are using SuperBasic Plus by TCR Software (an incredible upgrade to SB 1.0 released circa 1989), it includes a new command called RAMPOKE which allows one to use a Memory Expander for data storage.

 

SmartBasic 2.0 was released by Coleco into the Public Domain. It first loads an updated EOS into RAM and then SB 2.0. Numerous fixes and new features are included and while not as much info was assembled on this version, the newsletter are a good source as well as the text files included on the disk images available in the Archive. SB 2.0 can use a Memory Expander as additional program memory space by using the EXTMEM command... one will have a 90K workspace available. A number of programs were developed in SB 2.0 including NewsMaker and Sub Raiders by Strategic Software, but yeah, most SmartBasic programs were developed in SB 1.0.

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9 hours ago, NIAD said:

.A number of programs were developed in SB 2.0 including NewsMaker and Sub Raiders by Strategic Software

Up until a few months ago I assume Sub Raiders was just a public domain game but there was a commercial copy on ebay.  So Strategic Software developed a commercial game using an unreleased version of SB for a system that was officially discontinued?  That's just insane. :)

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5 hours ago, Tempest said:

Up until a few months ago I assume Sub Raiders was just a public domain game but there was a commercial copy on ebay.  So Strategic Software developed a commercial game using an unreleased version of SB for a system that was officially discontinued?  That's just insane. :)

Strategic Software was one of the more prolific 3rd Party software developers for the Adam from the mid to late 80s. All programs were released commercially in boxes with manual and on data pack only. Some of their titles include SignShop, NewsMaker, PaintMaster, Proofreader and Sub Raiders... which is the Adam version of Gato. They did a good job on Sub Raiders but the screen redraws are maddeningly slow.

 

Seeing as so much info was available for SB 1.0 along with graphics development tools released by Digital Express (PowerPaint, SpritePower, FontPower), most stayed the coarse with it versus using SB 2.0.

 

 

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Thank you for filling in the blanks, Quadrunner. 👍 

 

Now when you mention the text files on the disk images at the Archive, I assume you mean AdamArchive.org? Which disk images?  Are they on the disk images that contains SB2.0?  Thanks.

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From memory, I seem to recall some text files being included on the SmartBasic v2.0 image files that cover the basics and might also include a Poke, Peek and Call list. I think my go to version was SB 2.1 which is an enhanced version by Gary Hoosier... not at my computer to look at the multiple image files that I provided to the Adam Archive.

 

Yes, www.adamarchive.org

 

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On 4/29/2021 at 3:20 PM, adamcon said:

You guys (and gals) need to get a good ADAM or two.  I have never had all these problems with the ADAM; maybe I am just lucky.  I leave data packs in drives for boot purposes, use the original printer/ps on 2 different systems setup, and have had virtually no data pack failures that I can remember.  I am KEEPING my fingers crossed here!!!  🙂

 

Same! The Adam is lamented as to how aweful it was. I bought mine in a thrift store in 1988 for maybe $15. Still have it. Pretty much perfect shape. Maybe one or two of my original tapes failed in the last 30+ years...granted I'm no longer a heavy user by any stretch...

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