time machine...

From: Tom Jennings <tomj_at_wps.com>
Date: Tue Nov 16 11:40:16 2004

I'm in Assachusetts (Falmouth) visiting my ailing father,
taking a break at the local cafe/bithole. How is it that we're
related to our parents, anyways? Who are these people?!!

I knew my brother Gregg had an old CP/M machine of mine, plus
some other stuff, but I found out yesterday he has my ENTIRE
SOURCE back to the middle 1970's, just sitting in his closet. Not
even dusty! Every CP/M thing I've ever written, back to 1976,
plus my Digital Research OEM 8" diskettes, manuals, sources
to all the ROM debuggers, CPM BIOSes, things like details on
making a 4FDC talk to Shugart 851's (plus my 801's and 851's)
(solution: the data-separator add-on card for some Tandy Model
x computer, a daughter board that fits under the 1771 chip)
software I wrote for Alloy COmputing, about 50 S100 cards
(all choice stuff; I worked for a bunch of system houses) plus
!!linkable PDOS binaries, cp/m plink, plib, plus SID (the best
debugger for cpm) PDOS docs, plus I not only didn't remember I
did this, I anally documented everything and that's printed out,
plus printed source listings (?) so even if every flop is bad
I have records. UN-f'ing-believable.

A few dozen brand-new 8" flops in those plastic flip boxes,
all nice and loose in a warm house for 25 years. TVI terminal,
my CMC Marketing S100 box (monstrous ferroresonant P.S.),
a Comark dual flop box...

4-feet of manuals and docs OEM and hand-written.

* TEI Inc was the name of the S100 box I was trying to recall
for a year, not "Compupro". Nice boxes.

* Comark is a company in Woburn MA I ported CP/M-80 for (to their
Multibuss machine) then later -- bargain of bargains for them --
I did a full port of MSDOS 2.x or 3.x to their 8086 multibuss
system, in exchange for one. THat machine was in the hands of
Don Kulha, FidoNet #125 I think, recently deceased, Napa area,
no idea what happened to it.

Plus, this CP/M machine is the "original fido", that I named
the BBS after, so named because it is a mongrel, eg. a dozen
S100 cards, all different, including homemade EPROM card. The
hardware and software documentation binder (!) has the name,
EPROM monitor/boot ("bugger"). The Konan disk controller and
the damned BASF-6172 8" hard drive (damn its miserable silicon
soul to landfill).

Oh yeah and I got a 32K Cromemco bytesaver card so I can read in
(some few types of) old EPROMs for archival purposes.

There are enough copies of bootable flops that I will clean the
drives and simpyl boot it (after the usual old-hardware-bringup
routine, though this thing was run 10 yrs ago allegedly). My
TELINK program does XMODEM so I'll get a serial link up and
transfer everything to my laptop.

Plus I have some choice oldies, a very early (76?) copy of
CBBS asm source, modem2.17, tdl/xitan FORTRAN4, Algol(!),
somebody's pascal (forgot the acronym). Just going by floppy
labels I can recall from yesterday.

I'm taking one box of docs with me as checked baggage, the other
stuff needs packing, which my brother has volunteered to do
(my expense of course).

Though I'm not very nostalgic (all my interest in old computing
predates me) I have been bemoaning the fact I have utterly no
recorded history of my work before 1994. I still have no examples
of any my early 86DOS/MSDOS work, which was an interesting time,
but maybe the 86DOS manuals are in the boxes, since I got most of
this hardware when I worked at CSSN Inc (Boylston Ave, BOston)
where I got the 86DOS manuals (and wrote an 86DOS BIOS with
that one-pass 8086 absolute assembler of Tim Pattersen's).

It's weird to come across so much stuff I have no recollection
of. I remember a lot of it, but entire projects, and notebooks
of writing, has my name on it and I recognize the style, but
I don't recall it.

It'll be some weeks before it's all shipped home, and while I swore
I wouldn't do this before I had the other old thing up, this
should be pretty easy to get up and running.
Received on Tue Nov 16 2004 - 11:40:16 GMT

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