October 1st, 2015

Tecnobytes announces new batch of ClassicIDE cards available

Tecnobytes has produced another (and possibly the last) run of ClassicIDE cards for the Apple ][ Plus, //e and IIGS. Priced at only $70 USD, it’s one of the most affordable CF/IDE solutions for Apple II series.

September 5th, 2015

UltimateMicro announces RAMFactor 4MB Expansion clone completed and shipping

UltimateMicro has finished cloning the RAMFactor 4MB Memory Expansion card and final testing of this elusive and highly sought after peripheral is underway. So far, the clone is working as expected and should be shipping VERY SOON to those who pre-ordered. Henry will be contacting those lucky people early next week. Meanwhile, here’s a pic of the card!

2015-09-04 - ReActiveMicro - RF 4Meg Expander v1.0
Click picture for LARGER view.

September 1st, 2015

First look, IDEA2c from UltimateMicro

Some Apple IIc -=love=- from UltimateMicro’s Facebook page:

Speaking of the IDEA2c Drive (from the last post)- A proto is now assembled and being tested. We will be moving from standard chips to custom logic (CPLD). This board however is a hybrid of both designs, and will allow us to move one IC at a time in to the CPLD and continue testing to ensure we have correctly emulated the standard logic. As chips are integrated we then cut the traces on the PCB, or just remove the IC from its socket.

As you may have noticed, we have ordered this proto with a few examples of the new logo printed on it, and also the move to Altera MAX7000S CPLDs. Both items will be standard on all future projects.

The next version of this board should include a Clock and Aux RAM, however we may even see a decrease in total physical size of the board. Even the current PCB didn’t need to be as large as it is. We mainly wanted to document what the physical size limits were in case we need more room in the future.

The board will connect using the CPU and MMU sockets on the IIc or IIc+ motherboard. We did find some IIc units that had the MMU soldered to the motherboard. In this case we will offer a service to remove the MMU and add a socket.

Work continues in the ReActiveMicro, and more updates to come!

Click on picture for a MUCH LARGER view.

September 1st, 2015

Open Apple #50 (August 2015) : Rebecca Heineman, Plamen’s Clones, GS/OS Updates

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Rebecca “Burger Becky” Heineman. Becky is a legendary Apple II developer (not to mention many other platforms), and was the keynote speaker at KansasFest 2015. We discuss Becky’s KansasFest experiences then and now, how the community has changed, and what she’s up to now. She has a lot of Apple II gold archived away, and we’re starting to see more and more of it as a result of the continued warmth and friendliness of the Apple II community.

Tune in after that interview, when Quinn and Mike go on to talk about amazing Bulgarian hardware products, new ways to acquire Byteworks software, the mysteries of Double Hires graphics, and of course Halt & Catch Fire. KansasFest stories abound, Mike plugs the Apple III, and Quinn acts oblivious to Mike on the subject of Prince of Persia. Listen in awe as she tells the exact same story about Mechner’s source code, immediately after Mike says the same thing. We swear your co-hosts do listen to each other most of the time, folks.

Place your orders now for the hottest new fragrance, R3TR0: By Gagne.

September 1st, 2015

Arduino-based Apple 1 emulator on Hackaday

Alex Bowen’s Arduino-based Apple 1 emulator was posted on Hackaday. You can read more about his college advanced microprocessors project here.

August 29th, 2015

Check out Quinn Dunki’s Apple II ROM Dumper


Read all about it at Blondihacks.

August 21st, 2015

A2RetroSystems announces Uthernet II preorders opening NOW

IT’S HAPPENING NOW! If you asked to be notified of the A2RetroSystems Uthernet II preorder, your e-mail inviting you to participate has been sent or will arrive soon. Glenn Jones has announced that the initial price for the Uthernet II will be $59, and $10 for worldwide shipping of up to 2 cards. Glenn’s announcement is attached below:

Dear Uthernet II Interested parties,

I am pleased to report the survey was a great success. Thank you so much for your awesome support of the Uthernet II project.

Before I continue, I would like to thank the people who have assisted me in getting this project to the point where it is now.

We all owe Oliver Schmidt a large thank you for his many and continuing open source contributions on the Contiki, IP65 and also ADTPro programs. Oliver consulted with me in the early stages of this products development, on which chip should be chosen for this project and provided all the primary software support to ensure the correct operation of the hardware. After that he went on to provide drivers and enhancements to Contiki, IP65 and ADTPro.

Ewen Wannop is another force to be reckoned with in the Apple II software world with his own suite of programs for GS/OS, that use both the Uthernet I and II cards. Ewen developed both the original Uthernet I and II link layers that make it possible to use Marinetti and associated apps on GS/OS.

David Schmidt continues to enhance and support ADPPro. David was responsible for an early test version of ADTPro that was compatible with the Uthernet II.

On the hardware front Kilian Leonhardt suggested a solution to resolve compatibility issues with the Apple II+ and Unenhanced IIe and Daniel Kruszyna suggested a solution for an issue with the interrupt line.

Last but not least is my sincere thanks to my alpha and beta hardware testers whose additional testing help give the confidence to proceed with production of this project.

Jonno Downes, Ed Eastman, Sean Fahey, David Finnigan, Bill Garber, Daniel Kruszyna, Kilian Leonhardt, John Keoni Morris, Andrew Roughan, Oliver Schmidt, David Schmidt, Nigel Sheldon (CL), Antoine Vignau, Ryan Wallmow, Ewen Wannop, Sean Zabriskie.

To date there have been 277 respondents to the survey.

Since sending out the survey, another option for board assembly has presented itself.

I was contacted by a local Canadian company, Circuits Central, who offered to bid on the assembly job.

So why am I mentioning this option verses just continuing with my original plan of producing the boards in China?

As mentioned in the survey, given the quantities we are discussing, these boards must be machine assembled to ensure a consistent quality and be produced in a timely fashion.

Having them made in China has some benefits like lower cost and reasonable execution but it also presents a few challenges on my part.

  • First time trying to execute at this scale.
  • Communication with Chinese manufacturers can be challenging at times.
  • Initial Inspection for a run must be done by photograph (assembly line cannot be held up waiting for sample testing).
  • Two runs cost more than 1 large run (assuming a smaller initial run in order to make sure quality and functionally is met, followed by a second larger run).

By choosing to go with Circuits Central

  • I would be partnering with a local business located 30 minutes from my home.
  • Has a good reputation/track record in the electronics industry since 1996.
  • Will produce a few sample boards for me to test before committing to the rest of the production run.
  • Significantly increases the chance of project success while helping to reduce risk.

So having explained all of this, my decision then is to partner with Circuits Central in Canada for the assembly. The bare PCB’s however will still be manufactured in China.

In summary:

Based on the results of the survey and other factors, the card will be offered at an “introductory price” of $59 USD per card. Orders will be filled based on the color chosen in the survey (Green, Red, Blue, Black).

World wide shipping would still be $10 USD flat rate per 2 cards.

I believe this offer provides the best blend of value and quality while reducing the manufacturing risk to a manageable level.

So to place a pre-order via paypal, please access the ordering page at http://www.a2retrosystems.com/order.htm

This introductory price offer will be valid until August 31 2015 EDT.

Once I have enough pre-orders to get underway, I will post a production status page with your order number so you may follow along with project updates and later shipping status.

I expect the manufacturing process to take approximately one month given no delays. After receiving the cards, I will be filling orders after hours/weekends. Given the quantity of cards to be tested, packed and shipped, please bear with me as I process the orders.

You will find the current FAQ at http://www.a2retrosystems.com/support.htm#faq.

Thanks again for all your encouraging support.

Glenn Jones

.ps Please feel free to share this email if you know someone who did not fill out the survey and may be interested in this offer.

August 18th, 2015

Coming soon: A2Heaven.com


Plamen Vayssilov will soon open A2Heaven.com, a new Apple II site to sell his Apple II products. The site will also host a blog and forums for technical support.

Plamen, a Bulgarian retro-computing enthusiast, has been prolific in cloning and reverse-engineering and even modernizing several Apple II peripheral products, such as the Mockingboard, AE RAMWorks and RAM Express, Apple SCSI card and many more.

July 23rd, 2015

Geoff Weiss updates MegaMemoryTester to v2.1

Geoff Weiss has updated the premier IIGS RAM verification utility MegaMemoryTester to version 2.1 — you can get it from the program’s support site here: http://mmt.gwlink.net/

July 21st, 2015

KansasFest 2015 Saturday Report

Saturday’s report is brought to you by third year attendee Mike Whalen.

So, as I write this at 11:18pm on Saturday, July 18 2015. KansasFest is well and truly over. There no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s over, Johnny. It’s over!


Well, okay, I suppose I could recount the day’s activities. That would delay things… a bit?

We all started in the morning.. and, uh, I ain’t gonna lie, I don’t remember it much. I think there was an egg or two. Maybe a bacon. I don’t know. What is breakfast.

But somehow I did wake up at some point because I do recall Kevin Savetz giving us a good explanation as to how we can preserve Apple history via interviews. Kevin’s been producing interviews for his Atari (boo) podcast, ANTIC for the last coupe of years. I think he has like one hundred interviews. Anyway, Kevin made a compelling argument over why it would be useful to produce more and more interviews for the various Apple II podcasts and that you can find interesting stories in some unusual places — technical support, third party companies, etc.

Next up, Peter gave us a detailed history of LOGO, the programming language originally designed to teach children programming fundamentals. In the early 80s, LOGO caught fire at schools and many a school-child learned how to move turtles around a screen. Unfortunately, the language fell into disuse fairly quickly. Peter recounted the reasons why and then launched a fascinating discussion into new horizons in the programming languages for children. This child programmer appreciated it!

John Linville came back! Yes, he wasn’t run out by A2 fans wielding pitchforks for the heresy that is a CoCo session. In fact, we wanted more! John detailed his game Farhfall which he recently released for the CoCo. It’s basically like a reverse Crazy Climber. A fire is descending down on you. You need to fall from platform to platform to keep clear from fiery doom.

Brian Wiser was up next with his annual update about all things A.P.P.L.E. He announced several exciting projects including a cleaned up and redesigned edition of the classic What’s Where in the Apple. Brian demoed several pages that showed the original version, a recently released cleaned-up version, and their own work. It looks quite amazing.

After lunch, Ian Johnson gave us his update on getting working and useful Japanese language support on the Apple IIGS. Ian has been demonstrating the leaps and bounds made for a couple of years now and they’re very close to having Japanese lanaguage support that can work as well as it could. This will give the Japanese Apple IIGS fans something to look forward to!

The second to last session was a smattering of new product announcements. Charles Mangin from RetroConnector showed off his new //e audio adapter. You plug it in between the speaker and speaker connector and then you have an earphone jack just like the IIc owners have.

And with that all the sessions were over. It was time for the swap meet and exhibition. Everyone brought down their equipment to show off what they had been working on the whole year while others sold their wares. I hovered over the //e and a Newton Messagepad but didn’t quite go for it. Oh, and I also wanted No-Slot Clock for my IIc Plus. Alas, things went very fast.

While the festivities took place, the Hackfest judges reviewed entries and made their decision. When they were done, the attendees got their own look at the entrants. Amazing stuff. Carrington Vanston demoed his Tic Tac Pro which was a grid of nine smaller tic-tac-toe games determining the outcome of one big tic-tac-toe game. Charles Mangin demoed a small utility that reads disk images and creates a graphic representing the data on-disk. You must see to understand. Forrest Lowe demonstrated adding a litle randomness to every boot. One one boot, maybe one program will load. The next? Maybe a different one. Jeremy Rand demonstrated his take on Sodoku with its own A.I. John Leake of the RetroMacCast demoed his OMG Zombies game in which every step you take brings the zombies closer. Kevin Savetz took Bob Bishop’s Li’l’ Red Bug and made it play itself. HE did something similar in 2013 with Structuris. Kevin prefers to let a computer do all the work, including winning games evidently. Kevin actually had two entries. The second one showed an script in which a disk already uploaded on the Internet Archive was opened, the file contents documented, and metadata created and re-uploaded to IA. It’s a very useful hack that will simply make it easier to find software on the IA. Martin, not one to be outdone, wrote an amazing enhancement for the Apple /// Monitor. He added disassembly and assembly. How does he do it? How? How I ask you? Lastly, Sarah showed a keen idea in which she edited the opening sequence of Olympic Decathalon to pay tribute to Caitlin Jenner.

The winner of the chicken dinner? CARRINGTON VANSTON with Tic-Tac-Pro.

Various groups went to several restaurants and/or the movies. I went to Eden Alley Cafe with several folks. Afterward, we all went to an extremely noisy and crowded Up Down barcade to play games. Back at Corcoran people began packing in earnest. Another KFest down. Another year until the next one. The good news? There will be a next one.

Apple II Forever, y’all.

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