Telnet BBSes and other things – part 2

A while back I posted about a number of BBSes that are accessible online, and can therefore be easily ‘dialed’ with ATD using a WiFi Modem over the internet. I recently came across this huge list of online resources accessible via telnet and took a look through some of them:

It seems like most of these are no longer accessible. The library online catalogs all seem to no longer be available. It’s not surprising given the insecure nature of telnet, and accessing library catalogues via your browser would be a much more secure and user friendly experience.

There’s a few things in this list that are interesting however. Ignoring the massive list of BBSes, there’s a few other oddities that are worth checking out and as of posting this, are still up and available. Here’s a few that I tested out using an Atari ST running the Taz terminal software, connected to my VT132 modem/terminal.

Need access to the web but your older computer doesn’t have a browser and/or is limited to text? This site is running a telnet accessible copy of Lynx, the text mode browser. Works just as you’d expect if you were running it locally.

Online version of the all time classic dungeon crawler, nethack

Zork and many other text based adventures: 6502

I’ve played around with frotz before, looking at getting some text adventures running over Amateur Radio using Packet. If you fancy accessing some classic text adventures online, this site has plenty, and there’s background info on how this was setup here:

Viewdata, and Telstar

Here’s an interesting one. If you were into computers in the UK in the 1980s you probably heard of BT’s Prestel service, and even if you’re not familiar with it, you’ll recognize the graphical style if you ever used Ceefax or Oracle on your TV. have a service called Telstar, which is a recreation of a Viewdata/Videotext system. It can be accessed online with a Viewdata terminal client app (details in the link above), or even online via a browser here.

Unfortunately the only Viewdata terminal app for the Atari ST seems to be FaSTcom, but that app crashes on my ST when it loads (I have TOS 1.04, not sure if that’s an issue or not).

Connecting with a regular VT terminal app loses all the color formatting of the pages, but you can still connect with :

Reconfiguring CosmosEx for the Atari ST

My CosmosEx (a floppy and hard disk replacement for the Atari ST) has recently started to hang on booting up with 3 yellow lights, and never completes it’s boot. It’s random though, if I power if off and try again, it seems it boots successfully about 1 in 5 tries.

I guessed it might be the original SD card that was starting to fail, so downloaded the latest image, flashed a new SD card. Rebooting now, it’s booting reliably every time.

Since this is a new startup from a fresh install, the initial disk device settings after first boot, are back to defaults. Accessing the CosmosEx via the web interface (the IP is displayed on the boot output if you connect an HDMI monitor), here’s the default settings:

I reconfigured the devices per the quick start guide here:

Installing a CosmosEx on an Atari ST (SD card based HD and floppy replacement)

I’ve had my eye on the CosmosEx device for the Atari ST for a while – it provides SD card based harddrive support, floppy emulation using .st image files, and has support for USB based flashdrives, either formatted in ST or DOS format. I decided to finally order one and it arrived this weekend.


The most incredible thing is it’s built around a Raspberry Pi, plus some other additional custom built hardware. Quite an incredible piece of custom designed and built kit.

My first dilemma was whether I should connect it as an external floppy drive (requiring to find a DIN 14 cable which is apparently hard to come by nowdays), or replace my internal floppy drive with the CosmosEx. Given that the CosmosEx connects directly to the internal floppy ribbon cable and power supply, this seems like a much easier option. To mount it permanently in the case you have to cut a notch at the back of the case for the harddrive connector, and widen the existing floppy disk access so you can get to the entire front of the CosmosEx device when inside the case.

I’m not sure I wanted to go that far, so it’s currently mounted loosely inside with the top cover off, and I have ordered an IDE floppy extension cable so I can extend the cable outside the case and have the CosmosEx sit on top of the case.

I’ve learnt a bunch of random things getting this setup this weekend:

  • TOS 1.0 ROMs can only access 256MB hard disk partitions. The HD support is also pretty buggy and terrible (generally known fact), so upgrading to 1.04 may be a future project.
  • The SC1224 Atari color monitor does in fact support both 50Hz (European) and 60Hz (US) games if you adjust the vertical sync just right with a screwdriver in the vsync hole on the back of the monitor. From playing with menu disks burnt to real floppies in the past, I’d come to the conclusion that I couldn’t play any menu disks that were deliberately changing to 50hz (like most European games do) because the  monitor would start rolling. If you adjust the vsync though just enough to stop the rolling, when toggling back and forth from 50 to 60Hz the monitor does actually adjust between the two modes automatically. I hadn’t worked this out before, but some Googling about the SC1224 monitor did say that it supported both modes, and yes, it does (I have the Goldstar model)

So far I have an SD card partitioned with a few 256MB partitions and I’m using the ICD driver. This is apparently not the best available driver but is currently free, so trying this one out for a while.

So far, very happy! The option to download .st images on the fly from an internet connection is also very cool!