March 31st, 2015

UltimateApple2 and ReactiveMicro refine the No-Slot Clock

If you’ve listened to the latest Open-Apple podcast (#45), you’ll know that Mike Maginnis and I have recently had the opportunity to test a few new products from UltimateApple2 and ReactiveMicro.

First up is an improved clone of the No-Slot Clock (NSC), aka the Dallas Smartwatch DS1216E. Well, it’s more than a clone, really. It’s more of a refinement.

The original NSC was a bit of a breakthrough — no Apple II (prior to the IIGS) had a built-in clock. So if you wanted your Apple II to keep track of the time and date, timestamp documents, etc. you had to use a clock card which used up a valuable slot. For example, the Thunderware ThunderClock Plus was a popular product but it was just one of dozens of similar but incompatible competing products. The NSC on the other hand was a chip and lithium battery within a 28-pin socket. You could install the NSC into just about any other 28-pin ROM socket, piggyback the ROM into the NSC, patch your ProDOS and viola’ — your Apple II could tell the time. Compared to many of the clock cards of the day, the NSC was an inexpensive (and ultimately disposable) alternative. It’s expected 10 year lifespan seemed more than adequate… at least at the time.

The NSC wasn’t perfect for everyone though. For Apple //c users in particular, the NSC with a ROM piggybacked on it was just too thick and often interfered with some of the RAM expansion products inside the //c’s cramped interior. Even in the Apple //e, there were occasional clearance issues with thick ‘double wide’ cards.

That brings to the here and now. The NSC has been discontinued but is still available from various sources. New, old stock units with indeterminate batteries are for sale on eBay, but like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Happily, something new and better has now been produced. UA2/RM has developed an NSC successor that is slimmer and features a user replaceable coin cell battery. Why didn’t Dallas Semiconductor think of this? They probably did but wanted to sell their expendable Smartwatches as cheaply as possible.


photo 2
Compared to an original NSC, the new one is much more svelte.

We were given a couple of prototypes to examine, the original v1.0 and a revised v1.1 unit. While both function perfectly, neither represents the final product. During initial assembly of the first prototype, Henry Courbis determined a few changes were necessary to make future assembly easier (circuit routing apparently) and during our testing, we made a few suggestions of our own. There will be a v1.2 and that *should* be the final production unit.


photo 1

So how well do these new NSC units work? Flawlessly. The legacy Smartwatch software we use now works with the new NSC adapters just fine — of course you only use it to set the time and date initially, and patch ProDOS. I’m hoping UA2/RM distributes a Y2K-compliant version of the software with this product.

More good news, this new NSC fits into Apple //c computers with memory expansion ports just fine. It’s still a tight fit, but you can now have your clock and RAM at the same time.

As of this writing, pricing hadn’t yet been determined. I expect that if it sells for the same or even a little higher than the old-fashioned NSC, it will be a good value. The user-replaceable coin cell battery alone insures this will be the last clock you’ll ever need to buy for your Apple II.

UPDATE: The anticipated price will be USD $40.

March 30th, 2015

David Finnigan announces Marina, IP stack for 8-bit Apple II computers


Marina

MacGUI operator David Finnigan has announced ‘Marina’, a TCP/IP stack for 8-bit Apple II computers.

The web page says Marina is written in assembly language (Merlin Pro source code), and contains numerous features such as link-local addressing, address conflict detection, built-in DHCP client, malicious IP packet rejection and much more.

Cool stuff to be sure — we will eagerly keep an eye on this project’s progress!

March 28th, 2015

Juiced.GS Volume 20, Issue 1 now available

Juiced.GS Volume 20, Issue 1 (Mar 2015)Volume 20, Issue 1 (Mar 2015) of Juiced.GS, the longest-running Apple II publication in print, is now arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes. This issue features a guide to compiling cc65 code in Xcode on the Mac; the first chapter of a serialized Apple II mystery; a review of Assembly Lines: The Complete Book; instructions for using the GSport emulator on an AppleTalk network; a review of the Apple III emulator Apple3rtr; reflections on the Apple II community’s best years; and much, much more!

This is Juiced.GS‘s first quarterly issue of 2015, its twentieth year in print. Subscriptions for 2015 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.

March 28th, 2015

Open Apple #45 (March 2015): Mark Kriegsman, FastLED, Transwarp GS Clone, and Newsapalooza

Open Apple #45 has been published. This month, we sit down with Mark Kriegsman, author of Star Blaster, and a modern Apple II hacker. He has ported the awesome FastLED driver library to the 6502, so you can drive many hundreds of 32-bit RGB LEDs with your Apple II.

Meanwhile, we browbeat people into attending KansasFest, we rationalize our shame at developing on emulators, we talk dead tree easter eggs, we make terrible awesome BASIC & Twitter puns, we talk about post-mortem collecting, and Mike generates hate mail. Just in case you’re not completely over movies about Steve Jobs, we talk about one of those as well. Yawn.
More importantly, help us convince Mark to build a lo-res display from FastLEDs and bring it to KansasFest.

Once again, in case you’ve been living under a rock and somehow missed it, the dates for KansasFest 2015 have been announced: July 14-19! Go to http://www.kansasfest.org to register, then pull up a comfy chair and enjoy this super-sized episode of Open Apple (yes folks, it’s another three-plus hour extravaganza… or marathon, depending on your perspective).

Apologies for some audio quality issues in this month. Quinn had equipment difficulties and Mike has been under the weather. Thanks for your patience. Stay tuned until the end of the show for a special treat (not just Mike’s usual cheeky outtake).


oa podcast cover color (400)

March 25th, 2015

Crazy Cycles Demo by The French Touch


The French Touch strikes once more with multi-desynchronized video modes. The demo runs on an Apple IIe.

Get the disk image @ http://www.ctrl-pomme-reset.fr/french-touch/

 

March 22nd, 2015

Chris Torrence announces Assembly Lines: The Complete Book available as a free PDF

I’m excited to announce that “Assembly Lines: The Complete Book” is now available as a FREE PDF on Open Library and the Internet Archive. Thanks to Roger Wagner for releasing the book under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

https://archive.org/details/AssemblyLinesCompleteWagner

https://openlibrary.org/…/…/Assembly_Lines_The_Complete_Book



March 22nd, 2015

David Schmidt releases ADTPro 2.0.1, bug fix for RS-232 users

Version 2.0.1 of ADTPro has been released. This version has a fix that is important for users with native RS-232 serial ports (though they’re getting more and more rare all the time). There’s also some help for our friends that are trying to tune their audio settings, and a few other bug fixes. Initial text bootstrapping is faster due to some
screen trickery and denser packing of data.

http://adtpro.sourceforge.net

2.0.1 – March 21, 2015

New functionality:

* [Audio] Client sends test stream of data for volume tuning on host side

* [Server] Text bootstrapping data is packed more densely for faster transfer

Bug fixes:

* Server and client agree on more situations where a transfer should be aborted

* [Client] Don’t hang on a GS on startup if a connection isn’t pre-established

* [Server] Flush the serial send buffer occasionally for our native serial port friends

March 19th, 2015

Ivan Drucker updates A2SERVER, A2CLOUD and Raspple II for Pi A+ and 2B

Hey all,

I’ve posted new updates to A2SERVER, A2CLOUD, and Raspple II. Biggest deal is compatibility with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, which is much faster than previous Raspberry Pi’s. Go get one! Also, the GSport emulator is now installed on non-Raspberry Pi machines.

A2SERVER is a file server and network boot host for Apple IIgs and IIe computers. (It also works with classic Macs and modern computers, allowing you to share files on your network among all your computers.)

A2CLOUD provides a virtual hard disk, a floppy disk imaging server, and an internet access device for any Apple II. It also offers preconfigured Apple IIgs and IIe emulators.

Both A2SERVER and A2CLOUD are designed to be easy to use, and can be run on a Raspberry Pi, a premade virtual machine, or a Linux computer. If you have a Raspberry Pi, you can install Raspple II — a “suite” that includes both A2SERVER and A2CLOUD, plus David Schmenk’s Apple II Pi.

All this stuff is free. Get your copy at http://ivanx.com/appleii now!

Updating:

If you’re using Raspple II, you can update everything, including the Raspbian operating system, by typing ‘a2cloud-update os’. After it’s done, you can use the SD card in any Raspberry Pi, including A+ and 2B.

Otherwise, update A2CLOUD by typing ‘a2cloud-update’. (A2SERVER doesn’t need updating if it’s already working for you.)

Changes:

A2CLOUD 1.8.0:
– Compatible with all Raspberry Pi’s, including the A+ and 2B
– GSport emulator installed for non-Raspberry Pi computers
– Links text-only web browser (alternative to Lynx)
– desktop shortcuts and Apple II Menu group for emulators and ADTPro
– many improvements and fixes to A2CLOUD environment and installer

A2SERVER 1.2.2:
– installer: command line options, unattended install, less prompting

Raspple II 1.1.1:
– both of the above, plus latest Apple II Pi package (version 0.2.0-1).

March 16th, 2015

Rebecca “Burger Becky” Heineman to deliver keynote at KansasFest 2015

image credit: Heineman’s personal website at http://burgerbecky.com/becky.htmKansasFest 2015, the 27th annual Apple II convention, is scheduled for July 14 –19 in Kansas City, Missouri. Rebecca “Burger Becky” Heineman, a prolific computer game programmer, designer, and industry veteran, will join us with a keynote presentation.

Heineman learned programming at age 16 and gained fame in 1980 as the first National Space Invaders Champion with a score of 165,200. Her career soon blossomed with credits in over 250 games including classics such as Tass Times in Tonetown, Dragon Wars, Crystal Quest, The Bard’s Tale III: The Thief of Fate, Battle Chess, and Wolfenstein 3D. She developed numerous titles for the Apple IIgs, other contemporary platforms such as the Macintosh and Super Nintendo, and modern platforms such as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 4. She has founded or co-founded multiple game companies, including the venerable Interplay Entertainment, and worked for many more. Heineman continues to work in the game industry, and her company Olde Sküül recently announced a new RPG, Dragons of the Rip. She has not announced an Apple IIgs port.

KansasFest is an annual convention offering Apple II users and retrocomputing enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in beginner and technical sessions, programming contests, exhibition halls, and camaraderie. KansasFest was originally hosted by Resource Central and has been brought to you by the KFest committee since 1995. Any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends are invited to attend this year’s event. Registration details will be announced on the KansasFest Web site in April 2015. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please visit the event’s official Web site at http://www.kansasfest.org/.

March 16th, 2015

Check out the source code for Don Worth’s Zap, FixCat and Linker

Mike Maginnis is busy posting some of Don Worth’s Apple II legacy online. Check it out at http://www.6502lane.net/

Source code for Zap, FixCat and Linker
Beneath Apple Manor
Bag of Tricks original manual files

More to come!

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