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firebirdta84
September 6th, 2015, 05:22 PM
Using the method I developed for reverse-engineering QIC-24 tape format (http://mightyframe.blogspot.com/2015/08/qic-24-tape-data-block-format-decoding.html), I have begun to read these old tapes from what I'm guessing is a POINT 4 Mark V or VIII ( Mark 5 or 8 ) system from 1981-1983, re-branded as a Microtech M1.

I've now started a web page about this system now, at MicrotechM1.blogspot.com (http://MicrotechM1.blogspot.com)

I'll chronicle my progress restoring one of these as I go along.

First on my agenda is researching the first file on the first tape that I read:

MINICOM DISK TO TAPE COPY UTILITY

The raw binary can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/1NklvGj (http://bit.ly/1NklvGj)

Since nobody I've talked to yet knows of an operating Microtech M1, I'm wondering if anyone here has ever used Minicom from the early 1980s?

Here's the only "English" extracted text from the binary:


MINICOM DISK TO TAPE COPY UTILITY

***************** SELECT DRIVE TYPE ********************

SELECT: ..

****************** SELECT UTILITY **********************

DT = DISC TO TAPE

TD = TAPE TO DISC

R = REWIND TAPE

I = INITIALIZE TAPE WITH THIS UTILITY


SELECT: .. DT TD R I 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


SELECT TAPE FILE NUMBER (CR=CURRENT POSITION):


--- DISK TO TAPE COPY ---


--- TAPE TO DISK COPY ---

********************* SOURCE SELECT ********************


******************* DESTINATION SELECT *****************


OPERATION IN PROGRESS.


MEGABYTES COPIED

0 10 20 30 40 50 60

....i....|....i....|....i....|....i....|....i....| ....i....|....i.


TAPE ERROR!! STATUS:

DISK ERROR!! BLOCK:

OPERATION SUCCESSFUL.

1 - T302 DISK DRIVE ON A LOTUS CONTROLLER
2 - T82 DISK DRIVE ON A LOTUS CONTROLLER
3 - 32/96 MGB DISK DRIVE ON A LOTUS CONTROLLER
4 - T302 DISK DRIVE ON A MCT SMC12 CONTROLLER
5 - T82 DISK DRIVE ON A MCT SMC12 CONTROLLER
6 - 32/96 MGB DISK DRIVE ON A MCT SMC12 CONTROLLER
7 - 10 MGB DISK DRIVE ON A RIANDA-33 CONTROLLER
8 - 10 MGB DISK DRIVE ON A RIANDA-40 CONTROLLER
9 - T50 DISK DRIVE ON A MCT 802 CONTROLLER
10 - 32/96 MGB DISK DRIVE ON A MCT 902 CONTROLLER
0 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 0 ON DRIVE #0
1 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 1 ON DRIVE #0
2 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 2 ON DRIVE #0
3 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 3 ON DRIVE #0
4 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 4 ON DRIVE #0
5 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 5 ON DRIVE #0
6 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 6 ON DRIVE #0
7 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 7 ON DRIVE #0
8 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 8 ON DRIVE #0
9 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 9 ON DRIVE #1
10 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 10 ON DRIVE #1
11 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 11 ON DRIVE #1
12 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 12 ON DRIVE #1
13 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 13 ON DRIVE #1
14 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 14 ON DRIVE #1
15 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 15 ON DRIVE #1
16 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 16 ON DRIVE #1
3 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 3 ON DRIVE #1
4 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 4 ON DRIVE #1
3 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 5 ON DRIVE #1
4 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 6 ON DRIVE #1
0 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 0 ON REMOVABLE
1 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 1 ON REMOVABLE
2 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 2 ON FIXED
3 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 3 ON FIXED
4 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 4 ON FIXED
5 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 5 ON FIXED
6 - LOGICAL UNIT NUMBER 6 ON FIXED
****

On Google (https://www.google.com/search?q=MINICOM+DISK+TO+TAPE+COPY+UTILITY&oq=MINICOM+DISK+TO+TAPE+COPY+UTILITY&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i59l2.600j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8), I can see that it was discussed as being part of Linux some years back, but nothing meaningful for my targeted timeframe.

(For fun, I archived the Google search for this program (http://6REOQUESTIONS.com/misc/MightyFrame/Microtech/MINICOM_DISK_TO_TAPE_COPY_UTILITY_-_Google_Search.htm) before I posted this thread, or anything on my site. That way, we can see how this post has changed search results over time.)

Does anyone have more information about the circa 1983 versions of the MINICOM DISK TO TAPE COPY UTILITY?

firebirdta84
September 7th, 2015, 11:36 AM
I just received an email from Shadow (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/search.php?searchid=3417094), who has helped me with background knowledge.

He says:


I used MT Copy for all of my backup on the old IRIS system. Maybe Bruce [wild-hare.com] has the manual and it could shine so light on what's on the tapes. I have never heard of minicom so I don't know it's format but it must be similar to MT Copy which is what everyone used to convert off of the old IRIS system and convert to the new SCO based IMS/Basic. In IMS/Basic there was a conversion utility that converted IRIS backups to a ISAM file system we used B-Tree. Hope this helps.
Shadow aka Tim

Thanks, Shadow!

firebirdta84
October 14th, 2015, 09:30 PM
Just a few days ago, I tried analyzing this file on IDA evaluation version (https://www.hex-rays.com/products/ida/support/download_freeware.shtml).

It says the file is "not a PE/ELF/Mach-O file."

Igor Skochinsky (support@hex-rays.com) emailed a response: The file seems to not have any structure; it's likely raw machine code and not in any specific format. According to your site it is probably for the Point 4 processor (or its successor), which IDA definitely does not support.

I really appreciated this response, it was quite helpful to know that this was not a good road to pursue, and when the software support tells you that, before you buy, I have great respect for this.

Thanks, Igor and IDA / Hex-Rays.com (http://hex-rays.com)