Soon

Microsoft Game Studio

I’m on an extended work trip, so I’ve been unable to do much of anything blog like the last few weeks. But as a bonus I have about 6 months worth of random crap from Ebay packed up to take back to Hong Kong to review.

And yes, It’s nearly been a year in the making for this one, but rest assured unless the disks are un-readable this will happen!

Otherwise, the Diablo thing with the release to mobile only went over like a proverbial lead balloon.  Kind of gutsy to host a convention to die hard PC fans and try to keynote on a re-skinned rip off phone app, that’s just been accepted as now ‘official’.  Talk about outsourcing gone wrong.

UPDATE: sad news I have a piece of luggage MIA.  This may not be happening now. 

UPDATE2: Bag showed up, loaded the disks, and after 7% of disk one, my 5 1/4″ drive just died.

:'(

Installing Classic (MacOS 9.2.2) from OS X 10.4

I just got another PowerBook, and the disk had been wiped by the prior user, and all it did was boot up to the blinking mac face. So not very useful. I did luckily buy some CD’s from a user on reddit a few months ago, so I had 10.4 install DVD, and an install of 9.2.2 for the emac.

Now the OS 9, is an install disc, not one of the recovery discs, and naturally the aluminum powerbooks don’t boot OS 9, so I’m kind of out of luck for getting Classic working, or so I had thought. I copied the System Folder from the CD onto the hard disk, and told the classic applette to boot it, and it updated some system files, and then gave me this fine message:


The system software on the startup disk only functions on the original media, not if copied to another drive.

So this got me thinking, back in the Sheepshaver days when trying to boot from an ISO as a disk file, it fails the same way because the image is read/write. If it’s read-only it does boot up however. So I used disk util, and made a new read-only disk image from a directory, and pointed it to a directory that I’d moved the CD’s system folder, desktop to. After mounting the read only image, it booted!

Now for the best part, I then kicked off the installer from the CD, and had it install a copy of OS 9, onto the OS X disk.

OS 9 Installer running under OS X

It’s worth noting that just about every optional install fails. It’ll come back with an error, and you can skip the component. It’s probably just easier to install the minimal OS image.

But rest assured it really does install.

After the install you can eject the CD, unmount the read-only copy and tell the classic to stop and then boot from the new installed copy of OS 9 on the OS X disk. It didn’t interfere with my OS X from booting, although the ‘sane person’ would probably have disk image make a small (1gb) read/write virtual disk, and have the installer install to that.

So to recap, copy the system folder from the CD onto read-write media, and let classic update it. get it to the point that it’s not happy about being mounted read-write. Move it to a read-only disk image and have classic boot from that, and then run the OS 9 installer to install itself to whatever target disk you need or want.

SimCity 2000 on Classic / OS X

I’ve run Netscape 4, IE 3 & 4, QuickTime 4, and the SIMS version 1 (the OS 8/9 carbon version). using 10.4.0 on an aluminum powerbook.

I don’t know if anyone else has done this, I couldn’t find any real concrete guides for installing OS 9 from OS X.  So here we go.

Microsoft XENIX 286 BASIC Compiler

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

I have recently acquired this artifact:

It’s the Microsoft BASIC compiler for XENIX 286 Operating System. Compiler as opposed to just BASIC interpreter, it can produce executable a.out files, similar to C compiler for example.  

Carefully removed the shrink wrap. Inside were couple of 5.25″ floppies, registration card and a manual:

Interestingly the 32 year old disks read just fine on a first attempt. I need to start backing up important files to 5.25″ floppy disks as they seem to outlast everything else.

Thanks to efforts of Michal Necasek from OS/2 Museum now you can run Microsoft XENIX 286 in Virtual Box

The disks can be installed in to XENIX running on Vbox following a few simple steps:

tar xvf /dev/fd0
./msinstall /dev/fd0

Upon installation you invoke the compiler like this:

bascom demo.bas
./a.out

And it produced an a.out executable which worked perfectly fine.

It’s fun to write BASIC code in vi editor, which I just realized I never done before.

Curiously the compiler also worked on the brand spanking new Xenix 2018, or rather I should call it Open Server 6, which you can download here (includes an evaluation license).

The BASIC compiler is available for download from archive.org along with the manual in pdf.

ttyplot – a real time plotting utility for the terminal

(This is a guest post from Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

I spend most of time in a day staring at a terminal window often running various performance monitoring tools and reading metrics.

Inspired by tools like gtop, vtop and gotop I wished for a more generic terminal based tool that would visualize data coming from unix pipeline directly on the terminal. For example graph some column or field from sar, iostat, vmstat, snmpget, etc. continuously in real time.

Yes gnuplot and several other utilities can plot on terminal already but none of them easily read data from stdin and plot continuously in real time.

In just couple of evenings ttyplot was born. The utility reads data from stdin and plots it on a terminal with curses. Simple as that. Here is a most trivial example:

To make it happen you take ping command and pipe the output via sed to extract the right column and remove unwanted characters:

ping 8.8.8.8 | sed -u 's/^.*time=//g; s/ ms//g' | ttyplot 

Ttyplot can also read two inputs and plot with two lines, the second being in reverse-video. This is useful when you want to plot in/out or read/write at the same time.

A lot of performance metrics are presented in as a “counter” type which needs to be converted in to a “rate”. Prometheus and Graphana have rate() or irate() function for that. I have added a simple -r option. The time difference is calculated automatically. This is an example using snmpget which is show in screenshot above:

{ while true; do snmpget -v 2c -c public 10.23.73.254 1.3.6.1.2.1.2.2.1.{10,16}.9 | gawk '{ print $NF/1000/1000 }'; sleep 10; done } | ttyplot -2 -r -u "MB/s"

I now find myself plotting all sorts of useful stuff which otherwise would be cumbersome. This includes a lot of metrics from Prometheus for which you normally need a web browser. And how do you plot metrics from Prometheus? With curl:

{ while true; do curl -s http://10.4.7.180:9100/metrics | grep "^node_load1 " | cut -d" " -f2; sleep 1; done } | ttyplot

If you need to plot a lot of different metrics ttyplot fits nicely in to panels in tmux, which also allows the graphs to run for longer time periods.

Of course in text mode the graphs are not very precise, but this is not the intent. I just want to be able to easily spot spikes here and there plus see some trends like up/down – which works exactly as intended.I do dig fancy braille line graphs and colors but this is not my priority at the moment. They may get added later, but most importantly I want the utility to work reliably on most operating systems and terminals. 

You can find compiled binaries here and source code and examples to get you started – here.

If you get to plot something cool that deserves to be listed as an example please send it on!

Gopher kills the LC

Macintosh LC

The LC isn’t a strong Macintosh.  It is after all, a low cost model.  And what I’m doing isn’t even slightly fair to it.

Since it has a mere 68020 running at a blazing 16Mhz with no 68881 nor any MMU running something like A/UX is simply out of the question.  However MMU less Mac’s can run MachTen.

Although I did make a backup of the disk to find out that this thing had been in Harvard of all places, apparently once belonging to Mark Saroyan.

Although there was nothing even slightly academic or useful on the disk.  I wonder if the software was even pirated as the last owner sure enjoyed all the various SIM games (city/earth/life/ant) it seems more than anything else.

I formatted the massive 50MB SCSI disk, put on a fresh copy of MacOS 7.0.1 along with the network driver and MachTen 2.2.

System 7.0.1

And as far as LC’s go, this one isn’t too bad, it’s loaded up with the maximum 10MB of RAM, although it seems the VRAM is pretty sparse as it’ll only go to 16 colours.  But since we are playing UNIX here, I didn’t see any need for that, and set it to mono.

I thought it’d be fun to install a gopherd server onto this machine, and that is where the fun started.

Granted it’s been a long time since I used a machine with no real L2 cache, let alone running at a whopping 16Mhz, and using a compiler like GCC is just incredibly slow.

So I thought I could just ‘cheat’ the system by taking the source code to GCC-1.42 and tweaking the SUN3-Mach configuration into a SUN2-Mach configuration but keeping it targeting a BSD like OS, along with setting it to compile to a 68020 without a 68881.  Oddly enough getting a cross compiler wasn’t so difficult, but the assembler on the LC, a modified GAS wouldn’t assembler the files. So I went ahead and built a68 from GAS 1.38 and now I can cross assemble from Windows. However I couldn’t get the linker ld from binutils-1.9 working.  I guess it was an endian issue somewhere, but my attempt at byte swapping files it was reading just led to further confusion.  And I figured linking on the target host wouldn’t be the end of the world, as compiling sure feels like it is.

I can’t see like anyone would care, but here it is: 
MachTen-crossgcc-1.42-nolinker.7z

So fighting the source and in a matter of a 30 minutes of on/off work I had it compiled.  All I needed to do then was FTP the objects to the machine, link and run.   Surprisingly this proved to be pretty simple.

gopherd running!

I managed to get a few pages out of it, and suddenly my telnet sessions dropped.  Looking over at the console and MacOS was busy being MacOS.

error of type 3

And that was that.

I tried another program to cross compile and upload phoon!

phoon cross compiled, natively linked.

It took a while to set the clock to the right year, as my minimal System 7 install doesn’t have the time control panel, and advancing 1 year at a time from 1999 takes time, by advancing the date to New Years Eve every minute 19 times to get us to 2018 with the old date syntax:

date 12312359

Lessons learned?

Obviously if I want to do something like this, I’m going to need a better Macintosh.  Or just not do things like this….

I’m kind of on the fence as to whither 68k Unix is really all that useful in the age of Ghz x86.  

Source to the Apple-II MIT Logo recovered

;  LOGO Language Interpreter for the Apple-II-Plus Personal Microcomputer
;  Written and developed by Stephen L. Hain, Patrick G. Sobalvarro,
;  and the M.I.T. LOGO Group, at the Massachusetts Institute of
;  Technology.

It’s over on github: https://github.com/PDP-10/its/blob/master/src/aplogo/logo.958

So I picked up this Nokia 1020, and decided to downgrade it to Windows 8.0

When I’d bought this 1020 in question, I picked it up from an AT&T customer with the intention of basically using it as a camera.  Well it was kind of okay but it had been upgraded to Windows 10, which technically is unsupported on the 1020 hardware.  And no wonder as the 1020 specific camera applications aren’t available, nor is performance all that great on Windows 10.  I’m guessing there is a laundry list of reasons of why Windows 10 was not available for the 1020.

So I saw this website, lumiafirmware.com that not only has an incredible amount of firmware saved, but it sure makes the process of loading different firmware pretty simple.

  • Install “Windows Device Recovery Tool” http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=525569
  • Download the firmware form this site only the ffu.
  • And now open CMD as administrator
  • Type “cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Care Suite\Windows Device Recovery Tool”(32 bit pc) “cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft Care Suite\Windows Device Recovery Tool”
  • Connect now your phone to your pc
  • Type in cmd “thor2 -mode uefiflash -ffufile “C:\the location of the ffu\file name.ffu” -do_full_nvi_update -do_factory_reset”
  • Wait now until your phone gives a green screen
  • Type now in cmd “thor2 -mode rnd -bootnormalmode”

Really doesn’t that sound not that difficult at all?!

Except it wasn’t.

Looking at the incredibly extensive list, I see that the AT&T 1020 phone in yellow colour is the RM877.  So I download the appropriate ffu image and run:

thor2 -mode uefiflash -ffufile RM877_3051.50009.1451.1_RETAIL_nam_att_205_01_473928_prd_signed.ffu -do_full_nvi_update -do_factory_reset

A bunch of verbose output happens and then:

Start sending payload data V2Sbl in async mode...
Percents: 0
Device responded a message that has invalid size!
Expected: 16, Received: 0
Exception during programming: 262150
Safe write descriptor index reached: false
Payload data transfer speed (0.22 MB/s) Elapsed time 40.83 sec
Payload data size 9.000123 MB
[IN] programSecureFfuFile. Closing RM877_3051.50009.1451.1_RETAIL_nam_att_205_01_473928_prd_signed.ffu
programming operation failed!
Operation took about 1 minute, 6 seconds. Average transfer speed was 0.11 MB/s.

Unknown error code.

THOR2 1.8.2.18 exited with error code 262150 (0x40006)

Unknown error code!  What the hell does that mean?

Glancing over at the phone I’ll show you what it means.

Nokia Red screen, waiting to be programmed

So the phone was stuck at the red screen waiting to be programmed, but obviously that failed.  Re-running the programmer just gave me this:

Detecting UEFI responder
Send HELLO
Send HELLO
Send HELLO
Send HELLO
Send HELLO
Lumia UEFI Application did not respond to version info query
Device is not in Lumia UEFI mode
Reading device mode failed
Failed to detect UEFI responder. 84017

THOR2_ERROR_TO_COMMUNICATE_WITH_DEVICE

THOR2 1.8.2.18 exited with error code 84102 (0x14886)

So I thought I’d hold down the volume down button & power and do a reset.  Except now my device was nearly bricked.  The display wouldn’t turn on at all, and there was no haptic feedback on powering up and or down.

HOWEVER plugging in the USB would make the connection noise, and how me a “QHSUSB_DLOAD” device.  So I could try to talk to it in emergency mode.

Apparently on the same download page, there is a hex file and a mbn file.  Downloading those and running:

thor2 -mode emergency -hexfile FAST8960_EOS_NAM.hex -mbnfile RM877_msimage_v1.0.mbn -orig_gpt

And this looked like it was going to work… but then as always it failed.

Sending OPEN_MULTI_REQ
Received valid response to OPEN_MULTI_REQ
Programming image R
Image opened successfully for reading
SAFE hex file was used and unallowed memory address was being written.
Reset the device and use the correct HEX file.
ALPHA EMERGENCY FLASH END
Emergency messaging closed successfully
Operation took about 11.00 seconds.

Unknown error code.

THOR2 1.8.2.18 exited with error code 85034 (0x14C2A)

Use the correct HEX file? But it was the one that I downloaded from the right page!  Great now my phone is dead.  Unplugging it in and out however gives me a little hope as it’s still showing up as a QHSUB_DLOAD device.

After a lot of searching I see Joemar Serrato went down the same road, and they did something weird where they split out the mbnfile from the ffu file themselves.  So I ran the following command to split out the mbn files:

thor2 -mode ffureader -ffufile RM877_3045.0000.1325.0001_RETAIL_nam_att_205_01_223461_prd_signed.ffu -dump_gpt -filedir gpt

And now I had 2 files.

10/04/2018  06:53 PM            17,408 GPT0.bin
10/04/2018  06:53 PM            17,408 GPT1.bin

Now with all that drama I could re-run the emergency mode flash

thor2 -mode emergency -hexfile FAST8960_EOS_NAM.hex -mbnfile gpt\GPT0.bin -orig_gpt

Sending OPEN_MULTI_REQ
Received valid response to OPEN_MULTI_REQ
Programming image g
Image opened successfully for reading
Uploading MBN image 70
SAFE hex file was used and unallowed memory address was being written.
Reset the device and use the correct HEX file.
ALPHA EMERGENCY FLASH END
Emergency messaging closed successfully
Operation took about 11.00 seconds.

Unknown error code.

THOR2 1.8.2.15 exited with error code 85034 (0x14C2A)

And it appeared nothing changed at all. Great.  In disgust I unplug the phone and hold down the volume down & power button for 15 seconds, but this time it vibrated.  I couldn’t believe it!  Within a few seconds it powered back up to the red screen, ready to load new firmware!

thor2 -mode uefiflash -ffufile RM877_3045.0000.1325.0001_RETAIL_nam_att_205_01_223461_prd_signed.ffu -do_full_nvi_update -do_factory_reset

Size of system mem: 2097152 KB
Send backup to RAM req...
Clearing the backup GPT...SKIPPED!
Successfully parsed FFU file. Header size: 0x000c0000, Payload size: 0x00000000572e0000, Chunk size: 0x00020000, Header offset: 0x00000000, Payload offset: 0x00000000000c0000
RKH match between device and FFU file!
Option: Skip CRC32 check in use
Start sending header data…
Start sending payload data V2Sbl in async mode...
Percents: 0
Percents: 1
Percents: 2
Percents: 3
Percents: 4
Percents: 5

I was astonished!  The progress bar was slowly moving, and the phone was doing what it should have been doing about 2 hours ago.  I dared not move, so unfortunately I don’t have any pictures.

Payload data transfer speed (9.79 MB/s) Elapsed time 142.41 sec
Payload data size 1394.893921 MB
Read flashing status..
[IN] programSecureFfuFile. Closing RM877_3045.0000.1325.0001_RETAIL_nam_att_205_01_223461_prd_signed.ffu
Get EMMC write speed...
Get EMMC write speed, SKIPPED!
Get data verify speed...
Get data verify speed, SKIPPED!
Send restore backup from RAM req...
programming operation completed!
[THOR2_flash_state] Post programming operations
[THOR2_flash_state] Executing factory reset
[Factory reset result] 0
Factory reset done
[THOR2_flash_state] Executing Full NVI Update
Write flash options ( WriteNvi: Full )

Write parameter to device via UEFI Flash App
Write parameter Ok
Flash options set successfully.

[Full NVI update result] 0
Operation took about 2 minutes, 24 seconds. Average transfer speed was 10.16 MB/s.

Exited with success

And then just like that, the phone rebooted itself, and then brought itself up to the ‘green screen’

Nokia green screen (firmware loaded successfully)

All that remained to do was to tell the phone to boot up normally

thor2 -mode rnd -bootnormalmode

Version 8.0.10327.77

And that was it!

My 1020 is now running 8.0, which includes not only the special Nokia phone apps, but all the AT&T bloatware of 2012.  I can’t believe there was a yellow pages app.  How are they still a thing?

MS-DOS v1.25 and v2.0 Source Code now on github

This repo contains the original source-code and compiled binaries for MS-DOS 1.25 and MS-DOS 2.0.

These are the same files originally shared at the Computer History Museum on March 25th 2014 and are being (re)published in this repo to make them easier to find, reference-to in external writing and works, and to allow exploration and experimentation for those interested in early PC Operating Systems.

License

All files within this repo are released under the MIT (OSI) License as per the LICENSE file stored in the root of this repo.


At first I just thought it was simply just another mirror of the original source that had been released that had some incredible restrictions.

Original license:
To access this material, you must agree to the terms of the license displayed here, which permits only non-commercial use and does not give you the right to license it to third parties by posting copies elsewhere on the web.

However the restrictions have been lifted, and MS-DOS 1.25 & 2.0 are now available under a MIT license.

So this is actually very awesome!

You can download it here: https://github.com/Microsoft/MS-DOS.

the easy way bundle

The easy way bundle

I came across this hefty box, “the easy way bundle”, as it bills itself, the easy way to save over $1,000 on four popular software packages for your new Macintosh computer.  Clearly the box has seen better days over the last 27 years but amazingly the contents are just fine.

$399.00 USD

It’s amazing how much more cheaper software has gotten over the years.  Software used to be super expensive on the PC level, it really wasn’t until the office bundling with new machines that drove the price down.  Back in the 80’s and early 90’s it wasn’t uncommon to pay upwards of $500 USD for a single application, like a spreadsheet or word processor.

bundle contents

Inside the box is more boxes, and inside those boxes is a rare sight, manuals!  Actual printed manuals!  That is how you know this is something of near museum quality.  I kind of like being able to read a physical book from time to time, and it’s really great.

Oh and incidentally the disks all worked, much to my amazement.  I just needed to get a working Macintosh with a drive that can read 800kb disks and an Ethernet card.

4 great programs!

Although it does list four packages, it really is 3, featuring:

  • WordPerfect 
  • Lotus 1-2-3
  • SoftPC

AccessPC is simply a FAT driver for MacOS to read MS-DOS floppies & removable media.

So let’s take a quick look!

An actual software license

I haven’t seen something like this in a long while, an actual license printed on nice stock certificate stock paper (remember those?!), with a hologram tag.  Does WordPerfect even exist anymore?  Can I mail this in for an upgrade?  Does it even matter?

Install options for WordPerfect

While the install options give the impression that WordPefect is a really full featured word processor once loaded up for some reason it really felt barren.

Although it does have the important proofing tools, don’t expect a dictionary or thesaurus to have anything more than the words, no definitions or anything like a style guide.  It did ship on floppy and I guess I’ve just become so spoiled living in the future with terabytes of storage and an overwhelming supply of deference media.

Going back to 1992 is a real trip to not only how clean some of the UI elements feel, but just how seemingly feature sparse the more advanced applications feel.

Personally I never really liked WordPerfect so I more so installed it as a curiosity, much like when I had WordPerfect for Unix.  I’m the crazy one that likes MS Word.

Lotus 1-2-3 1.00 for the Mac

With that said, I went ahead and installed Lotus 1-2-3, and I was really surprised, that the installer was not only really appallingly bad, requiring you to copy the contents to the HD before installing it (so you need a lot of free space), but there was no copy protection at all either on the disks, or in the form of a certificate/serial code.  In school I did start with 1-2-3, but with the onslaught of Microsoft Office had quickly moved to Excel, and after 30+ years I really don’t remember much of the slash commands, let alone how to use if effectively.  Luckily the menu is okay to walk through, and of course there is Macintosh style menus so you don’t even have to deal with the slash menu if you don’t want to.

SoftPC

SoftPC didn’t come with a box within the box, just the two manual sets & the disks shoved into the manuals.  I doubt it came like that, but this is all I have.

SoftPC licensing stickers

Compared to the WordPerfect certificate, the stickers hidden in the folds of the SoftPC manual just feel cheap.  And the years have not been kind as you can see with the discoloration, and the cheap adhesive on them has completely dried off.  After I had scanned this they have all fallen off the backing paper.  Although I also have version 3.1, I didn’t want to lose this so I’ll just save it for prosperity.

And SoftPC is a great program, although it really is an absolute crutch, allowing you to run PC software on your Mac.  Flash forward 30 years, and the industry continues with VMware & Parallels.  What is more amazing is how so many leaders in PC emulation completely missed the virtualization market.  But most people would think you were a little strange to run a PC on a PC.  Or more than one at the same time.

The SoftPC platform

SoftPC emulates a really barebones PC, it only supports a maximum of 640kb of RAM, and the CGA graphics adapter.  For anything more advanced you really need to get SoftAT, which supports more options.  Or even better, get a copy of SoftPC 3.1, which not only allows more memory but bundles a copy of MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1

SoftPC 2.52 CGA running Space Quest 1

I found the emulation of the CGA kind of lacking when compared to version 3.1  Although some games like BattleTech render just fine, Space Quest just looks horrible in version 2.52.


SoftPC 3.1 CGA running Space Quest 1

Although to be fair it doesn’t look so much better in version 3.1 either.  However 3.1 emulates both EGA & VGA (along with expanded & extended memory) giving a far more richer 286 based emulation solution


SoftPC 3.1 EGA running Space Quest 1

As you can see there really is no comparison to the EGA version.

Although there are far more better solutions today to do PC emulation, for some reason there is always something cool to have an emulator running an emulator.. Sadly the 80386 based emulation didn’t come to the 68000 based platform, instead the later generation emulation was only available to the PowerPC.

I guess it goes to show, but of all the applications I have for MacOS, I enjoy SoftPC the most.  I suppose I need better softwares.