Hi all,

I’ve been following this thread with some interest as I still have some QL 
hardware (SGC/Qubide/Aurora) which I recently converted from a spinning IDE 
hard drive to a Compact Flash card using an adapter.  I then added an 
additional adapter with an external slot to use as a backup medium.

As a further backup I moved the backup CF card to a Mac with a card reader and 
used dd to make an image file of the card.  By writing the image back to 
another card with dd and verifying that the QL could still read it I knew that 
this process was successful.

When I read about QXLwinreader I was interested as I’d like to start playing 
with the various emulators again but moving software to them from my real QL 
via floppies wasn’t sounding like much fun.

I tried QXLwinreader on my dd image but it was not recognized as a valid image 
file.  Then I read the post about the file possibly needing conversion due to 
the 68K being big-endian.  Since I was running QXLwinreader on a Mac with an 
Intel cpu (little-endian) I ran dd on the file again using the conv=swab option 
and I can report that QXLwinreader happily accepts the converted file and I can 
peruse through files and directories in it.  I haven’t tried copying any files 
yet in either direction as I have to set up a QXLwin file yet but it looks 
promising now.

For reference the converison process was quick only taking seconds on my 7 year 
old Mac.  One image file was 512MB and the other was 1GB.

Here was the command I used:  dd if=<original.dd.file> of=<conv.dd.file> 

As for the floppy format problem I have a Gold Card here somewhere, I will try 
to find it and hope it still works and do some testing with it.

I can confirm that my SuperGold Card system with Aurora running recent SMSQ/E 
versions does have some trouble formatting floppies although I’m pretty sure I 
can format HD but not ED disks in ED drives.  I’ll have to test again with DD 
disks as I don’t remember if I tried this.  I can read an existing ED disk, not 
sure if I can write to one.  I know I have been able to read and write to DD 
and HD disks.

The format command does seem to cause the drive to make some strange sounds at 
first before settling in to the normal stepping routine as it formats the disk.

> On Jun 21, 2017, at 3:25 AM, Wolfgang Lenerz via Ql-Users 
> <ql-users@lists.q-v-d.com> wrote:
> Hi Davide,
>> ... The DD Unix utility might
>> be of course an interesting option but maybe it could be more useful for SD
>> cards written with the QL-SD interface rather than a Qubide hard disk
>> (especially if it has more than one partition)
> Whilst it's true that this was written with these cards in mind, I'm not sure 
> about this statement. If you have a PC that still has the connections for 
> your hard disk (I presume it's IDE ?), using DD (or equivalent) might be the 
> fastest way to get your data off that disk.
> I think I can confidently state that if I had an image file with several 
> partitions, I could probably figure them out pretty quickly and amend 
> QxlwinReader so that it can handle them.
> Tracks/cylinders/heads would be more difficult.
>> Talking more in general I think it is a pity that some possibile
>> implementations or bug fixes are becoming very difficult if not impossible
>> just because lack of the native hardware to test to the few people which
>> have the knowledge to solve these issues. I wonder how this could be
>> improved. 
> Yes, not being able to reproduce and trace a bug is a problem. For example, 
> some time back, a problem with SMSQ/E for the Atari was reported to me. I 
> used to have some Ataris (and still had/have them but not in working 
> condition). So there wasn't much I could do, until I stumbled upon an Atari 
> emulator for the PC, which at least allowed me to see and even test the 
> problem, and eventually figure out what went wrong. That was pure dumb luck!
> As you rightly point out, without the actual hardware this is going to become 
> practically impossible - not only to fix, but even just to check whether the 
> problem exists (a case in point : some recent QXL screen problem, one user 
> (Andrea) reported a problem, I had a look at the code to try to find out why 
> but couldn't, and then another user (Bob) said that it worked OK...).
> I'm not sure what can be done about this situation. Perhaps your solution, to 
> supply actual hardware to people still fixing things might work. Without 
> false modesty, I think I can safely say that most recent development for 
> SMSQ/E has been done by Marcel, and to a much lesser degree, by me. I won't 
> presume to speak for Marcel, so this only goes for myself : I'm just not sure 
> that I'd want more hardware here!
> Also, don't forget that working on SMSQ/E is purely a voluntary work.
> For me, there is a big difference between writing something new like the 
> recent Thing, and then fixing the problems I inevitably introduce on the one 
> hand, and fixing other bugs, on the other hand.
> Since I've become the "regsistrar", which was supposed to be a purely 
> administrative job, I'm often being asked to fix problems in some old code 
> which I didn't write nor know about. It then takes me a lot of time to look 
> at the code to try to understand it. In most cases I then just chicken out 
> and refer this to Marcel :-), on some rare occasions, I manage to find the 
> problem myself and fix it. For me, this is less fun than writing something 
> for myself. I still do it just because I like SMSQ/E... But the point is that 
> I do it because I want to, not because there is any obligation to.
> Finally just a not-so-related question: There is a bug reported here that 
> precludes formatting disks on a SuperGoldgard - does anybody know whether 
> that is also true for a simple Goldcard? I ask because I know that I can get 
> my hands on one of those.
> Regards
> Wolfgang
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