REX Release 4.6

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Supported Models

M100 and T102, with either REX or REX2.


New Features

  • Main ROM Replacement feature, allowing users to load and update the main system ROM
  • ROM2/Cleuseau is now supported
  • REX system information and acknowledgements display added
  • Checksum added into TPDD routines
  • Improved bank switching
  • Stronger directory structure testing
  • Minor changes to MENU controls
  • More descriptive Help files


Bug Fixes

  • the 12 block limitation in Release 4.5 is resolved
  • an issue affecting overall stability was identified and fixed

REX Operation Overview

RAM/ROM/OS Menu

REX is an option ROM switcher that also includes RAM backup and switching functions. REX manages RAM or ROM data in 32k blocks, refered to as images. Option ROMs may be loaded into REX images and selected for use, and your system RAM may be copied to or restored from REX images. Images are grouped by type (RAM/ROM/OS). SYS images are reserved for system use. Images may be 'Load'ed or 'Save'd to/from TPDD.

Filename extensions are

 .BX is used for Option ROM images
 .BY is used for RAM images
 .BZ is used for OS images
 .BR is used for REX system images

Images may be 'Name'd, 'Copy'd or 'Kill'ed. Up to 16 images of any one type are allowed, with 24 images in total. An Image is 'ACTIVE' when in use by REX, and is marked with a *. There must always be one active RAM and one active ROM or OS image. You cannot kill an active image. Active status is changed by selection of a new image using the <ent> key. OS images are option ROMs that act as independant operating systems.

Keyboard Commands

 b Block number information
 e Hints on <ENTER> key functions
 i Information on REX system
 c Checksum of menu entry image
 s Toggle directory sort order
 ent Take action for selection
 tab Show directory for next image type
 esc return to menu


Function Keys

 F1 Display help screens
 F2 Load/Save image from/to TPDD
 F3 Copy image to REX
 F4 Delete image from REX
 F5 Rename the image
 F6 Reserved for future function
 F7 Deinstall REX software from laptop
 F8 Exit REX Manager

SYS Menu

This menu is used to manage system related tasks, primarily management of the loaded main ROM images used when REX is replacing the internal ROMs. See the Wiki to learn the steps required to configure your laptop for ROM Replacement, and how to create ROM images that are compatible with REX. (ROMs require a small change so that REX can detect the hardware configuration.) REX Manager screens now indicate the status of the ROM Replacement function. In the top left corner there is a single highlighted character, one of (M, P, S). This character indicates which system ROM is in use - internal or REX based.

 M - standard internal ROMs in use
 P - Primary ROM (block 2)in use
 S - Secondary ROM (block 4) in use

When the internal ROM is in use, REX cannot provide ROM Replacement. Primary or Secondary ROM images may be 'Load'ed via selection from menu. When the laptop is configured to provide the system ROM, the power-up default is to use the Primary ROM in block 2. It is a good idea to leave this block configured with the standard image. 'Use' command allows the user to select either Primary or Secondary ROMs for use. This selection is tracked in the active block directory, so that system state is always restored on power up. Timestamps are recorded also. Messages are shown above the entries to give some information about the block under the cursor.

Keyboard Commands

 b Block number information
 i Information on REX system
 c Checksum of menu entry image
 tab Show directory for next image type
 esc return to menu

Function Keys

 F1 Display help screens
 F2 Load image from TPDD
 F3 Select ROM image for use
 F7 Deinstall REX software from laptop
 F8 Exit REX Manager

Upgrade Procedure

Current beta release is dated October 17, 2010 and has a checksum of B5BF.

What you need

  • REXU1.CO
  • REX146.BR
  • your favorite TPDD device connected to the laptop

The upgrade procedure is quite simple. The upgrade package contains a program called REXU1.CO (the upgrader tool) and a 16k binary image of the new REX software load called REX146.BR.


Why 16k?

  • the goal of the upgrade is to jam in new software on top of your existing directory
  • we need to preserve your directory information


The upgrade assumes you have a working REX or REX2 running software release 4.5. This is a mostly safe assumption, since all REX and REX2 to date have been only got Release 4.5.


The upgrade tool REXU1 runs in RAM and relies on a connected TPDD device to make the software upgrade image available.


REXU1 Description

What will REXU1 do? It will-

  • restore your system to nominal (hooks table, REX timer hook, delete OPTROM traces)
  • allow you to SAVE your SYSTEM (current software + directory, 32kb) to TPDD
  • load the 16kb new software load into block 0
  • copy the contents of block 0 to block 1
  • restart REXMGR to reinstall the new version of REX


Steps to a happy upgrade

1. Start the upgrade from a cold booted laptop. While not necessary, it ensures the laptop is working nominally with no lurking problems. If you have important data please save your current RAM image to REX, and then to TPDD if needed.


2. Regarding your saved RAM images with important data saved within - please back those up to an external TPDD device using the SAVE function. In case there is a problem, you will be glad you did - it will ensure your data is safe should the REX directory get garbled. This takes only a few minutes.


3. Download the upgrade package, and place the 2 files in your favorite TPDD device or emulator so they are accessible to the LAPTOP.

DELETE ANY PREVIOUS COPIES OF REXU1.CO and REX146.BR!!!!


4. Upload the program REXU1.CO to the laptop. Issue the command CLEAR0,59960 in BASIC so that REXU1.CO can run.


5. At the prompt, press Y to save your current SYSTEM to TPDD. It is recommended that you save your existing image just to be safe. Keeping the system image allows you to revert to that if something unforseen happens during the upgrade. Provide a unique filename (something like REXBAK to safely identify the system image backup.


6. At the prompt, proceed to upgrade the software image by pressing Y, or quit the application using N, Q or ESC. (N, Q and ESC are equivalent). Confirm your intention to upgrade the system by confirming with Y at the next prompt, or abandon using N. If you confirm the upgrade, the upgrade process will proceed by erasing the first 16k of the system image, containing the system software, and replacing it with the binary image REX146.BR stored on TPDD.


Be careful to keep the laptop powered up during the flash process!


REXU will load the new software into block 0, and copy the software to block 1, then it will restart REXMGR to complete the installation.


DONE!

REX Release 4.6 Upgrade Package

Standard REX SYSTEM images contain the REX Manager software (16kb) and the default directories (16kb), and are 32kb binary files.


Upgrade images include only the REX manager software (16kb).


For M100/T102, images have filenames of REX1XX.BR, and T200 images have filenames of REX2XX.BR, where XX is the release number.


Upgrade program REXU1.CO or REXU2.CO are included as applicable in the upgrade package.


Once the upgrade is GA I will post it here.


StatusReleaseModelDescriptionFileSubmitter / Date
GA4.6M100/T102REX Release 4.6 Upgrade PackageREX146_upgrade.zipSadolph 03:38, 10 November 2010 (PST)

About Main ROM Management

Please see the main REX wiki page for a description of this feature - how to prepare a ROM image, how to modify the hardware, and how to load REX with images.

Rel. 4.6 Known Issues

  • Startup of REX Manager is slow. I will be making improvements in the next release.
  • No ability to transfer files from stored RAM images is a pain. Look to the next release.

Rel. 4.6 bug reports/work arounds

None yet!

Enhancement Requests

StatusDescriptionRequester / Date
UnknownSupport for so called Paired Switching, where a RAM image is swapped and an OPTROM image is switched in the same step. Sadolph 05:17, 15 August 2009 (PDT)
UnknownSupport import of file from frozen RAM image to the thawed RAM image. RAM images can be used in a way similar to subdirectories. Therefore it is useful to be able to retrieve files from frozen RAM imagesJhoger 08:16, 16 April 2009 (PDT)
unknownSupport for TPDD-2, for drive 1: (0: is supported).Sadolph 04:36, 19 April 2009 (PDT)


nb: to put a username+datestamp just type 4 tildes ~~~~