An introduction and a question

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Joined: Mar 24 2016
Posts: 15

Greetings!

First off, I would like to apologize if this is not the place for these type of introductions or questions.

Secondly, I would like to introduce myself. I am a computer science major who has a fascination with old technology of many forms. I have never actually used a computer that is pre-Windows 98, but have gained an interest in old Apple type computers recently. I have played around with, and have written a couple small programs in Applesoft BASIC, which has proved a little difficult to learn due to the oversaturation of Visual Basic information. While researching Apple II information, I came across this site, and enjoyed reading multiple threads, and enjoyed the community. I hope to be active here, and get to know you all better.

Lastly, I would like to ask a couple questions. In my pursuit for an Apple II, I have found an ebay listing that looks promising here. Does that seem like a good price for the bundle? If not, should I just wait for a better deal to arise or should I start searching local flee markets?

Cheers, Van

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Offline
Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 832
Re: An introduction and a question

Hello,
This is not a bad price for a bundle like this (Apple ][+ and green monitor). However an enhanced IIe (//e) looks very similar but has better programming opportunities (with a bigger instruction set in the 65c02 processor versus the ][+ 6502), the possibility of having upper AND lower case text, 40 OR 80 column text, and an expanded character set with "mouse text." Also, the newer the machine the longer lasting it's going to be. I would opt for a //e with the extended keyboard (9-keypad) built in. These were the last of these machines, the newest, and the most durable with the smallest number of IC chips, so the coolest running. But the lastest //e does have a bigger footprint and a slightly different color, so there's some personal preference choices to consider. Also, if you get a color CRT TV (they're giving them away on Craigslist) with an RCA video input that can be your monitor, and you can take advantage of the color output features. If you go that route a 13"-19" is a good size. The monitor in the ad that you linked has a 13" screen (about, if my memory is correct).

speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2406
Re: An introduction and a question

Hello VanguardFed,
welcome to the community.
The reasons explained above might not be that important to your choice,
but there are other reasons that might be 5 cents worth to think about:
At the //e the fact that it had with it´s 80col. card additional 64 kB
memory enabled that computer to make graphics handling more easy and far
better than it was availiable at the II+. The additional capabilaty of
offering additional Hires Pages and Double Hires enabled a big leap for games....
sincerely
speedyG

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6502enhanced's picture
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Joined: Feb 23 2006
Posts: 252
Re: An introduction and a question

Welcome!
At least you will want to have both- A IIe and A II or II+ - both machines do have their own great atmosphere...

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Joined: Apr 6 2009
Posts: 12
Re: An introduction and a question

I can't quite tell if your interest is more for the programming or for the hardware.

From a collector's perspective, the II+ is probably the most popular.

From a programmers perspective just to try a hand at writing software, there are lots of good emulators. Applewin will give the Apple II+, IIe and enhanced IIe capabilities, and Active GS gives the best IIGS capabilities.

From a hardware perspective, the IIGS is 99% backward compatible for both hardware and software and has the best future enhancements and capabilities. Recently, a uthernet card, ram cards, processor cards, an ApplePi card, were recently still available for purchase and the IIGS can be the cheapest for a complete system. Plus it has the 16-bit processor which allows for progamming on a new level and a multitude of games and programs that take advantage of the 16-bit processor, extra colors (up to 4096), sound capabilities and speed.

But for that authentic feel the real deal can only offer that.

Welcome to the community
Rob

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Joined: Mar 24 2016
Posts: 15
Re: An introduction and a question

Thank you all for your input.
I think I will stick with the Apple ][ + after pondering over all your replies.
I am doing this mostly as a collector, as well as to code some simple programs on when I have an idea for something that would be cool to see on an old computer. Another thing is that I am prioritizing age over usage quality, I wanted to keep it around as a relic of how home computers and programming were like as it first entered the mainstream. As for the 80 columns, isn't it possible to add it with a card in the Apple ][ +? I believe I have found a couple on eBay for below $10. I also like the green monitor, as it also displays the qualities I am looking for. I also believe that my parents have a CRT TV laying around somewhere that they wouldn't mind me taking. I have looked around eBay for Apple //e listings, and I prefer the listing I posted above over most of them as far as all the devices that come with it and the pricing. Seeing as the auction ends tomorrow hopefully I can snag it in time, and I will have it up and running before the end of next month after a thorough cleaning and examination!

Edit: It actually seems that the Apple ][ + in that listing has an 80 column graphics card already installed, along with a 1 MEG Ramfactor expansion card, and a Grappler+ card.

speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2406
Re: An introduction and a question

Remark to your posting:
about the Videc 80 col card:
the 80 column card in slot 3 is similar to Videx 80 col card and that cards
had only very limited abilities for use with graphics ( only drawing borderlines
at menu with special characters from character ROM )....
this card has it´s own RAM memory to display 80 column mode text,
it doesn´t use the RAM from the mainboard.

Only graphics possible at the II or II+ is LowRes in 40 col. mode !

about the RAMfactor card:
Even the RAMcard only may be used for storage or as RAMdisk but not for Graphics !

This is caused by the fact that at the II+ the regular RAM adressing was limited to
only 64 kB and RAM above that limit was only accessable by "bank switching" ( each bank only 16 kB )
and showing additional RAM in adressing range of top 16 kB.

sincerely speedyG

Updated this posting by "subtitles" to display what info belongs to which card....
sorry for the confusion it caused...

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Joined: Mar 24 2016
Posts: 15
Re: An introduction and a question

I have determined that it is a Videx Videoterm, manual to be found here.
If I understand you correctly, you are saying that due to the low amount of RAM that is accessible immediately to the system for reading and writing is too small to display 80 characters?
If I am misunderstanding feel free to correct me, the manual seems to suggest that it would work with any Apple II or Apple II Plus?
I apologize for my lack of knowledge on the technical hardware aspects, but I am learning! Laughing out loud

I also found some memory modules for the Ramfactor card for under $20 that I could get to fill the Ramfactor card. Would it be worth it? What would it allow me to do?

Dog Cow's picture
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Joined: Dec 11 2008
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Re: An introduction and a question

VanguardFed wrote:

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that due to the low amount of RAM that is accessible immediately to the system for reading and writing is too small to display 80 characters?

No, that's not what he is saying. If you get the VideoTerm card then you can display 80 columns text. That's it.

He's running two different things together, and that's where you're getting confused.

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Joined: Mar 24 2016
Posts: 15
Re: An introduction and a question

Ok. Thank you for clearing that up, I am sorry for getting confused.

For my learning's sake, it was meant that the graphics card boosts the Apple II Plus's capabilities, allowing it to display 80 characters a line, while the Ramfactor card expands the memory, but cannot be used as a graphics card due to the architecture of the system? I do apologize for my lack of knowledge, I ask questions in order to learn.

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Joined: Oct 4 2005
Posts: 2616
Re: An introduction and a question

VanguardFed,

Welcome to the Land of the "Fritter Critters"!

You will find a wealth of information,
advice, and great folks here.

Steven Smile

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"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

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Joined: Mar 24 2016
Posts: 15
Re: An introduction and a question

Unfortunately, I lost the auction. Someone bid to $261, on the lookout for another deal now. My ideal is an Apple II Plus with an Apple Monitor III. Seems these aren't too hard to find, so I guess I will keep up my search.

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Joined: Jun 5 2008
Posts: 381
Re: An introduction and a question

I'm late to this thread, but I would strongly recommend a IIe over a IIplus for an entry level retro computer. Depending upon the vintage and random luck, the IIplus you end up with, can turn out to be extremely unreliable due to number of cheap sockets used in its construction. IIe's have fewer sockets and tend to be more reliable. They are also less expensive.

Regards,
Mike Willegal

Dog Cow's picture
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Re: An introduction and a question

Mike WIllegal wrote:

I'm late to this thread, but I would strongly recommend a IIe over a IIplus for an entry level retro computer. Depending upon the vintage and random luck, the IIplus you end up with, can turn out to be extremely unreliable due to number of cheap sockets used in its construction. IIe's have fewer sockets and tend to be more reliable. They are also less expensive.

Regards,
Mike Willegal

That's a good point and I'll echo it with my personal experience: every pre-IIe machine I've gotten has required some repair: to the keyboard, to reseating ICs, and other minor matters. An integer Apple II I had needed to have several points resoldered to restore operation of the keyboard.

The IIe, IIc, and IIgs machines are quite reliable. I've got a platinum IIe that I've been using for over 2 years now that has never needed any repair. That's nice. Because every time you go in for repair, you stand a chance of breaking something.

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Joined: May 27 2009
Posts: 936
Re: An introduction and a question

I personally prefer the //e platinum if reliability is at the top of your list. And it has the latest firmware, more chip integration than the "standard" //e and much better memory reliability. Not to mention it does away with the 100+ sockets in the II+.

In the meantime while you search for your ideal machine, why not learn emulating it on the PC. Most emulators are pretty well developed.

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Joined: Mar 24 2016
Posts: 15
Re: An introduction and a question

I have been working with emulators on my PC a decent bit. I talked someone down on a price for an Apple II Plus with an Apple III monitor, and it is near a family member, so I plan on picking it up when visiting them. I will keep my eye on eBay though, and will check around flea markets and yard sales once they start cropping back up. Since I am enjoying the emulators, and since the //e seems to go for a little cheaper usually, I will take it as my next addition when I am ready for it, then I will already have a nice green monitor and Disk IIs ready for it.

I am very glad to see that you guys are friendly to beginners like me, sometimes forums like these can be unfriendly to those who are inexperienced with the topic matter.