Computers + Peripherals

What's this about SOS?

As mentioned earlier, the Apple /// uses an operating system
called SOS, or Sophisticated Operating System. It is entirely
ram-based. That means every time you load a program, it loads the
operating system as well. You will find three files on all program
disks: SOS.Kernel; SOS Interp and SOS.Driver. The KERNEL is the
operating system itself. You want to make sure you have the latest
version: 1.3. You can tell what version you have when you boot up.
You will see a message that tells you the version along with the
Apple copyright. You can get an auto-upgrade disk from WAP - ask for
disk #sys-01.

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What other hardware/software do I need?

a) A second disk drive. It speeds up your work considerably, makes
it easier to load and save data, etc. Also usable: 1.4 MB Superdrive
and 800k Unidisk for the /// (using Apple // interface cards and On
Three drivers) and many hard disks (Profiles and SCSI).

b) System Utilities disk. This program lets you copy files, format
disks, and configure your SOS.Driver file (WAP PD disk 3UTL-02).

c) /// EZ Pieces. This is an excellent integrated software program
that is easy to learn and use. Its files are also compatiable with
the Apple // version called AppleWorks. (Sun Remarketing)

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Is my Apple /// still useful today?

Despite the fact that the Apple /// was built more than 10 years
ago, it is far from useless. To the contrary, it was designed as a
business machine and it remains one of the best Apple // family
computers ever built by Apple. In fact, you can put together an
excellent system based on the Apple /// for about $100.00 (or less)
that will provide you with powerful word processing, data base,
spreadsheet, and telecommunications capabilities that are unmatched
for the price. The bottom line here is: Can the machine do the basic
things you need it to do? For many, given the low cost of both

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What about SOS - The ///'s Operating System?

First ever written to be user friendly.

Data base capabilities. Hierarchical file-structure.

Manages ALL memory locations and I/O.

One disk format for ALL allows file sharing and

Able to share files with Apple //e; c and gs ProDos

Easily updated without hurting existing compatibilities.

Abilitiy to rewrite software drivers instead of changing

Will locate which drive a file is in for you.

Error proof menu system.

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What about its built-in features?

80 Column display.

143K internal Disk drive.

Interface for up to 4 disk drives.

RS232-C. Can be made to serve six devices with a

Color : All 16 colors with 192 lines of 280 dots per

Graphics: 16 shades of green with 192 lines of 560 dots per

Sound : 64 volume settings and over seven octaves.

Speaker : of speech producing quality.

Monitor ports: RGB or any video device; NTSC 80 column

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What are the ///'s capabilities?

Keyboard Friendliness

Arranged in a strictly traditional typewriter layout.

Sculptured, stepped and angled keys.

Numeric key pad. Recognized differently from main

Software definable character set. Can be used for

All characters used by programming languages.

Dedicated cursor or arrow keys.

Two-key method to boot a disk without powering on and

Alpha lock key. Shift locks alphabetical keys only.

The entire ASCII code.

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What is the Apple ///?

The Apple /// (code name: SARA) was the first computer ever
designed from the ground-up by Apple Computer as a company. It
included many of the "extras" one had to buy separately for the Apple
//: an 80 column card, a serial card, larger memory, etc. In
addition, it came with the most advanced operating system for small
computers of its day: SOS or the Sophisticated Operating System. So
good, in fact, that Apple later based its ProDos Operating System for
the Apple //e, //c, and //gs on SOS. The Macintosh's HFS, or
Heirarchical Filing System was also based on a similar system that
was part of SOS.

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Apple /// FAQ

By David Ottalini

WAP /// SIG Co-Chairman

- with thanks to Mitchell Spector (m
) and Jeff Marraccini, System
Administrator, the OAK Repository (

Version: 2.0
October, 1995

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Apple Computer was founded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne. The Apple I was introduced at the Homebrew Computer Club in May with Paul Terrell of the Byte Shop ordering 50 units at $500 apiece.

Joe Torzewski purchased his Apple 1 in 1977, direct from Apple and not long after the initial introduction. He was an engineer, like most early buyers of personal computers. Joe chose the Apple 1 over the competing S-100 sytems largly due to the integrated design. Problems with the S-100 bus were plentiful, whereas the Apple 1 already had everything onboard.

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