July 6th, 2014, 10:23 AM
RCR Podcast 77: STRTRK tape
I decided to buy the STRTRK paper tape that Earl pointed out for his eBay pick. I don't have a way to read it in to my modern computer yet, but I expect to fix that soon. I found that it contains BASIC source code, which I'll share once I have a reader interfaced to my MacBook.
Here's a picture, and there are a few more on my web page.
Thanks for the nudge, Earl! I'm looking forward to trying out the code once I read it all in. It'll be interesting to see if this is a known STRTRK game or somebody's home-grown rewrite.
I'm thinking of buying the seller's other few tapes, but I'll pause a bit in case somebody else here would like to pounce on one.
September 27th, 2014, 09:12 PM
I was just asked about this old posting via private message, and that reminded me that I never checked back in here after reading the tape in.
I ended up getting a GNT model 4604 reader/punch off eBay. It needed a bit of fixing up, but I got it working and then hooked it up to my MacBook with an RS-232 to USB converter. I've read in this tape, plus a few other BASIC source code tapes from the same seller. I don't know if or when I'll get around to posting about them in more detail on my blog, but I'll be happy to share the contents with anybody who's interested. I think they're all BASIC source code for an Altair system, but I'm not positive about that.
Last edited by NF6X; September 27th, 2014 at 10:41 PM.
September 27th, 2014, 10:22 PM
So how does that version of Star Trek compare with the mainframe version (STAR) here?
September 27th, 2014, 10:45 PM
It looks completely different. Let's see if I can attach the code that I pulled off the tape...
Looks like it works. Here are some other tapes from the same seller:
September 28th, 2014, 02:38 AM
Cool. I'll punch a copy today or tomorrow and try them out in my Altair.
BTW, just read your "blog". Punching Ascii paper tape was the only way to save your basic programs back in the day. To load you just read them back. Due to issues with the Basic you needed nulls at the end of each line to pause the system to catch up when reading back. I use a hardware delay device that pauses the reader when it hits a CR. Can you tell me how many NULLs are at the end of the line? You may need to read the tape into a binay program like synalysisIT on OS X. That would indicate what it was intended to be read on (I.e. Teletype vs high speed reader)
I'll also do a file compare to the many copies I have of Trek (I collect copies of Star Trek for all my systems)
There have been a few Star Trek versions out for the Altair. Everything from an 8k version for 8k basic to an 8k version requiring extended basic and finally a massive 24k version for extended/disk basic. Also there were a few clone Star Trek versions written in assembler like Scelbi's 8080 Galaxy and the awesome Processor Technology Trek80 which required your Altair to be a running subsystem "B".
It's great that you are backing this stuff up. Paper tapes have a lifespan so
If they get lost, worn or destroyed you have saved them for future generations.
September 28th, 2014, 07:17 AM
I see two 0xFF characters after the CR-LF sequence. When I read in the tapes, I saved the original binary data including the tape leader, and then converted those to plain text files for use on my modern machines. I performed the plain text translation with this silly utility that I wrote:
Let's see if I can attach a zip file containing both the original tape binaries and the converted text files:
The originals had splices, writing on the tapes, and character positions marked with felt pens. I didn't preserve details like that in my zip file above. It'll be interesting to find out if any of these tapes are complete and error-free, vs. a snapshot of somebody's work in progress.