DataRover 840F ROM Flashing Card

JET very kindly unearthed a treasure chest containing the One True ROM Image for DataRover 840s, a PC Card that will flash a 840's ROM to Magic Cap 3.1.2j. This card can be used to re-flash a 'rover with no additional hardware. (See also this article for reflashing a 'rover using the developer tools and serial cable.) You can download the ROM image from the archives page and load it to a 8MB linear flash card yourself, or if you need a pre-flashed card mailed to you, contact me.

Note: if you bought a DataRover on eBay that has pre-release Rosemary firmware (usually dated 9/1/1997), that won't work with the packages in the archive. It's best to update to 3.1.2j.

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The Future of Magic Cap

Question: Whatever became of Magic Cap? Will it ever be released into the public domain? Is OpenMagic happening behind closed doors somewhere?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. Here's the story according to Steve Schramm, former General Manager of the Magic Cap division and CEO/President of DataRover/Icras:

Andy [Hertzfeld] strived to open Magic Cap at the time of the GMGC bankruptcy. If I remember Andy's explanation correctly, Nathan Myrvold, formerly of Microsoft, used the bankruptcy process to capture the IP after Andy Hertzfeld working with Andy Rubin had won two previous decisions to get the Magic Cap IP. Nathan mostly wanted the Telescript agent patents for his dead startup patent collection, though.

Afterwards, Andy H. continued to work with Nathan to pry the Magic Cap IP loose, since Nathan allegedly didn't care that much. But Nathan kept putting more and more restrictions on Magic Cap's use to the point that few would have been able to use the Magic Cap technology for anything practical or interesting even if it was open source. So Andy finally stopped trying.

The bottom line is that even though no one is using Magic Cap, we can't make it available as open source. And thus, and incredible amount of creativity, investment and hard work is effectively lost to the world (except for what people remember in their heads).

Magic Cap Mailing List

All Magic Cap device owners should join the mailing list. It's low traffic these days, and there are several experts who can answer most any question. Join or browse the archives here:

Updating the Datarover 840F (flash) ROM

Many people (myself included) have reported problems installing packages on the Datarover 840F. It seems lately many people have gotten Datarover 840F's cheap and brand-new on eBay -- problem is, they all seem to have pre-release ROMs, which are incompatible with connectivity software such as WinPCLink and Josh Carter's package mailer. As Josh has said, the only hardware different between the Datarover 840 and 840F is the 840F's use of flash ROMs, which can be upgraded. The solution to this would be to try and re-flash the Datarover's ROM with a newer release version. The problem is "How?" Well, that's what I'm going to try to lay out in detail.

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Motorola Envoy Models

Question: I know there are two kinds of Motorola Envoy. Which is which- How are they different physically? Internally?

Question: I want a Motorola Envoy equipped with MagicCap 1.5. I see ads for Motorola Envoys for sale every so often, but the sellers are either unwilling or unable to tell me which device they are selling. How can I tell the difference by just looking at a thumbnail snapshot?

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Importing Text Files into your Magic Link

Question: I want to transfer text files from my desktop computer to the Notebook on my MagicCap Communicator. What's the best way to do this? [Magic Cap 1.0/1.5]

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Internet Email and Web Browsing

Question: How do I connect to the Internet, use email, and browse the web? [Magic Cap 1.0/1.5]

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