uDW - the DriveWire microserver

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rolfmichelsen
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Re: uDW - the DriveWire microserver

Post by rolfmichelsen » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:20 pm

I completely agree with sorchard. I got my uDW just before Christmas and have spent a bit of free time playing with it. The approach with a completely self-contained DriveWire adapter and server really makes DriveWire easy to adopt for new users, and I really wanted to test just how easy it was to get started. Here's a quick summary.

I started out with a plain vanilla Dragon 64 with a DragonDos disk controller.
  1. Managed to find a battery (for the onboard real time clock) and a micro SD card (2GB) lying around collecting dust.
  2. Copied the files from Tormod's demo collection to the SD card. Renamed the NitrOS9 disk image to DRIVE0. See this thread for details and downloads.
  3. Attached uDW to the printer port.
  4. Power on the Dragon and watch the uDW box respond with a welcoming green blinking light.
  5. I tried Tormod's DWLOADR.BIN program for accessing the uDW without having to modify PROMs or anything. Following the instructions in the uDW manual I was able to set the real time clock, list the files on the uDW server, play a game of FlagonBird and so on.
  6. The moment of magic was booting NitrOS9 from the uDW and having the clock set automatically. The magic lasted until i ran mfree and noticed the whopping 3k available memory. Anyway, this is cool.
The next step is to get a patched ROM to avoid the hassle of loading and using DWLOADR.BIN. To really make the DriveWire experience smooth for new users, it would be great to embed the DW software in a proper cartridge to make DriveWire accessible to Dragon owners that don't want to or are unable to swap internal ROMs.

I ran into a few minor issues trying to get this to work.
  • As a Windows guy, I found the .tar.xz compression of Tormod's demo files a bit puzzling. I'm also a Linux guy, so dropped into my Linux VM to decompress the packages.
  • My first SD card didn't work well. uDW responded well to all commands not accessing the card, but consistently reported ?MO ERROR for all file access. I swapped the orignal 2 GB card with a 32 GB card that I also had lying around. It worked instantly. When reformatting the 2 GB card to FAT32, that card also worked.
All in all, a really great first experience and something that makes me want to continue the DriveWire adoption. A really great contribution from Tormod to make this really accessible to everybody.

-- Rolf

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tormod
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Re: uDW - the DriveWire microserver

Post by tormod » Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:34 pm

Thanks guys, reading these reviews was the best start of the year :)

The mere 3k available when booting the NitrOS-9 disk image in the example collection is because the disk image was built for Dragon 32. If you have a Dragon 64 you can just pick one of the disk images that Ken has prepared at viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4952

Windows users can install 7-zip from http://7-zip.org/ which can deal with tar.xz compressed files.

I'll keep the suggestion of a DriveWire cartridge in mind. But I can heartily recommend a DWLOAD-enabled ROM...

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rolfmichelsen
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Re: uDW - the DriveWire microserver

Post by rolfmichelsen » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:47 pm

tormod wrote: The mere 3k available when booting the NitrOS-9 disk image in the example collection is because the disk image was built for Dragon 32. If you have a Dragon 64 you can just pick one of the disk images that Ken has prepared at viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4952
Yes, I did that just after posting the original post. I used the graphics mode D64 image for DriveWire, and then we're running with a respectable 29k free memory. Still, I think it's quite cool that it's possible to get NitrOS9 running on a D32 at all, and also the packaging you have done to get a glimpse of the possibilities with only a minimum of effort. Makes me really want to explore more. Thanks for making this available.

-- Rolf

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