A-J Enterprises
Axxxxx J. Dubrexxx     xx xxxxxx  Street
(203) xxx-xxxx    xxxxx, CT 06xxx
Micro Computer Systems & Support

C-Pro Users Group

24 Nov. 1985

Dear Curt:

Enclosed, please find these two printouts and an 8" disk (1.2 MB, DS-DD). The files are NT-CHESS.N85 and HLP-CPCD.N85. They were written with WordStar v.3.30. I hope you find them suitable for publication.

The accompanying letter is a plea for help. Frustration level is very high due to the lack of required files and tools. The letter summarizes the procedures and problems in customizing C DOS 8-16 v.3.1D.

My situation prompted proposing a system with two physical terminals, each with four virtual terminals. The Freedom 100 terminal has served well for a year and a half. Now, I have a HR31-200 RGB color monitor and a 5151 keyboard.

Reading the Global.equ file reveals the possibility of modification to allow a system to support both terminal types. This would allow us to use both the 'old, as well as the 'new’ terminal. This should be appropriate to many of C-Pro members.

I would like to thank you for making the savings available through the September circular. The items were delivered promptly and seem to function correctly.

Finally, if Viasyn chooses not to provide for all possible cases, they should at least provide all the work files as well as necessary utilities.

ACTUAL LETTER FOLLOWS:

Printed : Winter ‘85-86 Issue

Ladies & Gentlemen:

HELP ! ! !

I have owned and operated a CompuPro 816B (85/88), dual 8" drive, S-100 system for a year and a half. The system has been upgraded constantly. A summary is shown in the table below.

Unit Purchased Price Vendor Date

256k (4 RAM-16's), 512k M-D/H, SS-1, I-3&4  $7000  CCT        4/84

PC Video board, C Dos v3.lD                   700  TCM/ONETCO 9/85

20MB Hard Disk w/Disk-3,10MB Tape, Disk-l   2100   S-100     11/85

512k RAM (2 RAM-22's)                        2100    N/A      2/85

HR31-200 RGB Monitor, 5151 Keyboard           600    N/A      9/85

There are two problems. First, how to make this $12k unit work together. Second, how to communicate the specifics of problem number one.

As soon as the problem became clear, I made calls to S-100, then TCM/ONETCO and finally to Viasyn. The first two did not have a solution. The Viasyn service representative said they would only work through a system center.

Part 1: The initial Problem

  1. GenCCPM.cmd makes CCPM.SYS from six *.RSP and seven *.CON files.
  2. (l.a) The RSP files are PIN, VOUT, STATLINE, SHELL, ABORT and DIR.
  3. (l.b) The CON files are SUP, MEM, SYSDAT, XIOS, CIO, BDOS and RTM. (XIOS means eXtended Input/Output System.)
  4. The SHELL.rsp for use with PC-DOS, and XIOS.con designed for use with the PC Video board,are much larger files.
  5. C-DOS supplies XIOS320T.CON, which is a 28k/224-Recd file.
  6. The PC Video disk included XPCS340T.CON, which is a 56k/434-Recd file.
  7. It is clear the X 1/0 Sys for the PC Video board is double the previous file size.
  8. It is clear we need a XPCS320T.CON file to GenCCPM an appropriate CCPM.SYS file.

Part 11: More Problems

In order to use Link86.Cmd to produce a XIOS.Con file, we need CProXIOS.Inp plus 29 *.OBJ files. They are:

     HeadEntr    Tick       ConIn      List      Func56
     FD          InitEnt    NP8087     SerIn     Switch
     VScPC       PCMode     InitVec    ConOut    SSInt
     StatLin     Dentry     HDisk      PIC       SerOut
     13Int       VCCB       ReSkew     PCKey     <--**
     CTC         Vscreen    SerVar     SerData   mDisk

  1. I can not find a PCKey.obj file on any of the four C-DOS disks nor on the PC Video disk.
  2. HeadEntr.obj does not exist. It must be assembled from the composite *.A86 files.
  3. All composite *.A86 files are present as are the required *.LIB and *.EQU files.
  4. The Global.equ file is easy to read and modify. It seens to be the only file requiring modification.
  5. PROBLEM: The required assembler is RASM86.cmd. This is NOT provided by Viasyn or DRI.
Part III: Preliminary Call for Help
  1. The previously mentioned calls attempted to find a working xpcs320T.CON file. The people I spoke to seemed unaware that the PC Video board requires an X 1/0 Sys which is double its predecessor.
  2. None of the parties initially contacted deemed it their responsibility to build such an X 1/0 Sys file.
  3. The required RASM86 assembler, w/ utilities, retails around $200.
  4. I concur with my fellow C-Pro UG readers. This is an unreasonable price to pay just to put a standard system together one time.
Part IV: An Alternate Approach
  1. I built a CCPM.SYS using the available XPCS340T.CON file. The "3", is for Disk-3 controller and the "40" is for a 40MB disk drive. ( MB defines mega-byte )
  2. The hard disk boots and initiates AUTO.SUB; but, "MFORM.CMD M:" must be manually invoked.
  3. The system looks for 40MB for five drives: A-E. It can only find three drives (A-C) with space: 5.1MB, 10MB, and 10MB respectively. This totals 25.1MB.
  4. The delivered system, which was not compatible with the PC Video board, found four drives (A-D) containing 7.2 MB, 7.2MB, 3.6MB and 3.6MB respectively. This totals 21.6MB.
  5. If one supports a conservation law for total formatted hard disk storage space, then one must find the additional 3.5MB disk space highly suspect.
  6. Thus, we NEED an XPCS320T.CON file!
  7. -OR- is it possible S-100 delivered a 30 MB hard disk formatted in excess of 25 MB?
  8. All three drives work OK to date; except for A, they have minimal data stored on them.
  9. The tape unit seems to work OK. Note, only new or bulk erased tapes can be formatted.
Part V: Some Speculation
  1. I am willing to construct an XPCS320T.CON file. (I also believe I am capable of the same.)
  2. This file should be able to support two physical con soles: a PC-type with four virtual terminals and a TTY-type with four virtual terminals, also.
  3. I would be amenable to making said system available through C-Pro UG.
Part VI: Possible Solutions
  1. Viasyn could send us all the required files along with RASM86 and support programs.
  2. Either S-100 and/or TCM/ONETCO could pressure Viasyn into releasing the items, in #1 above, through them to us.
  3. Either S-100 or TCM/ONETCO, or both, could at least offer the required RASM86 files for about half price. (We still would have to pay in excess of $100 for the privilege of beating our heads against a file assembly.)
  4. All parties could claim it the other's responsibility, leaving us out in the cold and alone!
  5. I prefer #1 or #2; could live with #3; and reject outright #4 as totally unacceptable!
  6. Do NOT forget the elusive PCKEY.OBJ file.
HELP ! HELP ! HELP   !
My daily 'office' hours are 4:00-8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Sincerely Yours,
Axxxxx J. Dubrexxx

Copies to:

C-PRO U G   POB 2146                   Woodbridge  VA 22193

TCM/ONETCO  14057 Jefferson Davis Hwy  Woodbridge  VA 22191

S-100       14455 N. 79th Street       Scottsdale  AZ 85260

Viasyn      3506 Breakwater Court      Hayward     CA 94545

ED NOTE: A.J. is THE example of someone willing to go to great lengths to build his own system. Unfortunately, he left a damn good supplier (CCT who would have kept all the individual pieces working together) for the vagaries of cheaper suppliers via mail order. As you can see, he bought CCPM 3.1 several months prior to deciding which hard disk held try out, so he could not have possibly specified the required configuration then. S-100 ads state that they will supply drivers for the hard disks they sell - don't they? Neither ONETCO nor S-100 has the horsepower to "pressure" Viasyn into anything, nor can you really expect them to sell software below cost and remain in business (especially when the end-user expects first rate support regardless of the price as witnessed above .... PCVideo + CCPM for $700????)