January 28th, 2014

Mike Willegal to lead ‘BYO SwyftCard’ workshop at VCF East 9.1

EDIT: Mike wrote in to clarify that he’s custom making a reproduction of the SwyftCard and that it won’t be based on his SuperProto hack. Given Mike’s eye for detail, it’s going to be every bit as good as the real thing.

Good news for SwyftCard enthusiasts, Mike Willegal has implemented the SwyftCard using his SuperProto board. In addition, he will be offering a workshop to build a reproduction SwyftCard during VCF East 9.1, April 4th-6th at the InfoAge Science Center in Wall, New Jersey.

The SwyftCard is the brainchild of Jef Raskin, who started the Macintosh project while at Apple. They’re relatively hard to find and some enthusiasts consider them collectible, along with it’s successor the Canon Cat. Mike has a nice write-up of the SwyftCard here.

December 10th, 2013

Apple2Pi refinements continue to impress early adopters

Via David Schmenk

“Stealth IIGS (IIgs in IIe case w/ CFFA3000, Uthernet) vs Apple II PI (Stock IIe w/ mouse card and A2Pi adapter) running GSport with Uthernet emulation at 2.8 MHz. Both using the Internet Starter Kit GS/OS image. Can you tell which is which?”

December 2nd, 2013

Payton Byrd announces Hayesduino

Via comp.sys.apple2

What Is It?

Hayesduino is an Arduino sketch that provides a bridge between the world of the Internet and small devices that do not have built-in ethernet capabilities. Old computers, such as the Commodore 64, Apple II and Atari 800 have serial ports, but do not have readily available Internet solutions with wide software support. While specialized solutions do exist for these platforms, they all require specialized software to use them and do not lend themselves to more general usage such as simply opening a socket, sending some data, and/or receiving some data.

Hayesduino bridges this gap by emulating a Hayes compatible modem. This allows users to initiate Internet communications via sockets that are opened by “dialing” to a hostname and port. An example would be initiating a telnet session with a host by simply typing atdt hostname:23 and waiting for the host to respond. Using this technique, any online socket can be reached and communicated with.

Hayesduino could have accomplished this without emulating a modem, but there needed to be a good way to allow the small machine to receive incoming connections. The three platforms listed above were all very popular systems for hosting BBS (bulletin board systems) which would accept calls over a telephone line via modem. Hayesduino simulates the incoming phone call whenever the software receives an inbound connection on port 23 (this is changeable in the code). When an incoming connection is detected, the Hayesduino will toggle the DCE-DCD line to trigger the remote software to answer the incoming “call”. In this way a classic BBS can be hooked up directly to the Internet.


December 1st, 2013

Nishida Radio releases UNISDISK Disk II/Smartport drive emulator

Nishida Radio has released the UNISDISK, a Disk II/Smartport disk emulator for the Apple II series. You can read more about at http://tulip-house.ddo.jp/DIGITAL/UNISDISK/english.html

I’m traveling right now and will post additional details later after I get home.


December 1st, 2013

Ivan Drucker releases Raspple II

Via Ivan Drucker

I’m pleased to announce Raspple II for the Raspberry Pi. It’s an easy-to-install version of the Raspbian operating system, with preinstalled, newly updated versions of A2SERVER and A2CLOUD, plus David Schmenk’s nifty Apple II Pi, and other goodies.

Find it at: http://appleii.ivanx.com/rasppleii

Raspple II includes:

A2SERVER: Network file server and network boot host for Apple IIgs and IIe computers. Newly updated to support the latest version of Raspbian and the most recent Raspberry Pi boards.

A2CLOUD: Mass storage, internet access, and floppy disk transfer for any Apple II computer (even the IIc), courtesy of David Schmidt’s ADTPro and VSDRIVE. Newly updated to let you participate in Apple II IRC chat and Usenet discussion groups from your Apple II (which I’m in fact doing right now to post this), and to include the KEGS and LinApple IIgs and IIe emulators.

Apple II Pi: Lets you interface your Apple II’s hardware — keyboard, mouse, joystick, drives, and CPU — with your Raspberry Pi, which creates all kinds of interesting possibilities.

Unlike previous releases of A2SERVER and A2CLOUD, Raspple II doesn’t require using special software or Unix commands to install. You just download the zip file, expand it, copy its contents to an SD card, and put it in your Pi. You can download it from http://appleii.ivanx.com. There’s also extensive documentation there for getting up and running with A2SERVER and A2CLOUD.

If you are already using A2SERVER or A2CLOUD and want the new features and updates, including Apple II Pi, you don’t need to start over. Just type
“a2server-setup” or “a2cloud-setup” at your Raspberry Pi’s prompt.

More information about Apple II Pi is on Dave’s web site: http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/wordpress

Of course, Raspple II is free. I hope you enjoy this new release, and as always please let me know if you have any questions, feedback, or comments.


October 5th, 2013

It’s here… the Apple II Pi adapter card

A small batch of David Schmenk’s Apple II Pi adapter cards (see site for more pictures) have been fabricated and are being sent out to lucky beta testers. Once the adapter is thoroughly tested, it will go on sale to the public.

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 10.41.45 PM

The Apple II Pi is an adapter card that interfaces the popular Raspberry Pi computer (RPi) directly to the Apple II bus. With the A2Pi software, the Apple II can control the RPi, use it serve virtual drives and access various servers and services locally or on the Internet. You can even run an emulated Apple IIGS and control it with your IIe keyboard and mouse.

In case you’ve missed it, our Apple II Pi coverage is HERE and HERE.

In my opinion, the Apple II Pi is the most important peripheral offering to hit the community since the original CFFA and CFFA3000. Trust me, you will probably want one. Check back often, A2Central will post updates as news of the Apple II Pi develops.

By the way, if the layout style of the A2Pi card looks familiar, it may be because it was laid out by James Littlejohn.

October 2nd, 2013

Option8 to produce Apple IIe Card replacement ‘Y’ cables

Option8 has announced they will produce a replacement ‘Y’ cable for the Apple IIe Card, an add-on that permits some older 68K models of Macs to run vintage 8-bit Apple II software. The cable provides the interface between the Apple IIe card and an external floppy drive and joystick. It’s frequently lost during the lifespan of the Mac, and can sometimes be difficult or expensive to acquire separately.

Charles Mangin is accepting pre-orders now to estimate demand and set the final price. See site for details and sign-up for the waiting list if you want one (or a dozen).

September 25th, 2013

Option8 announces new RetroConnector for old-school joysticks

Charles Mangin has announced Option8′s latest RetroConnector will be a joystick shield. For only USD $35, you can now use your much-loved, classic CH Mach II joystick (or any other Apple DB9 or DIP16 joystick) and interface it to your USB equipped Mac or PC for some retro-gaming fun.


The joystick shield joins Option8′s family of IIe and IIc RetroConnector keyboard adapter shields for the Apple IIe and IIc. Pew-pew! Get yours today.

September 11th, 2013

David Schmenk’s latest Apple II Pi update posted

David Schmenk is on a mission to tightly integrate the Raspberry PI and Apple II into an amazingly awesome fusion of old school retrocomputing facilitated by modern hardware. Pure Genius.

Apple II Pi Part 4

In case you missed the previous installments:

Apple II Pi Part 3

Apple II Pi Part 2

Apple II Pi Part 1

September 4th, 2013

Ivan Drucker updates A2Cloud

A2Cloud is now out of testing and has reached it’s first official release. Users of the prior beta release are encouraged to download the new version at: http://appleii.ivanx.com/prnumber6/category/a2cloud/

Per Ivan’s site, the ideas behind A2Cloud are to:

  • Provide a couple of virtual “hard drives” — even for the IIc — courtesy of David Schmidt’s VSDRIVE.
  • Make it easy to get an Apple II — even a IIc — on the internet to be able to download software and do other stuff.
  • Be able to use any software you download immediately, either in a virtual hard drive, or by making it easy to transfer it to a floppy with David Schmidt’s ADTPro.
  • Blog about other ways a Raspberry Pi can make an Apple II more enjoyable.
  • Have it all be as easy as possible, even for Unix/Linux newcomers.
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