June 5th, 2014

Introducing PLASMA 123 (1][///) Preview

Some of you may remember my earlier work on PLASMA, the Proto Language AsSeMbler for Apple. Some of you may even know it will be the language of Lawless Legends (https://www.facebook.com/LawlessLegends). But now, with a flurry of previous concepts and new ideas developed for the LL implementation, comes PLASMA 123. Why 123? Because it runs on the Apple 1, ][, and ///. “No way!”, you say. Way. And it runs the exact same PLASMA modules (user programs and libraries) on all three systems, without modification. That’s the power of a VM. But this VM was designed specifically for the Apple II (both 64K and 128K fully utilized) and the Apple /// (uses extended memory addressing, up to 512K), from the beginning. The Apple 1 got a quick port because of the awesome CFFA1 (Rich may still have some left).

Now this is a pretty early announcement, but I thought some of the more technically adventurous may want to take a look and provide some feedback, or at least poke at it. You can find all the source and preliminary documentation on GitHub: https://github.com/dschmenk/PLASMA

There is a demo disk image in the GitHub project: DEMO.0.9.PO – it is a dual booting disk for the Apple II and III. It will boot into a simple command line prompt. The commands are:

c – catalog current path
c – catalog path
v – list on-line device volumes
p – set prefix to path
+ – run PLASMA file
– run SYSTEM file (Apple II only)

There are only two sample PLASMA programs to run on this image: HELLO and TEST. Run them, as documented above, with ‘+hello’ and ‘+test’.

The HELLO module is pretty simple. The TEST module actually loads a module dependency, TESTLIB, as it runs. It is just my language test coverage module, using a bunch of different aspects of PLASMA. If you see a bunch of junk on the screen with HELLO on your Apple ][ or ][+, that means you don’t have a lower-case adapter and I haven’t forced the output on those machines to upper case yet.

So now we have the grand unifying environment for the 8 bit Apples. And it’s fast. I developed some new interpreter technology for this version: about 3 times slower than native compiled 6502, but about 10 times as dense, and code doesn’t take up precious main memory (on 128K Apple II or Apple III). You can still write ASM functions inside your PLASMA module for those times that speed is critical above all else.


May 19th, 2014

New Apple /// podcast announced, Drop /// Inches

Today is the Apple ///’s 34th birthday, and Mike Maginnis has used this auspicious date to announce he is starting a new podcast with fellow Apple /// enthusiast Paul Hagstrom. Dedicated to the (you guessed it) Apple /// computer, the ‘Drop /// Inches’ podcast is named tongue in cheek after the infamous troubleshooting step used to re-seat RAM chips in malfunctioning Apple /// computers.


Check out ‘Drop /// Inches’ web site for more details.

September 23rd, 2013

Ultra-rare Apple UniFile ‘Twiggy’ drive seen on eBay

For those of you who don’t follow my Twitter account, here’s an exceedingly rare Apple UniFile Twiggy drive to look (drool?) over. It’s up for auction on eBay, starting at USD $3,750 or with a buy it now option of $6,000. Bazinga.

January 20th, 2012

Bob Cook of Sun Remarketing interviewed

David Greelish, who last month made tech news headlines for his in-depth interview with John Sculley and his troubled relationship with Steve Jobs during their days together at Apple, has posted an audio interview he conducted with Bob Cook.  Cook, owner of an early Apple dealership, established Sun Remarketing in 1985 and grew it into a successful direct marketing enterprise, eventually selling over $100 million in used Apple II, III, Lisa and Macintosh equipment before selling the company in 2006.  The Sun Remarketing name will no doubt be familiar to Apple II users as a reliable source of quality, affordable hardware long after Apple Computer, Inc. discontinued their favorite machines.

Among other stories, Bob relates his experiences with getting the business off the ground by selling 3,500 Apple III’s that were formerly used by Apple employees, before Jobs ordered them replaced by Macintosh’s (the III’s, not the employees), as well as having to watch the more than 2,700 Lisa computers in his inventory taken from his warehouse by Apple and buried in the legendary Utah landfill.

You can listen to the interview, which clocks in at just over 45 minutes, here.

January 7th, 2012

Washington Apple Pi Apple /// DVD Reclassified as Public Domain

Dave Ottalini of the Washington Apple Pi user group announced today on Facebook that their Apple /// DVD, which formerly sold for $45, is now reclassified as public domain.  Here’s the text of David’s announcement:

Folks – I’d like to let you know that I’ve decided to put the old Apple /// DVD into the public domain so that the information there can be freely accessed. If Mike or anyone cares to upload that material they are welcome!

Note that the video DVD of using the Apple /// in ten EZ Lessons can also go into the PD as far as I’m concerned.

The DVD .iso is currently being uploaded to apple2scans.net and should be available later today.  This is great news from Dave and we thank him for his generous decision.

UPDATE: The 4.5GB image has been uploaded and is available now.  Get it here.

December 7th, 2011

Davex command shell for ProDOS and SOS on Sourceforge

David Schmidt wrote in to advise us that the source and executables for Dave Lyon’s Davex command shell are now hosted via Sourceforge. Davex is an extensible command-line shell, with several commands for common filesystem tasks (e.g. copying, moving, creating, deleting and so much more) that we all wish were built-in to ProDOS and SOS. David’s announcement is attached:

Dave Lyons’ Davex shell is now available in source and executable form from Sourceforge here:


The current (preliminary) version is 1.30p, and includes executables on disk images for both ProDOS and SOS computers and emulators. The ProDOS version currently lacks some of the external commands (but you can watch the Sourceforge project for more), and the SOS version is currently a minimal subset of the ProDOS version. One an all are welcome to use and contribute.

It’s great to see the source code for this excellent software available to the Apple II Community. Thank you Dave Lyons and David Schmidt.

August 31st, 2011

CFFA3000 driver for Apple /// announced

David Schmidt wrote in to share that his CFFA3000 driver for the Apple /// is now ‘live’ and in beta testing. David’s posting is attached:

It lives. This was the diversion I mentioned in another recent post – I needed a little firmware support to stitch everything together. The driver comes with instructions and covers all the minute details, but by way of a quick overview, the driver:

  • Supports eight SmartPort devices configured on the CFFA3000
  • Has hot-swapping capabilities – drives are “removable” the same way a floppy is
  • Has an integrated formatter that lays down a SOS/ProDOS filesystem structure

The beta driver will be available from the beta downloads page as soon as Rich gets the package posted on his website.

June 24th, 2011

Apple Service Technical Procedures Manuals

Henry Courbis of ReactiveMicro.com has scanned many of the Apple Service Technical Procedures Manuals and provided them to Apple2Scans.net to be hosted.  You can download them here.  A big thanks to Henry for doing this.

January 17th, 2011

ADTPro 1.1.8 released, now supports LANceGS

Hot on the heels of version 1.1.7, David Schmidt has released an updated ADTPro 1.1.8 with support for the LANceGS Ethernet card. David’s announcement is attached:

If you have a LANceGS card from ///SHH Systeme – this release is for you. Thanks to Sean Fahey for lending me his cards, and thanks to Oliver Schmidt for the Contiki source code. The ip65 stack has been updated to automatically detect and use either the A2Retrosystems Uthernet card or the LANceGS card. Both cards can be used in any Apple II or Apple /// computer that ADTPro runs on (as long as it has a slot).

The Ethernet autodetection routine twiddles the I/O bits a little more now. AppleWin decides to make a (blank) printer.txt file when it runs. Virtual ][ doesn’t seem to produce anything on its virtual printer. I’d be interested to know if a real printer gets bothered by it.

1.1.8 – January 17, 2011

New functionality:

* [Client] Added support for LANceGS Ethernet card


December 21st, 2010

Juiced.GS Volume 15, Issue 4 now available

Juiced.GS V15I4Volume 15, Issue 4 (December 2010) of Juiced.GS, the longest-running Apple II publication in print, shipped today to all subscribers. This issue features an interview with Apple II retailer and collector Wayne Bibbens, who was featured in the documentary Welcome to Macintosh; an analysis of technologies introduced in the failed Apple III that were more successfully deployed in the Apple II; a comprehensive guide to accessing ProDOS disks on modern computers, and how to convert those volumes to disk images; a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Ivan Drucker’s Slammer; and a tale of two detectives puzzling over a programming problem.

This is Juiced.GS‘s fourth quarterly issue of 2010. The entire 2010 volume is now available as a bundle; 2011 subscriptions are available for $19 for United States customers and $26 for international customers.

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