NTLK Re: PCMCIA Type II Adapter card and Compact Flash

From: Paul Guyot (pguyot@pnm-consulting.com)
Date: Fri May 26 2000 - 01:24:48 CDT

Peter Apockotos <g4@tampabay.rr.com> & Laurent Daudelin had a
discussion about ATA cards:

>Has any one tried making a driver so that you can use a PCMCIA Type
>II Compact Flash Adapter card and Compact Flash? The DDK for the
>PCMCIA is located on apple's ftp server...has anyone even looked into
>this and if so is there progress?
>Well if anyone wants me to send them the Newton PCMCIA DDK I
>will....this would be great we can get a lot more memory for less!
>Well I can send you the adapter and the card to test with and I can
>email you the Newton PCMCIA DDK via email.

(btw, the compact flash cards are small ATA cards. The adapter makes
them ATA compatible)

I did investigate the problem, and I am still investigating it.

There are several informations & problems around this (there is a
quick summary in the latest FAQ).
a/ there is an ATA driver in the ROM. This means that the PCMCIA Chip
is probably able to drive them thru software. (I think that on
MP2x00, the PCMCIA are at 9000000 logical, 3000000 physical)
Of course, there is no documentation about them, but I was able to
find most vectors, parameters types, but no information about return
types, parameters role, etc. Basically, it is all TATA* classes.

This is a great help since the ATA protocol is not easy to find, and
probably not free. (but the ATA driver in the ROM may be incomplete).

b/ there are two kits to develop a driver. The PCMCIA DDK & the
Lantern DDK. (btw, if someone has the original CD, I am interested in
a catalog of it). Sure, the Lantern DDK is Data-Link based (hence not
totally approriate) but the PCMCIA DDK sample (for a modem) does not
compile. (because of missing headers).

c/ there is the Newton FileSystem problem (FileSystem is not totally
We know nothing about it, and making an ATA driver is nice, but the
best would be to have the Newton using the card like a linear card.
I thought about that at first that sure, it is probably possible to
make an interface to read & write data from/to the card. This could
be integrated into specific softwares such as a backup software or a
MP3 player.
But, it seems in fact that it may well be possible to allow the
Newton OS to use it as a standard store.
(in fact, this is surely possible at the NS level)
This would be surely slower, a bad idea for VBO (hence packages) but
would work. It may even been implemented at a lower level, allowing
VBOs and Packages. Sure, these are just hypotheses.

d/ there are development costs (actually, I think of me in that
case). Developing a driver means buying a card (and probably several
cards), spending a lot of time, and frankly, I cannot explain that to
my partner considering the return-fees of the newton department. (I
already do most newton development on my free time, which is rather
However, I thought about buying the smallest model yesterday, but I
had some appointment which prevented me from doing so.

I should add that there was a project several years ago which has
been abandonned. But I do believe that an ATA driver would improve
the life-span of the Newton.



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