November 9th, 2015

A2Heaven opens its gates at last


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Plamen Vayssilov has opened 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.

November 2nd, 2015

UltimateMicro to begin shipping their new 8Meg IIGS RAM Card v2.0

UltimateMicro will begin shipping pre-orders of their new 8Meg IIGS RAM Card v2.0 starting next week. Priced at USD $249 in their store, there will also be a $279 Buy It Now option via eBay.

The design of this card started out as a clone of the CVTech 8MB card, but it’s an entirely new product now. Refinements and updated components promise to make this the ultimate RAM card available for the IIGS. Features include:

  • Gold Fingers for superior oxidation prevention and long life.
  • Tantalum and Ceramic Power Filtering Capacitors for longer life (4x minimum), extreme reliability and stability over time especially when compared to Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors. Power Filtering Capacitors are the last line of defense when it comes to protection from corrupted data in RAM.
  • Resettable Fuse for short-circuit protection and to prevent damage to the Motherboard’s and RAM Card’s PCB traces, and to help prevent Tantalum Capacitor thermal runaway and damage.
  • Power LED to show the board is receiving power and the Resettable Fuse is functioning correctly.
  • ROM Expansion/Direct Access Connector for future projects and easy connection with existing accessories.
  • RAM Bank 1 and Bank 2 LEDs to show access (not DRAM Refresh).


UltimateMicro---8Meg-RAM-Ca
Click image for larger view of card.

October 31st, 2015

CFFA3000 Run #4 now available for ordering!

Rich Dreher of R&D Automation has announced the opening of sales for the fourth run of his wildly popular CFFA3000 flash storage and disk emulation card. You can order the CFFA3000 from here. Initially, there is a limit of 2 boards per customer.



October 27th, 2015

Tecnobytes announces Tecnowarp reserve list

Tecnobytes is now accepting pre-order reservations for the upcoming Tecnowarp accelerator card for the Apple II Plus and IIe.

The Tecnowarp features four software selectable speeds (1.0MHz, 2.0MHz, 3.6MHz and 7.2MHz) and can use an external switch to toggle turbo mode off and on. It also boasts user upgradeable firmware and jumperless configuration via inbuilt menus. No dips or jumpers to set!

Performance-wise, the Tecnowarp appears to be comparable to the elusive Applied Engineering Transwarp II which also ran at 7MHz.

The Tecnowarp is priced at $250 USD each (PayPal and shipping fees not included), discounts for multiple board orders.



October 11th, 2015

Hands on with the A2Heaven Apple IIc VGA Adapter

Review written by Javier Rivera

The apple //c is a little marvel and it is a favorite among retro collectors for its beauty, versatility and size. Lately there has been a lot of development for the platform around storage and display, as media is harder to acquire and slow, and CRT displays are aging and failing. Also there’s the problem of color: a lot of old displays are green or monochrome, and the color options are sometimes hard to get. All these constraints have engaged creative minds around the world, like France, Bulgaria, Japan, Korea, Brazil and US just to name a few, to come with new and creative alternatives.

The video problem for the Apple //c has been a special one: the signal from the video port is not a typical standard, and very few attempts to use the connector have been made. The first was from Video7, who made a “video enhancer” that connected to RGB monitors. Later there was a home-brew from France called “Guimauve 2000” that connected the //c to a VGA monitor.

Lately, Nishida Radio came out with a beautiful adapter that not only worked very well, but was very small and connected to the back of the computer. The only drawback of the last two solutions is that they don’t include protective enclosures, the components are exposed.

Recently, Plamen Vasilyov from Bulgaria, a prolific Apple II hardware creator, came up with his version of a VGA adapter. I had the fortune of getting ahold of the device and it is a simple yet effective VGA converter. The device not only works flawlessly, but is also elegant and simple. Comes in a white plastic printed enclosure, with a rainbow cable that connects to the //c video port (very retro Apple II style) and provides on the output side a three-row 15-pin DB-15 VGA connector.


vga

The feature that sets this adapter apart from the others is a small button next to the connector: by pushing it will provide 8 different video modes: Color, Green, Monochrome, Mono White, Color-scanline, Green-scanline, Monochrome-scanline and Mono White-scanline. The beauty of these modes is that you can emulate different monitors with one button: a color, green, monochrome and white monochrome monitors, and with the addition of scan lines it recreates the CRT look and feel, very popular in the console game scene.


photo 3

These modes also make working with 80 column and graphic desktop applications very easy, allowing readable and crisp clear text at the touch of a button.

Green | Green w/scan lines | Color | Color w/scan lines

The device sits on the back of the computer out of sight but easily accesible to the switch, is small, light and very well crafted. I’m not surprised as his other creations (//c dclock, Senior PROM, Audio cards and his famous Disk II floppy Emulator) are known for quality and reliability.

I greatly recommend this adapter, as not only does what it is intended very well, but provides extra options found only in high end gaming devices.

At the time of this review, the price of the Apple IIc VGA Adapter had not yet been announced. Separate NTSC and PAL versions will be available.

October 11th, 2015

Uthernet II cards begin shipping

The first batch of Uthernet II cards are shipping from A2RetroSystems in Canada! I HAZ CANADA POST TRACKING NUMBER, EH!

October 8th, 2015

Mockingboard v1a in stock at UltimateMicro

UltimateMicro has 26 Mockingboard v1a cards in stock. This is a 100% compatible clone of the Sweet Micro Systems Mockingboard A, (upgradeable to a “B” with the addition of an SSI-263P Speech Synthesizer chip). It’s also features a few modern enhancements. The Mockingboard v1a is only $85 USD plus shipping. At this price, THESE WILL GO FAST!


MBv1a
Short of an actual Mockingboard, this is the best, most compatible product available.

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 21st, 2015

Juiced.GS Volume 20, Issue 3 now available

Juiced.GS Volume 20, Issue 3 (Sep 2015)Volume 20, Issue 3 (Sep 2015) of Juiced.GS, the longest-running Apple II publication in print, is now arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes. At 28 pages, this is the largest issue of Juiced.GS ever, featuring coverage of the KansasFest and Apple II Festival France conventions; Carrington Vanston’s HackFest journal; an interview with the editors of Scholastic Microzine; a breakdown of ProDOS file headers and fields; the penultimate chapter of Detective Pomme and Colonel Hexings’ latest mystery; and much, much more!

This is Juiced.GS‘s third quarterly issue of 2015, its twentieth year in print. Subscriptions for 2015 and 2016 are also available at $19 each for United States customers, $24 for readers in Canada and Mexico, and $27 for international customers, with several free sample issues available as PDFs.

September 11th, 2015

Wayne Johnson’s Raster Blaster Reloaded available for download

I’ve spent the last few months remaking Raster Blaster from the Apple II which was a game I loved playing back at school in the day. It’s currently available for Windows, MacOSX and Android and I need to get back to finishing the Linux build which will hopefully be next week sometime.

The free download is at: http://sausage.itch.io/raster-blaster-reloaded.

The official site is: http://hippocket.waynejohnson.net

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