Back in the Apple // game

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I worked at Apple as a programmer from 1986 through 1989; but was entirely involved with Macintosh software (I'm the author of MacPaint 2.0). The Apple II systems were still around, of course, but weren't considered as exciting as the still-new Macs, especially since when I joined Apple was in the process of finalizing the Mac II design, which would bring the Apple II virtues of color and expandability to the Mac.

(Out in the garage, I still have my prototype of Rich Page's "Big Mac", the alternate Mac II design that didn't make it. Basically it was a big fast Mac Plus-- no slots, but equipped with a 68020 and 16 DIMM sockets. I used it to write MacPaint 2 since the Mac II prototypes were flakey at that point. I should probably get rid of the damn thing.)

Still, prior to my working for Apple, I had owned several Apple IIs (and even an Apple ///) and done a fair bit of BASIC, assembly, and Pascal programming. Now retired, I find myself consumed with a nostalgia for these old machines, so I bought some stuff on eBay...

The first to arrive was a "junk" //e in what I think of as the "//e Platinum" case, although it's beige. It has the enhanced CPU and ROMs (were probably standard at that point), and was in surprisingly good shape for $52...as long as you don't include "being clean" in the definition. I spent some hours disassembling and cleaning it and despite some corrosion on a couple of chips (which I cleaned off as best I was able) and substantial amounts of rust on the external connectors, it seems to work perfectly, except for a dead left shift key. (replacement key switches already ordered).

It has the Apple 80 column card, which I believe was standard in these machines, and a Disk II controller (can't test, no drives) and a Super Serial card, which I expect to be of limited use.

I never owned or did any programming with a IIe, so its extra capabilities are interesting. Of course as of yet I have no manuals (or monitor, or disk drives, but they're coming), so I've been trolling online to discover how to use 80 column mode, double hires graphics, and whatnot.

I have a Dell Ultrasharp 27" flat panel with a composite video input, although it won't display anything from this machine. My Sony TV, though, handles this task with no problem. I take it the composite output of these old machines is just something modern monitors can't handle?

What I'd like to do now is build a software library. Back in my Apple II days I was buds with Bob Sander-Cederlof of S-C Assembler fame (Dallas Apple Corps, late 1970s-early 1980s), but oddly enough he no longer has any copies of it. I understand there was software repositories online and methods to download and somehow transfer this stuff to our old machines, and I'll be investigating that, although any tips you have would be appreciated.

That's all for now...just wanted to say hi.

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magnusfalkirk's picture
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Re: Back in the Apple // game

dramsey wrote:

I worked at Apple as a programmer from 1986 through 1989; but was entirely involved with Macintosh software (I'm the author of MacPaint 2.0). The Apple II systems were still around, of course, but weren't considered as exciting as the still-new Macs, especially since when I joined Apple was in the process of finalizing the Mac II design, which would bring the Apple II virtues of color and expandability to the Mac.

(Out in the garage, I still have my prototype of Rich Page's "Big Mac", the alternate Mac II design that didn't make it. Basically it was a big fast Mac Plus-- no slots, but equipped with a 68020 and 16 DIMM sockets. I used it to write MacPaint 2 since the Mac II prototypes were flakey at that point. I should probably get rid of the damn thing.)

Still, prior to my working for Apple, I had owned several Apple IIs (and even an Apple ///) and done a fair bit of BASIC, assembly, and Pascal programming. Now retired, I find myself consumed with a nostalgia for these old machines, so I bought some stuff on eBay...

The first to arrive was a "junk" //e in what I think of as the "//e Platinum" case, although it's beige. It has the enhanced CPU and ROMs (were probably standard at that point), and was in surprisingly good shape for $52...as long as you don't include "being clean" in the definition. I spent some hours disassembling and cleaning it and despite some corrosion on a couple of chips (which I cleaned off as best I was able) and substantial amounts of rust on the external connectors, it seems to work perfectly, except for a dead left shift key. (replacement key switches already ordered).

It has the Apple 80 column card, which I believe was standard in these machines, and a Disk II controller (can't test, no drives) and a Super Serial card, which I expect to be of limited use.

I never owned or did any programming with a IIe, so its extra capabilities are interesting. Of course as of yet I have no manuals (or monitor, or disk drives, but they're coming), so I've been trolling online to discover how to use 80 column mode, double hires graphics, and whatnot.

I have a Dell Ultrasharp 27" flat panel with a composite video input, although it won't display anything from this machine. My Sony TV, though, handles this task with no problem. I take it the composite output of these old machines is just something modern monitors can't handle?

What I'd like to do now is build a software library. Back in my Apple II days I was buds with Bob Sander-Cederlof of S-C Assembler fame (Dallas Apple Corps, late 1970s-early 1980s), but oddly enough he no longer has any copies of it. I understand there was software repositories online and methods to download and somehow transfer this stuff to our old machines, and I'll be investigating that, although any tips you have would be appreciated.

That's all for now...just wanted to say hi.

Welcome back to the wonderful world of the Apple II. Actually the Super Serial Card will be very useful. With it and ADTPro, that you can download from here: http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/ , you'll be able to transfer disk images of Apple II software back to your Apple II to run on the real hardware. You might also be interested in this: http://dreher.net/?s=projects/CFforAppleII&c=projects/CFforAppleII/main.php it will let you use disk images on your Apple II without the need for disk drives. As far as getting disk images for your Apple II this is a great place to download them from: ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/. Again welcome back to the Apple Ii world.

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

dramsey wrote:

It has [...] a Disk II controller (can't test, no drives)

I'm guessing you'll want one or two of those. Wink

dramsey wrote:

and a Super Serial card, which I expect to be of limited use.

I think you'll be surprised what you can do with one of those these days.

dramsey wrote:

I have a Dell Ultrasharp 27" flat panel with a composite video input, although it won't display anything from this machine. My Sony TV, though, handles this task with no problem. I take it the composite output of these old machines is just something modern monitors can't handle?

Only a modern computer-specific monitor will lack composite input. Only something like that would expect HDMI or component and forsake the lowly composite in. Of course, you will see varying fidelity to the NTSC standard in varying models in the Apple II line. In general, as the years wore on, your old employer got better at it. My original II, for example, looks horrible on a modern flat panel - wavy, fades in and out, color bleeding and fringing all over the place. The IIc+, however, puts up a rock-solid image.

dramsey wrote:

What I'd like to do now is build a software library.

You'll need some way to run that software on your II of choice, then. Floppies, or one of the modern adapters that use Compact Flash cards for storage. There's also some serial-based storage options (VSDrive, A2GameServer).

dramsey wrote:

Back in my Apple II days I was buds with Bob Sander-Cederlof of S-C Assembler fame (Dallas Apple Corps, late 1970s-early 1980s), but oddly enough he no longer has any copies of it.

http://www.txbobsc.com/aal/ is just one such source.

dramsey wrote:

I understand there was software repositories online and methods to download and somehow transfer this stuff to our old machines, and I'll be investigating that, although any tips you have would be appreciated.

Give ADTPro a look.

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Joined: Feb 17 2013
Posts: 149
Re: Back in the Apple // game

Yeah, I just found out about ADTPro. In my spare time I write PC hardware reviews for a web site, which means my garage is full of the very latests and bestest CPUs, motherboards, cases, and video cards.

Of course none of these motherboards has anything as retro as a serial port on it. Maybe a USB-serial converter could be made to work? Hm, using this thing called "Google", I see that it will. Off to order more hardware...

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

david__schmidt wrote:

You'll need some way to run that software on your II of choice, then. Floppies, or one of the modern adapters that use Compact Flash cards for storage. There's also some serial-based storage options (VSDrive, A2GameServer).

Oh, this was the junk Apple //e I was planning to have around for spare parts (my previous decades-long passion for collecting old HP calculators has taught me that parts machines are always handy.) I didn't expect it to work as well as it did.

Another //e with a monitor and Duo Drive should be arriving in a few days. I already have some 5.25" floppies hanging around since some of the old HP desktop machines use them (and mag cards, and audio tape cassettes, and DC100/QIC tapes...)

speedyG's picture
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Re: Back in the Apple // game

Welcome in the community,
you probably have found some stuff about the so called "Apple Web Ring" - with several mirrors online...
the basic entrypoint is :
http://mirrors.apple2.org.za/
it´s rather better to use this link, because it does not only provide you with the access to asimov, but further more also to the Apple Documentation Center.....
There are lots of books and manuals as well as circuitplans availiablr for download....
other mirrors contain more specific infos on "special topics" ....
and if you still have an Apple 1, then you probably should also checkout the forum in here too...
sincerely speedyG

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Posts: 356
Re: Back in the Apple // game

Check out www.a2central.com for news and links to the greater Apple II community. There is enough content out there to keep new people busy for a very long time.

mmphosis's picture
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Re: Back in the Apple // game

Check out hoop-la.ca/apple2

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Re: Back in the Apple // game
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Posts: 149
Re: Back in the Apple // game

Thanks for the links, everyone. I just finished rebuilding the shattered "tilt frame" of my Monitor II and am now rocking 80s style!

Wait, there's a ProDOS 2.x and I don't have it? Damn!

mmphosis's picture
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Re: Back in the Apple // game

I found some stories by David Ramsey over at folklore.org

speedyG's picture
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Re: Back in the Apple // game

dramsey wrote:

Thanks for the links, everyone. I just finished rebuilding the shattered "tilt frame" of my Monitor II and am now rocking 80s style!

Wait, there's a ProDOS 2.x and I don't have it? Damn!

Hello,
if you have inspected my links above you can get it.....
from mirrors entry choose:
ftp:\\apple.asimov.net\
from there choose:
images/
then choose:
masters/
and then choose:
prodos/
and to download image choose:
prodos_2_0_3.dsk 140k
then toss it with ADT from the PC or Mac to the diskdrive connected to the apple II and you´ll have the bootdisk !
the ADT should be picked up from:
http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/
sincerely speedyG

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the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

mmphosis wrote:

I found some stories by David Ramsey over at folklore.org

Yeah, that's me. I wish Andy had kept Folklore running, but apparently he thinks his time is better spent giving CPR to Google Plus.

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

dramsey wrote:

Yeah, that's me. I wish Andy had kept Folklore running, but apparently he thinks his time is better spent giving CPR to Google Plus.

That comment just made my day. Welcome back, you will find a pretty vibrant community in the old 8 bit world (and many of us also have an unnatural affinity for RPN calculators, too).

Dave...

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

dramsey wrote:

...giving CPR to Google Plus

Someone has to love it.

resman wrote:

(and many of us also have an unnatural affinity for RPN calculators, too).

Only the weird ones. But you will find that most of us are actually named 'Dave.'

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

david__schmidt wrote:

Only the weird ones. But you will find that most of us are actually named 'Dave.'

Which is why, when I use my name, I just enter my first initial D. Smile

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

david__schmidt wrote:
dramsey wrote:

...giving CPR to Google Plus

Someone has to love it.

resman wrote:

(and many of us also have an unnatural affinity for RPN calculators, too).

Only the weird ones. But you will find that most of us are actually named 'Dave.'

OK.. OK...
I will come "clean"...

I own an HP 48G as well as a TI-85 and my Middle name is "David".... Named after my father...

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

MarkO wrote:

OK.. OK...
I will come "clean"...

I own an HP 48G as well as a TI-85 and my Middle name is "David".... Named after my father...

Well, I own...um, let's see...all of them. The scientific handhelds, that is.

Yep. Every single one. Including all four variants of the HP-35.

Amazing what 30 years of collecting will gather one...hopefully I will not have this same degree of fanaticism with Apple II stuff. I don't have the room!

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

David,

I don't have much room left myself. lol
I guess I'm going to have to slow to a crawl.

Steven Smile

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Re: Back in the Apple // game

Wait I'm not named Dave and I have 3 variants of the HP35 including a red dot. So what does that say about me!!! LOL

Actually my favorite HP calculator is my 28S. I like being able to see the "stack" and love the fold over form factor. But if my 28S isn't near by I will grab one of the HP 35 as long as I don't do a ln(2.02) I'm cool. Wink Then again I worked at HP and could never see using a calculator by some two letter company that starts with the name of a state that borders Mexico.

Seriously welcome to AppleFritter. I think you'll love messing about on the II series. There is something about trying to make a 48k/64k machine do stuff that we could only think of in today's day of "gigabyte" smartphones that is very fun. Like solving a puzzle or unlocking a code.

I really had fun when I was doing the Apple-1 ASCII graphics lunar lander fitting it and audio routines into 4k of space.

BTW, I think you will find a few former Apple employees here who you may have worked with and I'm sure they will reach out to say Hi soon enough.

I did enjoy reading your "support" story on folklore a while ago. I thought it was exactly the mindset of a technical guy vs a management guy on how things like "blame" can be interpreted. I still want to know if the rubber bands on the ram chips was an official field fix when a 3rd party repair center runs out of duct tape. LOL...

Cheers,
Corey