01 December 1992

The content below is simply a reformatting of text as published decades ago by 9640 NEWS. The opinions and views expressed are not my (Jedimatt42) own. The content is published here to preserve and make accessible the technical data contained within.

Taken from the disk distributions archived at http://ftp.whtech.com/Geneve/9640 News disks v1-3/pc99 disks/

NEWS

Volume 3 #5

By Beery Miller

Folks, it seems like it has been quite some time since the last issue and I apologize for the long delay. Several things have delayed this issue, the primary reason has been the lack of software development for the Geneve outside of MDOS modifications.

To start off, I would like to describe where MDOS is, where it is going, and it's future. In the next few weeks, I will be making the Final MDOS mailing to all MDOS contributors and to the 450 people or so that registered their Geneve with Myarc, Inc. Lou Phillips has sent me the names of about 450 people. I will use the list of names that Lou sent me and where duplicates occur in my 9640 News mailing list, I will use my list of addresses to be the most current mailing address. Most of Lou's dates go back to 1987 or 1988. I will make the files available to the following networks and systems for access at about the same time as I make the final mailing. The final mailing will be version 1.60(F/H) and will be uploaded to GEnie, Delphi, Internet (via Clint Pulley at COMP.SYS.TI), and to my BBS (1-901-368-0112 300 to 14.4K baud).

While I wish every single MDOS bug was fixed, their are some very minor problems that exist and will probably exist in the final mailing. Subsequent updates will be released on my BBS and to GEnie and will spread to other networks as they get moved around. I highly recommend that every Geneve owner subscribe to GEnie. This is the home of the Geneve and to the future support of the Geneve 9640. Literature for GEnie membership will be included with this mailing of 9640 News.

GEnie provides access to TI-ECHO, Internet at COMP.SYS.TI, and to GEnie members. Here, thousands of TI'ers across the world are within an arms reach.

Now the bugs I know of that exist in MDOS are derived from primarily one point. The MDOS COPY command has flaws and those same flaws have existed all the way back to MDOS V1.14 and 0.97H. Solutions to these problems are buried in the master DSR and it will take time to fix everything. The known problems are described as such:

1) If you copy a DV80 file with the COPY * command and the file is larger than the available Geneve memory, that portion of the file copied in the second pass will be bad.

2) If you are copying a file to floppy device and it is larger than the available disk space, the file will be shortened with no error message.

Note: This problem exists in the PAB with an OPEN of the file and not enough space is present. While the system knows it doesn't have enought space, it has told the utility how much space it does have. Unfortunately, the utility wants to follow the 4A method of error checking which is insufficient.

Solution:

There is one solution and I highly recommend it. Use Clint Pulley's Directory Manager that runs directly from MDOS and it has no problems.

If you are fortunate to have a MEMEX, you will almost never see problem #1 as I never saw it until I pulled my MEMEX from my system.

New Software for the Geneve since Volume 3 #4 of 9640 News (11-01-92)

LOAD/SYS Boot MDOS from Hard drive or Myarc HFDC floppy drive
MDM5 V1.5 Runs from hard drive with full HFDC access
MDOS153 V1.53 (F/H) latest version of MDOS
TIC167 Alan Beards latest Full C compiler version, many bugs fixed
VCLR Ansi viewer by Tim Tesch for MDOS prompt
VED Video Editor by John Johnson for MDOS
WHATS Math calculator for MDOS prompt
XCOPY Copies files from one drive to another. Very good for hard
drive backups. Just as good as Hard Back, perhaps better.
DM Clint Pulley's Directory Manager V2.2
FED John Johnsons Sector Editor for MDOS
FRACK Very excellent Fractals generator for MDOS prompt.
GPL Version 1.5 of GPL Interpreter for HFDC system mods.
FORTH Bill Sullivan's new Forth for MDOS

These files are available on my BBS and on GEnie

New Commercial Software for the GENEVE

Available from 9640 News ONLY!!!!!

MY-TERM Cost $25.00 (includes s/h)

MDOS Terminal Emulator supporting xmodem and 1K xmodem up-loading and downloading to floppies and hard drive systems. This program has went through several years of beta test by the author Mike Riccio. This is a must have program and features a "MDOS Window" where you can "drop" to MDOS and perform commands and return right back to the program. This is probably the best TE available. The program uses up to 32K capture buffers for ASCII files and/or downloading buffers. Now, you can download up to a 128 sector file before it dumps the contents to disk.

TI-99/4A and Geneve CD-ROM

COST: $75.00

This CD-ROM is not presently available but is being developed by me. It will contain once it is completed over 5000 files that trace the Geneve and TI-99/A history back to it's earliest of times. All files on this CD-ROM will only be accessible on MS-DOS machines unless Bud Mill's SCSI DSR will support the proper file extensions for MS-DOS. This will be a way of permanently storing your files without concern that your diskettes would become corrupted. MS-DOS utilities are provided on the CD-ROM to unarchive Barry Boone archives and to convert TI-DV80 files to IBM ASCII files. The majority of all these files already have the TIFILES header and are perfect for adding the CD-ROM to a MS-DOS based BBS or for a user to provide a local sysop an easy way of adding TI and Geneve files to a MS-DOS system for TI'ers. Each CD-ROM directory will contain a FILES.BBS listing which will give a brief description of each file. This file follows the MS-DOS standard of file descriptions for BBS use. This CD-ROM will also allow users of TI Emulators for PC's to have access to large volumes of files without moving the files via modem, rs232 cable, or disk drive.

I am now taking orders for this CD-ROM, but request that you make your check separate from all other orders. When the CD-ROM goes into production, I will then cash the check. Production of the CD-ROM will depend upon enough orders to handle the initial mastering. Production costs for small orders of CD-ROMS are high. If the TI community could support a 1000 CD order, costs could be greatly reduced. Since the TI community could not support an order that high, a small 50 to 100 CD order brings the cost up VERY SIGNIFICANTLY. A lot of time has went into development of the CD-ROM requiring long hours typing descriptions for the already over 3000 files. The CD-ROM is anticipated to be able to go to production around March 1 if orders are sufficient. Pre-mastering and mastering will take about 30 days before product delivery. CD-ROM size is expected to exceed 300 MB's of files supporting the TI and Geneve.

If you are interested in this CD-ROM, order now. You will not want to miss out on this way of permanently maintaining a backup of your files.

Send all order inquiries to:

Beery Miller / 9640 News
P.O. Box 752465
Memphis, TN 38175

There are a few more commercial programs that have been developed. The first is CFORM by Mike Maksimik and sold by Cecure Electronics, Inc. This program is a MDOS utility that formats your hard drive from the MDOS prompt. It requires either Windows 9640 or the Windows Driver. I believe the cost is $25. With CFORM by Mike Maksimik, and Directory Manager by Clint Pulley, you will never need MDM5 again.

Armor Ambush by Darin Andrade

Sold by:

Notung Software (Ken Gilliland)
7647 McGroarty St.
Tujunga, CA 91042

This is an excellent ABASIC game where two players face one another in a tank battle Game. Multi-terrain scenes make this a very interesting game.

Wing Quest by Darin Andrade

Sold by:

Notung Software (Ken Gilliland)
7647 McGroarty St.
Tujunga, CA 91042

This one of my favorite games and has a familiarity of Dungeons and Dragons. You must move through a maze capturing eggs and finding magical items along the way. Watch out for the monsters before they kill you. A highly enjoyable ABASIC game making full use of the graphics.

NewBert and Abasic Arcade by Darin Andrade

Sold by:

Notung Software (Ken Gilliland)
7647 McGroarty St.
Tujunga, CA 91042

These are two more very impressive games by the same author of WingQuest and Armor Ambush. I have only seen these products in brief demos but they match the quality of the previous two software titles. Write Notung Software for their latest catalog and pricing.

The Future of the 9640 News

I have been asked this question many times. For the present, I don't know where it is. Most of my time has been spent in the last 15 months working out bugs in MDOS and finding time to develop new utilities has just not been available. I have several plans for software projects that are being ironed out. One such project is a "Mailer" for the Geneve that would allow a user to connect into FIDONET and retrieve TI-ECHO messages. This project combined with another unannounced project is where my time will be spent. The "Mailer" should allow access some very limited access to Internet if the project is successful.

As far as 9640 News itself, I will not be asking for renewals. If more issues are released, I will notify users that were current with Volume 3 #5 and advise them of ordering instructions. I highly recomend your participation in GEnie where the TI community is gathering as a major focal point.

SCSI and the Geneve

As of this time, SCSI support for the Geneve has not been started. Recent discussions with those working on the project indicates that very REAL progress is being made on the DSR. I truly believe the 4A support for SCSI will be completed in a very reasonable length of time from now. As far as Geneve support, I believe floppy SCSI support (using standard floppy drives, not SCSI drives) using a special adapter board will be possible in a future release along with GPL support for SCSI. MDOS for SCSI support is questionable at this point in time.

New Advances to MDOS

The biggest primary modifications to MDOS since the release of V1.53 has been the addition of High density support. It is now possible to use devices up to 3.2MB in size including the Horizon ramdisk and Myarc HFDC high density floppy drives (1.44 MB capacity). In addition, the Myarc HFDC floppy routines have been fixed so that compatibility issues have been removed. If a disk has been formatted with very old versions of MDOS on a CorComp disk controller or formatted with a CorComp controller on a TI-99/4A system.

Programs on the disk

This disk contains a wide variety of programs, all for the MDOS enviroment. In the TEXT-ARK file, are two files. One file describes mods that you can make to your system to further speed hard drive access up, the other an article on floating point support for TIC, the full C compiler. Both articles are by Mike Maksimik.

In the MDOS-C-ARK, various utilities and C source code are provided along with a screen saver or two. Several utilities are provided to permit the creating of USPS bar codes on envelopes. Most of the MDOS-C-ARK programs requires the mouse driver that accompanied WINDOWS-ARK in one of the issues in Volume 3 of 9640 News.

The next program we have is in the archive BARNESW. This file contains an artificial intelligence program written in Fortran. Source code for this program may be released in the near future by the author on the networks. I was unable to fit the code on this disk.

Another one of my favorites is IPC-ARK. This is a collection of utilities written by Alan Beard of LGMA products that allows Inter-Process-Communications between various programs. Use this collection of C utilities if you want to control communications between two or more programs.

The last file is BATWIN-ARK. This file allows you to create batch files that run in mini windows on the screen if you are a batch file programmer.

What about the Tape Backup Program

At present, the tape backup program is incomplete and a completion date is not known. I have been successful in using the program to format a QIC 80 tape, but the program has not been equipped with code to support writing the individual fils out to tape. It's simple to write a "image" of the hard disk out to tape similar to what MDM 5 does to floppies, but it is much more difficult to allow you to selectively backup particular files and/or restore them to the hard drive. Please be patient, Mike will sooner or later complete the program .

Well folks, I think that about wraps it up for this issue. I hope everyone has been pleased with 9640 News and the service I have provided. If you need the latest version of MDOS, GPL, ABASIC, etc at a point later in time, the cost will be $2.50 per disk that will cover shipping and handling. I will continue to be very active in the Geneve community and I will be focusing my time and energy on GEnie providing my services at that point. If you need to reach me, I may be reached at the following addresses:

Mail           Beery Miller / 9640 News
               P.O. Box 752465
               Memphis, TN 38175

BBS            1-901-368-0112      300 to 14.4K baud

Internet       BW.MILLER@GENIE.GEIS.COM

GEnie          BW.MILLER

Voice          1-901-368-1169      between 7pm and 10 pm EST

If you do write and you have lots of questions, please leave adequate room in the letter so that I can write between the lines to answer your questions and provide a return envelope. It is much easier to handle replies in this manner. It is very difficult to find the time to answer letters that require lengthy replies. It is very easy to provide replies via Internet, GEnie, or my BBS.

I will not be able to attend the Fest West 94 Fair in Tuscon this year, but I will be at the Lima Show in Ohio and the Chicago show provided they are held. I have a wife-imposed limit on vacation this year and have to conserve vacation time wherever possible.

Thanks for supporting 9640 News, and if I can support you, then please let me know.

Clip here for order form

Order Form

Qty

___  MDOS V1.xx H                                      $ 2.50
___  MDOS V1.xx F                                        2.50
___  MY-TERM                                            25.00
___  CD-ROM (TI/Geneve)                                 75.00
___  GenPROG                                            75.00
___  Picture Transfer                                   30.00
___  Hyper Copy                                         25.00
___  PC Transfer and Utilities                          25.00
___  PC Transfer Utilities                               7.50
___  Identifile                                         10.00
___  Volume 1 9640 News                                 25.00
___  Volume 2 9640 News                                 25.00
___  Volume 3 9640 News                                 25.00
___  9640 News BBS Support (Adult GIF area)             12.00
___  Global War                                         15.00
___  Barricade                                          15.00
___  Tetris                                             15.00
___  MDOS Contribution (reqd for obtaining source)      _____
___  MDOS Source 3.5" disks                              5.00
___  MDOS Source 5.25" disks                            10.00
___  ABasic Source 3.5" disks                            5.00
___  ABasic Source 5.25" disks                           7.50
___  Psystem Source and libraries 5.25" disks            5.00
___  Psystem Source and libraries 3.5" disks             5.00

* Minimum $25 contribution to "Buy MDOS campaing before one can
  acquire rights to obtain MDOS Source Code

TOTAL                                                   _______


Name:     ______________________________

Address   ______________________________

          ______________________________

State/Zip ______________________________


Thank you for your order

FLOATSUP


/* FILE FLOATSUP_C containing floating point functions and support routines */ int trunc( fl1 ) char *fl1; { registers[0] = GRI; registers[2] = fl1; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); registers[2] = registers[1]; registers[0] = CFI; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); return registers[1]; } int round( fl1 ) char *fl1; { registers[2] = fl1; registers[0] = CFI; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); return registers[1]; } /* fl3 = fl2 - fl1 */ void subfloat( fl1, fl2, fl3 ) char *fl1; char *fl2; char *fl3; { registers[0] = FSUB; registers[1] = fl3; registers[2] = fl1; registers[3] = fl2; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); } void mpyfloat( fl1, fl2, fl3 ) char *fl1; char *fl2; char *fl3; { registers[0] = FMULT; registers[1] = fl3; registers[2] = fl1; registers[3] = fl2; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); } /* fl3 = fl2 / fl1 */ void divfloat( fl2, fl1, fl3 ) char *fl1; char *fl2; char *fl3; { registers[0] = FDIV; registers[1] = fl3; registers[2] = fl1; registers[3] = fl2; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); } /* fla is the read-in timer value, flb is the tick. */ int range( fla, flb ) char *fla; char *flb; { char t1[10], t2[10], t3[10]; int q; q = 1; tofloat( 2, t2 ); subfloat( t2, flb, t1 ); addfloat( t2, flb, t3 ); if(( compfloat( t1, fla ) <= 0 ) && ( compfloat( t3, fla ) >= 0 )) q = 0; return( q ); } void tostring( fl1, str1 ) char *fl1; char *str1; { int i; for( i=0; i<=15; i++ ) str1[i] = 0; registers[0] = CNS; registers[1] = str1; registers[2] = fl1; registers[3] = 1; registers[4] = 11; registers[5] = 0; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); } void getfloat( str1, fl1 ) char *str1; char *fl1; { registers[3] = strlen( str1 ); registers[2] = str1; registers[1] = fl1; registers[0] = CSN; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); fl1[9] = NULL; } void addfloat( fl1, fl2, fl3 ) char *fl1; char *fl2; char *fl3; { registers[0] = FADD; registers[1] = fl3; registers[2] = fl1; registers[3] = fl2; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); } void tofloat( i1, fl1 ) int i1; char *fl1; { registers[0] = CIF; registers[1] = fl1; registers[2] = i1; xop( MATHXOP, registers ); fl1[9] = NULL; } /* compares two floating point values. The algorithm checks the strings from left to right until an unmatching character is found, for a total count of 8 characters */ int compfloat( fl1, fl2 ) char *fl1; char *fl2; { int a; for( a=0; a<=7; a++ ) { if( fl1[a] < fl2[a] ) return -1; if( fl1[a] > fl2[a] ) return 1; } return 0; } } void assign( fl1, fl2 ) char *fl1; char *fl2; { int i; for( i=0; i<=9; i++ ) fl1[i] = fl2[i]; }

HFSTEP

Here's some handy information that will allow you to set your desired head step speeds for MDOS, "h" version 1.23 or 1.50:

1) Copy the SYSTEM/SYS file to a floppy disk, and boot up Birdwell's DISK UTILITIES v. 4.2

2) Go into FILE OPS, and select FIND STRING from the menu

3) for the search string (Hexadecimal value) enter 0260F000 and press enter. The search will begin on SYSTEM/SYS and it will find this string near the end. This string should be near another one, 0200E700. The "7" in this string is the default head step speed when the drive does an initialization (it seems that the drive is ALWAYS doing this!) Change it to zero for buffered step so the second string is 0200E000 Then write the data to the file. Now you have fixed the slow head step when MDOS is loaded, and you aren't running the EPROM (similar fix for the EPROM code, if you can get your hands on an EPROMMER. Extract the EPROM H11 code, and do this patch, and re-burn a new eprom with the new code for a FAST disk reset when you power up.)

4) the disk reset is done when you hit CTRL-ALT-DEL, or when any GPL or EXEC-loaded program does a system reset. The disk reset is the noisy "whirr" of the disk head sliding back to cylinder zero. Now it is FAST! Note--most new drives can support this. (post-1985)

5) to change floppy drive speeds from the defaults listed in the HFDC manual:

       a) 1.44 meg, 2ms default to whatever.

          -do the same as above, but look for hex string 020403FF
           the "3" in the string is the head step speed.
           Change it to whatever you like, but I recommend a value
           of "2"...020402FF will make your 3 1/2" drives quiet, as
           with a western digital 1772-02 chip and SETDSK.
           This changes the head step setting to 1ms, instead of 2.
        ( tested with TOSHIBA 1.44 meg drives, older and newer models)


       b) 720k, 2ms default to whatever.

         -same as above, on the same page you find the 020403FF, look
          for a string 02040200.  This is the 2ms head step setting.
          change to 02040100 for 1ms head step.
        ( tested with TOSHIBA 720k drives )

       c) 360k, 8ms default to whatever.

         -I changed mine to 2ms.  This is a mitsumi 5 1/4" drive, but
          Olivetti will also work.  Some drives can't handle less than
          3 ms, so we have to use 4 instead.

          On the same page as above, look for 02040400.  This is the
          360k, 8ms switch setting line.
          for a 4ms head step instead, change to 02040300.
          for a 2ms head step instead, change to 02040200.

       d) be sure to write each sector out to disk (CTRL-W, enter)



       f) reboot your newly patched MDOS, and experience quieter drives.


       g) if your drives do not work, they can't support the faster
          speeds and you are stuck with chatter..change back to
          previous values.

Note: Shugart drives shouldn't be changed.

Here is a table of other values you can use:

 value:    if 3 1/2":                if 5 1/4":
   7          32 ms                      64 ms
   6          16 ms                      32 ms
   5           8 ms                      16 ms
   4           4 ms                       8 ms
   3           2 ms                       4 ms
   2           1 ms                       2 ms
   1         0.5 ms                       1 ms
   0         218 us                     436 us

in the table above, locate the "value" column you want, and substitute in the hex strings in the SYSTEM/SYS or EPROM file sector where the head step strings are located. Notice that standard Western Digital values are not supported here (such as 6ms, 3ms, 12ms, etc). Some fast 6ms drives can operate at 4ms, others can operate at 2ms. Generally if it is an older 40 track drive, leave it alone. If it is an 80 track drive (5 1/4"or 3 1/2" ) change the step speeds to optimize drive noise levels. This also improves drive seek times and will slightly enhance loading times.

For booting, you will need to patch the H11 EPROM file in a similar way. Use and EPROM programmer to read the EPROM, then edit the buffer as you would edit SYSTEM/SYS (both use the same code segments for step speeds) Then re-burn your new EPROM with the new values. A good way to test this is by doing SYSTEM/SYS first, as many times as necessary to get it right, then do it for the EPROM image.

Once you have done this, basically you are locked into that format. You can still move your dip switches to select the new values, they still select the type of drive you have, there is just a different step speed applied.

With these changes, your HFDC and GENEVE will more closely match new technology and faster disk drives.

Drives I use:

Hard drives...both with buffered head step.

Toshiba 3 1/2" 1.44 meg and 720k (old and new design faceplate)...1 ms step.
Mitsumi 5 1/4" 360k....4ms head step.

Also: TEAC 5 1/4" 720k (80 track)...2ms works fine, 1ms possibly will also work.

Public Domain information researched by Michael J Maksimik,
Chicago TI Users group BBS, 708-862-0182,
3-12-2400 baud, MNP 2-5, 8 bits no parity. 24 hours.
( S & T BBS )