After a looong amount of downtime, I’ve resurrected my old CoCo page, including my old CoCo Serial# Database. The database likely needs an update… Maybe move it from a flat file to a MySQL database, and make the entries easily editable.
There’s a new book out on my favorite 8-bit computer, called CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy’s Underdog Computer [affiliate link]. It’s definitely going on my wish list 😉
From my original CoCo page (some links are likely broken atm):
Hi, welcome to my hastily assembled CoCo page. The sidebar may contain some items of interest, such as the CoCo Serial # Database, ADOS, and files used in my CoCo telnet BBS project. For a progress report on that project, continue reading.
Fastforward to just a week or two ago. I found myself with some spare time on my hands and decided to resurrect the project. Only I’ve since discovered a program for Windows that does basically the same thing as the Lantronix hardware and is used by some in the Commodore community. The Commodore BBS Server webpage has a link to the program, but I’ve included it in the sidebar as well.
A little testing of the software with some PC-based BBS software and a null-modem cable going between the PCs com ports verified that this software was a viable alternative to the Lantronix, with the bonus of being free. Time for the real fun to begin…
At this point, I set my CoCo3 back up, only to discover that three of my four 5 1/4″ floppy drives are bad. Thanks to the guys on the mailing list for the many pointers on how to ressurect the drives, but that’s not really that important at the moment. My goal at this point is to get a CoCo-based BBS available via telnet, since it doesn’t appear to have been done yet.
Since the BBS Server software supports Hayes modem emulation and outgoing telnet, I decided to build a null-modem cable between the PC and CoCo, fired up Ultimaterm, and typed ATDT followed by the IP address of my web server, and I successfully logged into a Linux box via telnet from my CoCo3.
How awesome is that?!
Since my goal over the last year has gone from “Set up RiBBS under OS/9 and make it available via telnet” to “Set up the first ever (to my knowledge) telnettable CoCo BBS,” I headed over to the software page for the BBS Documentary to see what is available for DECB (since OS/9 would pose an additional learning curve). Unfortunately, only two packages are available. All Ram, by Allen Huffman, is a basic cassette-based BBS program for the CoCo which requires a 3rd-party terminal driver. CoBBS is a package by Richard Duncan which was featured in The Rainbow at some point, so there is bound to be some useful knowledge still floating around out there should I run into difficulty. The decision is more or less made by default.
The next step is to set CoBBS up on my CoCo3, at which point I discovered that it wouldn’t run on my 3. A little testing under an emulator verifies incompatibility between CoBBS and the CoCo3. A timely message to the CoCo mailing list confirms this incompatibility, andi through some creative Internet searching and combing through a ton of acquired CoCo floppies, I discover that the Nov ’88 issue of Rainbow contains patches for CoBBS to get it to run on a CoCo3. A replacement for COBBS.SYS and USER.SYS are on Rainbow-on-Disk for that month, and aside from that, I need to add three lines (containing POKEs) and modify another line from STARTUP.BAS.
Since CoBBS is freeware, these modifications will be included in the CoBBS.DSK image that I eventually make available in the sidebar.
With those modifications made, I run STARTUP.BAS and… partial success… It asks me for the date, day of week, time, and which verion of DECB I’m running. It puts the clock in the upper-right corner of the screen. Then… Nothing except the clock counting up in the corner of the screen… I suspect that I actually have to configure the thing before it’ll run 😉
I’m studying the source to see if I can figure out exactly how to do that 🙂
In the meantime, I discover REMOTE2.BIN, a terminal driver for the bit-banger port, on one of the floppies that was acquired. Because it might be kinda cool to have a cassette-based BBS on the Internet, I decide to give it a go. But I don’t feel like waiting on the cassette drive while I’m testing things, so I patch ALLRAM to use the floppy drive (simply by changing all #-1’s to #1’s in both ALLRAM.BAS and EDITOR.BAS) until I’m finished. I fire up REMOTE2.BIN, run EDITOR.BAS to create the neccessary files, and run ALLRAM.BAS. While I’m able to successfully connect via telnet, the connection dies in under two minutes and requires a reset of the CoCo. Not exactly a success. But Allen had mentioned using a different terminal driver, so if I find it, I’ll try it out and see if I have better success. I’ll eventually undo my patches so that ALLRAM uses the cassette drive again, and make an ALLRAM.DSK image available on the sidebar as well.
Sorry for such a long entry. It simply never occurred to me to document the process as I went, and since I’m in a bit of a lull, I thought it might be a good time to document. Future entries should be shorter, as they will (hopefully) be done as I go. If anyone has any pointers to get me unstuck (either software package), feel free to email me at rodDOTbarnhartATgmailDOTcom. wintermuteATnitemarecafeDOTcom works as well 🙂
PS – Please excuse the typos. I’m fixing them as I find ’em 🙂
Just a quick note to let everyone know about some projects I’m working on.
First, I’m working on a page dedicated to my 1999 Jeep Wrangler. The page will be mostly static, so once it’s complete it won’t take a lot of time to keep up to date. Most updates will be projects and/or pictures as they come up.
Next, I plan on putting together a page about the Tandy CoCo. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time, and it’s about time I got around to it. Again, it’ll be mostly static, but not completely.
Finally, there’s the BBS page. I’ve been wanting to set my board back up for quite some time, and I still plan on it. When I do, I’ll work on a matching website for it. I’ll probably write a program to take the last post in the “From the SysOp” sub and post it to the site, and maybe put some usage stats on the site as well.
Well, there you have it: the projects that I’ll work on when I’m not at work or at school, or busy with “real life” or my other blogs.
Over the coming weekend, I hope to get my computer room, which has increasingly become a storage room, cleaned up and organized. Once it’s cleaned up, I’m going to reward myself by taking my Tandy CoCo3 out of the closet and get it running after way too many years in storage.
Of all the vintage 8-bit computers, Tandy’s Color Computer line was my favorite. I’ve owned several, of which I can currently only locate two. One of them is a CoCo2 in unknown state, and the other is a functioning CoCo3. Also in my collection are two grey-case CoCo1’s (one functioning, the other not), one CoCo3 which was in the middle of some hardware modifications (err… dead until I can figure out what I did to break it…), and about half a dozen CoCo2’s in various states of repair. Unfortunately, that portion of my collection is missing – perhaps victim of overzealous cleaning the last time this room got this disorganized.
When I get everything set up, I’ll post some pictures, as I promised Security Monkey I would 🙂