Letters from Larry Nelson

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Dec. 19, 1977

Larry F. Nelson
2620 South Washington Street
Marion, Indiana 46952
December 19, 1977

Joe Torzewski
Apple I Owners Club
51625 Chestnut Road
Granger, IN 46530

Dear Joe:

Thanks for the very interesting telephone conversation Sunday.
Since I purchased my Apple I in June of this year, I have
had very little contact with other computer hobbyists. The
nearest Computer Club is 60 miles from here, and to the best
of my knowledge there are no other hobbyists in this area.
So any contact I can make with other computer nuts will be
a big improvement.

My interests are mainly in programming and hardware at this time.
I am convinced that the 6502 CPU is a powerful processor that
I only partially appreciate, since I am ignorant of its full
capabilities. I have spent most of the last six months trying
basic programs and dabbling in some machine-language instruc-
tions, and am willing to share what information I have gained
with everyone in order to improve my own system.

I am enclosing a listing of a Tic-tac-toe game that I developed
to run in the Apple I. Also, I am sending you an article for
a newsletter that I wrote last night. Use these as you wish,
and if you would rather have tapes than listings, let me know.
I have several games I have developed to run in my Apple I that
I'll let you have.

If you have any programs, tapes, listings or information on
the Apple I, I want it! Let me know how much money, what you
have, what you need, etc., and I will send a money order back.

Be sure to let me know if I can help get this Owners Club off
the ground. I'll be glad to type articles (although my typing
leaves much to be desired), make mailings, or do the printing
(I have a spirit duplicator) if needed.

Seasons greetings to you and your family. I'll look forward to
hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Larry F. Nelson

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Mar. 17, 1980

"Note some of the commands and such are for Apple II basic but they were in Apple 1's basic. You could type in the command and the basic would not give you an error, it would just sit there. So we both thought that Apple, the Steves, were thinking about the Apple 2 when they were trying to do the Basic for the Apple 1."

Larry Nelson
514 S. Adams
Marion, In 46952
March 17, 1980
Dear Joe,
Sorry I haven't written lately. Last
week I went to Florida on a short vacation.
Before that I was working on BASIC.
I've broken a lot of the code and am working
on cleaning out a lot of trash. It looks like
they threw this thing together to get a computer
on the market fast. Probably other used bits
and pieces from other listings, since there
are several places with bad listings. Also found
USR, RNDX, and OFF statements on commands in
there. USR and RNDX don't work, but OFF
turns off the auto-line #. (Try it by typing Auto10(r).
then type "escape", then OFF(r)).
We have COLOR=, PLOT, HLIN, too. It adds \
up to 120 bytes in there + several commands that
we can't use.
Now, if I can decipher how the ASCII is
coded for each command, I'll have it made! Then
I'll be able to pull out those unused commands and
replace them with something useful.

I haven't even looked at those memories
since I gave up. Maybe I'll get back to them
one of these days.

That Space War Program sounds great! I
hope you're not having too many bugs to finish
Any time you want to see how much memory
you have left, exit BASIC, and type:
CA,CD (r)
computer echos CA: 3A 21 00 05
means program is stored from 213AH to top of memory
and variables are stored from 0500H to bottom of memory.
The space still empty is between 0500H to 213AH
or 1D3AH bytes = 748210 !! (Remember, variables
are called when the program runs, so allow 6
bytes for each variable in the program, where typing in the
Guess that's all for now. Write when
you can.

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Jan. 3, 1981

"In this letter you will see that we talked about putting the Apple 1 in EPROM and the spaces in basic and if we could and how to use them."

Larry Nelson
514 S. Adams
Marion, In 46952
Jan 3, 1981
Dear Joe,
They say "Three is a charm" and this is the
third time I've started a letter to you, so maybe
I'll get to finish it this time.
Still no keyboard. Met a fellow who
says he has a spare he'll let me have, but
he hasn't come through yet.
The INKEY function could be put in
code. The problem is that I've used some of
BASIC empty spots, and now I'm not sure
which places I've filled (HIMEM=and LOMEM=
changes, and that routine to randomize).
I goofed and didn't save a hard copy of
the changes. (I make up for my stupidity with
In the original Apple BASIC, there are
several areas we could put "fixes":
E61C thru E622 = 710 Bytes
E98D " E997 = 1110 Bytes
EE3E " EE67 = 3710 Bytes (PLOT, COLOR=, OFF commands)
EEA6 thru EECA = 3710 Bytes (HLIN, COLOR, Value of HIMEM and
(don't work)
plus another 34 bytes strung over the 4K program in
banks of 6 or less.

Apple BASIC does not modify itself, so
it is ROMable. Programs would rut at the same
speed, since the APPLE cycle time is about 980 NS,
since it uses a clock of 1.023 MHz. Dynamic
roms need a refresh cycyle crowded into the clock
once ina while, which probably explains why
they have to be faster on access.
Until I get the Apple up, I can't do
much on Adventure game, except work out
arrays, flow charts, etc. Called A-BOMB.
A berserk ambassador has armed an atomic
bomb in his embassy. Your assignment, if you
accept it, is to search the building, find and
disarm the bomb before it blows the city
(and you) off the map. It'll be written in BASIC,
with a lot of the data accessed via PEEK and
POKE. Conserves memory and keeps hackers from
listing the traps, lagards, and solutions. I'll have
60 to 70 verbs and nouns (should be a sizeable
vocabulary). Random outcome of the game will
prevent you from winning one time and "Breaking
the code". I've played some of these games that have
only one solution. Once you win, you can always
win, and there's no thrill in playing it again.
I have no idea how much memory I'll need,
but I guess I'll find that out when I start writing
Better get this in the mail, now.


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Feb. 7, 1981

"This letter talks about the Inkey command and aabout cursor control for the Apple 1 computer. Also the statement is made that they was preparing for the Apple II back in 1976 the way the software, Basic looked."

Feb 7, 1981
Dear Joe,
Boy, I'll be glad when winter is over. It
seems like it lasts forever, only more.
MURPHY'S LAW strikes again!! That
program I sent you has an error at 0311 -
change F8 to F5. You couldn't trace it
because TRACE hangs up waiting for the PIA
to clear, and loops endlessly, but it (the program) should
work correctly. (unless more gremlins got into
INKEY IS SURE O.K.! (Hint, change
20H (JSR) to 4CH(JMP) at E86F, EE43, EE57
and EE5C. JMP is faster than JSR and doesn't
push the return address on the stack. I don't
know if it would happen, but the stack could
overflow on a large BASIC program and wipe
out the game.)
You asked about curosr control - - -
(Print AT, etc.) JOBS, WOZNIAK and COMPANY
made the Apple I with NO way to control
the cursor. That's the biggest difference between
Apple I and Apple II. They used dynamic
shift registers (1K storage - 2504's) to hold
the characters for display, giving us a first-in-
first-out stock in hardware. No way to
change a character, blank or move the cursor,
clear the screen, or add clusters except at

the end of the list. Some BASIC commands of
ours change the vertical cursor pointer, etc.
but since the video isn't in RAM, nothing
happens. (They were preparing for Apple II
back in '76). Our advantage, of course, is
another Kilobyte of RAM free for our use,
plus less overhead in our MONITOR.

Still no keyboard. I can't see paying
80 to 200 bucks at this time for a keyboard
when 16K of RAM is $29. Well, maybe something
will turn up, - I'll let you know when I'm up
and running again.

Oops! I've missed the mailman. -
I'd better get this letter in an envelope or
you'll never get it. - Write when you can.


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Apr. 8, 1981

Larry Nelson
514 S. Adams
Marion, In 46952
April 8, 1981
Dear Joe,
Boy, It's good to have the apple up and
running! - Now if I can only get away from
that "Attack on the Death Star" program, I
might get something serious started. - It's a
great game!! Congratulations.
(You asked about standardizing INKEY at $0A -
since we are writing the standards, let's do it -
no problems that I can see.)
I have checked your monitor listing and
can only find 1 error - Change AF8D from
$0E to $AE (same as AE4F from $0D to $AD,
which you had correctly marked.)

The NEW BASIC is almost ready!
I've re-written the whole thing, added INKEY,
(10 A=INKEY : If A=176 THEN...)(Automatically clears $0A)
MEM, (Type MEM (CR), computer prints
free memory left in program), the rnadom generator
straightened up HIMEM, LOMEM, HIMEM=,
LOMEM-, end removed that irritating "***ENDERR"
message that isn't needed.
Two empty spaces are left, 4Z10 bytes and
5010 bytes. - Got any idea for a couple of

short commands? (not enough space for RENUMBER or
VARLIST, but maybe ASC() or CHR$().)
examples: 100 IF ASC(A$) = "175" THEN GOSUB...
120 PRINT CHR$(162);

The new basic works with all our present
programs. All I've done is cleaned out the trash,
made some fixes, etc, and rearranged to save
time and space on execution. The ADE program
editor was perfect for the job --
Which reminds me, "backspace" in the EDITOR
is defined as $08 at $EE15. -- change it to
whatever your characer is with Bit8 set to 0. -
To change memory limits, see the instruction
changes I sent you.

My ADVENTIURE-type game is still in the
planning stage. - Hope to get some of it into the
APPLE soon. I'll try to keep you informed
on what's happening here.


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