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Others have pretty much filled you in on the sessions so I'll not repeat what they have already told you. This little article will be about my impressions and memories of ADAMcon 09. First I was totally amazed at the number of ADAMites that made it to the convention. I think it also took Bob and Judy Slopsema by surprise. It was nice to see so many of my old ADAMite friends and to make some new ones. I have long wanted to meet Faye Deere and I had that opportunity at AC09. Faye and I hit it off pretty good. I would have liked to have had the time to talk to Tom Ozretich more than I did. Ena Greenshields bopped in Sunday, it was good to see her again. David Ramsey Jr. from Lansing MI also made a short visit but I didnt have a chance to talk to him. I also enjoyed meeting Bob Herrington, thats the guy that Pat keeps referring to as "My Honey". I spent a good share if my time standing in the halls chewing the fat with my friends. This was time well spent. I said I wasnt going to cover any of the sessions, I lied. All the sessions were well presented, even Bart Lynch got through his in one peace. But, there was one persons sessions I was about not to miss. Rich Drushel is one of the most captivating speakers I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. Rich said he was unprepared but I don't think a person in attendance nodded off as he told us about his Sea slug experiments. He actually used an ADAM to make a mini CAT scan so he could see the inside of the slug as it ate. His ADAM powered Lago rover is a peace of engineering marvels. If you missed Dr. D's presentations you missed one of the conventions highlights. Job well done Rich. One other highlight was the food, and the food, and the food. I have only been to five ADAMcons but this ones food is the best that I can recall. Bob, Judy and the rest of the Slopsema clan did an outstanding job. I'll reflect back on the memories of AC09 for many years to come.
Jerry V. er any of the sessions, I lied. All the sessions were well presented, even Bart Lynch got throug t
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From: John McCormick <John@ULTRABAC.com>
Subject: Complete ADAM For sale
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 18:12:16 -0800
I would rather sell than store where it won't get any use.
Coleco Adam (stock), Two joysticks, Printer, Two Coleco brand 5 1/4" floppy drives.
In very good condition. I'm the second owner.
John McCormick, BEI, 425-644-6000 http://www.ultrabac.com
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From: Frances &/or Richard Clee <email@example.com>
If there are any newbies out there who want Adam literature, may we remind everybody that the ADAM Survival Guide (published by A.N.N. and still available from the writer) contains a chapter that is essentially a comprehensive biblio- graphy of every book being recorded as published in the English language about the ADAM in its EOS mode, and tips on how to find a copy if a simple posting in the ADAM newsgroup doesn't bring a deluge of offers. As the bibliographer who compiled the list, I was not able to find any titles that dealt with CP/M specifically in its ADAM application, and found the list of titles about CP/M in its general application so huge it was impossible to include and too invidious to select, so omitted any reference to it (pace Tom Keene; for the rest of you, so sue me). And for those of you who have given up hope - I was contacted by a new Adam user today, Bill Taylor of Dorchester, New Brunswick. He got my name through a repairman who found it on the Internet. Communication pays, and ADAM lives!
- Rich Clee
Last page. Enter command or <CR> to continue !
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Here's an E mail message I received from Gene Welch. Can anyone out there help him out.
Jerry V.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Well, my ADAM has gone and broke itself. Maybe it's the component failure that Rich Drushel has been talking about, I really don't know yet. Anyway, my ADAM will not recognize the keyboard(nothing happens when I press the keys) whenever I use Smartwriter. It works fine for all of the other applications that I have tried it on, lately. But, as soon as I boot Smartwriter(with the Hard Drive) the keyboard stops working. Even odder is the fact that the keyboard does work with the Electronic Typewriter.
Anyways, since Smartwriter is my word processor of choice, this puts a crimp in my immediate ability to write the articles that I have floating around in my head, some of which are partly done(in Smartwriter). So, I am wondering what format would be best to write them in for you to publish in the newsletter. I could use VDE under TDOS, then if necessary, convert them to EOS and mail them to you. Or, I could do them on this here PC, and e-mail them to you(I don't,as yet, have the ability to port them from PC to ADAM, or vice-versa).
Well, let me know what would be best for you, it doesn't make much difference to me.
Hopefully, I will get my ADAM and Smartwriter talking to each other soon.
BTW - If you have any ideas on what may be my problem, I would love to hear'em.
======================================================== th the Hard Drive) the keyboard stops working. Even odd
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My official announcement is still a week or two off, but I will be putting up a new ADAM web page soon (I've been considering it for about a year).
I am not sure exactly what to call it, so suggestions are welcome.
The widow Sage has granted me permission to post the contents of Darrell Sage's Expandable Computer News, however, so that will be one feature found there.
I am missing several early issues, however, so I may make a call to borrow these if anyone has them around.
Joe Blenkle firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor's note: Many of you will remember Joe from the early ADAM years. He was (and presumabley still is) an avid gamer and also wrote many game reviews for the ADAM newsletters of the day.
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From: Marcel de Kogel <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: RonsWeek'n'ADAM November 16, 1997
At 00:57 17-11-97 -0800, you wrote:
>....Now... on the question of Powerpaint conversions, here's my
problem. Put quite simply, I'm having trouble understanding what's out there. Quite dumb am I. Follow do I not. I've just sent Marcel de Kogel a message asking about the output files produced by BMP2PP.EXE. The program exists in both Windows 95 and DOS versions, and does indeed appear to produce an output file from an input file. The latter is a bitmap, and the former appears to be a Powerpaint formatted file. When I transfer the output file to an ADAM disk however, and try to load it into Powerpaint, there is no joy in Mudville. Now along with BMP2PP. EXE and PP2BMP.EXE there are a series of files whose job it is to perform the conversion of disk images, ADAM to IBM and presumably vice-versa. It is not clear to me at this stage whether the output from BMP2PP.EXE needs to be processed by one or more of these disk image converters. If anyone can shed some light on that, please do.
Here's how the Powerpaint utilities were tested: 1) A disk image was created from a standard 160K ADAM disk containing the Powerpaint programme:
dcopy a: ppaint.dsk /t:40 /s:8 /h:12) A bitmap was converted to Powerpaint format. Let's use a 240x160 bitmap called "kerstmis.bmp":
pp2bmp kerstmis.bmp3) The resulting .pp file was put on the disk image - beware you use the correct file type:
wrdisk ppaint.dsk kerstmis.pp,kerstmis -type 24) The disk image was put back on the original floppy:
dcopy ppaint.dsk a: /t:40 /s:8 /h:15) Put the floppy in your ADAM, reset the computer and load the picture called "kerstmis" (or whatever you called it) Of course there are other ways to transfer files from the PC to the ADAM, these should work perfectly fine as well
As for the disk image converters: These are only needed when you use non-standard ADAM floppies, like e.g. 720KB ones. If you do, you'll need to convert the DCOPY output to something ADAMEm and the related utilities can read, and then convert the image back before using DCOPY again to put it back on an ADAM floppy. If you use regular 160K floppies (or indeed if you don't even use DCOPY), you'll never have to worry about converting anything.
BTW, I've had mixed results with printing pictures, esp. colour ones, created this way. The utilities are optimised for display- ing, not for printing.
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To be quit honest there wasn't much of a meetinglast month. Attendance has dropped off over the last year. I know that Joe, Helen and myself don't want to admit it but perhaps a formal monthly 463 AUG meeting has outlived it's usefulness. I truly think we should evaluate the need for a monthly meeting. If this does come about it would not mean the end of the 463 AUG. The newsletter would still be published and if any local member had a problem with his/her ADAM we could still get together. This would be a more productive way of spending our time.
As I reported to you in an earlier newsletterCompuServe (CSi) was purchased by America On Line (AOL). At that time CSi left me an E mail message stating that nothing would change. The ink had not dried on this message and CSi offered a no limit access time for a minimal cost of $25 a month. This looks like AOL to me?????
I then received another E mail message from CSi. Idid not download it but it went something like this: Dear CompuServe subscriber, Our records show that you have accessed CSi on a IBM or Mac using WinSIM software but most of the time when you access CSi it's with an older computer at a much lower baud rate. We would encourage you to use the WinCIM software because you'll be able to access more of CompuServe's features. My reply went like this: Dear CompuServe: First, your WinSIM software SUCKS. Most of the time I don't know were I'm at or what I'm doing. With the older 8bit computer software all I need to do is type GO xxxx and I'm there, plus macro keys do most of the work for me. Faster is not always easier. I know your going through some changes BUT, listen up and pass the word. IF YOU DROP THE 8BIT COMPUTER YOU HAVE LOST ME AND MANY OTHERS. I hope this sinks in to the upper management.. Yours truly,
Jerry VrancksI have not received a reply from CompuServe. =========================================================
WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY
In this newsletter you'll read about Gene Welch'sproblem he is having with his ADAM. Not to fear. The poem from Gene Welch was typed on his PC and uploaded to my CompuServe address and I put it into ADAM format. It took a couple of tries but I think Gene and I have now got it down pat.
Now that brings something to light:If you have something you would like for me to put in this newsletter you can send it to me at my Internet addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org or: email@example.com
HERE's THE PLAN
Things get pretty hectic at this household around the holidays. So here's my plan of attack. The December newsletter will be larger than normal. In fact I've already started working on it. But I'm not going to have much time around Christmas to work on the January newsletter so it may be a little on the sparse side. I hope you understand.
Thanks, Jerry V.============================================================ tt
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From: Frances &/or Richard Clee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: postal strike
Well - after much in the way of diversions, the trailer has been cleaned out, winterized, repaired and put away, the new cabinet has been delivered and the rest of the room reorganized into it, the DOSbox has changed its assortment of bugs but is gradually contorting into some semblance of reliability, our ISP has man- aged to get his suppliers into line enough that he can actually keep up with the demand, and things are calming down here. As this is written there are about 18 cm. (7 inches in English) of snow on the ground in Toronto, harbinger of a steady supply till next May or something. So we in the Great White North (which includes everything Stateside north of Detroit) won't be going much of anywhere or doing much of anything for the next several months.
And now we're also threatened with a postal strike, which will cut off the inflow of magazines - about an issue a day here. The Formula 1 season is over (how about that Jacques Villeneuve - a Canadian World Champion, a dream towards which I watched and often worked and paid for forty years) and the Grey Cup (the culmination of real football) is this weekend, so no more TV to watch.
We're even into the third week of October's backlog of e-mail. Which is to say that the particular Adamites at this e-mail address have at least caught up to the point where we should be able to respond to communication in some reasonable period of time, and hope to resume a more active level of participation in the Adam community. And if the posties do go out, and stay out, we may even get fairly close to fully caught up - except for the stuff that has to go by snail mail, of course.
Notes inspired by finally getting around to looking at Dr. D's
one of the Walters brothers, I think Jim, has at least two Smart writer ROMs and/or ROM images for revisions beyond R80. Don't know if he's on the echo, what his present activity status is, or anything, but maybe someone can follow up. Also if anything comes of this, are the SmartWriter ROMs actually (as I suspect) EPROMs? I don't know (but have my suspicions) about the rest of the Adam crowd, but I certainly have a number of Adams in my basement, especially Module 3s, that do not work, but I would bet that in most cases the faults are in the memory chips or circuits - solder breaks or bridges, or whatever. Could these be a source of reprogrammable EOS, Smartwriter, TI9918 or even the non-dupli- catable custom chip for Adams? If so, reprogramming chips to a higher standard should be easy and might even be do-able on an exchange basis.
As for the Smartwriter bugs, the most notorious is the line and a half line feed inserted when a blank line is added after a hard return, as between paragraphs. There is a defeat for this using a control-6 or one of the super-or-subscript keys (forget which) but under certain circumstances this can throw off the print- head's sense of where it is and produce badly pyed type; not using the defeat means that the left margin line counter becomes progressively more inaccurate as it doesn't allow for the extra half line.
The result is that in a multi-paragraphed letter one may find what the counter shows as 3-1/2 pages barely squeezes on to four. Also, for some reason every once in a while when the clear workspace key is used in Smartwriter (as when reading the ANN discs) the sound cues are lost; sometimes they come back again, sometimes they don't; it's basically merely a nuisance but is it a signal of a more serious fault? Not bugs, but it would be pretty neat if Smartwriter would recognize a second disc drive without disabling the second tape drive. Is there any promise in the ability to access the modem slot? Would its use allow faster communication under Adamserve? Might there be a patch that could be written to allow more generalized access to the slot? Seems Rich is unearthing all sorts of promising leads here. Maybe we should all also try to get Z80B CPUs to speed up the machine?
Anyway for those who have been neglected we are working our way through the accumulated e-mail and hope to get responses out to you soon. Our downtime isn't over, but we are poised to start imitating social human beings again soon.
- Rich Clee
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December 1997 ADAM NEWS NETWORK disk
Clee1116 Message from Rich Clee November 16th
HelpGene From Gene Welch, he NEEDS your help!
jBlenkle From Joe Blenkle, an ADAMite from WAY BACK; he is about to surprise us.
MDK1116 Report from ADAM EMULATOR Marcel DeKogel explaining how he moves PowerPaint pics around
R-Clee15 Rich tells us he is settled in for the winter and ready to take on the dos world (?)
Rich5nov Rich D's article written on November the 5th
RichClee Some information from Rich to Will Nerini (a new ADAMite programmer - we hope - who has recently joined our little group of devotees)
RichD118 Dr D's week'n'ADAM of November 8th
RM1116 Ron Mitchell's week w/ ADAM November 16
Ron29Oct Ron Mitchell's article on ADAM October 29th
Ron5novA&B 2 part article from Ron Mitchell November 5th
Suesspom A poem a LOT like dr suess would do!
Webster From Joe Morano (our adopted Atari buddy on Compu- Serve) comes an explanation of Windows 95
ReadMe This file
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This Week With My Coleco ADAM 9711.17
by Richard F. Drushel (email@example.com)
I. Another Long Week, Short Article.
I've done a lot of ADAM stuff this week, something almost every day. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate into a very long article. Most of the work is preparatory for some larger efforts which may end up as future articles, though, so it's not wasted.
II. Source code for ADAMlink V.
George Koczwara asked me if I could produce an assembly code listing for ADAMlink V, preparatory to HLM-GMK seeking a formal copyright on the program. I suspect that this is related to the demonstrated piracy of the program by Terry Fowler of ADAM's House. I'm not a lawyer, and don't play one on TV, so I will not attempt to discuss the legal ramifications. Instead, I will briefly outline what I've been doing to create such an assembl- able source code listing from the disparate "source" pieces which went into making ADAMlink V.
ADAMlink V began as ADAMlink IValpha, a major overhaul of ADAMlink III/III+ by Tom Clary which was never officially released, but which has evidently had some "underground" circu- lation. A few years ago, HLM-GMK Co. tracked down Mr. Clary and purchased the rights to ADAMlink IValpha. This buyout was supposed to have included the original source code (ADAMlink IValpha is a de novo creation with no inherited code from Coleco's original ADAMlink I; I have the disassemblies to prove it), but it never appeared. Thus, back in 1991 or so, I began to disassemble the ADAMlink IValpha binary to see how it worked, with the thought of adding some extra features to it (such as support for the Micro Innovations-type serial ports, disk/tape catalog features, EOS RAMdisk support, hard drive support, and some other amenities).
Using my old UNASMHEX-based program which had been ported to MS-DOS, I created the disassembly and edited it as a Word- Perfect 5.0 file. I pretty much totally commented it (it's a 25K+ program, about as big as SmartBASIC 1.0) and made an elegant listing, which I laser-printed and used as a reference. I figured out where I could patch/break into the code to make the changes that I wanted, then used a crufty DOS-based Z80 cross assembler to assemble just the code patches. (This is the same assembler that I used to create the SmartBASIC 1.x source code- -ugh!) Using the assembly listing files, which gave the result- ing machine code in hexadecimal, I manually entered the changed bytes on an ADAMlink IValpha binary on an ADAM using the block editor of File Manager. Thus, while the patches exist as commented source code (which with minor editing can be made compatible with my current assembler, SLR's Z80ASM+), the final ADAMlink V program does not.
How could I get an assembly-ready listing of ADAMlink V? One possibility would be to use my current dissasembler (Kenneth Gielow's Z80DIS 2.2 for CP/M), using the ADAMlink IValpha disassembly and mini-ADAMlink V assemblies as a guide for where to place the breakpoints. The major problem with this method is that all the comments, laboriously typed in over a few months, would be missing...and I have no desire (and no time) to retype them from scratch.
The next method would be to somehow alter the existing ADAMlink IValpha disassembly to be in assembly-ready format. Doing this by hand in a text editor would be as laborious (and error-prone) as retyping all the comments on a Z80DIS 2.2 dis- assembly. The alternative would be some sort of "intelligent" filter program which could read the ADAMlink IValpha listing and automatically convert it into Z80ASM+ format. It would take a while to write and debug, but when thoroughly tested, it could be unleashed upon the disassembly and in one step generate assemblable code, comments intact. Then, since the ADAMlink V patches already exist as assemblable code, I could easily do the minor editing necessary to integrate the patches with the main ADAMlink IValpha source. The final test would be to run the integrated source through Z80ASM+ and verify that it produced a binary identical to that of the current ADAMlink V.
The bulk of this week has been spent in writing such a filter program, which I call DIS2ASM. As always with me, I'm writing it in QuickBASIC 4.5 for MS-DOS and compiling it to run on my 486DX2-66 system. Currently, the DIS2ASM program is about 50% completed, and the parts which are completed have been tested and validated. It will probably take me the rest of the week and next weekend to complete it. I will then have some small editing or "regularizing" of the ADAMlink IValpha disassembly file to do, in order to make sure that certain "special cases" (which would break my simple-as-possible code) don't exist. The final DIS2ASM run will probably take about 5 minutes to run...even with the 2-week development time, though, the result will be far more accurate and painless to achieve than manual retyping/editing.
II. Prospect for SmartBASIC 1.0 and 2.0 Source Code Listings.
While I won't be able to release the completed ADAMlink V code (not if HLM-GMK are copyrighting it), there is an indirect payoff in that I have completed (in 1990!) disassemblies of SmartBASIC 1.0 and 2.0 (including the STDMEM and EXTMEM versions for 2.0) which are in exactly the same UNASMHEX format as the ADAMlink IValpha listing. This means that (again, with some "regularizing" editing) I should be able to run these disassembly listings through DIS2ASM and regenerate commented, assemblable source for them as well! No promises that I'll get to this anytime soon, but it could be done.
III. Prospect for an ADAMlink VI.
Having real source for ADAMlink V in hand would allow for future expansion and enhancement, including EOS-8 type support for the ADAMnet serial and parallel devices, a decent VT100 terminal emulator, and maybe even ZMODEM file transfer capabil- ity. No firm promises for this ADAMlink VI, but it would be possible. Consider it "vaporware" for the time being.
See you again next week!
Note: TWWMCA is archived. Back issues are available via
Files have the form wkyymmdd.txt, where yy=year, mm=month, dd=day.
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This Week With My Coleco ADAM 9711.05
by Richard F. Drushel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I. Administrivia. I'm behind a week in my TWWMCA series because of a non- maskable interrupt from 2 weekends ago. In brief, my kids got wild playing in the kitchen and knocked over a plant sun-lamp onto the floor, shade-down, which destroyed some of the 25-year old floor tile when it sat there undetected and hot for several minutes...guess who had to spend 18 hours retiling the entire floor? We were lucky, though, because the old tile were *asbestos* (yes, that great flame-proof and falsely-maligned-as-more-car- cinogenic-than-plutonium building material). If they had been the modern, not-(yet)-proven-to-cause-cancer-in-some-damned rodent vinyl or polyurethane tile, they would have ignited quickly and we would be now be living in a Salvation Army shelter... Anyhow, the Drushel household (and its attendant Coleco ADAM museum) is still in good shape, and the junior inhabitants have gotten a good scare...and they also owe me $132 when they get their first jobs :-)
II. SmartWriter Reverse Engineering Progress. My project to reverse engineer R80 SmartWriter to assemblable source code and make some bugfixes is stalled where it was before the floor tile adventure. That is, I have it patched to recog- nize drive D (disk 2, ADAMnet device 5), and it will be able to recognize an EOS RAMdisk (device 26) whenever EOS gets evolved enough to install it automatically at boot. There are some SmartKey menu inconsistencies between the GET FILE menus and the various STORE menus which I need to work out. Basically, I want the STORE menus to work exactly like the GET FILE menus. The reason for this is that, in the GET FILE setup, I can easily accommodate extra drives as SmartKey choices; while I can't under the current STORE menu arrangement. This is just time and tinkering. I still plan to put up the fixed binary for anonymous ftp for people to play with under Marcel de Kogel's ADAMEM emulator.
III. Assembly Source for SmartBASIC 1.x. While reorganizing the files on the computer that used to be my Tandy 2800 HD laptop (a 286-12 mHz whose guts now reside in a stand-alone CPU box after the built-in keyboard and LCD screen died; see wk960930.txt in the archive for the whole story), I discovered a copy of the reverse-engineered source code for my SmartBASIC 1.x interpreter, from 1991. It is in the format for a very junky cross-assembler (runs under MS-DOS, writes Z80 binaries) which I found long ago at the famed (defunct) SIMTEL ftp archive at wsmr-simtel20.army.mil. I couldn't quickly lay my hands on the cross assembler, so by bits and pieces at lunchtime the last couple of weeks I've been editing it so it can assemble correctly under my current assembler, Z80ASM+ from SLR. I now have it down to only 2 errors during assembly. When I get it totally converted, I'm going to put the source up for anonymous ftp. It's fairly well commented, but it's not great, and not up to my current standards for documentation.
One of the reasons that it is so ugly is that it will exactly regenerate every single binary patch that was made to the original SmartBASIC 1.0 binary. I haven't done any cleanup or reorganization of the code, so it still has the same memory map as SmartBASIC 1.0 as described in Ben Hinkle's "The Hackers Guide to ADAM Volume II". Another reason for its ugliness is that SmartBASIC 1.x was created with- out the benefit of an assembler program--I wrote code on paper, assembled it by hand, wrote the decimal values of the machine code as DATA statements, POKEd them in, and finally BSAVEd the entire binary. My paper code has lots of comments, but at the time I abandoned work on the reverse-engineered electronic version, I had typed in only some of these comments. For the rest, I still need to dig out the original paper source from 1990 and early 1991. As you might imagine, the near-disaster in my kitchen has made me rather uncomfortable about the amount of irreplacable ADAM code and documentation that I'm sitting on here. I want to get some of this stuff out in multiple copies (preferably electronic) so that it doesn't get lost forever in some accident. And already I'm finding that I've misplaced things; to fulfill a Xerox request, I've been looking for Volume I of my ADAM Tech- nical Manual, and I *can't* find it! I have Volume II with all the EOS-6 and OS-7PRIME source, but not Volume I with all the hardware descriptions, ADAMnet and EOS Users Manuals, and the descriptions of the ADAMlink modem and SuperGame software loaders. This is the 2-volume set that Shaun McCallum was selling at ADAMcon IV, and the only other set I know of is Chris Braymen's...
So, once I put this stuff up for ftp, please grab it and archive it away somewhere! As far as SB1.x source is concerned, I doubt I will ever sell another copy, so if you have the SLR assembler and want to play with it, go ahead--just don't sell it. The SB1.x manual source (a WordPerfect 5.0 file) I am holding onto for the time being, though (if HLM-GMK don't shoot me for giving away something they still sell) I might consider convert- ing it into HTML and letting Dale Wick put it up on his ADAM Home Page (or include it with an ADAM CD/ROM collection, if such a thing ever gets made).
IV. Disassembly of the ADAM CP/M 2.2 BIOS.
Also on the ex-laptop hard disk was a long-forgotten disassembly I had made in August 1992 of the ADAM CP/M 2.2 BIOS. I even remember how I made the disassembly: I used the CP/M SAVE command to dump the 64K RAM contents to disk, then used the IMP modem program to transfer it by direct serial link to my then- laptop. I then ran the BIOS portion through my UNSAMHEX9.EXE disassembler (a SmartBASIC 1.x program converted to Microsoft QuickBASIC 4.5), and started to edit it in WordPerfect 5.0 for MS-DOS. I think the ADAM CP/M manual told what memory address the BIOS started at, or maybe I just looked around for the BIOS jump table; this part I don't remember. Anyway, the listing starts at the BIOS jump table. Since UNASMHEX9.EXE was never intended to generate assemblable source code, the disassembly listing can't directly be used to reverse-engineer the ADAM CP/M 2.2 BIOS :-(
More's the pity, because I commented some parts of it very
thoroughly, specifically those relating to the AUX:, PUN:, and
RDR: devices, which (according to the manual) were for use by
the ADAMnet serial/parallel board (which was prototyped but never sold). As I recall now, my rationale was to figure out from this (presumably working and tested) code how the serial/ parallel board worked, so that I could emulate it correctly (on 3rd-party serial boards) in my new EOS-8. That I did so correct- ly is borne out by the fact that I could run SmartBASIC 2.0 under EOS-8 and use a serial terminal for console I/O using IN#4 and PR#4 (which were vectors to the ADAMnet serial device).
I did at that time, however, actually make a separate file of the BIOS code used for the serial board (AUX:, supplemented by disassembling the part of CONFIG.COM which actually sets the serial port baudrate, parity, etc., since the BIOS does not provide those functions directly). This is a nice package, so I'm putting it up for anonymous ftp at: ftp://junior.apk.net/pub/users/drushel/dev14.lst
Seeing the final commented disassembly gives little hint how difficult it was to actually deduce from code alone how the thing worked :-) I'm going to hold onto the disassembly listing of the entire BIOS for a little longer, in the hopes of cleaning it up somewhat There are still some large areas which are pretty "raw" (e.g., data areas which aren't resolved as data but are still present as "garbage" assembly code).
V. SmartBASIC 1.x and Clock Bugs? Ron Mitchell has posted (to the mailing list) an interesting account of problems he's had with the SmartBASIC 1.x clock drivers, namely, the weekdays being off by one for certain clock hardware types. I haven't had time to investigate in detail. I know for *certain* that the motherboard ROM-based no-slot clock driver works perfectly well, because that's the clock type I have in my Mini Wini hard drive system. From Chris Braymen, I inherited one of Syd Carter's Dy-No-Mite Sound Digitizer/Clock cartridges; but there is no clock chip installed, so I can't immediately test it. As for the Eve/Orphanware clock, I never owned one.
Historically, my SB1.x clock driver code was written and tested using (1) my own no-slot clock, obtained from Steve Major's ADAM
Connection (I got it free for purchasing so many $$$ of other stuff);(2) a Digitizer/Clock cartridge borrowed from Alan Neeley,
for the express purchase of writing the driver code; and(3) the original wire-wrap prototype of the Orphanware clock,
built by Orphanware founder John Lingrel and now owned by Herman Mason.
All these worthies are credited in the Acknowledgements section of the SB1.x manual, if memory serves. So far as I can remember, the final driver code worked properly with all three clock types. I will have to buy a Dallas SmartWatch from JDR for my Digitizer /Clock and beg/borrow the Orphanware clock prototype from Herman Mason to definitively address Ron Mitchell's bug report.
See you next week!
Note: TWWMCA is archived. Back issues are available via
Files have the form wkyymmdd.txt, where yy=year, mm=month, dd=day.
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To: Will Nerini
From: Frances &/or Richard Clee <email@example.com>
Subject: A question about datapacks
Re datapacks: first let me declare my interest - I am a dealer software and accessories including far more brand-new silver- label datapacks in the original factory-sealed boxes than I really need - forget that on this particular item Phil Kosowsky probably has more.
That said, when Jack Leamy ended up in China with his Adam he was cut off from any source of supply for years, and indeed he did whip out his trusty double cassette tape recorder and made up datapacks from whatever make and quality of cassettes the Chinese market offered, and used them with satisfactory success. So there is no question that it can be done. But during my years as president of the Metro Toronto Adam Group, I heard and read a great deal on the subject. I did get my ear bent by a number of people who tried the same method and either weren't successful, or were successful but found that as time went by the non-Loran (Coleco) seemed to lose their formatting and thus accessibility sooner and more frequently than the real goods. Remember this is anecdotal evidence so evaluate it accordingly. For the record, Coleco and Loran always claimed (not without obvious self-interest) that the official datapacks were fund- amentally different. They said the tapes were low-bias because it worked better, that the base was made to run at the higher speeds of the Adam drive and endure the sudden stops and reverses without stretching or dropouts of oxide particles from the coating, and that the casing was made of Lexan to withstand the high levels of heat that a heavily-used tape drive can generate. This is probably true. And for all I know, Loran (they're in Warren, PA.) would probably still produce a custom run of datapacks if the quantity were right and there was any demand for them. I have Syd Carter's Megacopy set up in my backup Adam. It isn't without its faults; something makes it very reluctant to read and copy block 64 properly so it can be necessary to go over it a couple of times, or maybe use a block copier to reinforce it later. It is dreadfully slow, especially the version I have, though I recently acquired a later model actually built in to an Exp.3 CPU, but I haven't tried it yet. But the software is flexible, allowing the creation (as long as you have a master in that format) of regular or flippy tapes or right-directory games tapes. There are a fair few others in the Adam community who also still have operating Megacopy setups, I believe. So yes, you can putz around if you like and do things with a double-cassette recorder, or you can buy the original, or you can cut a deal with someone who has the Megacopy setup. All depends on what quality you want and how much you're willing to pay for it. - Rich Clee
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by Richard F. Drushel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I. Source Code for SmartBASIC 1.x.
This week's article will be very short, since most of my ADAM-related typing has been devoted to the object of the article. Namely, I have finished converting my regenerated source code for SmartBASIC 1.x into Z80ASM+ format. The com- pleted source assembles to give a binary identical to that which I got by BSAVEing the SB1.x memory block (with data areas being set to zero in the source, of course). The source is available as a PKZIP 2.04g archive for anonymous ftp at
When you unzip this, you'll get a biiiigggg file (481628 bytes) called SB1X20Y.ASM. This is an ASCII text version of the WordPerfect 5.0 document I used as the basis for my editing.
As I mentioned in the last TWWMCA, part of my rationale for releasing this source is so that it ends up in multiple copies in multiple locations, so some disaster here doesn't result in its being lost forever. So, if you have enough disk space (and connect time to download the 90K .ZIP archive), please grab it and squirrel it away somewhere.
The source is only partially commented, because I have not had time (since 1994, the last time I worked on it) to type in all the handwritten comments I have on the original hand- assembled source code (and the hand-commented disassembly of SmartBASIC 1.0 from January 1990 or so!). So, it clearly violates all the Good Programming Practices that I've harped on previously...but at the time I did the disassemblies and reverse-engineering, the only computer I had access to was my Tandy 2800HD 286-12MHz laptop with a 20 MB hard drive. On that same machine, it takes 12 minutes to assemble the SB1X20Y.ASM source to binary using Z80ASM+ under the Z80MU.EXE CP/M emulator.
Remember also that this source code has not been reorganized to get rid of the spaghetti leftovers from my patching, and also from the original spaghetti in SmartBASIC 1.0. The next step is to do this reorganization, which probably could reduce the size of the program by 2K at least, probably more. This extra space would become available as extra workspace for user programs, or else for extra features in SB1.x.
II. Next Time.
I don't know what's up for next time; goodness knows I have enough to do around here!
See you next week!
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Ron's Week'n'ADAM November 17, 1997
A mixed bag this week, along with my apologies for missing last week. Rich Clee and I were busy exchanging live whinings about the paucity of time in retirement. Go figure!
A few weeks back there was an article from here about Powerpaint file conversions. The idea was to get a head start on the prepar- ation of graphics for the annual multi-media Christmas card. Now, here I am, almost at panic time, and no further ahead. Looks like current contributions from the community will once again be supplemented with 2 colour RLE's and such original festive clip- art as I can find.
Before proceeding with my tale of woe, let me first remind readers that anyone wanting to submit Powerpaint screens for the annual Christmas greeting card should do so prior to ... oh, I don't know... Nov. 25th. You'll have to E-mail them to me. The threat of a Canadian postal walkout makes snail mail unadvisable at this point. I want to get the package done and on to Bob Slopsema by the end of the month so he in turn can give it ANN distribution.
Now... on the question of Powerpaint conversions, here's my problem. Put quite simply, I'm having trouble understanding what's out there. Quite dumb am I. Follow do I not. I've just sent Marcel de Kogel a message asking about the output files pro- duced by BMP2PP.EXE. The program exists in both Windows 95 and DOS versions, and does indeed appear to produce an output file from an input file. The latter is a bitmap, and the former appears to be a Powerpaint formatted file. When I transfer the output file to an ADAM disk however, and try to load it into Powerpaint, there is no joy in Mudville.
Now along with BMP2PP.EXE and PP2BMP.EXE there are a series of files whose job it is to perform the conversion of disk images, ADAM to IBM and presumably vice-versa. It is not clear to me at this stage whether the output from BMP2PP.EXE needs to be processed by one or more of these disk image converters. If anyone can shed some light on that, please do.
Meanwhile, Rich Drushel has also produced several articles in TWWMCA about the conversion between Powerpaint and TIFF RGB formats. Today I downloaded from his FTP site a pair of programs designed to convert Powerpaint formats to TIFFs. These appear to provide conversion in the direction opposite to what I'm looking for. So I've sent off a message to Rich to see if he has anything similar but for conversion from TIFF to Powerpaint.
Meanwhile, here I sit feeling really quite dense. I have a red and green map of Vancouver Island up on my Powerpaint. That was a conversion from BMP to RLE and then via Chris Braymens PC2ADAM program to an ADAM formatted disk. I like the results enough to feel reasonably optimistic about producing something nice from here for the Christmas card. But I would be even more optimistic if I wasn't confined to 2 colours.
Perhaps there's something I haven't read yet, or read but not understood. That's a distinct possibility.
I've been asked by a couple of people about sending files (programs, data, or text) by E-mail from a DOS box, but intended for an ADAM. This can be done, let me give you a 'for instance'. Bob Slopsema sent his Christmas card input to me over the internet as an attachment to a message which said (roughly paraphrased), here's my input to your output, don't bother me no more. (NOT) The attachments were saved into a directory I've got labelled "ANN-TMP" on my IBM. From there I copied them off onto a disk and copied them again to an ADAM formatted disk using Chris Braymen's ADAMDOS programs. The process is not difficult, but you have to remember what you're doing. When using Chris' programs, I continually forget to add a -T:x as a parameter at the end of the command line. In the case of Bob's two files which were both 10K binary format, the file type was B, and so the -T:x became -T:B. All of that finally produced a pair of files that Powerpaint read quite nicely. I think you'll enjoy the results.
So to make a long story even longer, there are at least 3 ways to get your Christmas card input to me. And you can send it from whatever type of computer pleases you, as long as your file is in Powerpaint format, either binary or Smartpaint formats.
1) Send as an attachment to an E-Mail message
2) Upload files to Bart Lynch's Assylum BBS, and advise me so I can go get them
3) Upload files to Compuserve and let me know so I can go get them
Just got the latest 463 ADAM for November 1997. Nice photo work. There are some first rate ADAMCON IX shots there. There was also an exchange of messages between Jerry Vrancks and Compuserve about the latter's suggestion that Jerry confine himself to access with WinCIM, Compuserve's graphic interface browser rather than using the 'older computer'. You can read the exact text for yourself in the quote which follows.
I felt compelled to reply myself. Here's my rant:
(Ron Mitchell) QUOTE
This represents the third attempt this evening to forward comments to you about an issue of concern to me: contacting you using the WinCim 3.01 graphics interface. My previous two attempts were sent using that interface via your "Write to Compuserve" option. In both instances I attempted to use Windows 95 dialup connection, it timed out while I was composing the message. In both cases I was re-connected, but I got no acknowledgement that the message had actually been sent. So I will now do what I should probably have done in the first place; prepare the message off line.
On to the point.
I have been a Compuserve subscriber for many years. I use your service to communicate regularly with a group of dear friends, owners of the Coleco ADAM home computer. There is a section of your Computer Club area which we regularly use for our corres- pondence and for a live chat conference each Sunday night. We are users of this computer. In addition, I have others including a Commodore 64, a Mac SE, and and IBM 486 DX4/120. I enjoy using them all at various times in accessing your service. My method of access depends upon my purposes at the time. Recently one of our ADAM owners who regularly publishes a news- letter for our benefit reported that he had received the follow- ing message from you:
(Jerry Vrancks) "Dear Compuserve Subscriber:
Our records show that you have accessed CSi on a IBM or MAC using WINCIM software but most of the time when you access CSi it's with an older computer at a much lower baud rate. We would encourage you to use the WinCIM software because you'll be able to access more of Compuserve's features."
(back to Ron) I certainly hope that this message is not reflective of some new policy that you have recently adopted. I for one do not wish to be restricted to the graphical mode of accessing compuserve. Neither do I wish to be told what equipment to use when access- ing your service. My reasons are as follows:
I live on Vancouver Island on Canada's west coast. My community is a small one where direct phone access to Compuserve is not available other than by long distance telephone. I have two methods of contacting you;
a) via telnet through my local Internet Service Provider, b) via a local public modem service employing DATAPAC. The latter operates at 2400 baud and lends itself more readily to the text mode of operation.
From my perspective, the text mode of operation is frequently faster and more efficient than the graphics mode. More specific- ally, I find use of WinCim 3.01 unsatisfactory and frustrating. My impressions are as follows:
1) Uploads and downloads are from here unreliable. On the past two occasions where I have attempted to download a 1.3 Meg file from your Macintosh section, your server timed out and cut me off part way through. Several times up to a year or so ago, I attempted to upload files to the Computer Club ADAM library, only to be informed by my fellow ADAMites that they were not properly received, even though I had received indication from WINCIM and your system that the upload process had been success- fully completed.
2) WinCIM's performance on my IBM clone is sluggish and dis- appointing. As earlier stated, my clone is a 486 dx/4 120. It has a 2 gig hard drive, 28 meg of RAM and a 33600 baud modem, and I am using Windows 95. When I contact Compuserve, WINCIM is the only process claiming the computer's resources, other than the dialup software and whatever is required to establish a connection. Excessive amounts of time seem to be spent in downloading overhead files such as graphics screens, radio buttons and the like. These operations get in my way. The layout of most WinCIM screens is cluttered, confusing and difficult to follow.
Moreover, during fall and winter evenings, my Internet Service Provider's facilities are frequently busy at the time when I want to log on for the Sunday night conference. It is therefore important to me to have an alternate means of communication for those times such as our regular Sunday night meeting online where I am expected to put in an appearance.
And finally in my view, there is the question of the restrictions you place on hobbyists by stating what you have said in the message previously quoted. As hobbyists, we like to try non- standard modes of operation, to use old equipment where that pleases us, and to make sure that those who cannot afford new equipment are not denied access to the internet. We therefore expriment extensively to find out what is possible and what is not. I want you to know that in my experience, access to the conference, forum, and mail features of Compuserve is faster, more dependable, and generally more satisfying using the text mode of operation than it is with WinCim. There are no extraneous displays presented on the screen to detract from the communications taking place. I for one would therefore be most unhappy if you were to discontinue the text mode of oper- ation. We ADAM owners have been using your service as a lifeline for many years. I hope that we can continue to do so.
Yours truly, Ron Mitchell
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October 29, 1997
Forget the "Year 2000" problem; that's nothing. I have a SmartBASIC 1.X problem, and it's happening right now.
I've installed SmartBASIC 1.X on two ADAM's side by side. The first is my original, the one with the 'heart' torn out of it. It has been equipped for some time with a Minnie Winnie harddrive, a 320k floppy, 256K memory expander, MIB2 interface, and Cybernex XL87D 80 column terminal. The second ADAM has a Micro Innovations IDE hard drive, an MIB3 Interface, 2 Orphan- ware serial ports, a 256K memory expander and a 160K disk drive. The serial display is a Thomson. Both 80 column displays behave quite well in response to Heath19 control codes. They're not an exact match, but they're close enough.
But here's the problem. My original ADAM is equipped with an Orphanware clock. The second ADAM (with the IDE drive) is equipped with a Dynomite Sound Digitizer cartridge complete with a clock chip. Of course SmartBASIC 1.x recognizes both, and SmartBASIC 1.X is easily configurable. All the user has to do is tell the program which clock is onboard. The date and time come up fine on boot up.
The difficulty seems to happen with the day of the week. My original ADAM thinks it's Thursday, October 29th. My second IDE ADAM thinks it's Friday, October 29th.
Of course neither ADAM is right. My calendar says, Wednes- day October 29th, and I trust my calendar.
You know what they say. When in doubt, read the (expletive deleted) manual.
On page 13 of the SmartBASIC 1.X Manual, it says that both time and date can be set with commands and syntax provided expressly for the purpose. So I went there, and did that. Both ADAMs then agreed to stop joking about and display the correct day of the week. Until I re-booted, at which point, the argue- ment resumed. "Thursday," says one. "No no, Friday," says the other.
In my heart of hearts, I still know it's Wednesday. I just tried it again. Booted SmartBASIC 1.X on both machines, and the debate rages on. There must be an answer.
Meanwhile. We will continue with SmartBASIC 1.X, because it looks like fun. Having read page 13 of Rich Drushel's 'fine' manual, I decided to have to fun..... not much fun, but just a little fun. Here's how it turned out.
0 REM Mighty Mitchell's BS Timer (All rights reserved) 1 REM 3 REM Screen Setup and Variable Initialization 5 REM 6 REM x1 = start time seconds - x2 = end time seconds 7 REM m1 = start time minutes - m2 = end time minutes 8 REM h1 = start time hours - h2 = end time hours - Not used here,yet! 9 REM o is a flag to indicate if a value overflow see lines 41 and 47 10 TEXT31 11 INVERSE 12 ? "Mighty Mitchell's BS Timer.....":NORMAL 13 ? "Any key to repeat the program" 14 ?:? "ESC to quit" 15 x1=TIME(1): x$=TIME$: m1=TIME(2): o=0: h1=TIME(3) 16 x2=0: y$="": m2=0: h2=0: o=0 17 REM 18 REM if you're timing your speech, start talking now 19 REM 20 LOCATE 10,1:? "Start Talking now. Press a " 21 ?:? "key when you stop." 30 GET a$ 40 x2=TIME(1) 41 IF x1>x2 THEN x2=x2+60: o=1 42 y$=TIME$: m2=TIME(2): h2=TIME(3) 44 LOCATE 14,5:? "start at ";x$ 46 LOCATE 17,5:? "end at ";y$ 47 bs=(m2-m1)*60-(o=1)*60+x2-x1 48 IF bs<0 THEN CLS:? "good....you found the bug. Now fix it!":END 50 LOCATE 20,5:? "seconds elapsed = ";bs 55 GET a$:IF a$=CHR THEN END 57 GOTO 10 58 REM 59 REM there are certain conditions under which the expression in line 47 60 REM does not produce the desired result. Challenge the user to find 61 REM them 65 REM 66 REM 67 REM Ron Mitchell, October 30, 1997 69 REM 70 REM 75 REM 80 REM It's Thursday night. The SB1.X DATEs are still 1 and 2 85 REM days out. One now says Friday, the other says Saturday. 90 REM Bummer!
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November 5, 1997
In the course of locating the SmartBASIC 1.X manual last week, I found a number of other books about ADAM. There was a time most of us will recall when commercial publishers actually put out a fair number of volumes on our beloved orphan. In fact, 1984 was a very good year. Those were the days before ADAM be- came an orphan.
It occurs to me that some of the newer ADAMites might not even know that this material exists, and I'm going to take this article to list what I have. I don't have as many as I used to.
I've given some away, and some served as donated ADAMCON prizes over the years. Following is a list of ADAM Books in my library along with a brief description of each one. Perhaps other readers will be able to add to it.
It should be noted at the outset that most books published about ADAM in 1984, covered pretty much the same ground. They were essentially treatises on BASIC programming which took the reader to the point where he or she could write SmartBASIC programs.
A number of fairly sophisticated applications were presented, but they were, almost without exception, written in SmartBASIC. Only a couple of volumes attempted any explanation of ADAM's sound capabilities, and none of the commercially available books did much to alert the user to some of SmartBASIC's inherent bugs.
These latter items were left to some highly talented hobbyists, whose work appeared during subsequent years, and will be dealt with in a subsequent article.
Without further adieu then, and in no particular order:
Word Processing With Your Coleco ADAM Carole Jelen Alden Sybex Computer Books, Copyright 1984 ISBN 0-89588 182-9 127 pages
This book covers everything you wanted to know about SmartWriter, but were afraid to ask. It is slanted to the needs of the family, and and provides help in creating 'Boilerplates', address books, and reports of various types. Explanations are illustrated with actual screen captures throughout the book.
I found a rather interesting page at the end of the book in a chapter that outlined future Coleco plans for ADAM expansion. Here's a quote:
"Many software packages will become available for ADAM in 1984 that will help you in your writing endeavours. A few of them are designed to be compatible with ADAM's built in word processor: Smart Spelling Checker, Smart Writing Checker, Smart Letters and Forms, and Smart Filer, all made by Coleco.'..(and further down.....)
"Smart Writing Checker is a program that will proofread your correspondence or reports to catch common errors such as double words, missing punctuation, wrong capitalization, and so on.
This program will be like a second reader to catch your errors."Interesting. Did anyone ever see that program?
The BASIC ADAM A Self-Teaching Guide William Abikoff, Gary Cornell John Wiley & Sons, Inc. copyright 1984 ISBN 0-471-80807-5 524 pages
This is my favourite, and I make no bones about it. It takes the reader from very basic SmartBASIC through to a rather complete sound and music editor with lots of programming examples in between. There is a complete explanation about filing, and writing files to the media (disk or datapack). There is an appendix dealing with the differences between ApplesoftBasic and SmartBASIC, and there are some special sections throughout the book called "Tricks of the Trade" which give you the inside scoop on what happens under certain programming circumstances that is perhaps not supposed to happen.
The Second Book of ADAM Using the SmartWriter Pamela J. Roth Que. Corporation, copyright 1984 ISBN 0-88022-066-X 244 pages
As I gaze upon the front page of this book, I cannot help but chuckle only a little. The ADAM is pictured in the background on one of the most neatly arranged computer tables I've ever seen in my life. There is even a bowl of fruit. The SmartWriter printer is pictured front and centre with a printed page inserted.
The header is boldfaced and centred
There is a stack of envelopes next to the printer, the top one of which is neatly typed with both the address and the return address shown exactly where they should be.
Did anyone really ever achieve this with an ADAM printer? I shall hold my tongue. This basic level book deals with Smart- writer only, at a level which I found not too useful. The First Book of ADAM (referred to below under 'missing') is the compan- ion to this two volume set. It deals in very elementary fashion with SmartBASIC programming. I had both volumes at one point. We'll let these two go without further comment.
The Coleco ADAM Entertainer Brian Sawyer Osborne McGraw-Hill, copyright 1984 ISBN 0-88134-134-7 190 pages
This volume presents a series of 30 programs each of which is fully explained, line by line. There is a technical descrip- tion, a list of important variables along with the function of each, and a program description that explains line by line what is happening at all points in each program. There are two appendices at the end of the book which provide quite readable explanations of ADAMUs graphics modes and the Shape Table procedure.
I recall typing in several of the programs in this book including the Shape Maker program in chapter 17. All were quite satisfying at the time.
Programming ADAM Home Applications in the BASIC Language Edward B. Claflin and John A. Heil Banbury Books, Inc., copyright 1984 ISBN 0-88693-034-0 321 pages
This book is a basic text on programming. No attempt made to explain the more advanced features of ADAM such as the sound chip or the graphics modes. It deals only with text programming. I keep this book not so much for its content, but for the memories it brings to mind each time I pick it up. It was the first ADAM book that I found in the Ottawa Public Library. I immediately siezed it and headed for the checkout desk. That day, I was stopped by a total stranger before getting to the library desk, and I met for the first time a gent who was to become a very good friend, Doug Paterson who is still resident in Ottawa. Doug noticed the ADAM book tucked under my arm, and proceeded to introduce himself. Another ADAMite.
Up to that point I had been totally alone in the world. After that point, things changed significantly. Doug had met others, a fellow named Tony Morehen, and another chap.... Guy Cousineau. Doug clued me in about the existance of an ADAM user group there in Ottawa that had just been started by a 17 year old student. The group was the ADAM User Friendly Group. I sub- sequently became the it's President. The rest, as they say, is history. So this book carries for me some special memories.
32 Basic Programs for the Coleco ADAM Tom Rugg and Phil Feldman Dilithium Press, copyright 1984 ISBN 0-88056-141-6 274 pages
This book made the rounds amongst many popular home computers of the period. The authors took their 32 programs to various platforms. I have one other copy for either the VIC20 or the TRS80, (can't quite recall which), but it's the same exact 32 programs.
There are games, there are home business applications and there are educational programs. Each comes complete with a description of what the program does, a program listing, and an explanation of the main routines and variables. At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for improvement, allowing the user to change the program if desired.
How To Use the Coleco ADAM Jerry Willis Diluthium Press, copyright 1984 ISBN 0-88056-149-1 118 pages
For me, this one appeared under the Christmas tree in 1984 along with the ADAM. It is a very basic text on BASIC programm- ing, although the first few chapters cover ADAM setup and use of the Smartwriter.
This particular book, to my mind, is notable for the history it provides in chapter 9. I'm going to quote here a fairly sizeable passage which seems to 'tell it all'.
Chapter 9, page 101. "Selecting Hardware and Software for the ADAM" "Normally, this chapter in the Dilithium Press How- to-Use series would be a long one for two reasons. First, many home computers are sold unbundled, which means the box you take home only has part of the equipment, or hardware, you need to set up a fully functional computer system. For owners of unbundled systems, this chapter offers lots of information on how to select the optional, but essential equipment needed to make the computer a useable system.
"The Commodore 64, for example, does not come with a printer or any means of mass storage; the IBM PC does not even have the video circuits needed to output information to a video monitor or television, and the Apple IIe includes neither a printer nor the curcuits needed to interface a printer to the system. Coleco should be commended for bundling its computer into an inexpensive, but functioning system. You can take the computer home, unpack it, and start computing. You don't have to worry about finding an optional circuit card that will work with the printer you want to buy or make decisions on whether or not to go with audio cassette or disk drive storage. You can start computing more quickly. And I can write a shorter chapter.
"That is the positive side of things. There is also a negative side to the brevity of this chapter. Routinely it might include lots of information on the software available for the computer under discussion. Have you ever wondered how companies like Apple can announce a new model like the Macintosh at a press conference one day and the next day 15 or 20 software companies also have announced software that runs on the new computer? The answer is simple. Apple provides established software companies with pre-production prototypes of its new models along with thick technical manuals that describe the inner workings of the new machine. Many companies provide the equipment free of charge because they know the success of their computers are, to a great extent, dependent on the availability of lots of software.
"Unfortunately for owners of the ADAM, Coleco did not follow this pattern. Companies that were willing to pay a deposit of more than $500 were fortunate enough to be put on Coleco's waiting list for a machine. The company shipped machines to the toy distributors before it dealt with requests from software companies. Of those that refused to give up in disgust over difficulties in dealing with Coleco, a great many actually bought their ADAMs at places like Toys R Us. Many companies that tried to get a pre-production ADAM in the summer of 1983 event- ually got a machine in December of that year at a toy discount store. Unfortunately, those six months the software developers went without a machine (and help from the company) were six months owners have had to wait to buy software those companies could have produced. In addition, there is very little tech- nical information on how ADAM works internally. That type of information is essential for software developers who want to develop sophisticated software for the computer. These factors produce a discouraging short-term picture for ADAM software While other competing machines such as the Commodore 64 can boast the availability of more than 1,000 programs, the ADAM probably will be a slow starter in the software race.
"Coleco executives insist they have many excellent programs in production now, but not one computer manufacturer has ever been able to meet the software demand for its machine. The company that tried the hardest to keep the software market for its computer to itself is Texas Instruments. It is now out of the home computer market after losing hundreds of millions of dollars. The company that tries the hardest to help other companies devel- op software for its products is Apple, a company that grew from a shoestring operation to a billion-dollar company. Coleco patterned its BASIC after Apple's BASIC, but it is a pity Coleco didn't consider adopting some of Apple's corporate policies as well." Interesting stuff. Remember, the foregoing paragraphs were written in s by Darren La Batt)
Tab Books, copyright 1984 ISBN 0-8306-0716-1 114 pages
As the title implies, this is a beginner's level book aimed at the new user with little or no programming experience. It presents a series of programs each of which is fully explained and illustrated. The user should have little trouble in following along, (assuming of course that you can find the book).
There is a rather interesting philosophy expressed in thefirst few lines of this book. It's one that we've been talking about here recently, and one which in our day and age seems to have gone by the boards. Pity.
"......... In fact, with the purchase of this book, you are also getting a large number of programs which would normally cost you quite a bit of money at a software store. Second, this is a book which will help teach you how to use your ADAM home computer effectively, since you are the person who is going to be typing in the programs, learning about the programs as you type them into the computer, and running these programs to see the result of your efforts. Last, this book has the purpose of teaching you a method of programming and explaining how you too can make your own programs - and perhaps even sell them for a profit."
This was an era when program listings used to appear in magazines. The user typed them in and made them work. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: too bad this sort of thing fell by the wayside. We live in a society now that demands instant perfection and will tolerate nothing less.
Discovering Science on Your ADAM With 25 Programs by the Talcott Mountain Science Centre
John Pellino, Mary Ellen Adamo, Sandra Dobrowlsky, Donald P.
(see part # 2 for the rest of the article)
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Discovering Science on Your ADAM With 25 Programs by the Talcott Mountain Science Centre John Pellino, Mary Ellen Adamo, Sandra Dobrowlsky, Donald P. LaSalle, Ph.D. TAB Books, copyright 1984 ISBN 0-8306-0780-3 181 pages
Life is an adventure. Here we have adventures in Astronomy and Space Science, Adventures in Earth Science, Adventures in Life Science, Adventures in Mathematics and Computer Science, and Adventures in Physics. The book comes complete with programs for forecasting weather, measuring your weight on other planets, triangulation, metric conversion, and many more. The illustrations are homespun, but effective. The book is slanted towards kids learning science, which is described on the first page, headed "For Kids Only", as "The process of doing your best with your brain to find out about the world around you. "
The second page, headed "For Parents Only", ends with a Chinese
I hear, and I forget I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand
There are two other ADAM books that I used to have, one of which was mentioned previously. The First Book of ADAM produced by Que Publishing, used to appear quite regularly in boxes of ADAM gear that appeared at my apartment doorstep. In those days, my reputation was such that castoffs from afar ended up either in the dumpster, or in my living room. Part of the fun was not so much the computers themselves, but the 'goodies', including books, that came with them.
The other title deserves more attention. Regrettably, I gave my last copy away some time ago:
ADAMUs Companion authors: Rochester and Benson (first names forgotten).
Perhaps someone else can furnish the publisher, ISBN number and a short description of this book. In Guy Cousineau's view, this was the best of the commercially available books of 1984. As I recall, it provided a full explanation of ADAM's sound and graphics routines, along with with some rather sophisticated generic BASIC routines that could be used in more than one program. The book featured a complete Mail List program which, as I recall had a bug that caused the ADAM tape drive to spin endlessly under certain circumstances where you were attempting to store revised data to tape. If I recall correctly, somebody provided a fix for that particular bug.
At any rate, 1984 was certainly a very good year.
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A friend of mine has passed this funny poem on to me, and I am passing it on to you. I wish I knew who wrote it so that I could give them proper credit for their effort. Unfortunately I can't, because I don't(know who wrote it). Anyway, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
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WHAT IF DR. SUESS DID TECHNICAL WRITING?
If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort, and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.
If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash, then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash.
If the label on the cable on the table at your house says the network is connected to the button on your mouse but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol, that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall, and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse, then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 'cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!
When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk, and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk, then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM, Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!
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A 32 bit adaptation of a 16 bit overlay for an 8 bit operating system written for a 4 bit CPU by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.
And there you have it folks! A fair and UNBIASED opinion from the average man on the street! And that man is NOT Bill Gates!
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