I’ve been away for the holiday season enjoying some time off from work and yes, even A2Central. I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and is looking forward to a prosperous New Year 2014.

A lot happened over the past week. I took in nearly *4 TONS* of Apple II stuff — a lot of it is destined for giveaway at KanasFest 2015 (we already have a huge load set aside for 2014). Where did it come from? I’d like to thank Michael Mahon for his incredible generosity in donating his collection of 30+ years. He’s going to make a lot of Apple II users happy when we finally start distributing it all. Some of it will eventually head to eBay to recoup shipping expenses, but once that’s recovered the rest will be freely given away. Either way, some Apple II users will gain access to some really cool Apple II gear.

David Schmidt’s ADTPro was upgraded to 1.2.9 and it appears to be a big deal. Read speed performance for VSDrive is reportedly faster, and Ivan Drucker will be integrating the new version into A2CLOUD (more info later).

New functionality:

  • Disk II drive turns on a little early to reduce spin-up delay

Bug fixes:

  • Nibble sends work correctly in batch mode
  • [Client] Nibble sends retry (more) correctly
  • [VDrive] Virtual disks are loaded at once at initialization time, making it much faster for huge drives (but much less dynamic)
  • [VDrive] Serial driver installer quits to where it came from, allowing an invocation from the launcher to return there, this time with the driver in place

Bill Buckels released utilities (with source) to convert BMP files to Super Hi-Res (SHR) and PIC format, as well as viewers for Carte Blanche and Video Overlay Card (VOC) users. Bill’s initial announcement and follow-up are attached.

Read about it here:

Win32 etc.
http://www.aztecmuseum.ca/extras/bmp2shr.pdf

Apple II
http://www.aztecmuseum.ca/extras/PicSave.pdf

Download it here:

http://www.aztecmuseum.ca/extras/B2S.zip

This download contains programs, source code, documentation, and disk images for creating Super Hi-Res Pictures, and for viewing and saving Super Hi-Res
pictures on an Apple II GS, or on an Apple //e with a Carte Blanche, or an Apple //e or Apple II GS equipped with an Apple II VOC (Video Overlay Card),
or in an Apple II GS emulator (like Kegs32).

BMP2SHR – converts BMP Files to PIC Files

The BMP2SHR command line utility will convert Windows BMP files to Apple II SHR (Super High Resolution) Graphics Files of Apple II GS File Type $C1 Aux Type $0000.

This utility converts from the following BMP file formats to Apple II SHR files:

  • 2 Color (Monochrome) BMP Files
  • 16 Color (VGA) BMP Files
  • 256 Color BMP Files
  • 24 bit BMP Files

The BMP2SHR utility is provided with doucmentation, source code and 3 flavors of executable program(s):

B2S16.EXE (MS-DOS) Built under 16-bit Microsoft C Version 8.00c
B2S32.EXE (WIN32) Built under 32-bit Microsoft C Version 14.00
B2S.EXE (WIN32) Built under MinGW 5.1.4 (gcc)

Windows Build environments and source code are provided with all the above. This includes the gcc (MinGW) build script. It should be straight-forward for those using Linux and other Unix-like OS’s to build this under GCC but I am leaving that up to them.

Additional utilities are provided for the Apple II as well. They are noted below.

PICSAVE – converts PNT Files to PIC Files

The PICSAVE utility for ProDOS 8 loads Apple Preferred Format (APF) SHR (PNT) Files and saves them to SHR Screen (PIC) Files of Apple II GS File Type $C1 Aux Type $0000.

PICSAVE also comes with 3 other programs:

PICSHOW – a simple SHR Slideshow Viewer for SHR PIC Files
PICLODE – a simple SHR File Viewer for PIC Files
PNTLODE – a simple SHR File Viewer for PNT Files

These programs are written in Aztec C for the Apple IIe and were cross-compiled in Windows XP.

Thanks to Charlie, Andy McFadden, Antoine, and others for all the good info that made this relatively straight-forward to put together.

Please read the documentation, the source code, and run the programs for more information.

…and, Bill’s updated info:

The BMP2SHR Distribution and the document above have been updated.

BMP2SHR now produces Brooks Format 3200 Color SHR Files from BMP files, in addition to what it did yesterday.

When a 640 x 400 BMP file is converted to Brooks, a second 3200 Color SHR files is also produced suitable for loading to the VOC’s auxiliary memory, and providing the VOC with a 320 x 400 x 3200 color effective display.

I do not provide loaders for these yet, but decided I’d better get this part out of the way first.

A Sample disk in 2mg format of brooks files converted by BMP2SHR is also included for anyone interested in such things.

And finally, we mentioned earlier that Ivan Drucker was adding the latest ADTPro to his A2SERVER/A2CLOUD/Raspple II suite. Here’s Ivan’s announcement:

Hey everybody, happy almost new year. I’m pleased as punch to announce a couple of small but significant year-end updates to A2CLOUD, A2SERVER, and Raspple II.

If you haven’t tried out this stuff yet, consider that, via A2CLOUD, I’m posting this message with my Apple IIc by using ProTERM running from a virtual hard drive. Good times. You’re missing out.

With these releases, I’m going to be taking a hiatus from Apple II development until at least KansasFest 2014, but I’d still certainly be happy to hear from you if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

If you’re starting fresh, go get Raspple II if you have a Raspberry Pi, or try out the A2SERVER virtual machine, at http://appleii.ivanx.com.

If you’re already up and running and and want to update, type:

a2server-update
a2cloud-update

Here’s what’s new. The user guides for A2CLOUD and A2SERVER have been updated as well to explain this stuff a little more.

A2CLOUD (1.6):

  • If you have A2SERVER installed, the ADTPro disks folder is now shared on your network as ADTDISKS. You can in drop disk image files from a Mac or Windows computer, and then use ADTPro to make them into floppies. Or you can make a disk image from a floppy and easily copy it to a Mac or Windows computer for use in an emulator. Or you can immediately use a ProDOS disk image as a virtual drive, or copy Apple II files into one. Possibilities abound!
  • Includes David Schmidt’s ADTPro and VSDRIVE 1.2.9, which dramatically improves read performance of virtual drives.
  • On a Mac, or on a Windows computer with Bonjour Print Services, you can now refer to your Pi from another computer on your network as “raspberrypi.local” rather than needing its IP address.

A2SERVER (1.1.3):

  • On Macs, A2SERVER now appears under Shared computers, rather than needing to use “Connect to Server”. (This was long overdue.)
  • Windows file sharing is now enabled by default in Raspple II and the A2SERVER virtual machine.
  • On a Mac, or on a Windows computer with Bonjour Print Services installed, you can now refer to A2SERVER from another computer on
    your network as “a2server.local” (or “raspberrypi.local” if it’s a Pi) rather than needing its IP address.
  • The A2SERVER virtual machine is based on Debian 7.3.0, rather than Ubuntu Server 12.04.

Raspple II (1.0.3):

  • With Ethernet attached to your Pi, displays progress bar during installation, and properly reboots after.
  • Based on Raspbian 2013-12-20.