[Coco] OS9 68K, MM/1 software and questions

Zippster zippster278 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 30 22:41:23 EST 2015

HI Joel,

Thank you very much for your response.  My responses in line below...

> On Dec 30, 2015, at 8:34 PM, Joel Ewy <jcewy at swbell.net> wrote:
> Hi Ed.
> I've got an MM/1 and still have the original disks, the OS-9/68K manuals, and the MM/1 User Guide and Technical Manual.  The MM/1 works, but I need to put a new hard drive in it.  I did just a little programming on it in the late '90s, adding Joel Hegberg's clibboard library to Andrjez Kotanski's (hope I'm not mangling his name too badly) JPEG viewer, so you could copy the decoded image into the clipboard and then use another utility to save it out again as a CLUT IFF, which would load much faster.

That is great!  I would be very appreciative if you could make copies for me of your MM/1 disks and any other software packages you may have
for the MM/1.  Especially original distribution disks for anything MM/1 specific.  I really want to try to pull together a decent archive of what’s
still out there before it is lost.  Of course I’d be more than happy to pay for, or supply floppies, shipping, etc.

> A few years back I believe I sent some MM/1 files to Bob Devries, but I had to copy the files onto MS-DOS floppies, load them into a more modern PC, and then zip them up to send in email.  I don't know whether I didn't think of it, or tried it and failed to get it to work, but I suspect that the Toolshed OS9 command should be configurable to image MM/1 floppy disks.

That is interesting.  I’m not familiar with Toolshed, but it sounds like I should really look into it and learn how to use it.

> Well, I may be able to help you a little.  When I ordered my MM/1, after Blackhawk Enterprises bought it from IMS, I was told by David Graham that I'd have to wait because they needed somebody to stuff I/O and memory boards.  I thought, "hey, I can do that," and called him back.  It turned out that what he needed was a sub-contractor to buy components, stuff the boards, burn GAL chips, and ship them to customers.  I was young and eager.
> Turns out there were problems with the Version 3 I/O board (perhaps a race condition in a state machine in one of the GALs that interfaces the SCSI chip?) and that held up production of the I/O board, reducing the already low sales.  I did ship a few memory boards and sent a couple I/O boards back to Blackhawk and a few guys who were trying to get the problems ironed out.  David got me an older I/O board that worked properly, and I put one of my own 4M memory backplanes on it and ended up with a nice machine for myself.  But I also ended up with a bunch of parts I'd paid for that I couldn't get rid of.  Water under the bridge, and no hard feelings.
> The upshot is that 2 moves and 20 years later, I still have a bunch of parts for faulty Version 3 I/O boards, and good 4M memory backplanes, including PC boards.  I used up most of the power supply connectors that go on the memory backplanes, but most of the other parts are still available.  I have logic equations for the GAL chips, and a UDP that will burn them.  I also have kept some email correspondence with Ray Patterson, who was doing re-works for Blackhawk, in which we discuss the Version 3 I/O board problems and some attempts at working around them.
> Are you still able to source the Signetics chipset?  Seriously, if you are interested this stuff, maybe we could finally work out the bugs in the newer I/O board.  I'd be happy to make these parts available if it will mean more working MM/1s in the world.  The Dallas Smartwatch batteries are probably shot by now...  And I'd love an SD-based storage solution for the MM/1.  These SCSI hard drives keep failing on me.  I would also love to see a Drivewire client ported to OS-9/M68K.  This machine is just bristling with serial ports and parallel ports, especially in its expanded form with an I/O board.

This is better than I could have hoped for!  :)
I would definitely appreciate information and parts to help get some MM/1s built.  I would love to see the machine revived to some extent.

I am confident I can duplicate the machine I have here, which appears to be an earlier version, with the RGB
on a pin header, and the 1.0 version of the Minibus.  Some pics here <https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1sgl615FlGnakFnVUNZdi1TelE <https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1sgl615FlGnakFnVUNZdi1TelE>>

I can source the CPU and Video controller for $35 a set.  I’ve also been able to source everything else.
My plan was to use equivalent GALs for the PAL chips, and I now have a programmer that will handle the GALs ok.

Do you have any information on the various ROM sets or any of the code for them?  Any ROM and PLD source would be great.
Actually any and all information you have.  :)   I’d really like to gather everything that can be found together in one place and organize it, make it available.

I built a lot of SCSI2SD (Micro SD) boards last year, at least one person (David Ladd) is using one with an MM/1.  I could build a few more.

- Ed

> I concur.  It really was a very nice computer in its day.  I also had (and still have) an Amiga 1000, and it compares very favorably with that machine.  The clock speed was better, and the 256-color graphics were sharper than HAM.  On the other hand, by the time it came out it was competing with the likes of the A1200, the A4000, the Atari Falcon, the Quadra 700 (that one may be a little later?) and '386 and '486 PCs with SVGA.  But OS-9 is very cool, and there was a lot of GNU software already that ported easily.  K-Windows was mostly upwardly compatible at a source-code level with CoCo 3 OS-9 WINDINT code.  If more software for that system had been developed, it would have been very nice.

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