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David Keil's Emulator - Just Plain Entertainment!  ... by Brian K. Hahn

 

OK, so you hit a garage sale or walked into an antique mall and found a old TRS-80 sitting there, you paused and

after giving  twenty five bucks you took it home and fired the puppy up.  You heard the drives buzz and then . . . . . . .

. . .  .Cassette?   Now what.  You don't have any software.  Hey wait, you go on the internet and log onto 8bit-Micro

or better yet Ira Goldklang's TRS-80 Revived Site and find software!  But how do you get that software onto disk to

have some fun.  Well one thing is to find is a good emulator, and there are a few.  One in particular is David Keil's

TRS-80 Model 1/III/4/4P Emulator.  If you don't have a 5.25" floppy installed on your MS-DOS/Windows machine, go

back to the garage sale and pick on up.  I recommend keeping one around. 

 

I must admit, I have been using Jeff Vavasour's emulator since I purchased it from Computer News 80 in April of

1994.  I had a copy of David's emulator on my hard drive for some time now, and until I decided to join in the fray in

keeping these great machine alive, I hadn't tried it.  Well David if your reading this.. sorry friend, you really made a

great product.

 

Our review is based on installing and running David's Emulator on an

updated computer with a Pentium 4 @ 1.5 Ghz. with 256MB. RDRAM a

30GB hard Drive and Microsoft's Windows XP Professional installed.  A

bit overkill for TRS-80 Model 4 mode but I figured at this time (Feb 20,

2003) this represents the median machine in the marketplace.

 

David included in his package a readme file that provides the DOS level

of installation giving easy to read command lines to follow.  Essentially

you need his emulator and a DISK Image of an operating system such

as Logical Systems LSDOS or RapidDOS for some of the fun games.

 

(  Example:  TRSDOS  LD4-631.DSK (enter) )

 

If your running the emulator in Windows as we did, its a simple case of

click and dragging your DOS image over the TRSDOS icon and let go. 

Walla! You are now booted in a full screen version of LS-DOS 6.31 with no conflicts in the XP environment.  See

illustration.

 

Once running you can configure the emulator by pressing F5, and a setup screen appears giving full options

including setting your ports option, sound, drives, keyboard layout and machine emulation selections.  We set

oursystem to run in TRS-80 Model 4 with drives, using a SoundBlaster

sound card, PC-Speaker enabled and a PC80 keyboard layout and the

Micro-Labs Hi-Rez Board emulation.  Pressing ESC exits any internal

screen the emulator has.  Loading a disk or tape is just as easy.  Just

ensure that any .DSK image you download and save is on the same

directory you have stored the emulator in.

 

To load a disk just press F9 and a screen opens showing you four disk

drives.  Although four drives show only drive 0 and Drive 1 worked on our

test machine. Using the TAB key one can jump from drive to drive. 

Select an empty drive press enter, and a directory of all your .DSK

images show.  Its a simple case of using your arrow keys to select the

image you want and press enter.  Your returned to the drive screen and

now you will see the drive door closed and the name of the image

installed.  Press ECS takes you back to the LS-DOS screen.  You see the files on the drive using your internal

listing commands.  CAT shows you a width directory and DIR shows you detailed listings.  In our test we loaded

Scripsit Pro into the drive and called up the program.  It loaded fine and the word processor work any without

keystroke delay.  David did a great job of synching the type ahead rate and CPU speeds! 

 

Loading a tape image is just as easy, pressing F11 brings up a screen

image of a Radio Shack cassette recorder.  Here we found ample

onscreen help command descriptions.  Loading a tape image is a

matter of selecting load and scrolling to the file.  It's as easy as that. 

We also tested an image of RapidDOS and ran a version of Hi-Rez

Tournament Chess.  This ran flawlessly, but if I had one complaint it

was that David's emulator didn't let me win!  I lost really bad with only

one pawn and my King against the computers entire force!  See

illustrations to see actual screen pics. 

 

To reboot press the F10 key and the emulator reboots the image loaded

in Drive 0.  To exit the emulator just press SHIFT-F10 and your out. 

What can me simpler?

 

Don't hesitate to get into 8bit micro-ing, if that's even a word!  If your in a

location with lots of snow get online and download your copy today.  Visit David's site and get it straight from the

source and support him. (Keil's TRS-80 Model 1/III/4/4P Emulator) It beats shoveling snow.  If your living in a tropical

location stop smearing sun tan lotion on your girl and get inside with the rest of us geeks.  Blow the dust off your

Model 4, and start using David's emulator to make your boot disks or even better make that Windows machine

useful for a change...  ;-)

 

Enjoy!

 

 

(c) 2004, 2005, Brian K. Hahn

 All Rights Reserved.