December 23rd, 2009

bootZero announces new drive adapters, updates HDDD A2 firmware

Bulgarian developer bootZero.com has announced new adapters for Apple II enthusiasts needing practical solutions for exotic drive configurations.

The D2split is an add-on accessory cable for the HDDD A2, intended to make daisy-chaining your HDDD A2 with native Apple drives easier. The A2split is also an HDDD A2 accessory, but it’s forte is to make connecting drives such as the Disk II and Disk //c which are not usually daisy-chained, a cinch to use with the Apple Smartport.

Prices have not yet been posted, see bootZero.com for details, pictures and availability.

Also recently announced, the HDDD A2 firmware has been updated to v1.2.2 (likely it’s final change) to fix a few minor issues.

Per the bootZero support forum, the new firmware fixes:

– slow DOS 3.3 operation
– ProDOS and other not booting completely on accelerated machines

What is left unfixed boils down to writing a whole track right after spin-up on accelerated machines (not stock IIgs). We tested various 3.5″ HD drives and they all require spin-up time of about 480 msec before enabling any I/O. In contrast, certain copier program running under 4 MHz ZipChip waits the drive less than 200 msec! Much as we’d like to solve this, it’s just impossible – this is a limit imposed by the 3.5″ HD drive, whose controller wants to be dead sure that the spindle is within nominal speed. The fail is also because of the way Zip and similar accelerators work, because they screw the timing totally.

Contact bootZero Support to arrange your update.

December 22nd, 2009

Beagle Bros president to keynote KansasFest 2010

Beagle Bros logoKANSAS CITY, MO — December 22, 2009 — Mark Simonsen, employee number three and later owner of Beagle Bros, will be the keynote speaker at KansasFest 2010.  At Beagle Bros, whose popular software products for the Apple II hobbyist demonstrated the publisher’s quirky sense of humor, Mark developed software including Flex Type, Beagle BASIC, Beagle Graphics, Triple-Dump, and Double-Take.  In the early 1980s, Mark decided that he “wanted to work with the Apple for the rest of [his] life,” a statement that captures the enthusiasm and spirit of Mark, Beagle Bros, and many Apple II users.

Beagle Bros started in 1980 under the direction of Bert Kersey to provide software to casual users of the Apple II.  A year and a half after graduating with a degree in computer science from Brigham Young University, Mark “fell in love with the Apple.”  Mark published Flex Type through Beagle Bros in 1982, joined the company as a programmer in 1983, and bought it in 1987 at the age of 29.

Besides software like Shape Mechanic, GPLE, and DOS Boss for budding programmers, Beagle Bros produced books, posters, and even advertisements full of clever and useful tidbits demonstrating the capabilities of the Apple II.  Later, the company produced highly regarded productivity software like Platinum Paint, BeagleWrite GS, and the TimeOut line of AppleWorks add-ons.  Beagle Bros earned many loyal followers thanks to the combination of quality products, enthusiasm, and humor.

Mark sold the company’s product line in 1991 and 1992 to Quality Computers.  Today, Mark helps save memories as the CEO of iPreserve, a company specializing in photo, film, video, and document preservation.

KansasFest 2010, the 21st annual Apple II conference, is set for July 20th through July 25th at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. KansasFest was originally hosted by Resource Central and has been brought to you by the KFest Committee since 1995.  Any and all Apple II and Macintosh users, fans, and friends are invited to attend this year’s “summer camp for geeks.”  Registration details will be announced on the KansasFest Web site in early 2010.  Please heed the warning from Beagle Bros and refrain from feeding your disks to alligators.  For photos, schedules, and presentations from past year’s events, please visit the event’s official Web site at http://www.kansasfest.org/

CONTACT:
KansasFest 2010
http://www.kansasfest.org/
http://twitter.com/kansasfest/

December 21st, 2009

Juiced.GS Volume 14, Issue 4 now available

Juiced.GS V14I4Volume 14, Issue 4 (December 2009) of Juiced.GS, the last remaining Apple II publication in print, shipped today to all subscribers. This issue features interviews with five present-day Apple II hardware developers; reviews of Syndicomm’s APDA CD-ROM products, the book Twisty Little Passages, and the movie Welcome to Macintosh; an introduction to structured programming in Applesoft BASIC; and much, much more!

This is Juiced.GS‘s fourth quarterly issue of 2009. The entire 2009 volume is now available as a bundle; 2010 subscriptions are available for $19 for United States customers and $26 for international customers.

December 16th, 2009

Mike Willegal project updates

Mike Willegal wrote in to update us on several of his hardware projects:

Hi Sean,

An update on my A1 and AII project efforts that may be of interest. First is the bad news. I’m planning on raising the price on the base A2 rev 0 replica kits by $50 to $400 as of Feb 1st, 2010.

I’m also developing an Apple 1 kit with a PCB that is a close clone of an original Apple 1 PCB (along the lines of the Obtronix). Tentative pricing for the kit is $666.66. I’m hoping that the initial lot of kits be ready to go as soon as late January. At some point I should also be able to provide hard to find parts and parts kits for Obtronix PCB owners, but haven’t determined prices. I’m currently adding the names of folks interested in obtaining A1 kits to a waiting list (no deposit required). A web page and forum based blog can be found at http://www.willegal.net/appleii/apple1.htm

I also plan on building a batch of PS2 keyboard to ASCII keyboard interface converters soon after the A1 kits are ready. This will provide an alternative to using ASCII keyboards for the Apple 1 (or II).

Unfortunately my Disk ][ to modern PC efforts are on hold until the A1 kit and keyboard interface projects are finished. I’m likely to significantly revise and improve the USB interface before proceeding with that project, so the break in progress is probably for the better.

Regards,
Mike Willegal
www.willegal.net

Mike, your Apple 1 project looks awesome. Good luck with it… and you know I want one, right? ;)

December 16th, 2009

How to clean an Apple Disk II Drive

David Schmidt (ADTPro maintainer) has produced another top-notch video, this time demonstrating how to clean an Apple Disk II Drive. Old-timer Apple II users may take this sort of general maintenance for granted, but those new to the Apple II and the techo-timid will appreciate David’s clear, easy steps.



December 1st, 2009

Apple IIGS Laptop Project debuts

The Apple IIGS Laptop Project has officially arrived. Inspired by previous efforts, the team behind this project has been working to deliver the dream machine practically every die-hard Apple II fanatic has wanted for years — a portable, 100% authentic Apple IIGS.

This won’t be a compromised, stripped down luggable. The A2GSP Team has promised their vision of the portable IIGS will be fully expandable and take advantage of modern upgrade conveniences such as flash drives, Ethernet, extra RAM and even an accelerator card!

The Apple IIGS Portable is currently in development (mock-up pictures expected soon) and is scheduled to be demonstrated at KansasFest 2010.

Update: Follow the A2GSP Team on http://www.twitter.com/a2gs for the latest info.

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