CP/M on an Apple II ?

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Sat Oct 8 12:22:32 CDT 2005


An odd little story regarding the Match Point comes to mind.  We'd tried to get hold of one in the PC AT era, after Microsolutions had discontinued it.  We were repeatedly told by various people at Microsolutions that there were none left in stock and that they weren't about to revive production on an item that was touchy about drives and finicky about CPU speed.

Until we ran into someone who worked for the US Postal Service.  He said that the USPS had a contract with Microsolutions to furnish the cards and it was still in force.  He gave us the name of a contact within MS and a "tell them that Joe sent you" secret message and we had a nice shrink-wrapped Match Point the next week.

Incidentally, the Backpack drives suffer from the same sort of "we don't want to tell anyone about them" syndrome.  Some years ago, we got a contract to supply a major medical equipment services company with external drives that would read NEC 9801-type floppies and could be used with the laptop PCs that their field engineers carried around with them.  ISA cards were obviously out of the question and USB hadn't been invented yet.  We looked into the Rancho Technologies parallel-floppy card, but found their technical support to be somewhere between bewildering and non-existent.  So we sourced a bunch of Backpack drives, replacing the 24 MHz crystal inside with a 20 MHz one (it was cheaper than replacing the floppy with a 360 RPM model).

Microsolutions was absolutely immovable in their refusal to supply technical information, so we reverse-engineered the thing and wrote our own driver.  It's not a bad little box--the National 8477 FDC (765 type) is directly programmable, so it can be used to read and write a variety of formats.

Cheers,
Chuck






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