Norton 360MD and MAC Computers “cosymantecnisbfw” Major Bug may be affecting millions of sites and no Norton support.

Norton 360MD and MAC Computers "cosymantecnisbfw" Major Bug may be affecting millions of sites and no Norton support.

Updated 18-Oct-2015
First contacted Norton on 28-Sep-2015. Promised an answer back in 48 to 72 hours.
Now 20 days and still no support on a major bug.


Try Google with the combination of cosymantecnisbfw and any common word, such as apple, banana, ford, chevrolet, microsoft, your local forum chat group, etc. You name it. There may be millions of sites that have been corrupted by Norton 360MD and a MACs. Norton will fill out text boxes with gibberish HTML code on your behalf. Don't even need to ask.


cosymantecnisbfw bug and auto injection of additional HTML code into text boxes such as WIX sites.
This bug appears to have hit possibly thousands, maybe even millions of web sites including Norton Forums since Oct-2013.
See: https://community.norton.com/en/search/site/cosymantecnisbfw
I have a little trouble understanding why this gibberish HTML code has been posted to your own forums for 2 years, and no one noticed?

After so many chat sessions with Norton support agents, I have found at that it isn't easy for them to access a web link, but it is possible, so please read this web page in full, to save you and me going over the same ground again, and again.


Now for Norton's staff, this is the important bit to read twice:
Hi all, I am writing on behalf of my daughter. She has a web site at:
http://www.bestdayeverimages.com
which is suffering badly from your product injecting additional HTML code into her MAC based Safari Browser "text boxes" when she edits her WIX store page, that she is trying to set up.

Her MAC is supposedly protected by Norton 360 Multi Device: http://x2t.com/n360 This item was purchased from Officeworks in Australia. See link at:
http://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/symantec-norton-360-multi-device-5-devices-12-months-card-n360md5dvc?searchTerm=computer%20software

The web site simply won't load on a PC that is running Firefox.


There are many threads in both Nortons and WIX support Forums, plus other sources, that support that this bug exists.

https://wordpress.org/support/topic/some-codes-auto-added-when-i-create-a-new-post
https://www.wix.com/support/html5/ugc/a941f5b7-fa83-4540-b9a4-a1d3f2e0dc68/bea74d3b-814e-48e5-a401-460560415004
https://www.wix.com/support/html5/ugc/23b02d1c-a3c0-4336-ac20-3876bab5d905/a2671f45-e9b1-45cd-971d-ada8dcc844a8

You admit to the bug back in Feb-2014, and state that the bug has been fixed in this thread:
http://community.norton.com/forums/norton-identity-toolbar-firefox-26-adding-unwanted-code-forum-posts

Should my daughter be downloading a bug free version of Nortons from somewhere, and has this bug actually been fixed?

She runs a Mac book pro, and the problem is appearing on all PCs that are running Firefox.
OS X VERSION  10.8.5 on MacBook
Pro NORTON 360 MULTI-DEVICE the product key is  
XXXXXXXXXXX (masked of course) Purchased this year with auto updates on.

If you have a look at:
http://www.bestdayeverimages.com/
with Chrome on a PC, the problem shows up straight away.


My daughter is situated at Darwin NT Australia, and I am in Melbourne Australia, 3000km away. I am running on PCs, and this problems shows up on every PC running any system from XP to Windows 8.1. I haven't upgraded to W10 yet. My choice against it for now. I don't have Nortons installed on any of my PCs.

She has been in hospital recently, and has rebuilt her site twice, and doesn't want to rebuild it again. She has suggested that if she has to rebuild it again, then she will try with SquareSpace or Weebly site builders. I told her it may well happen with these site builders also, as it is a Nortons bug. Let's get Nortons to fix their bug!

I have been onto Nortons support several times, see:
https://community.norton.com/en/forums/cosymantecnisbfw-bug-and-auto-injection-additional-html-code#comment-6689571
and four chat sessions reference numbers: 24173170, 24229809, and 24266352, and 24281527 but no response back at all.

I have also hit Norton's Face Book Page several times, with further promises, but no constructive action about this problem. Face Book gets an answer quickly, but never a right answer.


I have found hundreds of sites with "text box entries" now that are suffering from this problem.

It enters the extra code every time someone with a mac and nortons tries to fill out a text box, see:
http://www.cheetah3d.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-10312.html

In this example, every time "schoster" makes a comment in a text box, the "cosymantecnisbfw" type code is added.

This bug is doing my daughter more damage, than any virus it may have protected her from. Please do something.

My daughter just told me that last night (5-Oct-2015) she re-edited the main page of her site, and just now I checked and there are 69 occurrences of "cosymantecnisbfw" in the source code, and I checked with chrome and firefox. so nothing has changed. It hasn't been fixed, and no one from Nortons has contacted me.

She also said "I disabled nortons and have had it disabled for weeks. At least I thought I did. It isn't checking webpages anymore. It has a green icon for Safe Surfing or something like that. That icon has been grey for weeks."

I have just dropped a support ticket on WIX to see what they have to say about it, as it is damaging their customers also.

Even Norton Community Forum text boxes are absolutely riddled with examples of this bug. See:
https://community.norton.com/en/search/site/cosymantecnisbfw
This bug appears to have hit thousands of web sites including Norton Forums since Oct-2013.
I have a little trouble understanding why this gibberish HTML code has been posted to your own forums for 2 years, and no one noticed?

Try a Google for "cosymantecnisbfw wordpress"
Nortons is injecting extra HTML code into all sorts of text boxes.

Try a Google for "cosymantecnisbfw blog"

And Forums. There has to be thousands of Norton bug injecting extra html code into text boxes.
http://forums.kleientertainment.com/topic/31124-does-changing-any-of-the-world-resources-affect-the-caves-or-other-worlds/

And for no particular reason I tried a Google for "cosymantecnisbfw Australia"
https://community.foxtel.com.au/t5/Foxtel-TV/IQHD-in-Regional-Australia/td-p/511
http://www.xsproject.com.au/shop/XSP_cp_cavity/item/283
http://www.bernina.com/en-AU/Experience-AU/Textile-Artists/Australia/Meredith-Woolnough
http://www.firstpointmc.com.au/firstpointmedical/contact-us.aspx
https://www.seniorshousingonline.com.au/news/284/PROPERTY-FEATURE-SYDNEY-GOLF-LIVING-ELEGANT-DESIGN
https://www.seniorshousingonline.com.au/news/77/When-can-you-afford-to-retire

I gave up. There could be hundreds of thousands of web sites with this bug, and I'll bet they were all created with Norton and MACs.

No, I tried further, and combined cosymantecnisbfw just with other countries as a simple keyword to sort them out a little.
You can tell the unhappy campers that have a MAC with Norton's installed.
Try a google on "cosymantecnisbfw linkedin". WOW!

Try Google with the combination of cosymantecnisbfw and any common word, such as apple, banana, ford, chevrolet, microsoft, your local chat group. You name it, there may be millions of sites that have been corrupted by Norton 360MD and a MAC.

Norton 360MD will fill out text boxes with gibberish HTML code on your behalf. Don't even need to ask.

How long has this been going on?

Thanks in advance,

Cheers Don…


What? An official Norton response:
7-Oct-2015 18:30     They actually answered me. not a good answer, but an answer.
https://community.norton.com/en/forums/cosymantecnisbfw-bug-and-auto-injection-additional-html-code#comment-6697781
 


Another laughable item. Got this below email message on 7-Oct-2015
Only trouble is the click here for a senior rep, goes to a page not found, and the survey, (even though it allows for additional text comments) is only read electronically, so it is about as useful as an ash tray on a motor bike at this stage. Why do a survey, when you haven't offered any support whatsoever?


Help Symantec improve our Customer Service

Dear Don McKenzie,

Thank you for your recent contact with Symantec.

We hope that we were able to assist you, and that your experience with our customer service was positive. If this is not the case, or if there is anything else we can do to help, please just click here to chat with one of our senior support representatives.

Our ongoing efforts to provide better service require your feedback, and we request that you complete our customer satisfaction survey.

To complete our survey, please click on the survey button below:

Survey

Our Thanks,
Richard Gianvecchio
Vice President
Global Technical Support
Symantec Corporation

You were sent this email because you recently contacted Symantec via chat, email or telephone. You should have been informed that you would receive this email and survey. For the full Symantec Privacy policy, please visit: http://www.symantec.com/about/profile/policies/privacy.jsp

This survey is being conducted by Satmetrix on behalf of Symantec. Satmetrix does not use this information for any other purpose. Link to the Satmetrix information privacy statement: http://www.satmetrix.com/company/privacy.htm. To contact Satmetrix by mail: Satmetrix Systems, 1100 Park Place., Suite 210, San Mateo, CA 94403.

If you want to be excluded from future surveys and survey correspondence from Satmetrix, please REPLY to this email with the word REMOVE in the subject line.


I was told in one of the Norton on line Chats, that I could report my problem by using the URL below:
https://security.symantec.com/pfb/pFeedback_form.aspx?pfb=go&products=idsafe&lnk=go&url=

I did, and on the 8th-Oct-2015, I got an email back:

[pqfpx4475939wtcek]

Ten days to 8 weeks!!! What?


10-Oct-2015

My daughter is now trying to remove Norton 360MD from her MAC and has been unsuccessful to date.

Is this the best and correct method of removing it?
https://support.norton.com/sp/en/us/norton-security-mac/current/solutions/v105332768_EndUserProfile_en_us


13-Oct-2015

My daughter has successfully removed Norton 360MD from her MAC and has installed AVIRA free Anti-virus.
At this stage, I would doubt if Norton's could pay her enough money to try it again.
She is now in the process of re-building her shop for the third time, and hopefully can get it up and running soon.


Finally, some guidance from Norton 13-Oct-2015

Re: cosymantecnisbfw bug and auto injection of additional HTML code

Hi Harsha,

From my point of view, I think this is going to be the end of this thread, so I'll start off by thanking you, and all other Norton employees involved, the on line chat agents, admin, moderators, gurus, and other readers of this group, that have attempted to assist in this matter.

=======================================

Harsha:
Thank you for being loud and letting us know about the issues you are facing with our product.

————————–

Don:
Unfortunately, the only way I could get any attention that even went close to support, was to persevere with messages to this group, bomb Norton Face Book page, and constantly annoy on line chat agents. I even sought out potential CEO email addresses, but Norton appear to be well hidden from their customers.

=======================================

Harsha:
While we cannot reproduce the issue in house we can offer a suggestion for your kid's website.

————————–

Don:
"My kid's website". I really object to this.

I feel you are making it sound like a 15 year old teenager that has no idea how to work a computer system, so it becomes almost a throw away fact.

My kid is actually a 50 year old woman that started her working life in the computer section of Caterpillar Australia 30+ years ago, when 95% of the population had never seen a computer.

I myself started my first business in 1964, and was working on main frames and writing software in 1975.

=======================================

Harsha:
1) On her Mac, go to Safari (Menu)->Preferences->Extensions. Here you will find the "Norton Internet Security"
extension. Please go ahead and disable it.

————————–

Don:
Again unfortunately, your suggestion is about a week too late. Waiting 14 days for support simply isn't good enough. I believe this is a serious bug that has been around for 2 years, and has affected thousands, if not millions of sites.

=======================================

Harsha:
Go to WIX and ask your daughter to remove all the HTML tags that have cosymantecbfw and republish the site.

————————–

Don:
Let me twist this just a little. Assume it was gibberish HTML code that was added to this very forum, which has happened many times. Will you give me the source code so that I can remove the tags that have been created by your bug, and allow me ftp access to this site to do so?

There was 69 occurrences of "cosymantecbfw" on just her home page, but it wasn't only that one HTML tag, there was bucket loads of extra code. I concentrated on that word because it came up first with chrome, and I knew it was your bug and it had the word "symantec" embedded in it.

This forum is put together by a web based program, so you can't edit it as you wish. Same as WIX, how in the world do you edit from outside the resident editor? Same as the thousands of other sites that Norton has corrupted.

=======================================

Harsha:
3) Whenever you are updating your site please disable the extension as a workaround for now.

————————–

Don:
My daughter has successfully removed Norton 360MD from her MAC and has installed AVIRA free Anti-virus.
At this stage, I would doubt if Norton could pay her enough money to try it again.
She is now in the process of re-building her shop for the third time, and hopefully can get it up and running soon.

=======================================

Harsha:
We are working on a permanent solution to your problem and will be released soon.

————————–

Don:
I hope you do. The support has been zero until today. It reminds me of the early days of PayPal, when you had trouble getting a simple hello out of them.

=======================================

Harsha:
Thank you for being very paitent with us. I really appreciate it.

————————–

Don:
I have tried as best I can, but Norton have been lacking in support on what I feel could be a very major bug. The experience has been quite an eye opener, and very unprofessional from a company like Norton.

I would have like to have sworn and thrown a lot more muck, but I had to restrict myself to a message that may be left on the forum so others (including Norton) may learn something.

Regarding my daughters site working fine now. Well considering she got rid of the program that was destroying her site, she can now get on with building it for the third time, without Norton and the "cosymantecnisbfw" bug.

Normally I go out of my way to assist companies that seem to have a major problem with their product, so that everyone can benefit. In this case I feel Norton have got into Apple computers without sufficient beta testing, and throwing a product at customers in the hope that you will eventually settle it in. Not good enough by a long shot. Heads should roll.

I would appreciate it if someone, anyone, can pass this message onto a Norton CEO or stock holder, that may actually care about the direction of the Company.

=======================================

Harsha:
Have a wonderful day.

————————–

Don:
You have a wonderful day too. Do you want any fries with that?

Cheers Don…


21-Oct-2015

Just had another expression of interest in fixing this bug from Norton Executive Escalation Case Manager Consumer Customer Recovery Department, but still no positive results.

This Norton bug can affect web sites in two different ways.

1)
It can stop the site from running partially, or completely.
You may need to view the source code and search for the word "cosymantecnisbfw" to verify this.

2)
It can add additional HTML code that can be seen when the site is visited. There are some very horrible examples of this, and I just found a very bad one:
http://www.xxl-limousinen.com/Information

Check the rest of this poor devils web site. It is like a virus in itself.
Just sent him an email to get him to verify that it was built with a MAC and Norton Anti-virus.

It shows up on the left hand navigation column with the following browsers:

Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Sea Monkey.
http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp
Currently that is 93.7% of browsers used today.

Cheers Don…

 

Posted in Computer News | Leave a comment

It will now cost you $9 more to send a small package from Australia to the US


Remember this thread I first posted on the 22nd November 2010?

The very day it was announced and introduced. I suspect people weren’t supposed to notice, if they did it quickly enough.

Document at:
http://www.dontronics.com/pdf/APO_US_surcharge.pdf

here is a reminder of the thread:
http://www.techiehq.net/computing/now-cost-you-9-more-send-small-package-us-72033.html

Well there is now a list of questions ready to be presented at the Senate Estimates hearing on 23rd of May.

I’ll let you know if and when I get feed back.

Update 2011-05-03
Unconfirmed: APO account holders are not charged this $9 fee.

 

Posted in Shopping Hints | Leave a comment

No More Damn Spam


No More Damn Spam
By Don McKenzie

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I felt it was about time to remind people what I did about Spam in 2002. After many years of putting up with Spam, and trying many methods of preventing Spam, including programs such as Mailwasher, I finally declared war on Spam, and have never looked back. Basically I don't get Spam, and my method is no secret. Most people I have tried to educate, think I am some sort of a nutter. So I gave up trying. Sorry, your loss.

Here I am running a business, and have zapped Spam virtually completely. In the 9 years since I have been running this system, I would doubt that I have had 25 Spams total. And when I get one, I use a simple system to make sure I never get one from the same source again.

What is the cost?
$500?
$200?
$100?
$50?
$25?
Special price today only $0 If you own a domain and have a bit of web space, the cost is zero. Don't believe me?


Don's Free Guide To Spam Reduction

The full rundown. How to get rid of spam: We can't figure out why people spend so much time and money attempting to get rid of spam, when the answer is so simple. We have used this system successfully since 2002, and we are running an on line internet business. Individuals will find it extremely simple to put into operation.


Special Note *** Have a look at the newsgroup http://groups.google.com/group/alt.spam/topics or news:alt.spam I have been visiting there for years. You will see the same good guys in white hats, fighting some old, and many new bad guys in black hats. I don't understand most of the local techo lingo, and even the guys in white hats have many disagreements amongst themselves. But they do go about trying to make things better for genuine internet users, and I would never want to discourage them from doing so. Helping out anyone who asks in a civil fashion, reporting spam, and offering advise on spam reporting and prevention, however they seem to spend a fair percentage of their lives trying to combat spam. But, please keep up the good work guys. I could start to name you, but it would be very unfair if I missed anyone.


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You must start from the ground floor, and sweep with a clean broom:

To combat Spam today, you must have an Email system that is squeaky clean, and leave no cracks or crevices that Spam can crawl through. If it does, you need a means of blocking it very quickly.

You don't need to use filters.
You don't need to bounce email.
You don't need to sort or delete any email.
You don't need to use black and white lists.
You don't need to buy sophisticated software.
You don't need to block IP's, countries, or domains.
You don't need to have Challenge-Response systems.
You don't need to spend hours maintaining a spam-less inbox.
You don't need to mistakenly erase email from customers or friends.
You don't need to use any bandwidth, as all spam is rejected. (Read on)
You do need to use a little common sense, and be able take on some good advice. 

The total cost of this spam prevention system annually, is the price of a web host at around $50 to $70USD, and a domain name at around $8 to $12USD.

This can be for one individual user, or hundreds if you join into a group, or syndicate. 

Do you own a domain? You don't have to, but it helps if you do. You can reduce spam by 98% to 100%, no fees, no drama.

This is a simple low cost method of getting rid of most of the spam that is being delivered to email in-boxes today. Most of what we propose isn't new. It is the combination of all of these rules that make the system successful, and we have been using this system since 2002.

1-Jan-2004 Ash Roll – Digitalnemesis.com Hi Don 🙂 Yep – thanks for the info on your web site – works a treat. I still have to change over my sales account at PayPal yet and organise all that side of things, but I've gone from 200+ SPAM a day to about 10 a week!

Domain name registrations are cheap. Web hosts are cheap. Small groups of people should consider joining ranks and setting up these Spam prevention techniques. After all, 20 users could throw in $5USD each, and you could run your own domain for a year, and still have change. Elect a webmaster to manage your email addresses using a single domain name. OK, 20 of your closest friends may be a bit of a nightmare, how about 10 at $10USD each? That's very workable.

This tutorial was written with a business in mind, but the same rules apply for individuals.

The simplest way to stop spam and viruses is to keep your email address hidden from spammers, but not from contacts and associates. Of course, you must have an email address in order to operate a web site, or be contactable by email. We protect the email addresses we give out, and we organize them in such a way that they can be altered without losing any business or personal contacts. On January 1st every year, the email addresses are updated so that any potential spam is dropped off.

Basic Requirements.
OK, How do we go about it?

Auto-Responder
Protecting your email addresses from spammers

Your ISP may be generating Spam on your behalf
Spam Through Yahoo Mailing List

Spam Through Paypal Email addresses

Spam Through Your Domain Registration Details.
Your Web Host Billing Email address.

The required HTML Code 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcSWI6Ppks

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Basic Requirements:

As you can get a suitable basic web host for around $4USD per month, we would suggest that even private users take advantage of this. Isn't it worth it?

Hostgator (Above) is just one of many. This will provide you with the ability to run one domain using the Hatchling Plan account. If you purchase the Baby Plan, you can have an unlimited number of domains.

Hostgator also has Cpanel pre-installed at the same price, however domain names cost a little more than some others. The few extra dollars to have it all with one company, may well be worth not having any hassles. I much prefer a host with Cpanel, as I have been using it for years, and have explained this tutorial using it.

But you mileage may vary. If you are more comfortable with something else, then fine.

CPanel Tutorials


You must also register at least one domain. Make it a US dot com domain, as these are cheap. Around $11USD

Godaddy (Above) seems to have a cheap rate on US Domain Registrations, and hosting packages, however Cpanel is not included at the same price, and is an extra.


My personal choice has been to get a Hostgator Baby plan with Cpanel included in the price, and a Godaddy Domain Registration. I do have many Domains registered, so it is a considerable saving when you do the maths, but for a single Domain, Hostgator is fine.


Example of typical email addresses and domains that can be registered for groups of people.

bill_gates2011@billionaires-club.com
bill_clinton2011@presidents-retirement-group.com
bill_clinton2011@secretary-of-state-partners-chat-group.com

We were getting 200+ spams to our web based business every day. We would imagine it would be 2000+ today.

Did we mention Viruses? Get rid of the Spam and the Viruses vanish also.

As this spam reduction system limits the number of times our current email address appears in customers and friends address books, viruses will also be limited. Before continuing, check your prospective service provider to make sure their domain isn't hosted by a spam friendly and thus widely blocked ISP

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OK, How do we go about it?

Web Host Requirements:

Our thanks to Alan Hackett of Perth West Australia for originally putting us onto the Web Page Contact operation.

You must have a web host (Preferably with a CPanel interface.) that has:

Several email address forwarders.
Several Auto-responders.

Set Up Your Email Addresses: Set up only the email addresses that you wish to use for your business, or personal email system. We use basically only two addresses for the main operation of our web site.

sales2011@yourdomain.com
support2011@yourdomain.com

The "2011" is the current year, and is incremented every year.
 

Spammed Email Addresses:

Spammers will send email to any address that they feel will reach you. This can be any address at your domain. Bouncing spam email is simply using up bandwidth, as spammers don't use their own email address, and you may well be bouncing these emails to genuine users.

You will no doubt have an old email address that is picking up most of the spam. Let's call this old-email@yourdomain.com All email sent to old-email@yourdomain.com is directed to spambounce@yourdomain.com which is an Auto-responder. This will send an email to the sender with a text message generated by you. Picture below shows the settings to get your "spambounce@yourdomain.com" Auto-Responder working.

 

 

Setting the interval to zero hours, allows you to test your Auto Responder continuously.

If it is set to the default setting of 8, this means it will only respond to the same IP address once in every 8 hours. I suggest after testing it that you set it back to 8.

1-Jan-Each Year:
Make up your new2011@yourdomain.com addresses, and get them working.

Make sure your reply to address in your email program uses these new addresses. Delete all the old previous years (old2010@yourdomain.com), so that they are no longer directed to spambounce@yourdomain.com.

1-Feb Each Year:
Direct all the old2010@yourdomain.com addresses to your spam bounce message from your auto-responder. And bounce these old2010@yourdomain.com addresses with your auto-responder for about a year until your friends/customers become familiar with your new email address, then delete them. This really means they will bounce for about 11 months, then vanish.

The Picture below shows the forwarding, or redirection of all email sent to old-email@yourdomain.com being directed to spambounce@yourdomain.com which is an Auto-responder.

 

And if many people are using this disposable email address method, and the spammers eventually catch on, you simply change the rules of the yearly increment. 🙂

sales2011@yourdomain.com change to:
2011sales@yourdomain.com
11sales@yourdomain.com
sales11@yourdomain.com
sales_2011@yourdomain.com
2011_sales@yourdomain.com
11_sales@yourdomain.com
sales_11@yourdomain.com
sales-2011@yourdomain.com

You can add any special characters, such as: !#$%^&* The sky is the limit, whatever you can think up.

Special Addresses for companies you deal with: You may wish to use admin@yourdomain.com or similar, for those special domain registrations etc., that you don't wish to change the email address every year.

If you are on a yahoo group, it would pay to use say: groupname2011@yourdomain.com If it starts to generate spam, then you only need to worry about one address.

Other Examples:
taxoffice@yourdomain.com
amazon@yourdomain.com
paypal@yourdomain.com

 

are some examples of what you may need to set up. If you get spam, then you can throw the year in after the name if you wish, or some other simple method of changing it. Get the idea?

This in principle is what is called Disposable Email Addresses, however in this case, you aren't asking third parties to have control of your Disposable Email Addresses, as you have full control, and you aren't paying extra for them.

Another nice feature with CPanel is the dual addressing feature. Example: taxoffice@yourdomain.com can be directed to user1@yourdomain.com and also taxoffice@yourdomain.com can be directed to user2@yourdomain.com We use this for our "Fax To Email" service to two different users. That is, the fax is received, and sent to two email addresses.

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Your Auto-responder text should look something like this:

yourdomain spambounce Auto-responder
================================================
Has the year changed since you last contacted us?
Then the address will simply be out of date.
Please read "Year Increment" below:
================================================
Read: http://www.yourdomain.com/email.html for a full explanation of our email system.
The email address you attempted to post to has been removed, and replaced with a new one, and your message has been ignored.
This has been done to prevent Spam and Viruses, and takes place every 12 months.

We apologize for this inconvenience.

To contact us, simply click on http://www.yourdomain/email.html and send us a message.
Your message will be answered ASAP and you will be returned a valid working email address that you can contact us on in future.

This working email address will only be valid for a maximum of one year, as the year in 'yyyy' format, will be part of the email address. We hope you can understand the need for us to go through this procedure, and allow our valued customers access to us without the need for spam filters potentially deleting your valued message to us.
 

"Year Increment" You can also calculate our address by simply incrementing it to the correct year, if you have our old email address. ==================================================
Note **** If we get spam on any new address, we may add an additional character, or re-arrange characters during the year.
In which case, you will need to send an email via our contact page to reach us.

Examples of the additional, or re-arranged characters: 2011user@ user2011a@
==================================================

Your Name Here E-mail: http://www.yourdomain.com/email.html
Home Page: http://www.yourdomain.com

==================================================

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Protecting your email addresses from spammers:

So, we are now allowing only the email addresses through that we have selected. All others get rejected, or bounced with an Auto-responder message.

The next trick is to tell only valid customers and associates what your email addresses are. This is done with a little HTML and java-script code.

This allows you to place your real forwarding email address on the web, and yet not display it to potential spammers. This is done with what is called an email contact page. If you examine email contact pages, you will see that the customer must first contact you via this page, then once he has made initial contact, and you respond, he/she will have your new email address.

This also prevents large email attachments from customers, without initial contact to you.

You can change the email address every year and get rid of any spammers that made it this far, and not lose your customer data base. Result is 95% to 100% reduction in spam.

We do have spammers actually filling out our email contact page, however I know when I see this, that they have reached the bottom of the barrel. If they generate scripts to do this task for them, you simply change the order of the information, so that an input error will occur. But not worth worrying about, we get about 1 every 3 to 6 months.

We also have instructions on our Email Contact Page, on how to calculate the current email address, so that genuine users can email us directly. We had product review pages, and Guest Books, and have had to close these because of spammers.

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Your ISP may be generating Spam on your behalf

We have been collecting spam from the same email address since 1995, and had to do something very aggressively about removing it.
 

If you have been running a business, you should know that your personal "real email address" should never be given out to anyone, as you should be using your domain email system.

If you are getting spam through your "real email address", then get your local ISP to change your account name. We have done this several times since 1995, however much of it has taken place because of moving to new ISPs as the internet has grown.
 

Never post a real email address to a newsgroup. We use something like "look@my.sig", and in the the sig of our message, we place the web contact page details, so we are readily contactable with a click of the mouse.

If you use a program like Thunderbird, it allows for special email ID's when posting to newsgroups. If you change your business email addresses every year to increment to the new year, and you change your local ISP account name if required, then spam should be down to a level that is very close to zero.

We found our Australian Optus ISP was actually generating a mountain of spam for us, as we were listed as:

username@optusnet.com.au (our actual domain name)
username@optushome.com.au
username@optus.net username@mpx.com.au
username@microplex.com.au

We got our primary account name changed, used one of four secondary addresses as our new contact address, and have never got an email of any description directed to any of the other domains since doing so. ISP's seem to want to generate and charge for additional bandwidth. Make sure you allow about a month overlap between 'yyyy' (year) increments. The previous 'yyyy' can always be sent to your "spambounce" feature for a month, then it can be sent to "All-Unrouted-Mail-Reject" by simply deleting the email address from your valid email addresses after 12 months.

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Spam Through Yahoo Mailing List:

We were moderating a yahoo group mailing list for our business. We found 10 to 20 spams everyday being posted to the group moderator. It's a no win situation. If you moderate your membership, and leave your moderator email address valid, you get spam. If you block your moderator address, and allow anybody to join, everyone gets spam. We had to shut the group down. We now run it spam and ad free from our new web host at no additional charge. Sending support messages to Yahoo is about as useful as a milking bucket for a bull. Keep away from Yahoo Mailing lists if you can.

 

Spam Through Paypal Email Addresses:

You may also have to change your Paypal email accounts and get them squeaky clean also. We no longer advertise an email address for Paypal Payments, and we had to use http://www.tinyurl.com to link to our payment page. Our current shopping cart doesn't even need this, as it has a direct link into Paypal for simple payment.


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Spam Through Your Domain Registration Details.

Spammers are now going through these details to get your email address. We have several domains registered, however we have them all registered with the one company, so they all use a single email address.

We picked the domain we feel will always be there, our bread and butter domain, and used spam_domain_rego@yourdomain.com as the forwarding email address. We included the word spam in the hope that this may deter manual and automatic collection of data from using an address with spam in it, but there are no guarantees of course.

A big word of caution. If you use an address from one your domains, you must make sure that domain is always registered. We always extend the registation 12 months in advance, not when it is due. In fact, ours is registered 3 years in advance. If this address is spammed, then it is a simple matter to change one address that you have full control over. Just add "yyyy", or whatever is easy. It doesn't matter, as long as you enable it in your email forwards, and disable the old one. Just don't let the domain expire, else you will never get admin email to tell you it has expired.

Some registration companies offer I.D. protection, so that your registration details are never seen, however as this protection costs more than the yearly registration, forget it. Just use the simple and effective system we have outlined above.


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Your Web Host Billing Email address.

There should only ever be one single contact that has your real, local, email address, and that is your web host billing address and contact. If there is a problem with billing, or your web site goes down, then you need a channel for them to contact you that doesn't rely on a registered domain.

This email address should also be one that your local ISP can change if requested to do so for any reason. Our local ISP has given us a primary, and 4 disposable secondary email addresses. Never give the primary email address to anyone, and if for any reason, a secondary starts to get spam, then you can drop it, and start with another. The only contact that should have your local secondary ISP email address is your Domain Web Host.

If your domain fails for any reason, you may have to give out a local ISP email address in an emergency, but it should always be a disposable one anyway. So make sure you sign with a local company that has at least one disposable email address.


All comments and feed back very welcome. Don McKenzie 


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HTML Code:

Use HTML code and Java-script to create your web contact page, however it will disclose your email address when the link is clicked. As only humans, not robots, will need to do the clicking, so the chances of this email address joining the spam lists is very remote. And if it does, you can dispose of it, and get a new one.

Final result will look like this: "For Further Information Please Email Me" and when you click on the Email Me link, your default email program will be launched with the email address and subject line ready to go. 

Create the two files email.html and mailto.js as shown below:
user = "username2011";
site = "yourdomain.com";
subject = "Your Domain Email Contact Page";

set these above three parameters in the mailto.js file to suit the email address, and subject you wish to use. Upload the below two files to your domain root directory and test.

Contents of email.html

<p>For Further Information Please <script type="text/javascript" src="/mailto.js"></script></p>

Contents of mailto.js

user = "username2011"; site = "yourdomain.com"; subject = "Your Domain Email Contact Page"; document.write('<a href=\"mailto:' + user + '@' + site + '?subject=' + subject + '\">');document.write('Email Me'+'</a>');



I really hope you think about introducing this simple method of controlling spam. It is low cost, low maintenance, and after initial set up, runs itself. It has saved me many hours of time since 2002.

Good luck with it.

Cheers Don…

 

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Posted in Spam Prevention | 5 Comments

Just how good is Satellite Internet on a P&O cruise ship in the South Pacific?


Just how good is Satellite Internet on a P&O cruise ship in the South Pacific?
By Don McKenzie April-2011

I’m writing this on P&O’s Pacific Jewel, which is currently anchored off Mystery Island in the South Pacific.

Before leaving home, I wanted to make sure that I had a reasonable internet connection when I went on this trip, as I needed to give customer support to my on line business at http://www.dontronics.com

From the information that was given to me in advance of the trip, and from the result of a phone call to P&O offices, I was lead to believe that I could take along my netbook, and have wireless access right in my cabin. Speeds will be slow, and connection won’t be cheap.

OK, I could live with that, as long as I can send and receive email for the twelve days I am at sea. That is all I will need.

Of course the truth is somewhat different. You can only get WiFi hotspots in designated Internet Cafe areas, however I was able to get a connection occasionally in my cabin. This actually caused more trouble than it was worth, as the signal strength varied so much, that I had to get to a WiFi spot to make sure I was logged out, every time the connection dropped before I completed the session.

When I arrived on board, and settled down long enough to check things out, I found four wireless networks listed:

  • Pacific Jewel
  • Pacific_Jewel
  • mtndsi
  • mtndsicrew

I asked at reception for further information, and was told I should be able to use “Pacific Jewel”, as a network, however I was never able to connect with this. I was then told that the Internet Manager would be in attendance at 09:00 the next day, and will be able to get me started.

Rightio, I had to be patient and wait until the next day before I could get a connection.

Then I noticed a crew member using a notebook, and connected to the Internet. He was good enough to tell me what he knew about the system, which didn’t help a great deal, as the “mtndsicrew” network was a logical choice for him, and the log in details were very different to that of normal passengers.

After the wait for the Internet Manager, I then discovered that the secret to getting started with a notebook, was to create an account with one of the existing hardwired terminals in one of the Internet Cafe areas. If only there was some information on this, or instructions left at the reception, things would have been much easier for me, and other potential users I’m sure.

The network you must use is “mtndsi”. Looking in the book, I found a mention of using “Pacific Jewel” as a network, same as reception told me, but this doesn’t work.

Below is the six terminal Internet Cafe situated in the “Chocolate Culture Cafe” on the 12th deck of the Pacific Jewel. It is also a recent addition to the WiFi hotspots around the ship.

Even now, I think it is still workable from a notebook to create an account without the terminal, but as the Internet Manager insisted I use a terminal to create an account to get started, I’ll explain the process from that point of view.

First up, you move the mouse around on the terminal, to get the following splash screen. Well that’s what I was told by the IM. If you simply hit home on your browser, the P&O page below will load.

Then select New User:


Fill out the form, and select Continue. I wasn’t able to capture a screen after the event unless I signed up once again with valid details, but basically you are given the choice of several plans. I chose the $100 plan.

In the fine print, you will find out about the additional one time connection fee of $3.95. Later, I checked around and found a small mention of this one time connection fee on the list of instructions right next to each terminal, and eventually found it in the glossy catlogue.

You are then presented with the screen below:

Select “”No”, connect me to the internet. You will now have full access to the Internet.
When you are finished, you will have to type logout.com into your browser address URL box.
There is a logout popup, but as the Internet Manager asked me to use the URL “logout.com” method, I continued with that and didn’t have any problems logging out.

After a few days of use, I tried the pop up box log out, and this worked fine also.

After a few minutes, a summary of your usage is displayed.

This is what mine looked like after a few days of limited use.

Having created an account with the Internet Cafe terminal, then logging out, I was now in a position to give it a try with my ten inch Asus netbook.

Aha! It almost connected itself:

Having now found out the ropes, it was fairly easy to connect with the netbook.
I use Firefox, and Thunderbird, and I didn’t have to change any settings. I am using one of my domains as an email server.

As I am running a business, I don’t rely on local ISPs for my email, and I also have a backup system from a different ISP.

I also use a low cost paid news service “news. individual.net”. I dropped the last character of the news server name, so that I didn’t download any news during this slow comms period, and this seemed to do the trick. I ignored any and all web updates to everything.

I use the free MozBackup to move all of my Firefox and Thunderbird (includes news) settings and emails from one PC to another. This is simple and straight forward. I have tried many other methods over the years including a few of my own, but MozBackup beats them all hands down. You do backups and restores via a USB, or memory card drive.

This means I copy all of my files from my home PC to the netbook once before I leave, then I copy them all back when I return home. All of my emails and settings remain intact. I do carry a hard drive backup of all of my PCs with me when I travel, and I do regular backups from my netbook to the hard drive.

I decided to connect twice a day. Once each morning, and once at night. I found the best way of doing this was to connect, grab your email, log off, answer your email, then log back on, and send it.

I also had to send emails to a few friends. You know the ones that send cartoons and movies. 🙂 When you are on slow satellite, this is a must.

Certainly P&O satellite works, and it is faster than the 9600 baud dial up system that I first used when I was traveling with a Laptop. In fact, a lot faster, but it is very limited. If you don’t have some sort of spam protection system, you will be in strife.

Check out http://www.dontronics.com/spam for the successful approach I use.

Forget about trying to surf the web to any degree, as web pages are very slow. Do your Google research before you travel.

About two days into the trip, the system stopped working. I caught up with the Internet Manager at the Library-Cafe, and was told a server upgrade was taking place, and it could be several hours before this was completed. Didn’t worry me too much. I logged on the next day, and all was fine.

I checked the IP address, and found 216.7.151.234 comes up as Dover England. As this vessel is registered in London England, I guess Dover is where the ship’s ISP server is situated.

The speed isn’t exactly fast. I tried a speed test to my traditional Optus server in Australia.
Below is a TraceRoute I did on Dontronics Shop:

As you can see, I had some time out problems. Dontronics is set up on a virtual server in New York, New York, so I decided to try something closer to home, such as Dick Smith Electronics Australia. Mind you, with the satellite communications server in Dover England, New York could well be a closer option geographically.

Hmmmm……… Not any better, let’s try a DSE ping:

Well that doesn’t tell me a lot. I didn’t specifically bring any software with me to test satellite communications, so it is a matter of WYSIWYG for now. Make your own interpretation of the results.

The big difference with conventional slow comms and satellite comms from what I can see, it that a normally slow system will load a page of text first, then slowly update the graphics. In fact you can see them rolling down the screen. I’m sure every one has experienced this with slow comms.

With the slow satellite, you may wait 30 to 60 seconds for a page to update, then magically, it all updates in a split second. Then you click your mouse on the next selection you wish to make, and wait another 30 to 60 seconds for the next page to update.

Towards the end of the trip, I could see pages loading in 5 to 10 seconds. Perhaps all the iPhone geeks had finally seen what it was costing them, and dropped off satellite usage a little.
Needless to say, I didn’t even attempt an FTP of files (including this blog file), as I’m sure it can be achieved in seconds, as soon as I sight Sydney, and can use my USB wireless modem.

Note ****
Towards the end of the journey when I had plenty of spare minutes to play with, I tried FTP several times, but was never able to connect.

Special Prices:
You are tempted with a Disembark special price if you sign up on day one. This gave me 20 minutes of extra time on my account. Even though I wasn’t able to use the account until day two.

Then on day two, they extended the offer for another day, as it had been so popular. This is starting to sound familiar. Day three, and I think day four also, they then offered an extra thirty minutes. Another clever marketing ploy which I’m sure repeats with every voyage.

On the final few days, we were then presented with more closing special prices for the extension of internet services. I had plenty of time to burn, as I was very conservative with the way I fetched, and answered emails. Basically, don’t expect to surf the web to any degree, or FTP any files. Email is slow, but works.

Power:
I was told about, and expected plenty of Australian type 240VAC outlets. But it was one only Australian standard plug per cabin, plus a combination of various 115-220-230VAC odd International standards that I couldn’t jam a power plug into.

Of course the voltage doesn’t matter with most universal gadgets these days, but the plug pinout sure does. Mind you, if I had to, I’m sure with my box of bits and pieces I carry with me, and my basic kit of tools, nothing much would have stopped me getting the power I needed.

Just as well I had a small Australian double adapter. With my range of gadgets, and a wife who supports an iPod plus an Amazon Kindle, the double adapter just made the grade with our power requirements.

Hope this little write up helps someone.
Cheers Don…

Posted in Computer News | 6 Comments

My Years Working on the old Electro-Mechanical Totalisator (Totalizator US)



A few stories and history of my early years as a Mechanic, on the old ATL Melbourne Tote (Australia Circa 1976+) By Don McKenzie 

My Years Of Service
I started with ATL Melbourne on the 16th-Jan-1976, and retired with TABcorp on the 29th-Sep-1999. During this period, my job description went from “Tote Mechanic” to “Senior Systems Engineer”. 

Whenever I was asked how long I worked on the tote, I always said 25 years, as it was an easy answer. After doing the calculations for this article, I see it was really 23 years, 8 months, and a bit. So I am really short 15 months, and a bit. OK, it was a white lie. You know what a white lie is? When Bill Clinton pointed his finger down the barrel of a TV camera and said “I did not have sex with that woman”, he told a white lie, and the people of America believed him. OK, would you believe they forgave him. That was also about a little bit. 

If I spend another 15 and a bit months completing  this article, perhaps I can really say, “I worked on the tote for 25 years”.
These days, you will find me running my Internet based Microcontroller Products Company at Dontronics.com


 

Top Photo: 
Totalisators at Flemington racecourse, Melbourne Victoria. There are 146 (J6 TIM) totalisator issuing machines operating at Flemington Date : 1945

Bottom Photo:
Julius ticket machine for ‘forecast’ bets on greyhound races, c 1933. The totalisator at Haringey greyhound racing stadium in the U.K., was a full-scale Julius machine installed three years after the stadium opened in 1927. It remained in use until the stadium closed in 1987.



Introduction
I intend looking at and reporting only the early years, the electro-mechanical days, of the Julius Tote systems in Victoria. This is the history that will vanish very quickly if someone like me doesn’t record it now. Mention is made of the later day terminals, but I’ll try and keep the scope of this article to my earliest, and best memories. There will be inaccuracies in my accounts, as my memory for names and places, isn’t what it used to be. I don’t mind anyone passing on any information, or making corrections, grammar, spelling or otherwise, and I am more than prepared to add any words from anyone associated with the old electro-mechanical totes in Victoria, or Interstate for that matter. Even if you want to write a small article yourself, I’ll add it to this archive. Any pictures of the old tote gear, the tote houses, and the staff, is lacking badly, so if anyone wishes to scan photos and send them to me, I know I’ll be able to make good use of them.  

If you ask ten people who were present at an event 30 years ago, about that event, you will get ten very different answers. The real truth will be a blend of those ten stories. This is Don McKenzie’s version of the history of the Tote. It can be changed. Please,  just drop me an email, and tell me your version.
 
I reserve the right to edit any text that may be presented to me, as I don’t wish to paint too big a negative picture of any individual. ATL, the TAB, and Individuals, all have skeletons in their closets, and once you put anything on a web page, it is in concrete, and people will believe it, even if it isn’t true. To tell any sort of funny, or interesting story about a person may mean painting some sort of negative picture about that person, but that is about as far as I wish to go. 

I have found that I have had to bite my lip, and back off in certain areas. I may even find the need to edit a little more as this article grows. I’m sure the descendants of any tote staff mentioned, don’t want to read about Grandma, or Grandpa displaying very bad signs of any anti-social behavior, during their years on the tote.



Prologue January 1976. I’m 32 years old and in between jobs so to speak. Working as a radio operator at Silver Top Taxis in Melbourne, when I get the call from ATL to join the team. I had just completed a job interview with Frank Dowdle the Chief Engineer, and Peter Kenyon the Victorian Branch Manager, and it looks like I convinced them that my mechanical and electronics knowledge is up to scratch, and that I am the right sort of person to enhance the technical group.
 
I know ATL is in the middle of a transitional period of development, and are moving into fully computerized systems that I want to be part of. I know I have to effectively do another apprenticeship, up though the ranks of the electro-mechanical operation, before I can get a start in the computer side of things. The other 1959 P.M.G. boys, now have a 10 or 11 years start on me.
 
As I had driven taxis for two years on what was called a hungry shift, that is, 7 nights a week for 12 hours a night, and had been a Brick Layers labourer for a short period, I didn’t see anything that ATL could throw at me, as being any sort of a hurdle.
 
I knew ATL would throw plenty of hours at me, and a wheel barrow load of money each week. What I didn’t know was that the electro-mechanical era was more akin to working as a mechanic on a motor vehicle. I found out why the old boys wore grey dust coats to protect their normal race day clothing, as the printers ink got into everything.
But the bottom line is, I really enjoyed these early years, the electro-mechanical equipment, and the people I worked with. I hope it shows up in the telling of these stories.

Read the Full Story at:
http://www.dontronics.com/my_early_tote_years.html

Posted in Electronics News | Leave a comment

PIC Source Book



The “Official” public release of the Scott Edwards Electronics PIC Source Book/Disk.

Continue reading

Posted in Electronics News | Leave a comment

Is This Australia’s First PC? March-1978

Or just the most modified TRS-80? TRS-80 Model One?

26-1001 Model 1 Level 1 4k CPU/Keyboard.

Industry Links
George Julius, Australia’s Father Of Scientific & Industrial Research.
Brian Conlon’s web site devoted to Automatic Totalisators Ltd.
Powerhouse Museum Automatic totalisator.
An Unlikely History of Australian Computing: the Reign of the Totalisator
CSIRAC Australia’s first electronic digital computer
The World’s First Large-Scale, Multi-User, Real Time System.
Was George Julius the inspiration for CSIRAC, Australia’s first electronic digital computer?
My Early Tote Years – Don McKenzie
Is This Australia’s First PC?

History and Serial Number


March-2008 Thirty Years Later:
I decided to write this before I forget it all, or simply become no longer capable of doing so. Don McKenzie, Dontronics. http://www.dontronics.com

By late 1977, two U.S. Magazines, Byte, and Kilobaud, were reporting on three new personal computers, aimed squarely at the home market. These were the Commodore Pet, Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs Apple II, and Tandy’s TRS-80 Model One. The earlier Apple I was supplied as a main PCB, and you were required to build it up yourself.

It appears production quantities of the Pet and Apple were several months in advance of the Tandy PC, however I was unable to mail order any of the three in 1977. I clearly remember Commodore quoting  that they were unable to send me one, as they weren’t geared up for 50Hz and 240V, even though I said it was my problem, not theirs.

Apple mail order resellers said they couldn’t keep up with local orders, and weren’t interested in selling outside the U.S., but Tandy told me that they would be selling the TRS-80 in Australia very soon, and to put an order in, and I should be one of the first on the list to receive one.
So arguably, I have the first PC in Australia, if not, certainly one of the very first. Mine arrived in Australia in March 1978. I would be very interested if anyone has a serial number that is before “028066”.

Catalog Number 26-1001D This indicates that it was originally a 4K Rom, and 4K Ram machine. I have no idea what the “D” represents.

Defining Personal Computer:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer
A personal computer (PC) is a computer whose original sales price, size, and capabilities make it useful for individuals, intended to be operated directly by an end user, with no intervening computer operator.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_personal_computers

A personal computer is one intended for individual use, as opposed to a mainframe computer where the end user’s requests are filtered through operating staff, or a time sharing system in which one large processor is shared by many individuals. After the development of the microprocessor, individual personal computers were low enough in cost that they eventually became affordable consumer goods.

Early personal computers – generally called microcomputers – were sold often in electronic kit form and in limited numbers, and were of interest mostly to hobbyists and technicians.

Tandy refer to the TRS-80 in this document: “Radio Shack’s Description of the Model I” on three occassions, as the model I being a Personal Computer, and once as being a Personal Microcomputer. http://www.trs-80.com/trs80-models-model1.htm

Here is another entirely different view: http://www.blinkenlights.com/pc.shtml I guess the more I look for answers, the more questions I will find.

What I had was a computer that I could use at home, one I could afford to purchase as a wage earner for myself. I didn’t have to assemble it, just plug it in and read the manual. That is a home personal computer, as used by an end user, and the same definition basically applies today. At one point, if you didn’t have an IBM, or clone, you didn’t have a PC. It will only run on a PC is a very common term. I hear it basically every day, but would you say that Apple’s latest MacBook Air wasn’t a Personal Computer?

Don’s Early Workbench:
Shows unit with original keyboard, two large heat sinks out the back, Electronics Australia programmer, original tape recorder for data storage, new 5 1/4″ disk drive, home built LNW expansion interface, and a converted TV for video output.

Pictured above: Note the wall to the left of the TRS-80. Two walls of this room were wall papered with “TOTE” tickets. This was our Bar room. I started off in the family room, then the laundry, the bar, our third bed room, (kids had grown up), and now back to the family room.

I was with ATL, then the TAB, then TABCORP for 25 years. (continuous superannuation, different logos 🙂

See: http://www.dontronics-shop.com/Where-Was-Don-For-25-Years-Tote-History-p-1-c-412.html and a link to the wall paper: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~bconlon/intro2.htm#top
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~bconlon/operation.htm#top About 3/4’s of the way down that page you will see a J8 ticket issuing machine. Well, I worked on the previous model, the J6, and the associated control gear. The Tote is an Australian invention, and again arguably the world’s first electro-mechanical computer. (Circa 1913) Don’t think it’s a PC however 🙂

Morse Code Generator for the Australian Department Of Communications:
This computer generated all the 5, 10, and 20 WPM morse code that was used for Novice, Ham, and Marine morse code receiving tests by the Australian Department Of Communications from around 1980 to 1986. This was previously done by a punch tape machine, and when I was asked if I could program a computer to do this, I said of course you can. That is the sort of thing that computers are designed to do. I soon found out that you can’t get accurate timing for long periods using the basic language built into this machine, so I had to learn Z80 machine code damn fast.

I eventually had to tell DOC that I wanted to drop this contract, as the repetitive nature of the input strings really drove me mad. It was around the time they shifted headquarters from Melbourne to Canberra, so I suggested they get some one to re-write the software on an 80286 AT-PC, as the TRS-80 was getting very dated, and I was involved in too many other projects of my own at the time.

The Main Printed Circuit Board

The old joke about the two new heads, and three new handles? Almost. There are rows of chips piggybacked to others, and a birds nest of wiring running on both sides of the boards, with ZIF sockets for EP(ROM) firmware and character generators.

Custom Modifications.
This computer was the guinea pig for all future modifications that I wanted and needed. Most of the final designs were marketed via User Groups, and local electronics magazines. This meant that every track cut, rewire, and additional IC’s were all added to this computer, and in many cases removed, after prototype boards were tested.

Speedon:
Location, Top Left:
Small PCB attached to the main board.  A sophisticated board I designed to control the clock input frequency to the Z80 CPU. Allowed reliable speed shifting during all I/O.

Gendon:
Location, Plug in Board with 24 pin ribbon cable next to Speedon:
Small PCB plugs into the original character generator and extends the socket position to the 24 pin ZIF socket on the face of the keyboard. Used a 2716 EPROM. This allowed for lower case characters to be displayed. More on Gendon later.

Donmon:
Location, Center of board. Plug in 24 pin header cable:
Extends the system ROM via the header cable to the DONMON PCB, hanging out the back of the computer. This was normally fitted inside the case, but as this unit was the prototype for all modifications, it had to be removed on a regular basis, and ended up living outside the case. More on Donmon later.

From Level I to Level II:
Location, Center of board. Plug in 24 pin header cable, and the ROM to the right of this:
Level I was 4K ROM. Level II was 16K in three ROMs. I had to purchase the original upgrade, which was a simple adapter with header cable, and small PCB, to add the extra ROMs. Eventually this was discarded when Donmon came along, and the extra ROMs were placed on the Donmon board, along with the Donmon circuitry.

64K Dram:
Location, 8 chips running horizontally under Donmon cable.
These started off with the original 4K of 4114’s, and were replaced with 16K of 4116’s when these were first released. Later, additional 4116’s were piggybacked three high, to give 48K of Dram. When the 64K 4164’s came onto the market, I replaced the three high piggyback with 8 by 4164 chips.  However the Level II firmware would only allow for a maximum Dram size of 48K.
Original keyboard wore out, so I fitted a new one from a Super-80 computer. (Dick Smith kit).

Reset button for Donmon is located top right of the keyboard.

Can’t remember why I ended up with two ugly holes in the bottom of the case. No doubt to bring cables, and components out during various stages of R&D 🙂

Donmon went through a number of board and firmware revisions.

Close up of the main board I.D.

Gendon ZIF Socket:

Gendon Screenshot:

TRS-80’s and System-80’s had all upper case characters only. It appears this was done to save a single 2102 memory chip on the main board. After adding that chip, a suitable lower case character generator, supporting circuitry, plus a suitable video driver, lower case could be displayed.

I had “Don’s Authorized Modifiers” Australia wide. We were the first to offer 3 line descenders.  All of the others had the letters “y,j,g,p, and q” actually sitting above the base line. These were simply the contents of the original character generators being displayed.
The original character generators in these computers was mapped out 5 bits wide by 7 bits high. (8 bits high with a one line descender) By addressing the generator with an extra address and data line, I was able to map out 6 bits wide by 12 bits high, which is the full available space of one character. This allowed me to output 3 line descender characters.
Many U.S. companies produced kits with descenders after mine appeared, and later System-80’s had 3 line descenders.

My Authorized Modifier list looked something like this:
Ray Barrington       Bega NSW
Michael Cooper       Surry Hills NSW
Mick Gulovsen        Glenroy Vic
Rob McAllister       Lower Templestowe VIC
Stuart McMinn        Pascoe Vale VIC
C Nielsen            Apsley QLD
Keith Pakenham       Keysborough VIC
Peter Rich           Ryde NSW
John Ross            Greenacres SA
Ewart Stonach        Ashfield NSW
John Western         Padbury WA

Printdon 779 (Gendon spin off):
A lower case character generator for TANDY LINE PRINTER ONE, and CENTRONICS 779 Printers.

Having used my old upper case only line printer for some time, I became envious of the new Japanese plastic printers and their capabilities. I noticed an AD in a US magazine for a small kit that added lower case for this type of printer for $95. At this point of time, I was a little cheesed off with US mail order companies, so I decided to have a go at rolling my own.

Wish I had never undertaken this task, even for myself, as it developed into a real game of adventure. I’m sure Centronics mapped their original rom just to put me off the trail to lower case success. After investing many, many hours into this project, I was able to come up with the full 128 ascii character set, and all those up and down arrows etc., that I had been missing.
NOTE **** Wasn’t able to have descenders, as there was only 7 print pins (height) on these printers.

My first printer was a WW II Baudot Model 15 Teletype that I interfaced to my TRS-80. This was later followed by a much lighter Siemens Halske Teleprinter Model 100.

Donmon Screenshot:

Donmon was memory mapped  from 3000H to 37DFH and slipped in between the keyboard and video memory maps.

Screen shot has the address and phone number masked. Why? These haven’t changed in 35 years and:

People actually do call in at 23:00 and think it is quite OK to do so.
People actually do phone at 03:00 from the US and think it is quite OK to do so.

The top left corner text alternates between “POWER UP” and “RESET TO” as a system alive indicator.

This monitor program was entered by powering up the system, or pressing reset on the keyboard.

The idea was to have Donmon completely invisible to all operating systems, have the ability to jump to the Donmon monitor program, and return at any time to the program that was interrupted, when the rest button was originally pressed.
Once in the Donmon monitor program, the following drivers were available:
Screen print facility, keyboard driver with shift lock, flashing cursor with control, keyboard beeper, control characters, auto repeat on all keys, lower case video driver.

And the following features were available:
Display character set, Rom and Ram check, ascii and hex display of memory, edit memory, deposit data byte in full block of memory, goto hex address, move blocks of memory, reset memory size without destroying basic text, overwrite a Basic new command, write a system tape, etc.

A string floppy version was later written for F800H.
The Donmon short form kit consisted of 2 EPROMS, a bare printed circuit board, and manual at $40AUD and had a 90 day refund offer if not satisfied.

My other Z80 spin offs:
ZLOAD
This was a development board based on PBUFF, that allowed a fast download of assembled Z80 machine code to the target board. Required no EPROM burning, and started instantly. Similar development systems of the day, started at several hundred dollars.
Reference:
Electronics Australia Magazine Apr-94
http://www.dontronics.com/z80.html

Z8TBASIC
I recompiled 8080 Tiny Basic into Z80 code, then added the I/O routines to make it tick on my ZLOAD development board. Meant you could write a Basic language program, test it, then burn it into an EPROM when completed.

Reference:
http://www.dontronics.com/z80.html
TRI-colour LED moving message board.
Reference:
http://www.dontronics.com/z80.html
Silicon Chip Magazine Mar-89 Part 1
Silicon Chip Magazine Apr-89 Part 2
Silicon Chip Magazine May-89 Part 3
Silicon Chip Magazine Jun-89 Part 4


PBUFF
A few years into the TRS-80, I designed a printer buffer based on the Z80. Printers of the day had no memory, so when you went to print a large document, your PC was completely tied up during the print. PBUFF was a printer buffer that could be configured from 8K to 4Mb of DRAM. Hardware memory interfacing was done with only a single 74LS00 and a 74LS04. The magic was achieved with software and no hardware multiplexing was used.

To my knowledge, I am the only person that was able to achieve this result.

PBUFF sold over 4000 units world wide, well before the internet was known.

Reference:
http://www.dontronics.com/z80.html
Electronics Australia Magazine Apr-94
Silicon Chip Magazine Oct-89
Australian Electronics Jan-88 (PBUFF memory secrets revealed.)
Australian Electronics Mar-87

PBUFF unit shown has a serial interface board fitted on top of the PBUFF board. This allowed for serial or parallel in, and serial or parallel out.
There were many optional boards added to PBUFF.
An interesting footnote to PBUFF:

To help protect the EPROM software, I swapped data bits 6 and 7 to the EPROM socket, and shuffled the firmware to suit. I inserted some interesting text to throw off would be pirates, however with the success of ZLOAD, I had to let the cat out of the bag, as many users wanted my boards for just for Z80 development. This meant that 2 tracks had to be cut, and 2 jumpers connected to make it look like a normal data bus layout. I eventually made this easy by placing pads for this job on the board.

Why Dontronics?
As my product range grew, I seemed to have a (bad?) habit of including “Don” into the product name somewhere. We even came up with a few un-printable “-don” names, that we joked about.
I first registered a business in 1964, and by 1995, felt I needed to come up with a new business name to match the type of market I was now involved in. We had to nominate five names in order of preference on the business name application form, and I came up with various combinations of “Micro”, and “Electronics”.

My wife Cheryl threw Dontronics into the ring, as we were short on the five names needed. Of course, it came back with Dontronics winning the bid, a name I hated at the time.

Now, it has become a way of life. I was able to tell my boss where to firmly place his job, when I was 56 years old. A bold move at that age I guess. I have been fully self employed since 1999, and currently employ one daughter full time, and one part time.

It’s a nice feeling to be able to do that. I’ll be 65 next month (April-2008), and hope to keep Dontronics going for a few more years into the future.

My Mate Mick:
A very special mention of my very good friend and right hand man, Mick Gulovsen. I met Mick at a TRS-80 User Group meeting in the very early days. He was hanging on the correct end of a logic probe, and I was silly enough to think he knew what he was doing, and introduced myself. He has been drinking my beer ever since, and I’m still trying to teach him how to use that logic probe. 🙂

TRS-80 On Line References:
Ira Goldklang’s TRS-80 Revived Site Model I Page
http://www.trs-80.com/trs80-models-model1.htm
TRS-80 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRS-80
Radio Shack TRS-80 Catalog Catalog RSC-3
http://www.robert.to/reports/trs80rsc3.html
Tandy Catalog Numbers for Computers, Peripherals, and Software
http://www.tim-mann.org/trs80/tandycat.txt

Australian TRS-80 Newsletter Number 1. May-1978

9-Sep-2008
Don McKenzie wrote: G’day Art,Thanks for your very interesting email. I see you also have a lot to reminisce about regarding the TRS-80, and can understand how the combination of the USAF and Defence Australian, beat me to the punch, when it comes to having the first (PC?) TRS-80 in Australia. I must ask you, did it survive? Do you still have it? I know others would be interested in reading this account of your involvement in this evolving period in Australian computer history, and would like to add your email to my TRS-80 page.

I would like to use your name only, not any email or other personal details, as there may be pending customs, and other 30 year old legal issues. 🙂

(IE: Hands up those who didn’t have a set of level II’s in EPROM?)
Cheers Don…

PS, Art gave me permission to post his email on this page. It appears that the TRS-80’s mentioned in his text have gone to heaven.
9-Sep-2008
Art Clarke wrote: g’day Don

Read your page on the TRS80 with some amusement.Rest assured that your machine wasn’t the first around in Oz but would have no difficulty winning the ‘most hacked’.

When Tandy announced the M1 in USA I was working in Woomera SA and had a few  USAF personnel as both close neighbours and mates. One of those mates (VS) and I got together and purchased two TRS80 Model 1 machines in USA and shipped them to Australia, arriving in November 1977.

Not hard to do when you understand that USAF personnel going back to the States were willing to take our cash with them (in their account of course), purchase the desired item locally in USA and then have it shipped to their good pals via MAC flight. Naturally these arrived as ‘gifts’ to fellow USAF personnel so the one lonely Australian Customs officer wasn’t able to do anything about it. After all, the things were going back to the States when those personnel left, weren’t they?? Funny how they were ‘dead’ and given away as scrap about then!

Didn’t take long to rework those to 16k Level II, one of which even had genuine Tandy ROMs in it. The other had EPROMs and neither of them had Tandy supplied 16k conversions.
VS later brought in a Tandy expansion interface which proved to be a real PITA, whereas I brought in the first version of the LNW interface as a bare board. That proved to be a much better solution once built, although it too had to be hacked a little to debug it. Feedback of what we found resulted in the improved v2 LNW board which went into all the kits and which won us a couple of new boards for our trouble.

By this time we had realised there was no substitute for the best quality components we could lay our hands on, so being good little fellows we used both his employer (USAF) and mine (Defence Aust) to source what we needed through the wonderful stores systems they both provided.

Both of us were already pretty electronics hardware savvy so didn’t take us long to figure a good logic analyser would be rather nice. A bit of fancy footwork and USAF suddenly found itself the proud owner of a lovely HP manufactured unit.  Just happened that VS was responsible for oversight of that sort of equipment too. Of course, one needs a decent ‘scope too, so Defence Australia found a need for a nice shiny new dual trace unit (also HP).  

Never seemed difficult for us to have either or both around when we needed them, either.
Not too much later the LNW-80 main boards were being developed – around mid ’79 from memory. One of those duly arrived and was soon assembled and put into service, again being hacked and debugged.

All through this, VS and I were continually adapting and adding to the machines, sometimes even with hardware sourced from yourself.
One of the more adventurous efforts was building & installing a sub board for a new gee-whiz RTC, mapped into memory just above the video hardware, and then hacking the NewDOS-80 OS we were using so that it read the time from the RTC. Quite a bit of patching plus a rethink to put the I/O routines in a small ROM also memory mapped and it worked virtually transparently. Even got the OS to set the time happily although we never did get around to patching the ROM code to use the RTC.

Enhanced graphics was another mod, port switched to overlay the ROMs, a nightmare when it came to hacking the OS to make it all transparent. We did get it done but were never all that happy with the implementation.

A pair of AMD math & arithmetic co-processors (921x’s) also went into my machine, VS didn’t see a need for it (but he wasn’t driving a bloody great antenna array like I was for my amateur station). After several EPROMs got burned with hacked code, even Level II BASIC was using them for single and double precision arithmetic. Even SIN, COS, TAN and EXP were decently quick after that.

Not surprisingly, one common mod to each of our machines (there was a third by early ’78) was to scrap the horrible cheap keyboard and contacts, replacing it with a Keytronics manufactured unit of much better quality. Access to gold plating facilities in Defence to eliminate issues with the contacts in those just finished it off nicely.

Somewhere along the line someone (either VS or BK) decided it would be a good thing to have sound. Not the beep stuff then being played with, they wanted full-on software driven audio output. It did get done but I sat back and watched that little circus.

All the machines had double density conversions along with at least two disk drives, purchased as soon as we realised how much of a PITA that bloody cassette tape was and immediately we knew the Expansion interface would allow us to get rid of it. Of course the DD conversions happened a little later, the first of which was a kludged add-on based on the new gee-whiz WD 179x series chips. That gave us LOTS of headaches getting the OS to work with it initially, then NewDOS-80 patches became available and sorted that out.

Funny the people we got to know, probably because we were either military or civilian contractors there was no problem contacting people like Randy Cook, Bill Gates etc. Of course, they were also just starting out and it was all something of a wonder to most of them (“jeez, I’m actually making a living out of this stuff!” was a familiar comment).

I think there is still one of your PBUFFs around somewhere! Probably residing on a shelf in the storeroom near the LNW-80 that’s built into a Beehive B100 case. That unit came about in an attempt to reduce RF hash from the LNW-80 in the shack and reasonably successful too I might add. A spray coating of nickel rich paint on the inside of the case plus some extensive RF suppression on cables and ports brought it down to an acceptable level.

Anyway, enough reminiscing, time to get to a bit more software development for the AVR ATMega128 board I’m fiddling with. Don’t those things make the old TRS80 look pretty sick!!
regards Art C

 

13-May-2010 Trevor Moore. Hi Don, I read with great interest your article on the old trash80! brought back many happy memories However yours was not the first, I bought mine mid 70’s 26101 d Ser 025581. Still have it in a box up the shed. regards Trevor Moore.

(Trevor provided pictures of the unit, including the serial number he mentioned)

Yes I have lived at Mt.Martha for quite some time but not in the 70’s
I was not aware of the user group at that time.

I bought the unit from a Tandy store in Sydney rd Brunswick, the salesman didn’t know what I was talking about and I had to show him a catalogue from the US. and they ordered it in for me.
I fiddled with many modifications to my unit including lower case mods, and a high speed tape interface, however I always wanted to add a printer but as it did not have the expansion interface I had no serial port.

I was an avid reader of Micro 80 I think it was called, a US magazine for enthusiasts and I came across an interface project for Connecting a teleprinter via a current loop, I bought an old TAB terminal which was the size of a small desk which contained a very ancient Teleprinter,you may be familiar with these terminals, what a mechanical monster ! however with a bit of translation code I was able to print for the first time, of course this old machine was
Based on a 5 bit code and was unable to print the full ASCII set.

My wife banned the noisy monster from the house and I relocated it to the garage.
I have fond memories of the old computers including the Apple IIe which led my son and I to set up a bulletin board called Telegraph road which was part of Fido, who said email was something new !

This BB ran on the IIe with a Sider10meg hard drive that cost around $1500 a lot of money in the 80’s and a lot of explaining to the wife.

Unfortunately I no longer have the same  enthusiasm for computers, they have become just another tool, but then again I could not imagine life without them !

PS, Trevor gave me permission to post his email on this page.
Trevor has beaten me to the punch with the earliest serial number in Australia, but I like to think I ordered and received mine first, as it was on order for several months before the first shipment arrived in Australia.

Well, at least, we appear to be the first. Just sorry I lost the original receipt from March 1978. 🙂
13-May-2010 Don McKenzie I ordered mine months in advance, and waited for them to arrive.I started with a WWII Baudot Teletype, and graduated to a Siemens which I got when I was working for the TAB (ATL). Yes I had to make up an interface for it.
I was having a good laugh about the Baudot yesterday. My now 43 year old daughter said that when it did a carriage return, the house would shake. Sounded more like a cement mixer than a printer.

Also today, I use computers as a tool, and have no interest in getting into the hardware.
Cheers Don…
Posted in Computer News, Electronics News | Leave a comment

My Love Affair with the Zilog Z80 Microcontroller

My Love Affair with the Zilog Z8O Microcontroller

This is what is left of my love affair with the Z8O. The page is presented as is, and no user support is available.

PBUFF was a printer buffer that could be configured from 8K to 4Mb of DRAM. Hardware Interfacing was done with only a single 74LS00 and a 74LS04. The magic was achieved with software and no hardware multiplexing was used.  Source code is included to prove that it was possible, and yes, I am the only person I know that was able to do it. 🙂

The first set of 256K rams I saw, I got running in PBUFF, as I did with the 1Mb, and 4Mb types. I figured I didn’t have to change the hardware until after 64Mb ram sizes.



DRAM could be 1, 2, 4, or 8 DIP chips, or 30 pin Simm modules. I think I had 11 memory sizes.
PBUFF started in approx. Nov-1984 and had about an 11 year run.

ZLOAD was a development system based on PBUFF. It used a Jump ROM at address 0000H, that set the hardware and software jumps to 8000H. Your code was assembled for 8000H. At 8000H there was a battery backed RAM, so programming was simply done via a Printer port to this Ram. When the final program was achieved, it could be assembled for 0000H, and burnt into a ROM.

This meant that EPROM Emulators were a thing of the past for Z80’s. A simple board plugged into the EPROM socket of PBUFF to make ZLOAD functional.

I also tuned an 8080 Tiny Basic program to work with my PBUFF board.

An LED moving message board is also included, but circuits aren’t available.

Download all files. 395K
Download PDF circuit for PBUFF. 97K

As stated above, none of the below is current information, or supported in any way.


UPDATED   1-Oct-1993(c)   (Orig Ver 1.0 20-Nov-84)

"PBUFF" 64K TO 4Mb CENTRONICS PARALLEL TO PARALLEL PRINTER BUFFER KITS.

When I first advertised this kit in Jan. 85 it was a basic 8K to 64K buffer.
The 256K version was featured in Australian Electronics Monthly magazine in
Mar. 87 as the star project. The 1Mb version appeared in Silicon Chip
magazine in Oct. 89. The current Rev. K board has additional provision to
install an alternative 256K/1Mb/4Mb  SIPP/SIMM type MEMORY MODULE. That
means, you can either install standard 16 or 18 pin by 1 bit Drams, or a
MEMORY MODULE. Both 8 byte and 9 byte type MODULES can be used. The software
ignores the ninth byte.

PBUFF Supports a mixture of 64K/256K/1Mb/4Mb DIP/SIMM/SIPP DRAMs in 10
memory sizes up to 4Mb. Supports 64K, 128K, 256K, 320K, 512K, 1024K, 1088K,
1280K, 2048K, and 4096K (4Mb). Needs user wired 74LS139 decoder chip for
some intermediate memory sizes. Some memory sizes can be done with a
combination of standard Drams and a MEMORY MODULE. EG:- 512K can be done
using a set of 8 by 41256s and a 256K MEMORY MODULE. Standard assembly
instructions covers all memory size installations. This version increases
saturation loading time by more than 50 per cent over ealier versions. This
represents a load rate of over 300K per minute using a PC/AT as the host and
a 3.58mhz crystal in PBUFF. Instructions are given to increase the speed of
PBUFF to a possible 10Mhz clock frequency. This reflects a load rate of
around 900K per minute.

My "PBUFF" printer buffer kit sales now exceed 4000 units worldwide, which I
believe speaks for itself. These kits have a single/multiple copy facility,
Hexadecimal output mode, OPTIONAL hardware pause, DATA/STATUS LED, power
connector for SERIAL board expansion, and extensive ROM diagnostic routines
to aid kit builders.

This buffer installs in-line to your printer using standard centronics
signals. I have designed it so that it can be powered up with an existing +5
volt supply, or an external input voltage of 9 volts AC or DC. Any plug-pack
capable of supplying 400mA or more will suit this project. If a SERIAL board
is to be fitted, then a 9 volt @ 1 amp A/C supply must be used.

PBUFF also supports the C3P1 and FPIO (front panel input/output) boards. It
has kit builder diagnostics which includes static ram test, 555 timer test,
printer test before Drams are installed, and individual DRAM fault checking.
A respectable Hex dump format is provided. This complies to a normal utility
type format of ADDRESS, HEX data, and ASCII data in three separate columns,
with auto flush of the last block of data when the computer goes to sleep
for eight seconds, and a last byte in file indicator. It auto senses the
DRAM type and sets it's routines accordingly.

I am selling this unit in what I call a "PBUFF SHORT FORM KIT". This
consists of:- One bare double sided plated through printed circuit board.
One EPROM programmed with PBUFF Ver 5.1E. Full assembly instructions,
includes circuit, operator instructions, the memory doubler circuit details,
and hardware debugging section. All text is supplied on an MS-DOS format
3.5" floppy. This includes a test program that will verify the memory size
and load rate of your buffer, plus the current ROM file as a backup.

You provide all other parts and labour. You must have in your tool kit a
multi-meter, and if you do run into real trouble, a Logic Probe may be
required.

Check my ORDER FORM for the current price of the PBUFF SHORT FORM KIT. How
much are you really up for? You have to provide a suitable case, power-pack,
(or transformer) centronics connectors and cables, plus approx. $30-$40
worth of additional components, plus your memory chips. If you are a
hardware hacker like me, you already have most of the components.

The printed circuit board has been designed to mount straight into the DICK
SMITH Instrument case, CAT H-2505 PBUFF accepts from 64K up to 4Mb of
characters from a centronics printer port, and stores it until your printer
has completed it's task. This releases your computer for other work.

PBUFF is running on all types of computers from the early TRS-80's and
Apples to the latest IBM PC/XT/AT/386/486 and compatible clones, Amiga,
Macintosh Plus, Microbees, VZ200/300, Tandy Color (using serial board
addition), In fact we have yet to find a true CENTRONICS port that it
doesn't run off.

Connector J1 on the PBUFF board is an extension of the Z80 chip pinout and
is used for connection to FPIO & C3P1 boards, or user prototype boards. A 40
pin dual row male header can be soldered into this position.

The cheapest printer cable that you can buy today is an IBM type DB25 to 36
pin Centronics. The PBUFF board makes use of IBM cables and standard
connectors to save cost and simplify construction of cable interfacing.
Headers are also provided for IBM standard flat ribbon cable pinout so that
the unit can easily be installed inside a desktop if required.

The input and output wiring has now been taken care of on the main PBUFF
board. Older boards had a separate Back Panel I/O board. This was known as
the BPIO board. Reference may still be given to this board on some of my
other assembly instructions. What I have really done is to join the artwork
of my PBUFF board to the BPIO board so that it becomes one board, and
included the electrical connections in the artwork to save on header and
connector costs. Header J2 connects pin for pin to header J7. If isolation
is required for Serial or other switch boards, the tracks must be cut
between the points marked "A" and "A" on the component side of the board.
This bus is called the PBUFF I/O bus. To re-connect this bus for any reason,
26 pin male headers can be soldered into the J2 and J7 positions, and a
short length of 26 wire flat ribbon cable that has two IDC crimp headers
attached to either end can be inserted onto the male header pins.



Z8TBASIC (Z80 TINYBASIC) Version 2.0 by Don McKENZIE  UPDATED 29-August-93(c) NOTE *** This is a short version of the file contained in {ZBASIC}.ZIP *************************************************************************** Z8TBASIC get up and go instructions, for impatient types like me... To get Z8TBASIC running from a standard ZLOAD Version 2.0, and burn results to an EPROM only, Basic Interpreter operating system, do the following: (1)  Make 3 wire DB-25M dummy plug as described in text, insert into DB-25F. (2)  Set Load Mode, press Reset. (Led flashes 5 times.) (3)  COPY ZBAS2RAM.HEX LPT1: (This copies Basic Interpreter to ZLOAD).      After Load, Led continues permanent flash at a fast rate. (4)  Press and hold Reset, switch to Run mode, release Reset. If Front Panel      I/O is fitted, Version Number 2.0 will be displayed. (5)  Run FEND.COM. Video should print PBUFF Ready>_ (6)  LOAD GIG (Will Auto-Run. This is a Gigabyte counter.) (7)  Press F1, Toggle Move on, Esc. (This patches Add 4 in CURRENT.ROM) (8)  Break program with ^C, (Edit if required,) SAVE MYPROG and Esc to DOS.      This creates and updates Rom image file. (9)  Burn 2764 from file CURRENT.ROM (10) Remove ZLOAD EPROM, insert your new MYPROG Basic EPROM. (11) Set to LOAD position, and the Basic Program will run from the EPROM.      Read on.... *************************************************************************** Z8TBASIC (Z80 TINYBASIC) Version 2.0 by Don McKENZIE  UPDATED 29-August-93(c) Re-assembled for operation with ZLOAD Version 2.0 Read Zload text files for full information on these changes. Once again, I have changed Zload to PC write routine. Video still gave occasional errors. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Z8TBASIC (Z80 TINYBASIC) Version 1.1 by Don McKENZIE  UPDATED 30-July-92(c) Changed Zload to PC write routine. Video gave occasional errors. I recommend that Z8TBASIC be run in communication mode from a PC at a ZLOAD speed no greater than 6.144MHz. That is, ZLOAD running at 6.144Mhz. Stand-alone Z8TBASIC will run at much faster speeds. To date, Z8TBASIC has been tested on PC's from 6Mhz 286's to 33Mhz 386's. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Z8TBASIC (Z80 TINYBASIC) Version 1.0 by Don McKENZIE  UPDATED 13-May-92(c) Program a stand alone Micro-controller with BASIC. A standard IBM PC Parallel Printer port is used during development. SOFTWARE OVERVIEW.... Z8TBASIC is an Integer BASIC Language interpreter that runs on my ZLOAD Z80 development kit boards. This can be in an EPROM, or downloaded to a Static Ram. FEND.COM runs on an IBM PC and is the Front-End program for Z8TBASIC. This handles Keyboard, Video, and Disk I/O. These two files allow you to use a PC as a terminal for a BASIC Language micro-controller development system. Upon completion of program development, you will be able to burn an EPROM to run a PBUFF board as a Micro-controller in BASIC.                                                  HARDWARE OVERVIEW.... A standard ZLOAD Version 2.0 board is connected via a standard Parallel printer cable to LPT1 of an IBM PC. This is the communication path for Keyboard, Video, and Disk I/O. Instead of connecting a Printer to the DB25 female output of PBUFF, a dummy DB25 male plug is connected. This dummy plug must have the following three jumpers installed: Pin 2 to pin 14 (Data), pin 3 to pin 16 (toggle Strobe), and pin 10 to pin 17 (Ack). These three jumpers connect the signals that are the data path from PBUFF to the PC. IE: Video out and Disk writes. The standard data path from the PC to PBUFF has been retained so that file dumps (COPY /B FILENAME.EXT LPT1:) can be done. This is also the data path for Keyboard data, and Disk reads. Upon completion of program development, you can software disable Keyboard, Video, and Disk I/O, and remove the printer cable and dummy plug. *************************************************************************** GENERAL OVERVIEW.... Z8TBASIC can only be used on Revision H (Feb-89) or later PBUFF boards. PBUFF was developed by me as an 8K to 64K printer buffer kit in Dec-84, and has appeared in several Electronic magazines as a project. It now supports 4Mb as a printer buffer. It is the heart of my message board and other projects. ZLOAD Version 1.0 was originally a PBUFF board and a small satellite board that had provision for a battery backed Static Ram that could be switched to address zero in place of the EPROM. It also had a 74LS74 and a 74LS32 that were used to flip these 28 pin devices and write protect the static ram. It also had two status LEDs. It was designed as a Z80 Machine Language Development System. I have now done away with this satellite board and replaced it with software. So now, PBUFF and ZLOAD are one and the same, the only difference being the EPROM firmware, and I have overcome this restriction by using a 27128 EPROM to do both jobs. See my ZLOAD instructions for more details.
ZLOAD Version 2.0  A NEW POWERFUL Z80 MICRO DEVELOPMENT TOOL by Don McKENZIE Updated 1-Oct-93. First Released 1-Oct-93(c)        (Orig Ver 1.0 20-Jan-90) Professional software development of micro-controllers is an expensive business that could demand the purchase of some very sophisticated electronic equipment such as micro in circuit emulators (MICE) that would set you back in the neighborhood of several thousands of dollars to less expensive EPROM emulators that cost around $200 to $500. Or perhaps on a hobbyist level, you would like to make your own simple low cost controller for security systems, robots, in line code translators, household appliances, lighting displays, video and audio switching networks, model railways, sporting event timers or flip vane displays. Well, this project should suit anyone interested in Z80 controller development. BASIC DESCRIPTION...... ZLOAD is a Z80 development tool used to accept a super fast down load of Z80 machine code from the Centronics printer port of an MS-DOS PC. Output is directed to a PBUFF (my Printer Buffer) CPU board which is used as the target microcontroller development system. The static Ram of PBUFF can be very easily battery backed up if desired. The file can be a "ROM" type binary file or in IntelHex format. EPROM burning is not required during development as ZLOAD emulates an EPROM. An 8K file will load in under 3 seconds on a standard 4.77Mhz PC. The command to direct a file from disk to your line printer port is "COPY /B FILENAME.EXT LPT1". The /B option is used for a binary load. If it was not used, the file copy would abort when the first ^Z (1AH) was detected. If you order a "PBUFF" Printer Buffer short form kit, you also get a "ZLOAD" Z80 Micro Development system short form kit, and if you order a Z80 Micro Development system kit, you also get a Printer Buffer kit. WHY? Because they are now one and the same, and so is the price. The board also supports up to 4Mb of Dynamic Ram data storage. Full Source code supplied. I have simplified the construction of ZLOAD by doing away with the extra hardware that my old Version 1.0 used. The tradeoff is a small amount of software manipulation that is easily understood and implemented. Code is assembled at 8000H for Emulation mode or Zero for your final EPROM version. A parallel printer port to Static RAM loader is in the lower half of the ZLOAD EPROM. This is the LOAD mode. The upper half of the EPROM has a Jump Rom. This is the Run mode, which re-directs all Power-up, Reset, and Restart hardware and software sequences from the standard Z80 Base addresses to the Static Ram at 8000H, which is where the loader puts your code. The Load/Run mode is selected using a switch connected to the J6 header pins. Instead of supplying the software in an 8K EPROM, I supply both PBUFF and ZLOAD in a 16K EPROM which is default set for use as a PBUFF Printer Buffer. I have taken the liberty of reducing the price of ZLOAD and supplying a USED 27128. But I don't guarantee it is used. You may end up with a new one. The supplied 3.5" 720K disk contains ALL Source Code listings and ROM dumps including PBUFF, ZLOAD, my moving Message board version 1.1C, and lots more. A collection of circuits and assembly instructions have been included in the package that should greatly assist Z80 hardware designers. Z8T.COM, a public domain 8088 program is now supplied with ZLOAD. This is all you need to assemble Z80 code, and it's fast. You can forget the other methods. I have used only ZLOAD and Z8T.COM for all of my Z80 development for four years now. The technique can be easily adapted to other systems. And on top of all of that you get Z8TBASIC, an integer Basic Interpreter that runs on my PBUFF boards. It's simple, but it works, and allows you to write and develop controller programs in Basic using your PC. After final de-bugging, your program and Basic Interpreter is burnt into a 2764 EPROM.
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Was George Julius the inspiration for CSIRAC, Australia’s first electronic digital computer?



Was George Julius the inspiration for CSIRAC, Australia’s first electronic digital computer?

By Don McKenzie

Sir George Julius 1914 Totalisator Model Powerhouse Museum Sydney
CSIRAC Videos:
 
The Computer “CSIRAC” (1965) – Part 1 of 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYjFaTZmNt8
The Computer “CSIRAC” (1965) – Part 2 of 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFajLu735HQ
 
I have been searching for some time to find a link between Sir George Julius, inventor of the Totalisator, and CSIRAC, Australias first electronic digital computer. I believe I have just found that link via David Myer, a 14-year-old school boy.  Sir George was also the first Chairman of Australia’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, now the world-famous Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (C.S.I.R.O.)
 
Quoting From The Rutherford Journal: by  Lindsay Barrett and Matthew Connell
“Myers would eventually become one of the CSIRO’s chief computer scientists and he was instrumental in, amongst other things, the development of CSIRAC. It was a glorious career, and in fact it was a career that Myers had been set upon ever since the day George Julius had visited his high school and given a lecture on the Totalisator and mechanical calculation, an inspirational talk within which the young schoolboy had found a lifetime of encouragement.”

Quoting From ABC Radio:
This is an audio recording “from the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney with Matthew Connell, the curator of Computing and Mathematics. His Jewel is not so much an artwork as it is an invention. It looks like an old-fashioned, ornate, carved wooden cabinet, the sort for displaying your best crystal, except that inside this cabinet there’s a gloriously complicated machine with shiny brass knobs. It was built in 1914 and it’s the world’s first successful totalisator model. It was invented and marketed by Sir George Julius, who was actually trying to make a vote-counting machine, but found there was much more interest at the time in developing a machine to calculate the odds on horse races”.

More information can be found with google: “george julius” “david myers” csirac, and combinations of the individual names and CSIRAC
CSIRAC (pronounced sigh – rack) stands for Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Automatic Computer.

Quoting from Matthew Connell, the the curator of Computing and Mathematics, Powerhouse Museum in Sydney:
What is your favourite object in the collection?
“My favourite object is the Tote Model built by George Julius between 1908 and 1912 as a prototype and demonstration for prospective customers of his automatic totalisator. It is a beautiful piece of complex machinery, which led to the establishment of an Australian company (Automatic Totalisators Limited) that dominated the international tote industry for 67 years. I am also very fond of idea that Australia’s contribution to the history of computing stems as much from our gambling urges as to our military and scientific endeavours.”

Another article of interest from the Rutherford Journal:The First Automatic Totalisator
From Data Processing to Digital: The Development Of A Profession (A.C.S. PDF File) Follows the Industry Milestones from 1801 to 2001, and covers both the George Julius Tote, and CSIRAC.

Just prior to commencing this article, I coined the term: George Julius, Australia’s Father Of Scientific & Industrial Research, as I felt it was very fitting for such a man, who has been to date, almost forgotten about when it comes to Australia’s scientific history. I chose the words very carefully, as I know the flack one can receive from posting statements such as this in newsgroups, blogs, and other modern Internet communication methods. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for argument.
 
Don McKenzie.


Industry Links
George Julius, Australia’s Father Of Scientific & Industrial Research.
Brian Conlon’s web site devoted to Automatic Totalisators Ltd.
Powerhouse Museum Automatic totalisator.
An Unlikely History of Australian Computing: the Reign of the Totalisator
CSIRAC Australia’s first electronic digital computer
The World’s First Large-Scale, Multi-User, Real Time System.
Was George Julius the inspiration for CSIRAC, Australia’s first electronic digital computer?
My Early Tote Years – Don McKenzie
Is This Australia’s First PC?

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The World’s First Large-Scale, Multi-User, Real Time System.



The World’s First Large-Scale, Multi-User, Real Time System  by Don McKenzie. 
 
This is one of several pages relating to the history of the automatic totalisator, its invention in 1913, the inventor George Julius and the Australian company he founded in 1917.


A data network with 30 terminals in 1913, and 273 by 1928!
 

Julius Tote: Adders and switch board for win place and forecast, White City London 1933.
(Both Pictures)
 
This system ended up with 320 terminals.
 

16-Dec-2009
Below is an email from Brian Conlon, (Automatic Totalisators Web Site) to David Demant, Museum of Victoria curatorial advice/research Team.
 
Basically, Brian is putting the case forward for Australia’s Totalisator invention, as being The World’s First Large-Scale, Multi-User, Real Time System, in the hope that the ATL shaft adder donation will become an important part of The Museum of Victoria’s current display.
There are many aspects to Brian’s email, that I am sure many people will not be aware of, so I have decided to use this email as a nucleus, to help heighten the profile of Sir George and his invention.
 
Don McKenzie.
 

Brian Conlon’s Email 16-Dec-2009
 
Dear David,
I find it curious how everyone sticks to themes that are well known. Everyone seems to clamour to be part of the advent of the computer especially the digital computer and there are so many players in that game. I think George Julius’ contribution has far greater historic significance as it had many similarities with computer systems and were operational half a century before the digital computers that took over their functionality and is newsworthy as it is not something commonly known. 

There are some video clips on the totalisator history website showing a Julius tote in operation. When looking at the ticket issuing machine in use, nowadays, I think almost everyone would say this is part of a computer system. There is a school of thought that these early Australian Totalisators were the first computers.
 
The Vice President of the Australian Computer Museum Society Max Burnett, suggested that if more had been known about these Australian totalisators then the category of mechanical computing would probably have been established. A director of the London Science Museum Doron Swade wrote an article in New Scientist magazine titled “A sure bet for understanding computers” and wrote that the Julius totes were the “earliest online real time data processing and computation system” that the curators had identified. 

I visited the London Science Museum’s backup stores at Wroughton with members of GLIAS (The Greater London Industrial Archaeological Soceity) last year, to have a look at the Harringay Julius tote they have preserved. Of course in Australia we have bulldozed all but one. Another example is the CCS the Computer Conservation Society a sub group of the British Computer Society which had a work in progress project to restore a Julius tote to a demonstrable condition. 

They wrote that they regarded the Julius totes to be “Large-scale, multi-terminal, real time computers”. And the first one was operating in 1913! Long before the world’s first electronic computer! And these were uniquely Australian!
 
The Australian company George founded to develop and export his invention, Automatic Totalisators, became a world monopoly in the field of automatic totalisators in its early years.
One of the largest of these systems was installed in Longchamps France in 1928 with 273 terminals. This was a large scale multi user real time system with no sign of the world’s first so called computer in sight. 

I wondered for some time about the nickname a Paris newspaper attributed to the Lonchamps Julius tote “The Insatiable Moloch”. Moloch was the god of the Cananites who demanded extreme sacrifice. I concluded that unlike today the populace had never seen machines that extract money from people so quickly and relentlessly and that this nickname resulted from an observation of a system with an appetite for money which could not be satisfied. 

One of these electromechanical totalisator systems was built and tested in Sydney in 1920 capable of supporting 1000 terminals and a sell rate of 250,000 per minute which is good by today’s standards! The system in White City in London ended up with 320 terminals.
 
As Professor Trevor Cole wrote from Sydney University regarding George Julius “We need to be aware of our engineering heroes”. I regard this as a pity as we tend to ignore our own. And again from Professor Martyn Webb from the University of Western Australia “One can hardly believe that such a man could go almost unnoticed and unrecognised”.
 
I thought I might mention this in case someone finds the shaft adder which was donated to the Museum of Victoria, so that it could be put into some sort of context, in the hope that some day it may be seen as worthy of being put on display.
Regards Brian Conlon.
Industry Links

George Julius, Australia’s Father Of Scientific & Industrial Research.
Brian Conlon’s web site devoted to Automatic Totalisators Ltd.
Powerhouse Museum Automatic totalisator.
An Unlikely History of Australian Computing: the Reign of the Totalisator
CSIRAC Australia’s first electronic digital computer
The World’s First Large-Scale, Multi-User, Real Time System.
Was George Julius the inspiration for CSIRAC, Australia’s first electronic digital computer?
My Early Tote Years – Don McKenzie
Is This Australia’s First PC?

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