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For a while now, I've been using Disk Master to help me keep track of my collection of floppy disks and their contents. However, as the database has grown, the program has been getting slower in it's searches. Now, it's at a point where it's slowed down so much that it's pretty much useless to me. So, I've been trying to find alternative software, for my C64 or C128, to use as my floppy disk database.

I've experimented with a few databases, as well as program specifically written as floppy disk organizers, trying to find one that is both easy to use and suites my needs. I've come to the conclusion that Free Base, for the C128, fits my needs the best.

Being a free form database, Free Base provides the most flexibility and can perform searches relatively quickly. However, what I do lose with it is the ability to search for floppy disks by the number of free blocks (which I could do with Disk Master). But, since Disk Master is so slow with it's searches, it really wasn't helpful anymore anyway.

Since I've found Free Base to be quite effective as a floppy disk organizer is this way, I thought I'd share with you a template of the database setup, in case you'd like to try to use your C128 as a floppy disk organizer, too. The disk image can be downloaded here: Free Base Disk Database.D64

The following is an overview as to how I've set up the database's files, along with an example as to how I've been recording my floppy disk information:

1) Free Base is configured like a filing cabinet, consisting of fifteen drawers. Within each drawer, you can store up to fifty file folders. Each file folder has enough space to store fifty pages of information. For my purposes, I've labelled the fifteen “drawers” as Collections.

2) Each of the Collections can contain up to fifty Floppy Disks files. So, in theory, this database has the capacity to store information for up to 750 floppy disks. In my template database, you will see a two sided floppy disk with the assigned IDs of K0 and K1 in the Collections 01 drawer. In each of the floppy disk files, I am recording the directory contents on both sides of the diskette (if the disk has been formatted as double sided).

3) In the data file of the diskette, I am recording the names of the programs/games that are included on the disk, as well as the number of Blocks Free. If the program or game on the disk is multi-load, I am not recording the names of the individual files that make up the program. However, if you wish to record each and every file that is contained on the disk, you can. You have the capability to record up to fifty individual pages for each record. So, it's up to you of how detailed you want to get in your record-keeping.

The Free Base disk images also contains instructions on how to use Free Base, in general. To access this, simply type DLOAD “QUICKTEXT.80”, then RUN, and then load the file T.FREE BASE from inside the application.

A little tip that I use, when recording disk contents into the database, is to use the Disk Command feature to view the disk directory. To do this, select the DISK Commands option from Free Base's main menu. In the command box, type $ and press RETURN; Free Base will then read and display the disk directory in the left-hand window.

Just press ESC to get back to the main menu, then go on to update the records accordingly. This is a pretty handy feature, which saves me from having to leave Free Base to read a disk's directory.

Using Free Base for this purpose is a little bit more work than using something like Disk Master, but I like the results. You are pretty much open as to what kind of disk information you can record, as well as the improvement on speed, when doing searches. Free Base will also print out the disk information, pretty much just as you see it in the file, if you want to use it to make directory labels for your disks.

Although you can do this sort of work in a spreadsheet, using your modern PC and office suite software, being able to do it with you C128 just gives you another reason to use it for more than just gaming in C64 mode.

Composed with Archetype on my C128.

blog/2019-05-04.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/17 19:38 by David