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.


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?


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

August 2nd, 2015

Open Apple #49 (July 2015) : Laine Nooney, Technowarp, 4am

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Laine Nooney, researcher of early computer and software companies. She has been digging into the history of such greats as Brøderbund and Sierra On-Line. In particular, she has done some awesome research on the infamous Soft Porn Adventure, including behind-the-scenes details on the infamous advertising photo. We talk about broken microfilm projectors, we talk about printer stands, and we talk about revisionist small town historians. Trust us, it will all make sense in the end. Laine is going deep into the role of the microcomputer revolution in transforming domestic life (and the very layout of the houses we live in).

Listen and wonder why Quinn thinks it’s 2010, wonder how loud an ASR-33 really is, and why Mike reads local newspapers of small towns in Utah. Explore the lost art of naming computer user groups, witness the first pure hack of Rastan, and see what Woz thinks about… well, everything and everyone.

July 12th, 2015

Open Apple #48 (June 2015) : Tony Diaz, KansasFest Memories, Prototypes, and 8-bit DNS

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Tony Diaz- KansasFest committee member, and consummate Apple II collector. With KansasFest just days away, we go deep on Tony’s amazing collection of unique prototypes, documents, peripherals, and the stories that go with them. If there’s a person with deeper knowledge of the early history of Apple Hardware, we haven’t met them.

Thanks for your patience in June, everyone! Some technical and logistical difficulties kept us from posting this episode as soon as we would have liked. We hope the show is worth the wait. We dive into lots of new hardware toys, KansasFest-like events around the world, lots of software updates, and one of the best Apple II games ever made.

How many times does Quinn boo Atari this month? What can we learn about Mike’s dark, mysterious past? How many tedious Jobs movie news items can the world produce? Listen and find out!

KansasFest 2015 is just days away. Hope to see you all in Kansas City this week!

May 31st, 2015

Open Apple #47.5 (June 2015) : John Brooks via Matt Ownby

Welcome to a special extra episode of Open Apple! Fellow Apple II enthusiast Matt Ownby recently sat down for a chat with John Brooks, author of Rastan on the IIgs. It’s a fascinating conversation with tons of technical detail that you won’t want to miss. They talk copy protection, cycle counting, fast GS sprite rendering, and lots more!

A huge thanks to John for taking the time to share his knowledge. Also a huge thanks to Matt for recording this and allowing us to air it on Open Apple.

There are some audio quality issues with this piece, but we feel the conversation is well worth it. Enjoy, and send a thanks to Matt and John!

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May 28th, 2015

Open Apple #47 (May 2015) : Jason Scott, Kaboom!, Infocom Secrets

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Jason Scott, documentary filmmaker, historian, public speaker, and archivist.

We talk about the importance of a nuanced appreciation of history, the flavors of sadness in comment threads, whom not to trust with special data and the nature of humanity, and failing at life.

Don’t miss Mike Hate Sponge Delicate Snowflake Maginnis’s sigh to end all sighs. Join us to learn how to take care of your capacitors, how to count your cycles, and how to do TCP/IP on your 8-bit Apple II.

Want to troll your cable company, accelerate your IIe, or play Bomberman on your GS? Tune in and find out how!

*Note: This episode was recorded more than a month ago so some of the news items discussed are slightly out of date.

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April 19th, 2015

Open Apple #46 (April 2015): Paul Lutus, ReactiveMicro, and KansasFest Keynote

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Paul Lutus, author of seminal early Apple II software such as AppleWriter and GraFORTH. We talk about the impacts of software development on society, the value of the individual in the process, and the trials of coding software in the woods.

We talk extreme offsite backups, KansasFest keynotes, telnet BBSing, and the hurricane of awesome that is ReactiveMicro. We reminisce about the original Home Computer Wars (these kids today arguing about their smartphones are so darned cute), and also Boo Atari.

We trek from Bulgaria to Korea to Canada and back again, to bring you the latest in sound cards, solid state storage, and portable Apple IIc action. You won’t want to miss Quinn plugging Phil Plait for some reason. With our story on Atari 8-bits in Poland, this marks the most Atari content ever on Open Apple. It also qualifies us as the 698th currently operating Atari podcast. Boo Atari. See what you get when you poke the bear, people? ][ Infinitum.

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