The ALTANE software communicates with the hardware through a USB virtual serial port, using an FTDI chip. For modern operating systems the driver may be installed automatically by your operating system. Users of Linux may use the open source FTDI driver. If it isn't automatically installed, please go to the FTDI driver page and download the VCP driver corresponding to your operating system.
In Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and 10.10 (Yosemite) Apple decided to add their own, buggy FTDI driver, which causes problems for ALTANE and many other devices using FTDI chips. You need to apply a workaround to install FTDI's own driver, which is described here.
The software that communicates with the ALTANE hardware is written in Python, but comes as a native Windows and Mac OS X executable, so no installation (apart from possibly the FTDI driver) is necessary. Currently, the software is in the beta stage, and preorder customers will receive a link to it via e-mail.
A brand new, almost completely rewritten, version of the software with a lot of bug fixes will soon be released. Stay tuned!
Download and unzip the zip file corresponding to your operating system. Plug in the flasher with a micro USB cord. Run altane.exe (Windows) or ALTANE.app (Mac OS X). If you never get past this dialog box, you need to install the FTDI VCP driver, as described above.
When the application is running it will look like this:
The cartridge settings lets you manually select properties of the cartridge, such as the ROM and RAM size. The topmost dropdown box fills in the other ones from a number of presets. Normally, you can leave everything set to auto. LSDj users may want to set the RAM size to 128 kB when backing up save data, in case the automatic detection fails for whatever reason.
Detect cartridge runs a test on the cartridge to find out what type of cartridge it is. This test is run automatically to fill in the values on the left when you click any of the ROM/SRAM buttons. Normally you don't need to use this button unless you swap cartridges while the application is running.
Dump ROM lets you copy software from a cartridge to your computer. Flash ROM lets you write software to a supported flash cartridge. Back up/write SRAM read/writes save data from/to the cartridge. GB camera export lets convert pictures from a Gameboy Camera.
Each new version of the ALTANE application includes any new firmware updates it needs. Firmware updating is automatic, and you don't need to perform any separate firmware update process.