May 4th, 2016

4soniq IIGS stereo card press release (debuted at WOzFest ///)

Manila Gear Introduces the 4soniq – a 4Channel Sound Card for the Apple IIGS

Sydney, Australia, 29 April 2016—Manila Gear today announced the 4soniq interface card for the Apple II GS. The card gives II GS owners the ability to connect up to 4 separate powered speakers so they can enjoy quadraphonic surround sound. In addition to providing four channels of output, the 4soniq gives owners the ability to capture audio with a single channel input digitiser.

The 4soniq was announced at WOzFest /// where Jon Christopher Co demonstrated a prototype 4soniq card for attendees to inspect and use in KABOOM! gameplay. “It all started when we were chatting about how the Apple II GS can generate 8 channels of sound, and fellow Apple enthusiast Andrew Roughan wondered ‘if anyone ever attempted such a design.’ John and I checked it out and we decided to give it a shot!” said Jon. “We hope Apple II GS users enjoy using it and programming for it as much as we have enjoyed creating it.”

Hardware
The 4soniq unlocks the capabilities already available in the Apple II GS ’ Ensoniq Digital Oscillator Chip. The simple design and robust engineering delivers clean, reliable sound.

Features:

  • 4 channel output via two 3.5 mm stereo jacks
  • 1 channel input via one 3.5 mm mono jack

When paired with another 4soniq card, it is possible to achieve 8 channels of output. The 4soniq can also be setup for slotless operation.

Software
A Programmers Guide for the 4soniq will be available on the Manila Gear website in the near future. The guide will show developers how to program for the 4soniq, and will include sample code on how to modify existing software to support 4 channel sound.

In addition, thanks to the hard work of Ninjaforce’s Jesse Blue, the recently announced v1.02 of its popular Bomberman clone KABOOM! is fully 4soniq compatible.

The 4soniq will soon be available for pre-order on manilagear.com. For more information on the card specifications please visit http://manilagear.com/product/4soniq-sound-card

Manila Gear is an electronics company founded by Jon Christopher Co and John Valdezco. Jon has been a hardware hacker for the past twenty years and maintains a blog at: http://damntechnology.blogspot.com.au. John advises Silicon Valley startups, and has a degree in Electrical Engineering. Both Jon and John attended Philippine Science High School, and have been working together on cool stuff since then.


4soniq

April 29th, 2016

4play and 4soniq cards demoed at WOzFest ///

The 4play card is an interface for simultaneously connecting 4 digital (Atari style) joysticks to the Apple II for multi-player gaming and possibly other creative applications. The 4soniq appears to be a 4 channel stereo card.

This is a developing story. More information is forthcoming.

PRESS RELEASE
Brisbane, Australia, 29 April, 2016 – Alex Lukacz, well known in Apple ][ circles for his hardware hacking projects, today announced the debut of 4play, a digital joystick interface card for the Apple ][ line of computers. With the 4play card, Apple ][ gamers have a modern solution to connect up to four digital joysticks to an Apple ][.

The 4play supports the original Atari Joystick (and some derivatives of that standard). It is also possible to retrofit 4play support to keyboard-controlled Apple ][ games by redirecting keyboard control calls to the appropriate 4play memory addresses.

The 4play was designed in collaboration with Jesse Blue, of Apple IIgs development powerhouse Ninjaforce. Jesse was instrumental in helping Alex to refine the design and features of the card.

In conjunction with the 4play’s release, Ninjaforce jointly announces a 4play compatible version of its popular Bomberman clone KABOOM! The newly released v1.02 of KABOOM! supports the use of up to four digital joysticks in conjunction with the 4play. Other changes include the ability to control game menus via a connected joystick.

The 4play was announced during the 29 April 2016 WOzFest (Wollstonecraft OzFest) gathering of Apple ][ enthusiasts hosted by Sean “europlus” McNamara on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, Australia. Alex joined the gathering via video hookup to make the announcement, and a pre-release card was available for WOzFest attendees to inspect and use for KABOOM! gameplay.
Technical details on the operation of the 4play and how to modify existing keyboard control code can be found at Alex’s blog. The 4play-compliant version of KABOOM! is available for download from the Ninjaforce website.

Alex Lukacz has been programming Apple ][‘s since 1983, after outgrowing his Dick Smith System80, a TRS-80 Model I clone. After a long hiatus he returned in 2007 to become a regular OzKFest attendee and blogger, showing off various projects ranging from a wireless turtle robot called WALTR to reconstructing Apple ][-driven LEGO kits to his work on floppy drive emulation and video adaptors.

Ninjaforce has long been known for their programming and graphics prowess with their Megademo and work on the Apple IIgs port of Wolfenstein 3D. They literally exploded into prominence on the Apple ][ scene in 2015 with the release of the critically acclaimed Bomberman clone, KABOOM!. KABOOM! pairs exciting gameplay with outstanding graphics and sound to fully exploit the capabilities of the Apple IIgs. Based in Germany, Ninjaforce has released many Apple ][ software products and demos since 1992.

See more at:
http://lukazi.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/apple-ii-4play-joystick-card.html
and
http://www.ninjaforce.com/html/products_kaboom.html


4play_kaboom

April 25th, 2016

MSX games and applications on the Apple II?

Ian Kim of South Korea is a busy person. He’s apparently working on a Z80 co-processor board that will run MSX programs on the Apple II. I’ve used Google Translate (the site is on Korean) to get a pretty good translation here.

April 25th, 2016

Ultimate-Micro finalizes release of new Universal Power Suppy

This is an update to our prior post from March 28th, 2016.

We’re excited to announce the official release of the Universal PSU Kit and Upgrade service from Ultimate-Micro.com.

The Universal PSU works Internationally and with all AC power from 90 to 264V, and 47 to 63Hz. The Universal PCB mounts in any Apple II or /// Enclosure. We Universally have you covered!

The Universal PSU Kit is designed to be installed in your existing Apple II or /// Power Supply Enclosure and replace your old Power Supply PCB. All connections can be made by the user and are safe, simple, and designed to last for the next decade and beyond of use. The Kit is also uninstallable and the enclosure isn’t modified in any way. So those concerned with collecting and authenticity of hardware need not worry.

The Kit is the user-installable version of the Universal PSU. The Upgrade is the service where the user sends Ultimate-Micro a Power Supply Enclosure and we perform the install process for the user and return the upgraded Power Supply. We also have a KFEST option and special show price for those who would like to take delivery at KFEST. We’re still not sure about holding an informal session, possibly during SolderFest to assist in upgrades, but we’re working on those details and looks like it will happen. Someone from Ultimate-Micro will also be in attendance to help answer questions or assist as needed.

Orders are planned to start shipping about July 15th or once we have received stock from the factory.

We’re also pleased to announce two Community members have reviewed the Universal PSU Kit and have posted videos of their installation.




Chris Torrence and his IIe Power Supply




Joe Strosnider and his IIgs Power Supply

Links to the Ultimate-Micro.com Store to place your order today:
IIe: https://goo.gl/d11FrP
IIgs: https://goo.gl/GIBcyZ
///: https://goo.gl/NYYI1A

The Universal PSU Kit Install Guide is available for review here: https://goo.gl/t1SZEi

We’re glad to help bring the Apple II and /// in to the remainder of the 21st Century and hopefully beyond!


UPS

April 14th, 2016

How Early Computer Games Influenced Internet Culture

The Atlantic has a great article by Adrienne LaFrance illustrating the impact of 80’s gaming on today’s Internet culture. The author attributes her childhood experience with her Apple //c and the Apple II platform is prominently featured throughout the article.

April 11th, 2016

Happy 40th Birthday Apple 1

The Sydney Morning Herald has a nice write-up on today, April 11th 2016, being the Apple 1’s 40th Birthday.

April 4th, 2016

Fortune Magazine Poll: What Is Your Favorite Apple Product of All Time?

A Facebook campaign to get out the vote for the Apple II on this Fortune Magazine poll has raised the Apple II from 3% to 13% (at the time of this post). Join us! Show your retro-computing pride and help get the Apple II the love it deserves by voting Apple II today!

April 4th, 2016

Juiced.GS encryption allegedly disabled

Recently, Juiced.GS Magazine (the longest running Apple II print publication in existence) announced their solidarity with Apple Inc. in their fight for privacy and security against government eavesdropping. Not unexpectedly, this placed Juiced.GS in the cross-hairs of the FBI and other governmental agencies within the umbrella of Department of Homeland Security; if popular, influential magazines such as Juiced.GS were allowed to encrypt their content, then rowdy Atari and Commodore anarchists wouldn’t be too far behind. Where would it end?

Sources speaking confidentially with A2Central (because they were not authorized to do so) claimed the FBI wanted Juiced.GS decrypted, or “unlocked” and had initially requested the assistance of the NSA’s Advanced Code-breaking Unit (ACU) which uses super-computing and artificial intelligence resources to decrypt foreign government communications. That option allegedly wasn’t immediately available due to its current task of decoding McDonalds Monopoly prize pieces in an effort to win free Frappe Mocha, french fries and other freebies for the organization’s night shift. Conjecture indicates the NSA staff may have had an unprecedented case of the munchies.

A lengthy battle in the court of public opinion and eventual legal proceedings seemed imminent. However, it may have turned out to be an unnecessary and overly elaborate exercise as the FBI and Homeland Security now claim they can access Juiced.GS content without ACU intervention. An unidentified third-party is assisting the agency establish a subscription to the magazine that has the encryption feature disabled.

March 28th, 2016

6502 Workshop announces “Nox Archaist” RPG

Nox

We are excited to introduce Nox Archaist, a new role playing game we are developing exclusively for the Apple II platform and emulators. Currently we are targeting a release date sometime this year. Nox Archaist will be available 100% free and the complete assembly source code will be posted on our blog as development progresses.

Nox Archaist is a 2D tile based fantasy RPG with a classic Apple II look and feel. We are taking advantage of the full 128k available on the IIe and later models which will help us create features and effects that may not have been seen in vintage 1980s Apple games. Game play videos and screenshots showing the current evolution of the Nox Archaist game engine are available below.

Please send us your comments and suggestions! We would like to include many community sourced ideas into the game.

http://www.6502workshop.com – Nox Archaist website with our blog, current gameplay video, screenshots, and gifs.


Demo gameplay video featuring the current game engine.

6502 Workshop Mission:

  • Develop a fun game CRPG enthusiasts will enjoy playing
  • Include ideas and feature sourced from the Apple II community when possible
  • Explore a modern evolution of the Apple II RPG genre
  • Create a repository of hard to find technical information on developing Apple II games
  • Determine how many two layer shrubberies with a path down the middle will fit on the Apple II hi-res screen

Nox Archaist Technical Details:

  • Runs on any 128k Apple IIe or later system
  • Physical machines and modern emulators are supported
  • Current game testing is being done on a physical Apple IIe and in AppleWin
  • Coded entirely in 6502 Assembler, no construction sets used
March 28th, 2016

UltimateMicro News

Coming soon from UltimateMicro: a new heavy duty universal power supply for the Apple II, II+, //e, IIGS and Apple ///. The circuit board for the power supply will feature multiple mount points and snap-offs to accommodate any of the standard power supply enclosures used in the Apple II and /// series and possibly even those from Applied Engineering and Applied Ingenuity. The UM-UPS will likely be available as both a DIY kit and as a fully assembled product ready for mounting in your enclosure. You will also have the option of having UltimateMicro upgrade your existing power supply by sending it in and paying for labor. Pricing has not yet been announced for this product or upgrade services.

UPU1

The Scalable Oscillator has been revised and now we have the v2.0 versions for the Zip-GS and the Transwarp GS. Although identical in function, the new Scalable Oscillator circuit boards were redesigned for reliability and accuracy by using a higher grade clock IC. Both have fuse protection and a diagnostic power LED to let the user know the card is powered on. Either product is available for a very reasonable USD $40 plus shipping.

SO-ZIP
Scalable Oscillator for ZipGS

SO-TWGS
Scalable Oscillator for TranswarpGS


Scalable Oscillator 2.0 Review by Joe’s Computer Museum

Lastly, we have the replacement DuoDisk cable. It’s a common occurrence for Apple II enthusiasts to find 5.25 DuoDisk Disk Drives missing their interface cable, or sometimes it’s been cut-off. It doesn’t help that the cable is somewhat non-standard. Good news! UltimateMicro will soon have a solution for you!

DDA

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