February 9th, 2017

T2A2 – The transputer is finally here!

Axel Muhr from Germany has released his T2A2 card, a transputer card for the Apple II. Read his announcement and get yours soon!

 

Hey a2central gang,

I’d just like to send you a quick heads-up, that my T2A2 (“Transputer to Apple II”) interface finally became a real PCB – 6 years after you ran a news-line about the prototype (http://a2central.com/2683/t2a2-apple-ii-transputer-interface/). Well sometimes it just takes a tad bit longer :-D

http://www.geekdot.com/t2a2-for-everyone/

I ran a first initial batch of 20 as I have no idea how big (or small) the interest is, as this is really something, uhm, ‘special’ ;-)

T2A2 Transputer

February 2nd, 2017

Open Apple #67 (January 2017) : Year End Roundtable!

This month on Open Apple, we round out the year with our annual tradition of sitting around a virtual table with some friends of the show, discussing whatever comes to mind. Mike and Quinn are joined by Jeremy Barr-Hyde, Jorma Honkanen, Kate Szkotnicki & Chris Torrence.

We have a really fun mix of Apple II fans from all walks of life and all parts of the world this month. Sit down with us as we discuss our history with the machines and how they fit into our lives today. Can retrocomputers be teaching tools for kids today? Can an Apple II serve a practical role in modern life? What was your unicorn accessory or software package back in the day? How do we get new faces to KansasFest? We chat about all this and more, so don’t miss it!

January 30th, 2017

Sweet16 status update

Eric Shepherd, author of the Sweet16 emulator for the Mac, posted an announcement today about the status and future plans for Sweet16. He starts with a comforting “this isn’t a death announcement!”, then continues:

With that out of the way, I know it’s been a while since the last update to Sweet16, and that it is in need of one. Here’s what’s going on right now.

First, my health has been troublesome for the last several years, as many of you know, with some issues gradually worsening even while others are being controlled through treatment. This has been a drain on my time, and the treatments have tended to leave me with little energy for work on anything non-essential, so I focus on my day job and my family the best I can.

Second, there are technical issues at play. I have started work on a major update to Sweet16 which involves rewriting parts of the code from the old Carbon API into the modern Cocoa one, since Carbon is deprecated and pieces of it are increasingly unreliable. The code as it stands is not a shippable product because of its partially-converted status.

I have become aware of certain issues with the currently available version of Sweet16 (3.0.3) that make it hard to use in certain cases. I am going to attempt to get things situated so I can do an update to fix at least some of these problems sometime before the June solstice.

The sticking point there is that the version of Xcode I used to last work on Sweet16 doesn’t run on the version of macOS I run anymore, and the code won’t build on the current Xcode. So I have decided to set up a virtual environment to use for future work on older versions of Sweet16 so that I can get these updates done.

I’m aware of a few issues I will try to address in this winter/spring (Northern Hemisphere) update.

The latest discovery: I’d gotten some reports of the command and option keys not working right, but hadn’t been able to reproduce it until I realized that this is happening only in software checking them by reading the joystick button flags. That led me straight to the correct solution: the code handling this is looking for a game controller to be present; if one is, then that controller is checked. The keyboard is only checked if there are no game controllers (joysticks or gamepads) connected. I will update the code to check both regardless and report the button down if EITHER or both are down.

I will try to resolve issues related to game controllers not working reliably, but I make no promises. The libraries for this changed over the years and I may not be able to fix this until I resume work on Sweet16 4.0.

I’ll also make some changes to handling of disk images to allow any .po image to be created and used instead of only allowing them for floppy-sized disks. When this code was first written, .po was strictly used for floppy disk images, but that’s changed over time and Sweet16 didn’t keep up with that change (mostly because I didn’t realize it had happened until long after it had — oops!).

There are a few other issues that I’ll look at. The goal is to go after stuff that’s either extremely critical or easy to fix only, just to ensure I get something out. The more I try to put into this update, the more likely it is to get delayed by my health issues.

I’m sorry that work on Sweet16 has been so slow. I have big plans and am pushing hard to get my health situation on track but it’s difficult. I will get this smaller update out, though, no matter what it takes, as soon as humanly possible.

Thanks for your support, and Apple II forever!

Hopefully he’s able to make this happen. He’s missed some planned and hoped-for release dates in the past due to his health, but let’s all hope for the best, and that he is also able to get back to work on Sweet16 4 as soon as possible!

January 13th, 2017

A 65816 in a PAL //e

a2heaven.com has just revealed one of their projects: a microprocessor replacement for the PAL Apple //e. Switch from your current 8-bit 65(c)02 to the 16-bit 65816 one. You are still running at 1 MHz and access 64 KiB of RAM — but is that the first step before a modern accelerator interface card similar to the one a2heaven.com has recently announced for the Apple //c?

 

65816 in a PAL //e

January 11th, 2017

Portal for the Apple II – A Cake-acquisition Simulator

Vince Weaver has written an Applesoft rendition of Portal for the Apple II.

“While attempting to travel to the future to get a copy of Portal 3. I accidentally traveled to alternate-1987 and obtained a copy of Portal 1 for the Apple II!”, Weaver says.

“In actuality I originally just planned to do the end credits. But the Apple II high-res mode has the perfect Aperture Science orange and blue colors, and one thing led to another… ”

Of course this project is just for fun and is in no way endorsed by Valve, etc.

Check out the Kerbal Space Program port by Vince as well!

January 5th, 2017

Brutal Deluxe Software announces i’m fEDD up v2.2

Brutal Deluxe Software announces the maintenance release of i’m fEDD up, their copy/preservation utility program. Now at version 2.2, the program can export 5.25″ disk bitstreams in a .FDI file. If you own an Apple IIgs, the copy process runs in a single pass. A faster copy means more chance to reliably preserve track sync’ed titles. For easier convenience, the prefix command displays all files and is able to delete unlocked binary files to make room on your destination volume.

 

Download the latest version at http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/products/apple2/imfEDDup/

Antoine Vignau & Olivier Zardini

Brutal Deluxe Software

http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/

January 3rd, 2017

Happy 40th Birthday, Apple Computer Inc.!

As tweeted by early (and current) employee Chris Espinosa, today is the 40th anniversary of Apple Computer’s incorporation in California.


Apple badge from 1977

January 2nd, 2017

Steve Gozdziewski, former KansasFest committee chair, passes away

Steve Gozdziewski, the former “Grand Gouda” of the KansasFest committee, has passed away. He was 69.

Steve was the champion of KansasFest for many years, leading the event around the turn of the century, after the Apple II had been discontinued but before it became retro. He recruited several committee members as well as such memorable keynote speakers as Ryan Suenaga and Eric Shepherd. But Steve made sure to enjoy the event, too: he loved the community and how effortlessly friends reconnected after a year apart. He especially appreciated how easily new friendships were made, commenting, “I’ve always wanted and felt that EVERY Apple II owner/user should experience KFest at least once — it’s almost an obligation that comes with owning the machine:) It’s been wonderful to see how much knowledge and experience the newcomers bring along with what they also gain by attending. KFest really has a magical quality!"

Steve was also a wizard at GShisen, often winning the KansasFest game competition with scores that left his fellow players in the dust. Although Steve had not been to KansasFest since 2003, he remained connected to the community. For KansasFest 2010, he sponsored the purchase of one copy of the documentary GET LAMP for each attendee.

Whether Steve was winning or losing, chatting, running around, or laying back, he always had a smile on his face and a laugh to go with it. He will be missed.

KansasFest 2002

Steve Gozdziewski (third from left) in a lineup of the usual suspects at KansasFest 2002.

More details are available from the Massapequa Funeral Home.

January 2nd, 2017

The Source Is Strong With This One – System 6.0.4.

Happy II Year!

A New, New Release.

But first I would like to address the auxtypo, er auxtype issue recently discovered with the 6.0.3. release. Sometimes there are many ways to accomplish the same task. Most of the time it matters not how it is done so we don’t think about it. The auxtype issue has brought to the forefront that just as elusive as issues are with the GS/OS HFS FST, the same can be said about the ProDOS File System Extension for MacOS Classic (7.x-9.x). There is an apparent endian issue with the handling of the auxtype. Given the limited use of auxtypes in the ProDOS world, with most being $0000, if there is an endian issue the result is going to be the same anyway. But when you have an intermittent error and a whole lot of files to copy, your odds of it stumbling are much greater. In light of the HFS FST’s issues, I typically tell people to move data onto it’s native file system on the target platform. Don’t write HFS disks with your IIgs. After all these years I guess I need to add “..and don’t write ProDOS disks with your Mac.

The root of the issue was the auxtype bytes being swapped during the transfer. In the case of the SCSI.Manager it should have been $0140 but instead it was written as $4001. All auxtypes have been verified with this release.

Overall, there were auxtype issues with several files but not all affected the operation of the system software.
(SCSI.Manager, Finder, Start, and all system sounds.)

Some of this stuff is technical in nature and therefore dull and boring to most people, but we’ll go over it because if not, someone will ask.

OMF Records

OMF record packing. Records are stored more efficiently than the loader in System 6.0 and earlier resulting in less disk space for most program files and improved load times.

Control Panels

Support for Daylight Saving Time has been revised to the USA standard effective year 2007, up from the 1987-2006 specification used on the 6.0.3 and earlier releases.

Each CDEV has an rVersion resource for consistency.

Sound CDEV handles finderSaysOpenFailed events by playing the sound resource in the file. This is just the option to associate additional error conditions with audio feedback.

For the Unicorns out there, Slots CDEV supports ROM 4 “Mark Twain” hardware. Since this revision has inbuilt SCSI hardware and support for the SuperDrive (FDHD) 1.44mb 3.5″, these changes are now selectable and with the lack of Slots 5 and 7 physically, there is no “Your Card” option that can be selected.

File System Translators

DOS 3.3, Pascal, and ProDOS FSTs have been corrected to use the maximum Parameter Count (pCount) values. These are one way of passing variables between sections of code.

Pascal FST checks that the Volume Control Record is actually a Pascal Volume Control Record, that all parameters were properly initialized.

Finder

When opening resource sound files with only a single rSound and no application is assigned to that file type, the Finder sends a finderSaysOpenFailed event. This lets the Sound CDEV play the sound (if no other system extension handles it first). Most sound files in the System:Sound folder can be played by the Finder.

File and volume sizes larger than one gigabyte, up to the maximum GS/OS allows, are properly displayed. Note that this is GS/OS support, and not ProDOS. Since GS/OS has open ended support for file systems other than Apple II native formats those files will be displayed properly in listings.

FST names in Finder windows no longer display garbage if a third party unknown FST is installed and used. Instead, no information is displayed.

Fonts and Sounds

Additional fonts are available: The installed group of fonts has been rounded out and all sets contain each character in each native point size.
Added Fonts:
Courier 48, 56, 72, and 96
Helvetica 56
Symbol 9, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 36, 40, 48, 56, 72, and 96
Times 56

Helvetica 96 and Times 96 have missing characters restored.

Various Macintosh system sounds have been added.

Installer

Installer sets the System folder’s auxtype during Easy Update to permanently enable magic routing in the Finder. This only works if the System folder is unlocked. Magic routing is when you’re installing things to the System Folder, you don’t need to open it and go to the respective folder. Files will be placed according to their filetype.

New fonts and sounds can also be added through the Customize options “Fonts: All” and “Control Panel: Sounds” respectively.

Line Edit Tool

Line Edit control supports Control-A to jump to the start of the line and control-E to jump to the end of the line.

ProDOS 8

ProDOS 8 2.4.1 release from John Brooks is included.

Window Manager Tool

When JM Gothic is the System Font, the Window Manager uses JM Gothic instead of the hard-coded Shaston 8.

Apple II Technical Notes Apple IIgs #001 and GS/OS #100 have been updated to reflect the content and organizational changes in this release.

Click for Availability…

January 2nd, 2017

The Oregon Trail play opens in NYC

The Oregon Trail, playwright Bekah Brunstetter‘s original and unauthorized stage production of the classic MECC game, opens next week at the Fault Line Theatre in New York City. The play runs January 13–February 12, 2017, and tickets range from $9 to $24.

This production was previously performed at the Portland Center Stage at The Armory in Oregon. Apple II user Kevin Savetz’s review is in the December 2016 issue of Juiced.GS, and photos of that production are below.

The Oregon Trail

Update (Jan 22, 2017): The New York Times reviewed this play. Hat tip to Tom Phelps.

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