October 31st, 2015

Open Apple #52 (October 2015) : GEOS! Robert Bowdidge, and more GEOS!

This month on Open Apple we sit down with Robert Bowdidge, one of three interns at Berkeley Softworks who ported GEOS to the best line of 8-bit computers. We talk about what a great place Berkeley Softworks was, along with the power of good tools and proper software engineering. Robert has great memories of the culture there, the GUI technology they had built, and the brilliant people who built it. Apparently GEOS existed for some other 8-bit computer as well, but we imagine it was slow and child-like. Users probably bought it at K-Mart or something.

After the interview, Mike and Quinn delve into their personal memories of GEOS, along with a couple of new projects they both did with the environment. Mike works on GEOS file conversion, and Quinn sorts out all the drivers so you don’t have to. We’re even having a contest this month! Download Quinn’s Ultimate GEOS disk image and find the secret phrase. First person to do so and email us at feedback (at) open-apple (dot) net wins nothing at all!

We also talk some news- lots of really great hardware is coming down the pipe. You won’t want to miss Javier Rivera’s hands-on with Plamen’s IIc VGA adapter, and the Uthernet II is now available. Don’t miss out! We talk some Woz, we talk some French Touch, and we revisit KansasFest yet again.

Celebrate GEOS with Quinn and Mike this Hallowe’en!



October 31st, 2015

Drop /// Inches #13: Dr. Wendell Sander

This month on Drop /// Inches, Paul’s Apple /// has trouble connecting with the world outside, so he speculates on possibilities for WiFi connectivity, and Mike’s Apple /// has trouble connecting with any worlds at all. So, we turn our attention to literature, including the full Apple /// patent, a survey of Apple II users, an early interview with Trip Hawkins, and books on the Apple ///. Paul’s gotten himself a Cursor /// and some late-era PFS software, and unexpectedly managed to get a CMC Quick-20 drive working, Mike’s gotten an Axlon 320 RAMdrive. And Charles Mangin has created a miniature Apple ///.

The second half of the episode is an interview Mike conducted over the phone with Wendell Sander, designer of the Apple ///, from a couple of years ago, covering things like the Apple-internal interactions between departments, problems and solutions to initial reliability issues, the RAM design and peripherals. Recorded from a speaker through the air for added retro sound quality, but very interesting indeed!

And after you’ve listened, be sure to read Dr. Sander’s follow up comments on the infamous National Semiconductor clock/calendar IC, loose chips in sockets, and the article on Applelogic.org.


d3i-cover-800x800

October 31st, 2015

8 Bit Weapon posts tribute to Fallout 4

Using the Lawless Legends engine, 8 Bit Weapon posts a fun tribute to the upcoming Fallout 4.



October 31st, 2015

CFFA3000 Run #4 now available for ordering!

Rich Dreher of R&D Automation has announced the opening of sales for the fourth run of his wildly popular CFFA3000 flash storage and disk emulation card. You can order the CFFA3000 from here. Initially, there is a limit of 2 boards per customer.



October 27th, 2015

Tecnobytes announces Tecnowarp reserve list

Tecnobytes is now accepting pre-order reservations for the upcoming Tecnowarp accelerator card for the Apple II Plus and IIe.

The Tecnowarp features four software selectable speeds (1.0MHz, 2.0MHz, 3.6MHz and 7.2MHz) and can use an external switch to toggle turbo mode off and on. It also boasts user upgradeable firmware and jumperless configuration via inbuilt menus. No dips or jumpers to set!

Performance-wise, the Tecnowarp appears to be comparable to the elusive Applied Engineering Transwarp II which also ran at 7MHz.

The Tecnowarp is priced at $250 USD each (PayPal and shipping fees not included), discounts for multiple board orders.



October 11th, 2015

Hands on with the A2Heaven Apple IIc VGA Adapter

Review written by Javier Rivera

The apple //c is a little marvel and it is a favorite among retro collectors for its beauty, versatility and size. Lately there has been a lot of development for the platform around storage and display, as media is harder to acquire and slow, and CRT displays are aging and failing. Also there’s the problem of color: a lot of old displays are green or monochrome, and the color options are sometimes hard to get. All these constraints have engaged creative minds around the world, like France, Bulgaria, Japan, Korea, Brazil and US just to name a few, to come with new and creative alternatives.

The video problem for the Apple //c has been a special one: the signal from the video port is not a typical standard, and very few attempts to use the connector have been made. The first was from Video7, who made a “video enhancer” that connected to RGB monitors. Later there was a home-brew from France called “Guimauve 2000” that connected the //c to a VGA monitor.

Lately, Nishida Radio came out with a beautiful adapter that not only worked very well, but was very small and connected to the back of the computer. The only drawback of the last two solutions is that they don’t include protective enclosures, the components are exposed.

Recently, Plamen Vasilyov from Bulgaria, a prolific Apple II hardware creator, came up with his version of a VGA adapter. I had the fortune of getting ahold of the device and it is a simple yet effective VGA converter. The device not only works flawlessly, but is also elegant and simple. Comes in a white plastic printed enclosure, with a rainbow cable that connects to the //c video port (very retro Apple II style) and provides on the output side a three-row 15-pin DB-15 VGA connector.


vga

The feature that sets this adapter apart from the others is a small button next to the connector: by pushing it will provide 8 different video modes: Color, Green, Monochrome, Mono White, Color-scanline, Green-scanline, Monochrome-scanline and Mono White-scanline. The beauty of these modes is that you can emulate different monitors with one button: a color, green, monochrome and white monochrome monitors, and with the addition of scan lines it recreates the CRT look and feel, very popular in the console game scene.


photo 3

These modes also make working with 80 column and graphic desktop applications very easy, allowing readable and crisp clear text at the touch of a button.

Green | Green w/scan lines | Color | Color w/scan lines

The device sits on the back of the computer out of sight but easily accesible to the switch, is small, light and very well crafted. I’m not surprised as his other creations (//c dclock, Senior PROM, Audio cards and his famous Disk II floppy Emulator) are known for quality and reliability.

I greatly recommend this adapter, as not only does what it is intended very well, but provides extra options found only in high end gaming devices.

At the time of this review, the price of the Apple IIc VGA Adapter had not yet been announced. Separate NTSC and PAL versions will be available.

October 11th, 2015

Uthernet II cards begin shipping

The first batch of Uthernet II cards are shipping from A2RetroSystems in Canada! I HAZ CANADA POST TRACKING NUMBER, EH!

October 11th, 2015

How Quinn Dunki got her BEEP back

Quinn Dunki embarks on a quest to correct a great injustice; fix the oddball, non-standard system beep of the Apple IIc Plus.



October 8th, 2015

Mockingboard v1a in stock at UltimateMicro

UltimateMicro has 26 Mockingboard v1a cards in stock. This is a 100% compatible clone of the Sweet Micro Systems Mockingboard A, (upgradeable to a “B” with the addition of an SSI-263P Speech Synthesizer chip). It’s also features a few modern enhancements. The Mockingboard v1a is only $85 USD plus shipping. At this price, THESE WILL GO FAST!


MBv1a
Short of an actual Mockingboard, this is the best, most compatible product available.

October 7th, 2015

French Touch releases Plasmagoria demo



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