Thursday, 5 May 2011

Resurrecting the Software - 1

BBC Master Mircocomputer
The easiest way to demonstrate the CODIL approach is to have a working system, and I have just started work on trying to resurrect the MicroCODIL software, that was described over 20 years ago in the reviews,

The first stage has been to set up a working BBC System and I have found my old BBC Master Computer, together with disc drive, monitor and cables. On switching on it has a problem which could be due to the inbuilt battery. This is about 25 years old - and has not been recharged for 20 years or so - and I have purchased a replacement. The keys are sticky - perhaps due to dust - and the whole will be given a good clean when I replace the battery. More seriously I have not yet found the ROM Cartridge which includes the disc operation system.. Hopefully this will turn up and I am planning to have working hardware by the end of May at the latest.

How difficult stage 2 will be depends on whether any of the floppy discs are still readable. If so I should be able to start running the software again as soon as the hardware is ready. If the magnetic image has faded it may be necessary to employ a specialist recovery service to recover as many files as possible from the discs, and if the worst comes to the worst I will have to reconstruct the discs from what may prove to be incomplete listings involving (with the many demonstrations) over 100 files.

Once MicroCODIL is working again on a BBC Master the files will be transferred so that the package can be run under Windows, using BBC Basic for Windows. An assessment still needs to be made as to the amount of work involved. The main routines should be straightforward (apart from a small section written in assembly code)  but the sections involving interaction with the operating environment will not be trivial. Work has already started scanning in the MicroCODIL manual which will help in assessing what needs to be done.

If things go well I may well have MicroCODIL fully operational on the BBC computer by the end of May - and will report on progress.

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