Archives of Genesis8 Amstrad Page from 1999 to 2020 about utility





Using an Iomega 100 Mb ZIP drive on any PC XT like an Amstrad PC 1512/1640 or a PPC

-

You are the happy owner of an Amstrad PC 1512, 1640 or a portable PPC 512/640 (or another Amstrad XT model) but are lacking a hard disk, so you are limited to slow floppy drives, either a 360 Kb 5,25 or 720 Kb 3,5 inch floppy drives. Of course for older PC it's easy to use an 100 Mb Iomega ZIP drive (parallel, SCSI or IDE) but the official driver is using an instruction only available on an Intel 80186 (seldom seen) or a Nec V20/V30 processor (stated on wikipedia). The PPC 512/640 has a V30 but the official driver uses a lot of memory and needs msdos v4.0+ instead of msdos 3.3 on the PPC or v3.2 on PC 1512 (also 1640 ?).

Well, there is another solution for using a parallel ZIP drive (not the Plus version which also features SCSI), it's using PalmZIP by Klaus PEICHL which works with msdos 2.0+, even with a 8086, uses much less memory. The only limitation is using three 32 Mb partition (C:, D: and E:) if you are using msdos 2 or 3, with msdos 4 you can use the full 100 Mb with only one partition (but disks accesses will be a little bit slower). It's a shareware, you can test it for 7 minutes for free to check that it is working for you. If it is the case you will have to pay only 8 euros. I did it two days ago, five hours later I received a zip file by email with the registered version ! Yesterday I bought a ZIP drive and I was able to test it during the night. Happily I still had some ZIP disks I was using years ago and that I kept through several house moves.

Using the driver is simple, just add in your config.sys the following line :

device=palmzip.sys /c

/c is for loading the driver only if it is connected, though the driver is only 3 Kb. They are other options so I recommend to read the included documentation (english and german). You can use the /f option to treat the zip as a fixed disk for faster operation but then the zip disk must not be removed unless using the zipman utility.

Zipman must be used if you are using msdos 2 or 3 to format three partitions of 32 Mb each (FAT12 or FAT16), or an usual 96 Mb partition if you are using msdos 4 or above. Zipcopy is another utility for copying complete partitions within a disk. The partition assigned to the destination drive will be overwritten. The last utility is lpr_test which is designed to check if your parallel port(s) supports the bidirectional data transfer mode. The PalmZIP device driver runs a similar test to determine the correct mode of operation.

You can see a youtube video by Retro Erik using the PalmZIP driver on an Amstrad PPC 512. You should check his youtube channel as he has several videos about Amstrad PC computers.




A Notepad NC200, a PCMCIA card type 1 ... or type 2 now

-

A Notepad NC200 lets you put under the disk drive one type 1 PCMCIA card which is a RAM or SRAM card with a button battery to save the ram when outside of the Notepad. The problem is that the NC200 can only hold type 1 PCMCIA cards as type 2 are thicker, too big for the slot. Also these 1 or 2 Mb RAM cards are not much better than the capacity of 1,5 or 2,5 720 Kb disks.

But David Given who is the author of CP/Mish (CP/M for Notepad NC200) has been able to use a type PCMCIA adaptator in which you put a Compact Flash card (16 Mb). CP/Mish is of course able to use such mass storage. However it needs to open the NC200 case to change the PCMCIA slot guide with a new 3D printed part !

You can see his video on Youtube in which you can see the case being opened, so why not also changing the disk drive with an USB Gotek ?




Audio Overload v2.2.1, a VGM player by Richard Bannister

-

Richard Bannister was the maintainer of a MacOS port of the Arnold emulator, now maintained by Kevin Thacker. But he is also the author of the Audio Overload utility which lets you play VGM music files, including .AY and .YM Amstrad music files. This utility runs on MacOS, Windows and Linux.



RASM v1.1 by Roudoudou, a multi platform assembler for Amstrad CPC

-

The last version of RASM is v1.1 (23th June 2020).

Rasm is now available on Github (documentation included).

This multi platform assembler (linux, windows, but not only like MorphOS on Amiga) let you program for Amstrad CPC.




Martine, an image conversion utility by Impact

-

Martine is an utility converting JPG and PNG images to Overscan screen or window for Amstrad CPC (and Plus series). The last available version is v021 which was released the 22th January 2020.



8th alpha of the soundtrakker for PC Arkos Tracker by Targhan (Arkos)

-

Targhan has released Arkos Tracker v2.0.0a8 for linux, windows and mac.

  • Play and compose your music in real-time on your CPC via any serial interface! The CPC client supports the CPC/Mini Booster, USIfAC and Albireo! And also the PlayCity! This means you can directly hear how your 3/6/9-channel music will sound on the CPC!
  • A toolbox in the pattern viewer to transpose, swap, remap specific instruments.
  • Instrument preview when loading them.
  • A better MIDI import.
  • MOD import can generate PSG instruments instead of samples. Useful for conversion to soundchip!
  • New logo and splash screen.
  • And many, many smaller features and bug-fixes.


Pixel Polizei by Markku Reunanen, a windows graphic utility

-

You are a graphist on PC but you want that your pixel art to be on one of the following platform quoted below. Pixel Polizei will check the conformity of the color limits and save the result in the native format :

  • Amstrad CPC
  • ColecoVision
  • Commodore 64
  • Commodore Plus/4
  • MSX
  • Oric
  • Panasonic JR-200
  • Sharp MZ-700
  • Sharp MZ-800
  • ZX Spectrum


iMPdraw v2 by AST/Imp4ct is released

-

The draw utility by AST/Imp4act Impdraw v2 is out since the 8th November, coming also with the release of iMPdos 512 (a FAT16 ROM for your xMass, M4 or Symbiface 3, it doesnt need Amsdos so an CPC 464 can use it). Click on the source link below for download (at the end of the first message).

La précédente version (v1.2) date d'avril 2016, les améliorations sont les suivantes :

  • a huge zoom zone
  • using he 4096 palette of the Amstrad Plus
  • fullscreen support for the 3 graphical modes of the CPC (0, 1 et 2)
  • possibility of creating plugins with OrgAms or any other assembler
  • adds Undo/Redo
  • 100% compatible xMass with iMPdos, M4 wifi board and Symbiface 3 (thanks to @Kris for testing it)
  • in case of basic return or reset, you can get back your file
  • an included utility to create frames
  • Load/Save .win
  • Load .scr 17 kb files
  • integrated help

Beware, Impdraw uses more than 128 Kb, if you use WinApe please choose 4 Mb of RAM. Also a new version will be out in a few days







Z80 BBC Basic by R.T. Russell is now open source

-

David Given who is the author of CP/Mish (CP/M for Notepad NC200 using disk drive) did obtain from Richard Russel author of the Z80 BBC Basic that this version becames open source (Zlib license) and so available on CP/MIsh's github.

You can read the history of the BBC Basic on Richard Russell's web site.



CP/M on Amstrad Notepad NC200, ZCN or CP/Mish by David Given ?

-

To use the CP/M operating system on an Amstrad notepad NC200, you needed before ZCN by Russell Marks with a SRAM card.

But now it is also possible to use a rewrite of CP/M without any original Digital Research's code by starting from a disk with CP/Mish by David Given (see a youtube video).

All CP/MIsh sources are on Github for Linux.

The available memory is 60 Kb by using all the memory available (128 Kb) but please check the NC200 readme for more informations especially the warnings about files in RAM (lost after notepad is off), the disk cache (chance disk only at CP/M prompt, and switch off the notepad only at prompt or you may loose write disk accesses).




Disark by Targhan (Arkos), a disassembler/source converter

-

After the release of Arkos Tracker alpha 5 andt 6 by Targhan, it's the turn for the Disark utility.

Disark is a new cross-platform software (for Windows/Linux/MacOsX) developed because it was needed for Arkos Tracker 2, it is a Z80 disassembler/source converter.

Besides the disassembling part, the main goal of Disark is to convert a source into any other assembler's source. For example, AT2 Z80 sources heavily rely on RASM macros, which are not understood by other assemblers. So the trick is:

  • Assemble the player/music with Rasm (this gives a binary and a symbol file)
  • Use Disark on the binary to recreate the source, without all the bothersome macros!


For more news, Go to home page