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LGR – Using a Floppy Disk Drive on a Smartphone


Greetings and welcome to an LGR thing! And today I was just thinking about modern smartphones and tablets and other such devices They're pretty neat and smart and things

But you know what they could really use? Floppy drives Yes That's right Floppy friggin disks and drives to go along with them And you know what? I think we can accomplish that! So to do this all we really need is: a phone, I'm gonna be using my Note 8

It's not sponsored, it's just what I have And a floppy disk drive and in particular a three-and-a-half inch floppy disk drive that runs using USB One that I have applied a woodgrain coating to, because of course I did! And yeah, I don't know what brand this is, what it is Pretty much any of them should work, it's just a generic one I got from Goodwill And we'll of course need a floppy disk to write to and read from

I have a high-density three and a half inch disk here that we can fill with all sorts of unscrupulous nonsense And last but definitely not least is one of these USB connectors, or on-the-go cables or adapters, whatever you want to call them In fact this one I haven't even opened yet It actually just came packaged with my phone, which was quite nice It's just an on-the-go, OTG adapter and this will allow you to convert the USB portion of your phone, in this case it's USB C, to USB Type A

You know, full sized USB port So I'll just plug in the OTG adapter right there on the end of the USB cable of the floppy disk drive, plug that into the phone, and you'll be able to see the light come on And if we plug in a disk [floppy disk noises] Yeah We get floppy disk noises as the phone is attempting to read from the disk And at the moment there's nothing on it so let's go ahead and take care of that on a Windows 98 PC So I'm going to be using the recently-rebuilt Lazy Green Giant to write some stuff onto the disk [click keyboard typing] And we have an installation here for Commander Keen Episode One: Invasion of the Vorticons

The shareware episode, which will easily fit onto the disk itself [more typing] [disk drive writing sounds] "Thanks for installing the shareware episode of Commander Keen!" You're quite welcome, early 90s installation program So we have the game installed on the disk right there, so we should be able to run it like this And it of course will be just fine, because why wouldn't it be So yeah let's go ahead and do the same thing on the phone and see what happens with a floppy drive attached to it! [click, shunk] Okay, now that the disk is full of things let's plug it back in and see what happens

[floppy drive read head noises] It could take a little while here for it to read what I believe is the entire contents of the disk It may actually be loading everything directly from here into memory, just so it knows how to read it from the filesystem And there you go it shows up as a Y-E Data USB drive And so you can tap there to transfer the files and these are all the ones that we just copied over And of course being that these are meant for MS-DOS, like, if we're trying to open an executable it's like, "oh you don't have any apps that can do that

" Well I actually do, so let's go and open one of those apps For this I'm going to be using an app called Magic DOSBox, which is just a DOSBox variant made for Android And I find it to be quite nice It is a paid-for app, or at least this version is, but in my experience it's about the best DOSBox version for Android at the moment You can see I have jewel of the jungle already installed but we're going to add the version of Commander Keen that we copied over to the floppy disk

[disk loading sounds] And it's already seeing something there Now the way this version of DOSBox works is you configure each individual little icon, or program, to show up on your main menu by going through here And you select all of the different features that you would normally in DOSBox In particular we're just going to make it boot directly into this game And I'm gonna just leave it on the disk, I don't even want to copy it over to the internal memory of the phone or anything

Global settings So if we go into here we can show the detected storage devices and we have this one right here which is the floppy disk drive It says it's read-only access, so if we hit "request permissions" this brings up the Android request permissions thing

We have "nonsense" I just hit select there and we'll see if we can do anything with it now Yes, we can, we have full access to "Disk 0" as it is now, zero point zero gigabytes! So we'll go back here and do the "plus new game" and now we should be able to choose the floppy disk Yes, we can directly right here, Disk 0 So we'll just choose the main folder here and that is that

We'll type in the name, Commander Keen 1 And it's already enabled it for us on the main menu here, so if we wanted to in Magic DOS Box we can adjust all sorts of other settings We do want the PC speaker because, that is what that is No sound card, we don't even need to bother with that We could even change the icon if we wanted to, so if we want to give Commander Keen a nice little display on our menu we could do that

But this is probably the more important thing for this individual program, which is choosing the main program Which is going to be keen1exe, so there we go So now when we tap this we should just go directly into Commander Keen Episode 1 Booting directly from the floppy disk

Yep it sees it there in the DOSBox command prompt And there we go Wow That's awesome! This is the first time I've actually loaded something directly from a floppy disk and not just like, copying it first over into the internal memory This is really cool, let me get the camera a little more adjusted

Check that out So we can't actually tap on the screen or do anything unless we were to configure it to be able to do that So we can add virtual buttons or we can just bring up a virtual keyboard here Press Enter Could start a new game

[chuckles to himself] Yeah [PC speaker noises play] And obviously this is not ideal [laughs] Even the virtual buttons that this program has, while impressive in their own right, they're still not particularly great So I can add like a virtual joystick, or really keys, over here And then I can apply some other keys And yeah you see how this is, you just sort of add different keys to your screen that you can tap on at will

[squeaky Keen gameplay sounds] Uh so yeah It's I don't like touchscreen controls on like any game really, unless is a game meant for just tapping only

But you know like, this is why I'm not a fan of emulated games on Android, iOS So you either have to plug in an external controller to really get some sort of good experience, in my opinion Or we could try plugging in an actual keyboard And this is an IBM Model M It has a PS/2 connection

And if you remember some time ago I did a video about plugging in one of these into an Android phone just through one of these little USB PS/2 adapters That's totally doable but of course we only have the one port, so that means we're gonna need a USB hub This is something I admit I have not yet attempted But I don't know, in theory it should work So I just grabbed a cheap hub online and I should be able to just plug stuff in here and and make things happen

Okay, plug in the keyboard right here, the disk drive right there, adapter right there And then we'll see what happens when we plug it into the phone Suffice to say, do not try this at home I cannot be responsible if you over voltage your phone or something [phone notifications play as devices are recognized] So that's a good sign, we've got the USB floppy drive attached, and then physical keyboard settings popping up here

Which that looks good [clicking arrow keys] And yeah you could see me hitting left and right on the arrow keys, the keyboard does appear to be working So let's try it with DOSBox I really need like, a stand or something for this Hmm

Can I just put it there? You know I'm just gonna put it there All right, once again I have not tested this yet so I don't know how well this program is meant to work with a physical keyboard But let's just open up Commander Keen and see what happens Once again loading directly from that floppy disk, which amuses me endlessly and it seems to be doing it at the, you know, a pretty good comparable speed to like an actual PC of the time If it were connected to it physically, internally in anything, so Okay let's see–oh it works perfectly! [laughs] Oh yeah Yeah this is how I would hope to play DOSBox on a phone

With the friggin Model M keyboard and an actual floppy drive loading from actual floppy disks [PC speaker sounds] Oh it's wonderful! [just laughs, amused at the silliness] Oh man Excuse my giddiness but–nah man! Embrace my giddiness because I am genuinely having fun with this! This is so cool! Dude "Quit to DOS" Let's try Jill of the Jungle

I know it's not on–oh hey we're right back to DOS Hi there, DOS Yeah anyway, let's exit out of this Now I just want to try Jill of the jungle for, well Yeah, see I had the virtual things installed and I just don't want to do that man

Get rid of those Goodbye screen widgets, I don't need you anymore [Jill music plays] Yeah Jill of the Jungle On Android! Not loading from floppy disk, but if I wanted to I really could

Okay, well at this point now I guess I'm just sort of getting off track I'm just amused–oh wrong button I am just amused by anything that involves plugging in like, legacy hardware to modern hardware And I know it's like, it's built to do that On the surface it's not impressive, but there's still something amusing about–dang it–about seeing it in action

All right well, that's pretty much it for this video I just want to show that it is indeed possible And not only that but it works pretty well In fact, it looks like it does cache stuff to internal memory in some way I mean, I guess I would expect it to

It would do that normally on a regular PC if you're just running something directly off of a floppy, it copying into RAM But I was kind of surprised, curious, whatever, seeing if it would do it even within the emulator here when I "turn off" the emulation And it seems to, like now the floppy drive is not plugged in, nothing is plugged in, so it's not copying everything directly Probably just had it saved to its own internal RAM so that it doesn't have to load it all completely off the floppy disk at first I don't know, I'm just guessing

Anyway, thank you very much for watching this little experimentation Perhaps you've already seen this done before Maybe you've done it yourself, you've been doing it for years and this is nothing new But for me, it was at least something a little different And if you'd like to see my older video where I covered plugging in a Model M into an Android device you can click that or stick around to see any of my other videos, there's new ones every week

And as always thank you very much for watching!

Source: Youtube

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