October 11th, 2015

Hands on with the A2Heaven Apple IIc VGA Adapter

Review written by Javier Rivera

The apple //c is a little marvel and it is a favorite among retro collectors for its beauty, versatility and size. Lately there has been a lot of development for the platform around storage and display, as media is harder to acquire and slow, and CRT displays are aging and failing. Also there’s the problem of color: a lot of old displays are green or monochrome, and the color options are sometimes hard to get. All these constraints have engaged creative minds around the world, like France, Bulgaria, Japan, Korea, Brazil and US just to name a few, to come with new and creative alternatives.

The video problem for the Apple //c has been a special one: the signal from the video port is not a typical standard, and very few attempts to use the connector have been made. The first was from Video7, who made a “video enhancer” that connected to RGB monitors. Later there was a home-brew from France called “Guimauve 2000” that connected the //c to a VGA monitor.

Lately, Nishida Radio came out with a beautiful adapter that not only worked very well, but was very small and connected to the back of the computer. The only drawback of the last two solutions is that they don’t include protective enclosures, the components are exposed.

Recently, Plamen Vasilyov from Bulgaria, a prolific Apple II hardware creator, came up with his version of a VGA adapter. I had the fortune of getting ahold of the device and it is a simple yet effective VGA converter. The device not only works flawlessly, but is also elegant and simple. Comes in a white plastic printed enclosure, with a rainbow cable that connects to the //c video port (very retro Apple II style) and provides on the output side a three-row 15-pin DB-15 VGA connector.


The feature that sets this adapter apart from the others is a small button next to the connector: by pushing it will provide 8 different video modes: Color, Green, Monochrome, Mono White, Color-scanline, Green-scanline, Monochrome-scanline and Mono White-scanline. The beauty of these modes is that you can emulate different monitors with one button: a color, green, monochrome and white monochrome monitors, and with the addition of scan lines it recreates the CRT look and feel, very popular in the console game scene.

photo 3

These modes also make working with 80 column and graphic desktop applications very easy, allowing readable and crisp clear text at the touch of a button.

Green | Green w/scan lines | Color | Color w/scan lines

The device sits on the back of the computer out of sight but easily accesible to the switch, is small, light and very well crafted. I’m not surprised as his other creations (//c dclock, Senior PROM, Audio cards and his famous Disk II floppy Emulator) are known for quality and reliability.

I greatly recommend this adapter, as not only does what it is intended very well, but provides extra options found only in high end gaming devices.

At the time of this review, the price of the Apple IIc VGA Adapter had not yet been announced.

October 11th, 2015

Uthernet II cards begin shipping

The first batch of Uthernet II cards are shipping from A2RetroSystems in Canada! I HAZ CANADA POST TRACKING NUMBER, EH!

October 11th, 2015

How Quinn Dunki got her BEEP back

Quinn Dunki embarks on a quest to correct a great injustice; fix the oddball, non-standard system beep of the Apple IIc Plus.

October 8th, 2015

Mockingboard v1a in stock at UltimateMicro

UltimateMicro has 26 Mockingboard v1a cards in stock. This is a 100% compatible clone of the Sweet Micro Systems Mockingboard A, (upgradeable to a “B” with the addition of an SSI-263P Speech Synthesizer chip). It’s also features a few modern enhancements. The Mockingboard v1a is only $85 USD plus shipping. At this price, THESE WILL GO FAST!

Short of an actual Mockingboard, this is the best, most compatible product available.

October 7th, 2015

French Touch releases Plasmagoria demo

October 2nd, 2015

MacGUI announces prize winners for Apple II photo contest

Prize Winners for Apple II Photo Contest

At last, the 14 photo entries for last month’s Retro Apple II Photo Contest have been judged, leaving us with a first prize winner for an Uthernet II, a second prize winner for free shipping on the same, and three honorable mentions.

To keep everything fair, the judge was someone who is not a part of the Apple II community, but who has a BFA degree and has a basic familiarity with the Apple II. Entries were judged based on composition, elements from the chosen time period, and overall retro feel.

Speaking personally, there were a lot of really good photos. I love looking at Apple II setups, as I’m sure a lot of other people in the community do. The idea for this contest came to me around January or so, and I’m glad that I brought it to execution and that the community made so many good photos for it.

And now, here are the winners.

October 1st, 2015

Is the Apple-1 “gold rush” over?

This Apple-1, described by Bonhams Auctions as, “in nearly perfect condition” was put up for auction in September with a starting bid of $300,000. It bears the number 01-0059, indicating it was one of the batch Apple sold to The Byte Shop. Bonhams expected the computer to go for as much as $500,000 and stated, “The customer had only used the Apple-1 once or twice, and Mr. Romkey set it on a shelf, and did not touch it again.” It even has the coveted white ceramic 6502 CPU still in place and was tested as functional, but BBC News reports that it was one of only two lots in Bonhams’s “History of Science and Technology” auction that failed to sell.

Is the “gold rush” over?


October 1st, 2015

Tecnobytes announces new batch of ClassicIDE cards available

Tecnobytes has produced another (and possibly the last) run of ClassicIDE cards for the Apple ][ Plus, //e and IIGS. Priced at only $70 USD, it’s one of the most affordable CF/IDE solutions for Apple II series.

September 30th, 2015

Open Apple #51 (September 2015) : Mike Westerfield, Opus ][, The Byte Works, Merlin 32

This month on Open Apple we sit down with Mike Westerfield, of The Byte Works’ fame. We talk about his adventures writing assemblers & compilers for 8/16 bit computers, and we see what he’s up to nowadays. We talk about small-system compilers, Logo, the perils of open source, and where to go for Byte Works’ products. It’s a compiler and assembler-themed episode of the one-and-only Apple II podcast.

Tune in to hear Mike pine longingly for Lawless Legends, and hear Quinn achieve maximum Boo Atari Density (BAD). We find amazing new hardware and unauthorized museums. There are wacky Australians, wacky Russians, wacky Brazilians, and wacky Germans. There are Arduinos, headphone jacks, and realtime clocks, oh my! You won’t want to miss Mike dropping a Murphy Brown reference. Take that, Millenials!

September 24th, 2015

Remembering Crisis Mountain

In his latest Gamasutra blog entry, David H. Schroeder discusses his days developing Crisis Mountain, the classic Apple II game eventually published by Synergistic Software.

crisis mountain

« Previous Entries | Next Page »