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Asgard "FILE 16" Utility

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  • computerclassics2000
    Wondered if anyone here owns or has information on a product from Asgard Software named FILE 16? According to the February 1990 issue of the VAST (Phoenix, AZ)
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 5, 2012
      Wondered if anyone here owns or has information on a product from Asgard Software named FILE 16?

      According to the February 1990 issue of the VAST (Phoenix, AZ) newsletter, and reprinted with credit to VAST in the March 1990 issue of the North County 99ers (Escondido, CA), the product is,

      "For users of the CorComp disk controller card, who need to be able to read disks formatted on a Myarc controller, Asgard announces FILE 16.

      "It is a DM1000 like program that lets you copy files between the different disk formats. Myarc, for some unknown reason, chose to format disks in 16 sectors, which make it very difficult for them to be read by any other controller."

      Thanks for any info.

      BillG
      01/05/2012
    • computerclassics2000
      Thanks to Ernie Pergrem for providing initial info and the software on the FILE 16 mystery for me. It is a Jim Reiss authored fairware offering from 1990 that
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 5, 2012
        Thanks to Ernie Pergrem for providing initial info and the software on the FILE 16 mystery for me. It is a Jim Reiss authored fairware offering from 1990 that never found its way on to the Altman Fairware List. Don't yet have any info on an Asgard version?

        BillG

        --- In ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com, "computerclassics2000" <computerclassics@...> wrote:
        >
        > Wondered if anyone here owns or has information on a product from Asgard Software named FILE 16?
        >
        > According to the February 1990 issue of the VAST (Phoenix, AZ) newsletter, and reprinted with credit to VAST in the March 1990 issue of the North County 99ers (Escondido, CA), the product is,
        >
        > "For users of the CorComp disk controller card, who need to be able to read disks formatted on a Myarc controller, Asgard announces FILE 16.
        >
        > "It is a DM1000 like program that lets you copy files between the different disk formats. Myarc, for some unknown reason, chose to format disks in 16 sectors, which make it very difficult for them to be read by any other controller."
        >
        > Thanks for any info.
        >
        > BillG
        > 01/05/2012
        >
      • Eric
        FYI: According to Lou Phillips, Myarc was contracted by Texas Instruments to produce a prototype of the TI DSDD Disk Controller Card. [It was becoming
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 5, 2012
          FYI:

          According to Lou Phillips, Myarc was contracted by "Texas Instruments" to produce a 'prototype' of the TI DSDD Disk Controller Card. [It was becoming CHEAPER for them to sub-contract out to a small firm than develop it "in-house"]

          Texas Instruments' standard for the TI99/4A was to be 16 sectors per track even though the "Industry's" standard was 18 sectors per track! {Texas Instruments always had their OWN standards... .. . just like what Texas Instruments did with the 4 pins on the RS232C card}

          So Myarc which which was going to make a DSDD card of its own on its first versions of the card's software had the default formatting to the Texas Instruments standard of 16 sector per track and an 'optional' formatting of 18 sectors.

          Texas Instruments discontinued the TI99/4A and never produced a DSDD card of its own. So the CorComp DSDD card went with the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track and Myarc with its later run of software switched to the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track with the option of formatting with 16 sectors per track.

          The 16 sectors per track formatting by Myarc was done all in the anticipation of Texas Instruments DSDD card which never ever saw the light of day!!!!

          >Myarc, for some unknown reason, chose to format disks in 16 sectors, >which make it very difficult for them to be read by any other >controller."
          >
          > Thanks for any info.
          >
          > BillG
          > 01/05/2012
          >
        • Barry Boone
          Using a power of 2 for sectors per track makes a certain amount of sense if the world hadn t already gone with another standard :) 16 sectors per track means
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 5, 2012

            Using a power of 2 for sectors per track makes a certain amount of sense if the world hadn’t already gone with another standard J  16 sectors per track means you can do things like bitshift track numbers to the left 4 bits to get sector starting numbers, or bitshift to the right a sector number over by 4 bits and get the track number.  Using 18 means having to do multiply/divide commands, and slightly more involved math in general.

             

            Of course, when you build a controller that has to support 16 and 18, you don’t get any benefit of simpler coding/math at all.  16 sectors per track is probably a bit more reliable too, since you are putting larger gaps between sectors.  But getting over 10% more space doing 18, especially in those days, made a significant difference and was well worth doing.

             

            From: ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Eric
            Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2012 12:11 PM
            To: ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [TI-99/4A] Re: Asgard "FILE 16" Utility

             

             

            FYI:

            According to Lou Phillips, Myarc was contracted by "Texas Instruments" to produce a 'prototype' of the TI DSDD Disk Controller Card. [It was becoming CHEAPER for them to sub-contract out to a small firm than develop it "in-house"]

            Texas Instruments' standard for the TI99/4A was to be 16 sectors per track even though the "Industry's" standard was 18 sectors per track! {Texas Instruments always had their OWN standards... .. . just like what Texas Instruments did with the 4 pins on the RS232C card}

            So Myarc which which was going to make a DSDD card of its own on its first versions of the card's software had the default formatting to the Texas Instruments standard of 16 sector per track and an 'optional' formatting of 18 sectors.

            Texas Instruments discontinued the TI99/4A and never produced a DSDD card of its own. So the CorComp DSDD card went with the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track and Myarc with its later run of software switched to the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track with the option of formatting with 16 sectors per track.

            The 16 sectors per track formatting by Myarc was done all in the anticipation of Texas Instruments DSDD card which never ever saw the light of day!!!!

            >Myarc, for some unknown reason, chose to format disks in 16 sectors, >which make it very difficult for them to be read by any other >controller."
            >
            > Thanks for any info.
            >
            > BillG
            > 01/05/2012
            >

          • Jeff White
            Jim Fetzner and I actually have TI DDCC s. They were not designed or produced by Myarc from what I can tell. Unlike the PC, which used 512-byte sectors, TI
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 5, 2012
              Jim Fetzner and I actually have TI DDCC's.  They were not designed or produced by Myarc from what I can tell.

              Unlike the PC, which used 512-byte sectors, TI chose to use 256-byte sectors.  Some other computers chose 128-byte sectors.  This choice was probably more influenced by the amount of memory the computer had rather than disk capacity.

              The TI was limited by having 256 bytes CPU RAM for the OS, and 16K Video RAM for display and everything else.  The disk controller had to have buffers for file handling, and 512-byte sectors would not fit in CPU RAM and would take more of Video RAM than 128- or 256-byte sectors.  The choice was 256-byte sectors.

              TI chose the WD1771 controller chip, which only supports single density (FM recording).  For FM recording on 5.25" floppies, 9 sectors per track for 256-byte sectors is the design recommendation.  Single density as we know it is 9 sectors per track, or 2304 bytes per track, and 125000 bits per second transfer.  At 300rpm, there are 5rps.  This means that a track at most  is 25000 bits.  Dividing by 8 to get 3125 bytes per track.  This leaves 821 bytes for gap information -- post index hole, between sectors, and end of track.

              For double density, there are at most 6250 bytes per sector.  The PC format was 9 sectors of 512 bytes, or 4608 bytes.  This leaves 1642 bytes for gap info as expected.

              Timing of the data and gaps is the same when going from single to double density if sector size doubles.

              But TI chose 256 bytes for double density.  Going from 9 to 16 sectors adds 7 between-sector gaps.  To 18, 9 gaps.

              If a gap needs to be 82 bytes on average for single density, for double density it seems reasonable that 164 bytes would be very good.  But there are only 1642 bytes for gaps with 18 sectors.  With 16 sectors, there are 1898 bytes.

              What is not obvious is that single density and double density are transferring bits at the same rate.  It is the encoding of MFM that doubles the density of FM.

              For 256-byte sectors, 16 sectors per track is preferable, but not our standard double density.

              Jeff White

              On Jan 5, 2012, at 1:10 PM, "Eric" <eric-bray@...> wrote:

               

              FYI:

              According to Lou Phillips, Myarc was contracted by "Texas Instruments" to produce a 'prototype' of the TI DSDD Disk Controller Card. [It was becoming CHEAPER for them to sub-contract out to a small firm than develop it "in-house"]

              Texas Instruments' standard for the TI99/4A was to be 16 sectors per track even though the "Industry's" standard was 18 sectors per track! {Texas Instruments always had their OWN standards... .. . just like what Texas Instruments did with the 4 pins on the RS232C card}

              So Myarc which which was going to make a DSDD card of its own on its first versions of the card's software had the default formatting to the Texas Instruments standard of 16 sector per track and an 'optional' formatting of 18 sectors.

              Texas Instruments discontinued the TI99/4A and never produced a DSDD card of its own. So the CorComp DSDD card went with the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track and Myarc with its later run of software switched to the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track with the option of formatting with 16 sectors per track.

              The 16 sectors per track formatting by Myarc was done all in the anticipation of Texas Instruments DSDD card which never ever saw the light of day!!!!

              >Myarc, for some unknown reason, chose to format disks in 16 sectors, >which make it very difficult for them to be read by any other >controller."
              >
              > Thanks for any info.
              >
              > BillG
              > 01/05/2012

            • Ksarul
              I actually have two of these controllers-one that I bought fully assembled, and one that I bought as a kit. The kit board was one issued to members of the TI
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 5, 2012

                I actually have two of these controllers—one that I bought fully assembled, and one that I bought as a kit.  The kit board was one issued to members of the TI Dallas Engineering User Group (apparently an internal TI User’s Group) with instructions to build them and test them out.  They came with a copy of the DM3 cartridge as part of the package, though this one differs slightly from the other DM3 carts I have (it has a different menu title for the module).

                 

                Jim

                 

                From: ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff White
                Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2012 9:06 PM
                To: ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [TI-99/4A] Re: Asgard "FILE 16" Utility

                 




                Jim Fetzner and I actually have TI DDCC's.  They were not designed or produced by Myarc from what I can tell.

                 

                Unlike the PC, which used 512-byte sectors, TI chose to use 256-byte sectors.  Some other computers chose 128-byte sectors.  This choice was probably more influenced by the amount of memory the computer had rather than disk capacity.

                 

                The TI was limited by having 256 bytes CPU RAM for the OS, and 16K Video RAM for display and everything else.  The disk controller had to have buffers for file handling, and 512-byte sectors would not fit in CPU RAM and would take more of Video RAM than 128- or 256-byte sectors.  The choice was 256-byte sectors.

                 

                TI chose the WD1771 controller chip, which only supports single density (FM recording).  For FM recording on 5.25" floppies, 9 sectors per track for 256-byte sectors is the design recommendation.  Single density as we know it is 9 sectors per track, or 2304 bytes per track, and 125000 bits per second transfer.  At 300rpm, there are 5rps.  This means that a track at most  is 25000 bits.  Dividing by 8 to get 3125 bytes per track.  This leaves 821 bytes for gap information -- post index hole, between sectors, and end of track.

                 

                For double density, there are at most 6250 bytes per sector.  The PC format was 9 sectors of 512 bytes, or 4608 bytes.  This leaves 1642 bytes for gap info as expected.

                 

                Timing of the data and gaps is the same when going from single to double density if sector size doubles.

                 

                But TI chose 256 bytes for double density.  Going from 9 to 16 sectors adds 7 between-sector gaps.  To 18, 9 gaps.

                 

                If a gap needs to be 82 bytes on average for single density, for double density it seems reasonable that 164 bytes would be very good.  But there are only 1642 bytes for gaps with 18 sectors.  With 16 sectors, there are 1898 bytes.

                 

                What is not obvious is that single density and double density are transferring bits at the same rate.  It is the encoding of MFM that doubles the density of FM.

                 

                For 256-byte sectors, 16 sectors per track is preferable, but not our standard double density.

                 

                Jeff White


                On Jan 5, 2012, at 1:10 PM, "Eric" <eric-bray@...> wrote:

                 

                FYI:

                According to Lou Phillips, Myarc was contracted by "Texas Instruments" to produce a 'prototype' of the TI DSDD Disk Controller Card. [It was becoming CHEAPER for them to sub-contract out to a small firm than develop it "in-house"]

                Texas Instruments' standard for the TI99/4A was to be 16 sectors per track even though the "Industry's" standard was 18 sectors per track! {Texas Instruments always had their OWN standards... .. . just like what Texas Instruments did with the 4 pins on the RS232C card}

                So Myarc which which was going to make a DSDD card of its own on its first versions of the card's software had the default formatting to the Texas Instruments standard of 16 sector per track and an 'optional' formatting of 18 sectors.

                Texas Instruments discontinued the TI99/4A and never produced a DSDD card of its own. So the CorComp DSDD card went with the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track and Myarc with its later run of software switched to the 'industry' standard of 18 sectors per track with the option of formatting with 16 sectors per track.

                The 16 sectors per track formatting by Myarc was done all in the anticipation of Texas Instruments DSDD card which never ever saw the light of day!!!!

                >Myarc, for some unknown reason, chose to format disks in 16 sectors, >which make it very difficult for them to be read by any other >controller."
                >
                > Thanks for any info.
                >
                > BillG
                > 01/05/2012




              • Eric
                ... FYI: What Texas Instruments did towards the end of the TI99/4A era was to hire second party corporations like Myarc that signed a Non-Disclosure
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 5, 2012
                  --- In ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com, Jeff White <ti994a@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Jim Fetzner and I actually have TI DDCC's. They were not designed or > produced by Myarc from what I can tell.
                  >
                  --- In ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com, Eric Bray <eric-bray@...> wrote:
                  >>According to Lou Phillips, Myarc was contracted by "Texas >>Instruments" to produce a 'prototype' of the TI DSDD Disk Controller >>Card. [It was becoming CHEAPER for them to sub-contract out to a >>small firm than develop it "in-house"]

                  FYI:

                  What Texas Instruments did towards the end of the TI99/4A era was to hire "second party corporations" like 'Myarc' that signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement to produce prototypes of certain hardware for them and then they would modify that prototype hardware to suit their needs before they manufactured and distributed the product with their name on it.

                  Or often they would have two parallel development projects going on at the same time one using their proprietary chips and one using over the counter chips. [That is what they did with the TI Pro Computer therefore choosing the one with their proprietary chips over the one with the over the counter chips; the group that used the over the counter chips left the corporation and formed "Compaq Computer" but not before paying Texas Instruments a 'small' royalty for every computer that they sold!]

                  At the same time that Myarc was developing the DSDD 'prototype' they also signed a contract to develop a hard disk controller card which went on to become the "Myarc 'Personalty' Card"; of course by the time all this development came to be nearly finished Texas Instruments had basically made a corporate decision to get out of the Home Computer Market followed shortly by the Business computer market!

                  So that left Myarc with a DSDD controller and CorComp with a DSDD controller AND Myarc with a hard disk controller [Personalty Card]. The 'advantage' that Myarc had over CorComp was the fact they had signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement and CorComp had NOT signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement. That is the reason why Corcomp's RS232C is so radically different from either TI's or Myarc's.

                  That is also why Myarc could develop the Myarc Geneve 9640 computer from the data about the TI99/8 and part of the reason why Corcomp's "Phoenix" computer never saw the light of day; Corcomp could only guess at all the inner workings of the next model computer while Myarc knew the basic inner workings of the next model computer.

                  Texas Instruments was VERY SMART though, because in the a Non-Disclosure Agreement that Myarc signed it "limited" Myarc to producing only hardware (cards) that could 'fit' inside the P.E.B. using the information that they had given to Myarc about their computers.

                  Did everyone ever wonder why Myarc NEVER produced a separate console model for the Myarc Geneve 9640 Computer? The above is the reason why!!
                • Gregg Eshelman
                  ... The TI Professional was a normal PC clone with a proprietary TI video card they called Three Planes . Few programs took advantage of the Three Planes
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 6, 2012
                    --- On Thu, 1/5/12, Eric <eric-bray@...> wrote:

                    > Or often they would have two parallel development projects
                    > going on at the same time one using their proprietary chips
                    > and one using over the counter chips. [That is what they did
                    > with the TI Pro Computer therefore choosing the one with
                    > their proprietary chips over the one with the over the
                    > counter chips; the group that used the over the counter
                    > chips left the corporation and formed "Compaq Computer" but
                    > not before paying Texas Instruments a 'small' royalty for
                    > every computer that they sold!]

                    The TI Professional was a normal PC clone with a proprietary TI video card they called "Three Planes".

                    Few programs took advantage of the Three Planes advanced graphics and some standard PC software wouldn't run on the TI Pro. The easy fix was replacing the TI video card with any standard 8 bit ISA video card and using IBM PC-DOS or Microsoft MS-DOS.

                    Since TI wasn't IBM and in the collective business mind IBM was the PC, TI had no chance of getting an early lead on establishing a graphics standard better than monochrome text and CGA.

                    The only common early PC video standard that didn't come from IBM was the high resolution Hercules monochrome, which a college student from Thailand developed for his own PC so he could write his master's thesis in his native language. "Herc" was good enough and simple enough that many manufacturers adopted it for applications like word processing and spreadsheets.
                  • computerclassics2000
                    Great trivia!!! Had never heard any of that.
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 6, 2012
                      Great trivia!!! Had never heard any of that.


                      --- In ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com, Gregg Eshelman <g_alan_e@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- On Thu, 1/5/12, Eric <eric-bray@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > > Or often they would have two parallel development projects
                      > > going on at the same time one using their proprietary chips
                      > > and one using over the counter chips. [That is what they did
                      > > with the TI Pro Computer therefore choosing the one with
                      > > their proprietary chips over the one with the over the
                      > > counter chips; the group that used the over the counter
                      > > chips left the corporation and formed "Compaq Computer" but
                      > > not before paying Texas Instruments a 'small' royalty for
                      > > every computer that they sold!]
                      >
                      > The TI Professional was a normal PC clone with a proprietary TI video card they called "Three Planes".
                      >
                      > Few programs took advantage of the Three Planes advanced graphics and some standard PC software wouldn't run on the TI Pro. The easy fix was replacing the TI video card with any standard 8 bit ISA video card and using IBM PC-DOS or Microsoft MS-DOS.
                      >
                      > Since TI wasn't IBM and in the collective business mind IBM was the PC, TI had no chance of getting an early lead on establishing a graphics standard better than monochrome text and CGA.
                      >
                      > The only common early PC video standard that didn't come from IBM was the high resolution Hercules monochrome, which a college student from Thailand developed for his own PC so he could write his master's thesis in his native language. "Herc" was good enough and simple enough that many manufacturers adopted it for applications like word processing and spreadsheets.
                      >
                    • hoss4272
                      I remember the Herc card; it was in our family s XT clone purchased back around 87. Interesting piece of equipment.. if I remember correctly it had a parallel
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 6, 2012
                        I remember the Herc card; it was in our family's XT clone purchased back around 87. Interesting piece of equipment.. if I remember correctly it had a parallel port as well (strange!). To run any color games or applications we would need to run SIMCGA.COM prior to loading. If it was an autoboot color program then you were hosed.

                        --- In ti99-4a@yahoogroups.com, Gregg Eshelman <g_alan_e@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > The only common early PC video standard that didn't come from IBM was the high resolution Hercules monochrome, which a college student from Thailand developed for his own PC so he could write his master's thesis in his native language. "Herc" was good enough and simple enough that many manufacturers adopted it for applications like word processing and spreadsheets.
                        >
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