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Author Topic: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer) (Read 75919 times)

Online BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #270 on: 2013.June.19. 13:16:26 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
Prototype TVC Sprite module
The page say it is developed in UK. And planned the final version with custom IC-s, but this is never happened.
Bruce, do you know anything about it?

The wired Enterprise prototypes looked similar?
Very interesting...I do not know anything about it! It is possible the IS hardware engineers developed it but I was not involved and do not recall seeing it. By then though hardware was in the basement and software upstairs, all in quite a large building, so it is possible.

But yes, the Enterprise wire-wrapped prototypes looked similar to this (but with even more wires! :twisted:)

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #271 on: 2013.June.26. 09:37:37 »
Bruce!
Can you remember which floppy drives used for the EXDOS developing?
It is a lot of different models?
The EXDOS manual have a list of tested drives (8 3.5", 3 5.25"), these tested at the IS? Or in IS used only few drives, and others tested by the Enterprise company?

Ok, you can't remember about the model numbers :oops: but can you remember how these drives looked out?
3.5 or 5.25, full or half height? If 5.25 then a older "central lock" mechanism drive, or later with turnable lock arm?
If 3.5 then with a big eject button, or a smaller (like as the modern drives)? Button have a any color?

Why I ask it: previously we talked about the EXDOS Disk Change detection, you noted the EXDOS not works fast as possible probably because the hw Disk Change detection not used. Then I answered yes, it is disabled by default, and can be enabled if all drive use compatible method. But nobody know which drives compatible...

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #272 on: 2013.June.26. 11:06:16 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
Can you remember which floppy drives used for the EXDOS developing?
It is a lot of different models?

Ok, you can't remember about the model numbers
:oops: but can you remember how these drives looked out?
3.5 or 5.25, full or half height? If 5.25 then a older "central lock" mechanism drive, or later with turnable lock arm?
If 3.5 then with a big eject button, or a smaller (like as the modern drives)? Button have a any color?
No, not the exact makes/models! It was a mixture of 5.25" and 3.25", 40 track and 80 track. 3.25" were fairly new on the market - it was the first time I has seen one. I think they were full height with the big eject button. Sorry I did not pay too much attention to the colour or 5.25" door catch! :oops:

Quote
The EXDOS manual have a list of tested drives (8 3.5", 3 5.25"), these tested at the IS? Or in IS used only few drives, and others tested by the Enterprise company?
I would say we had fewer 3.5" drives than that for s/w development so someone else must have done more compatibility testing, but the list probably includes the drives we developed with. I would think it was Enterprise Computers but I can't actually recall - if IS had the drives they would have ended up with s/w development!

Quote
Why I ask it: previously we talked about the EXDOS Disk Change detection, you noted the EXDOS not works fast as possible probably because the hw Disk Change detection not used. Then I answered yes, it is disabled by default, and can be enabled if all drive use compatible method. But nobody know which drives compatible...
I would think all later 3.5" drives have it - even 30 years ago most did but we did have at least one that did not support it. But there may have been some confusion later with a minor change in cable pinout? Or was that when HD disks were introduced? I can't quite remember. :oops:  I don't think it is possible to detect whether a drive supports it from s/w :oops: which is why it is disabled by default (safe option).

If you DIR you will see a small pause before the number of free bytes is displayed. If you DIR a second time the pause will not be there if the disk change signal is working and enabled (provided you have enough buffers for the FATs to be in memory, presumably!).

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #273 on: 2013.June.26. 14:34:46 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
3.25" were fairly new
Not a 3.5" ? :oops:
3.25" also existed!

Quote
I think they were full height with the big eject button.
Teac FD-35?

Two version (360K/720K) are in the EXDOS manual list.

Quote
I would think all later 3.5" drives have it - even 30 years ago most did but we did have at least one that did not support it. But there may have been some confusion later with a minor change in cable pinout?
When the PC/AT introduced, then changed the pinout, then went the Disk Change from pin2 to pin34.

But the EXDOS have a another signal: at pin1 Disk Change Reset
Very strange because signal at odd pin! (these are usaly GND) And about the 99.9999999...% of the drives not have this signal.
I started the investigation about this signal.
Then found the idea of this signal come from the original Sony Microfloppy drive.
But it is have a different (26pin) cable pinout. (And as we talked previously: it is 600rpm drive, can't used with standard EXDOS card and 4Mhz Z80)

At this page found something from a Sony drive with 34pin interface, and it is have a Disk Change Reset at pin1. (these Sony drives also have a big eject button)

Only one non Sony drive found with this signal, Panasonic JU-363

The EXDOS manual say only the Sony MPX-026R compatible with hw disk change checking of the EXDOS.
But unfortunately not found anything about this drive, the Google only found it in the EXDOS manual...

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #274 on: 2013.June.26. 16:00:14 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
Not a 3.5" ? :oops:
3.25" also existed!
Teac FD-35?
(Attachment Link)
Two version (360K/720K) are in the EXDOS manual list.
When the PC/AT introduced, then changed the pinout, then went the Disk Change from pin2 to pin34.

But the EXDOS have a another signal: at pin1 Disk Change Reset
Very strange because signal at odd pin! (these are usaly GND) And about the 99.9999999...% of the drives not have this signal.
I started the investigation about this signal.
Then found the idea of this signal come from the original Sony Microfloppy drive.
But it is have a different (26pin) cable pinout. (And as we talked previously: it is 600rpm drive, can't used with standard EXDOS card and 4Mhz Z80)

At this page found something from a Sony drive with 34pin interface, and it is have a Disk Change Reset at pin1. (these Sony drives also have a big eject button)

Only one non Sony drive found with this signal, Panasonic JU-363

The EXDOS manual say only the Sony MPX-026R compatible with hw disk change checking of the EXDOS.
But unfortunately not found anything about this drive, the Google only found it in the EXDOS manual...
Yes 3.5! :oops: I don't recall anything to do with the reset signal :( but I did not write the low-level disk driver so did not have much to do with the disk change signal at all really. If there is no reset signal, how does the disk changed indicator get reset again?

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #275 on: 2013.June.26. 16:03:04 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
If there is no reset signal, how does the disk changed indicator get reset again?
I tried some modern drives, these reseted by head steping.

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #276 on: 2013.June.26. 21:50:57 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
The EXDOS manual say only the Sony MPX-026R compatible with hw disk change checking of the EXDOS.
Have you ever seen one? If the EXDOS manual is the ONLY place that google finds that model number, I wonder if it is a mistake in the EXDOS manual?!

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #277 on: 2013.June.26. 22:06:06 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
Have you ever seen one?
No :-(

Quote
If the EXDOS manual is the ONLY place that google finds that model number, I wonder if it is a mistake in the EXDOS manual?!
I tried to playing with letters (for example MPF instead MPX) but not found anything similar :-(
In the EXDOS manual at two pages this model number, once at the tested drives and once at talking about disk change signal.

But I have another drives which are also can not be found on the internet. Then I think also possible this drive exist but not uploaded any info about it :-(

Anyway I try to use disk change informations from the first Sony Microdrive manual. And if I understood how works the EXDOS disk change detection then possible to modify for the modern drives. Both pin2 and pin34 of floppy cable can be readed on the EXDOS card, then no hw modification needed.

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #278 on: 2013.June.26. 22:09:23 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
I tried to playing with letters (for example MPF instead MPX) but not found anything similar :-(
Me too! :evil:

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #279 on: 2013.August.22. 22:05:58 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
This is more interesting! Talking about the next prototype model, 320K not a surprise, but what is on the photo??? It is looks very ugly after the original models!
Now I successfully bought this magazine and made a high resolution scan of this photo. This machine is really labelled as Enterprise! :shock: But I think the Monsterprise would be a better name :twisted:
« Last Edit: 2013.August.23. 11:02:10 by szipucsu »

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #280 on: 2013.August.23. 11:38:16 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
But I think the Monsterprise would be a better name :twisted:
:smt044

At the time the membrane keyboard always seemed to be a source of criticism for the Enterprise not having a "proper" keyboard like some competitors. Personally I think it is ok, but I cannot touch type. But then how many home computer users could?

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #281 on: 2013.August.23. 12:05:10 »
It would be great to have enough information to at least approximate the design and build a "next gen EP" :) However software is another issue, has anybody information (or even ROM images?) about the software of the "Monsterprise" ...?

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #282 on: 2013.August.23. 12:10:56 »
Quote from: lgb
has anybody information (or even ROM images?) about the software of the "Monsterprise" ...?
I certainly haven't; I hadn't even heard of it until zozo told me about it on this wonderful forum :)

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #283 on: 2013.August.23. 12:27:45 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
:smt044

At the time the membrane keyboard always seemed to be a source of criticism for the Enterprise not having a "proper" keyboard like some competitors. Personally I think it is ok, but I cannot touch type. But then how many home computer users could?
I never understand this, because as I know, most of the keyboards uses the membrane technology, and not in the past but now too. The problem is the quality I think: EP has bad quality membranes...?
Vigyázat! Szektás vagyok! :)

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #284 on: 2013.August.23. 12:33:13 »
Quote from: endi
I never understand this, because as I know, most of the keyboards uses the membrane technology, and not in the past but now too. The problem is the quality I think: EP has bad quality membranes...?
Yes I agree, and membrane technology has improved too. But at the time there was the IBM PC which had an excellent keyboard and the BBC micro etc which had pretty good keyboards. The Enterprise keyboard feels a bit "rough" in comparison as you press a key - I think it's not so much the membrane but the way the keys are held in place. On the other hand there was the Spectrum...