I have this pile of broken GEOS disks that were sent in for replacements. In two previous articles (1, 2), I explored the reasons why the disks broke. Now let’s be constructive: Can we reconstruct the original bits by combining the correct parts? This article shows how it is possible with the help of a small tool that combines the good parts of several broken disk images.
I happened to come across 50 original German GEOS 2.0 disks that were broken and sent in for replacement. In the first part, I covered the disks that were broken probably due to user error. Now let’s look at the read errors on the remaining disks. As it turns out, there might be a bug in GEOS that caused the boot disks to break!
My side-by-side C64 ROM disassembly/commentary page has been completely redone!
Over the years, the ROM source code of many Commodore computers and peripherals has appeared. I have been collecting them in a git repository here:
It’s pretty simple to archive Commodore 64 tapes, but it’s hard if you want to do it right. Creating the complete archive of the German “INPUT 64” magazine was not as easy as getting one copy of each of the 32 tapes and reading them. The tapes are over 30 years old by now, and many of them are hardly readable any more.
For decades, PC users have been able to relax by watching the computer defragment a disk. Now C64 users can do the same! Introducing “defrag1541”, a disk defragmentation tool for C64 and 1541.
The Commodore Datasette recording format is heavily optimized for data safety and can compensate for many typical issues of cassette tape, like incorrect speed, inconsistent speed (wow/flutter), and small as well as longer dropouts. This makes the format more complex and way less efficient than, for example, “Turbo Tape” or all other custom formats used by commercial games. Let’s explore the format by writing a minimal tape loader for the C64, optimized for size, which can decode correct tapes, but does not support error correction.
Murdlok is a previously unreleased graphical text-based adventure game for the Commodore 64 written in 1986 by Peter Hempel. A German and an English version exist.
Between 1992 and 1995, I reverse engineered Commodore 64 applications by printing their disassemblies on paper and adding handwritten comments (in German). These are the PDF scans of the 62 applications, which are 552 pages total.
The text screen of the Commodore 64 has a resolution of 40 by 25 characters, based on the hardware text mode of the VIC-II video chip. This is a step up from the VIC-20’s 22 characters per line, but since computers in the professional segment (Commodore PET 8000 series, CP/M, MS-DOS) usually had 80 columns, several solutions – both hardware and software – exist to allow 80 columns on a C64 as well. Let’s look at how this is done in software! At the end of this article, I present a fast and full-featured open source implementation with several different character sets.
Major GEOS applications on the Commodore 64 protect themselves from unauthorized duplication by keying themselves to the operating system's serial number. To avoid tampering with this mechanism, the system contains some elaborate traps, which will be discussed in this article.