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The truth about LS-120 (aka SuperDisk) media (all of them are preformatted...) 
Sunday, May 26, 2019, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Years before I bought a "SuperDisk" drive (USB) for the older Power Macintosh series. I got it with a Macintosh formatted medium.
A few month before I got an Matsushita / Panasonic ATAPI LS-120 drive. I tried to use it together with a SATA-to-IDE adapter in my modern Intel i7-4770K PC running Windows 7.
Unfortunately the drive was only recognized by Windows 7 if a disk was inserted (doesn't matter if it's a HD floppy disk or a LS-120 disk).
Because my modern PC mainboard does not have a parallel ATA connector, I tried to find an other solution, but my spare part PCI IDE RAID controller didn't helped.
Later on, I learned it MUST have an ATAPI bios, not an IDE/RAID BIOS. What bad luck the IDE RAID controller did not have a flash memory (instead, a ROM).
So I had to buy a PCI ATAPI controller (it has a ITE8212 chipset), which had the correct BIOS right from the beginning. And voilĂ , Windows 7 *does* recognize the drive even without an inserted medium.

Now I was able to use the drive without any problems ... I thought.
Also on the sticker it says "Do Not Reformat"... no solution for that ?


Reformatting the preformatted Macintosh LS-120 disk did NOT work with Windows 7.
But there must be a way to get it reformatted, also because I've seen there is a special formatter software existing.
Unfortunately again the at least 15 years old software I found does NOT work with a Windows x64 version.

Meanwhile I bought also IBM PC preformatted LS-120 disks, they worked without any problems and showed 120MB free (if empty, not used before). But I was still not able to use the Macintosh preformatted disk.

But after I got a rare LS-120 disk drive for my Thinkpad A30p, which still runs Windows XP SP3, I was able to use the above mentioned formatter software. And NOW I was able to reformat it for PC usage. It does not really "low level format" the disk, but it writes a new logical structure to the disk, without checking the format it had before.




So anybody who claims to be able to format LS-120 disks on a x64 Windows just talk bullshit. Windows always check the format before formatting is started. Macintosh preformatted disks are not recognized so you cannot format them in a different format (from Mac to PC).

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Micromint SB180FX resurrected ... and it's running well 
Sunday, May 19, 2019, 10:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
After I got some CP/M machines last year, I had no time to check and test them.
I swapped the Portable CP/M machine already against 2 Microprofessor MPF-1, and the TCS Genie IIIS didn't work (a bit oxidized socketed ICs on the mainboard could be the reason).
But I had luck, my fastest CP/M machine ever worked !!!
First, I checked the power suppy, but I didn't found anything unusual or defect.
Then I checked my WYSE WY-60 terminal, because the Micromint does not have a build-in video interface (except the GT180 card, but which is not used for operating system command in- and output). After I rediscovered how to get into the SETUP of the terminal (Shift-Select did it!), I got it tested with a loopback connector (pin 2-3 4-5 and 6-20 connected), and it worked.
Now I plugged the power cable and also the RS232 cable for the terminal connection, and voilĂ , it runs (exception: BDOS-Error on Drive B ... not sure about it yet):


P.S.: It's really fast, but I expected this already from a 9.2MHz Z80-compatible system.
It has 2304KB RAM in total, and can make use of all RAM. Also, there is a build-in SCSI controller (NCR-chip), and I have also a XEROX SCSI HDD for it, but not yet tested.

The 'related link' points to an overview of all available software disks.
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Finished the in BASICA / MBASIC programmed and only data driven Adventure Game ! 
Saturday, April 13, 2019, 02:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
I finished "Peter's Adventure" ... it's V1.0 (there is still much room for improvements, but it runs fine). I tested it with BASICA, GWBASIC and QBASIC, and also with CP/M 2.2 and MBASIC 5.29 and I compiled it with BASCOM.

This is how it looks with MyZ80 and MBASIC now:


You can download the full source code of Version 1.01 >HERE<.

You can compile the source code with the following two commands using BASCOM running with CP/M:
B> BASCOM =PADVENT/X/O
B> L80 PADVENT,PADVENT/N/E

The compiled CP/M executable can be download at "related link" below.

ADDED LATER: I've corrected a minor error and added a text file as a "README".
The Version 1.01 can be downloaded above now (instead of v1.00).
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Text Adventure Game (almost) purely data driven and written in BASICA/GWBASIC 
Saturday, April 6, 2019, 11:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
I finished an almost playable version of my almost pure data driven Text Adventure Game, which is written in BASICA (GWBASIC). It was done just for fun, to show that modular programming is also possible with an old programming language.
It is *very easy* be modified to have a totally different story line, because most of the game flow is stored in DATA lines.

These DATA lines look like this (excerpt):

4110 DATA "Grass,1,the border,0"
4120 DATA "Grass,1,grassland,0"
4130 DATA "Grass,1,Stones,2,Plants,1,stony ground,0"
4140 DATA "Grass,1,Stones,2,grassland with stones,0"
4150 DATA "Grass,1,Insects,1"
4160 DATA "Grass,1,Trees,1,Nuts,4,a forest,0"
4170 DATA "Grass,1,Trees,1,Nuts,4,a forest,0"
4180 DATA "Grass,1,Trees,1,Nuts,4,a forest,0"
4190 DATA "Grass,1,Trees,1,Nuts,4,Stones,2,a forest and stones,0"

Each object has it's "object" or "item" type in a following number.
There is a type 0 for a description (only), and another type 9 for special descriptions.
The rest of the types are consumable, can be used as a weapon or can be killed ;-)

The map is a rectangle with 11 fields (height and width), but this can be easily changed, too. Also, the descriptions which are shown for each item type can be changed easily.
Just take a look into the source code (at the end all data is listed).

This is still Version 0.90 and contains an extra bug (for testing, line 4060), and has a command not ready implemented, "DRINK" (but the rest is working fine).

Take a look at the running program, I made a video and uploaded it on youtube (see "related link").

The source code of version 0.90 can be downloaded >here<.

Added later: Meanwhile I finished the program to be fully functional, see >here<.
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Fastest 8086 PC ever: NEC PC-98DO+ (not an AT nor 386, but with 16MHz) 
Sunday, March 10, 2019, 05:06 PM
Posted by Administrator
Not well known in Europe, but in Japan: The fastest 8086 PC ever is a NEC PC-98DO+ (one of the later models of the PC-9801 series), build around 1990.
The PC has a NEC V33A CPU running at 16 MHz, which is something between a 8086 and a 80186, but not an AT compatible (or higher). It has an EGA graphics card, a YM2608 (OPNA) sound chip/card, and of course already using a HDD, too.

The design looks like the later EPSON PC clone design, but we know, NEC build their PCs a bit before EPSON did it, too.
Unfortunately the V33A CPU is *not* pin compatible with the standard 8086, instead, it has a separate address and data bus, but has the same instruction set as the NEC V30 (which is pin compatible with the 8086). May be it is possible to build a CPU adapter for it, but it's far too late to have still a high demand for this ;-)

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