Archimedes Podd

Back in the early 90’s I was employed to convert a piece of educational software called ‘Podd’ from the BBC Micro to the Acorn Archimedes.  What I actually did was take a look at the BBC version, but completely re-write the code in C for RISC OS.  When the software was released the publisher sent me a complimentary copy, since I was the author.  I carefully put this copy aside for safe-keeping, where it has stayed for nearly a couple of decades.  The 800k floppy disk that was included has never even been inserted into a machine.

Until last week that is.  A friend of mine is restoring his Acorn A3000 (you read about his efforts here). So I decided that he should try and read the floppy to see if it was still intact.  The good news is that the disk seems fine.  My name was even left inside one of the files:

Podd Screenshot

So now we’ve decided to try and make a copy of the disk, before the original is lost for all time.  The only problem is that the publisher used copy protection when duplicating the disks, so I can’t just copy the disk bit-for-bit.  I seem to remember that they used “flaky sector” for copy protection.  So I’ve written some code using the Dokan library to create a virtual drive on my Windows machine.  Then I’ve written a few extra lines of code that takes a disk image file stored on this virtual drive and emulates a flaky sector.  This means that I may be able to create an image of the disk that works on an emulator on top of Windows (like the Arculator).  Perhaps I’ll be able to make an exact image of the disk, including the flaky sector, and maybe my ‘authors copy’ can be properly archived for safe storage…

I don’t know if this will actually work yet, I’ll have to report back.  But it has been a nice trip down memory lane…