operator at coco3.com
Sat Dec 27 20:08:23 EST 2008
At 02:27 PM 12/27/2008, you wrote:
>Roger (and all!), I'm impressed, but still find the idea of CoCoNet,
>and Drivewire, a bit ambiguous. Basically both allow a PC to be a
>disc server for the CoCo. Sort of like replacing the floppy drive
>with a PC. What I find ambiguous is the fact that the emulators do
>the same thing, only run on a PC also. While the idea is to make the
>PC a slave to the CoCo instead of the other way around, it just
>seems like a lot of trouble for nothing.
CoCoNet is a drop-in ROM solution using a floppy controller (with a
28-pin socket), or an EPROM Pak. If you don't have a means to do
that, a 64k CoCo 2 or any CoCo 3 can just LOADM the DOS patch. No
EXEC is required. Either way, you can immediately type something
like DRIVE 0,"HTTP://WWW.COCO3.COM/GAMES.DSK", then DIR, and
voila... or mount a disk on the PC, all over a bitbanger cable. I
worked hard to make it Not a lot of trouble. For the LOADM version,
a boot disk would have a BOOT.BAS program that does the LOADM command
for you, or perhaps *.BAS to make it even quicker to start... again,
for those without a way to use the ROM.
On top of that, a DB-9 to bluetooth wireless device can be attached
to the CoCo, and a cheap bluetooth USB dongle on the PC (to add a
wireless COM port), and you've got a wireless CoCo with internet and
virtual disk capabilities. The internet support will grow but for
now you can fetch web files, and by appending parameters to the
request URL, a LOT can be done to give the CoCo the power to use the internet.
How about a multiplayer CoCo game, anyone? If each game posts it's
status to a web server and the readback file contains the other
player's statuses, there you go.
> I suppose it's good for sharing files between the two systems, or
> using the PC to download DSK files then install on the CoCo. I
> suppose those who have a CoCo and PC both set up at and in use at
> the same time will find it more useful though. The PC can easily
> serve the CoCo while still doing other things. I guess I'm getting
> stuck on the scenario where the CoCo is the main computer and you
> just set up a PC as a drive server.
Most PC's have a mess of wires already strung around to
devices. Another connection to the COM port won't hurt anything.
:) Think about it, a ROM and a bitbanger cable and it's
ready. Actually, the server app has to be running on the PC, but you
can probably put it in the autostart list so Windows will launch it
Disk mounting is done from the CoCo or the PC. You don't have to
move over to the PC to mount virtual disks unless you want to.
>Now I can see it more as a hard drive solution. Package a hard drive
>in a stand-alone case with a microcontroller hard programmed to use
>CoCoNet. There are a few cheap single board computers with a serial
>port that would work nicely. If a mini OS/CoCoNet server could be
>written for one of those, or maybe better a PIC or something, then
>it would be a wonderful hard drive controller. If you could get a
>bare bones Linux driver going then a stripped down Linux would work
>nicely, maybe little more than a custom kernel burned into a ROM.
A server like that could be made and used. The CoCo wouldn't know
any difference. The CoCo does several things: requests virtual disks
to be mounted per drive, by PC pathname or web URL. The SAVEW
command fetches web files and saves them to a mounted virtual
disk. Even if the server can't do a SAVEW, at least the virtual
drive solution is there.
I just enhanced the DRIVE command even more. Type DRIVE alone and
you get a listing of each drive with it's state (OFF - Virtual) or
(ON - Hardware). Type DRIVE ON or DRIVE OFF to switch the states. A
listing is not shown if the DRIVE command is invoked from within a
>Just some thoughts I've been having. I still like the idea of a
>single board x86 based computer with an emulator in ROM with a flash
>memory section for customizing, or a switch protected SD or USB
>drive (those would be easier). Using the DOS based emulator DOS
>could be stripped down and the thing could transparently boot into
>the emulator. That would be an "instant CoCo4". Enhancements could
>then be made to the emulator. That's the easiest solution to the
>CoCo4 "problem". Several of these would fit the bill -
>http://www.linuxdevices.com/articles/AT8498487406.html. Although the
>article is for Linux devices, some of them are PC compatible. I like
>sure the "prices starting below $120" are for the basic model in
>quantity, not singles. A $300 "CoCo4" sans monitor and keyboard
>would be easily possible using a modified emulator and one of these.
>The only thing that would be missing is the cartridge port. Migh
>t be possible to emulate it through a PCI port though, with a card
>or header for connections. The cartridge port is the one thing that
>would be hard to deal with, but as long as there is some type of
>easy to connect I/O board I don't see that as a problem, even if the
>I/O board is a USB dongle.
>Coco at maltedmedia.com
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