March 12th, 2016

Open Apple #57 (March 2016) : Bill Budge!

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with legendary Apple II programmer, Bill Budge. In addition to being an icon of Apple II gaming and graphics, he is the number-one-requested guest by listeners of the show. Mike and Quinn are very excited he was able to make some time to talk to them, and hope you agree it was worth the effort. Bill is, of course, the author of such seminal classics as Raster Blaster, Pinball Construction Set, and MousePaint. He was an influential force in the golden years of Electronic Arts, and did many good works with early Apple as well.

After chatting with Bill, Mike and Quinn chew the fat about Soviet Apple II clones, slowing down the IIc Plus, and documenting rare II models. Meanwhile, Quinn constructs an impromptu sound studio in a conference room, and Mike waxes nostalgic about harpsichords. Also, this episode marks the most Apple III references snuck in to date. Mike even manages to goad the guest into bringing it up. Don’t miss Quinn struggling to remember the word “Dacta”, and Mike taking a cheap shot at Elevator Action.

A quick update to Quinn’s Floppy Emu Model B review- since this was recorded, Steve has updated the firmware so it now remembers the last disk image you used.


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February 21st, 2016

Open Apple #56 (February 2016) : Peter Lount, Gemstone Warrior, KansasFest

This month on Open Apple we sit down with Peter Lount, co-developer of Gemstone Warrior and Gemstone Healer for the Apple II. Canadian programmer Peter and his partner Trouba broke new ground in video games by combining fast action combat with procedurally generated caves and dungeon content. Gemstone Warrior doesn’t get credit for being the predecessor to Blizzard megahit Diablo, but it should. Peter talks about tuning his rendering engine, including rewriting huge chunks of it overnight to meet a deadline. What’s your reality resolution?

Tune in to hear Mike complain that Gemstone’s monsters are too smart for him, and hear Quinn choke on the most important Apple II announcement of the year. We talk a lot about solid state drives, marvel at underground ‘zines, and bask in the awesome glory of Brutal Deluxe’s tape collection. Audio is still the “best” way to move data after all these years. “A bold statement,” you say? “Nonsense,” you cry? Listen and decide.

Meanwhile, Ultimate Micro continues to kick butt by reverse engineering all that sweet Applied Engineering hardware, Quinn makes terrible “card” jokes, and we catch up on lots of feedback.

Breaking the fourth wall on segment bumpers- good idea, or great idea?


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January 31st, 2016

Open Apple #55 now available

This month on Open Apple we sit down with Henry Courbis, co-proprietor of Ultimate Micro, serial entrepreneur, and Open Source guy. Henry is boldly going where no hobbyist has gone before, by making Apple II hardware his real day job. If anyone can do it, Ultimate Micro can!

We talk massive modem phone bills, phreaking, warez, and statutes of limitations. You know… for a friend. Henry talks about how hardware first appealed to him, and how he has leveraged his hacking and resourcefulness into development of powerful & complex modern products. Henry is a nexus of collaboration in the Apple II hardware community, and helping to make a lot of things happen. Henry makes cloning the Transwarp GS sound easy, and goes into lots of detail on exciting upcoming UltimateMicro products.

Listen in amazement as Quinn is unable to realize that “qkumba” is a play on “cucumber”. Listen to Mike badger Henry for a Phasor clone, and listen to Quinn’s not-so-subtle attempt to be a beta tester for the IDEA2c. We’ve got emulators, we’ve got hardware vendors, we’ve got crackers, and we’ve got phony museums about to get sued into oblivion. Come on down!


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January 2nd, 2016

Open Apple #54 (December 2015) : 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 Randy Brandt of Beagle Bros fame, Charles Mangin of RetroConnector, and some guy named Carrington Vanston.

We talk about connecting old things to other old things, connecting old things to new things, and how to pluralize German surnames. Mike manages to make several Apple III references, Carrington imagines nonexistent 8-bit games, and The Third Apple Guy is discussed at some point. It’s a deep, intellectual examination of all things Apple II. Stay tuned to hear why Quinn’s mom hoards peoples’ IIGSes for some reason. You won’t want to miss a moment. Also, Quinn makes a 65C02 joke that nobody laughs at. You’ll know why.


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November 28th, 2015

Open Apple #53 (November 2015) : David Schroeder, Phreaking, 8-bit Mice

This month on Open Apple we sit down with David Schroeder, author of classic Apple II games such as Crisis Mountain, Dino Eggs, and Short Circuit. We talk about the randomness of our passionate brand-loyalty, the logistical realities of early Apple II development, and the magical era of “one-person, one-game”. We get into a lot of the technical details of Crisis Mountain and Dino Eggs, so you might pick up some tips for your own Apple II projects! David also has great memories of the economic and design realities of the time, where everyone was scrambling to figure out what a computer game was, and what players really wanted. Game developers are still fighting that battle, but at least we have a definition of “video game” now.

We’re sharing David’s games in the show notes below, with his permission! In exchange, he asks that you patronize, share and support Dino Eggs: Rebirth.

After that we jam through some quick news, bask in the fallout (see what I did there?) of the GEOS episode, and we get down and dirty with rodents. Do you have the GS with the bigger Em Bees? Trust us, you want the bigger Em Bees.

You might notice that we’re continuing to tighten up the show. Let us know how you feel about this trend in our show length! Do you like the shorter episodes? Miss the epic three hour monsters? Email us at feedback (at) open-apple (dot) net. We have social media too, but we can never remember which ones.


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October 31st, 2015

Open Apple #52 (October 2015) : GEOS! Robert Bowdidge, and more GEOS!

This month on Open Apple we sit down with Robert Bowdidge, one of three interns at Berkeley Softworks who ported GEOS to the best line of 8-bit computers. We talk about what a great place Berkeley Softworks was, along with the power of good tools and proper software engineering. Robert has great memories of the culture there, the GUI technology they had built, and the brilliant people who built it. Apparently GEOS existed for some other 8-bit computer as well, but we imagine it was slow and child-like. Users probably bought it at K-Mart or something.

After the interview, Mike and Quinn delve into their personal memories of GEOS, along with a couple of new projects they both did with the environment. Mike works on GEOS file conversion, and Quinn sorts out all the drivers so you don’t have to. We’re even having a contest this month! Download Quinn’s Ultimate GEOS disk image and find the secret phrase. First person to do so and email us at feedback (at) open-apple (dot) net wins nothing at all!

We also talk some news- lots of really great hardware is coming down the pipe. You won’t want to miss Javier Rivera’s hands-on with Plamen’s IIc VGA adapter, and the Uthernet II is now available. Don’t miss out! We talk some Woz, we talk some French Touch, and we revisit KansasFest yet again.

Celebrate GEOS with Quinn and Mike this Hallowe’en!



October 31st, 2015

Drop /// Inches #13: Dr. Wendell Sander

This month on Drop /// Inches, Paul’s Apple /// has trouble connecting with the world outside, so he speculates on possibilities for WiFi connectivity, and Mike’s Apple /// has trouble connecting with any worlds at all. So, we turn our attention to literature, including the full Apple /// patent, a survey of Apple II users, an early interview with Trip Hawkins, and books on the Apple ///. Paul’s gotten himself a Cursor /// and some late-era PFS software, and unexpectedly managed to get a CMC Quick-20 drive working, Mike’s gotten an Axlon 320 RAMdrive. And Charles Mangin has created a miniature Apple ///.

The second half of the episode is an interview Mike conducted over the phone with Wendell Sander, designer of the Apple ///, from a couple of years ago, covering things like the Apple-internal interactions between departments, problems and solutions to initial reliability issues, the RAM design and peripherals. Recorded from a speaker through the air for added retro sound quality, but very interesting indeed!

And after you’ve listened, be sure to read Dr. Sander’s follow up comments on the infamous National Semiconductor clock/calendar IC, loose chips in sockets, and the article on Applelogic.org.


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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?


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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.


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