PDA

View Full Version : Transferring software between old/new computers



hmbrew
December 29th, 2009, 08:36 PM
I was wondering what types of vintage computers have ways of getting software to and from modern computers.

I have used adtpro for the early apples. I did some searching and found a device that allows similar things to be done with a trs-80. (Semi-virtual diskette) Saw it on Tezza's blog! :D

Is there a software alternative to the Semi-virtual diskette thingy? (that would be similar to adtpro?)

What other vintage computers can do this sort of thing at present?

* As a mini-aside question that almost needs it's own thread: What about internet capability on various vintage computers? I already know about the apple's uther device and I saw the coco telnet/irc thing. I also know that c64s can do internet somehow. What others are there?

Hopefully this can yield some interesting discussion. I'll check back in the morning. *yawn* :sleepy: If this seems confusing to read, it's because I'm sleep-deprived at the moment.

arfink
December 29th, 2009, 08:41 PM
Tandy model 100/200 machines can do this with a program called desklink.

MikeS
December 29th, 2009, 09:39 PM
I think it'd make more sense to ask if there are any vintage systems that can *not* transfer software & data to/from a modern computer, whether via RS-232 (which includes direct connect, USB and TCP/IP (Telnet etc.) via adapters), diskette/CF/SD card, ZIP or equivalent, etc.

I think it'd be a pretty short list.

tezza
December 29th, 2009, 10:13 PM
Yes, there are lots of ways to transfer software to and from modern computers. These techniques are especially useful if you want to get software from the Internet to use on vintage machines and/or you have vintage computer software you want to preserve/archive on modern media or run on emulators.

What method is best is generally determined on a case by case basis and often there is more than one way. Here are just some...

1. Transfer via floppy disk (often needs special disk read/write software and the right type of floppy disk drive)
2. Transfer via serial port (common) or parallel port (less common) using communication software
3. Transfer via cassette port through soundcard/soundports (either directly or through cassette)
4. Transfer using special hardware which when combined with the right software makes a PC emulate vintage disk drives

There are probably others but these are the ones off the top of my head. My advice for anyone wanting to do this is to search the web. Techniques, software and hardware is usually out there.

The TRS-80 Model 1 presents a special problem as it's original disk format was single density AND RS-232 ports were an optional extra that not everyone had. Most PC-type machines have difficulty writing in single density. I have quite a large floppy disk collection for my Model 1 clone (System 80) and it's all single density. The System 80 doesn't have an RS-232 so the Semi-virtual diskette one of the few ways transfer can be acheived.

I'm in the middle of a software transfer exercise at the moment. Populating my Kaypro with some classic software. For this I'm using 22DSK and Dave Dunfield's IMD117. Excellent MS-DOS programs for writing files and images to Kaypro-ready disks! However, I'm looking for a Windows LBR extractor so I can use some of the archived files in the Walnut Creek CD-ROM (see my other post in the CP/M forum). If I can't find one I'll just have to use the good old MS-DOS utilities.

Tez

hmbrew
December 30th, 2009, 04:45 AM
That's all good news to me. It means I'll generally be able to get software regardless of what I find in the garage sales/flea markets, etc.

I think I'll slightly modify the questions here:
Is most of the transfer software free of charge?

Which computers can/cannot do this without much added hardware? (whichever is the minority here) Adtpro needed a serial card to really work well, but that's fairly commonplace. I'm talking about harder to find stuff or even modern devices made for this. (Like the SVD)

cosam
December 30th, 2009, 05:45 AM
I think you'd be pretty hard-pushed to stumble upon a computer which didn't have some means of transferring data to/from a modern machine. Most systems have at least some kind of interface suitable for data transfer; after all, they'd be of rather limited use without one. Nine times out of ten there is software available and I don't believe I've ever had to pay for any of it. For me, figuring out how to get software onto a new (to me) machine is all part of the fun of working with older computers.

The most I've had to do hardware-wise is maybe build a special cable (and even then, this was just to provide a better interface - there were alternatives which needed no special kit at all).

carlsson
December 30th, 2009, 05:56 AM
Some of the more obscure computers have so few followers that nobody bothered to make any software or modern interfaces to transfer data. However I agree that the number of such obscure systems are relatively few and usually some enthusiast has designed some sort of transfer solution, even if it may look primitive compared to the plethora found for other more common vintage computers. I may even own one or two such computers myself.

Of course I can record a tape and playback into the PC but if there are no routines for decoding the audio signal, it is as far as I we get. Then again there are open source programs to handle audio signals from other similar computers which I believe would be a natural starting point for anyone wanting to decode foreign audio data. If you know your program should contain HELLO WORLD in some encoding - could be backwards, non-ASCII or packed as six bits into subsequent bytes - I suppose it is a matter of higher level trial and and error to find the right offsets, frequency dividers and other parameters.

hmbrew
December 30th, 2009, 06:07 AM
Okay, thanks. I've been doing searches for almost an hour and I'm making myself a pretty good reference list for various models.

I'm still wondering about the following: TS1000/ZX81, Trs-80 models III and IV, atari 400/800, and TI99/4A. (I'm just wondering how specifically, as I suspect that all of these can do it)

By the way Cosam, I'm very impressed with your homebrew z80 system. It is pretty inspiring to see such a complex system built entirely from scratch.

cosam
December 30th, 2009, 06:10 AM
If you know your program should contain HELLO WORLD in some encoding - could be backwards, non-ASCII or packed as six bits into subsequent bytes - I suppose it is a matter of higher level trial and and error to find the right offsets, frequency dividers and other parameters.

Nah, that's what EPROM programmers and disassemblers are for ;-)

tezza
December 30th, 2009, 08:59 AM
I'm still wondering about the following: TS1000/ZX81, Trs-80 models III and IV, atari 400/800, and TI99/4A. (I'm just wondering how specifically, as I suspect that all of these can do it).

* ZX81 - there is an emulator called "eightyone" which uses tape images but which can output these as a WAV or direct audio. This means you can plug up a real ZX81 to the soundcard and load them in.

Atari 800/400 - The Atarimax Universal SIO2PC/ProSystem interface (see http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?12632-Atarimax-Universal-SIO2PC-ProSystem-interface&daysprune=-1). I'll be writing a blog entry (a review) on this soon on my website as I've been using it recently.

TRS-80 Model III or 4. There are a number of ways. David Keil's emulator (for MS-DOS) can write real disks. There is a PC hardware device called "Catweasel" that can do the same. You can also send files across the RS-232.

There may be other ways but these are the one's I'm familiar with. Not sure about the TI99/A. I don't have this model.

Tez

hmbrew
December 30th, 2009, 09:24 AM
Thanks, that's all very helpful. I like to keep little reference notes around for this sort of thing. Especially for when I'm eyeing a potential purchase.