September 30th, 2008

Juiced.GS Volume 13, Issue 3 now available

Juiced.GS V13I3Juiced.GS Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2008) shipped today to all subscribers. This issue features Andy Molloy’s report on building a Replica 1 at the Vintage Computer Festival; Mike Maginnis’ review of the Computer Gaming World DVD; Eric Shepherd’s guide to beta testing; Howard Katz’s review of CFFA v2.0; KansasFest 2008 coverage; and much, much more!

This is Juiced.GS’s third quarterly issue of 2008. Subscriptions and renewals for 2008 and 2009 are available for both United States and international customers.

September 26th, 2008

Apple II Quickies (09-26-08)

Apple II emulation has come to the 8-bit Atari, thanks to Piotr “Artax” Mejer. Read all about it (in Polish – use AltaVista to translate) here, and download it here (7-Zip file). Requires a real or emulated 8-bit Atari with 128KB. Might be fun for all you crossover retro-computists.

Blake Patterson tweeted this out 10 days ago and I forgot to post it… If you’re in the market for an original Apple 1 computer, in unknown condition, then check this post out at Vintage Computing and Gaming. Hey, that’s a nifty site.

September 26th, 2008

Fall 2008 Call-A.P.P.L.E. Magazine available

The Fall 2008 issue of Call-A.P.P.L.E. Magazine (Vol. 20 No. 4) has been published. The magazine is available as a free download from the A.P.P.L.E. web site at http://www.callapple.org/current_issue.html

September 18th, 2008

Apple II Revision 0 kit price reduction

Mike Willegal wrote in to get the word out that the price for his Replica Apple II Revision 0 Kit has been reduced to USD $349.00. He was able to get great prices on components, and is passing the savings on. The replica kits are in stock and ready to go.

Also on Mike’s workbench is his replacement firmware card. Mike has posted schematics and a parts list for the project, and said he may sell them in the future.

Does anyone have high resolution images of the motherboard traces from an authentic Apple 1 computer? Mike is doing some experimenting, and would like to see them.

September 18th, 2008

ADTPro 1.1.1 released, more Apple /// enhancements

David Schmidt continues to add additional support for the Apple /// in ADTPro 1.1.1

New functionality:

  • [Client] SOS version can use Ethernet UDP transport via the Uthernet card (http://a2retrosystems.com/)
  • [Client] SOS version can format media
  • [Server] Apple /// computers can be bootstrapped from bare metal over their built-in serial ports

Bug fixes:

  • [Client] Occasional Ethernet “hang” during transfer
  • [Client] Exiting the Ethernet configuration screen via the Return key but without saving to disk caused changes to be forgotten until entering and leaving the config screen a second time
  • [Client] SOS version failed to write the first set of blocks when it received a harmless “disk switched” notification (after swapping disks, for example)
September 11th, 2008

Retro road trip followup

I left the house around 7:00am on Saturday the 6th. I noted that it was cloudy and cool, and felt a moments regret that I hadn’t checked the weather report. No matter, I was on my way to Oklahoma to see James Littlejohn. My Apple //e and IIc Plus motherboards were in the car and I was ready to do some hacking.

It wasn’t too long before I ran into heavy rain, and I had to slow way down to avoid hydroplaning. Even at reduced speed, I had several white-knuckle moments as I tried to maintain control. Luckily, I made it to Chelsea only an hour later than I had planned. My map wasn’t that great, so I had to call James to guide me in the last few blocks. Chelsea is so small, I half-expected to spot the Big Green Monster from the highway.

I walked into the house and immediately I was amazed, surprised and a little envious — there were several H.E.R.O. robots, many Apple II (and III) computers, shelves of techie gear, books, software, peripherals and various gadgetry EVERYWHERE. Oh, yeah… some Timex Sinclairs too. James has a nice collection, no doubt about it.

After a bit of small talk, we got busy upgrading the IIc Plus motherboards. Some of the needed parts were misplaced, so James spent time verifying the boards instead. Since we couldn’t do the upgrades while I was there, I agreed to leave the boards for JL to work on later. As it turned out, that was a good thing — he managed to get them running stable at 10MHz (and in the process made an interesting discovery), now he’s going after 12.5MHz!

After lunch, it was time to assemble the LittleExpanderPlus (LEP). The rest of the parts needed for the project had just arrived the day before. I was going to be the lucky recipient of the very first unit.

James started by asking where I wanted the rotary switch located. I chose to have it mounted on the left top of the case, directly opposite of the square Apple logo (it’s a platinum //e). He then measured out the case and wires to make sure everything would be neatly tucked away. Next it was time to solder the wiring between the switch and the board, and a solder on a few more components. That took awhile, but it was worth it.




…and here’s the LEP installed in my workhorse Apple //e. Check out all that extra room! Can you identify all the cards in there?



As you can see, I haven’t installed my Pico PSU yet. I had to order a new AC adapter for it because the one I had didn’t have sufficient amperage.

Well, after James finished with the LEP, I had to hit the road. I didn’t want to get caught driving through rural Oklahoma and Kansas late at night. The last thing I wanted was a deer through the windshield.

The hacking continues…

September 10th, 2008

Overclocking the Apple IIc Plus (just got easier)

James Littlejohn has successfully overclocked his Apple IIc Plus to 10MHz with nothing more than an oscillator change and it works really well. Old news, right?

Overclocking the IIc Plus has been around awhile; hackers have been bumping the speed on the IIc Plus for years using various techniques. The most common procedure has been to replace the old oscillator, CPU and cache RAM with faster versions to achieve the desired speed increase (usually around 8MHz). You had to be handy with the soldering iron too.

Then earlier this year, we had a breakthrough; it was discovered that some IIc Plus boards overclocked with just an oscillator swap. It was still considered voo-doo though, because while some boards readily overclocked, there were others that refused to go any faster than their native 4MHz. No one knew why… until now.

I visited James recently in Chelsea Oklahoma, and left a couple IIc Plus boards with him to upgrade. While trying to get them to work at 10MHz, he made some interesting observations that he’s allowed me to post here.

While trying to overclock a couple of Sean Fahey’s Apple IIc Plus motherboards, I made a few interesting discoveries.

There are at least two versions of the Apple IIc Plus motherboard. You can identify them by the the silk screening which can be found under the power supply. The “A” motherboard is silk screened “1987/88”, and usually has socketed cache RAM. The “B” motherboard has “1987/88/89”, and features soldered cache RAM.

There are also two manufacturers for the ASIC chips used on these boards, NCR and UMC. The NCR chips appear primarily on the “A” boards (and occasionally on some “B” boards), while the UMC is found only on the “B” boards.




While experimenting with overclocking both boards, I’ve come to the following conclusions:

The “A” boards with the NCR ASIC are easily overclocked, as is. The “B” boards with the UMC ASIC will not overclock at all. However, some “B” boards shipped with the NRC ASIC.

Now here comes the kicker:

An “A” board with the UMC ASIC is able to be overclocked. So is a “B” board with an NCR ASIC. This suggests the NRC ASIC can be used in either version to achieve at least 10MHZ (maybe more — 40MHz crystals were the fastest I had on hand), without having to replace any stock chips. However, the UMC ASIC can only be accelerated in an “A” board.

I conducted these tests using 2 Apple IIc Plus “A” boards, and 4 “B” boards.

Wow, there you have it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an overclocking kit from ReactiveMicro at some point in the near future.

Comments are open on this post.

September 8th, 2008

New beta of AppleIIGo 2.0 released

AppleIIGo is an Apple ][ series emulator written in Java, programmed by Marc S. Ressl. The latest 2.0 beta (build 301) is available from the AppleIIGo Project Site.

According to Marc, “This build implements an Apple IIc ROM 04 with two 5.25″ disk drives, two UniDisk 3.5″ disk drives, and two SmartPort hard disks. It handles these file formats: DSK, D13, PO, NIB, V2D, 2IMG, HDV, FDI. There is no speaker sound nor NTSC for now. This build is only Mac OS X, I am working on portability. Windows and Linux folks, stay tuned!”

September 5th, 2008

Geoff Weiss releases MegaMemoryTester

First announced and demonstrated at KansasFest 2008, Geoff Weiss has now publicly released MegaMemoryTester (MMT) for the Apple IIGS. MMT features two test routines, one for testing individual bits for errors and another for verifying that memory maintains it’s contents persistently over a period of time. MMT was put through it’s paces during KFest on various brands and sizes of RAM cards, where it operated reliably and earned praise from attendees for it’s capabilities.

MegaMemoryTester can be found at ftp://bbs.a2central.com/uploads/PUBLIC/MegaMemory.SHK

Eventually it will be moved to another directory.

September 3rd, 2008

Apple II emulator for Nintendo DS announced

“GrizzlyAdams” on the site retroemu.com has announced that he has developed an Apple II+ emulator for the Nintendo DS. You can read the announcement and the emulator specifications in this message thread.

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