Saturday, September 05, 2015

PARCP-USB

Imagine buying a nice new Apple Mac (or even a PC) and then finding out it doesn't come with any modern communication - such as a network port, wifi or even an optical drive. That is the situation I found myself in when I first got my Atari ST. Sure, I was able to run whatever I already had on floppy but what about anything else that I might want? It was completely disconnected from the rest of the world with no way to download new software.

Everyone that enjoys emulation surely has oodles of Atari ST goodies stored on their hard drive - but how would you transfer these onto an old Atari ST?

After all, there's no ethernet port, no USB, no WiFi, no nothing... There isn't even a way to access the internet and grab files directly (well, there is but not in this article!). Nor could I use a floppy disk - how long has it been since the Mac came with a floppy drive?

Like any problem, there are several options to consider which depends on your own needs and current finances. I went with a unique product created by Petr Stehlik called ParCp-USB which means PARallel CoPy. This is a rather nifty piece of hardware which plugs into your printer port and offers a USB connection to a modern Mac or PC (see the pic, above). Any standard mini USB cable will allow the ST to link up to your Mac or PC. Finally, a humble piece software needs to be loaded on both computers, as you can watch in the video below. As you can see, I copied over a file called SWIV.st from my Mac to my Atari ST with ease.

Overall, using PARCP is absolutely superb and the internet's entire archive is now available to me. This is such a useful & versatile product and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

PARCP running on my iMac in Terminal.app  (Mac on the left - Atari ST on the right)

LINKS

PARCP-USB - all details you need to order this great piece of kit (plus download links).
Jay MSA - use this to convert Atari ST disk images (.st +.msa) back onto floppy disks.
MSA - a little information about .MSA files (Magic Shadow Archiver)
Terminal - a basic guide for people new to using a CLI on the Mac.
Atari-Forum - Petr started a PARCP thread here detailing updates as and when.

GREETINGS

My sincere thanks to the following people for their help and advice recently: Petr Stehlik ... Mark Bramley ... Karim ... Marc Johnson ... Tom Treff ... Dale Wright ... I appreciate you all :-)