August 29th, 2009

Virtual II 6.3 released, works with Snow Leopard

Gerard Putter has updated Virtual ][, the leading 8-bit Apple II emulator for Mac OS X to version 6.3.

I’m pleased to announce the release of version 6.3 of Virtual ][, the well-known Apple II emulator for Mac OS X. The focus of the update is compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6, “Snow Leopard”.

Apart from the Snow Leopard compatibility, the release contains a number of bug fixes. The new version is fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” and 10.5 “Leopard”.

The update is free and is recommended for all users of Virtual ][. It can be downloaded at http://www.virtualii.com

Regards,

Gerard Putter, author of Virtual ][

What’s new in version 6.3

  • The program is now fully Mac OS X 10.6 “SnowLeopard” compatible.
  • Fixed an issue, introduced in version 6.2, where the video inspector didn’t render the text screen correctly.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the “open Apple” key emulation to work poorly in full screen mode (in Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” only).
  • In full-screen mode, the I/O activity indicator sometimes remained visible after I/O activity had ended; this has been solved.
  • Fixed an issue, introduced in version 6.2, that could cause Applescript execution to crash the program (in Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” only).
  • Fixed an issue (in Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” only) that prevented the use of the built-in French character set.
  • In the configuration window, the character set preview showed a few stray pixels. This has been solved.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause a gzipped disk image to be incorrectly renamed when ejected.
August 26th, 2009

Sweet16 2.1.3 released

An updated Sweet16 (Apple IIGS emulator for Mac OS X) has been posted. Sheppy’s announcement is attached:

I’ve just released Sweet16 2.1.2 (Edit: 2.1.3 released). It fixes a couple of bugs and is a worthwhile upgrade for pretty much anyone.

Features

  • Fixed several errors in the French keyboard support.
  • Creating any size disk image, including floppy disk sizes, now has the same speed improvement that hard disk image creation received in Sweet16 2.1.1
  • Removed an obsolete error message.
  • Fixed an error message that was coming up blank when trying to create an invalidly-sized DiskCopy 4.2 image.
  • The disk image size now tracks correctly in the “Create Disk Image” window, so the size you get actually matches the size you picked all the time; there were cases in which that wouldn’t necessarily be the case.
  • Edit: 2.1.3 is now out. Changes in this version:

  • Adjusted the CPU emulation loop, resunting in a substantial emulated IIgs speed increase, especially on PowerPC.
  • Fixed the CPU speed control feature to work on PowerPC.
  • Rewrote the Recent Disks menu code to only show the names of the disk image files, instead of full URLs, in the Recent Disks submenu.
  • The Control-H keystroke no longer resets the emulated Apple IIgs. Oops.
  • Removed some stray debug output.
August 24th, 2009

Official: KansasFest 2010 announced

It’s official, KansasFest 2010 has been announced for July 20th through 25th, and will again be held at Rockhurst University, in Kansas City Missouri.

Mark your calendar and make plans to join us in 2010.

August 24th, 2009

Syndicomm releases APDA Reference and Software Library discs

As was announced at KansasFest and elsewhere, Syndicomm has published their entire library of licensed Apple Programmers and Developers Association (APDA) books and software on CD. This collection constitutes the bulk of Apple Computer’s public, sanctioned reference material for the Apple II series.

For years, most of this material was only available in print — some of it easy to find, while other elements were a bit more obscure. Several years ago, Syndicomm acquired the license to distribute the APDA material from ByteWorks. Syndicomm sold most of the content as hardcopy and some software as disk images for sale in downloadable form, but as convenient as this was, customers asked for more…

By popular request, the entire library has been compiled into massive, one-stop, all you can read collections. The buffet bar of Apple II knowledge is now officially open… OK, enough of those metaphors. The point is, all the technical manuals in a convenient, electronic searchable format are now at your disposal.

I can imagine this will make many Apple II developers who use emulators (especially on laptops) rather happy — with the APDA content and The Opus Collection, you can finally take it ALL with you.

Sheppy’s product announcement is attached.

Apple IIgs System 6.0 Golden Master CD-ROM
Price: US $25
http://store.syndicomm.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=305

The Apple IIgs System 6.0 Golden Master CD-ROM was produced by Apple back when System 6.0 was completed; it contains the operating system, assorted documentation, notes, developer tools, utilities, and sample code — including code for a few pieces of the system software itself.

While the operating system included on this CD-ROM is outdated, some of the sample code and tools are still of use to Apple IIgs developers, so we’re making this CD-ROM available for interested developers.

-=-

APDA Apple II Reference Library
Price: US $129.00

http://store.syndicomm.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=307

The APDA Apple II Reference Library CD-ROM offers complete scanned, searchable, chapter-bookmarked Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files comprising the complete collection of Apple reference manuals Syndicomm is licensed to distribute.

The complete list of included books:

* Apple II File Type Notes
* Apple II Technical Notes
* Apple IIc Memory Expansion Card Technical Reference
* Apple IIc Technical Reference, Second Edition
* Apple IIe Technical Reference
* Apple II DOS 3.3 Programmer’s Manual (with Sample Programs disk images)
* AppleShare Programmer’s Guide for the Apple II
* Apple II High-Speed SCSI Card Reference
* Apple II Memory Expansion Card Technical Reference
* ProDOS 8 Technical Reference
* Apple IIgs Firmware Reference
* Apple IIgs Firmware Reference Update
* Apple IIgs Hardware Reference, Second Edition
* Apple IIgs Toolbox Reference Volume 1
* Apple IIgs Toolbox Reference Volume 2
* Apple IIgs Toolbox Reference Volume 3
* Apple IIgs GS/OS Reference
* Apple IIgs GS/OS Driver Reference
* Programmer’s Introduction to the Apple IIgs
* Technical Introduction to the Apple IIgs

-=-

APDA Apple II Software Library
Price: US $129.00

http://store.syndicomm.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=306

The APDA Apple II Software Library is a complete collection of all the Apple software Syndicomm is authorized to sell. This includes developer tools, sample code, and operating system software products, among others.

The complete contents of this disk:

* Apple Pascal 1.3 with Device Support Tools
* APW Interfaces for System 6.0.1
* Apple II Desktop Toolkit
* Apple II Filecard Toolkit
* GSBug and Debugging Tools
* HyperCard IIgs Developers Kit
* Apple IIgs Source Code Sampler
* MPW IIgs Tools
* MPW IIgs Assembler
* MPW IIgs C
* MPW IIgs Pascal
* Apple SuperPILOT Special Edition
* Apple IIgs System 6 Release Notes
* Video Overlay Card Development Kit
* Apple IIgs System 5.0.4
* Apple IIgs System 6.0.1
* Apple II AppleShare Setup Disk
* Apple II DOS 3.3
* Apple II High-Speed SCSI Card Utilities
* HyperCard IIgs
* HyperMover
* Apple II System Disk 3.2
* Apple II System Disk 4.0.2

All products include disk images in Universal Disk Image (.2mg), DiskCopy (for 3.5-inch disks), and ShrinkIt disk archive formats. In addition, all manuals are provided in searchable scanned Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format, with bookmarks for each chapter.


Our lovely hand model holding our evaluation copies of the APDA discs

Our lovely hand model holding our evaluation copies of the APDA discs


August 21st, 2009

KansasFest 2009 – Friday – The Lost Updates

It was another late night (they all are at KFest) hanging out with other attendees. I wandered by to see what Henry Courbis and Anthony Martino were doing. Earlier they were hunkered down in their room, soldering circuits onto cards, using a makeshift ventilation system that they had duct-taped to the dormitory window. I had to stop by and see if they were still alive. Instead, I found a small crowd of enthusiastic hardware hackers talking shop.

Besides crunching to roll out new products in time for Saturday’s vendor fair, the guys were working with James Littlejohn on an ambitious new product; something Anthony has dubbed “The Huck Finn Project”.


James, Geoff and Anthony checking out the Huck Finn Project

James, Geoff and Anthony checking out the Huck Finn Project



Some background: most Apple II diehards know all about the Mark Twain Apple IIGS, aka the “ROM 04” that Apple chose not to produce. It featured an internal 3.5 FDHD “superdrive” and 40MB SCSI hard drive (each with their own integrated controllers on the motherboard), 2MB RAM soldered onboard, plus 2 additional SIMM sockets supporting 4MB of RAM (or 6MB, unofficially) and true stereo in/output. At 2.8MHz, it wasn’t any faster, but it was still an Apple II at heart and could use the same peripherals as the previous IIGS models. This included accelerators, RAM cards, etc.

http://www.computist-project.net/kfest/kf06/slides/DSC_0160.html
http://www.computist-project.net/kfest/kf06/slides/DSC_0161.html
http://www.computist-project.net/kfest/kf06/slides/DSC_0162.html

[Pictures of Tony Diaz’s “Mark Twain” Apple IIGS courtesy Matt Maginnis (http://www.computist-project.net), taken at KansasFest 2006.]

All these built-in goodies would have put the Apple IIGS on par with the lower-end Mac offerings of the time. Apple didn’t want anything cannibalizing Mac sales or confusing customers, so they killed off further development and the rest is history.

Fortunately, a few prototype Mark Twain units survived and found their way into the hands of lucky collectors where they’re rarely seen in public outside of venues such as KansasFest. Sadly, I am not one of those lucky collectors. I know you feel my pain. ;)


Testing parts to make Huck Finn a reality

Anthony testing SCSI parts



Which brings us back to the Huck Finn. Anthony’s plan is to create a “ROM 05” of sorts. By supercharging an existing ROM 03 machine, Martino thinks he can recreate what the Mark Twain was to have been, and even improve on it.

The first step was to fabricate a new, larger lid for the IIGS, so no one would have to hack up their original plastic. The extra space is neccessary because the new case will integrate cooling fans and openings for additional hardware. What extra hardware? One or two floppy drives, compact flash slot, the internal hard disk and an internal CD-ROM drive. Yeah, seriously — all that *inside* the IIGS lid.


Anthony holding prototype Apple IIGS cover made by James Littlejohn

Anthony holding prototype Apple IIGS cover made by James Littlejohn



So that’s what I found the guys working on. James Littlejohn was spec’ing out the fabrication details for the prototype lids and Anthony was testing prospective electronics for the kit.

The Huck Finn is still an early work in progress. Nothing specific has been settled on, so it will be some time before final specifications or pricing are established. When I find out more, I’ll post it to A2Central.


Henry and Anthony's solder station exhaust system -- is this up to code?

Henry and Anthony's solder station exhaust system



Close up of Henry and Anthony's exhaust system -- looks like something the Borg would make

Close up of Henry and Anthony's exhaust system



More good news from Anthony Martino: he’s been working on a clone of the Apple 3.5 Drive Controller, aka the “SuperDrive” controller for some time now. Early on, there were glitches, but now Anthony says the kinks are worked out and the controller is 100% ready. The current production run of 6 units are being sold on eBay. Later runs will be sold through the Reactivemicro and UltimateApple2 stores for $125 USD.

As good as the real thing? We'll get one and test it.

As good as the real thing? We'll get one and test it.



Also coming up, a clone of the Essential Data Duplicator card to help you backup those old copy-protected titles of yesteryear. So, between the VGA interfaces, the controllers and the Huck Finn, it’s been a very busy KFest for Anthony and Henry.

Paul Zaleski is repairing and upgrading accelerators for people this year. Dang, I should have brought a couple of mine with me… Paul, hope you’re coming next year! Bring your solder station!


Paul taking a break from soldering stuff.

Paul taking a break from soldering stuff.



It was getting late even by KFest standards, and I hadn’t touched my RetroChallenge in over 24 hours. I headed back to my room for some quality Apple II time. It had dawned on me earlier that if I couldn’t get the USB serial adapters to in OS X, maybe they’d work in Windows XP. I do keep an XP VM on my MacBook using Fusion (for work and other reasons). Sure enough, XP recognized the adapter and I was off and running.

I downloaded a couple of disk images and was able to make a few disks using ADTPro. It wasn’t a perfect experience though — a few of my attempts to generate a disk failed even after tweaking and double-checking settings. I’m assuming that something about running ADTPro, on XP, from within Fusion, on a MacBook using a no-name USB serial adapter might have introduced and unknown dynamic. In the end, converting floppies was a less than reliable experience but I at least made *some* progress. More or less content with that, I went to bed.

…and I overslept.

I missed Ken Gagne’s Juiced.GS session. Later, I learned that Juiced.GS will continue to be published into 2010. That’s an awesome bit of news.

I missed Martin Hayes session on Hacking the System Monitor. I really wanted to go to that one too. Fail.

…and then my work called me. Good thing, because I might have slept even later, and missed Sheppy’s Apple Programming Q&A. Oh, wait — I missed that one too because I had to perform emergency maintenance on a remote server. That lasted a few hours; right through Bruce Baker’s annual session exploring Softdisk games and Geoff Weiss’s Sun Virtual Box demo.

By the time I was finished and got over to the activity center where the sessions were being held, Stavros Karatsoridis was wrapping up his SUPERPilot session. I like SuperPilot. I think it’s a fascinating and underrated programming language that deserves more attention.

I was fuming a little because I’d missed so much… but I was also relieved that I had wrapped up the server problem at work. There was no way I was going to miss the next session. Vince Briel, the man who brought us the Replica-1, had something new and interesting to show us and he wanted to get our opinion on it.


KansasFest 2009 Vince Briel’s MP3 Card from Sean Fahey on Vimeo.

Wow is an understatement. A real MP3 player for the Apple II… and not just that, a *USB* interface for the Apple II! The buzz this announcement generated got pretty intense — it seemed like everyone had a different take on how this card could be utilized, and not just for MP3 playback. I think Vince was pretty happy with the reception the card received.

Vince then said he wanted to open the device up for anyone to develop on; that he wanted to find someone who could take over the software development for it. Several people expressed interest, but I think Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd will be the person in charge of that. He seemed to be the most enthusiastic about the project and Sheppy definately has the coding chops to pull it off.


Vince and his new MP3 player/USB interface

Vince Briel and his new MP3 player/USB interface


The card is a prototype and doesn’t have a name yet as far as I know, but Vince said he expected it to cost around $100 USD when it becomes available.

After that bombshell session, it was time for the KFest Dinner Banquet. Ken “MC For Life” Gagne entertained us with “AppleCatz”. If you’ve seen LOLCATS, imagine that, but set to pictures from prior KFests.

Vince Briel won the tie contest with an illuminated Apple ][ LED circuit board tie and Mark Frischknecht won the door decoration contest.

After that, some of us went out to the Apple Store in Leawood. There was a short period of intense temptation to prank the Genius Bar by dropping a //c on the table and asking for support (but it was decided by consensus the joke would be just too lame).

That’s it for today. I’m going to get a snack and make the rounds again and then try to get a decent night’s sleep. I’m building a Replica-1 in the morning. I haven’t soldered on a board in years and I want to be rested and alert for that.

August 18th, 2009

Apple II Quickies (08-18-09)

Rob Janoff, creator of the original, rainbow Apple logo (introduced during the rollout of the Apple II) dispels many an urban legend as he tells the real story of how this iconic symbol came into existence.

Old, new news… Rich Dreher posted a prototype PCB of the next generation CFFA card, codenamed “CFFA3000“. In addition to being a compact flash adapter (possibly with DMA support), Rich is planning to implement a USB interface for loading floppy disk and hard drive images into the Apple II. Calling it the “CFFA2” seems predictable, but “CFFA2Central” rolls well. Just kidding, Rich. ;)

Just after KFest, one of our favorite sites, What Is the Apple IIGS got a CMS makeover which features new search capabilities and other enhancements.

We were hoping to have coverage from MtKeiraFest, but unfortunately, some whacker stole our volunteer correspondent’s MacBook with all his content. Hopefully Matt Jenkins will get it back, safe and sound.

August 14th, 2009

KansasFest media galore

Couldn’t make it to KansasFest 2009? The event’s Web site offers plenty of media through which you can vicariously experience KFest for yourself. The photo gallery has pictures and YouTube videos, while the newly redesigned file archive stores sessions, flyers, handouts, and logos from the last 14 years of KFest in an easy-to-sort format.

KFest media is even being featured in mainstream news outlets. Vince Briel, creator of the Replica 1, hosted a KFest workshop to help attendees assemble their own working Apple-1 machines. This class was photographed and documented in a Computerworld.com image gallery.

Of course, there’s nothing like attending KansasFest for yourself. Sign up for their official news feed, the discussion mailing list, or the KansasFest Twitter feed to be the first to get news about future opportunities to celebrate the Apple II!

August 11th, 2009

KansasFest 2009 – Thursday – The Lost Updates

These are the “Lost Updates” from KansasFest 2009 that I had planned to post each evening during the event. I apologize for not posting them in a more timely fashion. The only excuse I have is that my professional responsibilities unexpectedly required immediate attention and had to take precedence over my hobby for the last few weeks. I’m sorry if anyone was disappointed. Next year, I plan to spread the reporting duties around, if possible, so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

Morning came earlier than expected as it always does during late-night Apple II projects. I was up until about 2:00 am, unsuccessfully trying to get my Dell Mini 9 Hackintosh to talk to my Apple //c via serial cable. As it turned out, I didn’t have the correct driver for not one, but two different USB-to-serial adapters I had brought along. I suppose I assumed they would just work, as most things usually do when I plug them into a Mac. No worries I thought, I’ll just download the drivers… and that’s when frustration began to set in. I went to the site where I had purchased the first adapter, only to find they didn’t sell THAT particular adapter anymore. The driver for this rather plain looking, “made somewhere in Asia” device wasn’t anywhere to be found. I then tried generic-looking adapter #2… no joy there either. I then scoured the Intertubes grabbing various reference drivers to try but I failed to get any of them to work. By then I was tired and full of fail, so I decided to put this project off until later. Who knew my RetroChallenge would start out so… challenging.

I found out this morning that a new point upgrade to Virtual II for OS X was released (version 6.2) a few days ago and it snuck right past me. I really like this emulator and try to get the word out whenever Gerard Putter releases something new. Gerard, if you’re reading this, can you drop us a line in the future?

What’s new in Virtual II version 6.2

  • Added power management options to save energy and enhance battery life on a notebook Mac.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the game disk “World Karate Championship” to fail while booting.
  • The Help menu now contains an item to open an online version of the Help section in a web browser.
  • In the Inspector, fixed an issue where two lines in the disassembly could be highlighted at the same time.
  • Resuming an original Apple ][ from a saved state file could result in incorrect video settings. This has been solved.
  • Clarified some topics in the Help section: printing with a limited license, and joystick emulation with the keyboard.

OK, time for sessions. I don’t have time to hit the cafeteria for breakfast so it’s a bottle of water, a few granola bars and we’re off.

Ryan Suenaga presented an informative session on Geocaching, a recreational activity where items of (hopefully) interest are left at specific coordinates to be found by others using GPS devices. As an exercise, Ryan encouraged attendees to find a new power inverter kit he had hidden nearby. Tony Diaz quickly claimed the prize, when he went looking for it before the session had even finished.

Up next, new attendee Ivan Drucker espoused the virtues of the often forgotten, under-appreciated Apple IIe Card for Macintosh LC. Ivan did a good job advocating for the IIe Card, and handily demonstrated it’s finer (and occasionally lesser) points. Overall, there was a lot of interest in this session and a few of the attendees expressed a desire to acquire one soon. I’ve noted that prices on eBay for these cards fluctuate all over the place. I’ve seen new, sealed cards go for $20 to $100 or more, so shop around if you want one. They not exactly rare.

After lunch, new attendee Ferdinand Meyer-Hermann of Frankfurt Germany presented a highly technical overview (nearly a thesis actually) of the immense technical challenges involved in creating a VGA converter for the Apple II. That was interesting, but even better, Anthony Martino announced the availability of new products developed by Ferdinand, that will be sold through UltimateApple2. Anthony’s press release follows:

The Apple II VGA will be for sale only at KFEST. The //c version is $135 (uses the //c video expansion port), and the //e version is $100 (requires Applied Engineering Ramworks card). The boards are second revision, working prototypes. After a re-layout, a final product will be released for sale to the Apple II Community.

Known issues with prototypes for sale at KFEST:

80 column text on some LCD Monitors isn’t as sharp as it could be. This will be resolved in the final relased product.

Video mode reset doesn’t always reset correctly, which could cause some video to appear differently than normal.


Ferdinand holding the //c VGA adapter

Ferdinand holding the //c VGA adapter



Wow, this is big deal. Getting crisp, accurate Apple II video output on a VGA monitor has been a pipe dream for a long time. Anthony set me up with samples of each adapter, so I could try them out. Thanks Anthony!

iicvga


iievga

Ken Gagne next played a montage of Steve Wozniak’s recent appearances on Dancing With the Stars. We like Woz as much as we like the Apple II because he’s a genuinely nice person. Of course it was a visual disaster but Woz really enjoyed himself and you had to feel happy for him because dancing with Karina Smirnoff would make any guy happy.

It was time to get technical again, as Eric Shepherd instructed us on a Apple IIGS Toolbox basics. The hour and a half that was allocated wasn’t nearly long enough to scratch the surface of this topic but Sheppy did his best to cram what he could in the time he had.

Eric also used his time to announce that Sweet16 2.0 was finally out of beta. Edit: Sweet16 2.1, and 2.1.1 (bug fixes) have subsequently been released. Sheppy’s announcement follows:


Sweet16 2.0, the latest version of the Apple IIgs emulator for Mac OS X, is now available! The major improvements in Sweet16 2.0 are:

  • Networking support using the Marinetti TCP/IP stack.
  • 16-bit color graphics, rendered using OpenGL.
  • Added Emupack support; Emupacks are self-contained packages containing disk images, ROM, and preferences that you can double-click in the Mac OS X Finder to start up an Apple IIgs configured in a specific way.
  • Resizable video window.
  • A handy, scriptable Debugger to make developing Apple IIgs software easier than ever.
  • Full-screen support.
  • Joystick and gamepad support.
  • You can now copy text between the Mac and Apple IIgs clipboards using NDAs provided with Sweet16.
  • CD-ROM media can now be mounted in the emulated Apple IIgs.
  • An Apple IIgs desk accessory for switching between full-screen and windowed mode.
  • The video window’s title changes to show you the name of the Apple IIgs application you’re currently using.
  • A new preference lets you mount 800K disk images on the SmartPort instead of as IWM devices.
  • Added a preference to automatically slow to 1 MHz when booting from 5.25” disk images.
  • Improved showing and hiding of the Mac mouse cursor.
  • Unpartitioned ISO images can now be mounted in the emulated IIgs.
  • Disk image format detection is much better.
  • The EMUBYTE I/O location now correctly identifies Sweet16 and version 2.0 again.
  • The mouse scroll wheel now sends up and down arrow keys to the emulated Apple IIgs.
  • If you’re currently at the “It is now safe to shut off your Apple IIgs” screen, quitting Sweet16 no longer asks for permission; it just quits.
  • Apple IIgs code can read and write the 640×400 pixel, 16-bit graphics buffer in banks $E2 through $E9.
  • Fixed a number of bugs.

Sweet16 2.1 Release Notes

  • Added the new View menu and its options for half, normal, and double sizes.
  • Moved the Full Screen option to the View menu.
  • Fixed a serious GS memory trashing bug in the included “Get Clipboard from Mac” NDA.

Sweet16 2.1.1 Release Notes

  • Reworded the alert that appears when trying to mount a CD-ROM when no CD-ROM is found, since the same alert is used both when there is no CD-ROM media available as well as when there is no CD-ROM drive available.
  • Memory no longer gets leaked when controls in the Create Disk Image and Create Emupack file panels are clicked on.
  • The Create Disk Image panel now lets you create DiskCopy 4.2 images at 1.4 MB.
  • The Create Disk Image panel’s size popup no longer wanders out of view when you resize the panel.
  • Enabled some new optimizations that noticeably improves performance on PowerPC systems.
  • Removed some unnecessary debug output.
  • The SpiderMonkey JavaScript runtime is now weak-linked, so that Sweet16 really does now run on PowerPC G3 systems (albeit without debugger support).
  • The Create Disk Image panel now lets you choose a disk image format on Mac OS X 10.4; previously this popup window didn’t do anything prior to Mac OS X 10.5.
  • Creating disk images of even 1 MB sizes (5 MB, 10 MB, 32 MB, 100 MB, for example) now goes much, much faster, since instead of writing out 512 bytes at a time, these are written 1 MB at a time. A future update will provide a similar performance improvement for floppy size image creation.
  • Clicks in the video window are no longer ignored when the System Information window is open.
  • Removed some unnecessary mutual exclusion code in the networking support, speeding up networking substantially.
  • Rewrote the video timing code to be more precise.
  • The main event loop now does sleeps instead of busy-loops, dramatically reducing wasted CPU cycles; Sweet16 plays much more nicely with other running processes now.

After dinner, more programing fun as Ryan Suenaga showed attendees how relatively easy it is to write Marinetti-aware programs that can interact with Internet services like Twitter and Yahoo. These services have published APIs that are well within the reach of an Internet-capable Apple IIGS. Of course performance may be a problem due to RAM or Accelerator constraints …but who would have imagined the Apple IIGS would be doing these things over 20 years after is was introduced? Dedicated Apple II developers continue to push the platform to new heights.

Edit: Ryan has released a couple of useful and interesting CDA and NDA programs which you can download from his site. Check out the other articles too, as Ryan shows examples of how to program Marinetti-aware code in ORCA/Pascal. Remember IIter, the NDA Twitter client demonstrated last year? It’s finally released, and then there is Stock Quote CDA 1.0 and an early alpha release of IPDataReporter CDA.

Our last session for the day was presented by hardware hacker and extreme wall climber, Paul Zaleski. Paul demonstrated firsthand how easy it is to upgrade the Mac Mini on the cheap.

So far, this KFest is off to a great start. It’s time to wander around and see what everyone is up to. Later I might take up my RetroChallenge project again… after we nom, nom, nom on some Krispie Kreme donuts. Thanks for the snack Ryan!

August 6th, 2009

Sweet16 2.1.1 released

Hot on the heels of the official Sweet16 2.0 release during KansasFest, Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd has steadily been working on bug fixes and feature tweaks culminating in today’s latest 2.1.1 release.

Sweet16 is the premier Apple IIGS emulator for Mac OS X (requires 10.4 or later), and is freely available from the SheppyWare web site. Ahh, the emulation… ahhhhh.

August 5th, 2009

16 Sector announces Senior PROM adapter

Tony Diaz has informed A2Central that 16 Sector will soon offer a Senior PROM adapter for the Apple //e. Senior PROM is a set of ROMs and software utilities that provide comprehensive access and control over the innermost workings of the Apple //e.

The Senior PROM adapter will be available assembled, or as a kit for the DIY’er. Pricing has yet to be determined.

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