CU Amiga Magazine CUCD woes

Goes without saying, I didn't believe they'd be a on this CD.
Nothing to go here in the traditional 'woes file'? Ha!

Firstly, as I'm writing this, I'm still strugling madly to master CUCD10.
How can this be? Is there some kind of CU Amiga time warp? Well as many of
you will know, there was a problem with CUCD10 and so I'm remastering it
with the same technique as used on CDs 2 through 9, IE Ye Old Faithful

I guess I need to explain myself. I used MakeCD last time. It's not
MakeCD's fault that CUCD10 was naff, it is actually the Commodore File
System. I considered which vindictive words I might use to describe this
masterpeice of bugs but instead it will suffice to say that I dont't like
it very much. Unfortunately lots of you are using it. Lots. I know, I
answer the phone for a small percentage of you which is as factor 
in why CUCD11 and the current issue is running late.

It's not only the Commodore File System's fault, of course, it's also mine.
It should have been tested on the Commodore File System. I thought it was.
It wasn't. It didn't work. Oh dear. MakeCD is an extremely good mastering
package however it has lots of switches. Just one of them wasn't pressed. A
tiny little one which might as well have read 'Work on crappy Commodore CD
Filing System'. Needless to say it wasn't pressed.

Actually it seems that no-one noticed that the icons were even in the right
positions in the root of the CD. A pretty good indication that we were
stupidly busy last month. You can, of course, read the Mat.readme on CUCD10
for an explaination.

So... How was I going to fix it? Well I had lots of options. Each one was
going to take some time with 570MB of data. Firstly I started to copy the
entire CD off a master. With my Sanyo two speed CD-ROM. Um. Uh uh. After
half an hour and about 10% of the way through, I thought better. OK, let's
be clever. Let's get MakeCD to build an image FROM the last CD with the
RIGHT options. Urk, a bug in MakeCD appears, it thinks a file date has
changed and aborts.

Um. OK, I know, I'll be really sneaky. I'll read the ENTIRE ISO volume off
the CD with MakeCD. Then mount this through a fake CD-ROM handler called
cdromemu.device. This will pretend it's a CD-ROM, use whatever filesystem I
like to get access to the volume. It's obviously a LOT quicker. So I used
Ye Old Faithful MasterISO to build directly from the fake CD image to a new
image. Burnt the CD, smug grin in place.

Try to boot it on a CD32. Um, it's not working. It says it can't write to
the volume. Doh, I don't think anyone fitted one of those cute CD
re-writable drives to the CD while I wasn't looking. Turns out the
Startup-sequence is bogus. Oh dear. That means I need to COPY the entire
thing onto a HD partition, change it, build an ISO image and burn it. I did
this (which took ages).

It boots! It's got the icons in the wrong position! It looks horrible!
Oh.... Um, the audio tracks are garbage too. Using the Yamaha CDR100 (mine,
it's a 4 speed writer and much faster than Work's silly little HP4020), it
wants data in Intel format for audio tracks, not Motorola. Oh dear.

Need to remaster again. Cool, I'll just make a coupla changes. Change the
68040/060 libs so I can boot the parition. Oh partitions are bootable. Make
them bootable. Boot. Fix icons. Back to Workbench/Opus5, change the libs
back and ZOT! the partition crashes big time. Reboot. Try to build ISO
image from MasterISO and... infinite loop. Actually one dir contains the
ROOT dir in it. Urk. Houston, we have a problem. Cutting it short, it's
corrupt, I reformat.

So... I read the newest beta CD AGAIN to HD. Mount it through the fake
CD-ROM handler. Change the bits that need changing, Write with MakeCD which
is smart enough to reverse the audio track byte order and it's DONE!

I think I'll take up bricklaying instead.

15.Workbench:> date
Tuesday 22-Apr-97 19:46:34

Righty. Actually managed to get CUCD10 - The Directors Fix out the door.
Not before a couple more duff cuts mainly due to me dropping in 'bigger and
better' startup-sequences and InitCDs and stuff from Neil which I foolishly
didn't test first. :-/

9.CUCD11:> date
Thursday 24-Apr-97 12:04:53

Yesterday was actually a GOOD day. Very good. Despite the fact that we
behind in the schedule for the magazine and things are in a mad panic,
things came together very nicely.

I actually got an Ethernet board. Horraaaaayy! It only took about 10 calls
to Hydra to get the thing too. Not bad. Plugged in it and I had Bitch on
Works Internet ethernet in about 2 minutes. Guess what, 15 minutes later
two Ariadne cards turn up from Blittersoft! Holy cow, I don't get it. I've
been howling at the moon for Ethernet cards for ages. I started to get
really angry that NO-ONE would send me one. Get this, we wanted to BUY
them, not necessarily review them though that was on the cards also. No-one
could lose. Before I start ranting at the apathy shown by Amiga companies,
I remembered it was a GOOD day. :-)

Yes, everything came together. I found out how to make my ShapeShifter
usable by moving the pitifully small boot hard file to a nice fat 500MB
direct hard drive partition. I tried a low level copy in the past, but
someone told me I could do a Mac copy... Doh, I didn't think it would be
that easy. :-)

During the day I accomplished a LOT. Miraculously a lot actually;

1> Got the Amiga Ethernetted. Now I'm getting about 15K/s via the Web and
FTP. Oh yes baby, this IS what heaven is like.

2> Got SS working with Ethernet too. Sharing volumes with the other macs
int eh office. You have no IDEA how much easier this is. No more copy and
pics on Zip disk via CrossMac to give to the wrong person to hand to
someone else... Hell I can drop stuff directly on the server. Sheesh even
better, I can use the SS MAC: handler and mount their hard drives on my
Amiga, including the server. Access them from DOpus 5.5. My God, it rules I
tell you, it RUUUULLLLEEESSS!!!

3> Wrote CD Writing feature single handedly in about 2 hours.

4> Found the DEFINITIVE http web leaching program called wget. Where was
this all my life? You must recall my length moans about the crappy web
leechers and mountains of Arexx we had to employ to get web pages on the
CD. Oh no, while writing the CD Writing feature, it occured putting CD Info
web site on the CD would be a good idea. Told WGet to go get it, yeeeeeee
haaaaarrrrrr it works AND via the Ethernet link so it's pulling down at
15K/s. Life has never BEEN so good.

5> I showed SS and mounting the drives and stuff to the 'systems guy' in
the office. He was rather impressed to say the least. It took some time for
him to grasp that Bitch is a faster Macintosh than all but a 180Mhz
PowerMac. <chuckle> Let alone mounting the drives on Workbench/DOpus.
Imagine someone who works with Macs permanently. All they ever see is the
Mac 'desktop'. I'm flicking screens in a blink between a Mac, Amiga screen,
Amiga full screen graphic apps and so on. He wondered off scratching his

6> I got the mailing lists running permanently via the Ethernet link. Using
the buildings SMTP server, it seems to actually be working. It took some
getting used to when I just left the building with the machine on. We're
talking about a 24-hour netted Amiga. Bliss!

Um, cripes I'd better go write some other stuff for the issue and get my
butt home. Oh yes, the team are wisely stashing alcoholic delicacies of
their choice in the fridge up in the kitchen. Come around 7-8pm, someone
will yodle 'It's beer o'clock!' and out come the drinks. Makes the last few
hours bareable during deadline panic.

10.Workbench:> date
Friday 25-Apr-97 15:40:59

OK, the courier is coming at 19:00 to pick up the CD master and floppies. I
have a few minutes to breath while MasterISO builds the latest ISO image
for this CD...

Nightmares occured as usual. Firstly, it took ages before I figured out
that Tony's audio track was still in WAV format on my hard drive. It had
also be munged up by converting LSB/MSB byte orders. Believe it or not but
CD-R manufacturers can't decide which order this should be sent to the
drive while writing digital audio. I need to reorder it for MasterISO
(MakeCD is wise enough to do it on the fly). Anyway resolved that.

However when I came to write the CD, it became apparent that the CD was
some 81 minutes long. Urk. CDs only hold 74 minutes. I needed to carve some
space. Chopped through some Anims and the Usenet News archives in the
Online drawer. I needed about 100MB to be carved so that I could fit about
20MB of readers pictures and animations on the CD also. Did this.

Now came the deeper nightmare of getting ProPage to some kind of
installable state. I had yet to figure out how to do it. Originally it used
the Commodore Installer but the original disks were several inefficient
disks filled with .lzh archives. Convoluted and impossible with the floppy
disks anyway. So what was I to do? I don't understand 1% of that weird
Installer LISP language thing. God I wish ALL Amigas were running Arexx as
standard, I could do just about anything in Arexx in 5 minutes but
noooooooo.... If I can't code LISP and I can't use Arexx, that leaves only
one thing left. Good old trusty AmigaDOS scripting.

Ahh, all I need to do is to extract an archive where the user wants and
then construct the horrible PPage.INI file with a bunch of paths in it.
Each path depends where the user wants to install it too. Oh goody, I have
to figure out HOW to do this, not EVER having run ProPage and do it in
about 4 hours. Lovely.

Miraculously I figured out what was needed, constructed a DOS script to
install it. I can't even use Requestfile for PETE'S SAKE because some Amiga
people are STILL using AmigaOS 2.0. So I implemented a drag the icon to
where you want to install the program style thing. Heh, the FIRST thing
that went in was a check that it wasn't STILL on the floppy disks. Don't
ask, yes people DO that all the time.

First bugs found about half an hour ago. No way in DOS to tell if you're in
a dir or the root. Drive:/ doesn't work on Amiga (sheesh) so what do you
do? More workaround, I make the dir, CD into it, make CD give me the drawer
into an ENV variable and do it that way. Ahh yes, discover two assigns
ProPage needs also. Great, so it not only needs a lame file in S: to tell
it where everything is (which is ALWAYS the same stupid blinking place in
the dir structure so WHY didn't they use PROGDIR: Grrrrrrrrrrr) but it also
needs two assigns. Sheesh. The script expanded yet more to do this. Wow,
miraculously fitted the archive, script and the works on the first disk
with 512 bytes free. Haha. I think I've sorted the floppies. Need to fix
one or two things in the next couple of hours, I've done it with less time
than this. :-)

Heh we needed to move the readers stuff onto the CD obviously. Great. Only
it's on Andrews HD. His Zorro doesn't work (until he gets the new MicroniK
tower back from the photographers) so ... yep Tony's machine gets HD ripped
out of it. SCSI card slapped in from Bitch. Zip drive transplanted. Quick
shovel and then all componants slapped back in their rightful place. It's
quite distubing that we can do this so quickly :-)

After all that, I've drastically overestimated the readers material. Sheesh
you guys, send some more stuff in eh?

So about 15MB of stuff need to go BACK on. You try find the old beta of
CUCD11. Ahh yes, it's SOMEWHERE in that foot high stack of CDs. They're NOT
in their cases so one foot of CDs is a LOT of CDs. Hehe. Werl, no choice,
gotta start looking.

Everything is done now. I think. Over the course of today I popped a couple
of extra web sites in the WWW section so check that out. It's time to go
set the icons up, move a couple of things around and do the final build.

Until next time guys.


Mat Bettinson - Technical Editor of CU Amiga Magazine

Arrrrrggghhhhh!!!!! Forgot ProPage libraries... Remaster of EVERYTHING
minutes to sppppaaaaarrrrreeeeee.......

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