Ultimate FDC? (Was: IBM 6360 - Filesystem(ish) info?

Ali cctalk at ibm51xx.net
Wed Feb 20 02:15:05 CST 2019

> By the time that I got out (for other reasons), XenoCopy had not been
> profitable for a while.  THAT handled files, but the user still had to
> deal in other ways with modifications that they needed to the content
> of
> the files.  

True, but at that point that is the user's problem. The idea is simply to
make it easy to get the file or make backups. What someone would do with it
after is their prerogative.

> For your 286 machine(s) wouldn't you like a combination of Compaticard,
> CatFerret, and option board, to use instead of the existing FDC board?

Yes. Which is what I keep hoping someone would make. :) As opposed to a
floppy emulating TSR.

> If this were USB, then it could add floppy back onto some more "modern"
> machines.  If USB, with appropriate "modern" drivers, no reason why
> this
> couldn't be used for MOST machines.

True, but you need one hell of a SW driver. Also can you even install
unsigned drivers on Win10? 

> It could have.  But Brown? (not sure whether I remember his name right)
> correctly realized that he could make money doing Mac, but there wasn't
> enough additional money with Apple2 to even necessarily reimburse him
> to
> hire those programmers.

If I recall correctly the DOB came out in 1987 so the Apple II market was
still pretty strong. I have an older (don't recall how old) but probably
first series DOB board and on the box they really don't emphasize the Mac
disk aspect. That seemed to come later with the white boxes w/ the rainbow
logo. I had always heard it was because the IBM copy protection market had
fizzled out i.e. the new 5.25" HD disks and the 3.5" disks did not have disk
based copy protection. The Mac thing was a marketing ploy to keep sales
going. Interestingly according to Wikipedia the DOB could read both Mac and
Apple disks. I don't recall that personally and I am not sure even if true
if that applied to Apple II 5.25" disks.

> FDADAP is a cabling adapter, plus generating the TG43 signal, which
> would
> be trivial to do with a conventional FDC.  For READING (I hardly never
> WROTE), I cabled my 8 inch drives to 34 pin.

True. I have the same setup. However, most FDCs don't provide this (I am not
counting proprietary FDCs like the Flagstaff cards). Even the XT-FDC project
chose not to include the TG43 signal generation on their card. I can't
imagine it would have added that much to the cost of the card and could have
been simply optional components (i.e. only put on if you wanted/needed write
capability). I am not sure if there is a technical reason for it or not but
the Ultimate FDC should not only read but write 8" drives out of the box....
> Yes.  FM adds 8" SSSD "Standard", TRS80 model 1 (although still
> problems
> writing some address marks), and a handful of others.

Exactly! I mean I know the Vector 9K will be left out but one must make
sacrifices. Seriously though the card I propose would cover 95% of most
people's needs (archivist and preservationist aside). If the card could be
made to work with Amiga and/or Atari Disks you would almost have nirvana for
99.999% of the users. Yes, a guy like Chuck who needs to recover some
obscure format off of some obscure scientific machine will probably need
something better/more powerful/and more customizable but a plebe like me? I
would be perfectly happy and I wouldn't have to give up two or more slots in
my PC to do it.
> Pro-Lock relied on a physical defect on the disk.  Both in terms of
> getting an read error trying to read that track, but sometimes even
> confirming that WRITING to that track also failed.

I have never owned and Enhanced DOB board but my understanding was that it
defeated Pro-Lock by reading a disk and saving information as to the bad
sector/location. Then when you wanted to run the Pro-Locked disk it would
simply load that info into the Enhanced DOB's memory and it would be served
up when requested by the program.

> But, is it really that hard to find the patches for the major programs?
> I don't doubt your statement; I'm just surprised.

What used to be Major programs are now relics of long gone time.

> It used to be, that if I Googled XenoCopy, many of the hits were for a
> patch to remove the copy protection from those early versions.  Still
> are!

I just did this - first two hits are your site. Next two are for
un-protection routines. I am not sure if the second one is legit but the
first one is. However, it suffers from what I had described earlier. It is
specific to version 1.09. So I would either have to have version 1.09 or
somehow find it... Maybe I could write the author and ask for a copy ;) 

Frankly, at this point I am less interested in hunting down the one version
that works, or crack that is not a virus or a crack being hosted on some
seedy site with malware galore, or... you get the idea. I like having the
old SW with the manuals and all so that I can actually figure things out and
have something to refer to. That was one of the beauties of SW back in the
day. There was though and effort put into making a manual that taught you
something (aside from using F1 to go online and search the online manual). 

If I go to the trouble of finding a copy of something on eBay and buying it
I'd like an easy way to back it up. The DOB board does great for me but I
think most people don't have a DOB and with the ridiculous eBay pricing on
them they will stay a rare commodity... If the function can be built into an
FDC why not?


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