September 1st, 2015

New game play video of Lawless Legends released



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!


Idea2c
Click on picture for a MUCH LARGER view.

September 1st, 2015

The Byte Works’ Opus ][ now available from Juiced.GS

The Byte Works

SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 — LEOMINSTER, MA — Gamebits, publisher of premier Apple II magazine Juiced.GS, is proud to announce its partnership with software developer The Byte Works to sell Opus ][: The Software and Opus ][: The Source. These products, which collect the majority of The Byte Works’ products and source code, are available immediately on CD and USB and as downloadable disk images, starting at $25 each or $40 for both.

"Juiced.GS‘s collaborations with The Byte Works began when we bundled GSoft BASIC with our December 1998 issue," said magazine editor and publisher Ken Gagne. "We’re thrilled to work with Mike Westerfield to again make his programming tools accessible to the Apple II community."

"The ORCA languages, including the assembler and development environment Apple shipped as APW, have always been the most complete and widely used tools for Apple IIGS programming," said Mike Westerfield, president of The Byte Works. "They have been hard to get for a few years. I’m delighted that Gamebits is making these programs easily available again."

To commemorate this release, Gamebits has released Juiced.GS Concentrate: GSoft BASIC, a PDF that collects Eric Shepherd’s six-part programming tutorial series that was originally published in Juiced.GS from 1998 to 2000. This PDF is free when purchased with any Opus product, or it can be purchased separately, bundled with a free trial edition of GSoft BASIC, for $10.

Additionally, a related product, Juiced.GS Concentrate: Back to BASICs, has been reduced in price by 33%, from $12 to $8. A further $2 discount is applied when purchased with Juiced.GS Concentrate: GSoft BASIC.

Opus ][

Juiced.GS is the longest-running and last remaining print publication dedicated to the Apple II. Subscriptions are available at $19 for United States customers, $24 for readers in Canada and Mexico, and $27 for international customers. Receive news and updates about Juiced.GS by signing up for our email list or following us on Facebook or Google+.

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.



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
A2retrosystems

.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 21st, 2015

Decode your vintage Apple computers serial number

Guillaume Courtier has written a Macintosh OS X application that will decode the serial number on your Apple IIGS, IIe Platinum, IIc Plus and Macintosh. The serial number will reveal the date and month, and also where the computer was manufactured.

Requires Macintosh OS X 8.x-10.x 64bit

You can download the app from: http://museepgc.perso.sfr.fr/download/Serial%20Number%20Decoder%201.2.dmg

August 18th, 2015

SYNTAX ERROR T-shirts available from Zazzle

Brendan Robert designed a Syntax Error t-shirt, and the product is now available for purchase on Zazzle.com. Control-G Bell (beep) not included.


syntax_error_t_shirts

August 18th, 2015

Coming soon: A2Heaven.com


a2heaven2

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.

August 7th, 2015

Brian Fitzgerald grants release of source code to TAXMAN, Pac-Man clone

Rebecca Heineman has announced via Facebook that she has been given permission to the release the source code to 1981’s “TAXMAN” from H.A.L. Labs by the games programmer Brian Fitzgerald. TAXMAN is notable for being one of the first (and best) clones of the famous Pac-Man arcade game. It was so good, AtariSoft sued and then as part of the subsequent settlement, used TAXMAN’s source code to produce their own Pac-Man port for the Apple II.

Over the years, there have been variants, one of which was created by Heineman herself, when she added additional escape tunnels to the game.

As soon as the source hits GitHub, we’ll post a link here. Examining the code should be beneficial to programmers who want to learn techniques for smooth animation, sound FX generation, obstacle and collision detection as well as general game theory principles.

In the meantime, please enjoy Brian Picchi’s review of TAXMAN courtesy of YouTube.



July 31st, 2015

UPDATED x2: Byte Works ORCA/C source code heading for GitHub?

This is a developing story, but it looks like the source code for ORCA/C may legitimately be heading for hosting on GitHub. This may mean the patches for ORCA/Pascal and other Byte Works products are also going to be made available as well.

UPDATE: And here it is, the source code.

And YOINK it’s gone. According to Mike Westerfield:

OK, I was apparently incorrect in using GitHub as a way to make the source code for ORCA/C freely available to all of you so you could modify it and get the updates for free. I reread the terms of service, and as has been pointed out, permission to fork is required, and this conflicts with the clause in the license agreement blocking distribution of derivative works.

As a result, I’ve deleted the ORCA/C repository on GitHub.

I am still looking for a way to make updates to the source easy, free, and universally available while maintaining the copyright on the code. If anyone has a suggestion on how to do this, please let me know.

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