December 31st, 2013

Business Insider – Early pics of Apple employees

Business Insider has a short article on Apple’s earliest days, including behind-the-scene pictures of employees and operations.

December 30th, 2013

Christmas break 2014 roundup

I’ve been away for the holiday season enjoying some time off from work and yes, even A2Central. I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and is looking forward to a prosperous New Year 2014.

A lot happened over the past week. I took in nearly *4 TONS* of Apple II stuff — a lot of it is destined for giveaway at KanasFest 2015 (we already have a huge load set aside for 2014). Where did it come from? I’d like to thank Michael Mahon for his incredible generosity in donating his collection of 30+ years. He’s going to make a lot of Apple II users happy when we finally start distributing it all. Some of it will eventually head to eBay to recoup shipping expenses, but once that’s recovered the rest will be freely given away. Either way, some Apple II users will gain access to some really cool Apple II gear.

David Schmidt’s ADTPro was upgraded to 1.2.9 and it appears to be a big deal. Read speed performance for VSDrive is reportedly faster, and Ivan Drucker will be integrating the new version into A2CLOUD (more info later).

New functionality:

  • Disk II drive turns on a little early to reduce spin-up delay

Bug fixes:

  • Nibble sends work correctly in batch mode
  • [Client] Nibble sends retry (more) correctly
  • [VDrive] Virtual disks are loaded at once at initialization time, making it much faster for huge drives (but much less dynamic)
  • [VDrive] Serial driver installer quits to where it came from, allowing an invocation from the launcher to return there, this time with the driver in place

Bill Buckels released utilities (with source) to convert BMP files to Super Hi-Res (SHR) and PIC format, as well as viewers for Carte Blanche and Video Overlay Card (VOC) users. Bill’s initial announcement and follow-up are attached.

Read about it here:

Win32 etc.
http://www.aztecmuseum.ca/extras/bmp2shr.pdf

Apple II
http://www.aztecmuseum.ca/extras/PicSave.pdf

Download it here:

http://www.aztecmuseum.ca/extras/B2S.zip

This download contains programs, source code, documentation, and disk images for creating Super Hi-Res Pictures, and for viewing and saving Super Hi-Res
pictures on an Apple II GS, or on an Apple //e with a Carte Blanche, or an Apple //e or Apple II GS equipped with an Apple II VOC (Video Overlay Card),
or in an Apple II GS emulator (like Kegs32).

BMP2SHR – converts BMP Files to PIC Files

The BMP2SHR command line utility will convert Windows BMP files to Apple II SHR (Super High Resolution) Graphics Files of Apple II GS File Type $C1 Aux Type $0000.

This utility converts from the following BMP file formats to Apple II SHR files:

  • 2 Color (Monochrome) BMP Files
  • 16 Color (VGA) BMP Files
  • 256 Color BMP Files
  • 24 bit BMP Files

The BMP2SHR utility is provided with doucmentation, source code and 3 flavors of executable program(s):

B2S16.EXE (MS-DOS) Built under 16-bit Microsoft C Version 8.00c
B2S32.EXE (WIN32) Built under 32-bit Microsoft C Version 14.00
B2S.EXE (WIN32) Built under MinGW 5.1.4 (gcc)

Windows Build environments and source code are provided with all the above. This includes the gcc (MinGW) build script. It should be straight-forward for those using Linux and other Unix-like OS’s to build this under GCC but I am leaving that up to them.

Additional utilities are provided for the Apple II as well. They are noted below.

PICSAVE – converts PNT Files to PIC Files

The PICSAVE utility for ProDOS 8 loads Apple Preferred Format (APF) SHR (PNT) Files and saves them to SHR Screen (PIC) Files of Apple II GS File Type $C1 Aux Type $0000.

PICSAVE also comes with 3 other programs:

PICSHOW – a simple SHR Slideshow Viewer for SHR PIC Files
PICLODE – a simple SHR File Viewer for PIC Files
PNTLODE – a simple SHR File Viewer for PNT Files

These programs are written in Aztec C for the Apple IIe and were cross-compiled in Windows XP.

Thanks to Charlie, Andy McFadden, Antoine, and others for all the good info that made this relatively straight-forward to put together.

Please read the documentation, the source code, and run the programs for more information.

…and, Bill’s updated info:

The BMP2SHR Distribution and the document above have been updated.

BMP2SHR now produces Brooks Format 3200 Color SHR Files from BMP files, in addition to what it did yesterday.

When a 640 x 400 BMP file is converted to Brooks, a second 3200 Color SHR files is also produced suitable for loading to the VOC’s auxiliary memory, and providing the VOC with a 320 x 400 x 3200 color effective display.

I do not provide loaders for these yet, but decided I’d better get this part out of the way first.

A Sample disk in 2mg format of brooks files converted by BMP2SHR is also included for anyone interested in such things.

And finally, we mentioned earlier that Ivan Drucker was adding the latest ADTPro to his A2SERVER/A2CLOUD/Raspple II suite. Here’s Ivan’s announcement:

Hey everybody, happy almost new year. I’m pleased as punch to announce a couple of small but significant year-end updates to A2CLOUD, A2SERVER, and Raspple II.

If you haven’t tried out this stuff yet, consider that, via A2CLOUD, I’m posting this message with my Apple IIc by using ProTERM running from a virtual hard drive. Good times. You’re missing out.

With these releases, I’m going to be taking a hiatus from Apple II development until at least KansasFest 2014, but I’d still certainly be happy to hear from you if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

If you’re starting fresh, go get Raspple II if you have a Raspberry Pi, or try out the A2SERVER virtual machine, at http://appleii.ivanx.com.

If you’re already up and running and and want to update, type:

a2server-update
a2cloud-update

Here’s what’s new. The user guides for A2CLOUD and A2SERVER have been updated as well to explain this stuff a little more.

A2CLOUD (1.6):

  • If you have A2SERVER installed, the ADTPro disks folder is now shared on your network as ADTDISKS. You can in drop disk image files from a Mac or Windows computer, and then use ADTPro to make them into floppies. Or you can make a disk image from a floppy and easily copy it to a Mac or Windows computer for use in an emulator. Or you can immediately use a ProDOS disk image as a virtual drive, or copy Apple II files into one. Possibilities abound!
  • Includes David Schmidt’s ADTPro and VSDRIVE 1.2.9, which dramatically improves read performance of virtual drives.
  • On a Mac, or on a Windows computer with Bonjour Print Services, you can now refer to your Pi from another computer on your network as “raspberrypi.local” rather than needing its IP address.

A2SERVER (1.1.3):

  • On Macs, A2SERVER now appears under Shared computers, rather than needing to use “Connect to Server”. (This was long overdue.)
  • Windows file sharing is now enabled by default in Raspple II and the A2SERVER virtual machine.
  • On a Mac, or on a Windows computer with Bonjour Print Services installed, you can now refer to A2SERVER from another computer on
    your network as “a2server.local” (or “raspberrypi.local” if it’s a Pi) rather than needing its IP address.
  • The A2SERVER virtual machine is based on Debian 7.3.0, rather than Ubuntu Server 12.04.

Raspple II (1.0.3):

  • With Ethernet attached to your Pi, displays progress bar during installation, and properly reboots after.
  • Based on Raspbian 2013-12-20.
  • December 28th, 2013

    Juiced.GS Volume 18, Issue 4 now available

    Juiced.GS Volume 18, Issue 4 (Dec 2013)Volume 18, Issue 4 (December 2013) of Juiced.GS, the longest-running Apple II publication in print, has been mailed to all subscribers. This issue features a review of the Replica 1 Ten from Briel Computers; a preview of David Schmenk’s Apple II Pi card; an interview with Jonathan Zufi of the Shrine of Apple and Iconic; and much, much more!

    This is Juiced.GS‘s fourth quarterly issue of 2013. Subscriptions are available for both 2013 and 2014 at $19 for United States customers, $24 for readers in Canada and Mexico, and $27 for international customers, with several free sample issues available as PDFs.

    December 22nd, 2013

    Show off your drive


    Disk II tee
    If you want one, you can order it here.

    December 20th, 2013

    Open Apple #33 (Dec 2013): Andrew Schultz, interactive fiction, JSMESS, and SCOTTEVEST

    Interactive Fiction CompetitionThis month on Open Apple, the Apple II community’s only monthly podcast, Mike and Ken chat with Andrew Schultz — gamer, FAQ author, and Interactive Fiction Competition winner. Text adventures are enjoying a resurgence in popularity and access, and Andrew guides us through the tools and resources available for aspiring game authors. Both Steve Weyhrich’s history book and the Steve Jobs movie are available for home delivery, but there’s only one we want to find under our Christmas tree. Jason Scott has integrated the JSMESS emulator into the Internet Archive, granting users unprecedented access to historical software right in their browsers. Finally, Ken, in his quest to be more Woz-like, adopts his hero’s fashion sense.

    Find the show at the Open Apple Web site or in the iTunes and Zune podcast directories.

    December 18th, 2013

    They’re back! Ultimate Apple 2 and ReactiveMicro announce re-opening


    Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 9.32.02 AM

    Good news from Anthony Martino and Henry Courbis! After a lengthy hiatus, they’re coming back online and will soon start offering products to the Apple II Community again.

    UltimateApple2.com has announced that they will be distributing David Schmenk’s Apple2Pi adapter, as well as the products from their former catalog. Details are still being ironed out on the extent of ReactiveMicro’s return, and the scope of products and services it may offer. As more information is provided, A2Central will post updates.

    December 10th, 2013

    Students experience 30 years of Apple technology

    At Kenilworth’s Joseph Sears School (Chicago, Illinois suburb), students recently participated in a ‘visual history of technology’ exhibit featuring 30 of Apple’s products from the Apple II through the latest iOS equipped devices. The exhibit is now on permanent display.

    The students researched the Apple computers used by their school district over the years and interviewed the former technology coordinator. It’s a fun read and it’s nice to see the contributions of the Apple II series in education weren’t forgotten.

    Check out the article here. You can also see a tour and listen to the students present their written and oral reports on the various Apple models at Elisabeth LeBris’ Apple Computer Museum site.

    It looks like the students grabbed pictures of some very well-equipped machines off the Internet. If only school cast-offs were loaded like these units (with accelerators, RAM and other goodies).

    December 10th, 2013

    Apple2Pi refinements continue to impress early adopters

    Via David Schmenk



    “Stealth IIGS (IIgs in IIe case w/ CFFA3000, Uthernet) vs Apple II PI (Stock IIe w/ mouse card and A2Pi adapter) running GSport with Uthernet emulation at 2.8 MHz. Both using the Internet Starter Kit GS/OS image. Can you tell which is which?”

    December 10th, 2013

    Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple

    Via Marc Esslinger:

    A new book by industrial designer, Hartmut Esslinger of frog design, famous for being an early collaborator with Steve Jobs, explores how the first Apple computers got designed and developed. Hartmut provides a peek behind the scenes, into the making of the products that revolutionized the digital age, in Keep it Simple: The Early Years of Apple.

    You can order a copy on Amazon.

    December 10th, 2013

    Brutal Deluxe adds LZ4 Compression to their cross development tools

    Dear All,

    This technical article discusses the recent LZ4 data compression algorithm and its ability to become a good multi-purpose lossless compression format for the Apple IIGS computer. Mostly for game programming area, where we have to handle multi-types of data (Graphic, Sound, Music, Code, Misc data…), the availability of one generic compression/decompression algorithm will ease developers’ life!

    Find more at http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/products/crossdevtools/lz4/

    LZ4 Compression for the Apple IIgs is part of Brutal Deluxe’s Cross Development Tools project, a full set of utilities available on Windows (and other) platforms to enable the creation of new Apple IIgs software : 65c816 Assembler, 65c816 Disassembler, 65c816 Simulator, Graphic File Converter, Resource Catcher…

    Antoine Vignau & Olivier Zardini
    Brutal Deluxe Software
    http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/

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