January 30th, 2017

Sweet16 status update

Eric Shepherd, author of the Sweet16 emulator for the Mac, posted an announcement today about the status and future plans for Sweet16. He starts with a comforting “this isn’t a death announcement!”, then continues:

With that out of the way, I know it’s been a while since the last update to Sweet16, and that it is in need of one. Here’s what’s going on right now.

First, my health has been troublesome for the last several years, as many of you know, with some issues gradually worsening even while others are being controlled through treatment. This has been a drain on my time, and the treatments have tended to leave me with little energy for work on anything non-essential, so I focus on my day job and my family the best I can.

Second, there are technical issues at play. I have started work on a major update to Sweet16 which involves rewriting parts of the code from the old Carbon API into the modern Cocoa one, since Carbon is deprecated and pieces of it are increasingly unreliable. The code as it stands is not a shippable product because of its partially-converted status.

I have become aware of certain issues with the currently available version of Sweet16 (3.0.3) that make it hard to use in certain cases. I am going to attempt to get things situated so I can do an update to fix at least some of these problems sometime before the June solstice.

The sticking point there is that the version of Xcode I used to last work on Sweet16 doesn’t run on the version of macOS I run anymore, and the code won’t build on the current Xcode. So I have decided to set up a virtual environment to use for future work on older versions of Sweet16 so that I can get these updates done.

I’m aware of a few issues I will try to address in this winter/spring (Northern Hemisphere) update.

The latest discovery: I’d gotten some reports of the command and option keys not working right, but hadn’t been able to reproduce it until I realized that this is happening only in software checking them by reading the joystick button flags. That led me straight to the correct solution: the code handling this is looking for a game controller to be present; if one is, then that controller is checked. The keyboard is only checked if there are no game controllers (joysticks or gamepads) connected. I will update the code to check both regardless and report the button down if EITHER or both are down.

I will try to resolve issues related to game controllers not working reliably, but I make no promises. The libraries for this changed over the years and I may not be able to fix this until I resume work on Sweet16 4.0.

I’ll also make some changes to handling of disk images to allow any .po image to be created and used instead of only allowing them for floppy-sized disks. When this code was first written, .po was strictly used for floppy disk images, but that’s changed over time and Sweet16 didn’t keep up with that change (mostly because I didn’t realize it had happened until long after it had — oops!).

There are a few other issues that I’ll look at. The goal is to go after stuff that’s either extremely critical or easy to fix only, just to ensure I get something out. The more I try to put into this update, the more likely it is to get delayed by my health issues.

I’m sorry that work on Sweet16 has been so slow. I have big plans and am pushing hard to get my health situation on track but it’s difficult. I will get this smaller update out, though, no matter what it takes, as soon as humanly possible.

Thanks for your support, and Apple II forever!

Hopefully he’s able to make this happen. He’s missed some planned and hoped-for release dates in the past due to his health, but let’s all hope for the best, and that he is also able to get back to work on Sweet16 4 as soon as possible!

January 2nd, 2017

The Source Is Strong With This One – System 6.0.4.

Happy II Year!

A New, New Release.

But first I would like to address the auxtypo, er auxtype issue recently discovered with the 6.0.3. release. Sometimes there are many ways to accomplish the same task. Most of the time it matters not how it is done so we don’t think about it. The auxtype issue has brought to the forefront that just as elusive as issues are with the GS/OS HFS FST, the same can be said about the ProDOS File System Extension for MacOS Classic (7.x-9.x). There is an apparent endian issue with the handling of the auxtype. Given the limited use of auxtypes in the ProDOS world, with most being $0000, if there is an endian issue the result is going to be the same anyway. But when you have an intermittent error and a whole lot of files to copy, your odds of it stumbling are much greater. In light of the HFS FST’s issues, I typically tell people to move data onto it’s native file system on the target platform. Don’t write HFS disks with your IIgs. After all these years I guess I need to add “..and don’t write ProDOS disks with your Mac.

The root of the issue was the auxtype bytes being swapped during the transfer. In the case of the SCSI.Manager it should have been $0140 but instead it was written as $4001. All auxtypes have been verified with this release.

Overall, there were auxtype issues with several files but not all affected the operation of the system software.
(SCSI.Manager, Finder, Start, and all system sounds.)

Some of this stuff is technical in nature and therefore dull and boring to most people, but we’ll go over it because if not, someone will ask.

OMF Records

OMF record packing. Records are stored more efficiently than the loader in System 6.0 and earlier resulting in less disk space for most program files and improved load times.

Control Panels

Support for Daylight Saving Time has been revised to the USA standard effective year 2007, up from the 1987-2006 specification used on the 6.0.3 and earlier releases.

Each CDEV has an rVersion resource for consistency.

Sound CDEV handles finderSaysOpenFailed events by playing the sound resource in the file. This is just the option to associate additional error conditions with audio feedback.

For the Unicorns out there, Slots CDEV supports ROM 4 “Mark Twain” hardware. Since this revision has inbuilt SCSI hardware and support for the SuperDrive (FDHD) 1.44mb 3.5″, these changes are now selectable and with the lack of Slots 5 and 7 physically, there is no “Your Card” option that can be selected.

File System Translators

DOS 3.3, Pascal, and ProDOS FSTs have been corrected to use the maximum Parameter Count (pCount) values. These are one way of passing variables between sections of code.

Pascal FST checks that the Volume Control Record is actually a Pascal Volume Control Record, that all parameters were properly initialized.

Finder

When opening resource sound files with only a single rSound and no application is assigned to that file type, the Finder sends a finderSaysOpenFailed event. This lets the Sound CDEV play the sound (if no other system extension handles it first). Most sound files in the System:Sound folder can be played by the Finder.

File and volume sizes larger than one gigabyte, up to the maximum GS/OS allows, are properly displayed. Note that this is GS/OS support, and not ProDOS. Since GS/OS has open ended support for file systems other than Apple II native formats those files will be displayed properly in listings.

FST names in Finder windows no longer display garbage if a third party unknown FST is installed and used. Instead, no information is displayed.

Fonts and Sounds

Additional fonts are available: The installed group of fonts has been rounded out and all sets contain each character in each native point size.
Added Fonts:
Courier 48, 56, 72, and 96
Helvetica 56
Symbol 9, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 36, 40, 48, 56, 72, and 96
Times 56

Helvetica 96 and Times 96 have missing characters restored.

Various Macintosh system sounds have been added.

Installer

Installer sets the System folder’s auxtype during Easy Update to permanently enable magic routing in the Finder. This only works if the System folder is unlocked. Magic routing is when you’re installing things to the System Folder, you don’t need to open it and go to the respective folder. Files will be placed according to their filetype.

New fonts and sounds can also be added through the Customize options “Fonts: All” and “Control Panel: Sounds” respectively.

Line Edit Tool

Line Edit control supports Control-A to jump to the start of the line and control-E to jump to the end of the line.

ProDOS 8

ProDOS 8 2.4.1 release from John Brooks is included.

Window Manager Tool

When JM Gothic is the System Font, the Window Manager uses JM Gothic instead of the hard-coded Shaston 8.

Apple II Technical Notes Apple IIgs #001 and GS/OS #100 have been updated to reflect the content and organizational changes in this release.

Click for Availability…

November 12th, 2016

Simulating a Burroughs 220 on your Apple II

If you ever wanted to simulate a Burroughs 220 vacuum tube computer on your Apple II, rejoice! Those lucky enough to be at KansasFest this past July had the opportunity to check out Michael J. Mahon’s preliminary work on his B220SIM. Functional but limited at the time, B220SIM aimed to show off the state of the computing art, circa 1955. Now, Mahon has announced that his simulator is nearly complete and you can try out the fruit of his programming labor at his website.

burroughs220

July 28th, 2016

Ian Kim’s SD-MIDI Passport compatible card


Kim_SDMIDI

Ian Kim is a card building machine. Click the pic for more information.

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.

February 25th, 2016

AIPC (Apple in PC) Apple IIe emulator released

AIPC

The Korean Apple II Community has been busy this month! Keonwoo Kim has released AIPC, an Apple IIe emulator for Windows with an impressive list of features! AIPC is freely available open source software released under the GPL.

  • Emulates Apple //e enhanced computer
  • Mockingboard and/or PHASOR card support
  • Mouse Interface card support
  • Disk II card with disk image (DSI, DO, PO, NIB images supported)
  • Mass storage “SD Disk][ HDD” (HDV, 2MG images supported)
  • Joystick with NumPad or PC Joystick
  • Various screen mode: Full screen, 2x mode, Scan line, Color/Mono/Green/Custom colors
  • NTSC color approximation
  • Save and restore running status

Source download:
https://github.com/sosaria7/appleinpc

Latest release:
Apple in PC 0.1.34.4

Screen shots:
https://github.com/sosaria7/appleinpc/wiki/Apple-in-PC—Screen-Shot

If you can read Korean, there’s lots to talk about here.

January 16th, 2016

Big Mess o’ Wires introduces Floppy Emu Model B

Steve Chamberlain has revised his successful Floppy Emu product and added additional enhancements for vintage Apple II and Macintosh users. Check out Steve’s intro attached below.


model-b-750

Today I’m excited to introduce the first significant update to the Floppy Emu disk emulator for Apple II and classic Macintosh computers: Floppy Emu Model B. The new Model B has the same disk emulation functions as the Model A and Universal Adapter, but with several new convenience features:

  • Built-in Apple II Compatibility – Model B is directly compatible with the entire Apple II line, emulating a 5 1/4 inch disk, 3 1/2 inch disk, or Smartport hard disk. While Model A required a separate Universal Adapter for the best Apple II compatibility, Model B has the equivalent functionality built-in. Classic Macintosh and Lisa disk emulation is still supported too.
  • microSD Card Support – The SD card slot is now a push-push microSD type, identical to what’s used in most mobile phones. This will make it easier to find suitable SD card media, since the older full-size SD cards are becoming rare.
  • SD Card Hot-Swap – The SD card can be removed and re-inserted while the Floppy Emu is powered on.
  • Improved Protection Circuitry – Model B features improved protection circuitry on the disk drive interface connector. This circuitry will help protect the Floppy Emu from electrical damage caused by voltage spikes and surges. It also eliminates the risk of potential damage if an Emu board running the Apple II firmware is inadvertently connected to a Mac or Lisa computer.
  • Same Great Emulation Features – All of the time-tested Macintosh, Apple II, and Lisa disk emulation features from Model A are still present. Model B reads and writes emulated 140K, 400K, 800K, or 1.4MB floppy disk images, or hard disk images up to 2GB, if supported by your Apple computer. For full details, see the instruction manual.

If you’re new to Floppy Emu, it’s an external hardware device for vintage Macintosh, Apple II, or Lisa computers. It uses a removable SD memory card to mimic an Apple floppy disk and drive, or an Apple hard drive. The Emu behaves exactly like a real disk drive, requiring no special software or drivers. Floppy Emu is perfect for booting your favorite games, moving files between modern and vintage machines, and troubleshooting a computer without a working OS. Just plug in the Emu board, and you’ll be up and running in seconds.

Floppy Emu Model B is available for sale now. While supplies last, I’m also selling the remaining inventory of Floppy Emu Model A units for a reduced price. It’s disk emulation madness!

January 5th, 2016

David Caldwell’s Apple II Plus simulator updated

Check it out here. It features an interesting TV emulation that looks totally whack on a faux Monitor II. Several disk images and various controls are located at the bottom of the page. Have fun!


Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 8.48.46 PM

December 7th, 2015

Apple2ix for Android

Hi there,

I would like to announce “Apple2ix”, a new Apple //e emulator app for Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.deadc0de.apple2ix.basic).

The Apple2ix emulator is designed for cross-platform (Mac/Linux/*BSD desktop and iOS/Android mobile), only the Android version is officially released and supported at this time. The source code primarily derives from the discontinued “apple2-emul-linux” project from the late ’90s and also contains more recent contributions from AppleWin.

Source code and collaboration is through GitHub: https://github.com/mauiaaron/apple2

Apple2ix features:

  • Apple2ix for Android integrates minimalist “touch keyboard” and “touch joystick” UI elements to make the playing of old arcade titles on a touch screen feel almost seamless
  • Provides support for a wide range of Android 2.3.3 “Gingerbread” and later phones and tablets
  • Minimal permissions (read/write external storage only)
  • Currently out in Play Store for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, U.K., and U.S.plans for more releases as translations become available
  • Free as in beer and free as in liberty

As the primary/sole developer on this side-project of love, I am very much interested in Android bug reports for the Android variant. Stay tuned!

Kind regards,
mauiaaron

November 9th, 2015

Ivan Drucker releases A2SERVER v1.2.5

Hello, hello.

A2SERVER 1.2.5 is now available. Its main new feature is to offer to install GS/OS 6.0.1 for network boot (as it did before), as well as community releases 6.0.2 and 6.0.3. It also now includes HFS.FST with the install, and has a handful of bug fixes.

You can update by typing “a2server-update” at the command prompt in Raspple II, the A2SERVER virtual machine, or whatever Linux box you’re running on.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, A2SERVER is a file server and network boot host for Apple II computers, allowing you to easily share files between your Apple II’s, classic Macs, and modern computers on the same network. It’s easy to set up, and runs on a Raspberry Pi, which is pretty much the cheapest computer in existence. It also is available as a premade virtual machine (via VirtualBox) for your modern computer, or can be installed directly on some Linux computers.

You can get A2SERVER for free at: http://ivanx.com/appleii

Enjoy,
Ivan.

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