Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
19 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Tonguç Endem
Hi Everyone,

I recently restored my CBM 8096 which has a Z-RAM expansion board from
Madison Computer.
The manual of Z-RAM specifically mentions about a VisiCalc v1.76a.

Here are some excerpts from the manual about this:

*/An important feature of Z-RAM is its ability to bring the CP/M operating
system to your Commodore. But you can certainly take advantage of Z-RAM's
added memory without using CP/M. An expanded version of VisiCalc is
available which allows you to enter more than 7 times as much data as you
could on a Commodore without Z-RAM.

To run WordPro 5 Plus and expanded VisiCalc (version 1.76a, for the
Commodore 8096), two programs are included in your Z-RAM Master disk.
"VLOAD" is for VisiCalc and "WLOAD" for running WordPro 5 Plus. To bring up
VisiCalc or WordPro on your Commodore, you need only run the appropriate
"LOAD" program and have a copy of extended VisiCalc or WordPro 5 Plus in the
other drive. However, we suggest that, for ease of operation, you transfer
"VLOAD" or "WLOAD" to your master disks containing VisiCalc or WordPro
programs, respectively. Instructions for doing this are outlined below./*

I have VisiCalc v1.70A and VisiCalc v1.75A which are available on the net.
However, as of now, there is nothing on the internet about an Expanded
VisiCalc v1.76A for CBM 8096.
I think we should find this software and make it available for everyone.

Please help in unearthing this lost piece of computer history.

Also, check out  Douglas Crawford's page about VisiCalc on a PET 8032
<https://abitoutofplace.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/visicalc-on-a-pet-8032/comment-page-1/#comment-280>
.

Thanks a lot in advance :-)



--
Sent from: http://cbm-hackers.2304266.n4.nabble.com/

       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Bill Degnan


On Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 8:46 PM, Tonguç Endem <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Everyone,

I recently restored my CBM 8096 which has a Z-RAM expansion board from
Madison Computer.
The manual of Z-RAM specifically mentions about a VisiCalc v1.76a.


Nice...I found a 8096 at a local resale shop and bought it.  I don't have much software specifically for it.

 <snip>

I have VisiCalc v1.70A and VisiCalc v1.75A which are available on the net.
However, as of now, there is nothing on the internet about an Expanded
VisiCalc v1.76A for CBM 8096.
I think we should find this software and make it available for everyone.

Please help in unearthing this lost piece of computer history.

Also, check out  Douglas Crawford's page about VisiCalc on a PET 8032
<https://abitoutofplace.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/visicalc-on-a-pet-8032/comment-page-1/#comment-280>
.


I checked, my copy is for 2040 disk format older version.

One place that might possibly have this version, it's a long shot, the CBUG disk archive.  There were some 8000 series disks in there too.

Bill 
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

William Levak
In reply to this post by Tonguç Endem
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Tonguç Endem
In reply to this post by Tonguç Endem
found it :-)
Actually, I found it by accident while I was researching another software,
so that was great.
I'll provide a link soon.
There are some things I'm trying to figure out with the stuff I found.
It appears that back then, some of the most popular software used the
optional ROM for copy protection.
It also appears that a soft-rom / no-rom hack was being used to circumvent
this protection.
I think the hack uses bank switching on 8x96 devices and loads the rom data
from disk to $9000 location and the program works without an actual ROM chip
on the option slot since from the point of the program the rom data appears
where it's supposed to be.

Anyways, I'll provide more info when I discover more about this stuff.
 



--
Sent from: http://cbm-hackers.2304266.n4.nabble.com/

       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Rhialto
On Fri 02 Mar 2018 at 13:17:27 -0700, Tonguç Endem wrote:
> It also appears that a soft-rom / no-rom hack was being used to circumvent
> this protection.
> I think the hack uses bank switching on 8x96 devices and loads the rom data
> from disk to $9000 location and the program works without an actual ROM chip
> on the option slot since from the point of the program the rom data appears
> where it's supposed to be.

If you put a jumper in the right place on the expansion connector, you
can replace the option ROM socckets with RAM from the "extra" 32K.
So you can have $8000-$AFFF all as RAM.

I don't think there is a way to make the RAM read-only, though, so any
software that tests if the ROM is really ROM will not be fooled.

-Olaf.
--
___ Olaf 'Rhialto' Seibert  -- Wayland: Those who don't understand X
\X/ rhialto/at/falu.nl      -- are condemned to reinvent it. Poorly.

signature.asc (465 bytes) Download Attachment
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Tonguç Endem
Rhialto wrote
> If you put a jumper in the right place on the expansion connector, you
> can replace the option ROM socckets with RAM from the "extra" 32K.
> So you can have $8000-$AFFF all as RAM.

Thanks a lot for your reply.  The information you've provided helped a lot
:-) This is probably what the soft-rom loader programs are talking about
when they say "Flip front switch to R/W". So I tried it after  setting
$9000-$9FFF as RAM on vice and the program continued where it used to hang.
Now it loads the ROM data to $9000, so there is some progress now :-) The
problem is after loading the ROM data, the program asks user to switch it to
read. I can't emulate that on vice. It seems there is a way to make ram read
only probably shorting something inside.

I was even able to load visicalc with one type of soft-rom loader but it
hangs when it realizes that the rom data is writable.

Also, i've realized it has to do with the program poke'ing and peek'ing
address 634.
634 must be 0 for the loader program to work. then it sets it to 15 and 16
or 60 while and after loading rom.
I guess 634 has to do with I/O (maybe tape? I'm not sure) but both on vice
and on my 8096, when I do a print peek(634) the result is 255 and those rom
data loader programs want 634 to be 0 or something else (but not 255) to
start. So I do a poke  634,0 before I start the rom loader program and it
works.

I have to test this on my 8096. so for that I need to figure out the pins
for setting $8000-$AFFF or maybe hopefully just $9000~$9FFF as RAM also I
need to find out how to make it read only as well.

I wonder if this RAM hack would be possible with peek and poke to do it by
adding some connections inside so that shorting and un-shorting could be
done programmatically so it would be possible for some part of ram to behave
like rom upon request. I'm thinking maybe that 634 was about that.

I would really appreciate any help on address 634(dec) and this R/W and
Read-only hack.
Thnx.





--
Sent from: http://cbm-hackers.2304266.n4.nabble.com/

       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Rhialto
Oops, I was talking about the 8296 which has 128 KB of RAM; now that I
look better I see you say 8096 in the Subject.

Location 634 is the first cassette buffer. It is often used for
temporary storage. Basic 4 uses parts of the second cassette buffer at
826, much to the chagrin of people who put their small machine language
programs there.

On Fri 02 Mar 2018 at 17:21:13 -0700, Tonguç Endem wrote:
> Thanks a lot for your reply.  The information you've provided helped a lot
> :-) This is probably what the soft-rom loader programs are talking about
> when they say "Flip front switch to R/W". So I tried it after  setting
> $9000-$9FFF as RAM on vice and the program continued where it used to hang.
> Now it loads the ROM data to $9000, so there is some progress now :-) The
> problem is after loading the ROM data, the program asks user to switch it to
> read. I can't emulate that on vice. It seems there is a way to make ram read
> only probably shorting something inside.

That sounds like it uses the "normal" expansion memory, the one that
replaces everything in the area $8000-$FFFF. Presumably it copies the
normal ROMs, then loads the VisiCalc ROM, then makes it all read-only.
That can be done from software by writing into $FFF0.
You can have a look at
http://www.zimmers.net/anonftp/pub/cbm/pet/manuals/8296supplement/8296supplement.html
which describes it on pages 2 and 3.
I'm not sure about "Flip front switch to R/W"; maybe some versions of
the 64K board did have a switch for that? It isn't mentioned in the 8296
stuff though. It might be a custom modification.

-Olaf.
--
___ Olaf 'Rhialto' Seibert  -- Wayland: Those who don't understand X
\X/ rhialto/at/falu.nl      -- are condemned to reinvent it. Poorly.


signature.asc (465 bytes) Download Attachment
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

William Levak
In reply to this post by Tonguç Endem
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Mike Naberezny
On 3/3/18 4:16 PM, William Levak wrote:
> I have located my old Visicalc and Wordpro disks. I haven't yet gone through
> them.  I know I have 8096 versions of both.
>
> These programs are old enough that I don't think anyone would object If sent
> the disk images to zimmers.net.

I've exchanged email with Steve Punter, the author of WordPro.  I also met
with him in person in December 2014.  I asked him about freely distributing
his old CBM programs online, and WordPro specifically.  He said it was fine.

Regards,
Mike

--
Mike Naberezny ([hidden email]) http://6502.org


       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Tonguç Endem
Mike Naberezny wrote
I've exchanged email with Steve Punter, the author of WordPro. I also met with him in person in December 2014. I asked him about freely distributing his old CBM programs online, and WordPro specifically. He said it was fine.

That's good to know. I'm thinking no one from that era would object.

Here are some of the stuff I found (and there are more)

VisiCalc v1.76A Expanded on 8096 (notice the displayed availabe memory on the top-right)


VisiCalc v1.70AM on 8096


VisiCalc v1.75A on 8032


VisiCalc v1.75A on 4032


WordPro v5+ on 8032


McTerm v1.21c on 8032


Check-out my post about CBM softwarez

Sent from the cbm-hackers mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

MiaM
In reply to this post by William Levak
Den Sun, 4 Mar 2018 00:16:52 +0000 (UTC) skrev William Levak
<[hidden email]>:
>
> The Visicalc ROM is only copy protection. It is accessed only by the
> loader program.

Yes, afaik it's actually firmware for some printer that is used as
copy protection. They probably asked around for whichever rom were the
cheapest to buy in large enough quantities :)


--
(\_/) Copy the bunny to your mails to help
(O.o) him achieve world domination.
(> <) Come join the dark side.
/_|_\ We have cookies.

       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Steve Gray
Yes, but since MOS made the ROMs themselves they wouldn't have to look far ;-)
Most likely they used overstocked ROMs or perhaps old revisions that were left over after upgrading. Take the 8250LP disk drive. The RRIOT chips in them are from older disk drives. They just bypassed the internal ROM code with an external EPROM. This let them re-use the chips and save money... something Commodore liked doing.

Steve


From: Mia Magnusson <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Den Sun, 4 Mar 2018 00:16:52 +0000 (UTC) skrev William Levak
<[hidden email]>:
>
> The Visicalc ROM is only copy protection. It is accessed only by the
> loader program.

Yes, afaik it's actually firmware for some printer that is used as
copy protection. They probably asked around for whichever rom were the
cheapest to buy in large enough quantities :)


--
(\_/) Copy the bunny to your mails to help
(O.o) him achieve world domination.
(> <) Come join the dark side.
/_|_\ We have cookies.


      Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list


Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

silverdr@wfmh.org.pl

> On 2018-03-05, at 22:44, Steve Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Yes, but since MOS made the ROMs themselves they wouldn't have to look far ;-)

Was Visicalc™ for PET a CBM product?

--
SD! - http://e4aws.silverdr.com/


       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Steve Gray
No, but Commodore supplied the 901472-04 (CBM 2022/2023 Printer) ROM for use as protection.

Steve



From: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"


> On 2018-03-05, at 22:44, Steve Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Yes, but since MOS made the ROMs themselves they wouldn't have to look far ;-)

Was Visicalc™ for PET a CBM product?

--
SD! - http://e4aws.silverdr.com/



      Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list


Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Francesco Messineo
On Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 2:24 PM, Steve Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:
> No, but Commodore supplied the 901472-04 (CBM 2022/2023 Printer) ROM for use
> as protection.

ah interesting. I always wondered why I had a 901472-04 among spare
PET roms. I have never seen a 2022/2023.

>
> Steve
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
> To: [hidden email]
> Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 4:57 PM
> Subject: Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the
> Commodore 8096"
>
>
>> On 2018-03-05, at 22:44, Steve Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Yes, but since MOS made the ROMs themselves they wouldn't have to look far
>> ;-)
>
> Was Visicalc™ for PET a CBM product?
>
> --
> SD! - http://e4aws.silverdr.com/
>
>
>
>       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
>
>

       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

Tonguç Endem
In reply to this post by silverdr@wfmh.org.pl
Was Visicalc™ for PET a CBM product?
No, it's from Software Arts (VisiCorp)

Here is a couple of images of my original VisiCalc for Commodore PET/CBM




The following is a short history of VisiCalc compiled from Wikipedia:

Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston worked on VisiCalc for two months during the winter of 1978–79, forming Software Arts.

Personal Software began selling it in mid-1979 for under $100.

At its release Personal Software promised ports to other computers (other than Apple II), starting with those using the 6502 CPU, and versions appeared for the Atari 800 and Commodore PET, both of which could be done easily because those computers used the same processor as the Apple II, and large portions of code could be reused. The PET version, which contained two separate executables for 40 and 80-column models, was widely criticized for having a very small amount of worksheet space due to the developers' inclusion of their own custom DOS which used a large amount of memory (the PET only had 32k versus the Apple II's available 48k).

In 1982 the company was renamed "VisiCorp".

By 1985 VisiCorp was insolvent. Lotus Development acquired Software Arts and ended sales of the application.



I've just realized that I should update the information at Wikipedia to include Visicalc Expanded for CBM 8x96 which uses more memory. As far as I know, there was an Expanded VisiCalc for AppleII as well.

Sent from the cbm-hackers mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

silverdr@wfmh.org.pl

> On 2018-03-06, at 14:51, Tonguç Endem <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> [hidden email] wrote
> Was Visicalc™ for PET a CBM product?
> No, it's from Software Arts (VisiCorp)

That's what I expected but got interested when Steve wrote that CBM / MOS built the ROMs used as Visicalc's copy-protection.

--
SD!


       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

silverdr@wfmh.org.pl
In reply to this post by Steve Gray
>>> On 2018-03-05, at 22:44, Steve Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> Yes, but since MOS made the ROMs themselves they wouldn't have to look far ;-)
>>
>> Was Visicalc™ for PET a CBM product?
>
> No, but Commodore supplied the 901472-04 (CBM 2022/2023 Printer) ROM for use as protection.

Interesting! In that case yes - the choice could indeed be "whatever's least affecting our business" type of.

--
SD!


       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Looking for the elusive "Expanded VisiCalc v1.76a, for the Commodore 8096"

MiaM
In reply to this post by Tonguç Endem
Den Tue, 6 Mar 2018 06:51:03 -0700 (MST) skrev Tonguç Endem
<[hidden email]>:
> The PET version, which contained two separate executables for 40 and
> 80-column models, was widely criticized for having a very small
> amount of worksheet space due to the developers' inclusion of their
> own custom DOS which used a large amount of memory (the PET only had
> 32k versus the Apple II's available 48k).

Maybe this is one of the reason that the Swedish CBM importer
Datatronic made their spreadshead "Calc Result"? (It were also
available for C64 and that version seems to be more known. I haven't
exactly searched everywhere but it seems really hard to find the
Datatronic software for PET (and CBM-II / B) online).

--
(\_/) Copy the bunny to your mails to help
(O.o) him achieve world domination.
(> <) Come join the dark side.
/_|_\ We have cookies.

       Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list