Monthly Archives: January 2014

No awesome Retrochallenge 2014WW prizes for me

Sadly, another year has slipped by and I wasn’t able to get to my intended 2014WW project.  This is partly because January is always a crazily busy month for me – work picks up, and an entire weekend and most of the preceding week is lost to an anniversary getaway with my wife – and partly because I wasn’t able to locate the Apple /// BOS disk that I’d pre-configured to work with my CFFA card and I didn’t adequately organize my time to devote the necessary 90 uninterrupted minutes (give or take) to start over.  So there it is… My dreams of Retrochallenge glory lie in ruins.  We’ll get ’em next year.

One last dance with 6502 assembly language

Way back when (2012 or something?) I posted my intention to learn 6502 assembly language, and explained that my roadblock to this point has been an inability to get my head around binary math-by-hand.  Life, site hacks and other stuff got in the way, but I’m back to this again.  I still do think it’s possible to do without being able to multiply 1101011101011101 by 101010111110110111 without the aid of a calculator.  Someone pointed out to me that it helps to have a goal, in this case an “end-product” program that I want to write, so I’ve come up with an idea that I want to make real, or as “real” as any program code can be, I suppose.

Some people want to run a marathon before they die, or climb Everest.  I want to learn 6502 assembly language.

Retrochallenge 2014WW

I’m off to a bit of a slow start, I’ll admit, but I’m already further along than I got the entire month during the 2012WW.  So far, I’ve dusted off my Apple /// and a monitor (I love the industrial design on that thing) and been able to test the hardware.  Everything passed the diagnostics as expected, but I’ve had little luck getting much further, as I can’t locate the BOS disk that already has the preconfigured drivers to get the /// up and running with my CFFA card.

True, I could skip that for now (and I may have to if I come up empty in the next couple of days) and just boot directly to a Business BASIC disk and work that way, but I’ve come to really appreciate the speed and convenience of working off the CFFA over the past few years. Unfortunately, no one (that I’m aware of) has come up with a work-around for having to boot the /// from a floppy disk in the internal 5.25″ drive.

The other alternative is to build a new bootable BOS driver disk and work from that.  Not impossible, but that takes a fair amount of time and there’s no guarantee that I won’t accidentally wipe the existing data on the CFFA, which includes my half-finished, last-place winning KansasFest 2012 HackFest entry.  As bad as it is, I’d still hate to lose that – it’s one of the few still-existing fragments of code I wrote.

Worse, the rebuild time will have to be uninterrupted as I have a tendency not to be able to get back to a half-finished project like that.  If I don’t complete the process, it will sit incomplete for months and when I do decide to get off my butt and wrap it up, I’ll have forgotten everything I did to that point and have to start over anyway.

Then again, I could just use a blank CompactFlash card.  Still a lot of configuration, but I won’t have to be as careful about ensuring I don’t accidentally wipe it and have to start over.

So, fingers crossed that I can find that bootable disk by my self-imposed Friday deadline.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of my official Retrochallenge 2012WW setup.

2014WW Apple III