[Coco] CoCoNet beta release

Roger Taylor operator at coco3.com
Thu Dec 24 00:38:35 EST 2009

Merry Christmas all,

Now that we're on the subject of CoCo to PC and storage solutions for 
the CoCo - this might be a good time to throw a basic version of 
CoCoNet out there to get some feedback.

The CoCoNet ROM is 16K and is a replacement for Disk BASIC 1.1  It 
works on any CoCo with Extended BASIC.  CoCoNet is currently 
primarily a multi-drive system with the ability to mount PC and web 
.dsk files and save remote files onto remote-mounted virtual 
disks.  These basic features combine to form a very powerful and 
unique storage system for almost any CoCo.

We've got several ROMs out there that only give one or two types of 
disk drives.  My ROM will continue to add more DOS-compatible 
"drives" to the mix over time.  This includes RAM disks, hard drives, 
Flash drives, MicroSD pak drives (blazing 230400 bps), bitbanger 
drives, floppy drives, network drives, and any others I can think of.

The ideal solution for letting the CoCo deal with remote files and 
networking features is to have the PC server deposit files onto 
virtual disks for the CoCo, offloading 99% of the work and 
hassle.  The CoCo basically says "give me this file or disk" and then 
it appears to the CoCo in a native format it already has support for 
in Disk BASIC.

Use a CoCo-to-PC cable (mine) or a DriveWIre cable, or any other 
basic 4-pin CoCo bitbanger serial cable and get 115200 bps virtual 
drives for using .dsk images stored on your PC or the web.
Use a Tandy RS-232 Pak or my Deluxe Wireless RS-232 Pak, and get 
115200 bps virtual drives.  With the wireless pak, the CoCo finds 
your PC and connects automatically within a few seconds.
Using a Drive Pak (MicroSD card pak), CoCoNet gets a massive 2gb of 
storage (that's a lot for a CoCo).
Real drives are supported as well.

All drive types are possible at the same time.  You can mount one of 
each drive type to each CoCo drive 0-3, or 4 of each, 2 and 2, 
etc.  BACKUP, COPY, LOAD, SAVE, etc. between all drive types (web 
disks are read-only, however).

RAM disks haven't been added yet, but should be in the official release or 1.1.

There are currently a few bugs/issues that could leave the CoCo in an 
undesired state after an error occurs in BASIC.   CoCoNet switches 
between the ROM and All-RAM map at times and currently doesn't have 
error trapping to put the CoCo back in it's native mode.  I know how 
to do this, but I've been short on time.

The CoCoNet server applet should work on any Windows PC that has the 
.NET framework 2.0 installed.  The .ini file controls what disks are 
initially mounted over the serial links, and all sorts of other 
settings.  You can also mount disks by pathname or URL *FROM THE COCO*.

CoCoNet finds the most likely important disk drive system out of the 
ones available and attempts to run *.BAS on startup from that 
device.  The track 34 scanner has been disabled for now, where a 
'DOS' command would be issued automatically on powerup if the disk is 
bootable that way.

A 6551 remote copy of NitrOS-9 is premounted on drive 0 with this 
beta release.  In other words, NitrOS-9 boots on the CoCo over your 
serial pak or wireless pak, and the .dsk resides on your PC as you 
use it on your CoCo.

~ Roger Taylor

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