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The Archaic Archives
Archive: 2003

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This page was updated: June 11, 2020 via IBrowse 2.5.3!

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January 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!

Last time, on Archaic Computer....

C65

Well, it has been 6 years. I have a VIC20 case I had planned to cut to fit the C65 into. I made a parts list to put it in a tower case. I reserved a spot on the Commodore Station specifically for the C65. And now, 6 years later, I have the mother board, Kb, and PS packed in the box it came in.

It would seem that the time has slipped away. I guess I had been focusing on eBaying machines, the search for a notebook for use during recovery, moving, relocating everything, twins, home schooling....the list goes on.... I may have been a little distracted.

This story may yet soon develop....

Original, Master, Work/Play Disks.

In the name of program preservation, I have devised a system that helps prevent me from messing up any original disks I own. This is not full proof as, some software has to be run from original disks or they will not run at all.

The system is basically this:

Backup the Original Disk to make a Master Disk.

If I need to, I can customize the Master disk. This is handy for Amiga boot disks, for Amigas that don't have a hard drive. I make sure libraries and fonts that are needed for a given application are on the boot disk.

Once the master is where I want it to be I make another copy or two, and these are the working copies I call the Work or Play disk, depending upon if it is an application or game.

Originals I store in the box the softs came in on a bookcase with other Originals. Masters get stored there as well, or in a disk box, but not where I might easily grab them to use. Work/Play Disks are kept ready for use with other like disks.

It is a simple system that keeps the originals safe. I started this more elaborate system when I started blowing Amiga disks on the CDTV by simply popping the disk out too soon (probably the biggest complaint from early Amiga users). But it works well for any system, as you can make multiple custom Master Disks of the same program for different uses.

More to come.

The Stay Tuned Category has many items left, so there is much to write about in this area alone. However, there is always more that comes up, so stay tuned!

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February 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Valentine's Day!

Last time, on Archaic Computer....

Cartridges:

C64/128:

RAMLink

The RAMLink, mentioned in many articles has been covered by many a commodore publication, especially in the later years of commodore. But some may be finding these curious devices and have no idea what they are.

The RAMLink is actually a device that has many tricks in store for it's owner. First, there are the two basics. 1. JiffyDOS. It gives you instant JiffyDOS on your computer without having to install the internal ROMs on your commodore 64 or 128. 2. Is a SCSI interface to hookup CMD's HD (hard drive).

Ah, but what of the RAM part of the name? Well, another facet (3.) of this piece of hardware is you can plug an R.E.U. (RAM (Random Access Memory) Expansion Unit) into it and have a non-volatile RAM disk. This allows your R.E.U. to keep it's contents, even after powering down the computer. It has it's own PS as well as a battery (4.) giving you blackout protection of that memory. The R.E.U. can also be formatted with multiple partitions and sub directories. Making organization easier.

With the optional RAM Board (5.) you can add up to 16Megs of RAM inside the RAMLink itself. Plus an RTC (real time clock -- 6.) can be added.

These features work particularly well with GEOS, giving a RAM Disk making disk swapping a thing of the past. But even if you are not a geoPhyle, you may still take full advantage of all the features of the RAMLink.

What of this HD?

Well the HD can be used with any commodore 8-bit from the VIC-20 on. If the computer has JiffyDOS installed, HD access is accelerated. Add a RAMLink with the SCSI cable and access is unbelievably fast! However, the RAMLink is only for the C64 and C128/D computers.

There are two cartridge ports on the top of the RAMLink. A RAM Port, that can be configured to add RAM to the RAMLink itself or act like a standard R.E.U. I use mine as a standard R.E.U., as I have RAM in the RAMLink on the RAM Board (plus I have another cartridge that has 16Megs reserved for my use under GEOS -- the SuperCPU (see below).

The other cart port is where you put a normal cartridge. In the case of my machine, it is a Capture cartridge (this is the one used to reset out of C64 games that start at sys64738 discussed sometime earlier). As with any cartridge port multiplier, some cartridges will not work.

There are a number of buttons (under the flat soft plastic cover) on the RAMLink. There is a reset button. This will not reset your internal 1571 if you are using it with a C128D. Also, I tried to find this in the manual to verify or deny this; but I had heard someone say (read it on the iNet?) that if you hold the reset on a RAMLink for more than 10 seconds it will erase the RAMLink's contents. Perhaps it was just a fluke of that person's system, but why take the chance? If the system does not reset almost instantly anyway, chances are it is locked up bad enough to power down for 30 seconds.

The next two buttons will swap the drive number of the RAMLink. Since it acts just like any physical drive when it has RAM in it, you can easily swap it from it's number to 8 or 9, depending on which button you press. Mine is set at the factory default of 16 (on the 128D) and when I boot a program that wants drive eight as default 8 (as many older programs do), I can easily do it. Simply press [SWAP 8] and the RAMLink is now drive 8, and I can boot that program. If it uses data on drive 9, no problem! Hit [SWAP 9] and voila! Instant access to data. Not all PRGs will run from the RAMLink, but they seem to be far and few between.

And no CMD device is complete without the light show! There is an Error Lamp. Hum. Wonder what that is for.... An Access Lamp lets you know the device is being accessed. Any time the serial line is open, the Activity Lamp lights up. And to keep you on track with what device number the RAMLink is presently at, there are the Swap Lamps. 8 or 9 if the swap feature is used or both off if they haven't been used.

If you want to use an R.E.U., the decision to use it as part of the RAMLink or as an actual R.E.U. must be made prior to formatting the RAMLink (done automatically upon first powering it up plugged in) and cannot be changed unless you want to start over at the pre-formatting stage (make sure you have everything saved!). This is determined with the Normal/Direct Switch. Should you need to turn the device off (also disables JiffyDOS) as sometimes is necessary, there is an Enable/Disable Switch.

As you can see, this puppy sports a lot of features. Last I heard Maurice Randal has taken over production and partnered with a third party to produce the CMD line of peripherals. CMDRKEY.com is an online shop that, at last checking, has JiffyDOS available at:

http://cmdrkey.com/

RAMDrive

Well, the one and only RAMDrive I have, needs new batteries. So this story remains in the Stay Tuned category. It has many of the same features as the RAMLink, such as the swap lamps and buttons. There are no cartridge ports and no SCSI. This device was not supported when I asked before CMD moved on. I was told that it went back to Progressive Peripherals Inc.

SuperCPU w/SuperRAM

A wonder full piece of hardware, exhibiting the amazing engineering put in all of CMD's designs. Built in JiffyDOS, RAM card option, expandable to 16Megs. RTC and thru port on the back. It has a 16-bit micro processor inside. With the thru port on the back, RAMLink, as well as other cartridges can be used with it. Ok, 16Megs of 16-bit RAM that you can't easily use like a disk drive (unless using GEOS or Wheels), so what's the big deal? 20MHz speed! 20MHz on a C64 or C128 is simply astounding. While some things run just too fast (after all, most things happen pretty quick on a C64), PRGs like GoDot and GUIs like GEOS can do what they do at lightening speeds. There are programs and a new OS being developed today, that take advantage of the SuperCPU and it's RAM.

A commodore/GEOS system using Wheels (a revamping of the GEOS desktop and more!) is simply a power house. Placing everything in SuperRAM (fonts, apps, data, etc) and baking up to floppy or HD makes things zip along at warp speed.

I use geoCalc for our grocery budget. As anyone who uses geoCalc can tell you, removing rows or columns takes a while, especially when working from floppy, and especially slow on a 1MHz system!

So much work is involved in doing this that I find it is quicker to make a text scrap and place it in geoWrite then remove the unwanted rows that way. Even that takes some time, but is faster than working in geoCalc with a 250+ line file. Add the SuperCPU and SuperRAM and the process goes so fast it only takes moments to do.

When the spreadsheet recalculates, on a 1MHz system, all your work comes to a grinding halt until the calculating process is finished. At 20Mhz this is not the case. It is recommended, even if you don't have a 20MHz system, that you work out of R.E.U. or RAM as every cell that gets calculated prompts a file update (or perhaps the data it needs to access on my huge sheet is on disk).

There are three switches on the SuperCPU:

1 Unit Enable/Disable
Turns on or off the SuperCPU.

2 JiffyDOS Enable/Disable
Turns JiffyDOS on or off.

3 Speed Turbo/Normal
Sets the SuperCPU to 20Mhz or 1Mhz (or 2MHz on the 128 in FAST mode). There is also a light that indicates the unit is in 20MHz when the unit is in Turbo mode.

There is also a reset switch. Hold it down for a moment and it performs a reset for one interrupt. Hold it for 2 seconds or more and it resets the machine. It will not undo any softwiring any of the drives (this is real nice).

commodore R.E.U.

The commodore RAM Expansion Unit was a chuck of RAM that you could add to the system for use as a virtual disk drive or programs could be written to take advantage of the extra RAM for more code, or elbow room, as it were. It did not, however, directly expand your machine's internal RAM. Commodore confused those of us who knew nothing of the turmoils of the VIC-20's RAM cartridges (when you plug one in, the screen gets moved, and some programs no longer worked, extra code would have to be added to detect where to put the screen, users had to remove the RAM Cart to run certain PRGs -- lots of ugly stuff), we wondered why it didn't simply add more RAM.

1700 R.E.U.

One of my favorite cartridges are the RAM Carts that came out for the 128 personal computer (C128). The 1700 has 128K of RAM and can be expanded to 2Megs -- also according to Commodore Specs., that is you can address that much memory with no hardware modifications to the base machine.

1750 R.E.U.

The 1750 has 512K of RAM Very similar to the above.

1764 R.E.U.

1764 was a 256K R.E.U. that came with a heavy duty power supply for the C64. And yes, you can use it with the 128.

CMD1750XL

This is a 2Meg version of the R.E.U. built by CMD using original chips that commodore had to make the R.E.U.s. There is also a 512K version called, I believe, the CMD1750EX.

Their R.E.U. did not add memory to the systems usable RAM. Adding a 1764 still left you with 35K of programmable BASIC bytes free. So what good were they? What good are they now? Well, CBM added a disk to the package that had RAMDOS on it. It basically made the R.E.U. act like a disk drive, that you could store/and retrieve PRGs in and out of. The 128 has commands built into BASIC 7.0 to use an R.E.U. as a place to move data into and out of. STASH and FETCH. These commands work well and you can move lots of data (as in chunks of memory) in a lightning fast manor. But what if programming is not your thing?

Enter GEOS. GEOS took full advantage of the R.E.U. (not right away), as did CP/M (also, not right away). The Graphic Environment Operating System is a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that is also a totally new Operating System that replaces the BASIC interpreter (also referred to as a CLI (Command Line Interface), even though it isn't technically a CLI, but what the hey). Rather than use PETASCII for the text standard (or Screen Code, that is also used by many commodore native mode apps), GEOS applications use standard ASCII code for the text files, although most of the apps don't save standard ASCII code alone.

The biggest advantage is the point and click interface. There is a standard array of applications, database, spreadsheet, word processor, paint, a programming package and other things that Berkeley Softworks put out to support the system. It has more than the products released by BS. For instance, there are terminal programs, music programs and other things that third party developers have created. There is even a new face (or two) out there to GEOS. Wheels is one such upgrade. It is not merely a face lift, but adds a new level of functionality to the system, especially a system that has things like a SuperCPU and an HD drive.

But, I an meandering, The R.E.U. gives some special abilities to a GEOS system. GEOS64 requires you to have the print driver on your current disk, if you plan on printing. Add the application, any fonts and the data itself and you may find things are cumbersome, and you may like to have your calculator or other desk accessories handy. Files like the DESKTOP also take up room and are needed. If you have certain drive configurations, you will also need configure on the disk. You will guaranteeably go insane, if all you have is a 1541 disk drive. If you have two 1541s, things get better, or a 1571 or 1581, as you get even more room to put applications on the disk. But GEOS will crawl at a snails pace without an R.E.U. And there is no faster R.E.U. than the original commodore R.E.U. An R.E.U. adds RAM that the system actually uses to hold important stuff in and speeds up operations considerably. If the R.E.U. is big enough, it can also emulate a commodore disk drive that you can move things into to work from at lightning fast speed.

NOTE: The SuperRAM is 16bit RAM accessed at 20 MHz and is really fast. But out of the speed tests I did many years ago, the run down went like this:

commodore R.E.U. (fastest)
GEORAM/PPI's BBG (next)
RAMLink (last place)

Why would anyone want a RAMLink then? Well, there are some things you get along with the speed of a RAM Disk, parallel access to a CMD HD, easy access from outside GEOS, and the other things mentioned above. And these speed differences are minute, at best.

If you find yourself looking for an R.E.U. of the commodore flavor, I recommend the biggest you can get and get one that has not been expanded. Most expanded R.E.U.s I have seen fail (it seem that geoWrite is a good indicator program). The CMD 1750s are top notch, as is the Super Clone. Cost, of course, may be a factor to consider as well. And that is when you will have to ask yourself what you will be using it for. Newer programs like GoDot and The Write Stuff, copy programs programs like Maverick, archival programs and music & sample programs take full advantage of the R.E.U.s. Many programs use the R.E.U. to swap in and out of utilities at light speed. So there are many uses for an R.E.U. outside of GEOS. With an R.E.U., the bigger, the better. Also, note if you are using it with a C64 (or 64 family computer), a heavy duty power supply is a must, as the R. E. U. demands more power. The R.E.U. came out and was originally intended for use with th e 128 computer, so the C128 has a heavy duty power supply.

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March 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Last time, on Archaic Computer....

Atari 8-bit:

Still looking for a RIGHT PORT cartridge.

Atari ST:

IMG Scan.

The Atari version of the IMG Scan plugs into the ROM Port, and has two fiber optic cables that go to a dot-matrix printer. One cable sends an infrared signal to the printer, the other cable reads what reflects off the paper in your printer.

The only real drawbacks to the system, are that you need to be able to put what you are scanning into the printer, and you can't quite scan a full page. This one never did a very good job on the ST. But it is indeed a novelty.

Amiga:

NOTE: A few years back I came across an advertisement for a cartridge that plugged into the Amiga's parallel port, that had ROM info that programmed the Amiga. I don't know how the info was accessed (software read the port and loaded the program, something that auto loaded by other means -- I don't know). I have not come across anything like this since then and I don't recall where I saw it. Should I come across it, I'll scan it and post it.

Vidi-Amiga.

This is one of the standard cartridge formations for the Amiga. Usually a converter, or interface. This one converts a video linein signal to digital data the Amiga can deal with. This cartridge was actually covered somewhat earlier.

This one needs external power. It does not have a well designed case, as to use it on the Amiga 2000, the RGBI monitor needs to be unplugged as it will block the port, on the 1200, the serial port is blocked. Rambo, the makers of the interface, made a short cable that moved it away from the computer, but didn't include it as part of the package. The PS, is said to be not necessary with some systems, and was also not included.

The software, is loaded from disk and is very versatile for a myriad of different systems. Standard Amiga screen sizes are supported as well as standard color schemes, including HAM8. The AGA colors and odd resolutions are not supported.

The RT version implies real-time video. A real-time snapshot is possible. Real-time video isn't. I did a run of digitizing from a Star Wars VCD plugged into the Vidi-Amiga that took about ten minutes to shoot (so to speak). Playback takes only 20 or 30 seconds at the fastest playback speed. While it did grab pictures at a steady rate, and I could make play back take ten minutes, it looked like several frames were missing. But it was a fun exercise, none the less.

When this product came out, my 060, 49MHz, 52Meg Amiga 1200 would have been a monster Amiga among Amigas. One would think that true RT video should happen easily. I have not tried this on any other Amigas, and there may be something about the 060, that the software or hardware may not quite jive with. I may yet, try it on another Amiga to see if the RT video the box brags about is indeed possible.

The higher resolutions that have full color, do not process as fast as the lower with fewer colors. One would think I could do lots of stuff with the amount of memory my machine has, but it only recognizes half of the available memory. Add to that, the fact that it scans in YMCK, then converts to RGB in order to view stuff, and memory is used up quickly, making it not quite the slick product as one may think it is. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely something worth using for capturing images and quite fun to play with. But if you are looking for RT video laid direct to HD, this is not it.

This is a nice option to the slower NewTek Digi-View. I think it's easier to get an image from the Vidi, and quicker as only one scan is required. It defiantly is easier to get images off of a moving video source, like a movie, TV or a wiggling kid. But I think the Digi-View has overall better quality of the image, as it scans in 16.2 million colors.

NewTek Digi-View.

This item, while slow, really slow in modern terms, is a small white brick or slightly larger black brick (Digi-View GOLD) that plugs into the parallel port and has one RCA female jack on it. All smaller than your Amiga's mouse. The idea, originally was that video professionals who spent a butt-load of money on a video camera for doing professional desktop video could spend only a small amount to hook it directly to their Amiga, and digitize pictures easily.

The scans take several seconds and you need to do three separate scans for color -- red, green and blue. Each exposure is done using the camera as if it were a Black & White camera -- weather it is or not. A color wheel comes with the unit for making separate exposures of the three RGB components. There is a special slower scan rate for color cameras, also used when scanning a video signal from a VCR, computer or other source. I use a splitter, that takes the color signal and splits it into either the red, green or blue components necessary for doing a color scan. Then the program renders a composite from the three into wonderful living color. A Black & White scan can be done as only a red scan.

Doing three separate exposures may have drawbacks, such as light changing or moving, the subject not staying still, etc, but it does allow for use of a less expensive Black & White camera.

Normal (Traditional) Amiga Screen modes are supported including overscan. There is a way to call NewTek's Digi-Paint from the menus and there is support for a device called the Digi-Droid, a motor at the end of a long wire that plugs into the joystick port that turns the color wheel while automatically scanning in the RGB sequence.

Most all the pictures in the Archaic Computer Gallery were digitized using a Panasonic Omnivision camcorder and the Digi-View. The early ones were the done on the Amiga 1000. I used to have an A1K without a keyboard, and since the adapter I had to hook the Digi_View up to the CDTV didn't work (you know I have two adapters and neither works) I would make template files on a disk and save and replace the IFFs I had scanned to the disk and rename them on the CDTV later. Things got better when I got a keyboard and even better when I got a Digi-View GOLD that I simply plugged into my 030 monster 2000.

What of moving objects? Well I was fortunate to have a Fisher 4 head VCR that the pause would hold a practically clear picture. I'd pause where I wanted to scan and use the camcorder to tape 3 minutes of the image, then took the camcorder out to the studio for playback. I now have a digital camera. ;)

IMG Scan.

IMG Scan is a bit of an involved interface. It plugs into the parallel port, and has two fiber optic cables that go to a dot-matrix printer. One cable sends an infrared signal to the printer, the other cable reads what reflects off the paper in your printer.

The only real drawbacks to the system, are that you need to be able to put what you are scanning into the printer, and you can't quite scan a full page. I scanned many of Antony's art that I used to have posted on the kid's page way back when with the IMG Scan. The Amiga version of this set up worked rather well.

Golden Image Hand Scanner.

This also plugs into the parallel port with an adapter and thought I'd throw it out here while I was typing. It can make some really nice Black & White scans and saved as dithered .IFF pictures (huge) or gray scale .gif (nice ones too!) from the Touch-up software.

An example of the G.I. Hand Scanner scans can be seen in this pic from the Antique Computer Store:

Perfect Sound & Megalosound.

Megalosound: "The low cost stereo sampler with direct-to-disk recording for the Amiga 680x0 computers by Audio Visual Research." This is an interface rather than a ROM cartridge. It is very similar to the Perfect Sound cartridge. The software that comes with it does the direct to disk stuff. I use Audio Master III with both the Perfect Sound and Megalosound.

The Megalosound software, written in Amos BASIC, covers up stuff on screen. There are no pull down menus only multiple non-resizeable windows on the bottom of the screen. You can slide them down to the bottom of the screen and place them behind each other. The windows get in the way and the software is cumbersome to use as a result. While there are more features in the Megalosound, the Audio Master III package is a lot easier to use. The Audio Master III software is logically thought out and laid out logically as a result.

Timex:

Still no info on the cart adapter.

Atari 2600:

BASIC.

This BASIC on ROM Cart plugs in like any other cart for the CX machine. It requires the keypad controllers and has overlays that contain the BASIC keywords. It operates much like the Sinclair and TRS-80 MC10 does; you press one button and you get a keyword, then you enter what comes next all via the keypads.

I have not delved into this yet, but hope to sometime in the near future.

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April 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Easter!

We have a winner! Albeit, IBrowse 2.3 has no flash capability, it has allowed me to log in and do a live edit, here on Angelfire! This is just awesome possum! Oh, and it's fast!

This month's posting, is still in the works, so stay tuned!

This month's posting:

Well, Natasha is in the IDVA (Idaho Virtual Academy) which means she schools at home. This lets us easily supplement her curriculum. One such supplement is that she is learning the BASIC programming language. She is using VICE's (Versatile Commodore Emulator) X64, the commodore 64 Emulator installed on her Academy Machine.

I also came across a couple of Atari Portfolios and Portfolio PowerBASIC on eBay that we use for much of our BASIC endeavors.

PowerBASIC.

The Portfolio she uses is of the standard, non-expanded configuration, so I have made the RAM Disk as big as I possibly could. Because, we have no RAM Cards, she has to edit, save, compile then run the runtime module as a .COM file then execute her .COM file to see her code in action. PowerBASIC comes on a ROM Card as a .RUN file. Moving it to the RAM Disk would allow lightning fast compiling, but when you save files to the RAM Disk, the files tend to get fragmented and you cannot run .RUN files unless there are no breaks in the file, i.e., no fragmentation. In order to compile, the Portfolio needs to be reset to remove the runtime module from memory, as it will run out of memory.

While it sounds kind of cumbersome, it only takes a moment as everything is electronically done rather than a physical drive with moving parts.

PowerBASIC is very powerful, the likes of AMOS. It allows you to use line numbers if you so desire or not. Structured programming with the likes of such commands as WHILE, and ENDWHILE, an array of extensive text commands and functions, including PRINT USING, INSERT, and a myriad of others I had never seen before exists within the walls of this version of BASIC. Labels are supported, procedures, etc. And for the old timers like myself you can even use LET ;) So it can handle quite an array of programming styles.

The Portfolio Itself.

Those of you who grew up on the Atari 8-bits, will recognize the keyboard click as you type. You can easily turn them off, which I do at club meetings and any other place where it may annoy those around. But I normally leave it on as it lets me know the keys are pressed. When I first got the Portfolio, I left it on and didn't think about it. After a user group meeting, I had left it off and I saw that I was not typing the way I thought I was. Turns out, that with it on I was able to synchronize better with the keyboard. When I go stealth, I watch my typing more. ;)

April 9, 2003:

At 1pm today my Dad passed away. Emerson Gerald Crosthwaite (Dad to me, Grandad and Jerry to others) was struggling greatly to breath and just be comfortable for quite a while, especially so in his last weeks. He is no longer struggling.

Those who knew Dad will tell you he was quite a person. He made people smile everywhere he went and was always ready to lend a hand. He was witty and smart. He never passed up a chance to chide someone in good humor either. He loved his family and friends, and even though he didn't say it out right very much, we knew it. He was the one whom neighbors, long distant friends and relatives alike, came to ask how to do something or another, or for advice on cars, finances, sprinklers, houses, lawn mowers, just about everything shy of computers. While he didn't develop much of an interest in computers, he could tell you about all the latest gizmos like digital cameras, printers, et cetera.

He will live on, within those who knew and loved him.

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May 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Mother's Day!

The Passage Home.

Last October, I decided the Halloween decorations should live in the house. I had a couple of custom boxes I decided to hold onto, and placed them into the walk way that led to the C128 in the garage, after all, boxes containing the unassembled tower parts, and some boxes containing magazines already made the passage practically impassable. Well, I needed to clear the passage out and make room for getting to that side of the garage as the garage door wheels needed maintenance.

I donated 5 monitors to the Idaho Youth Ranch (downtown), three of which were Amdexs. Since each monitor was in an 18inch cube box, that cleared a lot of space.

It was nice to be able to walk up to my C128 again. I fired it up and the computer booted to 64 mode. There was an equal sign before the cursor. I thought it must be the joystick. I moved it and sure enough, more equal signs and right arrows appeared on the screen.

I powered down. I unplugged all three joysticks (one is an icontroller), and powered back up -- same thing. The only key that seemed to be working was the space bar and even that would, now and then, leave a trail of arrows and equals signs.

After trying other stuff, like blowing the keyboard out with compressed air, I pressed on the top of the case over the vents and the same thing happened. Now that was strange. I could now type on my C128 using just my case -- something was amiss!

I powered everything down again for the umteenth time and unplugged everything, thinking perhaps a chip needed to be reseated. I picked the computer up and when I turned it sideways I heard something rolling around in it!

Upon further investigation -- i.e. disassembling it -- I found that there was an extra screw rolling around freely. I don't know how it came to rest where it was, but I do recall the computer doing some flaky things when last I used it. It behaved like the C128 power switch problem, and seemed to go away when I pressed gently on the power switch toward the on position.

Now, this machine was one of many I had purchased from my friend Doug (he was the TVBUG Librarian before me). He did something I wish I had thought to do. Whenever he modified, updated or otherwise added stuff to the computer's internals, he recorded it on a label he had stuck on the bottom of the machine. This machine, according to the sticker had the ROMs updated, JiffyDOS added, the VDC memory expanded to 64k and The Servant installed.

When I opened the case, I was not surprised to see these modifications, as I knew they were there, having read the stickers. From using the machine I knew some of the modifications; JiffyDOS and The Servant, but I had forgotten about the RAM and the chip updates.

This little idea of labeling the machine with it's internal history, is a simple, but brilliant notion. Perhaps, if I only had one computer in my life, things might be easier to keep track of. But when you have several, and life gets chaotic, it's a nice reminder of which system has had what done when.

Getting that little bugger of a gnome out of the computer made all the difference in the world! I now have my computer functioning fully. Where did the screw come from? No idea. It wasn't from the mother board. It might have fallen in one of the slots when it was getting packed up to bring to me -- I don't know. I am very glad that it didn't fry anything or cause any other damage to the machine.

The Crash of '03.

I have been working on a program in geoBASIC for quite awhile, that just wasn't doing what I had wanted it to. I hadn't put much time into it anyway. Most of the coding had been done on the 128D back before the move.

I moved it over to VICE on the IBM about a year ago. I tinkered with it now and then. I finally started putting time into it, but it still wasn't quite what I wanted.

This program is one of my mathematical anomalies, I knew why it didn't do it's thing. Yesterday, I got up at 6am (late for me) and booted GEOS64, moved everything into the R.E.U. (even under VICE working from the R.E.U. is much faster). I cranked out all the changes, including menu features and then it was time to save to disk image. After all, I was working in RAM.

I exited geoBASIC and went to open the floppy, as I wanted to rename the present copy of the source, in case I messed things up a lot. I clicked on it, and the icon disappeared! Drive 8 disappeared from the status bar. I waited -- nothing. I tried a feeble [STOP][RESTORE] -- nothing. It was a cold morning, but my rage was overheating me and I was well beyond the shock stage. I just sat there, in the dark.

I don't think GEOS had ever crashed on this system before. In fact, VICE seems more stable than Windows.

I opened the R.E.U. file that I thought must be the one I was using, the one and only one on my HD. It had an article in it that I had written several years ago and a bunch of gobble-de-goop. I messed with VICE's options. It had appeared that only GEOS had crashed, as VICE still seemed to be humming along.

Now is not the time to panic.

I needed to keep a cool head. So my sitting there in disbelief that my code had simply been left on some abandoned isle of bites somewhere in my ThinkPad, was actually a benefit.

Can't you reboot to GEOS through a back door? RBOOT! I did a soft reboot of the emulator, then ran RBOOT. I had lost the second drive, but A was there -- and so was the R.E.U. -- and it's contents. I quickly attached the geoBASIC disk and saved my code.

It worked! All the changes I had made that morning worked well, and I didn't have to do a rewrite.

Anyone who has lost code and gone back to ground zero can tell you, it's tough. Sometimes you can't get coding again at all. Possibly from the hopelessness left from the incredible burn of lost code. It's an incredible brain-drain.

They say the amount of hair lost from coding is in direct proportion to the amount of code lost during coding.

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June 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Father's Day!

Last time, on Archaic Computer....

More from Cartridge Mania!

The Partner.

The Partner was introduced to me as a cartridge for the C64. This cartridge does nothing. You work on your computer typing in a program from one of those old commodore magazines and then you remember you need to type a quick note. Press the button on the cart and voila! The menu pops on your screen, press another key, and you are in a word processor. You type out the note, send it to the printer (or maybe you save it to floppy to email later), and zip -- you're back at your type-in PRG with the screen just like you left it!

This cart was too cool. But it was only useful on the C64 or 64 mode. Then I found out there was a 128 Specific version! Waycool! Then I stumbled upon an ST version! The ST version is on disk and loads as a desk accessory, which is also cool!

The C64 version does not work with RAMLink. At least not on the set up I tested it on for this article. But remember Brian's Law:


commodore does not equal commodore

This basically means it may work on your RAMLink setup.

I didn't have access to my 128 at the time I looked at this, and the 128D's joystick port is too far away to plug in the cart. It plugs into the expansion port and has a cable that runs from the cart to the joystick port 2 port. The 64 version does not have the cable. The 128 version it says, runs in 80 column mode. I seem to remember that it only worked on the 40 column, but may be mistaken as it has been many, many years since I used it on my machine.

The Partner is not, however, compatible with the SX-64. :/

I was bummed when I first acquired the ST version of the Partner as it was not a cartridge. I love cartridge based software. I'm not sure if it's that Sci-Fi-thing where you simply place a solid state box into a slot and voila! -- your computer is configured, ready to go, or a more grounded reason, like the simplicity and speed of plugging a cartridge in and going. I do like the ST version, but I ran into compatibility issues with other stuff I was running on the ST.

I wonder if there are Atari 8-bit, Amiga, PCjr or other versions about....

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July 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

H a p p y _ I n d e p e n d e n c e _ D a y !

Atari Programming!

Well, with the recent arrival of a Mega STe, lots of Portfolio programming, and finally getting the correct power supply for the 5200, Atari has been on my mind a lot lately. Especially the Atari 800.

I use a Franklin planner. It is the most effective planner I have ever used. I've had my share of planners and they do help. But they ultimately become a place to put my @h#t-list.

Ok, this is not an ad for Franklin-Covey. One of the very basic parts of the FC planner, is that nothing falls through the cracks and gets missed. Doesn't mean it'll get done, but it always gets planned and if it doesn't get planned it'll get moved ahead to get planned again -- all on the fly. And if a task is no longer important, or I simply choose not to do it I am empowered to remove it from my life entirely. There are many tasks that I have been moving forward. For many years. Yes, years.

Those CP/M and Apple Links. They are amongst those tasks that are in the planner. Unfortunately, while planning is easier, and I tend to get more done in my day, there is a lot that gets planned ahead. There is also much that is waiting to be planned (or scheduled) as the planner also allows me to have a list of stuff to put into action on a monthly basis. One such action has been the writing of the Atari version of Lightning.

Well, with Atari on the brain and spring's arrival, and the slowing of school activities, matched by my projects allowing, I was able to pull the dust cover off my Atari 800.

Now, the 800 is a wondrous machine. All the glory of Atari BASIC's graphics commands and a really nice keyboard. I like the shape, the electronic key-click and other niceties (oh, and it's cool, cos there is an Atari key ;) Ok, I don't like the break key being where, on just about every computer Kb in the world, the backspace/del key is.

I used to hate to have to use the [CONTROL] key to move the cursor around, but the cursing didn't start until I'd typed a bunch of code in one line, made a mistake, hit (what I thought was [BACKSPACE] ) and the cursor jumped to the next line. Then, I had to use the [CONTROL] and cursor keys to get back to where I once was. Or worse, when I did something similar, after moving into position, I hit the [DELETE] key to remove the mistake and forgot to release the [CONTROL] key resulting in major amounts of code -- that had not been entered into memory yet -- vanishing to be retyped again. Now, you think one would only make this mistake once. Once.

Mystery!

The transfer from paper to digital via the Kb was going well. However, I couldn't see where in the source the CHKPT(x,y) array was fed. How in the world did this geoLightning! work without -- Ah ha! That's not an array! It's a function! My array in the Atari version wound up being CHKPT(x,y), the function used in geoBASIC to read the screen pixel by pixel, rather than the PT(x,y) used be other versions. After all, the array came about from the versions of BASIC that couldn't easily read the screen to tell me what was there. That was the first mystery.

Well, the coding was going very well. I managed to get the code entered from my source hard copy of the geoBASIC version. All seemed to go well. I saved my steps as any good coder would and was ready to go. Upon running the program some strange things started happening. I had saved as little changes were made, I was not sure of the colors, so there was a bit of trial and error going on. But the computer wouldn't come out of execution using the [RESET] button. Lines of code were becoming corrupt.

Finally, a thought: FRE(0) revealed less that 4k. Then I realized few computers can handle large, multi dimensional arrays. I had made one in this small (48k) machine. The commodore 64 and Atari Portfolio, both, can handle very, very large BASIC arrays with little problem. 4k was ample for a mainframe at one time, but this system has many devices in it using the graphics with this array (319*191) just blew it's poor little brain.

Low Resolution to the Rescue!

Ok, I went from graphics mode 8 (319*191) to graphics mode 4 (79*47). This also gives me two more colors to work with, should I want to use the Mask (that I haven't implemented yet, and may not due to the tight RAM situation), as seen in the Atari ST version.

Next!

The next version, while still of the version 1 variety, uses a different array setup. Rather than, store the whole screen in an array, it reverts back to the original store only one line at a time then eject it. This gave me enough RAM to use the highest resolution and to start adding the sound, and maybe the flash.

Born on the Atari Portfolio, is an Atari 8-bit version called Cyber Storm. It plots blue lightning, using version 2's plotting technique, on a white sky. Then blanks the screen and slowly reveals the reverse lightning, then soon after reverses the sky and lightning to normal. It is a Sci-Fi looking, time wasting PRG at it's very best.

Because of the lack of speed in the plotting process, I let the Atari's builtin screen saver kick in during plotting. To view in it's normal sky colors press the [ESC] key. Any other will continue, if the rendering is done, to get another seed value.

All in all, the programming went well. The old computer locks up after being on for several hours. But powering down and then back up, will unfreeze it for another several hours. That's a mystery at present, and will have to be written into my planner for further investigation at a later date ;)

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August 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Wow! Six some odd years ago, the batteries gave out on my PX-8. I hadn't written Lightning2! yet, and a time that I was really in need of it came up, but I couldn't afford the batteries I saw on the web at the time. They ran around $85US (plus shipping). I had info on a cheaper solution, but just never had the time to follow through. It involved soldering, and I'd just never got around to ordering the batteries.

Enter batteries.com. I don't even know why or how I got there, but batteries.com had PX-8 batteries! The price was a reasonable $28 or so. It took a month to get them. But it was well worth the wait. I now have my PX-8 up and running! I'm in Portable Wordstar writing this.

I used to email articles to my C128D, filtering the Word Star files through The Write Stuff along their way to becoming geoWrite image files (there were other steps involved). It was a rather cumbersome process. The save as ASCII feature on Portable Word Star has a bug in it -- it saves as a Word Star file, just like a normal save.

To do converting of files created this way, I now use Word Star on the COLT and save them as ASCII from there. While this requires software to read the disks, plus the use of WS, it works well, and I save them to a 3.5 inch DOS disk, a standard around here.

I had often wondered what a Non-Document file was. In the main menu of Portable Word Star, amongst the options are two similar ones -- open a Document File and Open a Non-Document file. I had always used the Document file as it is the standard WS file and you can use all the formatting stuff to layout a document. This seems to be the choice of most who use the PX or had used the PX for writing. It makes sense, especially if you have a printer hooked up to the PX.

Why I did it, I don't really know. I used the PX to write but I needed ASCII text. The other day I wrote a test file in the non-document file type. I used the TYPE command from the CLI and the file displayed beautifully! It was pure, clean ASCII! Wow, think of all the time I had wasted fighting the WS file format to simply import text into geoWrite!

I still need the COLT to read the PX's floppy, but everything goes smoothly.

I finally got to code the PX-8 version of Lightning2.1. I used the Amiga source and keyed it in, in around an hour or so. It works wonderfully!

Along time ago, the PX-8 really opened up a door for me. I wrote many articles on it from places I'd never have been able to write from, without the aid of pen and paper. If you've ever had to read my hand writing, you know why I prefer to type. ;) Actually, I can type a heck of a lot faster than I can write.

Not only did I write, I coded as well. The speed up routine for Lightning!1 was written exclusively on the PX-8. If it weren't for the PX-8, that routine may never have come about. I'm currently working on a new version of Lightning!3 for the PX-8 (it is mid-June has I type this).

The Keyboard on this machine is awesome, it is nicer than any portable, and most desktop computers I've used. It is pure computing pleasure to use the PX-8.

It's nice to be back!

My World, Rocked.

I've moved the paper planner to a handheld. My brother and my wife were conspiring about birthday presents, long distance. I thought they were just trying to drive me crazy, which they were. My brother had an old phone PDA combo with all the softs and hotsync cradle, charger etc, which he sent me for my b-day. My family got me the FC (see July posting) software that runs on a PC and runs on the palm OS.

One of the things I was doing during our school time was set a timer to go off, so I could slip out for a moment and go do some task I had to take care of. It worked to a point. But, if one of the girls needed my attention, and the timer went off (it's one of those kitchen timers you turn past 15 minutes to set, then set the time -- it dings once and that's it), I'd often forget the timer had gone off, as well as forget to set it for my next task.

Quite cumbersome at best, but it was better than what I was doing before, which was basically open up my planner and look at what needed to be done next -- which I needed to remember to do. This meant my planner, the size of a note book computer, had to be handy in a crowded place. Not a good plan by any measure.

I can place the palm on the corner of the home school computer and it is out of the way, and yet I can grab it quickly to check it or easily add info to it via the stylus and it takes up virtually no room, as it's literally in the palm of my hand. The task list allows me to set alarms if I need a task to be done at a given time, as well as alarms for appointments.

The alarms aren't going off all the time, but there are a few. And if they go off when I'm busy with kids, I can ignore them, as the alarm will go off again in 5 minutes, and again if need be until I can get free to deal with it. This lets less stuff slip through.

Only The Beginning.

This is only the beginning. I have a version of BASIC that runs on the palm as well. I have created three new Nexae and expanded two old ones into interactive ones. I can carry the palm with me and if an idea pops into my mind I can quickly create the code. I can now code, just about anywhere! Maybe, I can code anywhere....

Plus, I have the palm version of Lemmings!

Now what of these Nexae? I created them on the palm. Synced them to the PC upstairs, emailed them to the Amiga 1200 and the ThinkPad, and am currently writing up programs for GEOS64, Amiga and Atari ST, using geoBASIC, AMOS and STOS respectively. This is my first venture into the realm of STOS, and this has been interesting. STOS is the Fore-Parent of AMOS and there are some similarities (default integers for one annoying thing -- just about everything I do requires floating point). and there are a fair amount of things that are different. So stay tuned!

What of those palm PRGs? I will be posting those as well.

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September 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Back in Black!

Wow! What a whirlwind summer this has been. I don't know how, but I managed to squeeze in the Atari Lightning PRGs as well as -- are you sitting down? -- The C64 version of Lightning! 1.0! Yes, I have finally gotten off my duff, or rather gotten on my duff and cranked out the code for the commodore 64 version of Lightning!.

Does it have all the bells and whistles? Not really. It is not a heck of a lot fancier than the PC version. Wanna save your rendering? Better snapshot it as there are no previsions to save images. While this may seem a major bummer, I decided it was too slow a version to justify too much work on it. Version 2's plotting technique is not only faster, but looks better as well.

Now there is a split among the masses (computer platforms, that is) as to what version 3 of this PRG is. On the PX, it is a similar Sci-Fi thing as the Portfolio. ST and Amiga remain to be coded and I'm not sure what they will bring about. But while the 64 version of 2 isn't even written, I have an amazing idea for the 64's version 3! I won't let the cat out of the bag until after it's posted.

In other frontiers, I have invented several new Nexae with the aid of HowPaws BASIC an my smartphone (I don't even use the phone part -- just the smart ;)

LOADSTAR will be receiving the latest 3 GEOS versions of these fairly soon. 2 of them are really close to done, but they are kinda in the category of heady, so I want to get the fun one in there to even the playing field for interest.

The C64 version of lightning has my first official SuperCPU support feature, in that it will put the machine in 1 MHz mode for the timing loop that holds the copyright screen on. No big deal. The program will work on any 64. The plot is Dog Slow, even with a SuperCPU, so don't plan on watching much of it, it's a come- back- later- and- check- it out kinda deal. But it is the version one of lightning. Sorry no speedup routine, as there is no line command. I tried to by pass the plot routine when a plot was not needed but the code would have been just as hairy as the pixel to byte conversion, so it remains as it remains.

Solutions Bench!

Along time ago, back in the land of Xoom.com, when the photos for the Legacy Chat Xone had yet to be loaded, I had a dilemma. It has not really been resolved. I had 12 or so systems I wanted set up in an 8 by 3 foot space. This is what is referred to as The Solution's Bench:

It is a set of Banana Gorilla shelves and only houses 6 systems:

Hardly what I wanted to have set up originally. Now, the space size has changed, and many of the machines are setup elsewhere, such as the PET 4032, TRS-80 Color Computer 3, Wang Professional Computer and Amiga 1200, to name a few. However, the TRS80 Model I, TI99/4 & TI99/4a, IBM PCjr, and a few others -- ok several -- are not set up. I do have a couple of places to temporally setup machines. A card table that I can pull out and set up quickly and the guest computer area over by the CDTV.

The original challenge picture is posted on the Xone page.

Computer Types.

About the same time I drew up the challenge picture, I had drawn-up a sheet on computer types. They were the basis for the computer descriptions that were published in an earlier Archaic Computer.

Here is that original drawing:

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October 2003

The Flying Fisherman.

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Chapter I

I believe it was about 20 years ago. I was in college at the time. I had planned a vacation with two of my closest friends. It was going to be a coastal excursion along the Washington/Oregon coast.

The plan was, that I would charter, or in this case -- borrow a friend's small, old, sea-faring, vessel. The boat, The Flying Fisherman, was well suited for sailing along the coast and out to some of the islands. While it still had it's original sail rigging, it was outfitted with a motor, a luxury I could not afford to have been with out. I was to sail south, along the coast and we'd meet at Ft. Canby. From there, we'd head together as far south as time would allow, basically stopping half way through our vacation time, turn our sites to the north and zip back to Ft Canby. That's where our friend would then take charge of her boat and take it home.

I had only my pack with enough food to last a little past the three days it would take to get from Vancouver Island to our rendezvous point. Dale and Chet had a VW van full of enough supplies for us to get lost for two months.

All had gone well. I was able to catch a ride from Idaho State all the way to the ferry that went to Vancouver Island. I caught another ride on the other side on in to Victoria, where our Canadian friend moored her boat.

Like I said, all went well. Like clockwork. Perhaps, a little too well.

The dock master was a local of Victoria and looked to be right in his element as he was dressed to be from the sea. That is to say, he looked the part of a sea-faring man.

Now, I'd driven a motor boat before and a big one too. But after customs and the bay, came the true test of my skill at the helm as the ocean was now my road. Not the large mountain lakes and reservoirs I was used to. I had tooled around quite a bit even through a few storms. But even the rough waters of then were nothing of the calm of the shoreline. This was going to take a little getting used to. It wasn't bad and before long my lake legs had feathered into sea legs. After all, I was on The Flying Fisherman.

By the second day, navigation was a breeze. I had made my journey without incident. It was in that all too perfect zone. It didn't bother me. I had become one with the sea.

Late in the evening on that second day, I pulled into a bay, protected by a wall of rocks where I was hoping to set anchor for the night. Before I could anchor, however, an eerie fog crept in to the bay, and the water grew dead calm. The bay was completely engulfed. It was before sunset, and yet, I could see nothing. The sun simply disappeared.

I didn't want to set anchor where I was as -- I wasn't in the protected area. I slowed The Flying Fisherman as I didn't want to be sailing blind.

As I stated, the sun simply disappeared. I hadn't noticed the clouds until they engulfed the bay and the sun. However, panic was not on the agenda, the shore was only a minute or two away if I let the boat drift in.

I looked at the compass, with the aid of it's builtin light, and it was turning. There was no wind, no waves, no sensation other than the slowing of the forward momentum, and yet the compass said the boat was turning. As I watched, it seemed to speed up. Then the light went out!

I looked up to see if there was a bolt of lightning heading toward my unprotected head. It was only dark, black sky. I'd have to take a guess and hope for the best. I had assumed the boat had turned, but I wasn't sure. The motor was still running, so looking to see if I had power was not a thought at that time. I'd keep the boat on my present heading and slowly move toward where I remember seeing the beach. Perhaps I could get close enough to feel that I had passed the wall of rocks, perhaps I'd beach the boat, and hope there were no rocks and I wouldn't damage the keel. The thought of damaging the boat brought on a slight panic as I felt the calm break by a gentle rocking of the boat. That's when I remembered the radio. Perhaps I'd call the coast guard.

Was I in danger? Or was I just panicking? I looked at the radio, who's dial is usually visible at night, but it was dark, that's when I remembered the light on the compass going out. I thought I'd better anchor here and see what happens. But the gentle rocking soon turned into huge swells. Somehow, I had missed the wind! While the fog must have disappeared, the sky remained black. The thought of tsunami replaced all other thoughts and panic was right around the corner.

Well, the fear never seemed to get there as I was too frig'en busy. I had to quickly figure out how to keep the boat from tipping so far that, a) the port side would stop picking up water and flooding the deck in an attempt to wash me off and b) to the point tipping over!

Instinct kicked in and intellect just watched, I turned into the waves, praying the motor wouldn't stall, as I had no clue as to how to push start a boat. This may have saved me for the moment.

The storm raged on for what felt like over two hours. The compass was of no help. I had no idea where land was. I was turned around, wet, and sure of only one thing. I was lost. I now knew nothing of my own whereabouts. Sure, I was on the water. At several points I wasn't sure if I was on the water or under the water. I was astounded at the size of wave that could crash upon the deck and not sink the boat. I had lashed myself, stupidly, to the rail next to the helm. Thinking it was more important to be there than hide below. Later I began to think I'd be better off below, that is, if it wasn't full of water.

I managed to untangle myself, but still stayed on top. I didn't want to smash onto some rocks. As if I could see.

Then, I saw it. A light! Now as things were, my first thought was Ocean Liner! and it's heading my way!

I turned hard about, but it did little good. I tried the other way as the boat floundered in the water. The rudder must have broken . Rain was pouring onto me, or was it waves? Amidst all this confusion one thought came clear -- this ship wasn't making any noise. It's light just flashed in the dense dark. It didn't even seem to be tossing in the waves. It was no ship -- it was a lighthouse! And I'm was heading straight for it!

Aren't those things usually on a pile of jagged rocks or steep cliffs?!?!??

I turned the rudder. I recall it didn't seem to be working and grabbed a long pole that had been rolling around the deck. I pushed it through the water like an oar, thinking this would turn the boat. Then I realized that the motor wasn't running -- no wonder the boat didn't turn I had been manning a vessel that was dead in the water.

The storm was like white sound now as a sound cut the dark. It was a lapping sound. The sound you hear on a dock. Then there was a gentle bump, a sliding sound and the boat turned to the left.

The Flying Fisherman came to a stop. I put my foot nervously over the side and carefully stepped onto the dock. I was shaking like a leaf. What I stepped on was solid under my shaking legs. The lighthouse must be right up the hill and this dock must lead to, hopefully, a stair that would lead to the house.

Before I found any stairway, all went black.

Chapter II

I woke up, sitting in a chair, beside a roaring fire. Beside me on a table was a cup of hot tea. "Awe, you're, back! Gave us quite a scare. You of all people should know better than to sail in weather like this." Before me stood a large figure of a man, with a short, salty beard, dressed in what appeared to be a navel uniform, or something. At first I was unsure, as it looked like something out of a movie -- an old movie.

Scanning the room around me, I saw something that looked to be from a fairy tale, or perhaps Moby Dick. The furnishings looked to be early 19th century. There was even a roll top desk with what appeared to be a feather quill, although at the time, I figured it was a modern ball point in the guise there of.

I felt as if I had been transported back to a simpler time. When the people you met were your friend and any way to help was just the norm.

He looked at me, "Have some tea, your favorite, Earl Grey."

I took a long, slow sip of my tea, "Thanks for taking me in..." I began.

"Are you coming in to the party or are you just going to sulk by the fire?" a woman's voice asked me.

"I'm sorry?"

"The party is in there," she pointed to the doorway.

I stood, the blanket I was bundled in pulled off of me, I was wearing a naval uniform. "It's the only thing I had that fit, so rather than a Captain, you get to be am Admiral this evening." I suppose his next remark came as a response to the look that must have been on my face. "Don't let it go to your head, your clothes are by the back fireplace drying."

I turned my attention to the woman. As she came into focus within my dazed mind, I saw that she wore what I would describe as Turn-of-the-Century clothing, that is the late 1900s. I was astounded at how new everything looked. And yet, with a feeling of de ja vu, everything seemed very much authentic and in it's own time. It felt like I had been here before, perhaps in some long forgotten dream. When I entered the next room, all feeling of unfamiliarity slipped away and I recognized the room.

"The Admiral has had you all evening and everyone is wondering if you were going to make it after that bold stunt -- really, James, we can wait to see The Flying Fisherman at it's Christening next week." She spoke as if we'd always known each other.

While I was a bit taken aback, I did what seemed the thing to do, which was to simply join the party.

I felt as if I had stood up too fast and that I knew inside who I was but felt out of time. I'd soon leave this state and I'd recall all. I grabbed the door sill, bent my knees slightly -- all out of intuition. I started to recall fully who I was and that I was heading to Fort Canby. I thought I must not have left yet. Then I remembered I had, I had sailed most of the three days and was almost at my destination. I then remembered that I had encountered a storm. My mind was swept back to the room by a man's voice this time.

"Ah, there you are, Captain," he looked at me as if re-evaluating who he spoke to, "or should I say, Admiral, looks like you've been promoted for the night. You're lucky to be alive at all, after the stunt you pulled." Then he added, "Looks like we're all here for the night, no early retirement with this storm." We had been walking along across the room as he spoke, "I can't think of a sturdier building to brave out the weather in -- oh, Caroline is looking for you, she will be ecstatic to see you once she hears of your complete recovery." Before he walked off to mingle elsewhere he a added, "Though I suppose only systemic, you and John always were marauders of the storm, if you don't catch your death of a chill, surely you'll catch it on the rocks on some southwesterly shore." We parted like old friends, there was yet another voice beckoning my attention.

"He wasn't sure you'd make it. Everyone else drove here, before the storm, and well, being the mariner you are, well, I can see you coming in by boat, but on a night like this, really. .... well, I'm glad you made it in one piece." Before I could open my mouth to ask who the young lady was who was addressing me another woman came up and said in a soft quiet voice nodding to me then turning to the girl, "James. Caroline, when you get a moment we need more wine."

"Ah, Caroline..." I began, with no idea what I was going to say, why I was here and how anyone could possibly know me.

"Don't be so formal, you always call me Carry, are you not recovered from your fantastic voyage?"

I was at a loss for words once more when she said, "We'll talk later, Father's coming." I saw the Admiral, who had been my host, enter the room. Caroline, or Carry as I called her the remainder of the evening, went up and kissed him on the cheek.

Meanwhile I was approached by yet another man. He took the upper part of both my arms and stood and looked right at me, "It's good to see you again, old man." Suddenly feeling my strength, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "I have no clue as to who you are!"

To which he simply replied, "Always the kidder." He turned his attention to someone who had just entered the room from the other side, "Charles!" He patted my shoulder and walked away.

It seemed I was not only well known, but my very presence made the whole evening very special for everyone. I found myself addressing the whole party, being asked to make a toast to officiate the evening. By then I was caught up in this facade, I raised a glass that had been shoved my way and said, "To raging storms and the best of friends, may one tender the other." There was a gay chortle from around the room. I seemed to know exactly what to say, even though those words would never have come from me in any other circumstance. The words simply poured out of my mouth. The storm raged outside, while these people welcomed me with warmth and friendship, inside.

It was only for one night. I'd play the part, and when the storm was over in the morning, I'd be off. -- "The boat!"

"What of the boat? It's in the shed with mine," answered the Admiral, who was in the corner, watching more than joining. "I've been here, for many a storm," he said in a reassuring voice, "That shed has stood up to hurricane winds -- your new boat will be fine."

He spoke of the time when his son and I sailed on the merchant ships. He always knew we get our own boat one day.

"Forgive me, you remind me of my son, so much," he said. "When I think of those smugglers and what they did to my son," he was shaking, "...I am grateful you weren't killed too, God only knows, you've been like a son to me, having raised you since you were 14." He heaved a heavy sigh and walked over to another group of people, to escape the pain that now pulled at his heart.

Chapter III

I felt like I was waking from a dream when I heard someone ask, "Did you get the Black Diamond?"

"What?" was the only reply I could muster. All night I had played the part, maybe to humor the Admiral, or maybe I was too tired and really didn't want to return to the cold, wet storm. Even the memory of that chill, seemed to cut me to the core. But now! Now, I was being called on it! I was being summoned to tell of some grave responsibility for which I had no reply, something, this person was relying on me for.

It was Carry. Her voice seemed quite innocent, at first, but now there was an almost business-like tone to it. Fear that she would be some fiance of this person I had become took flight in my mind. I mustered up a part-smile and said, "of course," not wanting to break a young girls heart.

She told me of the 500 dollars hidden in the usual spot, and asked if I placed the diamond in the other usual spot. At least this was my recollection as my head was reeling to put it all together.

I was apparently a seafaring man, who must have been a smuggler! When I asked the girl if there were any romantic ties between us, in the guise of harmless flirtation, I did so in a bold and cleaver way, in that my ignorance should be undetectable. For a moment I scared myself with feeling proud of such cleverness; perhaps this person I seemingly had become, was as yet clever. This was followed by a more sustained relief that we were not romantically linked. She, had given me a look like we'd dragged this one over the coals one too many times, but my quick reply of how much I adored her spirited cunning and shrewd business-like approach to life was the primary attractant. To this she smiled -- I was forgiven and the charade was on!

Over the course of the evening, I put together that I was indeed a smuggler. But it gets worse. I was a double-crossing business man who, on several instances over the course of time, used the Admiral's friendship to my financial advantage. I had defiled his daughter of her innocence, taking her in as one of my evil minions. And blow against blow of treacheries, I was a murderer! The Admirals son and I were at a disagreement as to who was dealing honestly with us, and I won out by way of blade to the back. With an easy alibi of the vessel we worked on being over run by marauders -- pirates that I had payed to take it, and told how to take it.

I had, rather James had, killed the Admiral's son, and now was doing underhanded business with his daughter! James was the guest of honor at the party, everyone knew and loved him, and in one way or another he had wronged them all. Every last one of them.

What a charade it had become. For even now, after that heated moment, I took control, I was the good Captain that everyone here was honoring. Honoring? This man was more pirate than seaman. As the night unfolded I found two other acquaintances of whom I did regular business with. Both of which were a lot less nobler than that of a scurvy pirate.

I slowly saw within my madness, the two facedness of this fellow. He had befriended the Admiral, only for his position. And what a position! He could find his smugglers location in a quick, burning light of day, even in the dark of a storm. He had them all fooled -- the good ones into thinking he was honest and the bad ones into thinking he had honor amongst his thieves, but they too, were taken aride, or should I say a sail!

For he had burned one upon the other, each thinking they were on top. Played like pawns for this man's selfish greed.

Chapter IV

Then all was too dizzying. Too blinding! The wind had suddenly changed direction, unnoticed by all save the good Admiral. We had been talking of a wonderful passed of our lives together, though I heard hardly a word under the rage of conscience that must have been the very thing that freed me from the spell. I knew it was wrong and I was not this James fellow. I felt a need to tell the Admiral about this Guest of Honor, of whom everyone thought so grand.

Suddenly, an old pine that had been creaking in the wind outside, broke and came crashing through the lens of the lighthouse! Oil ran down the walls and in a moment the fire that kept the light followed! Screams filled the air; shouts of where to go followed as many had taken charge, it seemed, to help everyone out.

The top of the tree then fell straight down the steal stairs, which soon gave way and fell crashing in front of the only other door I knew of. The fire, meanwhile, spread through the rest of the lower house blocking all exits.

My only thought, my only realization, was that we were all going to die. Before my eyes I saw the gruesome sight of the guests trapped and tortured and killed by the fire. Screams of anguished pain cried out, filling all sound space between the sounds of the fire and that of the storm without. I found myself, with the Admiral, cornered by the fire. He looked like he was content that he should die with such a good friend.

Friend? This man would have sold the Admiral's soul for petty cash at the first chance. Moments were short and time was precious.

I told the Admiral, about James. I was shouting over the screams, the roar of the fire, and the wind, "I'm not all that I seem to be, I have done you great wrong. I am a pirate by sea and a marauder on top. Your son tried to stop the marauders, he had found out my secret -- that I told them how to ransack the ship. We fought, and I took his knife, and in the confusion, I stabbed him."

"I killed your son, I really didn't mean to, but I told no one taking on the role of murderer. I hardened my heart, and with cool calculated deceit, used your position here for other gains as well. I have drug your daughter in to this, but she is only in it because she is young, and it's exciting. What I did was wrong, you have showed me only kindness and generosity. You are like a father to me and I betrayed you. And for what? Love of gold! I am deeply sorry, so sorry..."

The flames had consumed all space around us both, the burning was intense. As the Admiral disappeared into the flames, he reemerged for a brief moment, I could barely hear him, but I understood his words. "I forgive you."

All went black.

Chapter V

I was floating. Up and then down again. I was dreaming. Was I alive? I felt no pain. I felt a little sleepy as one sometimes does in the morning. I awoke with a bolt! I stood up, the ground cool and damp. I looked for the charred remains of the lighthouse. I saw nothing. I was surrounded by a darkness, a moist darkness. I heard no sounds. Then I felt a cool breeze, I realized I was surrounded by fog. The breeze slowly blew the fog away, and as it did so, I could hear the roll of the surf, as if it had just started up.

The fire! How did I get out? How did I escape? I was on a dirt trail, with grass on either side. There was someone coming. Dressed in modern day clothes, a middle aged woman asked me, "Are you ok?"

I said, "I must have been the only one to survive the fire."

"What fire?" was her puzzled reply. I told her about how the tree broke the lens, the oil pouring down the walls and the blazing inferno that trapped us all. I took a survey of myself and found I was ok.

"I work up at the lighthouse, I was just on the radio in my truck with them before I saw you. I'd have known about a fire.... are you sure you're ok? Is there someone you'd like to call?"

"Maybe so, I could call Chet if he's at the park ranger's house." She led me up the trail to the lighthouse, I was not quite passed the hysteria of the event yet, and we ran the last leg of the trail, rather I ran, she followed. It came into full view, the lighthouse, it was tall and white -- a clean white.

I felt dazed and confused. There the lighthouse stood, bleach white. The lady told me there was no storm last night. Everything was fine.

"How could this be, I was there!" I told her my strange story, only half believing it myself. She gave me a surprising look. While I was not certain she believed me, she felt there was truth in my words. It was a strange, almost unmistakable look of knowing.

We went into the lighthouse together. While I used the phone to contact my friends, she ascended the stairs, leaving me with an old man, who was apparently manning the gift shop. I told Chet, nothing of the night before. I got off the phone wishing I had explained everything to him.

I was exhausted, and yet still very excited and as a consequence, I relayed my bizarre tale to the old man at the gift counter. He looked at me in disbelief. He stood and made his way toward me. I backed, but he placed both hands on my shoulders and looking me straight in the eye and said, "Is this true? You told the Admiral the truth? That I was a smuggler?"

"What..."

"I was that Captain! 65 years ago! I wanted to come clean, I thought I could beat nature and get through the storm ok. I had just manned a new vessel, The Flying Fisherman, when I got lost in a raging storm. I wanted to tell the Admiral everything, to come clean. I felt a dire urgency, he was old and not in the best of health -- I never made it, I got lost in the storm," a grave sadness full of regret crossed his face, "a tree fell and the lighthouse caught fire." He released me and gestured, waving at the space around him, "this whole lighthouse was gutted by the fire. The Admiral died not knowing the truth, fighting off the rumors, rumors that were really the truth. He was loyal to me, but I took advantage of him... ....I couldn't bear it any longer, I've lived with this guilt..."

He turned back to me, "If what you say is true, then he's free, we're both free. His restless spirit walks these halls in search for the truth. I try to tell him, but he vanishes in a blaze of flame, screaming in agony...." his voice trailed off.

I nodded, "How else would I have known?"

He went back to his seat, a smile crossed his face and then it went blank. He died.

Just then, the lady came down the stairs, she seemed to know it was ok. I'm not sure she even saw the old man slunk down where he sat. She led me to the open door as I saw my friends walking up the trail.

I had to tell my friends about the last night's adventure. As the story came forth, I could feel the disbelief emanating from them. Rather than sympathy, or even curiosity, laughter was what I got. I felt a little silly.

But it did happen, the old man in the lighthouse, the Admiral -- both of them, one long dead, the other dying before me. I had no proof. Only my recollection, that seemed to be growing foggy, a fleeting memory.

The lady at the lighthouse didn't seem to want us there, and well, the others had died 50 years ago. As we walked down the path, I looked back up at the lighthouse and saw the base of a tree that had broken off midway next to the lighthouse. Then I remembered the girl. My smuggling partner. The wall by the dock!

We were almost on the boat, when I turned to the wall and pointed -- "This is where he hid the diamond!" More laughter, as I'm sure my friends were wondering how far I'd carry this joke.

I pulled the stone I knew to be the right one, but it didn't budge. I grew furious at the solid state of what was supposed to move. I pulled harder. At last, victory -- the stone pulled out! The laughter stopped and both Chet and Dave, bent to see what was behind the rock. There was a black dust from something that had rotted away, long ago. I moved more stuff out and pushed in deeper. I pulled a dark, yet glimmering object out, the size of a nickel. It was The Black Diamond!

Triumphant, I thrust it to their faces and said, "The Black Diamond..."

Epilogue.

The gold coins were in the other end of the wall, just as I had remembered.

We had found The Flying Fisherman moored safely at the dock below the lighthouse. The remainder of the vacation passed without incident. We didn't talk of that night, as it seemed a fleeting memory.

The coins I donated to a museum. I still have the diamond. Not from hunger of wealth, but as proof to myself, that that night really did, indeed, happen.

Copyright 2003 Brian Crosthwaite All Rights Reserved.

H a p p y )( H a l l o w e e n !

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

HD Shuffle.

Well, the last couple of months have been interesting for my ThinkPad. I was getting tired of hotsyncing on the Win2k machine. I would go to administrator mode (this was the painful part as it took an eternity to leave the user mode), remove the case from the palm (this was the other painful part), set it in the cradle, open up the hotsync on the palm and hit sync and off it went. One day, a dialog box opened up saying that such and such was not part of the db. Only option was to select ok and the two computers just sat there. Canceling the sync operation did nothing.

So, I reinstalled and while, everything backed up ok, I couldn't see my data on the PC. I couldn't even find the data files. I was fed up with yet another frig'en annoyance from Win2K.

I didn't want to install 98 over 95 as everything I bought the ThinkPad for works the way I need it too.

Enter eBay. Actually I had gotten an HD for playing around with on eBay a while ago. It was time to format and install!

Well, I've been wanting to install OS2 Warp on this machine for a long time. So I used the OS2 install utility to partition the drive into two main partitions -- one for OS2 and one for Win98. Knowing that Win98 looked a lot like Win2K, I feared it behaved like the virus I've come to know as Windows 2000 Professional. I was pleasantly surprised by it's look and feel. While the screen savers I have on the 95 partition are basically the same as 2000's, it was nice to see some different ones with 98.

But what does this all add up to? Well, OS2 woes and my Franklin software behaving like it should. This is were we leave 98, as I'm not planning to support it anytime soon.

OS2 Warp on the other hand must be considered of viable vintage status.

Warp has some killer games! 3D Chess -- with a rotation mode, Solitaire, and Mahjong! These installed wonderfully.

There is a complete software suite that came with the version 3 package I have. Unfortunately, after installing from CD, the CD driver un-installs and I can't get it to access the CD-ROM after install. I can change the drives in the driver loader software, but after install, the driver loader either locks up or the choice of where to find the OS 2 files image is not selectable (I made a copy on the HD with some basic hacking skills). I hope to find a driver on the Net and install it from floppy. Warp's iNet softs are on the second CD). So the functionality of the system is extremely limited. I managed to install Windows 3.1 on yet, another HD and OS2 on it (also without CD-ROM support). It was cool running the Windows programs from inside OS2 Warp! I tried to install PC_GEOS and DOS4 on the second drive, but I was told by OS2 that access was denied to those programs. :/ Seems kinda snooty to me, IBM.

Long ago, I tried to install PC_GEOS on the original ThinkPad HD, but after encountering a division by zero error, gave up.

After trying to install PC_GEOS on a 3rd drive (one I bought specifically for installing PC_GEOS on), I wasn't going to take that error for an answer.

After trying a few things, I thought, maybe it is checking the processor and can't figure out what a Pentium is. I thought, maybe if I could get 386emm going first it may be more forgiving as to what I was doing. DOS6.11. Nothing. Windows 3.1. Nothing.

Finally I decided to take this install on myself. I looked at the GEOS.INI file and saw:

RUN SETUP = TRUE

I changed it to FALSE and was able to get PC_GEOS to boot up in the intermediate mode! I was hopelessly locked into the DOCUMENTS directory, and only had Tetras and the prefs.

Now I messed around and was able to get S-VGA 600*800 16color resolution. Closer to what I wanted. But no real file access.

I had installed the geoWrite with Desktop package and also had just the desktop. I ran the setup for the Desktop only and it did it like an install over the top of a previous install adding what was missing. Somewhere along the way I changed the INTERMEDIATE to WELCOME in an INI hack.

What I have now, is a fully functional PC-GEOS install on a Pentium ThinkPad. I think this is the first time I've ever seen the Desktop in color.

.....end of line.

Back to top.


November 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

H a p p y )( T h a n k s g i v i n g !

Apple URLs

Here are a few URLs to feed the Apple II crowd. Sorry, for the lousy link quality, but at least they work. Most will probably be known to many in the Apple world, hopefully there will be a few new ones:

Woz.org...Everyone is Welcome
Personal website for Steve ... inventing the PC industry. The Apple II made my childhood years more fun ... Torzewski. The site contains over 120 pages detailing the Apple I computer. It shows you ...
www.woz.org
 
A2-Web!
... | Home Pages | User Groups | IRC | FAQs | KFest | The Mother of All Apple II Websites! Sponsored by West ... to buy and sell Apple II equipment and software. Select this link to go there now ...
www.wbwip.com/a2web
 
The A2 Home Page for Apple II Emulators!
... | Home Pages | User Groups | IRC | FAQs | KFest | Apple Emulators - Apple II - /// - IIgs If circumstances prevent ... find more info and a link to download IIe. Apple II Oasis For Windows - by ...
www.wbwip.com/a2web/a2emul.html
Apple Computer History - books about Apple Computer, Inc.
Includes brief summaries of Apple history books, pictures of book covers, links to reviews, author pages, and other Apple history ... to donate to local libraries. Apple II News: www.a2central.com ...
www.landsnail.com/apple
 
Trailing Edge Apple // Pages
... Trailing Edge's Apple // Pages Here you'll ... page for Apple II Comp.sys.apple2.programmer FAQ History Apple II History The ... Washington Apple Pie User Group A2- Web Link Collection Apple2 ...
www.trailingedge.com/apple2
 
Hardware Page
... TWGS board collection Microbot MicronEye H2000 -------Scans of Apple II cards!------- Click HERE All of the pages available from that link will soon be moved here with permission of the previous ...
rich12345.tripod.com

CP/M URLs

Here are a few URLs to feed the CP/M crowd, most will probably be known to many in the CP/M world, hopefully there will be a few new ones:

CP/M Utilities - Product Information
CP/M utilities and documentation for the Commodore C-128. Herne Data Systems Ltd. is a ... site is owned by Herne Data Systems.
 
CP/M Main Page
CP/M pages Home -> CP/M CP/M Main Page Last updated: 7 June 2001 CP/M links CP/M ... Distribution - distributors of CP/M-86, CP/M-68k and GEM software. A link page for REAL/32. Herne Data ...
www.seasip.demon.co.uk/Cpm/index.html
 
Commercial CP/M Software Archive
... two archives for the Zork series that are for CP/M-80 and CP/M-86. 15Oct00 Added MUMPS-SR.ZIP ... submit pre 1990 MS-DOS software for addition to the pages, I'll create a new area just for that ...
www.retroarchive.org/cpm
 
comp.os.cpm Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
... to Digital Research and Gary Kildall? Q5: Is CP/M in the Public Domain? Q6: Where are the CP/M ... are available? Q11: What is this I hear about a CP/M CD ROM? Q12: How can I transfer my CP/M ...
www.faqs.org/faqs/CPM-faq
 
The Official IMSAI Web Site
... systems and programs patterned after the pioneering CP/M O/S. Full software support to run CP/M ... at faq.htm, or click on the F.A.Q. link on the navigation bar to the left. Also, final system ...
www.imsai.net
 
Using CP/M 3.0 on YAZE
... comment out the line with YAZE_OBJS for Link with CP/M BIOS support and uncomment the ... bank switching of the first 15 4k pages. If you were running CP/M 3.0, then you would have to modify ...
www.moria.de/~michael/yaze-cpm3
 
Chaos Cottage BBS CP/M file listing
... M text files and tutorials CP/M general utilities CP/M games and frivolity CP/M editors/WP CP/M ... banking systems, etc. Works with CPS8256 and Fax Link - note that VDX is preset for Fax Link ...
www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~jacobn/cpm/cpmfiles.html
 
PCW links
... categories (some duplicates): each link opens in a new window. Informational: John Elliott's CP/M main page Dave Brooks ... Ian Macdonald's PCW home pages Diego Vizca´┐Żno How to connect a 1 ...
home.euronet.nl/users/fvempel/link.html
 
Digital Research Librarian
... version 1.4 or higher. LINK 80 : 151K LINK 80 Postscript manual. Use with CP/M-80 or MP/M-80. Note that the ... me, and I will re- scan the problem pages, then email them to you in TIFF format ...
cpm.interfun.net/drilib.html
 

.....end of line.
Back to top.


December 2003

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

H a p p y )( H o l i d a y s !

C64 Shenanigans or Crankin' out the Code.

Meta Tac Toe was one of the last 64 BASIC mode programs I had written. And that was around two years ago. So it was time for some of that C64 BASIC mode color and flash.

I booted up x64, loaded up The Tool and off I went. The Tool is nice, in that I can crank out the code for the maths, basic key inputs, setup variables and make a finished PRG without the need to have any reference manuals handy. No POKEs need be done to move memory or plot dots. So the program came together fast. Everything just flowed from the tips of my fingers.

Then came the time for the native mode code -- the standard way to do graphics on the 64 from BASIC -- poking and peeking memory, complete with transparent pokes via Boolean Logic.

With the fancy screens I'd set up and all the other code, I ran out of memory when I added keyboard input and drive access routines. When the hires screen went to clear, it would clear almost all the top row, then stop dead in it's tracks with those funny, colored squares across the bottom of the screen.

Reserved Line Numbers.

Along time ago I learned to reserve two line numbers in my PRGs. Line 1 I use to put my manual update routine:


1 REM A$="PRGNAME.0000":SAVEA$,8:VERIFYA$,8

It works like this. After I modify any code, I type:


LIST1

I cursor over and increment the number by one:


1 REM A$="PRGNAME.0001":SAVEA$,8:VERIFYA$,
then I hit [RETURN] to enter it into memory. I cursor to the beginning of the line, press [SPACE] repeatedly to remove the 1 REM from the screen and finally, hit [RETURN] one last time. This updates my PRG, and marks it as the latest save.

I use hexadecimal numbers as well as decimal numbers.

Line number zero is my way of reading error messages that turn up when I have no text display. I decided to use zero as I usually didn't use that line number.

How it works:

You're bebopping along working on a PRG that uses the hires screen and it crashes. The screen colors scroll up displaying some random looking colors near the bottom of the screen.

This is what you do next: hit the up cursor key twice, type 0, and press [RETURN]. Now do the [STOP]/[RESTORE] combo to bring the characters back to the screen. Or you can scroll the screen up and blindly type GOTO lineno to execute any bank switching routines you may have. Lastly type:


LIST-1

to see line zero. This is needed as simply typing LIST0 will list the whole PRG.

Well, my PRG had lots of fancy text screens, with math and lots of variables, lots of routines, plus disk access. This all added up to memory overlap. My error message was a NEXT without FOR error -- or alpha-numerics to that affect.

I needed to move memory.

At first, I thought I'd change the start of BASIC. Then decided the end of BASIC was the way to go. Finally, I decided I didn't want to go there, surely I could simply switch banks or move the display like I did on the VIC20 so long ago.

The VIC20 Programmer's Reference Guide has a wealth of knowledge. I was able to figure out the logic to move the screen memory to the place I wanted it.

The info I needed was not in The C64 Programmer's Reference Guide. It was not in Mapping the commodore 64. Nor did I find it in any of the Compute!'s First or Second Book of the C64, nor the ones on game writing. I learned that the library of commodore 64 information I amassed over the past 20 years was of no help. Surely, someone had switched display areas and wrote to tell about it!

Well I finally found the info I needed in Compute!'s Programming the commodore 64 -- the Definitive Guide.

If there are two things I do consistently in programming it's 1) let the computer do all the work (like convert any dec/hex stuff) and 2) use logic, so basically the computer is what figures it out (usually eliminating an IF THEN set or two.

I used Boolean to get all the screen stuff, but having not programmed a POKE in ages, having a bad head cold, and very little sleep, I couldn't for the life of me figure out an eloquent POKE to pull it off.

Being pressed for time -- wanting to finish this project at a time when programming time was at a premium, I decided a hack was in order.


5000 REM *** SETUP HIRES ***
5010 POKE53265,PEEK(53265)OR32
5012 POKE56576,150
5014 POKE648,92
5016 POKE53272,121
5020 IF CP=0 THEN FOR I=23552 TO 24551:POKE I,1:NEXT I:CP=1
5030 IF OP=0 THEN FOR I=SA TO EA:POKE I,0:NEXT I
5040 RETURN

Lines 5012 thru 5014 are the ones I'm guilty of. While cursor color setting seems to be ok with a force POKE, moving memory, at least in my mind, needs to be done with a little Boolean.

I simply used a brute force poke to make the bank switch from the first bank switch back. What I should have done was PEEKed the location (which I actually did manually), saved it in a variable then POKE that to return to state. But, I figure the PRG leaves little room for any interrupt driven music or PRG utilities that forcing the computer to switch banks my way was not so bad. Plus it returns to LOADSTAR -- that's important as I wrote it for LOADSTAR.

This is the code to return to normal text mode. I did try to use a bit of logic to come back, but it didn't work, as the number at 648 changed after the program loaded and was run. So I used the number I PEEKed earlier manually.


6000 REM *** TEXT MODE ***
6010 POKE53265,PEEK(53265)AND223
6012 POKE56576,151
6013 POKE648,4
6014 POKE53272,21
6020 POKE53281,0:POKE53280,11:POKE646,1

I now have a skeleton in which to make other similar programs with. And that's just what I've done.

64snail, the latest incarnate to use these routines, is a collection of 3 Nexae plots in a newly evolved state: snailSkin_VII, sinMore_III, and one born on the palm platform: Moriphic_III.

All 3 versions evolved on the palm.

Below is the code used to plot a point on the hires screen -- straight out of The Programmer's Reference Guide:


4000 REM *** PLOT ***
4010 IF X>XM OR X<0 OR Y>YM OR Y<0 THEN 4999
4020 CH=INT(X/8):RO=INT(Y/8):LN=Y AND 7
4030 BY=SA+RO*320+8*CH+LN:BI=7-(X AND 7)
4040 IF PT=1 THEN POKE BY,PEEK(BY)OR(2^BI)
4050 IF PT=0 AND PEEK(BY)=(PEEK(BY)OR(2^BI)) THEN POKE BY,PEEK(BY)-(2^BI)
4999 RETURN

Note line 4050. That's mine. And yes, it is a total hack. When I wrote the line (used to remove a single dot), I was pressed with a deadline (a publishing deadline) and that is what I came up with and it's stuck ever since.

I have been spoiled by PLOT and PSET commands from various BASICs including The Tool, and geoBASIC. Perhaps, now that I've caught the native 64 mode bug again, I'll revisit these memory locations and they might just get revamped. Perhaps not. I am planning implementation of ML to swap screens and plot dots, but maybe I'll squeeze it in before then.

Until next time, Happy Crankin'!

.....end of line.


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