[Coco] CoCo Flash

Barry Nelson barry.nelson at amobiledevice.com
Sat Feb 6 21:38:42 EST 2016

 Thank you for your wonderful advertisement. :) I myself think the folks at cloud9 do a fantastic job. Where would we be without DriveWire and HDBDOS? That said I would like to point out a few differences in the devices being offered. To some extent, it is comparing apples and oranges. First, Cloud9's device only supports (to my knowledge at least) 16k roms, 32k roms are not supported. Jim's device handles 2k (although they will take up a 4k bank), 4k, 8k, 16k and 32k rom images, as well as the potential of on a CoCo 3 actually replacing the built in rom. Additionally, 64k of rom is not a lot of space, where as Jim's device supports 8m of rom space. Also the startup menu will be completely customizable. This is not to say that cloud9 does not have a great product, they have many great products, but it has a vastly different feature set than Jim's flash device. As far being vaporware, there are currently several functional prototypes in existence. I myself have personally seen two and I understand there are more. The support software is not yet finished but it is certainly usable right now, and I have been using it myself while writing it. Additionally, I would like to point out that while Jim is relatively new to the CoCo world he has apparently produced a similar device for the Commodore 64 for some time now. In any case, you also forgot to mention that the CoCo SDC also has 8 banks of flash rom at 16k each, for a total of 128k of flash rom. As far as a case is concerned, at the current time Jim's device does not have a case, but besides it fitting in a used rom cartridge case, I'm sure other case solutions can be found. In any case, if you want to go and get the flash cart from Cloud9, please go ahead if that floats your boat. I am not making any money from this project at all, the only thing I got for writing the software was a free device to play with, and from my discussions with Jim, I don't think he is going to be making a huge profit on the sales either, basically he is planning to cover the cost of the hardware plus a little extra to offset over head and labor. Why I am writing the software for this device then? Because it is an interesting project and I want to make it available to the community, and since I am sure there will be room for improvement, I will make all my source code available so others can improve it. Actually, I can't take full credit for it now, as my young daughter has helped by writing much of the menu program to select the rom bank and launch it.

Here is a feature comparison (probably incomplete, but I tried):

				CoCo Flash	Cloud9's Flash cart	CoCo SDC
Supports 2k roms		Yes		Yes			Yes
Supports 4k roms		Yes		Yes			Yes
Supports 8k roms		Yes		Yes			Yes
Supports 16k roms		Yes		Yes			Yes
Supports 32k roms		Yes		No			No
Storage				8192k		64k			128k
Emulates disk storage		No		No			Yes
Can store/run HDBDOS		Yes		Yes			Yes
Works on all CoCo's		Yes		Yes			Yes
Includes source code		Yes		Yes			No
Maximum number of roms		2048		4			8
Support CART line on/off	Yes (software)	No			Yes (switch)
Has menu to select program	Yes		No			No
Programable address range	8000-FFFF	C000-FDFF		C000-FDFF

> Robert Hermanek rhermanek at centurytel.net 
> Sat Feb 6 19:42:46 EST 2016
> I have two cents to contribute...
> We all have our own methods and priorities when it comes to our Coco 
> hobby.  In my case, when I need to connect to massive amounts of 
> storage, I use the excellent Drivewire and HDB-DOS combo that puts 10 
> gigs at my coco fingertips.  That pretty much ends any need for more 
> space :)
> When it comes to a cartridge, I like to think of it in the original coco 
> terms -- a convenient way to quickly load a program that I use often.  I 
> also like the idea of packaging my own "from scratch" efforts in a 
> cartridge, something that could never have happened back in the day.
> I want to remind everyone that Cloud9 is already offering an excellent 
> product, you can see it here:
> http://www.cloud9tech.com
> This came in the mail a few days after ordering.  It comes pre-loaded 
> with HDB-DOS in one of the four banks, which is handy since that is one 
> of the applications I like having in cartridge form.  It is fully 
> documented, comes with software that allows reading/writing to the flash 
> from the coco, and it was literally plug and play.  I'm still playing!
> A lot can happen between prototype and finished product.  Cloud9 takes a 
> design and dots every "i" and crosses every "t".  The physical cartridge 
> is professional and well manufactured.  The cloud9 website offers mature 
> software and documentation for all of their products, including the 
> cloud9 "miniFlash."  This isn't "vaporware," this is fully supported 
> hardware that exists today, and it rocks.
> If you want a polished and well supported flash based cartridge, I'd 
> advise checking out the cloud9 link above.
> -RobertH

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