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Floppies_only
March 11th, 2008, 06:55 PM
Hi Everybody,

I just wanted to ask a couple of questions to follow up on my IBM-Commodore compatibility thread. First is if the Commodore 64 operating system supports plain text files the way IBM PC DOS does? The second is is there a way to send those text files through a null modem cable to the PC?

Thanks,
Sean

NathanAllan
March 11th, 2008, 08:53 PM
Hiya,
I found this and it seems pretty nifty.

"Other ways to move files to/from the Commodore include using a NULL modem between the two computers, or if you want to use the PC as a file server (so you can load CBM files that are on the PC - but do so while using your Commodore), there's 64Net. This requires a special cable that connects to the USER port on the Commodore and any parallel printer port on the PC."

http://ftp.videocam.net.au/cbm/xplatform/64nt8265.zip

That's one thing, and here's another:

http://www.portcommodore.com/interfaces.php

that is for a null modem to go from PC <-> C= but it takes a program called star commander-- though something else may have been developed. I think there's something called novaterm for the C=.

Commodores are fun! Frustrating sometimes, but fun!

Not sure about the text files. Have to look it up...

Nathan

/edit Found a text converter. Please see this file:
http://www.funet.fi/pub/cbm/crossplatform/converters/msdos/cbm2asc_11.zip

I hope this helps!

carlsson
March 12th, 2008, 08:22 AM
The Commodore 64 mainly works with PETSCII, which is similar but not identical to ASCII. The main difference is that in lower case mode, you will have a-z before A-Z unlike in ASCII where upper case letters always are located before lower case.

The converter posted by Nathan may work fine. Without it, your text may look a bit scrambled at best:

sOMETHING LIKE THIS, IF YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT i MEAN. nO, MY cAPS lOCK IS NOT STUCK, i'M WRITING THIS FOR ILLUSTRATION.

wiskow
March 12th, 2008, 03:22 PM
DesTerm 2.01, a powerful terminal program for the Commodore 128, does an excellent job at converting text files between ASCII and PETSCII. It's what I use with the C64/128 BBS List. I write the list in Windows using Notepad, then transfer the file to my C128, use DesTerm to convert it to PETSCII, transfer that file back to the Windows PC, and then upload both versions to my server. There's a D81 disk image of DesTerm available for download on my website at http://cottonwood.servebbs.com/wiskow


The converter posted by Nathan may work fine. Without it, your text may look a bit scrambled at best:

sOMETHING LIKE THIS, IF YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT i MEAN. nO, MY cAPS lOCK IS NOT STUCK, i'M WRITING THIS FOR ILLUSTRATION.

Carlsson, that's what an ASCII file will look like if viewed with a normal PETSCII text file viewer on a Commodore computer. Viewing a PETSCII file with an ASCII file viewer is a bit different... For example, here's what the first paragraph of the C64/128 BBS List (http://cottonwood.servebbs.com/cbm-bbs-list.txt) looks like in ASCII:


Commodore 64/128 Bulletin Board List - 29 February 2008

This is a list of all known ACTIVE Commodore Bulletin BoardSystems operated
on GENUINE or EMULATED Commodore 64 or 128 computers. This list is sorted by
dial-up/Telnet and BBS name. This list is published with no set schedule,
whenever additions or deletions need to be made. The latest copy is always
available at:
http://cottonwood.servebbs.com/cbm-bbs-list.txt
(normally within minutes of arriving at the servers).

And here's that same paragraph from the PETSCII version of the list (http://cottonwood.servebbs.com/cbm-bbs-list.seq), as it appears in ASCII without conversion:


√OMMODORE 64/128 ¬ULLETIN ¬OARD ŐIST - 29 ∆EBRUARY 2008

‘HIS IS A LIST OF ALL KNOWN Ń√‘…÷Ň √OMMODORE ¬ULLETIN ¬OARD”YSTEMS OPERATED
ON «Ňő’…őŇ OR ŇÕ’ŐŃ‘Ňń √OMMODORE 64 OR 128 COMPUTERS. ‘HIS LIST IS SORTED BY
DIAL-UP/‘ELNET AND ¬¬” NAME. ‘HIS LIST IS PUBLISHED WITH NO SET SCHEDULE,
WHENEVER ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS NEED TO BE MADE. ‘HE LATEST COPY IS ALWAYS
AVAILABLE AT:
HTTP://COTTONWOOD.SERVEBBS.COM/CBM-BBS-LIST.TXT
(NORMALLY WITHIN MINUTES OF ARRIVING AT THE SERVERS).

So you see... Lowercase charachters become uppercase, and uppercase charachters come out as pure crap. hehehehehe

Hope this helps... :)

-Andrew

carlsson
March 12th, 2008, 04:09 PM
Hm.. something is not right here. Probably it is my mind that is screwed up.

ASCII 65 = "A" (always), ASCII 97 = "a" (always)
PETSCII 65 = "A" in upper/graphics mode, but "a" in lower/upper mode
PETSCII 97 = Spades graphical symbol in U/G mode, but "A" in L/U mode

Am I thinking wrongly here? What you call "pure crap" are 8-bit characters with the high bit set. I thought in PETSCII that represents inverse characters, and could be represented in a long row of different ways depending on the video mode, graphics mode, character set and so on.

In any case, conversion is required. When the original poster asked about transferring files before, it almost sound like Sean wanted to pursue word processing on a C64 and once finished transfer the files to a PC. No matter how much I like my Commodore computers, as of today it would appear absurd and impractical to do something like that. Perhaps he already has a few disks full of old word processor files that are subject to be transferred and converted.

Floppies_only
March 12th, 2008, 06:40 PM
>When the original poster asked about transferring files before, it almost >sound like Sean wanted to pursue word processing on a C64 and once >finished transfer the files to a PC.

You get the gold star. That's exactly what I want to do. Write a chapter of my book and then print it out with the rest on the PC.

>Perhaps he already has a few disks full of old word processor files that >are subject to be transferred and converted.

No, I am trying to see if buying an old Commodore 64 is a good idea. I've never used one before.

Boy, the signal to noise ratio on this forum sure is good. You ask a question and you get five answers. I love it :)

Sean

wiskow
March 12th, 2008, 09:04 PM
Hm.. something is not right here. Probably it is my mind that is screwed up.

ASCII 65 = "A" (always), ASCII 97 = "a" (always)
PETSCII 65 = "A" in upper/graphics mode, but "a" in lower/upper mode
PETSCII 97 = Spades graphical symbol in U/G mode, but "A" in L/U mode

Am I thinking wrongly here? What you call "pure crap" are 8-bit characters with the high bit set. I thought in PETSCII that represents inverse characters, and could be represented in a long row of different ways depending on the video mode, graphics mode, character set and so on.

Hmm... Maybe it's just the way that Windows converts the file that turns it into crap... All I know is what I showed you above... As for the "why"... well, thinking about it too much is bound to give me a headache. ;)


No, I am trying to see if buying an old Commodore 64 is a good idea. I've never used one before.

A good idea? Definately. Commodores are wonderful machines. But is it practical for what you're trying to do? Probably not.


Boy, the signal to noise ratio on this forum sure is good. You ask a question and you get five answers. I love it :)

Hehehehe... If you like the signal to noise ratio here, you ought to try the Lemon64 Forums (http://www.lemon64.com/forum/index.php). ;)

-Andrew

carlsson
March 12th, 2008, 11:36 PM
Frankly, I think you'll have more joy if you draw the front cover to your book in some C64 drawing program like Doodle, KoalaPaint, Advanced Art Studio and so on. Those images can relatively well be converted without loss in quality (duh!) and once printed it will quite immediately show that you've used some sort of vintage computer to produce the book. A chapter of text, unless typecast in the C64 charset, will look no more different than text you wrote on the PC. You're just giving yourself a little bit of headache how to convert the text in the best possible way.

Besides, there probably were a dozen text-based word processors for the 64, not counting graphical ones and geoWrite. They may all have different capacities and some might be able to "export" files to pure text minus formatting commands. If not, you have to choose between discarding many of the features that makes a word processor something more than a text editor, or get even more headache processing or filtering the embedded command codes. :-D

Floppies_only
March 18th, 2008, 06:53 PM
Frankly, I think you'll have more joy if you draw the front cover to your book in some C64 drawing program like Doodle, KoalaPaint, Advanced Art Studio and so on. Those images can relatively well be converted without loss in quality (duh!) and once printed it will quite immediately show that you've used some sort of vintage computer to produce the book.

[Grin] We have people for that. The cover of a book has to draw the potential buyer in, has to say what the book is about in a single picture to get them to read the blurb on the back or the inside. My book isn't about vintage computers so the picture will have to be something different.

Vintage computers will be mentioned, though. The quality and specialness of the experience will be written into the story. I already planned that.


Besides, there probably were a dozen text-based word processors for the 64, not counting graphical ones and geoWrite. They may all have different capacities and some might be able to "export" files to pure text minus formatting commands. If not, you have to choose between discarding many of the features that makes a word processor something more than a text editor, or get even more headache processing or filtering the embedded command codes. :-D

At first I was thinking of a John F. Kennedy (U.S.A. president, early '60s) quote. "I propose that we go to the moon and do the other things. Not because they are easy but because they are hard." But it became clear to me that beating my head against a wall just wasn't practical. And this isn't a race to show that capitalism is better than communism.

So here's what I decided: I will buy a Commodore computer, and I will enter my forty pages of notes into geoWrite and print them out. This will save me from forgetting what they mean because my handwriting is so bad. I'm sure that any publisher who puts my book out won't want to put a picture of the computer in the book, but I can put in a link to a webpage with it, perhaps Wikipedia's page. That way people will know that I used a twenty five year old computer to make the book. And I will tell them that the book is "green", because the computers I used to write it all use much less power than modern ones do and because they are not taking up space in a landfill or poisoning the environment in China, where a lot of e-waste winds up.

I feel that everybody will be satisfied with this solution :)

Sean

Bungo Pony
March 31st, 2008, 09:46 AM
If you write text on the C-64 and save them as sequential files, you can transfer them to your PC using 64net (connecting your 1541 floppy drive to your PC's parallel port) and retrieve them with the Star Commander which has an option to view files.

I've got a blog entry on this here:

http://classicalgasemissions.blogspot.com/2008/02/another-journal-going-public.html

You will likely have to clean up the formatting a bit, but all the text will be there.

NathanAllan
March 31st, 2008, 12:33 PM
If you write text on the C-64 and save them as sequential files, you can transfer them to your PC using 64net (connecting your 1541 floppy drive to your PC's parallel port) and retrieve them with the Star Commander which has an option to view files.

I've got a blog entry on this here:

http://classicalgasemissions.blogspot.com/2008/02/another-journal-going-public.html

You will likely have to clean up the formatting a bit, but all the text will be there.
Yes, any book publisher will want to have a "soft" copy as well as the printed pages. My buddy does this on the side for a local author, he tells me these things. *Must* have, as he puts it, with emphasis.

Micom 2000
April 12th, 2008, 10:34 PM
On the PortCommodore site Nathan mentions in his post they have a Disclaimer:

NOTE: Make sure to use the right cable for your computer's hardware, the original X1541 cable can prove damaging to modern PC parallel ports. And Linux operating systems are limited to the XM1541 cable configuration.

I have an X1541 cable I acquired some time ago from "Vintage Micro-Computers" in Virginia Beach. Does anyone know what the problem was ?

Lawrence

carlsson
April 13th, 2008, 01:01 AM
I didn't know it can damage your parallel port, just that it won't work? The difference between X1541 and XE1541 is that four Schottky diodes were added so data wouldn't flow everywhere. The XM1541 is the same as XE1541, except that two lines have been swapped because a PC has limited interrupt control on the parallel port. Windows NT and Linux kernals work differently from earlier OS when it comes to handling this port. I read somewhere that it might be possible to install a hacked parallel port driver to let Windows use an XE cable, but I dunno how stable it will be.

On top of those cables, you have the slightly more advanced cables like XA1541 and a bunch of hybrid/parallel cables for use with hacked disk drives that have their own parallel interface (i.e. disk speeders). The XA cable uses resistors instead of diodes and is supposedly the most compatible one.

Bungo Pony
April 14th, 2008, 06:05 AM
I have an X1541 cable I acquired some time ago from "Vintage Micro-Computers" in Virginia Beach. Does anyone know what the problem was ?

I have no clue. I built my own cable from a schematic on the net. If I kill my my parallel port, I can only blame myself :)

For some reason, Win98 recognizes my 1541 floppy drive as a printer.

Goggles2114
June 4th, 2012, 09:10 PM
It's been a few years for this thread and I do apologize. However the whole 'get file written in Commodore Word Processor to be visable/editable on a computer' is something I"m looking into. Is there any progress on this front?

MikeS
June 4th, 2012, 10:03 PM
It's been a few years for this thread and I do apologize. However the whole 'get file written in Commodore Word Processor to be visable/editable on a computer' is something I"m looking into. Is there any progress on this front?Umm... Which model Commodore? Which word processor? What medium?

Goggles2114
June 4th, 2012, 10:11 PM
Derp.

Original Commodore (breadbox.) I have no idea which word processor (don't have one, best options here would dictate what I try grabbing) and the target box would be a linux machine (I would /REALLY/ like ot try pulling down to my netbook, but since it's not likely to have a USB solution, or one that would work with an SD card I'll only list that as a preferred machine, the other option would be a windows 7 box with a printer port, seriel port (looks like a female vga plug.)

I'd think the Ultimate 1541 would do the job (Save what I'm working on to the SD card being used) but I don't know if the computer could read it. Also don't know if there are any other 'use SD card as if it were a disk/harddrive' solutions or if any of them save in such a way that I could access the actual files on a non-commodore system. With just a little light browsing I know it could be done since there's converter programs around for windows. I just know I"m very in the dark on the matter (haven't looked till now because up till recently my chances of landing a commodore have been Nil.)

MikeS
June 4th, 2012, 10:35 PM
Well, the "original Commodore" would be a KIM, followed by several dozen different models of the PET and CBM, then the VIC-20, C64 and 128, a few more versions of the PET and finally the Amiga; I'll assume that you think that the world started with the C64 ;-)

What exactly do you want to do? Read existing disks/tapes/files or create new text ("what I'm working on") on a computer that you don't have yet with a word processor that you don't have either?

This might be of interest:

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?31068-Which-modern-peripheral-for-C64-C128

Where are you BTW?

Goggles2114
June 5th, 2012, 06:57 AM
Oi vey. Sorry. When I say 'original' Commodore. I meant the original C64 since that's what I'm looking at buying (would actually kinda like the C64-DTV modded, but those things just don't come on the market anymore, which is a real shame.... and no I don't know how to solder, shakey hands.) Never owned a Commodore before so it'd be for 'new' material written on the Commodore that I'd want transferred over to the PC in a form that Open Office/Abiword/etc could read and the output not be garbage, or something I'd have to go through for a few days doing cleanup.

What other info am I not providing that's needed? Just so new to the whole retro/vintage-computing thing I don't know what I need to know to ask proper questions I suppose and i don't like contributing to the noise here since there's a lot of informative and helpful folk here. You've got better things to do.

As to where i am. Mcminville TN (really do need to update my profile.) So far as I've been able to tell there's like 'one' expo/show/etc in my general area, and it happened a couple weeks back (wasn't able to attend.)

carlsson
June 5th, 2012, 08:08 AM
As long as you only enter plain text with line breaks and blank lines for new paragraphs, you will only need to worry about the PETSCII to ASCII conversion, see previous page.

Once you use more advanced features in the various C64 word processors, like embedding control codes to select bold text, start new page, chapter, set page margins, perhaps select font face on the printer and so on, it is when you will get some headache unless the word processor of your choice can export to a known format. If you search Google for "nogames64", you will find a site that has about 20 different word processors for the C64. I can't tell which package out of those is the easiest or most powerful to use.

There also is the GEOS sofware, which I believe is free for personal use. I don't know to which point e.g. geoWrite is compatible with modern word processors, but chances are better than with the even older, text based software.
http://cbmfiles.com/geos/index.php

However, like I told Sean four years ago, I think you'll have more fun with a C64 if you use it to draw the front cover and then transfer and convert that image. Text written on a C64 and then imported to Linux will look exactly like text written directly in Linux unless you are using funky line lengths of 40 characters per row. An image in 320x200 pixels however will have a distinctive retro feeling, even though it could've been made on a modern PC as well.

MikeS
June 5th, 2012, 08:58 AM
Just so new to the whole retro/vintage-computing thing I don't know what I need to know to ask proper questions I suppose and i don't like contributing to the noise here since there's a lot of informative and helpful folk here. You've got better things to do.No problem; I think Carlsson summed it up pretty well, but I'm curious: why do you want to type the data on the 64 in the first place?


As to where i am. Mcminville TN Thanks; you never know, maybe someone here has a C64 for ya.

Dave Farquhar
June 5th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Most of the better Commodore word processors had the option to save a file as plain, standard ASCII text, for interoperability purposes. People wanted to do the same thing in the 1980s--write on a Commodore, then bring it to a PC or a Mac for further work, or to print it.

If you used one of those, then the only issue is getting the file over to the PC, whether via null modem cable, X1541 cable, or using a 1571 or 1581 drive and a program like Big Blue Reader to write the file to a PC floppy. For that matter, I think Big Blue Reader was capable of doing the PETSCII-ASCII conversion as it wrote the file, if you wanted it to.

Goggles2114
June 5th, 2012, 09:15 AM
Well it's more perk than requirement. Might's well double-check possable fallback positions in case my computer goes belly up, or I suddenly get an idea and the machine is occupied, or... whatever (plus I'd be typing on a commodore keyboard, that alone would make it a pleasent experiance... albeit loud.)

Do plan on doing a few things to see if i can get Art going on, or. Hey I might try dabbling in BASIC *shrug* but yea, mostly just checking to see if it has/could be done and ticking that boxofff the list of theoretical advantages to getting an apple (limited funds and space, so it's one or the other and don't want the forum to get into a This v That discussion AGAIN.)

Edit: But thanks for the information. Always appreciated and it amazes me the stuff that is as old as I am can still be made useful when most people chuck computers every five or so years.

carlsson
June 6th, 2012, 11:41 PM
There certainly are split opinions on how pleasant experience it is to type on a C64 keyboard. While I never had any real issues about it, for a longer stint of word processing you might get numb after a while.

Besides if you mean Apple ][ series, I'm afraid similar transfer and conversion issues might appear as they do with the Commodore software. Perhaps the Apple side was slightly more developed with major publishers like Wordstar compatible or even early Word/WordPerfect compatible software, which would help you when it comes to more advanced documents than just plain text row by row.

By all means, go ahead and investigate some of the available C64 software. See which functions they offer, how easy of use they are to someone who barely used that generation of software before, to which extent you can export and import texts with minimum or no loss. Perhaps you can become the 21th century expert on C64 word processing software, make a series of blog posts or even a VC wiki entry with your results. While I can't make any promises, there might even be some formats meaningful enough to develop tailored converter software for, unless of course someone already got to it. I didn't quite look around, but would expect someone, somewhere has made a converter from something Commodore to something else PC-wise in the world of word processing.

Dave Farquhar
June 7th, 2012, 06:11 AM
I grew up using Commodore computers, but never liked the keyboard all that much. When I set up a 64 a few weeks ago for old time's sake, I got my refresher. It has a better feel than the $10 and under modern keyboards. I guess it's a toss-up between that and the HP and Microsoft keyboards I use at work, but it has nothing on the IBM Model Ms I use on my home PCs. Then again, some people hate Model Ms, so there you go.