Is there a floppy disk interface for the Apple I ?

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Is there a floppy disk interface for the Apple I ?

Would be nice if there would exist a floppy disk interface for the Apple I.

Alas, all my searches on the web and on this site always tend to lead to Apple II floppy interfaces, i.e. based on the Disk II controller card.

Hence, my question to this forum. I am a newbie with Apple I so I can't know any better.

I also would think that any floppy interface for the Apple I should keep up the correct spirit and be based on the Woz state machine, and be able to read and write Apple II DOS3.3 floppy disks.

I noticed that the Apple I has somewhat inconsistent timing due to the refresh not being transparent, which may screw up the timing loops, especially in the write routines.

So I have some doubts the item I want does exist.

Any hints ?

 

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Must be ESP Bernie...

Must be ESP Bernie...

I was thinking about the exact same thing this morning.  Maybe I'll take this on if I find a bit of time this summer.

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I seem to recall a Shugard

I seem to recall a Shugard interface of some sort. Might have been for their 8-inch drives?

 

Also, see: http://www.apple1notes.com/old_apple/Peripheral_Boards_files/Apple%201%20Expansion%20Documentation%2020150528.pdf

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It must be ESP ...

It may have been ESP. For me, ESP is real. I have many patents but some didn't make it to be granted as somebody else, at the same time, had the same idea, and filed just before me. In late 1983 I invented a unbreakable floppy disk copyprotection method for the Atari 400/800. Offered it to the software producers without telling any detail. No takers. A few months later, in 1984, Electronic Arts published "ARCHON" which had a copy protection based on the very same inventive idea. They botched the "unbreakable" part, though. But no disk copy tool oder floppy enhancement for the Atari 8-bit ever was able to duplicate my formatting trick. I'd really love to meet the other inventor who did the same trick for Electronic Arts, to have a chat.

So far for ESP: we are all connected by the Universal Mind, of which our self-consciousness is only a mere manifold. Ant colonies use it to much greater effect, the number of neurons in a single ant brain being far too small to accomplish what they do as a collective connected through the Universal Mind.

As for the Disk 2 controller, I have marveled over it all my life, since it came out, and I can implement it at a press of a button on my logic synthesizers for any target technology, PROM, PLD, EPLD, FPGA, full custom CMOS, anything, in a few seconds.

The real trick is - or better said: would be - to implement it with period correct technology for the Apple I. Which means either a bipolar PROM or bipolar PLDs, such like the 16R4, 16R6 or 16R8, which MMI just had brought out back in the day.

So far I was unlucky with that mission. Of course I could do it in mere seconds if I wanted to waste a lot of these ICs on it, but that's unacceptable for me. I cannot use more ICs than what the Woz set as a benchmark: eight. Everything else would be unworthy. Even for me.

Needless to say, I also despise anyone who dares to hook modern, non-period-correct, ICs to the Apple I. Even if this may make things much easier, it also negates the purpose of having such a vintage piece of hardware. The look and feel - and the limitations of the period correct semiconductor technology - must be preserved as faithfully as possible. Otherwise I'd buy just one of those ridicolously cheap Raspberry Pi and run the POM1 emulator on it.

 

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I've also had this happen, where someone beats you to market.

And not just with Apple ][ stuff but with other inventions as well.  I did manage to invent and patent a new way of measuring liquid viscosity though. :)

 

UncleBernie wrote:

The real trick is - or better said: would be - to implement it with period correct technology for the Apple I. Which means either a bipolar PROM or bipolar PLDs, such like the 16R4, 16R6 or 16R8, which MMI just had brought out back in the day.

I agree, but to a point.  SpeedyG was quite faithful to this with pretty much all of his designs.  But there are instances that make this really hard, especially with emerging technologoes in storage and communication.  Designing an Ethernet board as example, using TTL technology would be a task that would rival the design technology on the Apple 1 itself.  Also, in the case of the CFFA for Apple 1, utilizing the Compact Flash technology would be a no-go, because none of it was around at the time.  But I sure wouldn't want to give that up, as it has paved the way to keeping the old Apple 1 technology and software alive today.

 

UncleBernie wrote:
Needless to say, I also despise anyone who dares to hook modern, non-period-correct, ICs to the Apple I. Even if this may make things much easier, it also negates the purpose of having such a vintage piece of hardware

I'm sure you don't mean that literally UncleBernie, but I understand your point.  I had designed a spinoff of the SuperSerial Card that included Ethernet and Serial, but I used a pre-made micro Ethernet Server module that was manufactured by Lantronix to make the task easy.  From a design standpoint, I cheated a little, but I tried to keep the nostalgic part of the design intact.  You can view a detailed photo of my finished card here: Super Serial Ethernet Card  but you will need to click on the photo and zoom in for full detail.

 

It's OK to be a purist at heart and deed when it comes to nostalgic stuff like old computers, cars, etc.  I get that.

There are different levels of purist.  I know I'm at the Apple ][ and ][+ level myself.  I've always felt that the ][Plus with 64K could do whatever the ][e could do by paging the memory, etc. but as technology goes, they decided to add commands, improve the archetecture, increase resolution,  etc.  with the ][e and ][gs.  But it's hard to accept the limits of the technology when those slots were put there for add-ons and improvements.   I'm not so sure there was a time limit on that.  But I do understand there are technological limits within the range of time those computers were released and the reasons for keeping within that era.

 

Your comments are always welcome.

 

 

 

 

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Use of non-period correct ICs with vintage computers
UncleBernie wrote:
Needless to say, I also despise anyone who dares to hook modern, non-period-correct, ICs to the Apple I. Even if this may make things much easier, it also negates the purpose of having such a vintage piece of hardware
 
macnoyd wrote in response:

I'm sure you don't mean that literally UncleBernie, but I understand your point.  I had designed a spinoff of the SuperSerial Card that included Ethernet and Serial, but I used a pre-made micro Ethernet Server module that was manufactured by Lantronix to make the task easy.  From a design standpoint, I cheated a little, but I tried to keep the nostalgic part of the design intact.

 

Well, macnoyd, you are right I did not mean that literally. I respect anyone who is able to design and develop hardware and software for these vintage computers. People like us are rare now and most do a great job, even if they "cheat" a little. I myself got so desperate with my floppy disk controller design that I was considering to grind off the type code of a plastic encapsulated EP610, and then make a rubber stamp to put MMI 16R6 - or such - on it. A little cheat to make it look period correct.

But I think you (and other cherished readers of my drivel) did understand the point I wanted to make. It is not about the technology being used at all. It is all about the human psychological factor that is involved. In the movie industry, there is something called "suspension of disbelief". You see, for instance, the Millennium Falcon coasting through empty space, and you can hear the roar of her engines. From the standpoint of the outside observer. Not only from inside scenes showing the crew and the passengers.

Anybody with some elementary education in Physics knows that in Space, there is a vacuum, so sound waves have no medium to propagate in. There is no sound in Space. But the movie would be much blander if it had no such spaceship sounds. So we all are willing to agree with the artistic freedom to add sound to Space. We are also willing to suspend our disbelief of what we see on the silver screen. We could argue everything is fake, an illusion. But would be pointless to watch the movie then ... a world without much fun.

Sometimes a movie script writer or a movie director makes a minor mistake that leads to a break up of the suspension of disbelief. For the willing audience this is kind of a shock. They wake up and see through the illusion. Big disappointment. The movie will be slammed by the critics. The audience will certainly not come to watch it again, and again, and again. People only love movies that keep the suspension of disbelief alive from the beginning to the end.

 

We keep vintage computers around because people want to do time travel: to go back to their youth, to their first experiences with computers back in the day, where computers were a magical thing. Observers of vintage computers want to feel that magic again. Which often works, if the vintage computer is presented in a period correct setting. Meaning a real, period correct i.e. Shibaden brand B & W monitor, but never a modern LCD display. And no visible, modern ICs attached anywhere to the vintage computer. If any of these are spotted, that magic feeling instantly goes away.   At least for me, but I suspect this simple psychological effect is present in most, if not all, vintage computer aficionados. Much like sudden breakdown of the suspension  of disbelief in a movie, it is not a pleasant experience.

 

Hence, my above rant. What I really meant is that if you use modern ICs (or modern technology) attached to a vintage computer, you run into a high risk to inadvertently destroy the "feel"  part of the "look and feel" we all seek from vintage computers.

 

So if you use non-period correct parts, you better hide them from view, and hide them well. 

 

And yes, I despise people who push visuals or noises into my face that burst my bubble.

 

But that's only me. You have noticed I'm no native speaker so "despise" is maybe a bit too harsh of a wording. But if I ever see such an abomination on an Apple Fest or Vintage Computer Festival, I will walk away from this particular display in disgust, and look out for those who present their machines in a way I consider tactful and proper towards the time period the machine was made. I don't care if it is a mere artifact that does not work anymore, and there is some hi-tech FPGA board with billions of gates hidden somewhere, as long as the illusion works on me, and there is no suffering from breakdown of suspension of disbelief.

 

We are all in a movie we can't get out.

 

- UncleBernie

 

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UncleBernie wrote:You have
UncleBernie wrote:
You have noticed I'm no native speaker so "despise" is maybe a bit too harsh of a wording. But if I ever see such an abomination
 

 

I'm relieved to hear you're not a native English speaker. In the context of IC preferences amongst hobbyists, "despise" does comes across as far too harsh a term. Calling somebody's toy project an abomination is also needlessly harsh.

 

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