Author Topic: The Monte Method  (Read 4572 times)

Offline MusicWorks

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The Monte Method
« on: January 26, 2016, 01:38:22 PM »
Hi guys,

I have been delving into the Avid knowledge databases and forums recently looking for information on PTIII setup for NuBus systems -I'm currently upgrading my Pro Tools I system (442) to a Pro Tools III complete rig that I got recently from a donor in France. While doing a search I came across a mention of a so-called "Monte Method" a way of using FWB Hard Disk Toolkit's "Device Copy" function to do a block-by-block copy for back up of a full installation with auths. Yes, it works with PACE auths too (!).

Obviously, this immediately reminded me of our efforts at backing up with ASR to have a fully authorized backup install. Sorry guys, apparently this one had already been solved...almost 20 years ago xD And yes, it is much easier than the ASR method...you can even use this method to backup to a CD-ROM if you keep the partition under 650mb.

Most threads mentioning this are from the 1999-2000 period. The particular thread I first came across was this one:

http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=14897

After some research, I came across several other topics mentioning the "Monte method", all referencing the original source as daw-mac newsgroup but with no complete information on the procedure. They all sort of implied not to post the procedure in the Avid forums but to go to daw-mac instead. Daw-mac archives are not available -as far as I know- but after some intensive research I found it  ;D

Here is the MONTE METHOD explained:



Hi Jerome,

Below is a post I made some time back. It contains statements concerning
the procedure made by others on this list. The procedure was originally
created by Monte (AFAIK). I have taken several posts and merged them into
what's below in an attempt to more clearly explain how the Device Copy is
performed.

I, in no way, am responsible for this and take no credit for it. If there
are others that feel they need to add to or take away form what's below
please feel free to chime in. I will say that because of this procedure I
will never lose another PACE key! It's also just a great way to backup
your
boot drive or any other drive.

Here it is.........

Steinberg's not going to be very happy with this post and neither is PACE,
but I really don't give a fat baby! The basic principal here is to use a
separate mechanism, either another drive, or CD-ROM, MO removable,
whatever.
FWB's Hard Disk Toolkit has a function called Device Copy which will
create
a Disk Image file of your precious System drive, PACE keys and all to the
backup drive. If anything gets screwed up on your System drive (lost
keys,
directory problems, etc.), you reload the pristine image in a few minutes
and get back to work.

I suggest a small partition around 300 meg or so. Make sure this
partition
is the first partition on the drive. Partitions are assigned from the
inside of the platter first and then works out for the next and so on.
You
want the first partition to hold the system because the inside part of the
platter has much faster access speeds than the outside part of the
platter.
And because you're partition will be small it will also be very fast.

Install a clean system onto that, then install a clean version of all the
apps etc. including Pace keys. Now's a good time to do use Speed Disk...
I
use optimization and 'wipe free space' so that the unused end of the
partition backup file is easier to compress during backups etc. Once you
have a good system, back up blocks 0 to N of that drive to a file using
FWB
device copy (pick N from looking at the partition table... N is one block
less than the starting block number of the partition immediately following
the 300MB partition). In this way, you have a file that contains an image
of block 0 through the small boot partition, and that contains all the
Pace
stuff and your system.

You can now deauthorize all the Pace stuff to get your keys back on floppy
and then restore the partition using device copy and you're up and
running.
Repeat this procedure until you have regained all your key disks. You do
need two drives to get this to work, because when you restore to the
device
from the backup file, FWB wants to unmount all the partitions from that
device. If you made a bootable CD-ROM that contains a system, FWB and the
backup image, you could boot from that before you use Device Copy. BTW,
since it's a CD, it's actually a bit faster to do the recovery: press 'c'
when you're booting to boot from CD-ROM right after the crash.

I've used the above technique to regain all my PACE keys and as a result
Steinberg and PACE will never get any of my hard earned money because my
system crashed and I needed another set of keys. In fact, if any of you
have ever lost all of your installs you also know that some companies
charge
big bucks for a new disk.

T-Von (with a lot of help from my friends at daw-mac)



I am telling you guys, it was such a weird feeling finding out about this one....specially after all the ASR hassle  ;)

- MusicWorks
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 01:55:38 PM by MusicWorks »

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 01:48:44 PM »
This is an extra description of the method found in the Avid forums:

He (and now I) suggest using a Disk Image to back up your hard drive, AND ALL OF THE FLOPPY AUTHORIZATIONS that are on it! The files are invisible, and cannot be copied by traditional drag and drop methods, but they ARE there, and do get copied in a brute force bit for bit method like a disk image.

The first step in the Monte Method, is to partition your main hard drive, so that a small partition (750MB?) can be created for your system folder, and any copy protected applications. The reason you make a partition, is so that your disk image doesn't have to be enourmous - you'll only need an image of the partition. You'll want it to fit on a removable media.

The rest of the HD, (the second partition) will contain non-copy protected applications, and even files from the applications on the smaller partition. This second partition has no authorizations, or hidden data, so it can be backed up by traditional drag and drop Finder copy methods.

I use Hard Disk Toolkit to make, and restore my disk images. Make sure you look at the HD info first, so you know the precise size, in blocks, of the image you'll be making. You'll want to make a disk image of all the small header files, and the partition, so basically you make a Disk Image of blocks 0 to N, where N = the highest block of the parition. You can simply look at the starting address of the second parition (the one without the copy protected stuff, and without the system) and subtract 1.

Hard Disk Toolkit tells me that on my hard drive, the second larger parition starts at block 844416, so I make my disk image of blocks 0 through 844415, and get the first partition, and all the formatting and directory info from the hard drive into the image.

Once, you've made the image, deauthorize your software, so the authorizations are back on the floppies, and then load the image you made (which includes authorizations) to the hard drive, wiping out the old unauthorized versions. Perfect.

The best part about this, is that once you have your system set up just perfectly, you can optimize the partition, and the directory (with Disk Warrior) and then make perfect, clean, working disk images. Then when anything starts crashing, or acting strange, you can just restore the image, and everything is perfect, and ready to go in a manner of minutes. This is a major advantage to OS9, and one of the big reasons I'm not switching.

I started with a clean virgin install of the system, and then the software, launching it only once (or twice) to get all the preferences set correctly, then I optimized, and made the disk image. Its perfect, and a known software state with a minimum of corruptions or decay. I've even done dry runs of disk image replacement. I can go from scratching my head at a bug, to a clean install and reboot in under 10 minutes. That means that when I have a deadline, I can KNOW that nothing in the software can slow me down more than 10 minutes. Hardware can break, and I've toyed with keeping a backup computer, but this is THE answer to software trouble.

- MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 02:24:10 PM »
  This is quite intriguing if it works with PT3.x/4.x because I lost a v4 auth due to corruption that resulted from a system freeze.  I'd like to be able to experiment with building the optimal hardware/software environment without fear of losing any more auths.  Anything else you may learn and document about configuring PT Nubus would be of great interest to me, as you may have seen in this thread I started recently: http://macos9lives.com/smforum/index.php?topic=2992.0

  Also, there doesn't seem to be anything for pre-5.x PT hosted in the Members Downloads here.  Whatever you might come across for older Pro Tools or Digidesign installers of any sort, please try to get them uploaded.  For the ones I have I will try to do the same when I have some time.  You can see the current list of all my disks in the posting I just mentioned.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 02:36:00 PM by MacOS Plus »

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 03:05:19 PM »
I am a PT legacy collector myself...let me know if there are any specific things you are looking for. I have amassed everything I could find, having contributed Pro Tools 1.0 original floppies (ProDECK 1.1 and ProEDIT 1.1 complete set, available in the garden) as well as 2.03.

Pretty sure I have every single version of PT, that is except the elusive Avid-only PT 3.3 of course ;)

In terms of original software, I own version 1.1 through 4.0.1. Actually I am thinking about using the monte method described here with a primer PT 4 install I am preparing for the PTIII NuBus system, complete with Sound Designer II, MasterList CD, DIN-R and Peak/Deck auths.


Please find attached a *very* curious .sit called "CopyAuthorizationFloppies". It includes everything you need to create proper images from floppies with authorizations (and then use a copy of that image to authorize the hard disk). Haven't tried it yet, but is legit.

You have quite a collection there!!! I have had a Pro Tools I system (442 interface) for almost 5 years and I LOVE it. It's a simple 4-channel non-TDM configuration, given the almost impossible task of finding the SysAxe card. I have given up on the SysAxe (only way to have a more than 4 channel Pro Tools I system) and thats why I am upgrading to a PT III core system.

More than happy to share PT stuff  ;D
 
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 03:21:04 PM by MusicWorks »

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 03:15:10 PM »
 The .sit with all necessary tools to copy authorization floppies was downloaded from the original Opcode Users website ;)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 03:28:56 PM by MusicWorks »

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 08:51:28 PM »
  That copier certainly does look interesting, thanks!  Anything to just preserve the floppies I have would be worthwhile, but gaining net-new auth instances would be golden.  I will test this and see what happens.  It probably doesn't work with USB floppy drives, so I'll have to fire up a beige-generation machine.  Being able to archive disk images of these floppies on permanent media would be amazing.

  If I need anything else you've got there software-wise I'll let you know.  Certainly everything pre-version 5.x should get added to the forums archive, but especially the much older stuff so we don't have to depend on Macintosh Garden as sole-source.  It would be really nice to have all of it in one place and then put together some simple guides for installing each version, since Digi is so picky about DAE versions and such.  Also would want to make clear what is necessary for 68k versus PPC systems.

  Speaking of older versions, check out this eBay listing:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pro-Tools-Digidesign-Quad-Audio-Interface-S-PDIF-AES-EBU-/291670516878?hash=item43e8eae48e:g:b3kAAOSwd0BV6GET
Not anything I really need myself, but you sure don't see PT2 floppies often.  Seems like a reasonable deal if you live in the USA.  Too expensive to ship up here to Canada though.

  The Monte Method might make it possible to make a complete disk image that is transportable to another system.  (I don't know enough about the inner-workings of the authorizer to be sure.)  This would allow for a 'quick-start' installation that would at the very least help with proof of concept and hardware testing during system building, particularly without risking losing auths.

  While I was once a professional user of 4.x-era Pro Tools, I never needed to know much about the authorizer functionality until I tried building my own systems.  Are you aware of how far a range of versions a particular auth is good for?  I mean, is a 4.0 auth good through 4.3 or were there new ones for each major revision?
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 09:11:40 PM by MacOS Plus »

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2016, 07:27:44 AM »
Exactly, what I find so interesting about this method is reclaiming all authorizations that came with the original disk -thus effectively "creating" new auths to write to the floppy. If, aside from regaining the lost auths, we are able to properly save an image of the floppy and store both the primer authorized partition (main install) and the floppy on removable media we have probably found the "holy grail".

Regarding your question about authorizations working for different versions, I don't know for sure but given some were "paid" software upgrades (i.e. version 4) and some were simple software updates fixing bugs (i.e. version 4.0.1) it would make sense for a PT4.0 authorizer to work with a PT 4.0.1 installer.

I do know that PT3 auths do work for version 3.1 and 3.2 updates (this "application only" update was mailed out for free to registered owners, on a floppy with a black and white label). Now for instance, version 4.1 was major upgrade (24-bit) you had to pay for...so it would make sense for a PT4.0 auth *not* to run 4.1.

Having said this, all PACE protected versions of Pro Tools were stripped back in the day and can be found c*racked if you know where to look for (not available in the garden or here). I am talking about 3.0, 3.1, 3.1.1, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 4.0, 4.01 and the more easily obtainable 4.2, 4.3.1 (SPT) and PT5.

In my opinion the implementation of the 24-bit extension code (v4.1 onwards) was done in a hurry, when making a major change to available hardware (d24, original DSP) and had to be rethought mid-way through to make Pro Tools available to both Windows and Mac users. Thus, the hurried Pro Tools Mix and Mix DSP cards where designed, and rushed into production -the software had to be effectively rewritten and it would become PT5.

PT1-PT4 covers the 1991-1999 span and is, in my opinion again, the best itineration of the software. PT4 is undoubtedly the best version, 16-bit of course  :D PT 2.03 is limited but a real delight to use (love the colored tracks). Most of the albums I loved and considered reference were edited and released between 1991-1999. The 24-bit makeover was just capitalism pushing the industry forward, in spite of 16-bit being optimal for most things. Add that to major rewrites in all DAWs to be able to process 24-bit files, and it clearly represents the "peak". With 24-bit came dithering, or improper dithering most of the time, and that was it: PT started sounding like s*hit.

I've said it: 24-bit is a waste of time, money, space and considering the dynamic range of most mics/preamps unnecesary to say the least. A signal with 50-60db of DR -99% of sources) will be *better* represented in a 16-bit word length than in a 24-bit word length with a theoretical ceiling of over 130dB.

Now, if we are talking mixing that might be a different story -and mostly depends on the *difference* between the loudest and most silent parts of the recordings. Tracking for rock/drum&bass/pop/any conversational music at 24-bit is absurd. Now if I were recording a harp in a perfect environment it might make sense, if I want to preserve that dynamic range.

So now we offer 192Khz-24bit HD masters for download, while still keeping the 16-bit Redbook CD as master, yay! XD

My advice: Track in 16-bit, no plugs, edit properly in PT4 and mix in an SSL to a quality apogee 24-bit converter with propietary UV22 dithering and you see what I'm talking about :)


Offline DieHard

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2016, 11:51:38 AM »
Quote
Obviously, this immediately reminded me of our efforts at backing up with ASR to have a fully authorized backup install. Sorry guys, apparently this one had already been solved...almost 20 years ago xD And yes, it is much easier than the ASR method...

The ASR might be a long thread, but the end procedure was extremely easy... Creates the ASR Image... Restore the ASR Image... Difficult ?

Quote
...you can even use this method to backup to a CD-ROM if you keep the partition under 650mb.

That is very cool, but VST users kinda like being able to go PAST the 2 GB limit since the ASR method does all VSI authorizations and the large libraries that go with them, I used FWB the utility you are mentioning back in the day I am almost positive it peaks out at 2 GB... I could be wrong on that one, but please test a volume above 2 GB and do a Block by block copy. 

At any rate, this is awesome news for legacy Pro Tools users who are still dealing with plugins that are dependent on floppy authorizations.

A great find and another great method :)


The ASR

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2016, 01:12:30 PM »
Answering your questions DieHard:

Yes, it is easier than the ASR method in that no scripts are required. Both apps are doing the same really, a block-by-block copy inside an image. It's all quite simple actually :)

It is indeed great news for any user of software requiring floppy authorizations, if it only were the plugins...Pro Tools itself is dependent on an authorization and it's TDM mixer, as well as most professional software. For those of you using VST technology, it probably makes more sense using the ASR method. In any case, for you guys luckily it's just a matter of making things easier and not having to pop in so many CD's to authorise a new install. In our case, if we run out of auths we are locked out of the system -or forced to use a modified version of the program.

So huge news, yep!

For Pro Tools legacy users, and Opcode legacy users, and Logic legacy users and QuarkXpress legacy users....:D
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 01:35:04 PM by MusicWorks »

Offline MacTron

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 07:29:41 AM »
Thanks for sharing this info. Now people can choose between two procedures :) .

Both apps are doing the same really, a block-by-block copy inside an image. It's all quite simple actually :)

The ASR method is not a block copy at all. It can preserve hard disk based authorizations, because it copy some extra file info needed to this authorizations, (probably the files and folder IDs located in the B-tree)
Please don't PM about things that are not private.

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2016, 09:28:35 AM »
All data effectively stored on hard drives is stored in blocks. Thus, any clone of said data would be a process in which each block is copied, and "pasted" into the corresponding block on the image/backup. In technical terms, I believe they both are doing a block-by-block copy of the *upper-level* data for sure.

However, it's in the lower-level data where PACE authorizations are stored. This is why you will read that authorizations will survive regular drive erasure (anyone willing to try it out? xD). And this is also the reason why if that particular hard drive is partitioned, after authorizing only one of the partitions they will *both* appear as authorized for that particular software -in that they share the same lower-level data.

My guess is that the HDT hard disk drivers (those that are updated when initializing the boot drive) are stored in the lower level, as well as the index (B-tree) and partition information -alongside other information regarding hierarchical structure of files and folders.

- MusicWorks


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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2016, 10:07:13 AM »
  I guess the question is more whether or not the blocks have to fall in exactly the same location in an identical sector map and file table.  It would seem maybe not, just that a special process is required to read and duplicate hidden data which is stored in a way that wouldn't survive a basic file copy function.  So where exactly does this authorization data get stored and what form does it take?  What mechanism does it use to uniquely identify the host system, or does it really even do that much?

  One thing I do remember was common as a form of floppy disk copy protection was the intentional creation of a specific bad-block layout which was difficult to duplicate without special software that could do a low-level track-by-track copy as well as recreate the bad-block layout exactly.  I wonder if it would be possible, and even maybe easier, to use such a method with DOS on a PC, whether or not the disk uses a bad-block scheme?  In this case, the PC doesn't need to need to know how to interpret the content of the data - it is about as simple and blind a brute-force method as is available.  Somewhere I had one of these programs around.  If I can find it or source out a download then I will try it out.

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2016, 12:20:36 PM »
If it's in the lower level it certainly isn't visible or accessible from the Mac OS finder, it is probably a very small file that acts as a key. Dongles preceded floppy-count authorizing, so in a way it could be like a "dongle dump". The same key that could be stored in an EEPROM inside the dongle (extremely small in size, of course) could be simply accessed as a lower-level file without extension and be read "raw" as a dongle would. It would probably rarely exceed 1-2kb in terms of it's size.


Considering the possibility of reclaiming lost disk authorizations, I have always wondered if each individual authorization could have a sort of single "identifier" not allowing this in any case. Thinking about it, and knowing the CD authorization process that replaced floppies all together I am almost 100% sure the authorization have no individual identifiers and are identical (i.e. if you came across an old hard drive with a PT authorization of a certain version and you had the floppy authorizer for it,  it would certaintly let you de-auth and reclaim that particular key.)

It makes sense considering the way floppy authorizer disks were duplicated -for each floppy to carry 3 unique keys, each time that particular floppy was being duplicated for distribution it would have needed to be randomized and it seems like too much of a hassle for 1996. If my theory is correct, all PT4.0 authorizations would be identical and reclaimable in any case. As well as all PT3.0 auths, and so forth....always with a matching floppy authorizer to reclaim them of course :)

Regarding the "bad sector" copy protection scheme you mention, ah! My beloved Cubase Audio 2.0 Master Disk is a golden example of how effective this copy protection is. Upon arrival the floppy had no auths left, but is in good used condition and still working (it runs the software if inside the drive naturally). I have tried duplicating the disc in countless occasions, from DiskCopy to obscure Disk-to-HD and Copy II for System 6 and tried pretty much EVERYTHING on the book...I never managed to duplicate the bad sector and copy the master floppy.

Considering Cubase Audio 2.0 already requires a dongle (!) to run -red one-, what good did it make adding an extra layer of protection? Dongle on the ADB port *and* master floppy disk/auth? Man, when I run that software it feels like I am accessing a top secret russian computer or something, or about to turn off the Internet with one of seven secret keys xD

I have been told that the only way to copy "bad sector" authorization floppies is with a Copy II PC card (and computer to run it). It was called "Copy II PC Option Board" if you want to look it up, it's basically a 1.44MB EEPROM on a card that stores an exact clone of the floppy (like RAM memory does) and is able to recreate bad sectors.

It's likely that MASTER images of said authorizer floppies exist somewhere, and were used for duplication -like a glass master is used to prep CD reproduction.That is probably in hands of Digidesign / Avid -if they still exist.

- MusicWorks



Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2016, 12:48:43 PM »
From the CopyIIPC Option Board manual:

"TC is used to create backups of nearly all copy-protected disks.“TC” stands for Transition Copier, which describes the nature of the Deluxe Option Board. In general terms, TC copies the magnetic transitions from one disk to another without looking for anything in particular. Because TC simply copies magnetic transitions from one disk to another, it is not too concerned with how those transitions are created or ordered. As such, it is a simple, but powerful type of copying  device, as it does not have to operate under the normal limitations of the standard disk circuitry. (If you  have Copy II PC, you will  already be familiar with
the concept of TC.)"

And this *must read* about forensic floppy images:

http://practicaltechnologyforarchives.org/issue2_waugh/

« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 12:59:24 PM by MusicWorks »

Offline GaryN

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2016, 06:05:38 PM »
This is the complete lowdown on the option board. Note that it works in an entirely different way than you thinků

Props to Mr Happy for his knowledge!

http://macos9lives.com/smforum/index.php?topic=2680.msg16400#msg16400

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2016, 08:48:35 PM »
  Ah, yes, Central Point.  I certainly remember using their PC Tools and Backup utilities waaaaaaay back in the day!  Since you mention CopyIIPC Option Board, currently on eBay I found one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Central-Point-Copy-2-PC-deluxe-option-board-ISA-card-Transcopy-/181980567155?hash=item2a5ee31673:g:DGYAAOSwPcVV24P0

  I don't think I'm willing to drop that much money on one for my own use, but someone else here might be interested enough.  Perhaps DieHard can dredge-up some memories of how useful this particular hardware/software revision might be?  It appears the chip reads "Transcopy 3" and the software is version 5.4.

  There's also a version 6 manual alone:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1990-COPY-II-PC-Version-6-Manual-by-Central-Point-Software-Inc-DOS-/222006432284?hash=item33b09d521c:g:BwsAAOSw5dNWpu9e

  It would be highly amusing to install such a thing in my ancient Turbo XT, although something slightly newer might be a better bet for reliably handling high-density disk drives where required.


Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2016, 03:02:02 AM »
Interesting read...so the PC Option board is essentially a floppy controller that can write low level -without the restrictions of regular floppy controllers. So cool, albeit a little pricey  :o

The more modern KryoFlux controller -described in the forensic imaging article- is about 100 EUR and works with USB. It's so interesting that this types of apps/controllers (BitCurator, KryoFlux...) are being developed now to preserve software by Universities and Libraries. It's rather ironic how we can access documents written 500 years ago, in the same manner we did 100 years ago, but are losing most of our "digital data" from the late 70s into the 90s...including software of course.

Back to the "monte method", I will try this out soon with a primer PT4 install as well as the authorization floppy duplication kit retrieved from the Opcode users website. Maybe we won't be needing those fancy controllers after all...at least for Digidesign floppies.

By the way, MacOS Plus, I am about to start going into PT4 -given I am upgrading now from my 2.03/3.2 combo and want to really master version 4. The manual is over 400 pages, and it doesn't seem very introductory at all -more like a huge index.

Any Pro Tools 4.0 tips & tricks you want to share with the group?  ;D


- MusicWorks






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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2016, 10:09:25 AM »
  It's been a while since I used it regularly.  I was using it for Film/TV Post exclusively so that might differ in the typical workflow of the users here.  That said, there are a few major things which stick in my mind that are 'pitfall avoidance' more so than 'tricks'.  Some of this may be common to earlier versions:

- Everyone learned quickly to frequently save their active session because the system was notorious for crashing with various, numbered DAE errors that didn't explain anything.  This is why I'm so concerned about determining the optimal combination of installed files for each program version - it's far too easy to create an unstable system when using a bad combination, particularly as it concerns the DAE version and the specifics of the host hardware/OS.  Getting a stable foundation system is probably the most important thing you can do.

- Having only one level of undo means you often have to make very careful editing decisions.  "Undo" quickly becomes your next best friend after "Save".  Of course a previous version user likely is used to this already.

- Fade files get 'lost' way too easily.  This can happen really any time, but was especially likely and dangerous if accessing the same audio files with a session copy and making any changes in the copy.  Given that the vast majority of our fades were only one frame in length it was very easy to not immediately notice where they were missing and time-consuming to locate and fix.

- If you work from an archive of existing source material, as in sound effects libraries like we often were, keep your folder structure as simple as is practical.  If you have to re-associate a session with files copied to new sound drives you have to go through a very time-consuming process of dialogs navigating through every folder branch to locate all the files.  Anything also in a particular branch folder will be found automatically at that point, but we had the archive divided up into hundreds of category folders/sub-folders that might potentially be in use in any particular session.  A session is unfortunately most 'at home' on one system with one drive.  Anything beyond that is a pain in the butt.  A single drive can quickly make defragmenting an important part of your routine.  One user I was supporting didn't know anything about defragmenting.  His system actually ground to a halt after a few months on project even though he was starting a new session and source files every two weeks.  The constant writing and erasing, mostly of fade files, would eventually slow down playback heavily even with a lot of free space remaining on the drive.

  Once I get a system up and running in 2016 I'm sure more will come back to me.  I'm bound to get frustrated by the version cut-off point for the Nubus hardware - I can build the most powerful TDM system from the Nubus hardware I have but will have to live with a permanent set of bugs and fewer features.  I want to ideally put 5.x on a system with my PCI hardware, but to ensure compatibility with the Nubus system I may have to enforce limits on what I can do in my 5.x sessions.

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2016, 02:40:05 PM »
Kudos for those PT 4 tips and tricks!  ;)

Had some time on my hands this weekend and I managed to fully test the Monte Method. It works!!!!!!!!!!


Here are my findings:


- The Monte Method correctly preserves the lower-level data with all authorizations.

- It also preserves the partition table, file catalog and all hierarchical information stored in the lower level,

- In my case, main partition starting block is "704" and the second partition starting block is 615104

- Lower level data is stored in blocks 0 to 704 with my formatting, alongside the partition table, etc.

- HDT 2.0 copies from block 0 to block N (to figure out N you need to find which is the starting block for the partition immediately after the one we want to backup -and substract 1. Again, in my case "N" was 615103) and stores it in a file.

- If you burn a CD-ROM that includes the System Folder, Hard Disk Toolkit 2.0 folder and the restore file you can boot from the drive by pressing "c" on boot -as you normally would -and it will allow you to store a bootable hard copy of your drive with all authorizations  *THE HOLY GRAIL*


Now, the things that didn't work as expected (sorry, no reclaimed auths):


- Individual authorizations have some sort of identifier making it impossible to reclaim auths (at least that goes for Digidesign...authorizations of Steinberg software *will* work according to the available docs). Tested software authorizer floppies: Pro Tools 4.0.1, Sound Designer 2.8, MasterList CD 2.1, Deck 2.61, Peak 2.03 and DIN-R 1.1.

- When trying to deauth it simply stated that the authorization was installed from another floppy and that if uninstalled it wouldn't increase the authorization count -clever bast*ards!  ;D


Ok, so for a second there I had mixed feelings...as I really thought I would be filling up all my floppies with lost auths. After a second though...I realized what it means to have a burned CD-ROM with all my auths.

This made my day!

 -afro-


- MusicWorks
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 02:58:21 PM by MusicWorks »

Offline GaryN

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2016, 04:28:11 PM »
Looks like you all are learning (re-learning?) what people found the limits to be back in the day. All of the bit-copy cloning strategies had the same limitation: They couldn't magically reclaim used-up authorizations. Some copy-protection schemes were simple and others were downright mind-boggling. But back then, your advantage was that you could still get a new floppy or CD clone it over and over and never have to actually figure out the "secret". Fast forward all the way to today and your stuck for lack of an unspoiled source to copy from or to compare to.

Offline Protools5LEGuy

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2016, 06:53:41 PM »
MusicWorks, ASR seem to be the method.

Thanks anyway for your deep test.

I only see a spot on older Mac OS were ASR could refuse to work (?)

Now I am thinking on using ASR to clone a PT Panther "virgin" of plugs  instead of using Carbon Copy Clonner as I used to.

I have an Audiomedia III that can run PT 4 not LE, but never tried. Probably has all the keycommands from TDM. I should try it.

Some TDM plugs non RTAS have an Audiosuite that runs on AM-3 (and Digi 001). Arboretum was one IIRC.
Looking for MacOS 9.2.4

Offline Protools5LEGuy

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2016, 06:54:49 PM »
Could you post an image of your authored drive to check it?
Looking for MacOS 9.2.4

Offline MacOS Plus

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2016, 09:25:49 PM »
  It's nice to know I have multiple routes to essentially boot my system from a duplicate drive because I'd feel far safer knowing I could always re-copy the image in the event of corruption or disk failure.  If I could install the 'master copy' on an SSD or other form of non-magnetic/non-mechanical media I'd feel an even greater sense of security in the integrity of the original.

Now, the things that didn't work as expected (sorry, no reclaimed auths):

- Individual authorizations have some sort of identifier making it impossible to reclaim auths (at least that goes for Digidesign...authorizations of Steinberg software *will* work according to the available docs). Tested software authorizer floppies: Pro Tools 4.0.1, Sound Designer 2.8, MasterList CD 2.1, Deck 2.61, Peak 2.03 and DIN-R 1.1.

- When trying to deauth it simply stated that the authorization was installed from another floppy and that if uninstalled it wouldn't increase the authorization count -clever bast*ards!  ;D

  I guess Digidesign didn't care about the implications of a damaged authorization source disk, forever locking your particular auth in place in the system even if you wanted to be able to move it to another system.  (Was this the purpose of the "Authorization Backup Disk", to give you a second chance?)  Does this really mean you had to keep track of which particular disk(s) was used to authorize which particular system?  This could get extraordinarily confusing in a large facility, like I was working in, where systems required authorization from multiple disks for all installed features.  You'd have to number all your disks and keep a careful log.

  I'm not certain if you're implying a disk with unused authorizations cannot be replicated, effectively multiplying your pool of available auths?  Did Digi's applications snoop around your network to check for the existence of duplicate auth serial numbers in the event that someone actually managed to pull this off?

Offline MusicWorks

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2016, 05:27:55 AM »
Quote
It's nice to know I have multiple routes to essentially boot my system from a duplicate drive because I'd feel far safer knowing I could always re-copy the image in the event of corruption or disk failure.  If I could install the 'master copy' on an SSD or other form of non-magnetic/non-mechanical media I'd feel an even greater sense of security in the integrity of the original.

Yep, it definitively offers peace of mind having an image you can restore in 10 minutes. Now, making the bootable CD is not always an easy task in Toast 3.5.x -specially if you have one of the "problematic" drives like my lovely Teac R55S. It is a great burner, but a bit finicky with Toast. Other models, like some Yamaha's, don't have this compatibility issues. However, a proper burn of the restore file generated by HDT will always be restorable (be it from a bootable CD or an external drive with a System folder and the required software.

I have also gone through the SSD-non mechanical/moving parts- logic regarding hard drive durability and stability -my conclusions are far from what this logic offered in the first place. Magnetic technology is extremely mature, with almost a century of development -not only hard drives of course, but also tape-based storage systems available since the late 60s/early 70s. For instance, the 20MB hard drive in my dads 22 year old (!) PowerBook 145B is alive and kicking and has properly stored all it's files since 93.

SSD technology is not mature enough in my opinion, and most reasonably priced options (that becomes affordable over time) usually don't have the quality components required for long term stability of these drives. Also, in the event of data corruption or damage absolutely no information will be recovered from a flash drive -whereas plates of a dissembled HDD will always be partly accessible.

I basically threw out my Transcend SSD and opted for Samsung Spinpoint 5400RPM drives if possible. For the older 7100/8100 I certainly recommend the Apple branded Quantum Fireball 1.2GB drive. If it's one of the good ones it will last forever.

Please note the MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of SSDs is still considerably lower than high-grade magnetic HDs.

Quote
I guess Digidesign didn't care about the implications of a damaged authorization source disk, forever locking your particular auth in place in the system even if you wanted to be able to move it to another system.  (Was this the purpose of the "Authorization Backup Disk", to give you a second chance?)

From what I have read in the forums, Digidesign was never quite fond of replacing floppy authorization disks, but where of course required to during the time in which these versions were supported. They were usually quite fast in removing support for older versions. This is probably the reason why the "Authorization Backup" floppies came around at about 3.1. Basically they included extra auths for the system, in a separate floppy with black and white labelling (instead of the color labels in the main install disks, that included auths). I am not aware of v4.0 onwards including any backup disks -please do correct me if I'm wrong.

Masterlist CD -Digidesign approved Red Book CD mastering creation software- also included said backup authorization disks starting from version 2.0 as well as DIN-R 1.0-1.1 onwards.

Quote
Does this really mean you had to keep track of which particular disk(s) was used to authorize which particular system?  This could get extraordinarily confusing in a large facility, like I was working in, where systems required authorization from multiple disks for all installed features.  You'd have to number all your disks and keep a careful log.

Indeed yes, you had to keep track of all disks/particular system they were installed onto -because the authorizing setup will spit out the disk if it's not the proper authorizer floppy. This also applies to the Backup floppies, it will know if that particular auth written to disk was authorized with other disk and spit it out requesting the proper floppy. A bit confusing, but doable considering each Pro Tools editing suite required just one auth (PT auth + TDM auth)

Quote
I'm not certain if you're implying a disk with unused authorizations cannot be replicated, effectively multiplying your pool of available auths?  Did Digi's applications snoop around your network to check for the existence of duplicate auth serial numbers in the event that someone actually managed to pull this off?

In my findings, each particular authorization key written to disk is individually identified and an exact clone of the authorization floppy will *not* de-authorize an existing auth. The authorization process indicates that it was authorized with another floppy. My guess is that the floppy disk already knows that particular key had already been rewritten to the floppy and deauthed from the hard disk.

So, no retrieving lost authorizations. We would need to locate the original hard drive(s) to which the missing authorizations were written and deauth those drives. Even if you managed to find them, the probability of them still having those auths is slim (probably formatted at some point)

By the way, I have been testing Mac OS 8.6 on a primer install and it works great! No problem using the authorizers, installation went smooth and I can be almost 100% certain PT4.0 will work like a charm. The main difference is the software versions needed for 8.6. That would be Drive Setup 1.73, Hard Disk Toolkit 4.5.2, Norton Utilities 4.0, Toast 3.5.7 and Stuffit Deluxe 5.1.

Same process, same order!

Best,

- MusicWorks


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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2016, 08:21:14 AM »
I basically threw out my Transcend SSD and opted for Samsung Spinpoint 5400RPM drives if possible. For the older 7100/8100 I certainly recommend the Apple branded Quantum Fireball 1.2GB drive. If it's one of the good ones it will last forever.

Please note the MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of SSDs is still considerably lower than high-grade magnetic HDs.

  To clarify, I only meant that I would build a first install on an SSD, duplicate it and then run the working copy (copies) on magnetic drives.  The SSD then becomes the backup and remains unused, removing the concern about MTBF.  Additionally, the working media could be additional SSDs or even flash drives with adapters, and I would treat these as disposable.  I have plenty enough PATA SSDs at my disposal that I don't care if they fail if they are actually a duplicate of the original drive image.

  I've had bad luck with compatibility when using the Transcend-branded PATA drives.  Most Powerbooks had major issues, including my Pismo that refused to even start up to the point of turning on the screen.  My TiBooks would get all the way through an OSX install, then on the first or second boot crash and corrupt the partition beyond recovery and recognition.  It's no surprise you got rid of yours.  Oddly, in my Quicksilver I have one of these Transcend PATA through a SATA converter to a PCI card and it's worked flawlessly for years under OSX and OS9.  I had two of these in a RAID mirror on what had been my primary PC running Windows 2000 for many years, and the boot partition at that.  There were occasional problems but it was always the fault of the lousy Intel RAID variant on that particular motherboard.  Every so often the controller would flag one or the other drive as bad.  After wiping the offending drive and putting it back in, the controller would always successfully rebuild the mirror and continue on like nothing had happened.  This was a known problem across a number of Intel controllers.

  I have otherwise very happily and successfully been using slightly more recent Kingspec PATA SSDs on all platforms without any issues whatsoever.  They are clearly a better-designed product, at least from a legacy ATA mode standpoint.  I am very curious to get hold of an IDE-to-SCSI or SATA-to-SCSI adapter to test on the older machines with the built-in SCSI so that I have more options for connecting drives to the 50-pin busses.  I am especially interested to see if such a thing would play ball with the pickier Digi or Sonic busses.

Quote
I am not aware of v4.0 onwards including any backup disks -please do correct me if I'm wrong.

  My only such disk is labelled "Version 4.0, 4.1, 4.1.1" and it came along with its primary disk mate.

Quote
In my findings, each particular authorization key written to disk is individually identified and an exact clone of the authorization floppy will *not* de-authorize an existing auth. The authorization process indicates that it was authorized with another floppy. My guess is that the floppy disk already knows that particular key had already been rewritten to the floppy and deauthed from the hard disk.

So, no retrieving lost authorizations. We would need to locate the original hard drive(s) to which the missing authorizations were written and deauth those drives. Even if you managed to find them, the probability of them still having those auths is slim (probably formatted at some point)

  I wasn't referring to recovering used auths - I meant taking a floppy that still has the original auth(s) on it or remaining and duplicating it BEFORE authorizing any system.  If the floppy can be cloned at the beginning stage, and there's no way multiple systems authorized from exact duplicate floppies with the same duplicated auth instance have any way to interact with each other on a network (if it was capable of that kind of snooping anyway), then replicated original auths shouldn't be an issue.  You could even test this by taking two duplicate copies, authorizing two systems networked together, and then see if they wreck one-another.  Your original would still be intact because you only tested using multiple duplicate floppies.  It's kinda like I said about the SSDs - You make an original but only work from a duplicate in order to preserve the integrity of the original media.  Why bother backing up a master install and storing the copy when you can make the master install itself the backup and work from a copy?  You can still make a CD copy (or other backup storage media) for redundancy.  I would personally go so far as to make multiple copies of the CD.  There's also something now called an M-Disk with a claimed 1000-year-plus lifespan, based around the DVD/Blu-ray format.  Some of my existing Mac archives originally burned to CDs and DVDs are now being duplicated on a modern-day machine to M-Disks.  I'm considering restoring all my Exabyte tapes, backing up the contents to new optical media, and then duplicating the new backups to M-Disk.

Quote
By the way, I have been testing Mac OS 8.6 on a primer install and it works great! No problem using the authorizers, installation went smooth and I can be almost 100% certain PT4.0 will work like a charm. The main difference is the software versions needed for 8.6. That would be Drive Setup 1.73, Hard Disk Toolkit 4.5.2, Norton Utilities 4.0, Toast 3.5.7 and Stuffit Deluxe 5.1.

Same process, same order!

  This is very good to hear!  The PowerPC ECI card I bought from eBay just arrived in the mail, so I'll have a test system of a few cards up and running in the nubus expansion chassis hopefully early next week when I have some time.

Offline MacOS Plus

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2016, 09:38:59 AM »
  I began corralling all the parts for the 9150/120 test system this morning.  I'm re-discovering just what a bloat of parts I really have lying around, like enough to sink a ship.  It's really time for me to get organized again!

  There are so many nubus-PDS upgrade processors I don't even know what they all are.  (I once bought a box of something like 20 of them off eBay, in addition to what I've picked up individually.)  I feel silly now because it turns out I actually DO have a 300MHz Newertech with the video cable, I just got confused by the other two 300MHz's that don't.  I'd already actually elegantly solved the problem of the cable direction in the 9150.  The Newertech's cable joins to a 6100 PDS pass-through board which corrects the aim by the remaining 90 degrees without heavily stressing the Newertech cable, which only does a reverse 90 degrees from its normal config.  The pass-through board is still mounted to its 6100 support frame which then secures and protects the PDS video card.  The backplate on the Newertech processor was replaced with one taken off an unused PDS AV video card so that it would have an opening to mount the monitor port extension.  I built my own extensions by taking a PC game port extension ribbon cable which has a DB-15 female (had many spares), cutting off the internal header, and then adding a crimp-on DB-15 male for the PDS card end.  At some point I will fabricate a metal brace to tie the metal frame of the 6100 PDS angle-brace to the frame of the power supply.  If this sounds confusing, don't worry, I'll eventually post photos.

  I was wondering about supported CD burners under particular versions of Toast.  A lot of the older 4x-write max drives can have issues consistently writing without errors to the currently available high-speed-write-optimized media.  I have a Yamaha 8/4/24 SCSI drive that I used to use on a PC.  Is this supported under those Toast versions?

Offline Syntho

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Re: The Monte Method
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2016, 01:17:36 AM »
So basically, using ASR won't preserve my PT key disk authorizations, but using the Monte method with FWB will?