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PPcenter. Arts and craft for my Sega Saturn. Since 1847 :D

Backup Manager - Early Version #1

Written by cafealpha 8 comments
So I'm currently making a Saturn Backup Data Manager utility.
What's this ? It is a remake of "Memory Manager" utility present in Saturn BIOS.
data/images/20150204_backup_manager_sega1.png
Sega Memory Manager utility : main screen

It already exists, and can be used from BIOS, so why making such an utility ?
I have some reasons that pushed me making this, and one of theses is that Memory Manager user interface is very cheap, especially, it doesn't allows to select multiple backup data and copy/delete them. (Dear Sega, why didn't you developed this feature ??)
Also, there are some new features I would like to add, such as hex-edit of memory data ... I have very few time to play now (real life, children, cancer, etc), so 999 lives in Backup data is a must-have feature

This utility is currently WIP, so no download link is available right now, but it is WIP enough to publish screens on my blog
So here is what it looks like now :
data/images/20150204_backup_manager1.png
Backup Data Manager Main Screen

Don't trust the development progress only by looking at the main menu : everything behind is far for being finished
But at least, menu library itself is more or less completed, and I'm very glad about this point.

Here is a comparison of data selection screens :
data/images/20150204_backup_manager_sega2.png
Data Selection (Sega)
data/images/20150204_backup_manager3.png
Data Selection (this utility)

Yeah, I know that Japanese text is not displaying properly ... this will be fixed, but the priority for this is low, so please be patient.
And what is the green text display on Backup Data Manager screen ? This is multiple items selection

As a bonus, here are screens of Backup Manager running on real hardware.
Pictures were taken last September, when I still had a modchipped Saturn ready for use ... after that I was busy with medical stuff, and moving to a new apartment, so my Saturn I used for testing is currently hidden in a cardboard ...
data/images/20150204_backupmngr_hwtest1.tb.jpg
Early version of Backup Manager, picture was taken 4 months ago.
Can you spot the differences with current version ? ^^


data/images/20150204_backupmngr_hwtest2.tb.jpg
SatLink running on my 8 years old laptop, connected to my Saturn via USB dev cart.
This development environment is by faaar more convenient than $500+ vintage
development hardware/carts/whatever floating on ebay ♪



Among the things I would like to add before a release, there is the Saturn FDD support ... but I don't own Saturn FDD unit, and the cheapest unit I could find on auction sites costs 10'000 Yens, and the seller doesn't guarantee that it still works ...
I won't pay 10K Yens for a vintage objet I will only use once a year (and I fear my wife would trash it if she founds it ), so if somebody is ready to give some time for beta testing with Saturn Floppy Disk Drive, please let me know in the comments

Read more Backup Manager - Early Version #1

Treatment report (2014/12/22) : MRI

Written by cafealpha no comments
Today was a MRI day !
MRI taken so far (4 or 5 times) were took with contrast medium (liquid sent via intravenous in order to see clearly veins), but this time was the first time without contrast medium !
It was a little strange that catheter were not used this time, and it was so "easy mode" that I half felt asleep during MRI exposure session  ^^;

One anecdote about this day is that when I entered in MRI room in order to put off clothes and wait for my turn, atmosphere in the room was a little strained, and 3 bodyguard shaped guys were waiting with MRI technical staff.
Maybe theses guys are maintenance staff ? But they definitely didn't looked like : they only stare at the window and monitors showing the MRI patient just before me.
When it was my turn, I understood why atmosphere was a little strained : bodyguard shaped guys took handcuffs and put them to the MRI patient just before me : he was a prisoner, and today was something like his "quarter-liberty day" outside the prison !
It was the first time I saw a prisoner for real (not on the TV, internet, whatever) in Japan.

Additional CT is scheduled for next month, so see you later for my next adventures


PS : I'm looking for a laptop better than the one I'm using now. Is there somebody to help me ?
My requirements are as follow :
 - No need brand new laptop, used laptop is OK
 - Screen resolution >= 1366 x 768
 - DDR3 SO-DIMM memory slots x 2
 - RAM address area >= 8GB
 - Battery for offline use >= 2 hours
 - CPU >= Core 2 Duo
 - Japanese or US qwerty keyboard
 - No need of OS, HDD and RAM, I already have theses parts here.
 - No more than USD 150
 - Easy to purchase in Shikoku area (Japan).
I looked in Hard Off ... only found a SNK 95 Saturn cartridge and very old or very expensive laptops.
I looked in PC Depot ... only found a good Sony laptop very cheap ... with broken LCD. And of course, nothing about LCD damage indicated near price tag
Any other idea where to search ?

I plan to use this laptop for Saturn development stuff

Here is a picture of the laptop I'm currently using :
data/images/20141222_laptop.tb.jpg
Old stuff from 2007, with 2GB RAM (no more addressable space ... what a pity), and a 512GB SSD.

Read more Treatment report (2014/12/22) : MRI

Howto : Build Saturn cartridge firmware from regular Saturn executable

Written by cafealpha no comments
In this article, I will explain how to build Saturn cartridge firmware from Saturn executable file.

Note : it doesn't magically convert .iso files to cartridge format ! It only convert standalone executable (typically, a file that can be executed after being uploaded to 06004000 address), and doesn't support programs that use CDROM.
So, basically commercial games can't be converted, and only some (not all) homebrew programs can be converted.

Read more Howto : Build Saturn cartridge firmware from regular Saturn executable

NppFTP : The notepad++ plugin that changed my life

Written by cafealpha no comments
I'm using Notepad++ daily. I should even say I'm using it many times a day !

At work instead of the crappy Visual Studio code editor.
At home in complement with gcc and instead of Quartus code editor.
I also use it to write memo, email drafts, and everything else.

Read more NppFTP : The notepad++ plugin that changed my life

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