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Subject: COMP.SYS.CBM: General FAQ, v3.1 Part 1/9

This article was archived around: 5 Apr 1998 00:00:14 -0800

All FAQs in Directory: commodore/main-faq
All FAQs posted in: comp.sys.cbm
Source: Usenet Version


Archive-name: cbm-main-faq.3.1.p1 Comp-answers-archive-name: commodore/main-faq/part1 News-answers-archive-name: commodore/main-faq/part1 Comp-sys-cbm-archive-name: main-faq/part1 Version: 3.1 Last-modified: 1996/04/13
Disclaimer: | This file is maintained by Jim Brain (brain@mail.msen.com, j.brain@ieee.org, | brain@acm.org). It is composed of information gleaned from articles in the | USENET newsgroup comp.sys.cbm, the FidoNET echoes CBM and CBM-128, | electronic mail messages, World Wide Web pages, and other mediums. All | the authors have either directly or indirectly given their consent to use | their work in this FAQ. All of the information in this file has been | gathered and checked if possible for errors, but I cannot guarantee the | correctness of any statement in this file. If in doubt, please bring up | the subject in one of the Commodore forums. | If you have suggestions, comments, or criticisms, please let Jim Brain | know by sending electronic mail to brain@mail.msen.com. If, you find that | address no longer available, please try the forwarding accounts | j.brain@ieee.org or brain@acm.org. Keep in mind that new questions appear | on a daily basis, so there is a finite time between a new question | appearing in comp.sys.cbm, and its inclusion in this file. The latest version of this file may be obtained from the following places: ftp sites: ftp://ccnga.uwaterloo.ca/pub/cbm/comp.sys.cbm/cbm-main-faq.3.1 ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/cbm/faq/cbm-main-faq.3.1.gz ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part* ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/commodore/main-faq/part* ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/comp.answers/commodore/main-faq/part* ftp://bbs.cc.uniud.it/pub/c64/comp.sys.cbm/faq.zip ftp://ftp.armory.com/pub/user/spectre/TEXT-ARCHIVE/comp.sys.cbm.faq.3.1.gz World Wide Web sites: http://www.msen.com/~brain/faqhome.html Bulletin Board Systems: | COMMODORE CEE BBS (916) 339-3403, FIDONET address: 1:203/999 | VGA-Landi, +49-2232-942198 (V34/ISDN) FIDONET address 2:2450/180 | +49-2232-942199 (V34/ISDN) FIDONET address 2:2450/181 Mailservers: mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu. First nine lines of message: send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part1 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part2 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part3 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part4 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part5 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part6 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part7 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part8 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part9 brain@mail.msen.com (Jim Brain's Mailserver - always has latest copy) Subject: MAILSERV send /pub/cbm/faq/faq.p* Mailing List To receive any major updates to the FAQ, mail: To: brain@mail.msen.com Subject: MAILSERV Body: subscribe cbm-main-faq Firstname Lastname quit See Section 6 for directions on how to use these services to retrieve the FAQ. This file is posted to the groups comp.sys.cbm, news.answers, and | comp.answers once every month around the 5th of the month. _Notes for this release_: ----------------------- + Still left to add. Maybe next time.... rewrite of section 13.8. a section devoted to downloading software (maybe) changes to section 12.3 to detail hooking up monitors. I am gathering a list of Commodore reference books together. If you have a book, please send me the ISBN, Author, TItle, short description, number of pages, whether it has illustrations, and whether it has any code samples. Thanks. ----------------------- Lines preceded with a '|" have been modified since the last version of this file was posted. Lines preceded by a '+' have been added since the last version was posted. If readers of this FAQ wish to make changes, please precede formatted lines sent to me with a 'C' so that I can see the changes even if you enclose header and trailer text to show context. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents ----------------- 1. Introduction 1.1. What is a FAQ 1.2. What topics does this FAQ cover? 1.3. Who decides what goes in the FAQ? 1.4. How do I retrieve updates to the FAQ? 2. Overview 2.1. Do people still use Commodore 8-bit machines? 2.2. How many Commodore machines are there? 2.3. What do people do with Commodore 8-bit machines? 2.4. What Commodore 8-bit machines are most widely used? 2.5. What is the economic status of Commodore? 3. The BASICs 3.1. How do I format a Commodore disk? 3.2. How do I transform a BASIC program to a text file? 3.3. How do I transform a text file into a BASIC program? 3.4. How can I change my drive device number through software? 3.5. Can I get my 1581 drive to change its device number on startup? 4. Publications 4.1. What paper publications are available? 4.2. What paper publications have disappeared? 4.3. What is a Disk Magazine? Where do I find them? 4.4. What is an Online Magazine? Where do I find them? 4.5. Are there other publications I should be aware of? 4.6. How do I know which magazines to subscribe to? 5. Connecting Up 5.1. How do I connect my computer to the outside world? 5.2. What services can I use to get online? 5.3. What hardware do I need? 5.4. What kinds of terminal programs exist? 5.4.1. What kinds of terminal programs exist for the 64? 5.4.2. What kinds of terminal programs exist for the 128? 5.5. Can I use my Commodore computer on Amateur Radio? 5.6. Is there TCP/IP software available for Commodore computers? 6. The Online Information Reservoir 6.1. How do I download? What is a transfer protocol? 6.2. What is the difference between PETSCII and ASCII? 6.3. Where can I find Commodore programs? 6.4. What is a file extension, and what do they stand for? 6.5. What is electronic mail? 6.5.1. What are mailing lists and how do I join one? 6.5.2. What is a Mail Server? How do I use one? 6.5.3. How do I contact people on Compuserve, Genie, etc.? 6.6. What is USENET or NetNews? What is a USENET newsgroup? 6.6.1. What news groups cater to Commodore 8-bit machines? 6.6.2. What types of discussions belong in comp.sys.cbm? 6.6.3. Which issues does comp.sys.cbm discuss regularly? 6.6.4. How do I post in comp.sys.cbm? 6.6.5. How can I access comp.sys.cbm through email? + 6.6.6. How can I read comp.sys.cbm through WWW? 6.7. What is a FidoNET echo? 6.7.1. What echoes cater to Commodore 8-bit machines? 6.7.2. How do I post in an echo? 6.8. What is the World Wide Web? 6.8.1. What WWW sites have Commodore information? 6.8.2. What Sites have Telnet WWW Browsers? 6.9. What is File Transfer Protocol (FTP)? 6.9.1. What FTP sites have Commodore Information? 6.9.2. What is an FTP Mail Server? How do I use one? 6.9.3. How do I send files to an FTP site? 6.10. What is Internet Relay Chat (IRC)? + 6.10.1. How do I access IRC? 6.11. What else is available online? + 6.12. I See Commercial Software Available Online. Is That OK? 7. Exchanging Data 7.1. How do I exchange data among Commodore 8-bit machines? 7.2. How do I exchange data between an IBM(tm) and my Commodore? 7.3. How do I exchange data between an Amiga and my Commodore? 7.4. How do I exchange data between a Macintosh(tm) and my Commodore? 7.5. How do I exchange data between an Atari ST(tm) and my Commodore? 7.6. How do I exchange data between a UNIX(tm) machine and my Commodore? 7.7. Are there other ways to exchange data between computers? 8. Operating Systems 8.1. What Operating Systems are available? 8.2. What is GEOS? 8.3. What is UNIX? 8.4. What is CP/M 9. Demonstrations 9.1. Just what is a demonstration, or demo? 9.2. What does NTSC and PAL mean? 9.3. Where do I get demos? 9.4. What is a demo competition? 9.5 What does FLI, DYCP, etc. mean? 10. Emulators 10.1. What is an emulator? 10.2. What platforms do 64 emulators exist on? 10.3. What platforms do 128 emulators exist on? 10.4. Are any other Commodore computers emulated? 11. Troubleshooting 11.1. What do I do for my ill disk drive? 11.2. What do I do for my ill computer? 11.2.1. What do I do for my ill Commodore 64? 11.2.2. What do I do for my ill Commodore 128? 11.3. What do I do for my ill keyboard? 12. Modifications and Cabling 12.1. How can you alter which side a 1571 reads from? 12.2. How do I open a C128 power supply? 12.3. How do I make a cable to hook my CBM 1902A to my 64 or 128? 12.4. How do I build a simple RS-232 interface cable? 12.5. How do I build a 2400/9600 bps RS-232 interface cable? 12.6. How can I determine how much VDC video memory is in my C128? 12.7. How do I build a GEOCable interface? + 12.8. How do I connect my Commodore printer to an IBM PC? 13. Enhancements 13.1. How do I increase my disk drive's transfer speed? 13.1.1. What is a Fastloader? 13.1.2. What is a ROM replacement? 13.1.3. What are the disadvantages to using a drive enhancement? 13.1.4. What other things can I do to speed up the drive? 13.2. How do I expand my disk drive's capacity? 13.2.1. What is a Hard Drive? Who sells them? 13.2.2. What is 64NET? + 13.2.3. What is SERVER64? 13.3. How do I expand my computer's RAM capacity? 13.3.1. What is a Ram Expansion Unit? 13.3.2. What is a geoRAM Unit? 13.3.3. What is battery backed GeoRAM (BBGRam)? 13.3.4. What is a RAMLink? 13.3.5. What is a RAMDrive? 13.3.6. How do I expand my C128 Video RAM? 13.3.7. How do I expand my C64 internally? 13.3.8. How do I expand my C128 internally? 13.4. How do I increase my computer's speed? 13.4.1. How do I increase my Commodore 64's speed? 13.4.2. How do I increase my Commodore 128's speed? 13.4.3. Can I speed up other Commodore computers? 13.5. How do I increase my computer screen's resolution? 13.5.1. How do I increase my Commodore 64's screen resolution? 13.5.2. How do I increase my Commodore 128's screen resolution? 13.5.3. How do I increase other CBM computers' resolutions? 13.6. How do I increase my computer's serial transfer speed? 13.7. How do I increase my computer's sound quality? 13.8. What other ways can I expand my Commodore computer? 14. Programming 14.1. What Programming Languages are available? 14.2. What is a Cross Assembler? How do I use one? 14.3 What is an "undocumented opcode"? 15. User Groups 16. Sales and Service 16.1. Where do I purchase Commodore Equipment and Software? 16.2. Where do I get equipment serviced? 16.3. How do I know who to buy from or request service from? 17. Miscellaneous 17.1. How fast does a Commodore 64 run? 17.2. How can a turn my NTSC-M 64 into a PAL-B 64 or vice versa? 17.3. What does this IC number mean? + 17.4. What are the differences between C64 ROM Revisions? 18. Credits --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Introduction Welcome to the comp.sys.cbm "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) file. Many news groups maintain a FAQ file which is posted monthly, and is a repository for general interest and common information that many readers of the news group, or new readers of the news group, might be interested in. 1.1. What is a FAQ FAQ is an acronym that stands for "Frequently Asked Questions". Shortly after the introduction of USENET, many people noticed that certain questions were repeatedly asked in newsgroups. To minimize the posting of answers to already answered questions, USENET developed the idea of FAQ files. After a question has been asked a number of times in the USENET newsgroup, it is added to the list of answered questions in the FAQ. Then, readers are encouraged to read the FAQ to cut down on posts of repeated questions. A FAQ file is not solely for newcomers. Experienced users are encouraged to glance over the FAQ every so often to check for errors and add items. Also, it seems that everyone gets a question answered by reading the FAQ, new user or not. 1.2. What topics does this FAQ cover? This FAQ answers questions on just about any topic concerning Commodore computers. Obviously, given the nature of the FAQ file, it is impossible to answer every question here, and some topics are too broad for discussion in the FAQ. However, when the FAQ cannot adequately answer a question, it does provide pointers to relevant people or materials. Even though a large number of people use their Commodore computer to program, the topic is much too broad for adequate coverage in the FAQ. For those interested in programming, however, please see Section 14, "Programming". 1.3. Who decides what goes in the FAQ? Typically, a FAQ file is editted by a single person or small group of people. These editors decide what should go into the FAQ. Obviously, for the FAQ to fulfill its intended purpose, any question that has been asked repeatedly should be included, as should updates to any questions already in the FAQ. The FAQ maintainer should try to provide as up-to-date information as possible in the FAQ. Above that, the FAQ maintainer can include any other information he or she deems or interest or value to the readers. For this FAQ, the FAQ maintainer is Jim Brain, brain@mail.msen.com, j.brain@ieee.org, or brain@acm.org. If you have information that you feel should be included, please mail it to Jim. Please be aware that it does take time to include new information. 1.4. How do I retrieve updates to the FAQ? | The FAQ is posted on the 5th of the month to the USENET newsgroup | comp.sys.cbm. It is automatically archived on the FTP site | rtfm.mit.edu and automatically archived on Jim Brain's mailserver. Most Bulletin Board Systems and User Groups have a recent copy of the FAQ, and numerous magazines and other publications have included parts or all of the FAQ on disk or in print in recent months. This FAQ is called the "COMP.SYS.CBM General Frequently Asked Questions List". The latest version of this file may be obtained from the following places: ftp sites: ftp://ccnga.uwaterloo.ca/pub/cbm/comp.sys.cbm/cbm-main-faq.3.1 ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/cbm/faq/cbm-main-faq.3.1.gz ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part* ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/commodore/main-faq/part* ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/comp.answers/commodore/main-faq/part* ftp://bbs.cc.uniud.it/pub/c64/comp.sys.cbm/faq.zip ftp://ftp.armory.com/pub/user/spectre/TEXT-ARCHIVE/comp.sys.cbm.faq.3.1.gz World Wide Web sites: http://www.msen.com/~brain/faqhome.html + http://www.jbrain.com/pub/cbm/faq/ Bulletin Board Systems: | COMMODORE CEE BBS (916) 339-3403, FIDONET address: 1:203/999 | VGA-Landi, +49-2232-942198 (V34/ISDN) FIDONET address 2:2450/180 | +49-2232-942199 (V34/ISDN) FIDONET address 2:2450/181 Mailservers: mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu. First nine lines of message: send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part1 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part2 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part3 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part4 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part5 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part6 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part7 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part8 send /usenet/comp.sys.cbm/main-faq/part9 brain@mail.msen.com (Jim Brain's Mailserver - always has latest copy) Subject: MAILSERV send /pub/cbm/faq/faq.p* Mailing List To receive any major updates to the FAQ, mail: To: brain@mail.msen.com Subject: MAILSERV Body: subscribe cbm-main-faq Firstname Lastname quit See Section 6 for directions on how to use these services to retrieve the FAQ. 2. Overview Obviously, we must walk before we run, and this principle applies to FAQ files as well. Here are some general questions we often receive in the Commodore community. 2.1. Do people still use Commodore 8-bit machines? Yes, people still do. Newer machines may have appeared and taken over the corporate world, but the Commodore 8-bit machines live on. 2.2. How many Commodore machines are there? If you are asking the quantity of Commodore machines sold, the simple truth is that we do not know. Commodore never officially released any such numbers for all models. It has been estimated that Commodore sold | over 17 million Commodore 64 machines, but that has not been proven, as far as I know. So, if you ever determine exactly what quantity of each model was produced, please pass the information along. If you are asking the number of different models Commodore sold, we have a slightly better idea. Jim Brain has compiled a list of all known CBM products, marketed or not, into the "Canonical List of Commodore Products". This include all of the Commodore line, including the PCs and the Amiga systems. As it is much too large to fit in the FAQ, it can be requested | from Jim Brain's mailserver as file cbm-model-list.1.0.txt (See Section | 6.5.2 for directions on how to access the mailserver). Alternately, the | file is posted to the USENET newsgroup comp.sys.cbm on a periodic basis. 2.3. What do people do with Commodore 8-bit machines? People use their machines for very different purposes: Game Console. Home Computer. Experimentor's machine. Small Business Computer. No matter what purpose they use them for, they use them because there is a wealth of programs available for the Commodore computer systems. The Commodore line of computers has a seemingly endless supply of quality programs available for it, and more are being created daily. 2.4. What Commodore 8-bit machines are most widely used? Well, it is a fact that all types of Commodore 8-bit computers are still in use, but the following machines get the most use: Commodore 64 (include SX64, DX64, and PET64) Commodore 128 (includes 128D and Euro 128D) The following systems manufactured by Commodore still have a devout following: Commodore VIC-20 Commodore PET series Commodore B series Commodore Plus 4 and 16 Commodore C65 + The Commodore 65 (64DX) The Commodore 65 is a recent addition and is the result of a liquidation of some ALPHA stage test machines. A number of people have purchased these test units, and they have a FAQ devoted just to this machine. Much information on this machine is available at ftp://ccnga.uwaterloo.ca/pub/cbm/c65 In spite of rumors, No company is considering manufacturing the C65. | If you own a Commodore C65, the following people are compiling lists of people who own them. Robin Harbon 542 West Donald Street. Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7E 5Y6 Canada + The Commodore PET Series If you currently use a PET series Commodore computer or just want to know more about them, one person is trying to start a magazine devoted to these machine. For more information or to submit articles for the magazine, please get in touch with: Mark J. Kingsbury 25 Latta Battle Creek, MI 49017 Mark_J_Kingsbury@fc1.glfn.org + The Commodore VIC-20 + If you own a Commodore VIC-20, the following individual is planning to + create a list of owners: + Jeff's Ink Press & Deli + P.O. Box 477493 + Chicago IL 60647 + The Commodore Ultimax/MAX Machine + Commodore planned to introduce a game console that shared many features + of the Commodore 64. Although never widely released, the Ultimax lives + on in the 64. the C64 memory map contains the special "Ultimax Mode" + that can be triggered by external cartridges to place the C64 into a + configuration equivalent to the one on the MAX Machine. 2.5. What is the economic status of Commodore? On April 29, 1994, Commodore International announced that it had been unable to renegotiate terms of outstanding loans and were closing down the business. In the months that followed, the liquidation process dragged on, owing to the large far-reaching size of the corporation. In addition, the fact that the company was incorporated in the Bahamas while a large share of the creditors were from the US made legal proceeding tense and drawn out. On April 20th, 1995, almost a full year later, Commodore was sold to a German company called ESCOM for approximately 10 to 12.5 million dollars. + In early 1996, ESCOM announced plans to sell the Amiga technology to a + U.S. company called VISCorp, while retaining the Commodore name. Then, in + July 1996, ESCOM announced that its was filing for bankruptcy protection + as it undergoes a reorganization process. The intellectual righs for the + CBM 8-bit technologare now owned by VISCorp. Of course, since Commodore hasn't served the Commodore 8-bit community for quite some time, most Commodore owners are only interested in what will happen to Commodore Semiconductor Group (CSG), the fabricator for many of the special ICs in the Commodore 8-bit line. Below is the current status of CSG as of April 6, 1995: Commodore Semiconductor Group liquidated in December, 1994. The vast majority of the operational material and the real estate was purchased by GMT Electronics, a company formed by CSG's management. GMT has paid the $1 million lien that the EPA had levied against CSG, and is now operating as a for-hire chip production plant. CSG/GMT is holding approximately $5 million in Commodore parts. 3. The BASICs These are some questions we receive about "BASIC", the built-in programming language in all 8-bit Commodore computers, and the "basics" of using the machine. 3.1. How do I format a Commodore disk? To format a disk in drive 0 (older PET drives had drive 0 and 1) on disk device #8, you issue the following command from BASIC: open1,8,15,"n0:16char_name,12":close1 | The name can be 16 characters in length, and the disk id (12 in this example) can be any two alphanumeric characters. For more information on how to use the 1541 disk drive or compatibles, a complete manual is available at ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/cbm/documents. (See Section 6.9 for direction on how to use ftp.) 3.2. How do I transform a BASIC program to a text file? As you may know, Commodore BASIC stores programs in "tokenized" format, so they are unreadable from a standard text editor. To fix that, load up you BASIC program, and then type the following in direct mode: open1,8,2,"listing,s,w":cmd1:list The text listing will be placed on drive 8 in a file called listing. After the listing is finished, your cursor should return. Type the following in: print#1:close1 You now have an un-"tokenized" copy of your program, which you can edit with any text editor. 3.3. How do I transform a text file into a BASIC program? Since Commodore BASIC stores its programs in "tokenized" format, one cannot simply load text files containing BASIC statements and run the file directly. However, there is a solution. In direct mode, type in the following: C64: open1,8,2,"filename":poke781,1:poke812,73:sys 65478 C128: open1,8,2,"filename":sys 65478,,1 This will read in each line of the text file and try to execute it (or store it if the line is preceded by a number). The screen will go blank (scroll upwards) while the file is retrieved and will likely end up printing an error message, which is normal. When the last line of the program is entered, hit RUN/STOP-RESTORE, and type in the following: close1 The file will now be loaded into memory. Immediately save the file to disk as a BASIC program. If the above sounds too complicated for you, check out the seq-to-basic program that is posted to comp.binaries.cbm every month. It will perform the translation for you, after you answer a few simple prompts. 3.4. How can I change my drive device number through software? To change the device number on Commodore drives, follow these steps: In the following examples, 'olddn' is the drive's current device number, and 'newdn' is the new number you wish to change it to. 1) Turn off all drives except one you wish to change device number of. 2) Type the following in, depending on drive type: 1540/41/42/4040/Most Compatibles: open 15,olddn,15 print#15,"m-w"chr$(119)chr$(0)chr$(2)chr$(32+newdn)chr$(64+newdn) close 15 MSD SD-1 (Old ROM): open 15,olddn,15 print#15,"m-w"chr$(117)chr$(0)chr$(2)chr$(32+newdn)chr$(64+newdn) close 15 1551/70/71/81 open 15,olddn,15 print#15,"u0>"+chr$(newdn) close 15 3) Turn back on other drives. The change is only temporary. It will revert back if the drive is turned off. 3.5. Can I get my 1581 drive to change its device number on startup? When the 1581 is initialized, as well as checking the boot sector of the disk, it also looks for a file "copyright cbm 86". This file, if found, can specify a device number for the 1581 disk. Whenever the 1581 is booted or initialized with this disk inserted, its device number will be changed to the specified number. The utility 1581-auto-dev by David W. Tamkin (can be found on ccnga.uwaterloo.ca in the utilities directory) will create this file. It can also do other stuff, so check it out. -- Jim Brain, Embedded System Designer, Brain Innovations, Inc. (BII) (online sig) bii@mail.jbrain.com "Above views DO reflect my employer, since I'm my employer" Dabbling in WWW, Embedded Systems, Old CBM computers, and Good Times! -Me- BII Home: http://www.jbrain.com CBM Info: http://www.jbrain.com/vicug/