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Best way to save?


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Hy what is the best way to save programs on and written on an actual Atari 800 xl? I really want to play with it but I cant stand the thought of not saving. I also cant stand emulators most of the time :-D. Sorry for not being here in a long time, I was very busy with other manners, however I am very happy to return and stay.​

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Unless you're looking for maximum retro feeling these days a SIO2SD or SIDE(2) cartridge is probably your best bet. If you keep your Atari next to a PC/Mac SIO2PC/SIO2USB is even cheaper.

 

SIO2SD plugs into the SIO port and behaves like a stack of at least 8 floppy drives with floppy images (.ATR files) residing on an SD card and buttons to browse through your images and selecting which one to put into which virtual floppy drive.

 

SIO2PC/SIO2USB makes your PC/Mac pretend to be a stack of floppy drives and allows for even easier file handling as you can use the PC screen to organise your floppies.

 

SIO2BT works about the same but uses a bluetooth connection. It also connects to Android Tablets.

 

All PC based solutions can be used with Raspberries or old NetBooks and the like, of course.

 

 

SIDE(2) is a cartridge with a CF card slot that allows loading and saving of files.

 

SIO2PC/SIO2USB will allow to work with almost any DOS you're used to and handle much like floppies. I have no experience with SIDE but I think it'll need SpartaDOS and more PC-DOS-like handling. It'll block the cartridge port, so if you need cartridges for development (Action!, Mac/65) you're probably better off with the first two.

 

There are probably a lot more alternatives.

Edited by slx
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@ComputerWizard: can you clarify a little more what you mean by saving programs? Are you looking for how to save a program or where to save a program... or both or something else? If you are refering to BASIC programs, I recommend LISTing the program to disk, cassette, or whatever you are saving to rather than using the SAVE or CSAVE commands. Listing will take up a bit more space in the file than tokenized, but it offers advantages.

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Thanks for the feed back dragonstomper I will look into this stuff. And river patroller I want to know how to save basic programs, then action and such etc. and where to save them. I could get a tape drive or disk drive, but where is the best place online to obtain them and whats the cost? Not that Im on a budget, I would just like to know. Also can you describe the advantages and disadvantages of save and csave commands please? Gotta make sure I know my Atari stuff

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The only reason to get a tape deck would be pure unadultered nostalgia. If you don't want to get a coffee and drink it while loading/saving, DON'T get a cassette drive.

The cheapest uncased SD options don't cost significantly more than a working tape deck and are a lot safer, more convenient, etc.

 

If you want speed, half-decent reliability and nostalgia, get a floppy drive. Where to best buy them depends a lot on where you live.

 

"Dragonstomper" is a forum title based on number of posts, handles are shown in colour above that.

 

AFAIK CSAVE uses shorter gaps between blocks of data on the tape than SAVE "C:", thus saving a little time and tape.

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Thanks for the feed back dragonstomper I will look into this stuff. And river patroller I want to know how to save basic programs, then action and such etc. and where to save them. I could get a tape drive or disk drive, but where is the best place online to obtain them and whats the cost? Not that Im on a budget, I would just like to know. Also can you describe the advantages and disadvantages of save and csave commands please? Gotta make sure I know my Atari stuff

 

 

 

Personally, for vintage equipment, I like e-bay. You could also check goodwill or craigslist, but e-bay will have a regular supply. However, if buying new equipment like a sio2sd or side 2 cart, I buy from lotharek, you can find the website on a google search. One thing I'll say about the side 2 cartridge, is if you do plan to use it as a hard disk, you'll naturally want to setup the sd card as a hard disk, the built in partitioning utility "fdisk" requires extended memory. So SIDE 2 works as a side loader at 64k, but for full functionality as a hard disk platform, you will want an atari with 128k or more. If memory is an issue, get the sio2sd.

 

Personally, I use both, a side 2 and a sio2sd.

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That's one for the conversation specialists.

 

To be sure, I'm talking about the SIDE 2 cart and using the built in fdisk, which will require extended memory even if it's only because of the environment of the SIDE 2 cart and the high MEMLO due to the SIDE.SYS driver.

 

all that is interesting additional detail....I appreciate it, but I'd still say the same thing - the built in fdisk requires extended memory.

 

Because as a practical matter, that's what a person needs to know. Now if you are saying, here is how you can use fdisk on your stock 800XL with only a 64k atari and a standard side 2 cart....lay it on us....that'd be great.

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Any application which loads at $2000 will experience the same issue as FDISK run on a 64KB machine using the SIDE driver. There is nothing peculiar about FDISK in this scenario, and the application does not require extended memory.

 

I find little positive about running SDX on a 64KB machine with the SIDE driver. Few applications will run unless CONFIG.SYS loads only a minimal set of drivers. Editing CONFIG.SYS on CAR so that SDX runs in OSRAM helps. But I didn't write the marketing blurb. ;)

 

But if FDISK required extended memory, it would not run on a 64KB machine at all, and yet it can do so quite happily with a reasonable MEMLO. FDISK does not even require SpartaDOS X...

 

The best way to phrase it would be to say that SIDE.SYS is best used with extended memory, lest the user thinks that FDISK is the only application which won't run with the driver wholly sitting in low RAM.

Edited by flashjazzcat
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I find little positive about running SDX on a 64KB machine with the SIDE driver. Few applications will run unless CONFIG.SYS loads only a minimal set of drivers. Editing CONFIG.SYS on CAR so that SDX runs in OSRAM helps. But I didn't write the marketing blurb. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

I'll be honest, I still feel like the semantics of it all somehow disagree with me.

 

But I'll chalk that up to my own personal preferences.

 

I agree with your statement that there is little positive about running SDX on a 64KB machine with SIDE driver.

 

But I also feel very comfortable with the idea that as a practical matter, the SIDE 2 solution is not simply the hardware, it is the hardware and the driver both, and when considering both, the end effect is many programs end up requiring extended memory or they don't run. Now, if you can edit CONFIG.SYS to make it all work - which I doubt, but even if you can, under the heading of 'whats the best way to save' I have to count extended tinkering with CONFIG.SYS as a negative.

 

The reason I still have doubt about it, is because I was referring to a very specific scenario - that of having purchased a SIDE 2, and having the the compact flash in a still unconfigured state. You need to run fdisk to partition. Then format a partition. After that you could begin your journey with CONFIG.SYS.

 

Now, I admit ignorance - but I still feel like this is an area in need of further inquiry - even at the risk of boring everyone. Can you really edit a CONFIG.SYS to use with the stock SIDE 2 configuration that loads before you have ever configured a hard disk in the first place? In my imagination of how things would work, is you'd have to first have gotten to the point of configuring your hard disk and formatting it, then you could, on subsequent boots have a config.sys define the sdx startup config. But for that initial need for fdisk and if only having a side 2 cart and stock 64k atari - that wouldn't work - and didn't work for me with sdx 4.46...I haven't tried since upgrading to 4.47

 

I don't find we are actually disagreeing on any technical points....

 

I've edited this post several times, because it feels like a semantic discussion and I want to avoid it.

 

It goes without saying a cartridge solution has other issues too. Like you cannot take your Atari/Assembler editor cartridge, use it to create a program and save your program using SIDE 2 - because they are both cartridges.... Now in a hardware forum, I'd have to admit, that I suppose you could build a multi-cart hardware solution to solve that, just like I suppose in a software forum, I have to admit you could roll your own solution to memory issues in SIDE 2.

 

I totally agree about other programs besides fdisk having the memory needs that conflict with stock side 2 environment as well. In fact, I used FC.COM to turn off my rambo core to do some testing. Using FC.COM worked without hitch, but when I went to use FC.COM again, to turn rambo core back on, I found without the rambo core, FC.COM would not work - memory conflict. Of course, it's not the fault of FC.COM, but the memory conflict. I removed the SIDE 2 cart, ran fc.com from sio2sd, where I was able to turn my rambo core back on.

 

side 2 on 64k isn't fun - the sio2sd is all I used until I got extended memory. Of course i didn't use the side loader, which would've worked...I was primarily only interested it the cart as a hdd solution. Now that I have 256k I do use it. But I will replace it with a IDE Plus someday, that's another subject, it appears my IDE Plus has been held in customs for a couple months...booger

Edited by Dmitry
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I agree with your statement that there is little positive about running SDX on a 64KB machine with SIDE driver.

I would go further and suggest that running SDX with or without the SIDE driver on a 64KB machine is a sub-optimal experience. That's why, in 1990 or so, after running the original SDX cart on a 64KB machine for a year or more, I bought a RAM upgrade for my 65XE to bring it up to 128KB. The primary reason was that it was impossible to run Turbo BASIC XL under SDX without running DOS in extended memory (since DOS otherwise occupies the same Shadow RAM area required by TBXL), but as time went on, numerous other advantages became apparent. We now have a greatly expanded and improved SDX with several extensions - such as the FATFS.SYS driver - which explicitly require extended memory and won't work at all on a 64KB machine. SIDE.SYS, on the other hand, will work on a 64KB machine, but only at a pinch, and as has now been stated several times, this is because the driver - which naturally requires space for code and data - sits completely in conventional memory on a 64KB machine, raising MEMLO quite sharply.

 

But I also feel very comfortable with the idea that as a practical matter, the SIDE 2 solution is not simply the hardware, it is the hardware and the driver both, and when considering both, the end effect is many programs end up requiring extended memory or they don't run.

You are correct in saying that the solution is a combination of software and hardware, and this is borne out by the fact the SIDE hardware was a direct response to the existence of the driver, which was initially written for the old MYIDE cartridge, capitalising on SDX's capability of loading drivers straight from ROM, and building on an idea initially hatched by Kyle Dain. The hardware was unambiguously designed to provide a reliable hardware platform for the driver. And of course the driver - since it needs RAM in which to live - really benefitted from some extended RAM, leaving more space for drivers before MEMLO got too high. And then the APT standard was drawn up (the partitioning standard adhered to by IDE Plus, SIDE/SIDE2, Incognito, U1MB/SIDE, etc), causing the driver to become a little more complex (despite the fact its functionality is still a subset of - say - the U1MB PBI BIOS), but at the same time more code was moved to the segment which may occupy extended memory when present. This is not to say the driver is "bloated" or inefficiently coded, and nor is - for instance - the FATFS.SYS driver, which absolutely requires extended memory.

 

But it is the drivers which require or benefit from extended memory, not the applications.

 

Now, if you can edit CONFIG.SYS to make it all work - which I doubt, but even if you can, under the heading of 'whats the best way to save' I have to count extended tinkering with CONFIG.SYS as a negative.

I just edited CONFIG.SYS on the SIDE cart so it reads thus:

 

DEVICE SPARTA OSRAM
DEVICE SIO
DEVICE ULTIME
Booting a 64KB machine, MEMLO reads $12F8 at the SDX prompt before the SIDE driver is loaded, and $1BB0 afterwards. FDISK runs perfectly well, despite the fact there is no extended memory.

 

Trying to run an EXE (in this case, SI2.EXE) with the "X" command (since SI2 requires the cart to be disabled) was less successful. "Not enough RAM! Press a key to quit SysInfo" it says. Is this because SysInfo requires extended RAM? Not at all. MEMLO was simply pushed up further by X.COM, making it too high for SysInfo.

 

FDISK happens to be the first program you want to run when partitioning a card, but if the card were already partitioned and the first program you wanted to run was SysInfo but it refused to run under the circumstances described above, it would be just as wide of the mark to say "SysInfo requires extended RAM" as it would be to assert that FDISK requires extended RAM. In any case, I notice you observed this with FC.COM.

 

Regarding the topic title: editing CONFIG.SYS is a configuration matter, and most storage methods require some kind of configuration or preparation from the user at some point.

 

The reason I still have doubt about it, is because I was referring to a very specific scenario - that of having purchased a SIDE 2, and having the the compact flash in a still unconfigured state. You need to run fdisk to partition. Then format a partition. After that you could begin your journey with CONFIG.SYS.

As mentioned, if you begin your CONFIG.SYS journey (actually a short walk to the SDX ROM Imaging tool) first, you can run FDISK on a 64KB machine. Difficulties may then arise with other software which requires "X.COM", however. The best journey undertaken after that is the search for some more RAM. :)

 

Now, I admit ignorance - but I still feel like this is an area in need of further inquiry - even at the risk of boring everyone. Can you really edit a CONFIG.SYS to use with the stock SIDE 2 configuration that loads before you have ever configured a hard disk in the first place? In my imagination of how things would work, is you'd have to first have gotten to the point of configuring your hard disk and formatting it, then you could, on subsequent boots have a config.sys define the sdx startup config. But for that initial need for fdisk and if only having a side 2 cart and stock 64k atari - that wouldn't work - and didn't work for me with sdx 4.46...I haven't tried since upgrading to 4.47

Using the SIDE driver, DOS cannot access the HDD until the driver is loaded. Therefore the driver cannot be loaded from the hard disk. It must be loaded from the ROM CAR: device. For this reason, the unusual step of changing the default CONFIG.SYS on CAR: is required (so that it loads the driver). This makes it impossible to override the CONFIG.SYS on CAR: with a CONFIG.SYS on the boot device in the normal manner (i.e. by simply creating a CONFIG.SYS file on the boot volume), since when SDX tries to read CONFIG.SYS very early in the boot process (by reading sectors using the OS SIO vector), there is no HDD driver present, and no way to read the hard disk.

 

I don't find we are actually disagreeing on any technical points....

 

I've edited this post several times, because it feels like a semantic discussion and I want to avoid it.

My initial issue was that you kept asserting that FDISK requires extended RAM, which it does not. It is a semantic discussion (since semantics are about meaning), but it can be completely avoided by no longer saying that software which won't run because it encounters an abnormally high MEMLO requires extended RAM when it does not. But I think we can move on from that subject now. ;)

 

It goes without saying a cartridge solution has other issues too. Like you cannot take your Atari/Assembler editor cartridge, use it to create a program and save your program using SIDE 2 - because they are both cartridges.... Now in a hardware forum, I'd have to admit, that I suppose you could build a multi-cart hardware solution to solve that, just like I suppose in a software forum, I have to admit you could roll your own solution to memory issues in SIDE 2.

There have been many topics written on the pros and cons of cartridge based HDD solutions, and I hope not to precis them all here. I use the U1MB/SIDE combo all the time, since I prefer it to anything else, but then I rarely use banked cartridges. Clearly trying to put two cartridges into a single cartridge slot isn't going to work, though.

 

I totally agree about other programs besides fdisk having the memory needs that conflict with stock side 2 environment as well. In fact, I used FC.COM to turn off my rambo core to do some testing. Using FC.COM worked without hitch, but when I went to use FC.COM again, to turn rambo core back on, I found without the rambo core, FC.COM would not work - memory conflict. Of course, it's not the fault of FC.COM, but the memory conflict. I removed the SIDE 2 cart, ran fc.com from sio2sd, where I was able to turn my rambo core back on.

The MEMLO issue is empirical, so whether one agrees or not, it's an observable fact. FC.COM no more requires extended memory than does FDISK. ;)

 

side 2 on 64k isn't fun - the sio2sd is all I used until I got extended memory. Of course i didn't use the side loader, which would've worked...I was primarily only interested it the cart as a hdd solution. Now that I have 256k I do use it. But I will replace it with a IDE Plus someday, that's another subject, it appears my IDE Plus has been held in customs for a couple months...booger

The main problem appears to be that the 800XL you sent away to have fitted with U1MB and Rapidus does not work (assuming this is the same machine you reported elsewhere working sufficiently well to use once you had got rid of U1MB and started using the SIDE driver instead). As written, I equipped my 65XE with an extra 64KB of RAM twenty-five years ago, and now regard that amount of RAM as the absolute bare mimimum for productive use. IMO, if you purchased 1MB of RAM, 1MB of RAM is what you should have.

Edited by flashjazzcat
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