One of the Amiga backup disks I found contained the data files for my
FidoNet client — a complete archive of my FidoNet email.
However, it was a Maxell MF2DD floppy.
I'd found several of these that took multiple tries to read successfully
transadf, and this one gave errors no matter what I tried.
Since the errors were being reported in different places on the disk
each time, I decided to try reading the disk several times to see if I
could assemble a complete image...
Reading a recalcitrant floppy
To do this, I used the Disk-Utilities tools.
First, I used
diskread to create four raw images of the disk, reading
it twice with the A1200's internal floppy drive (
DF0) and twice with
an external one (
This resulted in 80MB of raw bitstreams:
$ ls -l *.dat -rwx------ 1 ats ats 20971520 Jan 8 18:45 b27-fidonet-df0a.dat -rwx------ 1 ats ats 20971520 Jan 8 18:46 b27-fidonet-df0b.dat -rwx------ 1 ats ats 20971520 Jan 8 18:47 b27-fidonet-df1a.dat -rwx------ 1 ats ats 20971520 Jan 8 18:48 b27-fidonet-df1b.dat
Next, I used
disk-analyse to try to extract the sector data for each
Here's the result for
$ disk-analyse -v b27-fidonet-df0a.dat b27-fidonet-df0a.eadf Format "default" -> "amigados" Found format "amigados" T111: sectors 1, missing T113: sectors 9, missing T125: sectors 5,7, missing T127: sectors 5, missing T129: sectors 3, missing T133: sectors 8, missing T135: sectors 7,8, missing T137: sectors 5, missing T141: sectors 1, missing T143: sectors 10, missing T147: sectors 5, missing T151: sectors 2, missing T155: sectors 8, missing T157: sectors 7, missing T0-159: AmigaDOS ** WARNING: 14 tracks are damaged or unidentified!
$ disk-analyse -v b27-fidonet-df1a.dat b27-fidonet-df1a.eadf Format "default" -> "amigados" Found format "amigados" T124: sectors 0, missing T130: sectors 6, missing T132: sectors 2, missing T138: sectors 5, missing T142: sectors 0, missing T0-159: AmigaDOS ** WARNING: 5 tracks are damaged or unidentified!
So that's exactly what I was after — between the two drives, it
looks like I have a good read for all tracks.
DF0 struggled with one side of the disk (odd-numbered
DF1 with the other (even-numbered tracks).
I wonder if trying to read it with the drive upside down might also have
Next, I needed to merge the two images together.
disk-analyse's output is an EADF file.
The rawadf tool lets you do various
things with EADF files, including replacing tracks in one image with the
equivalent tracks from another.
To make these two tools play nicely together, I had to fix some bugs:
disk-analysedidn't clear the EADF track header when it was first created, so it wrote junk into some fields. My patch for this has been merged into Disk-Utilities.
EADF_MAXTRACKSneeded increasing from 166 to 168 in
rawadf. While most Amiga disks only use 160 tracks,
disk-analysescans beyond that to detect unusual formats — and
rawadfwill complain about the resulting EADF files.
So I used
rawadf to combine the two EADF files:
$ rawadf replace b27-fidonet-df1a.eadf b27-fidonet-df0a.eadf \ b27-fidonet-merged.eadf 124 130 132 138 142
I also tried doing the same with the other two images of the disk, to check the result was identical; it was.
disk-analyse again to convert EADF back to plain ADF:
$ disk-analyse b27-fidonet-merged.eadf b27-fidonet-merged.adf T0-159: AmigaDOS
adfread from Disk-Utilities can extract the filesystem:
$ mkdir t $ adfread OUT-b27-fidonet-merged.adf t Backup-27 is an FFS volume Created: Sat Aug 17 20:57:49 1996 Last altered: Sat Aug 17 21:06:11 1996 t/Backup-27/ Sat Aug 17 21:05:49 1996 t/Backup-27/Mail.Areas.lzx 668021 Sat Aug 17 20:59:30 1996 t/Backup-27/Mail.Others.lzx 163021 Sat Aug 17 21:06:06 1996
Emulating my FidoNet mail reader
Those two archives contain most of an installation of
The program executable and manual were on the next backup disk, which
I'd also had trouble reading, missing the last few sectors; however,
after padding the file out with zeroes, I had enough for
pull a version string from the executable:
$VER: Spot 37.4514 (14.8.94)
... and a web search found the GERMAN #463 PD collection in back2roots' extensive archive, which contains exactly the same version of Spot.
I copied these into my FS-UAE system's virtual hard disk, extracted my
backups, and retrieved the missing files from the Spot distribution.
Spot.Log, the last time I dialled up Chatterbox was on 24th
After setting up the
NodeList: assigns in
Spot started up quite happily, dropping me into an interface that was
oddly familiar given I'd not seen it in 17 years:
Not only did I have all my private mail (netmail), I also had some of the public groups I used to read (echomail).
It turned out that the first couple of messages I sent were through a FidoNet-Internet gateway — one to a friend and one to myself:
I think my email signature these days is a bit less obnoxious...