______ __________ ______ ___________________ /______________ /__(_)__________________ _ __ `/__ __ \__ __ \_ /_ _ \_ ___/_ /__ /_ ___/ _ \_ ___/ / /_/ /__ /_/ /_ /_/ / / / __/(__ )_ / _ / / /__ / __/(__ ) \__,_/ _ .___/_ .___//_/.:\___//____/ /_/ /_/ \___/ \___//____/ /_/ /_/ __ :'__ _______________ .'`__`-'__``. ____ _/___ _/____ :__________.-' __ / __ / _ _ \ :_________: __/ / __/ / / __/ :_________`-; /___/ /___/ \___/ `.__.-.__.' _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ION FARMER'S APPLESLICES IIe ~ 100% LOW-RES FOR HIGH-RES PEOPLE_ LOOKING FOR AN RSS FEED? THE WAIT IS OVER! => RSS IS HERE 10 REM ******************************** 20 REM *** Now in 80-columns! *** 30 REM *** Written with AppleWorks! *** 40 REM ******************************** ==>USEFUL APPLE II LINKS<== ==>A2 Central: *THE* Apple II Portal<== Ionfarmer(is my name) and gee mail (is my game). Come idle with us in IRC: irc.a2central.com:6667 Channel: #a2c.chat _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ File: JournalArchives REVIEW/ADD/CHANGE CTRL-Home: Main Menu =========A========B========C========D========E========F========G========H==== 1| Journal Archives 2| 06/20/10 06/14/10 01/28/10 01/27/10 01/07/10 3|12/23/09 12/21/09 12/12/09 12/10/09 12/07/09 12/06/09 12/04/09 12/03/09 4|11/30/09 11/28/09 11/26/09 08/12/09 08/05/09 07/31/09 07/20/09 07/18/09 5|07/15/09 07/13/09 07/09/09 07/07/09 07/06/09 07/05/09 07/03/09 07/01/09 6|05/30/09 05/27/09 05/26/09 05/23/09 05/22/09 05/20/09 05/18/09 05/17/09 7|05/16/09 05/15/09 05/12/09 05/11/09 05/10/09 05/09/09 05/08/09 05/06/09 8|04/14/09 04/07/09 04/06/09 08/27/08 06/11/08 05/15/08 04/10/08 03/08/08 9|03/05/08 02/16/08 02/11/08 02/10/08 02/09/08 02/08/08 02/07/08 02/06/08 _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~~ 06/20/10 01:27 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ So, having a long day ahead of me I decided to nail down a concept that has been floating around in my mind: Master the process of having DOS 3.3 images under a ProDOS partition. I wanted to know this process and practice it so that not only could I do it successfully, but when I did it I couldn't fail. So, the research began. I had read and noted a forum post that Vince Briel made back in 2006 concerning CF drives and DOS.MASTER, a program by the late and GREAT Glen Bredon. This program allows DOS 3.3 programs to be placed on disk and be run under ProDOS. I knew that that post was going to be highly instrumental in allowing me to get near what wanted to achieve. But I had to find it again. Luckily, but Google-Fu did not fail me and I was able to find it here: http://dreher.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=79 The documentation for DOS.Master is here: http://www.apple2.org.za/gswv/a2zine/System/DosMaster_docs.txt And the program is here: http://www.apple2.org.za/gswv/a2zine/System/DosMaster_shk.zip Vince was also kind enough in the series of replies he made to include a link to a 16MB volume that I will used as my template and example. http://www.brielcomputers.com/dmimage.zip Vince also describes the process of using the CF image that I am going to nearly quote verbatim for the sake of easy reference: 1) Insert your CF card into your PC's card reader. 2) Click Tools then volume copier (open volume). 3) Select your CF card by the drive (non-Windows format). 4) Make sure you UNCHECK read only box because you are going to write to the CF card & click OK. 5) Highlight the Volume you want to copy ONTO. 6) Next click on the option box 'Load from file'. 7) Select my image (or whatever hard drive image you are loading. It will give you warnings, especially if you are using a larger CF card than 16meg since the image is 16M. Click OK and it will copy the image onto your CF card. 8) Pull the CF card from your PC's reader and put it in your CFFA card. Make sure your CFFA card is in slot 7 and fire up your Apple II+/IIe or IIgs. It will boot right into my menu program with DOS 3.3 dosmaster loaded. To change to the different volumes just do the catalog command: "CATALOG,V#" Where # is the volume # you want. You can copy from disk onto the volume with some work. I have a bunch of games already loaded and the first volume is dos 3.3 with ADT. My original idea was to make a sub-directory that would contain a version of Vince's partition that I could navigate to from my PROSEL boot volume (the warm glow that you sense in the name PROSEL is the glory of yet another work of Glen Bredon's genius), and open a DOS 3.3 volume on the same partition. This idea was malformed, and I haven't ever brought it up again since first thinking it, until now, and I apologize for actually making you less knowledgeable about Apple II's for having read about it. Forget I brought it up. What I am able to do with this work is to have a separate partition on my CF card that is dedicated to DOS 3.3 disks, which is selectable upon booting the machine. Using Vince's work as an example (which also has a surprisingly warm glow as do the other project's he has masterminded), Bring up this partition as a hard drive in AppleWin, I could see VOLUME 001 and it's contents, but I wanted to see the volumes on the disk and their contents, and be able to have a reference as I could easily see these collection growing beyond the point of manageability. So I wrote a rudimentary shorty that I could use to print to a text file on the emulator and use it to design a startup menu. Here's how it looks: ]PR#1 ]LIST 5 V = 1 10 PRINT CHR$ (4);"CATALOG";V:V = V + 1: GOTO 10 ]RUN DISK VOLUME 001 *A 006 HELLO *I 018 ANIMALS *T 003 APPLE PROMS *I 006 APPLESOFT *I 026 APPLEVISION *I 017 BIORHYTHM *B 010 BOOT13 *A 006 BRIAN'S THEME *B 003 CHAIN *I 009 COLOR DEMO *A 009 COLOR DEMOSOFT *I 009 COPY *B 003 COPY.OBJ0 *A 009 COPYA *A 010 EXEC DEMO *B 020 FID *B 050 FPBASIC *B 050 INTBASIC *A 028 LITTLE BRICK OUT *A 003 MAKE TEXT *B 009 MASTER CREATE *B 027 MUFFIN *A 051 PHONE LIST *A 010 RANDOM *A 013 RENUMBER *A 039 RENUMBER INSTRUCTIONS *A 003 RETRIEVE TEXT A 009 COPYSVD B 012 ADT A 008 ADT CONFIGURATION A 007 VINCE MENU DISK VOLUME 002 B 064 INIT1 B 025 @WOLF *I 002 APPLESOFT B 064 BACKUP B 064 CASTLE B 002 CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN *A 002 HELLO *B 033 PICEX *B 033 PIX *B 065 SEKTOR *B 047 ^CHARSET *T 007 ^TEXT *B 024 ^THINGS B 047 ^VOCAB B 020 @INIT A 003 VINCE MENU DISK VOLUME 003 *B 113 ASTEROIDS *B 112 ALIEN TYPHOON *B 128 CHOPLIFTER *B 139 GORGON A 000 DISK VOLUME 004 *B 079 DOGFIGHT *B 132 STARMAZE *B 057 SABOTAGE *B 078 HEAD ON *B 066 DEFENDER *B 100 ROBOTRON A 000 DISK VOLUME 005 *A 004 HELLO *A 004 HELLO II *I 004 APPLESOFT *B 034 BANNER T 002 BEGIN *B 050 LANDATA3.6000 *B 014 MAKE.800 *B 037 MAKELAND *A 002 MEXEC *B 026 SCRAM.2000 *B 026 SCRAM.800 *B 050 TERRAIN *B 007 TEXT.300 *B 014 TUNNELA.8400 *B 014 TUNNELE.8400 *B 014 TUNNELI.8400 *B 019 U0.6000 *B 020 U1.7170 T 002 BEGIN2 *A 002 MEXEC2 *B 026 SCRAM2.800 DISK VOLUME 006 *B 047 SARGON ][ *B 122 STAR THIEF *B 144 PHANTOMS FIVE *B 095 SUPER INVADER DISK VOLUME 007 *B 064 SHUTTLE INTERCEPT *B 130 BUG ATTACK *B 121 PULSAR ][ *B 145 AQUATRON DISK VOLUME 008 *B 138 SNEAKERS *B 125 SPACE EGGS *B 140 SPACE QUARKS *B 056 CEILING ZERO DISK VOLUME 009 *B 018 BOLO *B 034 BOLOSCREEN *B 095 BOLO.BINARY *B 134 PEOPLE PONG DISK VOLUME 010 *A 002 HELLO *B 165 BANDITS A 002 A 002 A 002 ** B A N D I T S ** A 002 A 160 BROUGHT TO YOU BY: A 002 NAMELESS CRACKER,_______ A
002 PIRATE TREK , AND ! ! A 002 =>KRAKOWICZ<= ! O O ! A 002 ! ! A 002 USE BUTTON 1 FOR ! ^ ! A 002 SHIELDS. HOLD ! ! A 002 DOWN LONGER FOR ! \_/ ! A 002 MORE PROTECTION. ! ! A 002 !/\/\/ DISK VOLUME 011 DISK VOLUME 012 DISK VOLUME 013 So on and so forth, until DISK VOLUME 110. So the synthesis of my idea has become that I make a partition and load it up with volumes of DOS 3.3 disks. I am going to use the emulator to do this as I won't need any physical disks, but I will have to copy from the disk images in the emulated drives to the DOS 3.3 volumes available in the partition. It's also important to note that the ever thoughtful Vince Briel has included a startup menu that catalogs the games of interest on all the volumes very nicely. A quick listing of the program reveals that it seems to be easily customizable! If you have some DOS 3.3 retrolust in your life, what a truly must have CF image this is! I am thankful that Vince is still hosting it! 1505 - UPDATE! Just discovered a large DOS.Master compilation on ftp.apple.asimov.net collated by Vince Briel and Philip Lord: ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/games/file_based/APPLE%20II%20GAMES%20(DOSMASTER).zip and another version here: ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/games/file_based/AppleIIGamesDOSMaster.zip ~~~~~~~~~~ 06/14/10 07:14 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I have taken a break from my experiments in taking separate continents of Apple IIe knowledge and forming my own 8-bit Pangaea because life insists on intruding. There's lots of good news regarding that, but the important thing for you is that life has stabilized enough to continue my retro quest. At this point I have to render honors to Sean M who called me after visiting the site with a few questions regarding restoration his Apple II back to service. He had a BBS up and running back in the day in Atlanta, and recently discovered all the new things that were happening in a realm most have forgotten. He was as excited as I was when I found out about the useful software and development that is now available. And in the process of talking about the Apple it raised some questions in me about where I was going with mine. Running parallel to that event, I have a good friend that rocked hard and was technically correct in many disciplines. He contacted me looking for a home for his AudioMedia II cards. Naturally when he thought of obsolete, he thought of me. I received the cards; the package was beautiful, books, documentation, cards, disks, all in the original packaging. Very nice. So now I had another Apple project I wanted to document and maybe make some music with. Good deal. Just one thing: I wrote before about my old Mac. There's no OS on it. Luckily my subscription to 300 BAUD Magazine paid off on the first issue. There was a story about using Linintosh to bring up an old Mac. "Great," I thought, "I'll just use Gavo's technique and I'll be all set." Wrong. And not just regular wrong, either. It was a wrong like Dennis Hopper would have pointedly told you. Two circumstances are conspiring against me with this dual headed project that on the outset looked like it supported each other. The first is that despite many attempts at retrieving the Linintosh file that I knew I would get someday, I cannot find a viable link or torrent from many resources that will support my endeavors. Secondly, My Mac does not have a NuBus interface for my newly acquired AudioMedia cards. I am currently working solutions to these hurdles, and it looks like I will have 2 separate projects in the future instead on one grand one. Unless I can find a Power Mac 8100 with no OS in the near term. Trombone players: Ready your mutes for imminent failure. So, I am back to basics on my Apple II for the mean time. Today I am reviewing the state of my Apple and am somewhat dissatisfied with the way I have set up my main partition. Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad, in fact there are some winner qualities about it. It boots to Glen Bendon's ProSel. That is a requirement in my book. If you are familiar, you know what I am talking about, and if not, get familiar fast. I can then select the no-slot clock, Appleworks, boot S6D1, drop to basic, bring up ProTerm3.1, drop into Merlin, fire up the Contiki interface, and also hit a multitude of utilities and Beagle Bros programs. But I am dissatisfied with the contents of the partition. I was astounded by the process and the ability to design such a useful drive that I rushed to find things to fill it. I shouldn't have gone fast. It left many half filled directories, un-useful programs, incompatible programs and the like. So I am going to detail my process and slow it down a bit to make a good looking and fully functional Compact Flash drive partition. When designing my CF drive I like to determine the partition layouts. I typically keep my partitions either 16MB or 32MB, but the one I have in mind will have (2) 5MB partitions on it as well. What I have done is taken my CF card from my Apple IIe and copied the contents (6 partitions). When you insert a CF card in Windows, it wants to format it. Don't let this happen. You will open the card with CiderPress: CiderPress => Tools => Volume Copier (Open Volume). From here you can see the drive labeled as: Removable - Non-Windows format. You can open it and copy the individual partitions to a folder. Mine's called "Original CF". I then copy the partitions again to a Folder called "Proposed CF". Proposed CF will be my working directory that I will use with AppleWin to nail down the final product. Some time passes here . . . I tried to install GEOS into a self supported directory that I could call upon and boot the system, but I haven't perfected the means as of yet since the installation is still calling on desktop support from my floppy disk drives. My idea with the 5MB partitions was to have one as a data partition for various programs needs and the other as a GEOS installation, and by that method, neatly divvy up the last 11MB or so left on the CF card. The partitions are (2) 32MB, (3) 16 MB, and (2) or possible (3) 5MB partitions, all readily callable from the boot sequence. I'll have to experiment with the 5MB drive to see if there is enough remnants to get a third 5MB partition. I did get a chance to organize my main drive a bit and installed Davex. Davex is kind of neat because it is a Unix-like command line environment to work your files in ProDOS. I never heard Davex mentioned, but I may have been in the wrong places to actually hear about it. I installed it tested it and am looking forward to using it. Now if they could only get SUDO working in text adventures. I also signed up on Retro-Net. I should have done this a while back I suppose, but I�m not worried because everything moves along at a comfortable pace on the trailing edge. I actually made the beginnings of a gopher page. Yeah, that's right: I have crossed the gopherspace perimeter. If you haven't had the pleasure, you should look around retro-net.org and maybe get hooked on something old that's new to you ~~~~~~~~~~ 01/28/10 09:14 AM ~~~~~~~~~~ Playing around with making obscurely themed A2 stuff online, I had another idea. Throughout the year I occaissionally send out CD's or DVD's of various home media for friends and family. I usually send the disks in an origami paper envelope. There are various construction methods but the one I use looks closest to this example. I just pop in the CD, scribble and address and mail it out. Traditionally, though, I have used custom stamps on the envelopes from photostamps.com. I know they are expensive for stamps, but I think it's cool to have postage you can customize, and it's not like I'm using them daily. I like to have a little flash on the envelope and this go around, I used Jason Scott's Crack Screen Museum to make some of these:
Yeah, crackscreen stamps. I am glad to see the A2 pirates getting their own postage stamp. I also designed some stamps for people I know that I think will dig this: ~~~~~~~~~~ 01/27/10 07:14 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I've been busy lately. I started cleaning up the home office, creating full garbage bags and re arranging things. I still haven't settled on a new system so the home entwork (I meant "network" but typed "entwork" and I'm leaving it that way) is still in a reduced reliability line-up. That being said, this is going to be a short post about an idea I had and discovered that can be done. I won't say too much about it as you can figure it out, but it sure would be both obscure and great to have a collection.
~~~~~~~~~~ 01/07/10 07:14 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I don't know why it happens this way, but my home network will work great for years and then I have an event my brother would label as a cascading, catastrophic, failure. I would agree with him, except that the systems that went down are not remotely related. Even Jung would be hard pressed to place them abstractly on a syncronistic lattice work. The network card in my main computing device failed, followed by the graphics card. The wireless network went down and I cant remember how I had it configured, my dot matrix printer went down, as I reported last time. For now, the Apple II remains solid and functional, and I intend to keep it that way. I am typing this up using KEGS, an Apple IIGS emulator. That way I can isolate the Apple II from the gremlins that are running rampant in the PC system. It's almost like the Apple Wizard didn't operate with universal empirical certainties, but was more akin to a local superstition like witchcraft, phrenology, or the Federal Reserve Bank. Well I shouldn't go that far. The Apple Wizard did actually guide me to grease the dot matrix printer cables and rail. That seems to have rejuvenated the old dot matrix printer that was stuttering and then going off line. I suppose that I should look for a Windows Wizard, but I think I would at least need a minor diety for that task. I had made an image of my hard drive as a back up as I have begun to completely reorder my compact flash card. It is that image that I have mounted to the KEGS emulator. I am going to come clean and say that this is really the first time I have used a Apple IIgs in any meaningful way. My first experience wasn't good, but it wasn't the machine's fault. I was young, and attending an art school. I had a night class that got into digital art and it was the first time I had encountered an Apple II GS in the wild. For the project, we used a digitizer like Computer Eyes. This system consisted of a video camera that transferred images suing 3 separate red, yellow, and blue scans. I became frustrated navigating the menu. I understood the process we were using, I understood the physical components of the computer and how they related. I was having trouble manipulating the software with a mouse and didn't quite like it. I guess I wasn't ready for the GUI. In many ways I'm still not ready for the GUI as I rely on the keyboard as much as possible. I find the mouse to be a lazy way of navigating and much slower to manipulate as you sort through lists looking for the command that you need. It's like the difference between chatting freely to someone on an instant message client, and having the same conversation, but using a mouse to cut and paste the words from a text pool. The GUI does have pretty pictures though, and I guess that counts for something, and I can't recall to many articles I've read that take a stand against the GUI in general, mostly because it opened the computing world up to the text challenged peoples of the world. So, between that and the fact that I was feeling so abandoned by Apple in 1989, I'll go ahead and apologize to the Apple IIGS: Sorry pal, it wasn't you, it was all me. So it's only been twenty years and I am beginning to warm to the idea of an Apple II GS. Yes, perhaps now, the time has come. I've downloaded a couple of images for it and am beginning to explore the package. Over the months that I have been gathering information, and filling in knowledge gaps, the once strange landscape the the GS was has become more familiar. There are many things that I am ignorant of, I believe, over in GS land, so for the time being I'll keep researching questions as they arise and listen to others in the GS community as they work problems out. That and I actually need a real computer. I love the eeePC for traveling, and as a mobile platform. I can do the more mundane tasks, anywhere. I upgraded the battery and get about 8 hours of straight use, without shutdown, standby, or sleep. In fact, there's very little power conservation going on at all. I have a 16GB SD card that I use for my files, since the platform has only a 4GB flash drive as it;s hard drive. I have a 8GB flash drive in a modified "Portable Apples" configuration. That's what I'm banging this out on. I have a 4GB SD of BackTrack4 that is a persistent image. I glued the SD case to the eeePC lid so I could swap the SD card in and boot from it on the fly. The final link in this flexible portable system is a USM Multipass. It's a boot-able 16 GB USB flash drive that has about 6 ISO images on it taking up less than half the storage. That being said, I love this system, flexible, functional, durable. It is a bit slow though, but great for watching Netflix streaming movies. Here comes the problem: It is way too small to seriously be my main PC. As I sit here typing this up, I imagine I look comical, even though I have a wireless keyboard I am using. I have the eeePC propped up on a candle so the screen is at eye level. I feel almost too ridiculous to even acknowledge that I am doing this. I imagine I fell like Will Smith did in Men In Black when the first weapon he was issued was "The Cricket". Small but powerful can be taken too far in many regards. I know, it's not that powerful in terms of raw processing power,, but I can get quite a bit done with it. At a price. Maybe it's my surroundings. I should be doing this at a coffee shop. The small tables would make this look a little less ridiculous. I am a breath away from finding a giant full page magnifier and mounting it in front of the LCD like an computer from the movie Brazil. So, I am in a quandary about the next computer in my life. I have a desire to re-explore the Apple systems after all these years. My main wall with that idea is that they seem to be an expensive platform, and that I will have to re-learn applications and usage of the system and for a while I will be far less efficient at what I do. Another idea is to create a Hackintosh. I like this idea, but am somewhat put off but the idea that an Apple Update may neuter my fun. The third idea is to take the cash I would spend on the Apple and buy a top of the line PC. I'd have greater compatibility with my current software, I'd have a beefy system, I know a lot of Windows/PC system trivia from keeping my last PC operable for so many years,and it would be a shame to let that knowledge go to waste because I actually have a computer that works. All of these ideas are in the threshold keeping each other from coming through, like Mr. Burn's multitude of diseases that keep him alive. I really do like the idea of becoming Cortez and burning my ships, realizing that I won;t revisit the old software and only dabble in new application experiences, so that has a small advantage for Apple. I had a Hayes 9600 Ultra V.32 Ultra Smart-modem show up at the house last week. Now this has been fun. I have a list that I got from the internet of working dial up BBS boards and I worked them last week. They are big empty places. I mean they are full of messages, etc, but I got the impression of being in an apocalyptic wasteland as I wandered through them. It was like being The Omega Man, or maybe Mutants of 2051 A.D. Here's the current list I found at http://www.telnetbbsguide.com: The Telnet BBS Guide's US & Canada Dial-Up BBS Guide January - March 2010 -------------------------------------------- Copyright by the Diamond Mine Online Fredericksburg, VA USA Web: http://www.telnetbbsguide.com Telnet: bbs.dmine.net E-mail: info at telnetbbsguide dot com THIS IS A FREE LIST PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS LIST EVERYWHERE YOU SEE FIT! =========================================================================== WHERE TO FIND THE BBS CORNER Dial-Up BBS GUIDE: WEB: http://www.telnetbbguide.com BBS: Diamond Mine Online BBS Web: http://www.dmine.com Telnet: bbs.dmine.net EMAIL: info at telnetbbsguide dot com NOTE: All Dial-Up BBS system listed are checked and verified every 120 days. If a BBS is down for more than 30 days after that, it will be removed from the list. ============================================================================ Modem BBS Name City ST Software
206-386-4199 Seattle Community Net Seattle WA Unix
207-784-2130 Kobayashi Alternative Auburn ME Wildcat
209-845-2641 Citadel 64 Oakdale CA Color 64
212-221-9689 WooWoo New York NY Synchronet
214-987-2135 Eclectic BBS Univ. Park TX TriBBS
281-272-8162 Ye Olde Inn IV Houston TX Maximus
301-949-5764 Idea Link Kensington MD PCBoard
302-762-2003 Delaware Online! Wilmington DE TSX
303-665-6091 King's Market BBS Louisville CO TBBS
303-679-0161 Empire of the Dragon Evergreen CO Worldgroup
310-652-8644 Wamblyville Reno NV Djinn
337-984-4794 Positronium RepositoryLafayette LA Wildcat
401-724-4410 Chowdanet Providence RI Wildcat
416-273-7230 Electronic Chicken Toronto ON Synchronet
502-875-8938 Capitol City Online Frankfort KY GT-2000
512-327-8598 TechnoDrome Austin TX Maximus
530-534-5329 TDEC West BBS Oroville CA TriBBS
601-553-3671 Sursum Corda! BBS Meridian MS Maximus
604-266-5271 BandMaster Vancouver BC Maximus
607-655-5652 Prism BBS Windsor NY BBBS
613-392-8896 Lion's Den Trenton ON Synchronet
626-355-5347 Mysteria Tujunga CA BBBS
712-624-8471 Bob's Boneyard Emerson IA Unknown
780-439-8364 Xanadu Edmonton AB Roboboard
815-727-6072 Shareware Library Joliet IL Telegard
856-933-7096 Christian Fellowship Mt. Ephriam NJ PCBoard
860-535-4284 Bits & Bytes BBS N Stonington CT RemoteAccess
940-565-9165 Mezzanine Denton TX Hermes II
951-549-9994 Vertrauen Norco CA Synchronet
972-329-0781 Prison Board Mesquite TX Wildcat ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TOTAL SYSTEMS LISTED: 30 So visiting some sites kind of made me want to make a dial up BBS of my own. I don't know, just hearing the modem dial in and connect was *effing* electric after all these years. It feels like the computer is doing something, making a connection. I know it's a completely Pavlovian connection, but the modem is the sound I hear when things are going to get all mystical, electronic, and cool. I know the reality is way less, but in my mind it's way more. I'm not really doing a good job of explaining it. I want to explain it like a Cyberpunk type thing, but it's coming off like a 40-year old man sitting in the dark dialing up strangers - Se7en thing. Sorry, didn't mean to creep you out, I'll just go back to writing reallyreallytinyandcramped in my note book, right after I get this lotion out of the basket. I haven't finalized the logistics of it yet, but I think it's going to be a ProLine board. It's still early in the design stage. Can one use a Magic Jack for a dial up BBS? I don't know. Maybe there will be operation hours that dialing in will be cool. Get this post on Floppy Disk! Download my Floppy-Cast 5.25" disk image (Save Link As). Launch Floppy-Cast in Browser Note: May cause some sound issues. Refresh by closing out the browser entirely. ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/23/09 05:38 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ What a thing to wake up to: Shortly into my morning I became aware that my C. Itoh 8510A dot matrix printer had gone to C. Itoh printer heaven, where ever that is. I get mental images that would not look out of place in a 1940's era Bugs Bunny cartoon. At 07:43 AM this 23rd day of December 2009, I discovered the printer i used for my entire Apple II experience dead. It died the way it lived, compacted squatly in a corner of a room, high a top a mound of fan fold paper. It's little rubber feet were sticking up in the air and there were X'x for its eyes where the SEL and POWER lights should be. Tragedy, thy name is C. Itoh! I discovered this as I began to line up the final piece of my CF card plan. I started fooling around with GEOS this morning and wanted to make a version for my hard drive. As I set up the printer, catastrophe struck and my little dot matrix printer ground to a halt. I will investigate of course, because I believe that there may be something I can do to repair it. Why do I even have a CF plan? Good question. I wanted to diagram my card volume allotments and try it on an emulator before I physically created the drive, mostly because it is easier to discover issues or recode as necessary to make items work. Everthing I have done thus far that has not been another experiment ending in failure thar resulted in me assuming the fetal position and crying in the corner of a room has been because of planning, at least at the most rudimentary level. With 128MB of storage, the amount of files I am moving is massive from an 8-bit point of view, so I need to know where exactly they go and where they fit. I now have CiderPress and AppleWin hot keyed on my keyboard. I love it when a plan comes together. There is a reason I am doing all this planning and moving around, and that is so that I can get am image of AppleIIGO on my CF Drive and show it off. I became aware of AppleIIGo via Frank5000 aka Frank Milliron, who, along with Michael Mahon, created this cool project. I talked to Frank a little as I immediately jumped onto his torrent for Compute! magazine that he'd offered up on CSA2. He thought I might be interested in a little art project after seeing this site. The first taste of the project I received was this disk image that you can download or play in the Java Emulator. It is a lo-res digitized 32 frame video loop of White Wedding by Billy Idol that fits on a 5 1/4" floppy disk. It's is very cool. There is also a 32 MB hard drive version that is playable in AppleWin that includes 5 videos, all of which are nice eye candy. Download White Wedding Floppy (Save Link As). Launch White Wedding floppy in Browser The way he explained the process to me is that he created a custom Photoshop palette and used a set of actions to convert a series of exported frames into a series of pixels which was then swapped out from the "hard drive". Michael Mahon wrote the program to swap sections of the file into video ram and then switch which "page" was displaying. Frank created an Applescript to rip movie files into individual frames He then created an action in photoshop which resized and dithered the image into 40x48x16 colors. Another script pieced the images back into a movie file where the frames are contiguous blocks. A movie length is passed to Michael's program and it just swaps frames until it hits the end. The first time I watch the 32 MB edition, I mounted it as a hard drive on AppleWin. I then headed toward YouTube to find a video of White Wedding. I painstakingly synced up the videos and it became very cool as they came toward unity. I think that there is a use for this project and some great 8-bit video effect can be had, if only I have the video prowess to take advantage . . . Download 32 MB Hard Drive Image. (Right Click. Save Link As) Unzip, load as a hard drive in AppleWin. Reboot & Enjoy! I really am going to set aside a partition for this as well as redistributing some software now that ProSel and I have begun to get to know each other. ProSel was a surprise to me as far as ease of use and functional ability and esthetic sense. It makes my top level clean and easy to navigate. In fact, In have been exploring a lot of software looking for things to fill out my CF space. One of the packages I came across was GEOS. This is an 8-bit GUI that I kind of want to play with a little. I am interested to see what it would be like to operate in this platform. I am still exploring but I seem to have come across a word processor among it's applications. It even seems to have some different fonts associated with it. I wonder how that prints out? I guess I'll be wondering for a while since my computer has actually worn out the printer that came with it. (Pardon me for a moment while I step out of this post. As I am writing this, the Windows laptop I use as my spare computer when I'm not utilizing my Apple IIe is cycling through blue screens as it reboots. I know that I should stop it, but I want to see if letting it power cycle and die endlessly will eventually end up with it destroying itself in a festive manner. Past experiences have shown me that Windows computers tend not to do this, but I always wondered, after spending so many resources to create an operating system that behaves like Windows, why did they pull the punch on a fiery coup-de-grace?) Another benefit of the new organization of the CF card will be a Beagle Brother section. I had mentioned that I wanted something along those lines very early in this blog and in fact I think it was the first thing I wanted to do with my CF card. ProSel mad it easy for me to do that. Granted I have to go into a few of the Beagle Programs and define path names and the like, but over all it is very satisfying to have those programs at my call when I want them. I also came across some hack disk images that are humorous to me in hind site. Two of the images are the Hayes Hack-A-Matic and the Hacking Construction Set. It is humorous I suppose in 2 regards, first the introductory art associated with these titles are at the pinnacle of the Crackscreenism Movement of the late 20th century. Combining 8-bit symphonies and deaths head imagery, these titles demand that the viewer pay respect to the elite coding skills of their creator. Beautiful. These early titles must be close to the source of the script kiddie tributary, and because of that, these have earned a place in my disk box. The menu and offerings are nearly the same for both titles, auto dialers, and code crackers, and I suppose that is what is humorous to me in the second regard: At one time I thought number based security measures were safe. It is with child like wonder that I look on these automated hack tools and wonder about the more complex offerings of today such as rainbow tables and the entire memory vs time method of approaching a puzzle which in the password for is little more than a guessing game. It's probably the guessing game component make the enterprise so much fun. Let's fire up the old Hayes Hack-A-Matic and find some MCI and Sprint codes! Download Hack-A-Matic (Save Link As). Launch Hack-A-Matic in Browser Download Hacking Construction Set (Save Link As). Launch Hacking Construction Set in Browser (Stepping out again: I finally gave up on the hope that Microspft would finally make my laptop what it once was: a molten mass of homgenous material churning pointlessly in the depths of space. After watching it for an hour, I blew the dust out of it and am letting it cool down after getting several ominous messages on screen. I at least need it to boot one more time so that I can post this conveniently. Using this laptop is getting to be like having a chair at the World Series of Poker. I don't know how many shouts of "One Time!" I've had hoping that the next power cycle was going to be a winner. Throw in the printer and it's The Good, The Dead, and The Ugly.) The final thing I was able to put together for the next incarnation of my CF drive is a 32MEB text file volume. It's pretty basic at this stage, but I want to see if I can make some sort of index that would get you in the general area for your vintage reading pleasure on a vintage tool. I downloaded the "Apple" textfiles from Jason Scott's textfiles.com and loaded them up, with a few additoinal entries. I think it is cool to read these things on original gear and to have a encyclopdeia of obscure and sometimes trifling knowledge on board. After loading up the 32 meg partition I had something like 300 kB of free space left. Not bad. I need to re-order the volume though, as a catalog at 8Mhz lasts for minutes. ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/21/09 09:13 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Get this post on Floppy Disk! Download my Floppy-Cast 5.25" disk image (Save Link As). Launch Floppy-Cast in Browser Note: May cause some sound issues. Refresh by closing out the browser entirely. I've been having so much fun on the old Apple II, I almost forgot to write! You see, I have to write about it because if I don't it's like it never happened. This concept hit me in #a2c.chat this week, as we have had a couple of people come in who were either first timers with old Apples or have busted out old machines from storage and haven't really gotten into the swing of things. I had forgotten what that feeling was like, and it was nice to go back and look through this blog to remember what the process was, as I got desirous of actually owning a physical Apple II and then after I got it how I made it mine. As far as things I have been doing with my Platinum IIe, or Betty as I have been addressing her (much to my wife's dismay from the other room, I might add), I spent about a week playing The Standing Stones as you know from my last post. I figured out some key strategies that had been keeping my character advancement back for about 25 years and now I have a high degree of confidence that success in this game is forth coming. Funny though, it doesn't seem that ridiculous when I am playing the game as when I write about it. I have been mapping the levels and keeping notes, and I even had a crazy idea about printing out some dungeon tiles and getting some miniature D&D action going, (Like Google DungeonMaps) mostly because it would result in a highly detailed photographic map package of the levels and would be fun,despite the game having minimal interest to the modern demographic, which amuses me even more so to do. The second thing I explored this week is along a tangent of my Apple II experience. Earlier I pre-ordered "Get Lamp", a documentary of interactive fiction by Jason Scott. I got a 25% discount for doing this, but I would have pore-ordered it without the discount, honestly. Anyway, I became aware of the Interactive Fiction Competition and the ways that you can enjoy Interactive Fiction on a modern system. I have been playing Anchorhead, a Lovecraftian adventure. It is wonderfully enjoyable and haunting. I don't want any hints and have played it daily since discovering it. I can already tell I am about to be hooked on IF. Again. The game is awesome to play, when you are snowbound at home. And you should play because ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY. After you load up on interpreters, you can download Anchorhead and more, here. I also came across an interesting project this week that converts videos into lo-res graphics, and plays them on the Apple II. In the process of writing about it, I wanted organized my CF drive to make room for the image of this lo-res video. That open the door to a whole bunch of good ideas that are out there, that I was painfull unaware of. which brings us to the third thing. The third thing I have been into is DOS.MASTER, a program that allows one to make Dos 3.3 volumes on a Prodos Volume. The only limitation it seems is that the Dos 3.3 volume can not be one that has to be booted, so the files would have to be accessible by a CATALOG. I've just begun to explore this and to try and make my own volumes, but I had little success. Somehow, in my collection of software, I came across a 16 MB Dos 3.3 Volume that was create by Vince Briel. There is about 10 DOS 3.3 volumes of games on the volume and it holds 110 DOS 3.3 volumes. I have been using this as a template, but I really need to discover where I have been going wrong when creating my own volumes. I am sure I will figure that out soon, and be able to detail where my experiments have been going south. Whilst investigating a DOS 3.3 library for my CF drive, I came across many ProDOS menu selector software. This was looking good, because I had been doing all CF operations directly from the cursor. This programs would load up and allow you to look as files and select them for different operations. I tried out many of them, but the real gold here was a program call ProSel. ProSel is a program written by Glen Bredon, who also put together the Assembler, Merlin. ProSel is everything I was looking for but didn't know how to find. I believe I had been exposed to ProSel before. I remember my Uncle, W8URX, had a 5 MB Hard Drive. I remember when he got that thing, It was traumatizing to me because I could not wrap my young mind around the vastness of 5 MB of storage space. The amount of storage was an impossibility, a theoretical China Syndrome, the gaping hole left by the melted nuclear fuel rod; an endless receptacle for data. This was the territory of madness, and special rules applied. All I have to go on is memory, but it seems to me that my Uncle used ProSel. The interface was not entirely unfamiliar. It would make sense that my uncle would have used this software as he introduced me to Merlin and would have been aware and in want of it. Finding documentation for ProSel 8 was easy, but I had to make it hard because I had a copy of the ProSel 16 documentation in .pdf form and wanted ProSel 8 in that format as well. I searched high and low for it, I looked everywhere, looked everywhere, I even looked in my underwear. Woo! No dice. Turns out that if I would have actually opened the ProSel image I had, I could have printed the documentation directly, from the first menu that I came to, which from the AppleWin print emulation makes a nice textfile. Easy. So setting up ProSel for me is a time intensive project, as I want to create a completely new directory for my CF card drive, and so far I have been very pleased with my results. My menu driven CF card does is only functional in design, but when I get the complete order set, I will edit the menu and throw a little panache in there to make it look good. ProSel comes with a menu editor that allows you to configure paths, names, menu positions and even accepts control characters. Of course it also has an automatic feature that shows all ProDos menu items that can be executed. Hitting the Tab key allows you to see Dos 3.3 menu items as well. ProSel is good stuff and I want to some tine with it and write a more detailed article about it ans I feel that ProSel and my CF drive were made for each other. Once I get ProSel married with DOS.Master I can really start the honeymoon with my CF drive. ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/12/09 08:36 AM ~~~~~~~~~~ Get this post on Floppy Disk! Download my Floppy-Cast 5.25" disk image (Save Link As). Launch Floppy-Cast in Browser Note: May cause some sound issues. Refresh by closing out the browser entirely. At some point last night, I went through my old diskettes again. This time I was not organizing, nor imaging, but trying to condense them into 2 disk storage boxes. But doing so, I would free up a 100+ disk organizer that I was going to need. You see, just like nuclear weapons, there's really no point in having a write enable overrides if your not going to use them, so I picked up 100 floppy disks. I got them fairly inexpensively to my way of thinking, as they are gray promotional disks with no sleeves and no notches. Their main purpose will be to re-image software of interest from my historical library and minimize the usage and exposure of the actual disks. Granted, those disks aren't much to look at, but they mean the world to me. The process made me appreciate another factor in the Apple II reclamation. I think that we kept nearly every diskette sleeve that were ever owned. We had floppy disk boxes labeled envelopes that were packed as packed can be with empty floppy disk sleeves. I appreciate that so much as I try to reunite some of them with their original mates. So while I was doing this, some things were percolating in my mind that occurred this week. I noticed that I was having trouble with some of my image viewing techniques when the disk of interest had Mini Appler's Beautiful Boot. So, I turned to Google to help me solve my problems, which once again turned me to textfiles.com. First, I discovered how to make a "Beautiful Boot" diskette. I learned that I could do this through an article that Jason Scoot had up on ascii.textfiles.com and I recommend it as good reading. I realized that the "Beautiful Boot" was probably a program, but I never came across it, but when I looked in my archive of diskette images, I found it. Mini-Appler's Beautiful Boot is a hello program you always remember, distinctive, excellently laid out graphically, and fast. Such a damn fast boot. . . I was so excited in the moment because this was the solution to at least a 2 decade mystery to me. I actually wrote Jason Scott to thank him for well, not just for being a lexicon of pop-computer obscurities, but also for helping me re-discover my own trivial obscurities. I found that I had a copy of the necessary disk and from this point I started to create my own Beautiful Boot diskettes. It always seemed, at least to me anyway, that on my file based games there were one or two hot games and then a couple of clunkers. I never optimized my collection, and I can't tell you why. It was probably be because, in my young mind, I would be wasting time instead of fooling around on the computer. I made up a couple of gaming disks that included some of my favorites. It was like magic. As I went through the disks, scanning for games, I came across one labeled "Cracking Techniques". Going through the disk image, I discovered that this was a 2 sided disk of Krakowicz's cracking tutorials. Excellent. The HELLO program asks for the file name and them displays the text. Very good. I went back to textfiles.com and re-read the Krakowicz interview that Jason conducted. Krakowicz is a man that I only had known by his work and it is great to have a side of him revealed that I would have never had the chance to see in the day. I guess when you spend hours with titles that all bear the name of an entity, your mind, being the fertile ground of creativity that it is, wants to develop an image to hang on that name. The interview changed what I had imagined about the man, but I'm still going to keep the mental image that I have of his being: Humans are eternal story-tellers and it is a sin to deprive them of legend. I was able to compress the disks into 2 small holders and free up the large holder for my blanks. Excellent, they fit. I started to think about what I would put on them, and I even started to organized them into a folder for future reference, but the folder got deleted. It was pointless because every time I looked at the lot I saw something different, so It looks like the transfers will occur willy-nilly. The first image was of The Standing Stones. This is a Role Playing Game that I never made much progress on. I decided to take a much more organized approach this turn. The Image I had had characters on it. They included characters by Dr. Micro and The Freeze, the personas that originally cracked this game, and although that piqued my curiosity, I deleted them from my floppy copy. I also re-initialized the dungeon and created new knights for the adventure. It was going to be a clean slate for me. After starting to make the 1st level map, I have burned through 3 characters so far. This game seems difficult to start, but it currently is interesting to me so I will keep with it. During the gaming, the mind was percolating: The Cracking Techniques disk. The Hello program. Textfiles. 100 un-notched floppy disks. The disk. The files. The disks. It was like hearing all the elements of a joke, but not putting them together properly. Did you hear the one about the 3 people that changed a light bulb? Wait--I told that wrong. So my experiment became: Could make this blog available as a textfile on disk, disk image, and so forth? It seemed like a cool idea, albeit, not new in anyway. It seemed cool because the Apple emulator has so many platforms, and much like I wrote about AppleWorks having a large platform base with the rise of emulation, I thought that it may be a cool idea to leave Apple II disk images with my blog posts, as a means of distribution and also a means of time shifting the reading experience. Mostly, I wanted to see if I could do it. I mean it shouldn't be hard: I write on AppleWorks, I can print to a text file, I can make disk images, I can move files within images, so it should be difficult to do. So I started exploring with disk images and before long, I thoughT about bringing back AppleIIGo as a java emulator so you could enjoy it without a dedicated emulator. I noticed, as I began my trial and error process, the hypnotic effect that the scrolling letters appearing on the screen and the sense of personality it appeared to lend to the writing. It seems to me that this is the way to read something electronically, instead of having an entire lot of words dumped into your lap. Be warned that AppleIIGo seems to cause me sound card trouble, irritating click that only subsides when the browser is completely shut down. But that doesn't mean that you can't just download the disk image itself and read this post on your own emulator or preferably on an actual Apple II machine. An 80 column card is required. What? No 80 column card? Sheesh, man, what are you, living in the dark ages? ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/10/09 12:18 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ When I returned from my pilgrimage to retrieve the old Apple II item from the time machine, I took interest in a very worn and aged Koala Pad. I remember spending hours using the pad to create images or do some pixel level editing for such games as Pinball Construction Set. I spent a great deal of time illustrating a homebrewed version of pinball that had a ZZ Top Theme.
I was fascinated with the "Eliminator" that was featured heavily in their music videos. And the ZZ Top girls. Yeah, mostly the girls, but I did not have the skill to illustrate them properly for a Pinball Construction Set game. Somehow the ZZTop game made it with out being defaced. My brother and I held it in high regard to deface HELLO programs and graphics with gaudy and derogatory statements about each others social status such as "DAN IS A PIECE OF CRAP!!!!!!!!", that would display prominently, and inversely and flash, of course. Ahh, good times. It was always a pleasure to introduce your friends to a new title that came with a casual observation like that. I think that the effect had a greater magnitude in the minds eye than any actual embarrassment that was felt by us, although our mother would be mortified. It was just a style of sibling rivalry, we always had a good relationship with one another that continues to this day. As I looked on the Koala pad this day I could see that all was not well, but it was in the exact condition that I had left it in. Long ago, there was a somewhat heavy gauge, square, black, rubber-like material that covered the digitizer. Perhaps it was Teflon, I can't recall exactly, but what I do recall is that I used the Koala pad so much that I wore down the plastic stylus that came with it. I tried to resharpen the stylus and sand it down to get a similar point to when it was new, but that only resulted in me ripping a hole in the Koala Pad a month or so later. I felt the shame, learned from the experience, and proceeded to remove the seven back plate screws and crack it open. I covered the pad area with a heavy gauge piece of cold press paper and looking at the repair job today, I think a little dab of rubber cement to hold it in place. What a mess. The surface was unusable now, but back in the day I think I continued to use it with kid gloves. It was time to repair it if I could. I cracked the Pad open again and removed the paper which was adhesively sticking to the smooth glass like surface of the digitizer. I decided to use some Goo Gone to break down the adhesive. Mmmm, citrusy. I swirled the Goo Gone on the troubled area using just my finger and after about 5 minutes, the digitizer was clean and beautiful, like it had just come from the factory. Now I had to find something to cover it with. I found the perfect impromptu material. This material is used in manufacturing to cover painted parts so that they don�t get scratched. It is clingy, of a heavy gauge, and is some sort of plastic. There's probably a really simple name for the material, but I do not know it, but I did happen to have a roll of it sitting around the house. I measured and cut a 12.25 cm square of the clingy material and slapped it on the digitizer, being careful to work out the air bubbles. Perfect and replaceable. In my case the heavy protective cling wrap was blue and when placed on the black digitizer becomes very dark. Nice. I was almost ready to hook it up, but observing the 16 pin dip connector, I realized that this guy had a rough storage as the pins were flattened against the cable housing. I prayed a little, to Crom, so he would give me the answer to the Riddle of Steel, and then I got some pliers and began to reshape the pins. I was successful and inserted the Koala Pad. Next I wanted to try out my handy work so I fired up ADTPro, and broke out a brand new floppy. I hadn�t decide what graphic package to use so I visited my fledging Apple II library that had gotten a little bigger from my trip. Ahhh, a covered Photostat of the Dazzle Draw manual. I don't remember using Dazzle Draw a whole lot, I think I was more of a Blazing Paddles type of guy, but OK, I tried it out. I set my disk drive to Neutral Evil and burned an Image of Dazzle Draw on side 1 and Dazzle Draw Slide Show on Side 2 of the 5.25" floppy. I was ready to render. I was out of practice and wondered if I would be able to perform on this my big day. Would I be able to create masterworks on par with such classics as this logo that apparently combines the symbol of The Greatest American Hero and a diskette. Hmm, seems like I had designs on a diskette company of my own. Which is only right, I mean, why should the Xanith diskette company have a monopoly in the household? This would be The Greatest American Diskette.
The repair worked very well, as the surface was extremely smooth and I recall that the original surface had a little tooth to it. I liked this better than what I may or may not have been actually recalling. I started fooling around with it and created a rough drawing or too. Very cool! I was using a stylus I had picked up for a PDA years ago. It was perfect for this application because it was also a pen, and a flashlight, and a laser pointer. I was ready for any presentational or administrative need in multiple lighting conditions! So, it was good to know that the old Pad was coming through like a champion, now I have to find another part for my Apple II. It will be the 16 pin DIP ribbon cable extension for the joystick I/O. Why? Well it's like this: On the Apple IIe there are 2 ways to input the game controller I/O, through a D-Sub 9 pin connection on the computer's back plane and a 16 pin DIP socket on the motherboard. Unfortunately in my case, the 2 do not play well with each other when they are both plugged in without some modifications, which I am not afraid to do, but for the purposes of using a Koala Pad, I'd prefer to have an extension that reached outside of the computer housing so that I can simply plug the Koala in and out. Apparently these cables are not as readily available as I believe that they once were, so either I can build one or buy one. I haven't made up my mind which. Meanwhile, I will search a while longer for a just and fair distributor of cabling that will provide the proper part. One that looks nice. And not too expensive. Nee! ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/07/09 5:32 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I finished the Write Enable switch mod this evening after replacing the switch that busted. I went to several stores today, everything from office to crafts where I thought I might reasonably find some press on lettering. I had to settle for clear label stick ons, but the project is finished and I think it looks swell. Slap on your cheaters, son, and take a peep for yourself.
I tried it out on the Chaotic Evil setting and this is what I got:
I can't wait to set it to Lawful Evil and start acting like Darth Vader. ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/06/09 9:04 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ The project I wrote about earlier went forward this weekend, between the hustle that occurs when your refrigerator dies, saving what you can, pulling the old one, putting the new one in. I got lucky and had a Sunday delivery. I got the new one in after upgrading the receptacle to a 3 prong GFCI dealie. Oh and fixing the water piping that the delivery guys sheared at floor level. Fun. Anyway, it's awesome to be able to remember a detail as you reminisce about it and them be able to re-create it. I successfully installed write protect over-ride switches in the Duodisk drive. "The Bob" did have some switches and I went with a DPDT, but SPST would do. My switches were 3 position, center off. My switch positions are Write/Protected/Normal. I want to label the positions but can�t seem to find Garamond letter transfers that are small and match the Apple IIe logo on the Platinum. I haven't decided what the switch positions will be labeled as. Right now my mind is for having the Disk 1 drive be labeled Chaotic/Lawful/Neutral and Disk 2 drive be labeled Evil/Good/Neutral. That way, it would be easy to give the drive an alignment. Ho-ho-ho. Oh, if my wit was any sharper, I'd have to put a guard on it. I looked at some other types of switches for customization purposes; the first was this kill switch, because every thing should have a kill switch on it, second in priority, to my way of seeing it, perhaps only to LED's. I also look at another future project, as my slots are filled, I have to do some expansion, and the one I'd like to do is first replace the power supple with the Little John system, adding a lot more room. Then I could add a slot expander, but as a possible future experiment, since I will be running a new power supply, I was looking for a home for this: Because cigarette lighters are cool. That, and I can charge my mobile phone with the outlet since I don't smoke. Yeah, did I mention that I think it would just be cool? Maybe I could just take the lighter in and out of circuit with the kill switch. While I was inside, I noted my drive's analog board as PN 676-101, which is one of the boards I noted in an earlier read. The other board is PN 676-102. The read was from the CSA2 FAQ's about disk drives and mentioned that there are 2 capacitors on this board that should be clipped off because they can cause sporadic and catastrophic floppy disk damage. I found my nerve, took a deep breathe, and actually did something I read about in the internet. Later testing revealed that I noticed no difference in drive performance. The apacitors on the board are C28 and C29 located in the area of A1 and B1 by the board matrix. Catastrophe averted! Yay! The second thing I noticed on the inside were these great indicators on the disk hubs themselves that let you made disk speed adjustments under fluorescent lighting in 60Hz countries AND 50 Hz countries. I didn't know that was there. Cool! Next time I am hitchhiking and end up at the Irish Pub in G�ttingen, Germany with my Apple IIe in tow and there seems to be a disk drive speed anomaly, I am ready and know how to go about setting things right! The hardest part of this mod was deciding where to mount the switches. As you can see from the face of the drive itself that there are several options. I chose the lower left corner because I like the line that it made on the disk face, off setting the operation light in the upper right hand side, kind of Bent Sinister, if you will. I carefully drilled my holes at low speed, after applying masking tape and marking my position one inch from the left hand edge of the latch depression. I drilled a pilot hole and then followed up with a 1/4" opening for my toggle switch. You also have to be careful about running the wires as well. In my disk drive, the purple and orange wires leading back from the write protect micro-switch were my targets, and I wired them up in the manner I jotted down on a note card. Wiring job complete, I tested them out with a continuity meter, and they worked great. I followed that up with a live run and that worked great, but there was a little disk sticking going on. My switches were pushing against the bottom left metal lip of the drive itself. I loosed the switch and loosened the drive mounting screws and readjusted with the disk in place until the action was nice. Unfortunately I was over zealous retightening the switch for drive one .and broke it. With all the tough work done, it will be a half hour repair sometime next week. Maybe I can find some lettering whilst I pick up a new switch. ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/04/09 High Noon ~~~~~~~~~~ I don't know what I was thinking about this page and its relationship with RSS. In the middle of last year, Ken Gagne, editor of Jucied.GS, suggested that I get an RSS feed so that he could subscribe. I looked into Content Management Systems again, but I didn't want a CMS. I felt that it was too big an installation for the little log I was keeping here. The first e-mail I received about the site was from Adam, who was asking about RSS availability. And then again on CSA2, the dreaded specter of RSS raised its scythe, pointed a withered finger at me, and croaked, "You." So, needless to say I looked into it. What I found out was that my perceptions about RSS were a gross conceptual error. Wow, I felt like a big dummy. RSS is super simple to roll your own. I never really took a look at the code at all, because in my past experiences with PHP Nuke, Joomla, and other CMS packages, it was just a matter of setting some defaults and setting an option. What a user I had become. Anyway, I'd like to thank Ken and Adam for opening my eyes and helping me troubleshoot the site when my RSS learning began at 6:15 AM this morning. This week, I have been sorting my Apple II image library, and trying to organize the images, both found and personal. I would like to sort them in a manner in which the folders in the collection represent dividers in my disk boxes so that I could tell if I had a physical copy, easily. Fun! I also heard this week about an Apple IIGS laptop project, details of which have been alluded to at A2central.com and direct information can be gleaned at a2gs.com which is the project webpage. I have learned a little about it in the A2 central chat room, and have to say that I am intrigued. I mean, really, who wouldn't be: 15" RGB LCD, 4MB RAM, Ethernet, Internal 3.5" FDD, Compact Flash HDD, TDX Stereo sound card, ADB Touch Pad. I even heard a rumor about a chassis design by Ben Heckendorn. They plan to demo them at KansasFest 2010, and photos of the product are going up on Monday at the project's home page and I am eager to see them. While I have been organizing the library I have also thinking about expanding the actual number of physical floppy disks that I have. Often a barrier to me fooling around with an old piece of software is that I done have physical copy handy and in the moment. Ideas and the siren's call of exploring the way I remember something working are often set aside because I move on to something that satisfies my stupid need for instant gratification. So this will move me into my next minor project, adding a write protect enable/defeat switch to my disk drives. The process should be fairly straight forward and I am eager to begin the initial investigation of what I need. I like the idea of a three position toggle that will allow write/normal/protected positions, but I am also starting to lean towards a write/protected 2-way toggle, because the way that I want to use the modification is to enable me to write to unnotched disks I can get in bulk and keep the physical library neat and orderly. I will see what parts are available at the local Radio Shack. I'm mot even sure if they still carry electronic "Radio" parts since they began wanting everyone to call them "The Shack". I hate that. It's like someone that you kind of know wanting you to call him "The Bob" and being force to listen to him talk about himself in third person. "Let's go to lunch, The Bob is hungry." Great. Let's not. Oh well, because I want to get this small project rolling, I'm going to stop into "The Bob" and see if they still have switches and maybe indicator lights. I have notchless floppies en route and I'd like to finish the mod before they arrive. While I'm in there (the disk drive, not "The Bob") I want to have a look at the disk speed as well and make sure it's optimal, on both drives. I noticed some discrepancies in ability to read disks earlier during my imaging project and want to ensure that disk speed has not drifted. Also the Apple Wizard wanted me to check inside the disk drive enclosure to make sure the ley lines haven't shifted. ~~~~~~~~~~ 12/03/09 10:15 AM ~~~~~~~~~~ I have received a few e-mails over the past couple of days, ever since the kind plug I received from Sean on the CSA2 forums. I hope I was helpful. There are 2 items I'd like to talk about. One deals with my site design. I am using a very basic, notepad edited, html scheme. I am using it because I find it suits me best for how I create this blog. Typically I sit before the Apple IIe platinum and fire up a version of Appleworks from my CF drive. I then let the Retro Spirit take me in whatever direction we are headed that day and after a little while I have a new post. I save a copy to my CF drive and then save a copy to a floppy in drive 2. Next, I fire up ADTPro and use my Uthernet card to make a connection to my PC and transfer the disk to my ADTPro working directory. Then I fire up AppleWin, load a version of Appleworks that works well with the emulator, and load my Appleworks data disk image I just created in drive 2. I then print the file to a text file in the AppleWin directory called printer.txt. I open that, copy the text, and paste it into my index.htmltemplate of the site and ftp it to the server. Of course the logical question is, "Why in the hell are you doing all that?" Well, I like typing on the Apple. I guess it's that simple. The trade off is that I don't get subscribers and I don�t have an RSS interface. I apologize for that, and the only consolation I have is that I will update new posts on Twitter for those who are interested. I tend not to use Twitter often and purge my ranks of the porn bots frequently, so if you choose to add me, I promise not to clog up your internet tubes. The second thing I want to express is my thanks to Michael Mahon of Apple Crate II and NadaNet fame for giving me some direction with the PCB I pulled out of my disk drive earlier. I swapped the PCB to drive 2 and it worked and I made some accusations about the quality of the board itself. Mike prompted me to take a second look, and aside from the flaking of the coating, the solder traces are indeed intact. In fact, Michael broadened my scale of what the temperature range would have had to been to separate the solder. Liquid nitrogen was mentioned. The ripples that I had seen were an artifact from the solder wave process, perhaps not perfect, but acceptable and within specifications. That being said, the second look was worth while and I am grateful he gave me some of his time to help me see that. I have imaged a lot of my original diskettes and I have come across one that is my favorite, but not for expected reasons. I found that when I tried to boot up the disk the data was corrupted, or just having thought of it, perhaps it is a data disk of some type. CiderPress doesn't recognize it, and the back side seems to be empty. It still is my favorite disk, because of the manufacturer. It had a limited "production run of one" and a series of memorable slogans located right on the disk. I present a floppy from a company my brother was the CEO of: The Xanith Diskette Company. ONLY AN ELEPHANT IS BETTER ~~~~~~~~~~ 11/30/09 12:41 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Yesterday, I surveyed the disk image collection I had made from my original Apple IIe disks. I had to admit, that I remembered it to be larger, but when you can see all of your disks laid out in Windows detail, it looks a lot smaller. There were about 30 disks that I had issues with copying, with was about 10% of the collection. I have not given up on these disks and am looking at options to copy them now. It is easy to see that dirt and dry mold is not the issue here as it was with my first batch of disks I bought on eBay so the Q-tip, isopropyl alcohol, and lack of any professional, technical, or moral ethics technique that I outlined earlier in this blog was not going to work. What I did notice is that the drive I have been making images from (drive 2, what else?), seemed to have a speed issue as I/O gronks resulting in a non-booting disk from drive 2 did not present themselves on drive 1 in some cases. Looking back on the whole process, I recommend that you set your disk speed optimally before engaging on any large disk imaging project. Looking through the collection, I explored the 4 disk sides of Bard's Tale characters I had imaged. Interesting. I booted up the Original Bard's Tales disks. Excellent, these were some high level characters. I played a bit and thought about how many hours I had spent with my brother and a neighborhood friend exploring the software. I thought about how powerful a testament it was to this game that based on its design alone, it was able to hold 3 young teens captive before a single keyboard and small color monitor, trying to resolve challenges, reckon riddles, a generally just to see what was going to happen next. I slowly started to recall the ways we would physically hack the disks to give us more cloned equipment and gold: -Write protect disk. -Load characters. -Sell all equipment. -Pool gold to money character. -Remove write protect. -Remove all characters except money character, ignore error messages. -Repeat ad infinitum. I realized that this was a dimension of the "game play" that one could miss out on with emulated software. To me at that time, exploring the limits of anything that you could get away with as far as the actual game design was more rewarding than playing the game with in its boundaries. Not that the games were not intriguing. I had always looked back on the games that I had played on the Apple as well designed and a welcome scene to a certain creative intellect. I think that is was a balance of reward, surprise, and intellectual challenge that I enjoyed the most. Like reading, sometimes the best graphics are the ones that your mind displays. Its little qualities like that that I miss out on as far as current gaming. It made me think of a quote I had read recently. It is by Roberta Williams, who basically founded Sierra On-Line, an has drawn some great admiration from me for her ability to forge her creativity in the games that she made. In the quote, which has had to stand against accusations of elitism by some (whom I argue probably aren't familiar with how elite having a home computer actually was), Roberta succinctly sums up that certain depth of the software experience that I felt has been lacking for many, many years in the gaming field. "Back when I got started, which sounds like ancient history, back then the demographics of people who were into computer games, was totally different, in my opinion, then they are today. Back then, computers were more expensive, which made them more exclusive to people who were maybe at a certain income level, or education level. So the people that played computer games 15 years ago were that type of person. They probably didn't watch television as much, and the instant gratification era hadn't grown the way it has lately. I think the last 5 or 6 years, the demographics have really changed, now this is my opinion, because computers are less expensive so more people can afford them. More "average" people now feel they should own one." What I take out of this quote, is that the games that I enjoyed best may have come out of the perception of who the programmers thought they were writing for. The opinion Roberta shares gives us a view as to the metacognition that takes place during the process of creating a period game. It is obvious that the games that were created in this period may have had a more cerebral slant than the games of the present, not because of elitism, but solely for market penetration in the climate of the time. I was a reader, and enjoyed more complex works than peers of my age group. I think it was the mechanics of storyline enjoyment that drew a certain satisfaction from me in regards to these games. Other than enjoying reading, I assure you, my background was quite "average", and it is that perspective that makes me appreciate the contrast in who the programmers writers and designers thought they were making the games for, and who I perceived was actually enjoying the game. It reminds me of old CompuServe ads you could see in Nibble magazine that showed a graphic and pretentious party photograph in which a professorial looking professional is explaining that just last night he was partying in London and still make it in to work on time thanks to the modern miracle of online chat, or something like that. It's like the difference between the software box representing a futuristic ship blasting enemies out of the sky and the pale blue blip you actually get to control. It was the perception of where the game was being played, and who was playing the game, that made the attention to detail so wonderful. And I have to admit that maybe somewhere in my mind, I too was enjoying the pastimes of elite intellectuals and wealthy entrepreneurs. ~~~~~~~~~~ 11/28/09 07:55 PM ~~~~~~~~~~
It had rested comfortably in the back of my mind for 2 decades. I really wasn't conscience of it, just kind of totally at ease with the notion, like the memory of a particularly blue skied moment from childhood or an unusual scent that reminds you of a different time, long ago and not oft reminisced. I know where it was and I knew that all was right in the world, because in my mind's eye, I remembered its status on the day that it was put away, although the years, I am sure, soften and buffed out the rough spots until my minds image was like a marketing director's wet dream. Those comforting thoughts would come perhaps once or twice as the years cycled through their seasons as I lived my life and explored new things. I continued to get caught up in the day to day minutia of life and the cargo continued steaming forward through time. I wondered how many more times I would think of it in my lifetime. There's no telling, but it was a limited number for certain. It has traveled to this point in time, and a confluence of circumstance had made today the point of its disembarkation: I was present, my brother was present. I thought of the sun circling this site in the heavens, endlessly, and in fast forward, shadows growing and shrinking and growing again, year upon year completing their annual cycles. I initiated the next round by setting a ladder into the gaping dark maw of the garage's overhead. We climbed into the space and began to silently fulfill an unspoken vow to unpack the central object of our developing years in each other's presence. There was no telling what was accounted and what was absent. To be honest, my brother and I both had thought that this key to our past had been given away to relatives by our mother long ago. As we began the process of rousing the machine from its resting place, we braced for disappointment; no special care had been afforded this tool since the day we laid it down. There was no way to know what would be there, only impressions left on a memory long ago. As I began to realize that my previous comfortable notions had no basis in fact, that they were only a mental defense to soothe my worries, I wondered aloud what changes time had made on the traveler during its journey. Serially, box after box made it down from the above area to find an impromptu resting place on the floor. These boxes had not seen sunlight since Milli Vanilli had top ten radio airplay. Back when there was a top ten. Or radios. Or airplay for that matter. Girl, you know it's true. The boxes stood before us as a testament to the majority of hours that we had spent in our youth. We learned it, explored it, studied it, taking information any where, any how, any way, we could. The first thing that struck me is that these boxes had some documentation: DOS User's and Programmers manuals, the Owners guide, a book on assembly language, but what I loved to see was the Xeroxed manuals in their binders with the hand written notes. I used to have so many of these! Only a few remained, many probably becoming victims to the load lightening that occurs when a move takes place. Digging deeper we uncovered 4 disk storage boxes, a printer, a Koala pad, a joystick, 2 Disk ][ drives, the Apple IIe itself, books, software, a color monitor. This was a nice package that our past selves had sent us. [ Looking of the individual items, I remembered what it was like to be one of the "smart kids". The items that lay before us were responsible for that. I don't think that we ourselves were special and that the only really special thing was that we had access to a computer at an early age. We had been poking the keys on my uncle's rig since late 1977 or early 1978. That is what made us smart. Really, at first, It think it was a pure reward system: to play the game you had to load the cassette. It was that opportunity and exposure to computers via an early adopter that made us seem like prodigies to those that hadn't been exposed. We loaded cassette tapes, saved to cassette, learned the etiquette of technology, in a very natural progression, like the learning that takes place to native speakers of a language. Instinctively we learned Integer BASIC, then Applesoft BASIC. We learned DOS when the day of the Disk Drive arrived. It's true, I lived in a time before disk drives, hard drives, flash drives, and warp drives. We learned tips, tricks efficient code. By the time I met the age of high school, I had been learning Assembly language. I was required by high school to take an Applesoft BASIC course. By this time, I had at least 8 years of solid computer experience, compared to the year or so of the instructor's cursory exposure. The instructor once reprimanded me for using "?" instead of "PRINT" while keying in programs. I was sent to the principal for booting a disk with "CALL 50688". Neither the principal nor I ever learned why. A mighty fortress was the Apple II for a young autodidact like the one that had packed this thing away. We set up the manuals, disks, and the computer proper on a door resting on 2 saw horses that someone was using for a workstation. All those disks! I was so glad to see them, even though I didn't knew if they would reciprocate the feeling when I put them in a disk drive. I had tried to recreate what I remember having with the ten of thousands of images that were freely available online, but I could never quite recreate the feel of my old disk library, and I still don't know what that feeling was. Just a sense of rightness I suppose. I noticed that there were games here that had obviously been copied because of the labeling, but there were no notches on the disk. I recalled then that my Uncle had wired a toggle switch on his #2 disk drive to take the write protect device in and out of the circuit so that he could write to disks without notching them. I had forgotten that. Yeah, he was cool with the technology. Reviewing the lot, I could see that disk drive 1 had not faired as well as disk drive 2 and knew that I should clean the heads of both drives before even attempting to boot her up. Opening the drive proved my point as I removed a disk from each drive, much to their dismay. The Newsroom. Panel Data Disk. I'm guessing that that red hot newspaper never went to press. Alcohol: check. Isopropyl alcohol: check. A few Q-Tip brand cotton fibers glued to a stick: check. I was ready to clean. I could easily see the oxide built up on the white glassy head and wiped it away. I noted that the drives were different, one having an aluminum snap on plate over the hub. Closer examination showed that the controller card in drive 2 was manufactured in Malaysia, whilst drive 1 boasted a Singapore origin. Even closer inspection showed that the internal drive PCB objected to the time travel by puckering the conformal coating on the solder traces. Bad PCB! I would have to stay aware of this. Then internals of the Apple looked clean enough for a start up without a cleaning needing to be administered. Hmm, 10/21/83. The BASIC Computer Shop, Cleveland. We assembled the computer, and prepared for an initial boot up, which did not take place. Drive 1 would spin, but would not read disks. Maybe it was the PCB in the drive, maybe the speed was off, maybe the disks were completely shot. I switched Drive 1 & 2 connectors to the Drive Control Card inside the Apple. Before I attempted a boot again, I knew I would need an Apple Wizard. And I found one. This was a manner of man that could summon up fire without flint or tinder. He was an enchanter. Some people call him, Tim? [Tim as he appears in my computer] [Tim as he appears in my mind] Ok all was set for a reboot, and we were successful on drive 2 as the main drive. I attempted some in the field disk speed adjustment. As we were in North America and the electrical frequency is 60 Hz, I flicked on the fluorescent light in the back of the garage, rigged for dark, and checked the speed on both drives. A solid pattern was displayed on the running hub. The speed should be fine. Well, I suspected the PCB, but with limited tooling, there was only one way to find out. I switched the internal PCBs in the disk drives. Bingo. Drive 1 was now reading. I left the configuration like that, because it's just wrong to boot off of drive 2, even though ideally, I suppose switching the drives to promote even wear would be not a bad idea, I never did because, mentally, I don't boot off drive 2! The machine was working, and knowing that it was functioning much like it was when it was placed into the time machine that the common folk call a garage, I placed it into my vehicle for the long and perilous ride homeward. Now here's the deal: I plucked the Grappler+ card and rearranged things in my Platinum Apple to accommodate having a printer, mostly because I plan on having some fun sending out some dot matrix style correspondence, maybe some certificates, print shop items, etc. not because they will be appreciated by the recipients so much as I would find it satisfies some weird itch for me to do so. The printer is a C. Itoh 8510 and I am having a little trouble setting it up for use with Apple works, but I am sure that's nothing a little due diligence can't correct. I was able to find a cassette ribbon for the printer and purchased it online, after using the old trick of WD-40 sprayed on the current printer ribbon to refresh and redistribute the ink. I am happy to report that old printer fired up fine and prints as well as the day it left for the future. Setting the thing up, I felt as if I never touched a dot matrix printer before, but I got it running and I have a lot more faith in the reliability of dot matrix printers for the purpose of time travel over the more sophisticated styles of printers. Those old printers are hackers in every sense of the word. I can't wait for my fanfold computer paper to arrive. I haven�t ripped the sides of a printed page in forever. Also, as you can tell from my previous post, I have been able to access various data disks I have made, including the data files for Appleworks, Magic Window and Apple Writer IIe, as well as various graphics files I had created and music files I had put together. I was even able to recover my totally bad ass Bard's Tale characters! For better or for worse, I will share some of these files in the future just for kicks. I have been imaging these files with ADTPro and previewing them with CiderPress, and having a blast. My goal is to recover most of the original library and send a copy of the zipped files to my brother for physical and geographical redundancy. That, and I know that he'll get a kick out of emulating them with AppleWin. Everything they said about the future was correct. ~~~~~~~~~~ 11/26/09 08:05 PM ~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, that was somewhat of a long break I took there, but sometimes, I feel, you have to step away to keep the perspective. The important thing to me is that I made it back. I really like tinkering with the Apple IIe I have and even more so now. I made a trip to my mother's home in West Virginia and was able to recover my original Apple IIe purchased in October of 1983. Up until then I had been using my uncles Apple II+ on nearly a daily basis. He emphasized learning the programming and the technical side of things, and then the gaming would commence.In addition I was able to recover my original disk library. There's quite a few disks there, including my data disk from various programs I had used. I had quite a disposable mentality about most data, unfortunately, but still a lot remains from My experiments with a Koala Pad, and my uncle's Computer Eyes peripheral. In the next coming week or two, I'll share some images with you and drop some information about my library and the images I'll transfer using ADTPro. My obsession with Apple II software pirates was near fanatic level as a young teen. Although I admired the musical styling of the Heavy Metal musicians of the day, my true heroes were not of the denim and leather lot, but of the binary and hex set. I have to admit, I was quite optimistic about perhaps uncovering a crack screen or two to donate to Jason Scott's Crack Screen Museum. One of the items I found while imaging is this pirate database that I had created on AppleWorks: File: Pirates Page 1 Report: PIRATES Handle Telephone nu Location Disks Listed Disks Listed Notes No ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ -- 1200 Club ? Apple Bandit 202 Alliance ? Syndicate,Ap A.P.P.L.E. Space Advent Stands for A Adventurers' (714) 538-31 California Cloak,Whip,D Apple Bandit ? Flight Simul W/w Syndicat Apple Manor (716) 654-76 Brain Games Billibuster, Apple Rebel Time Lord,Hi Arabian Deze (212) 543-39 New York, Ne F-15 Strike Cloak,Whip Atom ? Project Spac W/w Cracksmi Th Big M ? Billibuster Brain Games W/w Doc Sava Blue Adept ? Xyphus Chief Surgeo Burgular ? Flight Simul W/w Apple Ba Cap'n Dave Cleveland, O Tapper W/w Mascot Cesspool Ocean Night Cheif Surgeo ? Skyfox,Xyphu W/w Cloak,In Cloak Skyfox,F-15 W/w Chief Su Connection ? Connection's (201) 543-61 New Jersey Disk Jockey se Copy/cat ? Brain Games W/w Billibus Crackon ? Pillage Vill One Eye,Pere Ro Cracksmith Project Spac W/w The Atom Th Crow's Nest (216) 321-57 Cleveland, O Tapper Mascot,Cap'n Dark Prophet King's Quest W/w Talisman Data Dragon ? Dirty Dozen The Bilestoa Nowhereman,P Disk Jockey ? Talon,Wavy N Assassin W/w Krackowi Doc Savage Brain Games W/w Billibus Dr. Jeckyl Dr. Micro ? Masquerade W/w The Free Dragon Enchantor ? Executioner Choplifter Mr.Xerox First Class King's Quest The Talisman Five Star Atom,Triton, Freeze ? Masquerade,G W/w Dr.Micro On Gandalf Miner 2049'e Gumby ? Zaxxon High Society ? Hitman King's Quest W/w Talisman Homer Brothe (312) 665-02 Cloak,Whip Hot Rod ? Intern ? W/w Chief Su Interupt ? Kilroy Wuzhe ? Kobra ? The Institut Krackowicz ? Talon,Wavy N W/w La Thief La Thief ? Talon,Wavy N W/w Krackowi Long-John Si ? Sherwood For Mascot Cleveland, O Tapper W/w Cap'n Da File: Pirates Page 2 Report: PIRATES Handle Telephone nu Location Disks Listed Disks Listed Notes No ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ -- Masked Marau ? Merchant King's Quest W/w The Tali Midwest Pira ? Apple Bandit Mr. Krac-man ? Bouncing Kum Disk Jockey Mr. Xerox ? Beer Run,Sam Executioner N.A.F.T. ? Mating Game Nowhere Man ? The Bilestoa Pusher,Disk One Eye (312) 677-71 Chicago Pillige Vill W/w Crackon, Ro P.B.S. (702) 882-54 Nevada Brain Games Billibuster, Penguin ? Xyphus Chief Surgeo Peregrin Goo ? Pillage Vill One Eye,Crac Un Perfidious P ? Pillage Vill One Eye,Crac Un Pirates I/O ? Stellar Seve Pirates' I/O (201) 543-61 New Jersey Axis Assasin Disk Jockey Pusher ? The Bilestoa Nowhere Man, Quick Silver ? Rom Raider ? Pillage Vill One Eye,Crac Pi Safehouse (612) 724-70 Minnesota Billibuster, Fr Sapphire Shang Sherlock App Brain Games W/w Billibus Simillarion (714) 750-23 California Dr.Micro,Fre Snack Attack Brain Games W/w Billiebu South Pole (312) 677-71 Illinois Xyphus... Cheif Surgeo Stack ? Picnic Paran Super Pirate Mineapolis Gold Rush, A Surgeon (Lode Runner Swordsman ? Syndicate ? W/w Apple Ba Talisman King's Quest W/w The Ward Theives' Den (512) 441-94 Texas Theives' Den (512) 372-72 Texas Tiger Scrabble Time Lord ? Torch Project Spac This pirate Trading Post (504) 291-49 Louisiana Apple Bandit Triple Enten ? Triton Project Spac W/w Cracksmi Unknown Hack ? Wardon King's Quest W/w Talisman Ware Brigade ? Ware Lords ? Warebusters Warewolf ? Warlock ? Gruds in Spa Freeze On West Coast P Whip ? W/w Syndicat WOZ ? Jump Man Yellowbeard Project Spac W/w Cracksmi Ha! That thing cracks me up. Obviously, I was getting my info straight. The Apple II was a huge luxury in our home, and there was no way I was going to be able to use a modem legally. For the first year, I was going to be continuing to rely on the hospitality of my Aunt and Uncle for carrier privileges.
Yo! Ho! Ho! ~~~~~~~~~~ 08/12/09 07:47 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Gopher. The Gopher protocol is a TCP/IP Application layer protocol designed for distributing, searching, and retrieving documents over the internet, and was an alternative to the World Wide Web. The protocol offers some features not natively supported by the Web and imposes a much stronger hierarchy on information stored on it. Its text menu interface is well-suited to computing environments that rely heavily on remote computer terminals, common in universities at the time of its creation in 1991 until 1993.
That's what I have been exploring in the last few days. I came across a retro challenge project by Jonno for an Apple II with Uthernet Card Gopher client. I have to say that was a very fortuitous stumbling across, and I have been enjoying blazing through some Gopher sites on the monochrome Apple and kind of getting a history rush from it. It's very cool and made me realize that a Gopher format was what this page wanted from the beginning. It's too late now of course, because I think I have the lo-res format is set here, but that hasn't stopped me from exploring my Gopher options for an auxiliary site. Why would anyone even bother to do that? That's a great question and one that barely received the gruff snort of contempt from me, but I will tell you just the same. It makes sense if you look at it, not as Gopher as a precursor to web pages in general as I once sensed in the early days, but for what Gopher kind of is: an improved ftp protocol. With Gopher, you can publicly allow easy access to files, with an explanation if you want, and do it in a readily informative manner, instead of heading to a directory that may or may not be self explanatory. There's only one problem with the retro challenge Apple II Gopher client: It crashes on any Gopher page exceeding 48K in size. That doesn't leave me cold though, because there is a Gopher plug-in for Firefox that makes the pages show up that much better. I've been exploring Gopher servers. I found Gopher Cannon, but that didn�t' seem to sit well with the Apple Gopher Client, but the one that is included with the Synchronet BBS worked well. I have more to explore with here, but it should be interesting and may well end up with another BBS experiment to boot. I recently repartitioned my CF card into 16MB partitions which I find much better, as far as organizing, than the 32MB partitions that is recommended. With 16MB partitions I can have 8 different CF disks to boot to upon start up and so far I have encountered no problems doing things in this manner. It like having 8 software slots that you can plug different images into. I make a selection of images based on different computing categories or needs and can transfer them to different slots either directly removing the CF card, writing to the different partitions or using the Ethernet connection to transfer them to the desired partition via ADTPro with the CF card in place. The 16MB size makes that twice as fast to do. I was also able to get my hands on an 8MHz ZipChip. This is good to have, although I wasn't ready for the peculiarities it seems to have with a CTRL-Reset or a reboot (there is some garbage displayed and it seems to have little delay). I am used to instant gratification when I give my Apple a 3 fingered salute, but now it seems to think it over a little. That worried me at first, because I do not have any experience with using a ZipChip to know if that is a normal reaction. I am going to assume that it is. The ZipChip is easy to configure as far as making fast slots and slow slots and so far I am well pleased. Silvern Castle runs great! As does The Bard's Tale, a game I am re-visiting. (I forgot how much it sucked to be low level in that game, an it probably explained why I played so hard when I reached the higher levels back in the 80's, just because it's nice not to suck.) The ZipChip is scalable as far as what speed you would like it to run at, but I am running it maxed out with no issue. The chip can be set to run at normal speed, 1MHz, by pressing ESC upon reboot. This is my current incarnation of the $18.00 Apple IIe Platinum: File: MY.APPLESLOTS REVIEW/ADD/CHANGE CTRL-Home: Main Menu ====A========B========C========D========E========F========G========H==== Aux Slot Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3 Slot 4 Slot 5 Slot 6 Slot 7 ========|========|========|========|========|========|========|========| RmWrksII 1MB Ram SSC Uthernet Z-80 Mouse 5.25Drv MicroDrCF In the inner Apple neighborhood as well as the ZipChip, his neighbors the No Slot Clock and the Apple Wizard dwell. Outside, keeping everything in the neighborhood cool is the Kensington System Saver, but I think the Apple Wizard tries to take the credit on the inside.
I came across some Apple II retail price lists in my archive that I picked up along the way and between that and my copies of Nibble, was able to make what I think is a reasonable price breakdown of my Apple back in the day. It's not the cheapest on could get the stuff, I am sure, but it is reasonable I think: Apple IIe Platinum.............$829.00 Monochrome Monitor IIe.........$159.00 Apple II Super Serial Card.....$139.00 Apple II Slinky 1MB card.......$229.00 Apple Mouse.....................$99.00 Kensington System Saver.........$69.00 Microsoft Z-80 Card............$219.00 Ram Works II 1MB...............$369.00 8MHz ZipChip...................$149.00 No Slot Clock...................$99.00 For a grand total of.........$2,360.00 plus tax. It's been a good few days as far as my library has been concerned. First off, I have to give the proper amount of gratitude to Ethan at ethanmullins.com for writing me up and donating some vintage Apple II books to my fledgling library. That was much appreciated and very unexpected. The library also grew as I was able to start reading "ProDOS Inside and Out" by Dennis Doms and Tom Weishaar, a recommendation I took from Ryan directly from his podcast: A2Unplugged. I recommend listening to the review that Ryan gave it directly if you would like to know why this is an excellent book to increase your working ProDOS knowledge. I was also able to get my hands on a recommendation made by Kracowicz himself in his textfile "Kracowicz's Kracking Korner: The Basics of Kracking I, ROMS and PROMS and F8's". The book is Robert Wagner's "Assembly Lines", I am looking forward to spending some time with it. It's a serious desktop book, having the always welcome comb binding. In addition I also received my triple pack from Jason Scott including the BBS Documentary that I have been a fan of for years, as well as another book, "Commdork" by Rob O'Hara, that tells tales that stare into the heart of the BBS age. Included, as well, was Dark Domain, a DVD of demoscene that seems incredibly vast in it's content and is a different adventure in demos and ansi art each time I step up to it. The DVD is quite literally mind-blowing, in the full aging hippy with uncontrollable LSD flashbacks and a penchant for Nehru jackets sense of the word. There is so much content of the DVD that you can become overwhelmed thinking of the hours that were spent creating it. ~~~~~~~~~~ 08/05/09 06:21 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I was going through a digital issue of Nibble Magazine and came across an old ad for Elephant Memory Systems. I cannot attest to the quality of their product, but I can attest to the strong graphic design of their logo. I immediately recognized the brand, by name, and also could remember that ad on the back cover of the SAME issue of Nibble magazine I once held in my 15 year old hands. That black pachyderm stared me down that entire year, it seems, as I could recall seeing it in my memory in several locations around the computer and I keyed in code. Bone jarringly contrasting and vibrant, I never forgot this product that I never used. I turned it into a desktop, and gave the pachyderm a second shot at winning the stare-down.
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' \_/ ./|' . . . .|||||/|VVVVVVV|\|||| /|. . . . .|\_ ----------------------------------------------------- _, _ _, _,_ __, __, _, _ _, _, _, ___ _, __, (_ | | | / |_ |_) |\ | / ` / \ (_ | | |_ , ) | | , |/ | | \ | \| \ , |~| , ) | | , | ~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~ ~~~ After some success with setting up my file systems the way that I would like them on my CF card, I have decided it was time to explore another game. After some exploration the game I chose is a game by the name of Silvern Castle. Silvern Castle is a RPG whose main objective is to rescue the Crystal Orb from the clutches of the evil wizard Drachma. Authored by Jeff Fink, it is written in the spirit of the famous classic, Wizardry I. Actually, you could say that Wizardry I is the inspiration of Silvern Castle. The PASCAL coded Wizardry I made the boast on page 1 of the Proving Grounds manual that it was ". . . a game that simply could not have been written in BASIC." Apparently, Jeff Fink thought that was a load of bunk and began creating a similar concept in BASIC. Everyone said he was daft to build this game in BASIC, but he built it all the same, just to show 'em. The first version sank into the swamp. So, he built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, he built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest BASIC coded RPG in all of England. It is nearly in its entirety written in Applesoft BASIC, the strongest BASIC you can buy without a prescription. Silvern Castle was purchased by Softdisk Publishing in 1988, but never published. Jeff Fink was able to negotiate the rights of the program to revert back to himself after Softdisk halted publishing Apple II releases. Silvern Castle was first demonstrated at the 1999 KansasFest by Max Jones. The title spent a while on the market as shareware, but eventually, the magnanimous Mr. Fink released the title into the wild and proclaimed it freeware. Web Resources: Silvern Castle Home Page Download v9.3 ZIP file Emulator Instructions User Guide PDF Help & Hints PDF I downloaded the v9.3 ZIP file, unzipped it and looked at the image with CiderPress. I viewed the README.AWP file with CiderPress and gained +1 to installation knowledge. I transferred the image to my Slot 7 CF card reader. After the transfer, I used the included ShrinkIt program to expand the Silvern Castle files in accordance with the README file, started up Silvern.System and updated the game files to v9.3 and during this time I got my approach form this game together. From the small amount of web based information on this game, I was able to grasp the game is somewhat difficult and strategy is important. I made the decision to play the default configurations with the game. Although there is opportunity in this game to bend the rules to an advantage, I would try to play the characters ethically and avoid the character creation get rich schemes. Low level characters would not be resurrected, though and decided to view this adventure as a campaign over long periods of time, wherein characters would die and bequeath possessions. I knew that demi-humans had a distinct advantage in the early rounds but suffers a experience gaining handicap of 2x, precluding handy access to higher levels. I started with 6 dwarf stout Dwarf fighters to get a tight front line leveled up and allow development of human characters later on. My dwarf party consisted of Denh, Anghate, Rynld, Miath, Vored, and Drad. I began to game after creating these character in the Adventurers Guild. I then headed tot he Blue Knight Tavern to bind them into a party. I spent a little time in the User Manual after that to learn the areas, and commands I would need, then I entered the Maze, to find that danged and dreadful Orb. I have to say, I was a bit surprised at the devastation these Dwarfs were able to lie down. I was able to explore quite a bit before I reached my limit of 1 character below 1/2 HP to signal the return to the stairway out. At first, I kept a map drawn by hand. It was totally unnecessary, but for some reason, even though it was abundantly clear that this game had an auto-mapping system, I didn�t believe it. Probably because I knew the game was written in BASIC and didn't think that the auto-map would be useful. I was totally wrong and learned that not only can you depend on it, you can make notes on it. The gaming experience on a vintage Apple IIe is slow, and the instructions make it clear that an accelerator is highly recommended for the best gaming experience, but I imagine that on an emulator, whose virtual clock speed can be maxed out, the gaming experience would be superb. I have been able to acquire a ZipChip and am awaiting its arrival shortly. The timing couldn't be better. In the mean time, with out the acceleration I found the gaming experience enjoyable in a different way. I was able to be quite methodical about my approach to the game, concentration on good decision making. The extra time I was spending also allowed me to make observations about the game itself. It seemed that there were several factors that contributed to more frequent encounters in the maze. First, when encumbrance rose above 100%. Second, the longer a party spent in the dungeon the more frequent the encounters seemed. Third, time spent camping or looking at the auto-map also seemed to increase the encounters. I have to say that these observations are just impressions, but from my relatively short time gaming this scenario, it seemed likely, and also logical. So far after 2 sessions of game playing, I find the game quite enjoyable as I discover new information and specials within the game. The game references the Apple II Community, "Apple II Infinitum!", Star Trek and Wizardry itself. Very cool! At one point, 5/6ths of my party was put to sleep by a humanoid spell caster, leaving the sole wakeful adventurer, Denh, to finish him off and claim 1500 XP, a massive amount of experience when second level is 3000 XP and you're typically claiming 75 - 125 XP per encounter. Looks like Denh has broken out of the pack early and is on his way to becoming a key party member. In the middle of the second session the party suffered its first death. Rynld was a stout Dwarfish warrior, his items were bequeathed, may he fest happily and eternally at the table of Moradin!
Left: Rylnd illustrated shortly before the fatal battle. (Inset) Rylnd as he appears today. Right: The millieu in which it all occured. Because at this point the Dwarfs were closing in on level 2, it was time to get some fresh blood leveled up behind this hard fisted front line. 2 new characters were introduced: Orine the Elven Cleric and Danvers the Hobbit Thief. I wanted the Cleric for his ability to Identify items, bringing value to their resale. I wanted the Thief for burglary tasks in more advanced levels. It was after the introduction that Drad announced that he was retiring from adventuring due to the death of Rynld and the massive quantities of nasty, hot, wet, gory, death and who can blame him? By the end of this, and not completely finished exploring the 1st level of the 27x27 maze the party had strewn 203 bodies, likely filling 25% of the floor space of the 1st floor with mangled corpses. In conclusion, I find Silvern Castle a highly compelling piece of software for any gamer in general and any retro-gamer especially. The written work is coherent and enjoyable to play. As an adventure, the core premise stands up to the tenants of a well crafted story of lore. There are places to discover, puzzles to solve and evil bosses to encounter, conquer and vanquish. Resource management, both in party selection and supporting equipment is at a premium in this tightly bracketed game. As mentioned before, the mechanics governing the coincidental events in a session seem to follow certain logic. I also felt that this title also adheres to a quality that has been attributed to great story tellers from Mary Shelly, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King: Let the audience create the monster by keeping the details diminished. When a group is encountered, the details and actions are obscured so that one gets a sense of what is happening, but no so much as to ruin imaginary interaction that creates a great mental visual. And really, there's not a graphics card out there now or ever that will compete with my brain for high definition, candy-colored, metal-flake, gut wrenching visuals. And I think I'm actually a little thankful for that. ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/31/09 10:20 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ KansasFest 2009 has come and gone, and yet still holds some diminished interest to me. As a complete spectator to this fascinating event, I was treated to many updates, not only with the happenings surrounding the Apple Fury in Missouri, but also the Apples All Day Long from Wollongong, as the updates and photos from the Mt.(K)eiraFest came in. Soon after the photos started to appear, the videos started to make it up to the web. This was unexpected to my position as a spectator, (for no real reason, I just didn't expect it) but I was excited to have some video coverage, my favorite being the chance to hear the excellent keynote address by Jason Scott. Add to the mix Twitter with a TweetDeck fueled continuous search for #kfest #Mtkeirafest and #KansasFest and now there are real time updates happening. Plugging into the a2c.chat channel (Presented in Monochrome, Where Available) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and I was looking at enough "total coverage" to satisfy the likes of Hunter S. Thompson. The chat room was interesting as travel reports came in from A2 Airlines, heading east and hitting inexplicable data connectivity from 8000 feet in random and seemingly deserted places during the flight. And that is what still holds my interest, I suppose is the people. Each person that shared their experience, and allowed me to follow along, gave me a story line and I watched there travels and got a sense of their experience, and it still is going on as other come home and unpack, or chose to travel to other destinations. It's just interesting to me when a large group have a common unifying rally point and you are lucky enough to have a view as the all come and go. This is the first time, I admit, that I had the chance to do it digitally, though I would have preferred to have been the observed, vice the spectator. For me, the early Apples have a personal significance, but as I try to familiarize myself with what I thought I once knew, I also have been able to see the significance that these machines have had in others. As I gather information for my curiosities and random whims, I try to save the bookmarks for others to find with USEFUL APPLE II LINKS, maybe not every bookmark but at least the keystones that take you somewhere. And as I looked, lately I came across the GEnie Lamp Round Table texts at www.textfiles.com of which I had been vaguely familiar as I had read them a while ago. It was with incredulity that I realized that I was currently chatting with many of the voices of this text. As my wonder grew, I began to see how deep this Apple II knowledge runs, but I guess the awe to me is the binding power. You have to take into consideration that the last visible text from the A2 Round Table is from 1997. I was be bopping in the Mediterranean in a submarine in 1997 and it seems so long ago. Yet, hanging in the chat room, I can see the same personalities in the texts. It's a very cool that it is documented that way, because it's like reading about the Treaty of Versailles and then going to a chat room and getting the opportunity to wag your chin with the "Council of Ten". Very cool and a little mind tingling when I think of how the Apple seems to draw a certain like minded crowd together. Earlier this week I began to experiment a bit. I know that the readers of this blog expect the same super slick, lo-res (which is actually a term I applied to a person this week) interface I present every week. I have tried to capture the same lo-res manner in super slick WordPress edition. For the time being, those who would like to read this one page lo-res page can come to http://www.FreedomAlleyStudios.com/appleslices and those who would prefer a minimalist WordPress edition to subscribe to may visit: http://appleslices.info and see the new lay out. Click on the latest date, and get my latest apple Vision!
~~~~~~~~~~ 07/20/09 09:59 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I am really starting to like going to the mailbox now that I have begun to fill out my Apple IIe. I don�t notice all he junk mail now. Today, I discovered an Uthernet card waiting for me, which is only fair after how long I waited for it. I briefly thumbed thought he online installation/operation PDF (very briefly) and slapped it right into the Apple. I was confused (probably because of the brief ((read "yep words on this page too")) overview before I started). Anyway, I cruised over to the support page, found the image downloads for Apple II's and went nuts, but they didn't work for me right off. What did work for me is a version of Contiki that I somehow cobbled together with CiderPress a long while ago to run on the WinApple Emulator. I brought that image over to the Ram Card with ADTPro and I was off to the races. I went to Google, I had an IRC chat, but soon realized I had a bigger problem: I got dumped off IRC on one computer when I signed on with another. A-ha! IP Conflict: I never changed the ip address in the config file for Contiki. So here is a moment. I powered down the AlienWare laptop that I use as my main box. I grabbed this thing from eBay and have basically rebuilt it over the years to make it work better, not that it ever worked well. Once you get it powered up, its fine for a while, until it decides it's not and then you have force a cool down to get it back up. It's a pain, and I hate it, and at one point, as I was trying to get it back up I told it, "I am replacing you with a 23 year old, 8-bit Apple II computer that boots up and does what I need it to do every time I hit the power switch." I don't talk to a lot of inanimate objects, I assure you. Only my AlienWare Tormentor. But that's just it, the truth coming out in a moment of frustration. I would much rather have a dependable computer than a cutting edge computer on one extreme or a windows computer on the other. That's why I came back. The Apple is Old Reliable. How did I ever get suckered into the Windows vision of how stuff is supposed to function? Who is driving that visionary demand of all us Windows users by neccessity? I fell into it through the pure ubiquitous presence of those damn machines everywhere that I had to work, I had to learn them, but what's worse is that I took on learning to fix the damn operating system because they never just worked the way they I thought that they were supposed to. And who gave permission for the software to take focus way from me when I'm the one using it? And thanks for shutting down after an update while I had documents open. Appreciate that. . . ~~~~~~~~~~ --Later . . . 7/22/2009 11:38 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Thanks for letting me vent. So it's been a couple of days and I have to say I am in agreement with Blakespot, The Uthernet card is one of the best things I have put $89.00 into. It functions as advertised and is easier to use than I imagined. I have been hanging in a2c.chat with the IIe now for a couple of days and love the experience. You see, to me the words seem a little more alive when they are in monochrome green. I and I like to have any excuse to use an Apple II keyboard, because much like Tony D, I can fly on that keyboard. It feels solid to me and I am not afraid to push the speed limit. My fingers know where they are heading instinctively. I've been looking for friendly sites to surf with the Contiki browser and have not had a decent BBS connection via telnet, as the login prompt is gibberish. I haven't sorted that out yet, but I will. I have downloaded files, used ftp, and experimented with email, but you know, the open mail relay game is an endangered species in these spamageddon times. I know that I'm personally not setting one up just for the pure vanity of it, although that doesn't happen often. You know, putting my geek technolust in check. Well, let me say, I'm not setting one up at this time. In closing, I am very pleased with the Uthernet card. I have been following the tweets from KansasFest '09 via TweetDeck and keeping an eye on #kfest tags. It makes it nice to get updates and I can place myself in the scene with my mind. I'd like to say hello to the attendees and the good people feeding us non-players information via Twitter and the A2Central Chatroom. If I could, I would extend a laurel, and hardy handshake. Good Times! Go HackFest!! ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/18/09 10:59 AM ~~~~~~~~~~ Today, I am reflecting on KansasFest 2009. Mostly, because I had fully intended on being there this year. The entire concept of Kansas fest is intriguing to me and has been ever since it first crossed my radar over a discussion with my brother about Apple II CPU speed and I stumbled into the 1 MHz podcast. This year seems like a perfect year for me to go and here I sit, missing it. Not because it's too long of a drive, or because of any issue with flying. It's not the price, because I think that the pricing is more than reasonable when you think of what it comes with, it's a steal. It's simply because my life intersects the time I need to make the trip, and I can't fight that. I started a position commissioning new data centers, and after a rough start due to unforeseen health issues, I am working hard to be the best I can be in this new capacity. But still, I hate that I will not be going to KansasFest. There are many reasons for this, but the heaviest disappointment is waiting another year to meet the people I tend to chat with daily. In addition will be missing the talk that Jason Scott will be giving, and I am a huge fan. I like his ability and talent to preserve the minutia of computing history, not so much the specifications as much as the ramifications and the assembly of modern computer customs and culture on the basis of things most modern users never experienced. I was hoping very much to be able not only to celebrate the legacy of the Apple II, but also get to hear a speaker I have identified with through his work. I am idling in #a2c.chat right now, and I know that a majority of the chat users are preparing for K-Fest, working out presentations, wondering if the thing they had moments ago considered finished is finished enough. And from my end I will have to wait to see what the presentations will bring. I am hoping to hear about Sean Fahey's presentation with the Carte Blanche, and wondering if it had arrived in enough time. I had wanted to see the hardware available to swap, and check out the set-ups. There seems to be so much going on there, and so many multiple presentations. Eric Shepherd is releasing Sweet16 Version 2.0, among other things. I know that I only have just a little taste of what will be happening in Kansas this year, and it whets my appetite. Despite me eating my heart out about not attending this year�s fest, it has given me a goal for next year's and hopefully I will be able to make it happen. I had been pushing my brother a bit to get him to go to the Kansas Fest with me because I know he would appreciate it and it wouldn�t be something that he would do on his own. He has a keen appreciation of intelligence and I know that he would appreciate this gathering the most. Timing conspired against us this year, but back to my goal. I have a 1941 Plymouth that needs some work. I have devised a plan that supports 2 goals. I will make the '41 road worthy, and them I will drive that thing to Kansasfest '10. I have been duly cautioned about the perils of this trip by Tony Diaz, who has made a similar trip from Oceanside, CA in a 1954 Plymouth Savoy, which if you act quickly, you could buy! If you ever get the chance you should ask him about that trip, and you will as I did, find out that Tony may be one of the most resourceful people one could meet. This year, Tony Diaz is going to be descending from the skies in the cockpit of a mighty Cessna 172N Skyhawk, instead. So, falling short of being able to attend this most impressive event, I am able to look forward to the next and to extend well wishes to all those who are in attendance. I salute you fine people, and hope that you find the experience as exciting, idyllic and utopian as the event I have pictured in my mind. ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/15/09 06:02 AM ~~~~~~~~~~ I may have been a little over-zealous in my approach to ProDOS. After review, I found ProDOS quite easy to implement, and have built quite a great rendition of AppleWorks, support programs, and text files to use on the MicroDrive. I can see that the major fault in my approach was not expecting to take my time and because I wasn't quite clear on the rules of the game, I also wasn't clear on the questions that should have been in the forefront of my approach. That said and done, I can proudly say that so far, my first custom ProDOS volume has not decided to update myself while I was working with open documents, nor has it crashed. I have no issues with spyware, malware, trojans, ads, spammers, pop-ups, browsers, 404 errors, or other general annoyances that distract me from actually using the computer. I bet I could think of 100 reasons that ProDOS is better than Windows. The over-zealous theme has kind of been brought to my attention a little bit, and mostly because there are so many people working with Apples and making new ideas happen, I am just a little awestruck getting my head wrapped around it. I don�t think that that's a bad condition to be in, but it does make my perspectives a little Pollyanna at times. Chatting about the Carte Blanche yesterday, the topic being that there were pre-order cancellations on the card and the ensuing speculation that some people must have ordered what they thought this card was, not what it is, made me realize something. During this chat, I was engaged by the proposition that the Carte Blanche is basically a multi-function developer's card. And that struck me, because after all the reading that I had done about the thing, that 3 word description defines the product to me now. And I must say I was one that may have had the idea of this card being something in my mind that in reality it was not. Yeah, you can see from my last post that I had some hype about the device deep inside me, but among the things about the #a2c.chat community that I appreciate, it's that there are a lot of smart people with great perspective who aren't afraid to share an opinion. And that makes a great chat. And if you�re not careful, you might just get your mind changed. So I have to change my stance a bit and accept that if I was at the level of using the FPGA this would be a card to explore for me and that maybe my first instinct was the correct instinct in my situation: Stick to the original peripherals for now. The wizard that lives in my Apple IIe agrees.
~~~~~~~~~~ 07/13/09 06:12 AM ~~~~~~~~~~ This morning I came across some news about Carte Blanche by AppleLogic, and it has me wondering what the future of my Apple IIe will look like. Why? Well the thing about Carte Blanche is that it is a Swiss Army Knife as far as peripherals. It has the potential to be the most multi-functional Apple II card ever developed, a Rosetta stone of accessories all in one. The Carte Blanche has a Z80 interface, power supplies, expansion card support, a clock, MMC/SD interface, a VGA interface and although I love my monochrome, I am quite interested in having a LCD capability for my Apple II), and most importantly, LEDs. Also, the whole enchilada is FPGA based, which potentially provides a base for the Apple community of heroic and stalwart programmers to replicate many of the card based peripherals that were/are available for an Apple II. The Carte Blanche is a wonder, and I can not praise Alex Freed and everyone else who supports the development of this wonder card. I support the development of this wonder card. But because it is new, my collective caveman consciousness naturally fears it. I fear it because it challenges my concepts. It introduces the possibility of a complete paradigm shift as far as where I thought I was going to take my Apple and now I have get into the philosophy of why I am key poking the Apple in the first place. My intent with the Apple is to turn it into real heavy metal, to modify and tweak it, to develop an impressive and well organized library of resources for it, and to fill it with so many cards that I could call "Gin"! But, the Carte Blanche challenges me here in my design principal. Logically, the thing here is to immediately adopt the Carte Blanche, but there is something in me fighting it. And I shouldn't. I mean it is a super-dynamite piece of equipment. I love the concept, and I love everything about it. Except that I think the Carte Blanche and I are heading in different directions. The Carte Blanche seems to serve everything up on a silver platter. And maybe that is where my resistance comes from, because from my perspective on the Apple, and because in all reality I am recently reunited after a long time away, I want to go slow and really dig into the various components, modes, and concepts, that I either glossed over or couldn't access in my youth. And because I am at that stage in life as well, there's something to holding a real piece of gear that one had only held in their mind when they were younger. So as I continue to shuffle cards into my Apple IIe hand, I also begin the process of justifying why I am doing it. I have to because the Carte Blanche is really unbeatable as far as concept and design. And, as always, the availability of the cards is quite near. Alex has called on the programming community to help him with the Z80 function side of things, which means to me that he is doing it right and not taking the full load, but getting the experts to help build this Colossus of Rhodes. Yeah, I am still torn, and I have to question the intensity of my resistance and the duration it will keep. And even though I but up a good show with this particular piece of 8-bit candy, in the end, I'm going to buckle like a belt. ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/09/09 08:18 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Portable Apples: There was a time some while back where I had promised to deliver a breakdown of how I use Portable Apps to make a USB stick for Applers on the go. The time has finally come. My first instinct was to zip the whole she-bang up and make it available to my 5 hard core repeat vistors, but that solution, aside from being super-shady and disrespectful from a programmer / software distibution point of view, is also a little too generic. I mean, the whole point of having Portable Apples in the first place and as I have learned, the most fun part, is to configure it the way you like. That being said, I have made links to the things I like to keep on my USB stick. All said and done this little gem weighs in at 368MB. So, you'll probably want to find a cheap flash drive a bit bigger than that. I use the PortableApps Platform Only as a base and then fill it out with what I think is useful for an Apple themed traveling memory stick. It runs on Windows, but does all right using WINE on linux in a jiff. (There still something about emulating with an emulator that seems so wrong to me. Maybe I am just repressed and uptight.) First, I download the Portable Apps Client. You can choose any of the suites depending on your desires, but I tried to keep my install light. and I made it piece meal. Of course there is nothing from stopping you from downloading the full suite and installing it to a hard drive, and installing the folders that you would like to the USB stick after it is setup. Portable apps looks for .exe files in the "PortableApps" folder to list on the stick's start menu. If there is an .exe file anywhere in the PortableApps folder, it will show up on the start menu. This is where you can transfer folders of applications that you would want on the stick. Because the menu is looking for .exe files, I create a folder for useful Apple Tools that I use that are not .exe files or have multiple .exe file to cut down on menu clutter. I call the folder "_Apple Tools", mostly so it will index near the top. In the "_Apple Tools" folder I keep: ADTPro-1.1.2 Apple Game Server Apple Commander In the "PortableApps" folder one will find: 7-Zip Portable (Archive Extractor) AppleWin 18.104.22.168 (Apple II Emulator) CiderPress (install to folder from setup download) ClamWin Portable (Virus Scanner) CommandPrompt Portable (You never know when you need one.) CPorts (View Open TCP/IP port & Connections) Eraser Portable (Secure File Deletion) Firefox Portable (What else?) Internet Modem (For Apple II Terminal Ops) IrfanView (Lightweight Photo Editor / Screenshots) KEGS 0.91 (Apple II/GS Emulator) Mini vMac (Mac Emulator) Notepad++ Portable (Text Editor Supreme!) Pidgin Portable (IRC: irc.a2central.com:6667 #a2c.chat / Y!MSG: Ionfarmer) PuTTY Portable (Telnet, SSH) RootKit Revealer (Because you just don't know) Space Monger (Visual file storage map) TightVNC viewer (VNC to remote computer) uTorrent (Bit-torrent Client) VLCportable (Media Player) WASP.028 (Windows Applesoft Programmer) POM 1-0.0.3 (Apple I emulator) I create other folders on the Volume: _Disk Images/Apple I _Disk Images/Apple II _Disk Images/Apple IIGS _Disk Images/Mini vMac PDF Manuals Downloads Documents Now that you have a Portable Apples thumbdrive, you are going to need some disk images to use. You should be able to find something useful to use here: FILES. If you have any ideas, questions or insights about Portable Apples, find me online, or send me an email. Or if you make/made one yourself, I'd like to know how your using it. ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/07/09 10:02 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I don't know if I mentioned it, and quite frankly, I'm seriously too lazy to read my own blog to find out, but I purchased a subscription to Juiced.GS a number of months back, and am glad I did. This last bastion in written, physical publications dedicated to Apple II computers, rendered to me an interview with one of my personal Apple II Super Heroes, Bob Bishop. My very first exposures to programs came from the mind of Bob Bishop. There was the iconic Apple-Vision program that put my uncle's 4k Apple II through it's paces, melding graphics and a musical score, it's impact to my idea of where a computer could go in 1978 was incendiary. Bob authored many programs, but to me some are keystones. One truly stands alone. Pivotal for me, Bob Bishop authored Star Wars. This was truly my first video game obsession. I spent hours loading this title from cassette, and twiddling paddle input to line up the quavering tie fighters for a kill shot. It was the best thing ever, you could keep your plastic Han Solo dollies, I had stick time on a simulator and would be ready for the real deal if it ever came up! I remember the joy I felt the day I could finally experience this with a joystick that my technical uncle had homebrewed. How I threw myself into the simulation at that point, right down to replying to my aunt when she wanted to know what all the racket was in the computer room: "Had a slight weapons malfunction, but everything's perfectly alright now. We're fine, we're all fine, here, now, thank you. How are you?" And it is probably the transparency in which this programmer's software and ideas could come through that gave the feeling and experience of Apple II computers an anthropormorphic quality to me. I mean to me, it is a strong feeling, and one that I think about the sources of, because in terms of products I have used, the Apple II's are the only one that consistantly have an attitude that is easily identified. Bob Bishop is definitely on the Round Table of sources that have contributed in my opinion. I was so excited about the whole thing, I wrote Juiced.GS about it and thanked them for the insight. Ken Gagne wrote back, and passed my comments on to Bob. Today I got an e-mail from a Apple II Super Hero. And that's just cool. ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/06/09 10:06 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ After digging into my ProDOS resources, I find I am longing for a copy of "BASIC Programming with ProDOS". My "resources" consist of various .pdf scans of ProDOS manuals that have come into my nets from the great Internet Sea, I realize that perhaps now is the time that I will begin my ProDOS re-education. Yes, I was a stubborn DOS 3.3 hold-out for my formative Apple ][ years. A DOS renegade, holed up in a bluff, with nothing to fend off the enemy but my Versions 3.3 and a sense of thrift for the time and money that had been put into my DOS v3.3 disk library. It doesn't necessarily make me a bad person. I laid out a re-education program for myself, heavy in the reading and note taking, so that I can get a clear idea of what is possible and fit that into how I would like my project to interact with my system. I am transfixed by a small figure I saw in Beneath Apple ProDOS. It was a drawing of a disk drive, with knobs and dials and meters and even a toaster serving some piping hot, dry, white toast. It was accompanied by a warning: Do Not Over Customize ProDOS. I don't know if that is good advice for me or not, as I can be as eccentric as I want with how I approach the ideas I have. We will see, as I may be having a fantasy about how to structure what I want to do. In my mind I feel that I am confident with my results, but in reality, I havent be close to the mechanics of DOS in well over twenty years. I have a default tendency to make progress on things, but I want to take my sweet time with this know it well by the end. I started compiling my archive images into 32MB ProDOS volumes. I woefully underestimated how truly large a 128 MB storage volume is from 8-bit perspective. I gathered up complete catalogs of disk images and began to transfer them to the large volume, image after image, making the best usage of the 51 subdirectories I would be alloted. This was an experiment for me, in capacity, and in the mechanics of transfers from CiderPress to the CF drive I had formatted. After a few hours of transferring, organizing, and cataloging, I still had well over 50,000 blocks remaining to be used on the first Super Volume I had originally planned to create. (NOTE: a 128 MB drive has the capacity of 896 floppy disks!) At this point the "Super Volume" consisted of all available Beagle Bros titles I could find and a large number of cataloged Nibble Magazine programs on disk and tutorial disks. I took a moment to ]CATALOG my work and was amazed at the size of the listing, massive and endless. Endless nearly to the point of pain, and pointless with out some sort of acceleration. The catalog screen seemed to roll out like a program listing. The Catalog timed out at 1:41.54. So in summary I think the dynamic of what I want to do with my Apple has slightly changed due to the impact of receiving a MicroDrive to play with. The focus has shifted from making useful and large archives in the short term to learning and understanding the underlying structure of the system I am exploring. Which is what I like doing to begin with. ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/05/09 10:21 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Just some quick notes fromt he weekend that I'll fill in a little later: - Re-educated myself a bit with the workings of ProDOS. - Realized the magnitude of a 32MB Apple program directory one could create with CiderPress. This is going to put my archival eccentricities to the test. - Experimented with making a command line blog. I still dont know what I think of it. Take a look and send me a line: www.freedomalleystudios.com/appleslice - Frustrated myself with the Apple Game Server Serial connections (on the original and RC3) despite having good comms with ADTPro and checking it with hyperterminal. Forever modified the init.txt file. Never had success. - Built a Beagle Bros directory for the MicroDrive. - Began to build a Nibble Programs directory for the MicroDrive. - Created a directory that literally took minutes to catalog. (gotta find an accellerator!) - Am excited about where I can take my Apple from here. ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/03/09 10:39 AM ~~~~~~~~~~ Some Microdrive IIe Notes: These notes are not a operational manual, just a remix of the original documentation info for my own quick reference. How to Partition a CF Drive for Apple II MicroDrive: Check DIP switches correct for slot number. Insert CF card. Insert MicroDrive. Power Up Apple II. Boot Disk: MicroDrive Utilities. ]PR#6 How to setup 4 volumes of 32 Megs each on a 128 Meg CF Card after booting Micro-Drive Utility Disk: Type �E� to enter the Partition Editor. Type �A� to Add a Volume. Holding down the Open and Closed Apple (Option key) keys press the Right Arrow key 16 times, release the Apple keys and then press the Left Arrow key once to �jump� quickly to the 32 Meg ProDOS volume limit. Repeat these last 2 steps for each additional volume to be created. On 4th partition Look for "FREE:" entry in upper left corner of screen. Press right arrow until this equals zero. Type the �Return� key to exit the Partition Editor. Type �W� to write the partition information to the CF card. Installing a Partition Image: Power down the Apple and remove the CF card from the MicroDrive. Insert the CF card in to the CF Card Reader on your PC. Start CiderPress. Click on the �Tools� menu and select �Volume Copier�. Select �Physical Disk X�. X is the disk number. Uncheck the �Read Only� option on the bottom of the window and click on the okay button. Click on the first partition listed in the window and click on the �Load From File� button. Now browse until you find the appropriate volume. Do this for whichever volumes you wish to load. Backup volumes by using the �Write To File� button. Making a custom Partition: Open CiderPress. Create 32 MB Prodos Image and Name it. Save it. Open 2nd CiderPress application. Open Desired image in 2nd application. Create Subdirectories in 1st Volume Directory (volume directory: only holds 51 files). Paste desired files from 2nd CiderPress application to Subdirectories in 1st CiderPress application. When finished creating new volume, use: Tools => Volume Copier Open Volume. Select CF Drive Volume. Uncheck Read only. Select Desired CF Partition. Select image LOAD. CiderPress Tutorial http://ciderpress.sourceforge.net//tutorial/index.htm CiderPress FAQ http://ciderpress.sourceforge.net/faq.htm Disk Image Associations: * Universal Disk Images (.2mg, .2img) * DiskCopy 4.2 (.dsk) * Copy II Plus (.img) * Sim //e HDV images (.hdv) * TrackStar 40-track images (.app) * Dalton's Disk Disintegrator (DDD v2.1+, DDD Pro v1.1+) (.ddd) * Raw FDI images of 5.25" and 3.5 disks (read-only) (.fdi) * Unadorned sector-format files (.po, .do, .d13, .raw, .hdv, .iso, most .dc6) * Unadorned nibble-format files (.nib, .nb2) * Any of the above compressed with gzip (.gz) or zip (.zip) * ShrinkIt (NuFX) compressed disk images (.shk, .sdk) ~~~~~~~~~~ 02:13 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ It struck me today as I reeled through the Apple II archive images that I have been able to glean from the magnanimous internet, that I once recalled an abundance of "HELLO" programs on file based disks. From the archives I have I see that the HELLO programs I have are of a very limited source. It seemed that every time I acquired a file based disk in the old days, I acquired a new HELLO program to catalog the contents. I know HELLO programs are taken for granted, but as I began making a master drive today, I really wanted to find a functional and unique HELLO program to my liking and go from there. And that's when I discovered that I don't really have the variety I thought that I did. So I did what I always do when I am in doubt, I went to the Internet. My objective was to find a site or information that archived these old introduction programs. Well, there's no so much around about that. I guess time has washed the interest in these programs clear from what I can see. I guess I just wanted to play around in theses old files for a bit. I mean, as far as a display of programming variety, the HELLO programs were great. All of them had the same objective: A space saving, feature rich program that quickly allows file based disk access. Yet it seems that there were thousands of them. In my brief search I could not find so many. I think I am going to archive these ancient trinkets as I come across them, well at least the ones I like. If you have any favorites, please let me know. You could even electronically post me a disk image to the address above. I'll include them in the archive. ~~~~~~~~~~ 8:43 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ No Slot Clock - $27.23 + Shipping (~$4.55 USPS) ~~~~~~~~~~ 07/01/09 8:43 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Aloha, Kemo Sabes! I am back and what a long and drawn out bit of time that was. I won't bore into you with the long details. The short bit is that I thought I had the flu, nailed a job interview with a 103F temperature, worked 1 day, got put on 3 weeks bed rest by my doctor, went back to start my new job, and it seems that for the time being things are on an even keel. Except for the weather. I haven't seen the sun since springtime. It seems like things aren't that great, but I have had some luck. It came in a little anti-static bag and had taken so long to get here, I nearly forgot I'd ordered it. Yet there it was, waiting for me, next to the Apple. I just put it into the Apple II. Slot 7. What is it? Simply the greatest thing I've put into my Apple slots so far: A IIe MicroDrive IDE Controller. My 8-bit world now spins in the crux of a 128MB Compact Flash card, allowing me the versatility to instantly boot up the IIe to a self contained world of vintage software, filled with raging torrents, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. Of course I am still tweaking out the final layout of the device, but the great part is that the package came with a USB CF drive, that will allow me the ability to configure one CF card to my desires while utilizing the other. It also came with a CD-ROM that has reference manuals galore and a ton of software. I haven't fully explored this device yet, but I am all ready on a hard recommend to anyone who does any sort of key poking on an Apple IIe. ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/30/2009 2:39 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Yesterday was a good day, but there was a little sadness. It was good because I acquired a beige Power Mac G3, sad because I acquired it helping a friend of mine move further away. We loaded up his pickup truck late yesterday morning, hauled off the remaining bags of trash and set aside the paper recycling, whilst Miguel the handy man painted the walls and doors in a shade of mustardy French country yellow. Winding narrow staircases led up the front and back to the second floor, making me slightly dizzy after about the tenth trip. We left the apartment after a casual de-trash leaving just the sound of our footsteps echoing against the walls of the empty dwelling. We sealed the moving day the way one should, over a beer at the local joint. We walked over to The Anchor pub and grill, ordered up a couple of stuffed clams and an order of steamers, and had a couple of beers. The Anchor was a good mid-day lunch stop that had evading my radar, but I plan a repeat attendance there. After I got home, I unloaded the computer and started exploring the Mac. I have never in my life been exposed to a Mac and this is an unmapped continent for me. Remember my perspective as I write this entry to establish what I do know. I realize I am working with an older machine here, but after a little research I learned a few things. First, I believe that the most recent OS that I can install and use is OS 9.2 and I stress that this is just theory to me currently. Secondly, I understand that there is a way to over clock this machine, but do not have all the details concerning that procedure. Third, I have a VGA adapter for the video out in the back, which is handy. Forth, Although, I have 2 keyboards for the machine, a smaller keyboard with a number pad and a arrow button topside next to the Apple logo that is missing its cord, and a larger keyboard with F-keys I am lacking a mouse. I have 2 keyboards and no mouses. (My brother contends that the plural of the computer mouse is "mouses" and not mice. I tend to agree with him, but only because the verbiage has Tolkien overtones). This is my first priority, seeing how the mouse integration is vital for further exploration for this system. The smaller keyboard seems to have a dual ended cord that is missing, and if I am interpreting the Apple Hieroglyphic correctly, the cord will plug into either side of the keyboard. I have a copy of OS 9, I have a monstrous VGA CRT display that is now dominating my small workspace, and I have a nagging urge to buy a cheap LCD to reclaim my dwindling desktop.
This early in the game, that completes my encyclopedic knowledge of my Power Mac. The other flank of my investigation into this computer is: What can I use it for? I don't even know what applications that are associated with OS 9 so, this second question is going top be fun as well. I imagine that I can use it as a web server, or BBS I am sure. Hmm there is some indication that I may be able to install OSX 10.2.8 but that is unconfirmed, and I think that the place I came across that information is making generalizations about the G3's. Another item that came my way during the move was a Linksys WRT54G firmware v2.2 which I have actually been looking for so that I can experiment with flashing the firmware. I've wanted to play with DD-WRT on a Linksys router for some time but have been too cheap to actually go get one, so this was a goods example of letting the environment provide. The Linksys held a noble position as king of the trash heap, and I learned that it had gotten this rank because a power supply of incorrect specifications was used and fried it. I am gong to examine the board and try to determine what component was "fried" and if it isn't too much trouble to get it running again so I can flash the new firmware to it. I chose DD-WRT because it is actively developed and is feature rich, allowing precise control of the router. That and I like their website, because it looks as if it is well documented. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/27/2009 9:28 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I didn't get any good Apple time in today or really yesterday for that matter, and that's just a shame, because I really enjoy my A2 time. I am looking for another adventure game to play at the moment. I think it may be another Infocom title, one that I have unfinished business with. That title is Deadline. I will meet this game again, but this time, I will play it until it's curtains for one of us. It was 1987 the last time I spun this floppy, so it's interesting to me to see home much I can recall. There are so many adventure games that are fun to play. I remember playing The Institute and thinking how cool the game was as far as the sound effects and the music and the graphics. When I was young this game was tough and frustrating, but they gave you so much eye and ear candy, you wanted to see what was next. That game had a cool introduction that included portraits of the writers, producers and programmers (Jymm and Robyn Pearson I remember straight off because of the way they spelled their names. I had to look up Norm Sailor but recognized the name immediately). Good stuff, maybe I'll look for more by that team in the future. I have been poking around my action games from the era and have a hard time playing them with the enthusiasm I once held for some of the titles. While browsing my images, I came across and played Skyfox, which is still a cool game, and one that I spent a little time with. Although this shooter with a cockpit view was groundbreaking at the time of its release, I always wished at the time that someone would raise the bar and make a similar game that was more flight simulator, as I was obsessed with dog-fighting at the time. I don�t kno0w why but I read all about the history of flying aces from WWI and WWII and thought their stories were the coolest to imagine. I wanted to see that made into a Skyfox style. But more flight simulator. I think this is funny, in the status mode in the cockpit, if you press a CTRL-G, there is a sub game that comes up -- Alpha Invaders, a Space Invaders tribute. I think I spent more time plying the Space Invaders clone game than playing Skyfox. That wouldn't have happened in the day, but now I think it awesome that there is this little Easter Egg in there that you can toy with. I am still refining my list of USB programs. Seems that just waiting a day or two helps you remember the things you forgot. I always do that when I pack as well. When I go on a trip I pack 48 hours early so I will remember anything I needed but didn't think of. That and I like not having to toss stuff in the case the night before. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/26/2009 10:47 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I am a big fan of Portable Apps. I like be able to do what I want on different machines in a familiar environment. That and I still am impressed that you can keep every disk image I know of and an apple emulator on 1 flash stick and carry it in your pocket. WINE on Linux make is easy to run my emulator of choice, AppleWin, but it's not like I break the USB out all the time or anything, but I could. I guess it's the same concept that sells all those SUV's that never go off-roading: "But I could". I had thought about that same idea in some ways when I was young, you know, how cool it would be to carry around everything without taking everything with you. Between home and my elementary school I carried 5.25" floppy disks in a black plastic box, with a tray that folded out when you opened the box. On the front was the classic Apple transparent sticker and on the side was a label I had printed out and stuck on the spine that had my name, my home address and phone number. I think that this was originally to return the valuable programs one would find associated with an 8-year-old, but an argument might be made that maybe I wanted the world to know who it was that owned these floppy disks. The last 4 numbers in my home phone number was 0003. This was the age of the rotary phone. I don't know who I was kidding, no one was going to invest that much time dialing 0003 to return my copy of Lemonade Stand / Beer Run. There it is my first exposure to bringing it along. So from a very young age I was used to bringing my software with me to a place and taking software home. I mean, I don't even think about it, and I don't know if I should think about it, I just know I usually have my fads with me like a boredom survival kit it's how it is supposed to be. So I've been thinking about how I'd like to set up a portable USB so I might be able to do some Appling, portably. I have a good concept of what I'd like to be portable, but have to refine it some before I post my list. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/23/2009 7:04 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ So I was doing some errands today, and needed some consumables. I stopped in at the Danvers Stop-N-Shop and picked up some groceries. Now, the funny thing about the Danvers Stop-N-Shop is that it is located across the street from the former site of the Danvers State Mental Hospital, which isn't significant of itself, but is significant because of the Kirkbride Building that served as the facility for the Danvers State Mental Hospital. The Kirkbride building was an American Gothic masterpiece and served as inspiration to H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham Sanitarium. That being said, I noticed when I got home that I has purchased this:
Now I don't know if I should open it or not. It's the perfect distribution medium for cult activity. Is it hummus or could it be the 1000 idiot young of Shub-Niggurath? Only my G.I. tract will be able to tell for sure. The Mighty Cthulhu would not be pleased if he even cared. But even before I began my adventure into The Mythos, I was able to upgrade my AppleWorks installation today to version 5.1 from version 3.0 and I, unlike the Mighty Cthulhu, am very pleased. The package included a number of TimeOut upgrades, and also included a screensaver! Yeah, I am excited about a screensaver, as sometimes I leave for periods of time with my monitor on. I haven't really worried about burn in since the eighties, really, but my meager monochrome monitor was a hard battle and I try to maintain it. A screensaver: Never thought I'd be excited about one, but since I am using my Apple IIe mainly for word processing these days, it is right on time! I know that I have written before about the esthetic inherent beauty of typing on the Apple IIe, the comfort I find in the keyboard, but there are other less apparent qualities, I think. These are subjects that are broached from time to time by anyone that spends a serious amount of time behind a modern computer, and oddly enough a topic that comes up time and time again in modern productivity websites like lifehacker.com, but the subject is methods to reduce distraction to your work. I think that is the conundrum of the modern platform, the ease at which multitasking facilitates distraction. Since I have been blogging on the Apple IIe, I find that computer related distraction has evaporated to nothing. I mean really, I had joked earlier about making AppleWorks disks for productivity and how counter intuitive the thought was, but actually I am finding that using the old platform for writing has actually helps me maintain focus and clarity. Probably because the Apple does one thing at a time, and that helps you maintain your mental inertia. It takes me a bit to get back into the swing of something when I get drawn away, and that's not happening as much now. And I admit, I have been doing other things with the Apple IIe, like e-mail. Not so much everyday e-mail, but letters to friends and family, that I can take some time with. It's nice and it works for me. I bang out a letter, save it, bring it over, load it in an emulator, print it to a textfile, copy and paste, spell check, send. Sounds like a lot of steps, but on a long letter it saves me time because I can wail on an Apple IIe keyboard, and there are no other distractions. And sometimes, I get worthwhile e-mail back, instead of the Donald Trump-like "Let's do this. -D.T." type e-mail that I hope Twitter will soon replace for good, leaving my mailbox more in the image of it's real life counter part, a collection box for junk mail and bills. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I took some photos the other night when I was experimenting with bringing my Apple IIe to IRC via the PC and a SSC. Yeah, there is a Call-151 in the room. That's me on another computer so I could "monitor" my irc output. (Oh, Huzzah! For my olympic wit!)
HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/22/2009 6:31 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ The game of Bureaucracy has come to an end, and I am in my new home, filled with my amenities, delivered and set up to my specifications. If you are just starting to read this, I have links below for a PDF and disk images for game play. I really enjoyed the game, and was actually surprised a bit when I was called upon late in the game to use some hacker skills. Yeah, it was no big deal. I know some stuff. There is a computer that one uses in the game called a Boysenberry that runs on cartridges. It's cool when you get into the mainframe and are able to change the directory structure and run programs. Before that you had to use it to decipher a code that would help you map you way out of yet another maze. It's cool how the adventure was written in that is does give you a computer interface with it's own commands and a help file. On a side note, the weather has been great and as such I have battled with home upkeep. Earlier this year I installed some outdoor speakers that I found a deal on at the end of the season last year. The way they are installed it has a nice wide stereo field, that actually phases when you walk directly by them. Cool! I am using a T-Amp to drive them, which is nice, because the first generation T-amp ran like $35.00, produces great audio quality and allows me to amplify anything with a 1/8" stereo jack, MP3, radio, CD's. computers, what have you. The second Generation has a nicer style to it, comes with an AC power supply, and runs about $70.00 or thereabouts. It's nice to trot out the eeePC to the shed and listen to The Sirius Radio stream or Pandora while having a weeding session. I uncovered the pool yesterday and as I started cleaning out the pond scum, I put a CD on I had made a while back called Smooth Music. I like it and I don't know why, because it's not what I normally listen to, and I guess that's why I like it. That and it's really, really, smooth. I admit my smooth CD was inspired by these series of videos that investigate the history of smooth music, but none the less, smooth music is fun. As I listened I realized that this is actually good Apple II music, the era is right, but for me it would be the type that randomly would show up on a radio where ever one would be working their Apple. Carrington Vanston kind of hit on this on one of his podcasts, he had an album he attributed to one game. That album was Call of the West by Wall of Voodoo. And he's right, that is a great album to be Appling with. So I'll ask, do you have any playlists that you find to be Applish for one reason or another, it could be the era, or the mood, or as in Carrington's example, a strict case of Pavlov conditioning, but whatever the reason may be, I'd like to share them. If I get any input address to the email in the header, I'll post mine. It's would be cool to get different perspectives on Applish Music. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/20/2009 6:12 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ [Type RESTART, RESTORE, or QUIT] >_ That's the message I am tired of seeing today. The airplane is a flying puzzle. As I plumb the depths of this conundrum, I have died a mysterious death from llama stew, from a catastrophic plane crash, from several colossal aneurysms, and a flying leap to my death from the emergency hatch. Maybe I should have left the waitress a tip . . .Anyway, the problem here is I have a bowl of llama stew that I can't eat because it's lethal, I can't leave behind, I can't pour into the seat pocket. I have to find another way. So many unoccupied seats and so many buttons. . . Meanwhile, back on Earth. . . So I got a tweet from Famicoman thanking me for a blog post I where I name checked him some time back. I have to apologize to him, because I said this would be up last night and as I wrote it, it just kept going and I wasn't done. I realized that his information was a starting point that eventually led me back to the Apple II's. Sorry man. (If you want I can send you Frampton Comes Alive from my LP collection. It's in fairly decent shape. I think I have a couple of Johnny Winter duplicates too, if you're interested.) I just was freely acknowledging the passing of information as good stuff. You see, He had a nice site where he wrote about the things he did called HackInACan that has since joined the web search invisible. Which is a shame, it was a smaller site, but I like what he did, which was explore technology and pass it on. I liked the concept of that little site. Try something out, write about it and share the knowledge. One of the things he tried out and wrote about was Synchronet BBS and how to get it up and running. I explored it, and used his method and had great fun doing it. Not to mention that I learned a good deal from it and that's what I appreciate. I came across his write up after seeing BBS: The Documentary. So, in a way, Jason Scott is also to blame for reminding me just how cool this all was. That film is such a great piece of work, to me, on a personal level, because there is so many things that I see, that is odd and unrecognized by the world at large, but so familiar to me. Like the teletype art, or just the general mood in a room where seasoned HAMs get together and have a chat. The border between BBS and internet is so defined and so final in the documentary, it evaded my mind to even ask is there was even a BBS still functioning. Somewhere, while digging around the Hak5 forums I came across a Famicoman post. That led me to his BBS Instructions in a round about way. I had an old computer around that needed something to do. And ideas tumbled out of it as well, like other kinds of networking possibilities like small darknets, functions for old computers like firewalls and network attached servers, and I just liked the concept of balancing the past with the present. There was a breaking in period when I researched to reacquaint myself with things I once knew. I think I talked about BBS and the way things were a good deal, enough to see my wife's eyes glazed over when I stared. But I still think it is a cool era, mostly, I put forth, because engineering at that time had more product design control than marketing did. I talked with my brother one night, and the talk turned to Apple II's. We tried to remember what the clock speed was. And failed. The last thing either of us had done with an Apple II was a college paper that he wrote about the internet in 1994 that was in all the life-like glory that AppleWorks and Dot-matrix printers could provide. And even though we hadn't actually used an Apple II computer in oh so many years, I think its salient that we still found time to ramble on about them. We would talk about Bard's Tales Characters we had made (Chronos, Abbaddon, Piggy, Blackey, Snake, and Away), or kids at school taking several hours to type up a long program and we being called out of class to help them save it, only to find that they didn't load DOS and there were no cassettes recorders available. Sorry kid. (Cue the trombone players. . . ) and other small day to day stuff. 1 MHz is the answer I was looking for the clock speed question, and also a gateway to 1 MHz - An Apple II Podcast hosted by Carrington Vanston. What a great show. That show turned me on to everything I'm exploring now: Possible upgrades, new software: Ryan's A2Unplugged Podcast, Juiced.GS, the only apple II publication from here to the Kessel Run. There are only eleven episodes, and no word on a follow up, but they are a great place to start. if you want to explore some older Apple rigs. After a listen to the archived episodes, which were a siren song to me, I knew that the Apple II had a part in my life. There was a lot of new ground here and that surprised me. Internet connections, flashcard drives, disk image connections, a magazine and of course, Kansasfest. The Apple II community was alive and well, and I definitely wanted to explore it HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/18/2009 8:14 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ When I woke up this morning I was cruising at a height of 30,000 in seat 3B bound for Paris. I was flying Air Zalagasa and because they were out of Chicken Kiev and the Filet of Fish, I was staring down a bowl of llama stew that was staring right back. I had $53 bucks in my wallet, and I am pretty sure that I knocked out the passenger behind me when I reclined my seat, forcing him face down in his llama stew. Yeah, I am still moving along in Infocom's Bureaucracy, and I hope I finish it soon because I am tired of spelling it. But as far as game play goes I am enjoying it so. It REAUCS! So, my delivery man came this afternoon, and dropped off a No Slot Clock and a 1 TB internal drive. I bought the internal drive for an external drive that failed not to long ago as a result of a drop. Oh, the damn trombones played hour after hour that day. But this time it's going to be different. I know I can upgrade my external 500GB with an internal 1TB. I go one refurbished. Real cheap. The trombone players exercise their lips in anticipation as I began another Ionfarmer experiment, but the horns remained silent. The format to UFS and mounting went flawlessly. I have reduced power consumption and by extension have rigged for reduced performance and maybe inadvertently rigged for reduced reliability, but time will tell. I now have (2) 1 TB drives on my FreeNAS install and have begun the long road of transference. The 2 drives, named Phobos and Deimos, will not only serve (oh, I slay me) to archive files, but I want to begin a real back up system using Rsync. I haven't fully educated myself on the topic as of yet, but will pursue this in the near term, so you can consider this a statement of intent. The No Slot Clock is working as well. There is only one install location in a Platinum IIe and that baby clicked right in there. I used ADT and put the No Slot Utilities on my ram drive, where I am keeping AppleWorks these days. I have a image saved thanks to ADT and Ciderpress. AppleWorks sees the clock and boots right up now. I am loving it and really the Date inquiry is the best selling pressure for getting a system clock because it's like a very early nag screen. Every time I cycled through that date, I knew I had to get a clock. It's funny, because there are clocks available on eBay and the like, and currently they are not too rare, but I didn't want to use a slot if I didn't have to. I really wanted a No Slot Clock. Now, some of my favorite vendors sell No Slot Clocks, and I do not want to take away from them, but that's not where I got mine. I actually feel bad about that too because I support the vendors of modern Apple upgrades of all varieties, and I think you should as well. There is a lot of cool upgrades that can make your machine, well, it can make your machine bad ass. There's no other way to put it. And it's easily accessible, readily available, the community is super friendly, and it doesn't take long before you have taken your stock Apple II janckty hoopty and transformed it into a pimped out A2 whip. There is a lot of hard work in what they make and a lot of Apple love as well and you shouldn't let it slide. Buy some stuff. Hardware, software, it doesn�t matter: It's new stuff, it works, and it provides features that were never imagined in the heyday & you'll be glad that you did. Why will you be glad? I'm glad you asked my level headed friend. It's simple; first your machine will run like never before and do things you haven't even imagined yet, and secondly, through the modern miracle of micro-economics, you will become a direct board member in future R&D projects that have to potential to take these products to even higher levels of cool simply by voting with your money. What could be easier or more satisfying? Now, if you'll excuse me, my llama stew is getting cold, the stewardess won't let me pour it into the seat pocket in front of me, and an all kazoo version of "I Write The Songs" is playing in my airline headphones and all of it is affecting my blood pressure. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/17/2009 3:31 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Sunday is a great day to begin an adventure. There are those, I am sure, who will disagree, but consider it. By the time Sunday rolls around, friends and family have already seen the evidence that you are staying home this weekend and do not have plans. Also, you have a full 24 hour head start before the folks where your are employed will realized you are not showing up, you know, if the adventure becomes quite extensive or all encompassing. It would be better if you could actually plan an adventure, of course, because let's face it, a really good adventure takes an awful lot of not planning for, or at the very least planning for incorrectly. To have a really good adventure, I propose, one should not plan at all, just let go of the piece of yourself that holds you back and tells you what you need to prepare for your journey and let fortune provide the opportunities. Unfortunately, this is the hallmark of truly fowl and disastrous adventures as well. But that's the thrill of having an adventure, the revelation of the unknown and your interaction with it. In the age of GPS and Google Earth, the sense of adventure recedes, information to foreknown possibilities is readily available. Planning skills are exercised and work fluidly and the little holes where one can leap into the unknown become less apparent. This particular Sunday, I am leaping into Bureaucracy by Infocom. I remember just before Bureaucracy was going to be released in 1987, and I was keen on getting it, but that didn't happen for some reason. I can't see that clearly into the past to come up with an answer of why that didn't happen. I can only surmise, looking back in hindsight, that as Infocom's financial difficulties continued in 1987, and a souring relationship with Douglas Adams was becoming evident, that advertising funding dried up from Bureaucracy, and as an effect I wasn't reminded enough about how great this game was enough to actually buy it. I should have bought it. This game had everything I was into when I was 17. I'd discovered Douglas Adams 5 years earlier and was hungry for anything with his official seal. His sense of humor appealed to me in a very absurdly logical manner. In addition I was also a big Infocom fan and am still to this day. Infocom put together high quality packages, well written, layered storylines with supporting reading material and props to immerse to into the puzzle on screen. Brilliant and effective. Their game play was beautiful and lacking graphics, making the interaction and premise more pure in a way that meant the each title was truly authored. The "feelies" included in the package served as a type of key as well. Many clues were contained in the package that resulted in the game becoming a frustrating exercise, unless the clues were utilized at the appropriate time. Included in Bureaucrat: A pamphlet: You're Ready to Move! A filer: from magazine Popular Paranoia A welcome letter: from your employer, Happitec Corporation A Credit Card application: In triplicate, different instructions each form A skinny bank pencil I went through a period where I did a little web crawling and found jpeg scans of Infocom feelies and made them into PDFs that I could play with. I do not know if this is one of them or not. I do not remember doing this particular Bureaucracy PDF, I can say that. I read some material and then I fired up my disk image. All right! This image has a crack screen! My copy of Bureaucracy is presented by Coast to Coast. It was cracked by Mr. Slick, whom Coast to Coast then welcomes. (Excellent! Initiation software!!) Special thanks goes to The Incognito. Mr. Slick then gives us an explanation of his tardiness: "Why it took so long: After it was converted, I kept getting Error #4's. Incog sent me an orig. I found my bug, fixed it, and here it is...." Then BBS numbers follow: The Curse
(612) 926-5112 Motherboard Original
(516) 221-4450 Motherboard West
(415) 994-2758 That must be why I didn't play this in 1987. From my perspective, it took Mr. Slick 22 years to fix his Error #4's. The 5.25" floppy spins and I think it loads the entire first side of the disk. This game did fall under Infocom's Plus category, meaning that it required 128k of memory to play. That's right 128k. The screen then greets me with a licensing agreement that will be submitted electronically. Nice! The form randomly bounces around the information fields, taking time to make personal comments about your entries. The opening screen rolls up and I can read that the story begins with me rectifying my change of address card. The entire time I am addressed as "Ms." Great. Also I can see the this game is not scored in turns or time but by Blood Pressure. Excellent! Iam now working at my new software company HappiTec and have to track down my Cheque book and US Excess credit card. . . This title by Infocom and Douglas Adams had metamorphed from the original idea that Douglas would collaborate with Infocom writers to produce a sequel to the wildly successful Infocom release "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". The impetus for the concept of Bureaucracy was an actual experience that Douglas Adams had gone through while moving. The story revolves around the troubles he was having with his change of address form being recorded incorrectly and his subsequent inability to get his credit cards and bank checks. So written verbiage traditionally tells me. I still can't help but wonder what kind of satisfaction Douglas got from telling Infocom executives, his publisher, his manager, and anyone else who would listen that he was going to follow up his wildly successful "Hitchhiker's" software release with a text adventure about a change of address card. Classic Adams. I know that he was also writing Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency at this time and I imagine now that I can see a jab taking place between a character in the book that has written an incredibly successful piece of spreadsheet software (that plays music corresponding to favorable or unfavorable resulting business graphs) and Infocom's own poorly selling database offering "Cornerstone". Of course, I am not on the inside of this information. But this guy is. He found himself in possession of Infocom's network backup drive from their heyday, with e-mails, software source, and playable versions of unreleased Infocom games. A damn interesting read and more evidence of why I like to muck about educating myself about Apple II's and software written for them. I begin to explore the text adventure. That state of the art in text adventures at this time allowed for more complex subtleties in input. Instead of look table, one could look under table in hallway, or ask Poncho about table, that would elicit different responses from the game. As I, explore my current settings and my blood pressure slowly rises when I make typing mistakes and use words that are not in the game's lexicon, and which will eventually make me die of an aneurysm. This game is sublimely superb and appealing to me. I have only just begin to map my environs and have solved the llama puzzle at least in part. I can see what I will be playing on the Apple in the upcoming week. If your are looking to get in touch with a text adventure and haven't played Bureaucracy yet, I highly recommend that you give it a try out. It has the perfect ingredients for a great time as it follows a twisted story line from the mind of a great humorist that hasn't been commercialized publically in any sort of novel. The adventure is fresh and new. Also, I recommend that you pick a Sunday to start this adventure on. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/16/2009 8:43 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ The state of the Apple IIe is strong. I received my 512k RAM upgrade from ReactiveMicro.com and greedily installed the itty, bitty RAM chips into my 1MB Apple RAM expansion. This was a really satisfying activity, and as I imagined all the new space and what I could do with it, my fingers searched aligned and reported the successful installation of each chip with definite finality like a cleaver striking the butcher's block. I spent a few minutes lining up the leads to the holes and carefully making them match. I roll against my Dexterity. . . Tedious . . . My mind wandered. . . I suddenly wanted a chocolate bar like a circuit board: A chocolate covered toffee with nougat filled chips all lined up in neat little rows, with maybe even a hard candy conformal coating on the bottom. All sorts of nuts, and gooeys for components. Maybe a cr�me wafer CPU? I should have had lunch. That was just plain ridiculous. How many more chips do I have to go anyway? Several. After the chips were comfortably lounging in their new digs, I installed the card. Now, when I work on my Apple IIe, I get to see the side of it and its character mark: Hand engraved 9 digit serial numbers 1/2 an inch high running willy nilly down the left hand side of the case. I call those numbers its "prison tat" and when I see them I think of all the years this machine spent in a school or small business painfully eking out every minute creating report after report if it was that lucky. More likely semester after semester of infinite goto loops in a grade school. It was an institutionalized machine and I'm going to see what I can do for it. I need to see if I can get that little blue tear drop removed that perpetually trickles down from the "0" in the serial number. I started up ADTPRO and sent it a file. It saw the new blocks right away. All 2048 of them. Nice. I have become comfortable in making different versions of RAM disks for different purposes, and find it easy to load a session into the RAM depending on my objectives. Again last night, I trotted the IIE out to the IRC chat room. I guess it was kind of like the guys that restore old cars getting them out once in a while to do what they were born to do: Sit around in parking lots. I see that I will have to retrain myself in the ways of IRC, as my mind and fingers have grown accustom to the easy ways of modern IRC programs. I have to go to IRC retraining camp, and figure out the means to do what I want without thinking. Shouldn't take long. There is a big problem I have that has the potential to be super irritating to others. Like learning the harmonica is. I haven't figured this out yet although I think that the answer lies in the translation.txt that came with InternetModem: Last night my phone fell on the keyboard and an ugly set of characters appeared. Although I tried delete, and to back over the letters with the arrows, I ended up sending the entire mess to the chat room. Cool? Mash the keyboard twice for yes. I chatted a little with Sean yesterday. He saw a previous entry that called out his idea about polling for a dream Apple II and wanted to bring me up to date. He was matter of fact about it, nonchalant, and quite easy with the following design concepts. Yep, he walked right up and laid out his current machine like Cool Hand Luke. I know, Cool Hand Luke was called Cool Hand because sometimes nothing is a real cool hand. This is not the case with Sean. He's holding and he holding big. I am going to try and describe what he casually told me in chat. At first, I couldn't really digest it. And as I began to realize the beauty of it, and the gravity of it became known to me, I realized how small my initial imagination of what my IIe could be really was. It was like the awkward and confusing sense on has when they experience something really fun but really dirty. Like eating beef jerky and queso dip. He freaked me out, man. Basically, Sean has doubled the available slots in a Platinum IIe from 7 to 14. I didn't see that at first. Then it sank in. He has removed the stock powersupply and wired up a 200W mini ATX unit, creating space inside the Apple. I am guessing this new space is a place he could mount the LittleExpander and with the external Switch-a-Slot both of which occupy Slots 2 and 4, he brings his slots up to 13. Popping a DoubleSeven in slot 7 bring the total available slots to 14. The Manifest of this machine read like Apocrypha. Really good Apocrypha that is somewhere between a Holy Text and the Road Warrior. It's a computer that I would approach like something between the Holy Grail and a Nuclear Fuel Rod: (2) Super Serials Cards, one for terminal comms and one for Apple Disk Transfer, (2) Mockingboard Clones, (1) Apple workstation card, (1) Uthernet Card, (1) Apple Mouse, (2) Apple HDFD, (2) 5.25" Drives, (1) CFFA Drive, (1) 10 MHz Applicard Clone, (1) Apple Disk II SVD, (1) Meg80z, (1) Apple Slinky Card, (1) Kensington System Saver, (1) 8 MHz Zip Chip, (1) Boot Order Mod, (1) Dual Character Generator Mod, and the part that I like the best, and this should be a definitive decision maker for you if you are considering another method: (1) No-Slot Clock. Yeah, that's quite a lot of awesome, and also exactly what I wanted to explore the possibilities of. Simply beautiful. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/15/2009 1:15 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Another Ionfarmer Experiment: IRC Chat via Apple IIe Materials Used: Apple IIe Computer System, Apple Super Serial Card (19200 Baud), A PC running Windows XP, A copy of InternetModem by Terry Olsen, A Copy of Z-Link. A Serial Cable Connection between PC�s Com1 and Super Serial Card. Today was the toughest day yet, but also rewarding. I am cheating you in a way, because today, although this E-Log is being written on AppleWorks, it is being emulated, and because I don�t get my tactile gratification I am also cheating myself. But there is a reason. The Apple IIe is tied up. Created long before the horizon line of multi-tasking, the Apple IIe is processing an IRC Chat room. Earlier today I began to experiment with the concept of getting the Apple IIe online via a serial connection to Windows XP machine that uses the IIE as a perch. It's only fair that they graduate into a symbiotic relationship for the time being. I wanted the IIe to use the PC to chat online via IRC and I didn't want anyone to tell me how to do it. I wanted to see if I could figure it out with available online resources. I am trying really hard to recall what it was that prompted me to move in this direction, but I can't come up with it. It's super convoluted for sure, but If I try to piece it together, I think it went something like this: I became curious about my serial connection, experimented with using Windows Terminal and PuTTY as a method to telnet somewhere else via the serial connection. I thought that if I could telnet, I could log into my shell account, bring up BitchX and get a little Apple IIe on IRC action going. After a few experiments, I could see I was wrong about this method, or was going about it incorrectly. I could sense that there was a missing link here. I began the search for a missing link: A serial to telnet bridge, or as it was known in the 19th Century, Piltdown Man. For all I knew it was just as real. A few Google searches later, I was at Terry Olsen's website downloading InternetModem. I looked at the .ini file and made a few adjustments to suite my IRC settings. I then started InternetModem. Then I fired up Z-Link on the Apple IIe. I had a connection. I tuned my Z-Link configs in and saved them, Changing Data Word Format to 19200 and saving it. And then things became confused. . . I wasn't sure what had happened. . .my E-Log was inaccessible . . . were my methods unsound . . . a2central irc chat was off the air . . . had I transgressed the basic laws of connectivity in some manner of my experiments inadvertently and earned a multiple ip ban? Had someone begun an DDOS attack on web attractions I visit and if so had my machine somehow become a node on a botnet? Irrational fear rules! I never come up with answers so quickly as when I explore irrational fear. My mind was awash in uncategorized snippets ofunrelated info that might be my problem. Time for the Litany . . . I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. Ahh, that's better. Where was I? Oh yeah, I was trying to hook up the IIe to IRC through my PC with a SSC. Capiche? Yeah, I know, everything but "Capiche". I made some connections to other irc chats with very limited success, but I can see the potential and groomed my approach until I felt fairly confident that connection was imminent. I Typed ATDT irc.a2central.com:6667 I was logged on! There were some bugs in my config file and it took a while to realize that in my set up I didn�t need the Ttranslation.txt file as it had the opposite effect I needed. It made capital letters lowercase and visa versa. I renamed it. /join #a2c.chat. Open Apple-K gave me the chat split screen and I've been hanging in Apple IIe chat, happy on the inside, because, I know I'm going to sound like some sort of Apple Snob or whatever, but really now: It is a great feeling to be in an Apple II chat room on an Apple IIe in 2009. It really is. The sculpted keyboard and properly tensioned resistance. The soft analog glow of monochrome bathing you in soft photons as you read and craft responses in a digital dialog. There's the reward of the serial connection I had been looking for. If you have the means, I highly recommend you pick one up. Today was highly unusual due to a number of reasons, the first was that the A2C chat server was down due to a power outage. So there were hours that my attempts to log on were going unheeded. I thought I had inadvertently transgressed and became ip blocked. Nope. Just a good old fashioned Power Outage. Secondly, Had I looked carefully, I would have seen that all the connectivity info I thought to be arcane, if it existed at all was sitting around A2central.com to begin with. Now I know. I had gone rummaging through the comp.sys.apple2 newsgroups and found good information, but it only lead me right back to where I started. At least I kept the trombone players on standby. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/12/2009 10:45 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Today was an exciting day to be a citizen in the 8-bit nation as my 512k Apple Memory Expansion card arrived. This was the craigslist deal I spoke of earlier. I opened the package, and all seemed to be in order. The top came off the Apple and I rubbed the power supply 3 times for luck. And to discharge any static I may be holding, but mostly for luck. The card went into slot five. The Apple powered up. I did a PR#5 just to have a look. Nothing out of sorts. I brought up ADTPRO which saw the ram drive immediately. Awesome! 1024 blocks. So back to the PC where I fired up Ciderpress, made a custom image with a drive size of 1024 blocks, and opened up another instance of Ciderpress. In the second instance I opened images of Appleworks, ADTPRO, and Prodos Utilities and consecutively copied and pasted them to the first instance. Then I sent this newly created image to my Apple expansion card via ADTPRO. Perfect. I exited ADTPRO and the ramdisk fired right up. I wasn't expexting that. I saw that I had a few directory redundancies and created a new image, brought it over, and bingo. I am really enjoying this as it makes Appleworks even better than I was crowing about before as I now do not have to flip the floppies about as I write and edit and save and change documents. Beautiful. When I see how well this technology works with the fine software that so many have dedicated long hours to create, things seem right in the world. I suppose as Moore's Law progresses and technology grows exponentially to a singularity event wherein invention is created faster than our ability to purpose it, and we become spoiled because we can hand pick and choose from a larger cross-section of mythic devices, have only the best as our own, and not even fully exploit all of their possiblities before another creation comes into play and the duties are taken over. And that is what I like about this whole deal that I left behind so many years ago. My Apple COmputer when I looked back on it was in a vacuum. Stuck in the technology of 1990, never to more forward again. I didn't realize the I was wrong and that it had progress, and the very technological advances that had driven the wedge between us would be the very thing that would bring us back together. There are a few things I find I appreciate with my re-established friendship with the Apple IIe. The first is the people that have been the caretakers of these machines and there peripherals and have decided it was time to share the responsibilites. No one truly owns a classic Apple, you only get to take care of it for a while. Do not be negligent, as you will deprive others of the priviledge, and deprive yourself of the experience of rediscovery. If you have the patience I am learning, and the stars align, the people who are passing the experience on can be found and the asking price is reasonable. The second, is the expansion of my reticle of awareness. With my current eye on the Apple IIe and my quest to find a place for it in my life, I love that vendors, products software archive groups and festivals continue to occur, defiantly proving that the the usefulness of this device can still be found and that creative design will allow modern technology to retrofit. Third, being re-united. And it feels so good. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/11/2009 10:36 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ I was nervous, but the trust paid off. I had gone to Craigslist searching for some items to round out my recently acquired Platinum IIe. Specifically I was interested in memory expansion (and still am). I was able to find a reasonably priced Apple Memory Expansion card, but it was in Syracuse, NY. I wrote an e-mail to poll whether or not the seller was open to shipping me some items. He was and I expanded my item selection to include an Apple IIe Joystick and a Mouse, should I find I would like to implement it. OK, I admit it, the mouse was an impulse buy, but still the items were reasonably priced, compared to the eBay premiums I have been seeing. There was one hitch to all this though. I had to trust him because he was out of town and wouldn't be able to ship the items until Saturday. I got the tracking number today and so far all is well. He has a rather diverse list of Apple II computers, software, manuals, and peripherals and is worth a look if you are shopping around. He is selling "Old Apple IIe Stuff" in the Syracuse craigslist, and mentioned he may end up on eBay selling under cslblkphantom. I am also pretty sure he put his list out in the Comp.Sys.Apple2.Market newsgroup as well. I have been thinking a lot about the ways to configure the slots in the Platinum IIe, ever since I saw a post on the Comp.Sys.Apple2 newsgroup a few weeks back. The 2005 post by Sean, asks for people to submit ideas a perfect maxed out Apple IIe configuration. I looked over the posts that follow and have been using as a guide line as I move my Apple IIe from stock to Suped Up. There are several posts that follow, and this method of information gathering I'm deploying kind of reminds me of a Beagle Bros program from one of their Tip Disks called "Guessitmation" where you state an object and number of guessers and let them guess the dimensions, relying on the hope that with a large enough data sample the average will prove to be the correct dimension. In that spirit, here is a spreadsheet of the data: File: AppleSlots Page 1 ========|========|========|========|========|========|========|========| Aux Slot Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3 Slot 4 Slot 5 Slot 6 Slot 7 ========|========|========|========|========|========|========|========| Meg80z WrkStatn SSC+ABS A2Mem1MB 3.5Drv 5.25Drv ApplSCSI 64k 80colCMS SCSI SSC TrnWrpII Mouse 3.5Drv 5.25Drv WrkStatn RamWorks WrkStatn Mouse MckingBd 3.5Drv 5.25Drv 512Focus 64k 80col SSC Mouse 3.5Drv 5.25Drv CFFA 128M Ext80RGB Grapplr Mouse 5.25Drv 3.5Drv 512MRam80A2Mem1MB SSC Titan3.5 Mouse Phasor TimeMstr RmWrksIIIAESrlPro SSC+ABS EPROMbrn Mouse SuperDrv 5.25Drv RamFast RmWrksIIIParllPro AESrlPro TransWrp Phasor RamFactr PCTrans* Vlcn40MB 64k 80colApplTalk SCSICard TimeCard Mouse UniDisk 5.25Drv TrnWrpII 64k 80col RamFactr TimeCard Mouse LaserUDC 5.25Drv *(A complex entry: PC Transporter, 8087, IIe install kit, dual drives and doubles as an Apple 3.5 drive controller.) This table of good knowledge gives me some great ideas about where to go with my expansion activities, although my ideas are subject to the whim of availability. Of course, my ideas will probably include the DoubleSeven slot expander that allow one to insert an extra card horizontally into Slot 7 and switch between the 2 cards. You can have a gander at it over at ReactiveMicro.com among a lot of other cool items. Very cool items. At one time perhaps these items were even k-kool, but in modern architecture we've gone past that, onto M-kool, and G-kool, so maybe the items are T-kool. Never thought I'd live to see 10^12-kool, or even be able to survive it if I did, yet here we are. Over the coming weeks as I find uses, and have ideas, I am sure that I will refer to this data often in hopes of creating a machine that was just pure fantasy as a youth. I know that I mention time a lot as I write about my experiences with this computer, but to me it is like time travel, a temporal displacement to another place. The mechanics and design process that goes into creating a great machine hasn't changed, only the availability and pricing has. Although there are some items that have become scare and by extension very expensive, even by their original factory price, a vast majority of them are less expensive. In the 8-bit nation, depreciation is a woman scorned. I should keep tabs on my build price compared to original manufacturer suggested retail price. Now, that seems interesting to me! HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/10/2009 5:53 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ (At the Platinum IIe in the basement) AppleWorks is easily in my top 5 picks of best software ever written, and may be THE best. That's what I am thinking today. As you can see, I have added an archive section to the title bar. I had not done this before because, well, I was too lazy. It was easy with AppleWorks though. The print function from AppleWin sends a spreadsheet directly to text and the next thing you know, you have a text table custom ordered to be just my style. I was speaking on the phone last night an had a realization: AppleWorks is the most universal word processor I that I am aware of. I thought of all the places that I could create a document, a database or a spreadsheet with AppleWorks... Apple Systems, PC systems, Linux systems, the NES console, the Wii console, Sony PSP, Palm handhelds, Pocket PC handhelds, Browser based Via Java, and there's probably more that haven't crossed my radar at all. All of the emulators necessary to execute AppleWorks are free, at least the ones I am familiar with, and easily obtainable, and utilized. I don't know of another word processing program that has the features and the flexibility to be used in so many mediums. Granted, there are some modern features that one would sacrifice to gain this universal ability. It seems to me that the losses one faces could be worked around and that there is a definite advantage to having less features in terms of producing the written word. When ones metacognition is not cluttered by trying to recall how to use an obscure feature that one feels is necessary instantaneously for their work to progress, amazingly, more work flows out and at a greater pace. I find it refreshing to create in AppleWorks, simply because I am familiar with the features and abilities of the program, they are limited, I know they are limited and I haven't found myself distracted saying aloud to myself, "Now AppleWorks should be able to do this . . .where is it?" (From the Windows XP machine sitting high atop the Platinum IIe) So I've decided to apply my thoughts and see if these machines interact the way I imagine that they do. So the first thing I do is save the AppleWorks document and then I boot up ADTPRO and send my disk to my Windows XP machine. Earlier I had started the program "ftpii" residing on The Homebrew Channel on the Wii console upstairs. When the program starts, it gives you the IP information you need to connect. I noted this and mounted the SD card, and continued to the basement to type this up. Now, I make a FTP connection to the Wii and send it AppleWorks and my data disks. Done. Disconnect. Shag it upstairs. . . (From the Wii in the living room) Although, you are reading this paragraph, it is a lie. None of the words I had written on the Wii actually saved to disk. This is a shame, as I was really enjoying sitting on the couch and looking at characters that had a height of about 1 inch. After this initial impression, I wanted to turn to you, if you could have been with me, and said, "If you're looking for Apple II heaven, well, slap on your cheaters and start peeping, son, because you're there!" Well I was wrong, we are not quite there yet with WiiApple for 2 good reasons. The first is the Wireless USB Logitech Wii Keyboard I was using did not translate well to the emulator. I noted several keys did not function, the most important was the shift key. As I typed the vapor-review of my experience, I had to toggle the CAPSLOCK key on and off as I made my way through the sentences. This was frustrating, but not insurmountable. Which brings us to the second reason that we are not quite there yet. Where's the Open-Apple key? I researched and could find no good information from the limited provided help screen, from the Homebrew resources, from the developers site itself. I was kind of left in the lurch, because without an Open-Apple, AppleWorks is completely neutered and your hard won paragraph disappears with a press of F-10 as you search for something that might act as an special key so you can save your document. Remember the infant and the keyboard analogy I used yesterday? Yeah, I did resort to that method of input. Not productive, yet satisfying none the less. Cue the trombones, another Ionfarmer experiment has ended in failure. (Via the Ipaq HP 6315 Wi-Fi, backyard, 64F, Sunny, Windy) I was able to ftp back to the Wii via the Ipaq and pick up a copy of AppleWorks and my data disk and then sat and experimented in the sun. The first program I tried was AppleCE. This booted AppleWorks but then dumped into machine language and told me it needed 128k to run AppleWorks. Bring back the trombone players, their work here is not done! I quickly moved over to Pocket //e. That's better. I was able to get a full boot cycle, load my file from the data disk, write this report, and save it. Saving it was tricky, because like WiiApple, the open-Apple key is not evident and I eventually found it by pressing the menu button on the keyboard extension and pressing "s". That was a damn weird combination, and If I had been using any other mode of text input, I would have written this off as well, and the trombone players would have gotten paid overtime. But this one was a success, and after the save I was able to ftp the data disk back to the Windows XP machine. There are downsides to writing with the Pocket PC. Firstly, 80-Colums on a 2 inch wide screen. Now my characters are about 1/16" high and damn near indecipherable. Secondly the means to input the text itself, although does include an external keyboard adapter, onscreen keyboard and handwriting recognition, is slow when compared to a full sized keyboard. Did I say slow? How about slow and hellish. That's right, I am sure that this device I have just used is a highly sought after prize to the Devil's minions. I can envision the teeming throngs of Hell now, chained in fire, suffering torment, hunched over, squinting and poking this device, eternally trying to create a nice letter to their mums and never any progress made. Yes, pure evil. Enough evil to have the Devil himself question weather the fire and the chains weren't just a little bit of rediculous overkill to begin with. Actually, in the artworks of the renaissance masters, I am sure that in any painting of Lucifer's fall from grace, if you ignore his contorted freefall and expression of anguish, and stare long enough at his waistline, there attached you will see an HP 6315, with the keyboard adapter, that I am sure was issued to him just before his journey. (Back to the Platinum IIe) So this document has made the rounds, none the worse for wear, other than the bit that was lost on the Wii. Of course the question will linger, "Why would anyone actually do this?" I don't know. I mean I didn't actually meet my mark. Maybe it could be met in about a year or so, if progress continues on WiiApple. I didn't really see anything addressing the Open-Apple issue, probably because it's just my weird issue and games really don't call on the Open-Apple that much. So maybe I oversold the idea that AppleWorks is the most dominate Word Process Species on the planet and I'll admit that my initial ideations of the abilities of technology to interface were idealistic. But all that aside, the question of why still lingers and I can tell you why I would do something like that. I did it for the pure joy of screwing around with an Apple on a Sunday afternoon. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/09/2009 03:18 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Earlier in this e-log, I had stated that I'd like to write a Apple II based program that would help me create this journal. This morning I realized that I already had one. It's called AppleWorks. So today, I am going to experiment with AppleWorks v3.0. Given the simple nature of this web page, AppleWorks is a natural fit. I am familiar with the workings of AppleWorks from my elementary school days, in which I found myself dreading writing a book report or history class report for weeks until the pleasure of not actually doing the report became overwhelmed by the painful reality of what would happen if I didn't create the report. Yes, I offered up my young academic knowledge at that time, whether it was a biography of Stonewall Jackson and his unusual hygiene practices or a book review of Hobgoblin by John Coyne, laced with snide observations to bolster my postulation that, in fact and despite the entertainment media's persistent observations to the contrary, one did not have to suffer a psychotic break from reality to enjoy fantasy war gaming. Of course, I used AppleWorks for my own purposes as well. One time I recall spending an entire weekend typing up a document that contained every title, writing credit, and lyric of every Iron Maiden song to that point. (Of course, it was just to that point, because if there were more lyrics, I would have found a whole new level of features AppleWorks didn't even advertise!) Then I printed it out. Pure Magic! Being 13, I knew how great this document was! Green and white fan fold computer paper, printed on a dot matrix printer that was low on ink so that the words were closer to a faint sepia than black. What a treasure! AppleWorks 3.0 is a great word processor still. At least it is for the application that I am going to give it. The interface is simple and clean, the open apple commands are easy to master, although it does take a moment to translate their rudimentary functions and mechanics when compared to modern equivalents. If you have a physical machine to actually use the program with, the experience is that much greater due to the sculpted Apple II keyboard. This may come down to personal preference, but the auditory and tactile experience of typing on a genuine Apple II keyboard has always inspired me to write even more. I know that keyboards have an intuitive nature by their design alone. One can take any infant or toddler and get the child near the keyboard to see an instant flash of recognition that this device has buttons and those buttons need to be mashed, vigorously and often. Mashing the buttons on a genuine Apple II though, it's a different experience, somewhere between silk and single malt, and one as an Apple II aficionado, which I appreciate keenly. Aside from the inherent tactile rewards, here is why I think I am sold on AppleWorks to write this journal: From the onset, this retro design (or lack thereof) screamed for 80-colum formatting, but as I was editing the line breaks by hand, I approximated very, very generally to fit the material. I wanted to re-format this site into 80-columns ever since I saw a Contiki/Apple II demonstration wherein my conciseness became aware that Apple II's and web-surfing were not mutually exclusive. I am very interested in getting my Apple II online, solely for the novelty, I admit, but regardless, I need a site that is friendly to go to and as the converse of that, I need a site that is friendly to come to. AppleWorks as executed by the AppleWin emulator nicely pre-formats my blog into 80-column when I print it. Here's how it works: I spend sometime typing up an entry on the real life Apple IIe for the reasons stated above. I use the ADT (Apple Disk Transfer) program to send my saved file, in my case IONFARMER.DSK to my windows machine. I open the file with my AppleWin emulator and 'print' it. The emulator sends the output to a textfile where I can strip the printer linefeeds with a find and replace from notepad. Perfect 80 column output and I don't have to format it by hand. Conceptually this represents perfect symmetry by synchronicity: 1.) Develop a log about using technology in a retro style. 2.) Act on an urge to revisit a computer from your past. 3.) Discover that is was the perfect vehicle to write your musings to begin with. There's also some technical ecstasy that will be associated with this experiment in 'productivity'. As stated earlier, I have a Wii that I have hacked using the Twilight Hack method. This hack grants me access to The Homebrew Channel, that gives me access to 2 important programs for this side-experiment. The first is WiiApple, an Apple II emulator that uses the Wii as a platform and demands an USB keyboard. The second is a program called ftpii that allows the Wii to function as a ftpii server. With these 2 programs I should be able to write a journal entry, using AppleWorks 3.0, on a Wii, save it, ftp the document disk to my main machine later, proof it, print it, process it, and post it. There is also one more way in which I will be able to unleash the fury of this beautiful program, and that would be via the HP 6315 Ipaq Pocket PC I acquired some years ago. Let me be up front, as a phone this conglomerated wreckage is a failure, as most conversations I had were inaudible, the speakerphone was really a white noise generator, and my favorite "feature"; the phone would randomly dial people in your address book, at random times. Let me stress the potentially embarrassing impact of random times at this point. But in an attempt to cut my losses, let me say that there are some features I discovered and liked for a handheld computer. The HP6315 phone/pda predated the iPhone and allowed me to watch movies, take pictures, listen to music, use wifi and Bluetooth, but the best thing for me is that it could be used with PocketPuTTY for ssh and telnet. I could telnet via Wifi or GPRS and that meant by using a unix shell account, I didn't need to load the memory up with a IRC client. . .I could use BitchX. It also had a remote VNC client I could use to access systems. But here's the great aspect of this older handheld. It has the ability to run Apple emulation, either AppleCE or Pocket //e 1.02 and I want to test the functions of this as it relates to this log. I am envisioning writing an entry in a waiting room somewhere, on the Ipaq, with AppleWorks 3.0, syncing the device when I get back home, accessing the file and posting it. There's just something damn satisfying about working with older tools and finding out that they still do their job as efficiently as their modern counterparts. Even if I do not. -Attempt less. -Accomplish more. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/08/2009 11:09 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ A few years ago I was on my way to work, sleepily. As I left that morning, I noticed an older laptop computer sitting near the dumpster. I immediately recycled it and later learned that the hard drive was destroyed and it had no network card. Now that's a nice easy fix for a free Dell Inspiron 2500. What would I do with this fellow? Well as you can see from earlier posts, I like to repurpose my older rigs. It's easy to find things for them to do, an not every task needs massive CPU cycles to function in an excellent manner. I popped a 120 GB hard drive in it, thinking that maybe it would find a place as network storage. (This was before I discovered FreeNAS). It functioned for about a year as a Synchronet BBS. Eventually, This laptop became a Dual boot system between Windows XP and Ubuntu. I mainly use the Ubuntu side, but it's nice to have options. I was reading the comp.sys.apple posts today and saw a post from PZ that lead his blog displaying the 6502 code from the Terminator movie in great resolution. I immediately realized that these images would make a great desktop, but here comes the remix: If you grab some Apple II System Fonts and install them under Ubuntu, install conky and modify a simple conky config file, you can get the conky system monitor updates to match the style of 6502 assembly language output. I use this computer everyday as my comms box for Skype, chat, and e-mail and the like that so I reduce the load on my main machine. I bounce back and forth between the Unbuntu machine, the XP machine and the eeePC with a nice program called Synergy that allows me to use my mouse and keyboard on all 3 machines seamlessly. Yeah, I use that old laptop everyday as a poor mans's duo core and I *still* can't believe that someone tried to trash my version of The Terminator.
HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/06/2009 08:03 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Here is a photo of the mightiest, mightiest decal that I just received and promptly applied to my most portable rig. Why, yes, it is a 6502 oval nationality sticker. Yeah, that's right,I'm from the 8-bit Nation.
Hanging out in IRC today a reference was made to a seller on eBay selling an IBM card of "Unknown Function". This prompted me to do a search for Unknown Function and that revealed that this seller has cornered the market on devices for IBM's with "Unknown Function". In fact, "Unknown Function" is now my favorite eBay search who knows what that search will yield someday? Enough pieces to build an Improbability Drive? The firmware for a time machine ala Primer? Who knows, with all the mysterious references in the descriptions of where it was found, computers repairs shops that have long since closed, the lingering mystery of the term "Unknown Function" itself . . . the possibilities are dreamlike. It's a technician's version of the famous Ghost in a Jar. So in the Apple Software Department I explored the RPG Akalabeth, the Ultima Series prototype or prequel if you will. This is an early Dungeon crawler and embodied all I wanted to do as a lad: Going room to room killing monsters. Despite this I still turned out all right, I think, disregarding my present Apple II dementia. It is entertaining to me to play this graphical adventure written in Applesoft, a little fact that reminded me all night as I dreaded the slow appearance of another long hallway in the dungeon that I need to find an accelerator, any accelerator, for this machine. Despite the wait times for long hallways, I actually enjoyed my adventure within these caverns of doom. The crude style of this RPG reminds me of my own crude adventures resolved in pencil and paper. In fact, it was very much like my very first pen and paper adventure with my friends, in which I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, why would I draw a dungeon map when I had a perfectly good map from the board game "Clue" that I could use? Akalabeth dungeons are a lot like that rectilinear style, and so easy to map. This was one of the first games that I really connected with, the very first being between the cassette loaded Star Wars and Brick-Out. (Yeah, I BLOADed those on some red and silver Radio Shack C-15 Cassettes, the shorter length cassettes seeming to provide more consistent program loads). Lord British presents Akalabeth in the title was probably the first inkling I had to the concept of a computer related alias. Ah, Lord British. In my young mind there was a torrent of fantasy ideas about the hero Lord British was (None of which lived up to the true life adventures of the REAL Lord British). It wasn't soon after my introduction to Lord British that these heroic ideas that the Akalabeth title churned up were transferred to all sorts of Apple pirates with their BBSes and thier flashy crack screens. Here was a uncharted continent populated by an entire throng of heroic types just like Lord British. I knew it to be true in my 12 year old logic, the Pirate names, the awesome graphics, the very real power to crack software, These characters were more than the fictions embodiments of graphic novels could ever come up with because, to me, they were able to manifest thier super powers in real life. And so, it becomes evident. In some ways to know me and why I have certain default core beliefs, you have to understand my realtionship with the Apple II. Applesoftsoft Basic and DOS 3.3 are my native languages. I speak others, but these are my native tongues that I learned to use to manifest intangible ideas. With every other system and code I have had to conform to their laws and peculiarities. Working with them is similar to living abroad. It's the little things that are different, and with time you don't notice how much you have changed, but still, who can be still when they hear their native language after so long? Here is a great audio file concerning Apple II Pirate Lore by Jason Scott. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/05/2009 12:25 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ After some Apple ][ Shenanigans yesterday, I discovered that the Apple ][ could be used as an 8-bit recorder. It has a unique broken tone that I think would be great for a really dirty solo. Unfortunately as I only have 64K of RAM at the moment I am limited to about a minute and 10 seconds of recording time. I made a lo-res video. ~~~~~~~~~~ 05/05/2009 01:48 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ The Apple ][ delirium is only becoming worse, I am afraid. It seems to me that the Apple II system that I want to create is completely attainable, and affordable, but, only by the proper application of time. The process of putting a good system together holds for me the same intrigue and mental justification of building a compelling conspiracy theory: the final product has to also initiate its own creation. Every piece and part I desire seems available, I just have to wait my turn, which is all right with me, as I find this whole endeavor enjoyable and satisfying. This is the update on my acquired system so far: My Apple ][e Platinum arrived in great shape, with a Duo Drive, Super Serial Card, and the Aux 80 column card. Unfortunately the Monochrome monitor was shipped in a separate package and shipped by what I can only guess was the Surly Postal Worker Express Service. I am not certain, but I think this service involves some sort of indentured servitude to the Post Office, workers who are kept in cages and poked at with pointy sticks while forced to maintain 100 hour work weeks. I am also pretty sure that I saw a boot mark on the "FRAGILE" stamp on the box. I guess Surly Postal Workers don't read Italian. The package revealed upon opening: 1 RCA Video connection, 1 APPLE ][e Computer AC Power cord, and one Green Screen Monochrome monitor with a destroyed housing that lay in pieces inside the wrapping. This is terrible, I thought at first, although it did bring my attention to the Carte Blanche project. Among the feature rich environment of Carte Blanche is a Apple ][ to VGA possibility. But as usual, time is the factor here. . . So, this is where my mania really takes hold, because I have to find a monitor, deploy my USPS insurance, and see if the system is functional as advertised. So I take photos of the damage, make PDF's of the auction listing, the correspondence, similar priced monitors on eBay, and file insurance online for shipping the monitor and the full price of the auction. In 3 days the USPS cut me a check and the ][e and Duo Disk and cards now weigh in at $18.00, the price of shipping the ][e package. Nice! Now, I have some headroom to replace my monitor. I ended up with the same model of the display, only crappier in it's care and featuring a very poorly functioning CRT, and a damaged power cord. I pulled parts off of my now spare parts monitor and made the power supply safe to use and fired up the system. In the mean time, I ordered some used 5.25" floppies from Colorado; 54 old floppies for 3.25 plus shipping, about $10. They arrive the time as the 2nd monitor. The system functions without a hitch. Well one hitch. I have no software. This is the part where I learn that ADT - Apple Disk Transfer 1.1.2 is my new best friend. After a little online research I reconfigure the Super Serial Card to slot 2 and set the baud rate to 300 via dip switches. I matched this to the USB Serial device driver on my PC and configure the software and am able to bootstrap ProDOS and ADT itself and make my first disk, a copy of ADT. I never knew a serial connection could be so exciting! Or so I thought. . . Remember those eBay floppies I got from Colorado. Yeah, a closer look reveals that the 100 Disk file box they came in was dry rotted on the inside, and I could surmise that these babies were stored outside somewhere because condensation had wrinkled some of the envelopes. I spent the day trying to recover just 1 disk to use. The Disks that met my longevity/abuse tests in this case were Verbatim Data Life Colors and Memorex 2D/2S. Good stuff. Well, half of the disks were a write off by type alone. This was a mixed bag of IBM AT High Density disks and the Disks I could actually use. Of the disks I could use, cobwebs that had deteriorated left residue on the sleeve and the media itself, and in addition to the dry rot / mold, things were looking grim. Over the course of an entire day, I developed this method of salvaging old, unimportant floppies. Be forewarned: It is a method that will be hailed by people of low character and rebuked by and decent, law abiding technicians. Necessary Tools: 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, 15-20 Cotton Swabs, and a stack of Zombie Floppies from Outer Space. Step 1: Wet Cotton Swab with Alcohol. Step 2: Place Floppy on flat surface with side opposite label facing up. Step 2: Lift Center Hub Hole on Disk Sleeve. Step 3: Jam Swab between sleeve and disk media and clean it firmly like cleaning a CD,making rays perpedicular to the hub. No need to get every single square centimeter. Step 4: Format Disk. Rotation of disk cleans the surface as well because of the alcohol and fiberous lining inside the sleeve. If Format = Failed GOTO Step 1. Step 5: Hang your head in shame for resorting to such a method of desperation. Feel the shame. Now let it drift away . . . When this process was completed, I had salvaged 10 disks, which I then notched and repeated the process on the opposite side. After that I opened up the ancient DuoDisk Drive and proceeded to clean it using this excellent page over at Apple2.info as a guide: Cleaning 5.25" Drive Heads. After sucessfully creating an ADT disk with a floppy from beyond the grave (cue the Theremin), I bumped up the serial transfer to 19,200 Baud and the bootstrap rate to 9600. After reliving that blazing 300 Baud transfer rate I felt like stepped into a time portal when I saw the rate of a 19.2K transfer. Radical! My second disk was a ProDOS sytem utilities disk that I could format other undead floppies with. During this time I seemed to notice that transfers might have gone faster/smoother with a ProDOS Formatted disk from system utilities compared to the stock ADT format but it may have been a hallucination, I do have the Apple madness remember. . . I swapped out the cruddy CRT with the nicer looking one that arrived from the Surly Postal Workers. 3 of the 4 fastener studs that held the CRT retaining screws were broken, from years of EM flux I suppose, I had no choice but to super-glue them and attempt a installation. It worked and the monitor looks crisp for an antique monochrome. So now, I have system disks and am exploring this thing they call a Platinum IIe. When I have the time . . . unfortunately my Apple ][ mania has found me searching the dark corners of the internet, late at night, and in my free time, searching in what feels like an eternal and unsatisfied quest for accessories. Of course those are the same qualities that make a good life long hobby. My first peripheral experiment is with a Z80 card. I found a cheap generic Z80 card from a dealer that I can only imagine as one of the more questionable noodle vendor kiosks from Blade Runner. I got my card and am just now starting to educate myself with it. It seems like there are some problems with my initial dabbling, but it mat be my inexperience with the system. I am currently reading all I can about this setup and trying to educate myself enough so either I can diagnose what I see or form a decent question about what I see. I seem to have a lot of "productivity" software for CP/M which strikes as funny when I think about using productivity software on an 8-bit. I mean no disrespect to any software of it's time, but the temporal displacement makes it funny to me because there are a lot of pointless activities one must engage in to create a system in the first place to use this productivity software. It could very well be the most unproductive activity one could engage in. Yet another characteristic of a great life long hobby, or, as many around me must believe, an untreatable symptom of the Apple fixation. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 04/14/2009 8:25 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ Well the Apple ][ mania has culminated this week as I have actually purchased an Apple ][e Platinum from an auction. The machine ran $41.00 and looks to be in excellent condition. I am eagerly awaiting it's arrival. I am very interested in seeing if I can get this old box online in any form and will contact A2Retrosystems.com about the Uthernet card after I have had time to access the box and ensure I have a working machine. The package includes a duo-disk drive and what appears to be a monochrome green screen monitor, although this was not clear from the photographs. Now, I have to begin a search for at least one system disk to start this thing up with. In my discussions with my family I have discovered that I have access to the Apple ][e of my younger years that I though had long since joined the BBS Invisible. This was good news for me, because in the leastit should give me access to some floppy disks and at the most it would give me asecond 8-bit platform for whatever I could do with it. In addition I have purchased a IDE to CF reader that will act, as I understand it, as a drive to store and transfer disk images with. This is made by ReactiveMicro.com and they have a slew of innovative products for vintage Apples. HOME ~~~~~~~~~~ 04/07/2009 8:26 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ ]CATALOG IONFARMER DOS V254 A 002 HELLO *B 143 AKLABETH *B 087 APPLE PANIC *A 254 BALLYHOO *A 054 BEAGLE BROS TIPS DISK *B 113 BEER RUN *A 801 CHIVALRY B 118 DESECRATION *B 154 DONKEY KONG *B 112 DUNGEON & WILDERNESS CAMPAIGN B 118 EAMON 001 MAIN HALL & BEGINNERS CAVE B 086 ESCAPE! *B 313 HACKER *B 371 HITCHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY B 216 LODERUNNER B 231 MURDER ON THE ZINDERNEUF *A 222 OREGON TRAIL *A 222 PAC MAN *A 222 RACE FOR MIDNIGHT *B 014 ROBOTRON *A 222 ROBOTWAR *A 222 SILENT SERVICE *B 111 SNEAKERS *A 222 SARGON III B 216 THE DRAGON'S EYE *A 222 TRANSYVANIA]_
My current Apple ][ mania continues. I found a java based emulator by the name of AppleIIGo. It seems to do a great job except for the continuous Apple ][ speaker noise I get when I use it and that only goes away when I completely shut down my browser. Other than that, it does a fine job.during the quest for Apple ][ knowledge, I came across this site 1 MHz. It's a podcast for Apple ]['s. HA! That's way funny to me. He actually does a really good podcast. I've listened to about half the shows and they have been quite informative to me as far as the continuing workthat is being done with these machines. It's staggering to me really. I remember as I made mytransition out of 12th Grade into higher learning, I felt a little betrayed by Apple. It was alljust personal perspective, of course, but I was also very into the computer brand name snobbery that users of that era held in high regard. Apple had a great user base and had a communal type of network that facilitated the machine. The first on-line guilds/clans/factions were created by computer brand name. As a young and misguided computerist, I felt I had no were to turn after the Apple IIe, and I did not quite get the new Apple offerings conceptually, although I did get how visually applealing the graphics were. There was no way I was going over to a IBM PC. I'd sooner use a Trash-80 or even a ColecoVision! I think I floated for 5 years, digitally homeless, nomadically exploring my analog roots before I broke down and started using a PC. That's because I am stubborn. I didn't like the PC because you couldn't easily write programs for it. To me there was no real interface, it hooked into the internet, came with a mouse, and you could spent hours on the thing and never touch a keyboard. And to be honest, I never have gotten over the direction that computer's took in the late 80's and early nineties, probably because I never have gotten used to the idea of someone advertising on my computer. I always hated that. And as technology progressed, bandwidth opened up and machines began to explore the physical limitations of their processing architecture, computing has become less the utopian panacea of freethinking innovators and more an extra-diminsional replica of television. 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,*+:####**##############*############################*#####################: :*+ .:+,,...,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.,,.:..,.::.::,.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.,,.:..:.:..:+:+......,.: .+.++***+*++*:**:*..:++++::#++#+:#+:#+:#*:**:*..:+++::#++#+:#+++++++*,,+++++++++ *#*#*########@#@@@@@@#@##@##@##@##@#@##@##@#@@@@@@#@##@##@##@#######**#******** HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~~ 04/06/2009 1:09 PM ~~~~~~~~~~ (My new Apple ][e Desktop. I need to change the wallpaper.) I have been exploring the Apple ][ emulator "WinApple". This came about after playing with disk images on my Twighlight Hacked Wii using the Homebrew Channel Program "WiiApple". My Wii is hooked up to a 54" LCD and thus I am emulating big-time. I thought 8-bit Strip Poker or the French Postcards applications were racey back in the day you should just see that stuff on the big screen! Boy Howdy!(There is something shockingly sad about giant 8-bit porn and by association, those who view it! I am ashamed . . .) I ended up exploring my old Apple .dsk images for the WiiApple emulator and began really getting into the old Apple ][ stuff. After a little research, I was able to merge the main and supplemental disk for CONTIKI into one hard drive image and now I am able to e-mail, FTP, IRC, Telnet, and web surf in 8-bit style! So, that made me hungry to make some new Apple ][ program thingies. Here's the whole deal if you'ld like to experiment: ContikiEMU.zip Just unzip the files, open the WinApple folder, open the WinApple.chm, choose the topic on Uthernet, read it, install the enclosed files or download your own for Pcap or Ethreal depending on your preference. Start WinApple.exe, open configuration and mount contiki.po as your hard drive on slot 7 on the WinApple emulator. (Jason Scott’s textfiles.com as it was meant to be viewed!) I am going to write some programs on the Apple, because I used to be good at it. I have an idea that I could write a blog program that interviews someone and prompts their memory with random questions and then have the blog program format the answers into a HTML template. On WinApple the printer output translates into a txt file. I could append that text file into a html file and maybe figure out a way to schedule a ftp to update the website. Nothing earthshaking, and some of the ideas are derivatives of things Wes and Darren showcased on early www.HAK5.org episodes, but I think it would be cool to do and would allow me a chance to play around with some cool vintage code. While I was digging up things to help me re-learn all the Apple Programming stuff, I came across some Beagle Bros disks. I used to love that software company! I always thought that they “got” what software was about (note: I have never used the term got in quotation markes before this post, either verbally with the silly quotation mark influction of the voice, or in the written form) and they made information so accessible that you wanted to explore deeply. I came across the owner’s manual for Beagle Bag, a games disk. Check out this excerpt from the manual: “BEAGLE BAG is a disk full of games for your Apple computer. You may be surprised to find that it is a NORMAL DISK, just like ones you have initialized yourself. Most other game disks on the market are “locked up” and won’t respond to everyday DOS commands. Not Beagle Bag—- you can CATALOG it, LOAD from it, SAVE to it, DELETE and RENAME programs… ALL that good stuff. Even ctrl-Reset works “normally” (almost) instead of causing a memory-scrambling reboot. Most software manufacturers lock their disks to (try to) prevent piracy. Beagle Bros trusts you and leaves programs unlocked to make them more friendly and more usable. We appreciate your support; don’t pirate our disks, and we won’t pirate yours.” Awesome. Totally awesome. HOME ~~~~~~~~~ 8/27/2008 9:57 AM ~~~~~~~~~ SYSTEM UPDATE: Screw the Six Month Moratorium!!! If you thought I could wait that long without a single log on you were sadly incorrect. The BBS is no more! The Retroshare Dark-net is no more! These systems have been re-purposed due to lack of use, and I have to say they are quite a bit more functional! The two computers that previously served the community have been re-used as follows: The first computer (Freedom Alley BBS) has been upgraded with 3 additional network cards and functions as a firewall for 3 separate networks at the home. The first network is the home net having all the computers hardwired via a router. The second network is independent of the first and uses a Power Over Ethernet (PoE) modified Linksys wireless router that supplies open wireless access to the neighbors and is secure from my home network. The PoE Linksys allows me to deploy the router in placed that have no electrical outlets up to a 100 foot run from the main box. The third network is secured from the other two, and I believe that this will be my future ham radio network. The software that allows me to do all this is a well documented distribution that is simple to install called Smoothwall and is available here: http://www.smoothwall.org/ The second computer (Retroshare) has been turned into a network attached storage machine that uses my most obsolete computer with a massive 2GB hard drive and allows me to have over a terabyte of network attached storage via 3 external hard drives connected to the old girl. It functions flawlessly and allows me to keep my personal files safely backed up with out clogging disk space on my main boxes. I was able to do this using FreeNAS. The beauty of freeNAS is that you can run it with a 32 MB Compact Flash card & a IDE adapter. This software is highly recommended and has plenty of how-to’s available via Google. Get a copy here: http://www.freenas.org/ Both pieces of software have slick web interfaces that allow you to control the machines remotely. This allows you to start up the boxes, loose the keyboard, mouse and monitors and let them hang out in a cubby hole some where humming away contently. HOME ~~~~~~~~~ 6/11/2008 10:53AM ~~~~~~~ I have in my possession an eeePC. 900mHz/4GB flash hard drive/Ubuntu 8.04/ wireless/SD reader/2 lbs/Compiz enabled and wicked. I installed WINE and am running window programs off of a flash stick.In the next couple of weeks I will install 2 USB type A recepticles and add BlueTooth and a 16GB flash drive for a 20GB flash ultra portable. This is a very moddable tool and I find it quite useful on a daily basis. I experimented over the weekend and was able to boot Backtrack3 from a USB drive. The eeePC has an Atheros WiFi card which has the ability to go into promiscuous mode facilitating utilization of the plethora of tools available in Backtrack3. Lots of fun, $350.00 & cheaper than some cell phones. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 5/15/2008 11:55AM ~~~~~~~ Going back to tag the whole D&D thing check out this: 1,100 things Mr. Welch can no longer do during an RPG. Also, the RetroShare DarkNet is down. I will revive it at any time there is interest in the next 6 months. If there is no interest in this private network by then I will write the entire thing off as another Freedom Alley Studios experiment that has ended in failure. Write with comments! Cheers! HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 4/10/2008 8:54PM ~~~~~~ Slick Trick #1 On a locked down Windows PC? No browser in sight? Try calculator: Launch calc.exe, click Help, Help Topics. Right-click the title bar and click Jump To URL. Enter in your favorite site (http://www.hailsnob.com) and away you go! HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 3/8/2008 4:15PM ~~~~~~ RetroShare seems to be fully functional at the moment, although I haven’t received any feedback as of yet. I am operating on the assumption that the program is indeed working as it should. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 3/5/2008 8:15AM ~~~~~~ . @$* @$3 ‘$Nueeed$$ed$$eeec$$ , 4$Lze@*$C2$b* ed(he*rb$CC$*$bc@$r /@ |~~ .e$$”W$$B$B$** ^$ e”"##d?$Bd$$$Nc. .. @\/~\ \==| 4$kd*Cr$6F#”` ** .*== # ‘”**F#$I$b$* | I | d$5N@$$” ….eu$$$$$$N$*$zbeuu #$d$$$$b. / @/ @/ . z$Ted*”$P zue$*9d$$$@## . #W$e@B$$L. “#@$E$b@N #d$Id*P# ‘Nd$$B$**” .*, “#*N$$b$c $$$*$$c .d#+C6J @@$B$*” -***- “#$$$$c *$$$#$u ..u$l4@”^”zJ$7W*” ‘*` ^*$@$$$r “$$E$@B> *@$l$P”+Rd$$N#” * /|\ * ‘”$$$c.. ?E$*b z$ “*. .Jz$” *** / | \ *** ‘*@N$b d**N .z$JBR^bs@$$# * * / | \ * * “$l*9N “bN$Nee 4$$.C* dB@” *** _/ /^\ \_ *** ‘$$$z> 3$b$$# $”$e$ @*$” * * \\^| |^// * * $$$u.^*$N$c JPd$% @@d” *** *********** *** ‘$Ni$ $EP$ :e$”*$ :et$ * *********** * ^$$E 4$N$be ‘)$ud” @6$ 9$$ $*@$” @F*$ *4P ./ ‘$m# .$$. u*”"”"”"”"”"”"h ##===== e#”"”"”"”"”"# E +e ue. N ___##_______ 4F e=c z*c #e$@e.. ..z6+6d” #*************/ ^*cBe$u. .$$@ $ ^”"”" 4F” ze=eu ******** z***hc ^”$ “”*”" $ $ ^F :* 3r @” e “b $ $ .e$ N $ ‘be$L… …?be@F $F $ 9F 4″ $ $ $. zm$*****h. ue”"”"*h6 J$” $ 4% $ $ $ $$u5e” . “k d” #$bu$F $ 4F “N $ $ ^d%P dF $ . .e $ -c “N$F .$ 4F #$$ $ $4*. “N. zP 3r .. .. $c *u $ u$K$ 4F 4L ^N$e. 3 F$k*. “*C$$$# .z$” ‘$ 4L “$c. ‘#$eeedF $$$9r JF J$ $’”$$eu. 4 F3″K$ .e=*CB$$$$L .e$ ‘$bc.u$***hd6C”" 4kF$4F $F u@$F $ ‘”*$*@u N’L$B*”z*”" “$F” 4k 4c ’7$” “*$eu 4′L$J” $ .e$*”4F $ ‘”hC*$ “$#.P” $me$” #$*$ . ^*INJL$”$ $e$$*# 4F $ $b”h “.F $” ^F $ 9r #L#$FJEd#C@” 4L .$ $Jb J”.. 4b uF *k J% #c^ $” d$ 4L :”$ $k9 $ $%4c $Bme.ze$ ‘*$+eee@*$” :r$ @L$ 4$ $ $ $$Jr $d” ‘$r “*==*” “#**”" $r 4$3r db$F 4F $c$ $’*F $” ‘$ /\ $ *(L $$$F k #i*e. $ 4> $ ue $ \`.||.’/ ‘L c $$ .L$d .$ “b.”*e. 4 4 $ $%db=eL `.<\||/>.’ e*+$/$r $ ‘$”$ .d$$ $^#+cC*mu 4r4 4r:6@F $$ —–++—– <$. “N?N F $ $ ud$$* $ $ “*eJ”@L4 4k*3Ic.*L `.<\||/>.’ e*5.J$$..F $ $ ue#2*” $ $ “N.”@r 4Fd” ‘$r /.’||`.\ 4$ ‘”N*d” 9.$#Ce*” $ $ “e^” ‘d” uz$% \/ ‘$czr”k#” 4Pu@” $ As you probably heard, Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, passed away recently. Since then, nearly every news outlet has taken the opportunity to make a cheap D&D pun at Mr. Gygax�s expense. Here are some examples I have found: 1) Started a new character sheet. 2) Is looking for a ninth-level cleric. 3) Failed his save vs. death magic. 4) Is food for purple worms. 5) Immediately became an NPC. 6) Finished the Doritos. 7) Has gone pips up. 8) Is pushing up shriekers. 9) Cashed in his gold pieces. 10) Took the first step to lichdom. 11) Went ethereal. 12) Kicked on the end of a spear. 13) Didn’t make his system shock roll. 14) Bought the farm in Hommlet. 15) Is taking a dice nap. 16) Has gone to meet Zagyg. 17) Rolled his last natural 20. 18) Went against the giants. 19) Joined the gaming table invisible. 20) Is sleeping with the sahuagin. 21) Drew the Void. 22) Ended the campaign. 23) Kicked the dice bag. 24) Retired Mordenkainen. 25) Got screwed by the DM. Well, I for one find it denigrating and disgusting, hardly a fitting tribute to a man who helped provide so much joy to so many. Therefore, in an effort to ensure no one will make any more terrible puns, I have compressed as many as possible into the following obituary. Hopefully running the premise into the ground will convince others to give it a rest. Gary �The Beholder� Gygax reached epic level this week after rolling a natural 1 during a battle with Time. Apothecaries have stated that despite his Alertness feat, he was caught flat-footed and failed a subsequent Fortitude save to negate the effects of a Level 8 Finger of Death spell (touch attack), due largely to a -3 Constitution modifier brought about by a Curse of Natural Ageing. Though clerics at the Temple of Pelor have attempted a resurrection, it appears Mr. Gygax has been the victim of a Soul Bind enchantment, and has already passed through the material, astral, and shadow planes into worlds beyond. Mr. Gygax is best known for his Critical Hit Sneak Attack against an Ancient Red Dragon during a treasure-hunting excursion in Ched Nasad, and for turning a Bag of Holding inside out in order to destroy an evil pocket dimension. Later in life, he retired from adventuring to work with animals, training Mordenkainen�s Faithful Watchdogs for the blind and chairing a committee for the conservation of Gelatinous Cubes. He is survived by his wife, two half-elf children, and a +5 Mace of Shock. There, now I hope we can all let Mr. Gygax rest in peace. And if you�d like to contact me about giving a eulogy, I speak Common, Kobold, Abyssal and Underdark. ,….,. ..” .’ .’” | .” \ .” \. .’ .”., ,:’ ..,’”‘ ‘…,..::/”"….. /’” .,’”‘ .,’,:,’”"‘ .,” ,’.’ .,’”‘ ..,”’ “” .’ .”‘ ,’ \, ..,” .,”. ..,’”" ./ .” .” .,” .,’”.,”‘./ ..” / ,’ .’ ./’.,”‘ .’ “‘ .” ‘. / .’ ./’ ./”.”\,..,” ‘” ../, , | , ./’ .’./’|/ ………… ‘,| / /’ ,’.”.,’”"\….. ‘”"”"”"”"‘ .::/’.., | / .” ,’ ‘:\ “”" | , ” ‘”" \ / /’.”. |:::::::”"‘ ,’ ‘ ”. “.,., “”"‘ .”" | .” /.,”:. “”.., “\’..”‘.. ;”‘ ‘\.’”"” .” | \.:\. ‘”"./\ \ | ‘ ‘” .,”". / / \’ ‘”.. “, \ \,’, “‘.. ., ‘ /.’”,”.., ‘\, ‘\ “. ‘\’., , “‘. “‘.,| .,’ ‘”. ‘, \ ‘.”.. ”../’ “” __\ ‘ \,’, \ ‘.’\.., “,”‘ .’” | | ‘| ,\”"‘\/. | .” .” .| . / / ./’. ‘.”.’ /’ /’ ..|’:”"”\././ / ” ‘/\.’ // ./ .’” /’ ./’.’ .’ | .., ‘:| ./: ,/ |”, ‘ .”‘ : ‘ | …/:, .’.’.\/ /.’ ” ., ..\’ .,\.\”.’ /” ,”‘ \…, “\.\| “, / ./”"”"‘ ..: ‘,| “”., ‘\ ‘, .,’ “‘ \| “”.’”. ‘/ .| ‘\. “, ‘\ / \. ../, “./ ‘\ |’ \/”" ‘”.’\ \ / ‘\\:. \,”\::’ ./”"‘ ./| .’ .’”/| ‘| ‘ ,”\:”/”"” /’ .”\’ .., |:| .| |’ .” .\| ‘, |/ / /’ .’| / |. \, /’”/. | |:\..,” .|| \ ” /.’ //\|’ ‘\/\:. :,/”‘::. , ..::’| | ||’/, ‘\\/”\ ‘/| ‘\ ‘”::::”| || . || \\ “”. …, ‘. \\…| |’ | || “\, .”.\, “. ‘, | \ ‘|| | ‘ |\|’|\/.”\ | |\ || | ||\/”/| ‘\, ., / / / , ‘ \ ” ‘” / / .’ / ‘ .’”.’ .’ / ..’”‘..” .” .” .,”":.’”"..’” .” .,:’”‘”‘ .’” ..’” .” .”‘..’”"…,”‘ ..” ” , “”‘ / . :/”‘ .’ :/’ / /’ / .’ / ‘ /.’ ‘ HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 2/16/2008 12:14PM ~~~~~~~~~ OK, I admit that we are NOT sitting as pretty as I thought back on the 12th. Granted, that ancient box I put the network is underpowered, I failed to estimate how underpowered it was and I under estimated it’s network infra- structure problems. Well, to be honest I just wanted to make it small, so I didn’t think I needed to do anything but rudimentary planning. That being said, I have made some small corrections to the network, but it will be a while before I can make the most important correction, that being a completely new box to run it on. Also, I have not seen the directory on my second hard drive show up on this computer and am wondering if they ever will. I am in the process of sorting out the deficiencies and correcting what I can to make this a better experience. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ iWWMMMMBt+++VBMBRBVBXXXBBBMMMMMMBMMMM iWMRRXRRI+IVBXXBBBBBBRBXXRBMBMRXXXBBBMMMM VWMRYiYVXtIRBBBBMMMMMMMMMMMMWWMMMBXYtIYXMBB =RWWWBI =BRXXRRRBBMMMMMMMWMMMMMMMMBBBRVVXRXRV tWWMWWWY ;WBXVXXRRBBMMMMMMWWWMMWWWWMMMBRRXXXVVI +WWWMMWWX;VBVIVVXRRRMMMWWWWWWWMMWWWWMMMBRRBRRRVi MWWWWBRMBYXVVXI+;;+iIXBWWWWWWWWWWWWWWMMBBBRBBBBMI XWWWWMVRXVt;t+=IXBRRYi=iVMWWWWWWMXVYIYVYVBBBBBBRBMBI ,MWMWBYXXRBR=.=tYVBMMWMV=+RMWWWWBXVIVRRRRViIBBRBXYMWWV MWRRItRBMMMM::+,+ttIVVMM;iBMWWMRRMMWWMBRRRYiVVtVVRBMY MWXtX=tMMMMMIt,.:=tYBMRBBIBWWMMMVIItXBMXVVI+tIiI:YRXMB WMBIiR+YtBBMXRBMMMMMMMBRYRMWMMMMWWXti,.;tItIIYYiRRBBMMV ,MWMMtIRR=,+XBBMMMMMMMMWR:;RWWBRMMWWWMBRXYXBBXYYV+VMWMBMMM VWMMi::BW, IIRMMMMWWWWX+..,I+:iMMWWWWWWMMMBBRXVXYRMMWMBMMX +WMMY::,BX :RMBMMMWWMMRYVVXMWBXVMWWWWWWWMMBRXXXXYIRMBMMBBMR =WMBBi:tt tBBRBBMMMMRYtitYYVXMWWWWWMWWMMBXXVYXVi:VMMMMMMWV RWRV+,;,, XBRRRBBBt,..:+t=+:..+RWWWWWMBBXVVVXXIiI:IVMMBMMMW IMRBRRBMB= YXRRRBBBB,..+YBBBBV…=MWWMBBRRVVXXBYXRRBXBMMBMMMB tMYitIXMi iYXXRXRBRt;.:itt=:=iXMWWWMBBRRVXXRRVRMWWMMMMMMBBB :MR:.,:Ii YVVXRBBBMMRRRBMWMMMMMMMMBBRXXXYY+VMXMWMBMMBBVVRI :RY+ iVRBBBBMMMWWWMMMMMMMBBBBRRXVt.iXYRYXMBBBYItVVt =XVY, ;tVRBBMMMWWWMMMMBMBBBBXVYt iXBMWWMRVXYXMMY RX:, ,,;+tIIVXRBBRXVVIIi=,.= iYYt+;,;iYRMMXt ~~~~~~~~~ 2/12/2008 ~~~~~~~~~ 6:03AM Oh yeah! We’re looking pretty good today! One drive has the information ready but there was a delayed write error on the other drive and for some reason I had to remount it. It should be going through the same tracking process today and tomorrow that the first drive just finished. So, basically the net is ready on my end. If your trying it out and having some issues, get in touch with me and the brothers gonna work it out. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 2/11/2008 ~~~~~~~~~ 5:39AM The new network is still hashing up trackers. The processor is about 6 times as slow as the last processor and I added about twice as much load. I’m guessing that it will be done between 36 & 72 hours. I started about 4:00PM Sunday so that will put the trackers at being ready at the earliest 4:00AM on Tuesday morning and at the latest 4:00pm on Wednesday evening. That’s a real coarse estimate, and I’m hoping that I am underestimating the power of old gear, but I doubt it. I’m going as fast as 533 MHz will take me. Yeah, It’s taking a long time to get going, but as for a more reliable platform, in the words of our infallible leader, “Mission Accomplished!” 5:45PM The network is still hashing up trackers. I’m just going to let it ride tonight and see where we are in the morning. I can see the drives working it. I can see that the Retroshare process is active and sucking up memory. We’ll see. . . _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ Zero-Tolerance Exclusive Funk Zone .o######################################################################o. ########################XX///X############################################ #######################XX///////X######################################### #####################”#P”"”"”"”Y#”######################################## ####################( #”^##P”##.# )####################################### #####################.#b. .b .d#.######################################## #######################”b.—.d##.:%0##################################### #####################” `#m.m#’….::%0################################### ##################P” .. |”"”| ….::%0################################# ##############P”" . …. `. ,’ ..:.::%0############################## #############. . ….:: |.| ….:::%0########################### #############b .. .:.::: |.| . .:. …::::%0######################## ##########” `#:.:::::: .| . :.:%%%.. ….::::%0##################### ########”" .md##::::%#:: :.| ….:.::%%#o. ….:.:::%0################### ########mm#######::%##%. ..| ..:.:.::%%###o. …..::::################### #####P”" “”^Y#######m.. | . :.:.%:%#####o. ..mm^^0################### ###( “^” )##########mm.. :.:.:%#######o..#P `^################ #####mmm…..mmm################################## m m . )############### ##################################################m##.m.b.################ #mm…”"^^##################################0P”"”" “”"^Y######### ########mmmm…”"^^########################( “^” )######## #################mmmm….”"^^###############0mmm… …mmm0######### ###########################mmmm….”"”"^^################################# ######################################mmmmm…..”"”"###################### ‘^######################################################################^’ _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ I am thinking of the summertime and how badly I need some of it. Bright, warm sunlight, blue skies, an occaisional cool breeze and a high ball full of some- thing delightful. In that spirit allow me to introduce to you: The Afternoon Faux-Jito Delight ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2 Parts Baccardi “O” orange flavored rum 1 Part Stirrings Mojito Mix A splash of club soda 1 lime wedge Carefully deliver the rum and mojito mix to a cocktail shaker, as not to bruise these precious ingredients. Add some ice. Shake the living hell out of it — don’t stop until you start to sweat. Strain it into a nice high ball glass (plastic if going poolside). Add one splash of club soda garnish the thing with that wedge of lime and enjoy! UPDATE: Suckered in by advertisement and a longing for warmer climes, I can no longer recommend this concoction as I found it to be a poor substitute for the real thing. Please people, mix your your drinks from scratch and avoid the pre-mix woe! HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 2/10/2008 ~~~~~~~~~ 9:28AM The Freedom Alley DARK NET will be down today. I found the laptop had re-booted sometime in the night. I think the graphics card gets hot and doesn’t like to operate. That being the case, it never has an uptime of over a week. Because of this fact and the fact that it takes forever to re-hash the file trackers after a re-boot, I am going to spend today re-organizing my directory and then the network. I have an old desktop that’s had the BBS up for 52 days straight and will implement the hardware over there if possible. I will e-mail established parties the new certificate when complete. Also, I made the domain http://WWW.HAILSNOB.COM to point to this web log. 4:08PM The network changes are in place and now it’s a waiting game to see how long it will take for the file hashes to update. I sent the e-mail, keep an eye out for it. The initial beta test last night showed this file share to be everything I was hoping it would be, but it takes some patience to set up. Give it some time and we should be good for tomorrow. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 2/9/2008 ~~~~~~~~ 4:46PM Booyah! Made a Retroshare connection with Radarmonster with light phone support We were able to chat and to send messages with each other. We have as yet to share a file, but I am hoping rectify this before the evening is out. 5:19PM OSX Update ~ Hey, Apple Buddies, I found a message about compiling the software for OSX in the Retroshare forum. If you are having a tecticularly driven moment you might check it out here: http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?thread_id=1831496&forum_id=618174 8:10PM The first file exchange has taken place between Radarmonster and Freedom76. The lesson learned today is that the conversion of the torrent hash takes an incredibly long time with a massive amount of directory. So when you select a folder to share, remember that it will be a while before you can download and upload. Patience is the key here, but after that directory have been hashed up for transfer the program seems to work as expected. Be careful in the folders you decide to share because the user group can see the entire directory. Again, please be PATIENT when you select directories to upload, it takes a while to get them to be usable. It takes a LONG time for the file trackers to update, so if you put a file/folder that you don’t want visible up by mistake it will take a long time for the change to take place. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 2/8/2008 ~~~~~~~~ 10:59AM My man in PGH is having some trouble with OSX and Retroshare. Al-Dog had to back door his network by using Retroshare on a PC and networking to the Mac. I’m really hoping that this set up is not too buggy to be usable. 11:09AM There will be a round table discussion this evening at the Sylvan Street Grill in Danvers 4:00PM – 6:00PM concerning underground research and development in the growing career field of pint drainage. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 2/7/2008 ~~~~~~~~ 1:05PM I spoke with Al-Dog. We are going to try a connection tonight. I will post with any irregularities, and knowing me, with any regularities as well. I also invoked Radarmonster to make an appearance. 5:58PM I am up & running. I’m hanging out until about nine or so. I’m listening to an audio book, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Yeah, you know what I’m talkin’ about Slarty Bartfast. Seriously, I might be in trouble here. . . between the green screen and the vintage literature, I’ve set the controls of the time machine to the heart of 1984. Well, the truth is, it’s not a time machine, it’s a plastic bag. I have it over my head, but I am speeding forward through time, it’s just at the speed of regular time, though. 6:58PM The First Discovery. . . (6:55:02 PM) Al-Dog: doesn’t work on non Intel macs (6:55:13 PM) Freedom76: DAMN! (6:55:25 PM) Al-Dog: wtf? (6:55:42 PM) Al-Dog: well, i guess i can use the wife’s PC 7:52PM The Second. . . (7:41:15 PM) Freedom76: have you ever had to forward a port? (7:41:55 PM) Freedom76: who makes your router? (7:42:11 PM) Al-Dog: Apple (7:42:17 PM) Freedom76: hold on (7:42:24 PM) Al-Dog: airport extreme (7:44:46 PM) Freedom76: See if you can follow this: (7:44:49 PM) Freedom76: http://portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/ Apple/AirPortExtreme/Azureus.htm (7:45:21 PM) Freedom76: except instead of Azareus well be using Retroshare (7:46:21 PM) Al-Dog: Jesus (7:47:05 PM) Al-Dog: I’ll end up fucking up my wife’s connection, i just know it (7:47:44 PM) Freedom76: I know, the first time I did it, it took me forever just to get the concept down. (7:47:48 PM) Freedom76: Don’t try it (7:48:05 PM) Al-Dog: I’ve been on the phone with apple a few times with their router (7:48:12 PM) Freedom76: We should try this when you have some free time at the house So, with that in mind, I present this site to help with port forwarding: http://www.portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/routerindex.htm 8:43PM Al-Dog and I have resorted to swapping files via yahoo messenger. Hopefully we can sort out the issue with connectivity by the end of the week. I can see his information and he can see mine, but we cannot see each other on line. 8:55PM I invoked N8 to make an appearance. 9:22PM I think I made progress. I had forwarded a port but my manual configuration of Retroshare was off. My local address was spot on, but my external IP was off. I can see Al-dog’s ip address now and if he’s on line I think I can connect. I will explore more possibilities tomorrow. 9:45PM The first connection has been established. Not entirely on purpose I think. Non-the-less, we have connectivity people. Now let’s see what this thing will do. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ ~~~~~~~~~ 2/6/2008 ~~~~~~~~ 4:00PM There are a total of three whom are interested. I still have not made a positive connection. I will try to work it out with Al-Dog tonight. I will post more when there is a breakthrough. access questions – email: FreedomAlley.SYSOP@gmail.com client software – http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/downloads.html 6:41PM Here’s a helpful install guide. Don’t forget to send me your certificate. http://retroshare.wiki.sourceforge.net/InstallGuide 9:35PM No connection made tonight, but its OK. This will happen. It will happen because it’s always better to share with your friends. It will happen because it is destiny. It will happen because there is no one to stop it. It will happen because it’s a cool damn idea. It’s the next logical step. I’ll leave my Retroshare client up. HOME _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ FREEDOM ALLEY NET: SYSTEM DIAGRAM _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ Function Key / __n___ I I _________ Main _ I I Floppy disk I ___ I Storage I I ‘ I=(___)=I – Application Software I I I I_/ /__I I I I INPUT ~~\ \~~~ (____) I | /__/ II I___________ I(___/___________) – User Interface Debugging Tool (__ I \ __ I / II \ / – Central II ) / Processing II OUTPUT — I ( Unit .-._ II I_________`, o_oo’_) II ~~~~~***&%~ `._ `._ II ###@^&&& `, \ /__\ ._____._ &&&%%## – Overflow //_(_)_/ ~~~~ I o) (I/O error) ~~ (_____,-’ Mouse Backup System _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ LIST OF 100 SINGLES I EXPECT TO FIND ON YOUR iPOD _______________________________________________________________________________ /==============================================================================/ 1 – (You’re) Having My Baby Paul Anka/Odia Coates 1974 2 – You Light Up My Life Debby Boone 1977 3 – Tie A Yellow Ribbon Dawn featuring Tony Orlando 1973 4 – To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before Julio Iglesias/Willie Nelson 1984 5 – I Write The Songs Barry Manilow 1975 6 – Honey Bobby Goldsboro 1968 7 – Muskrat Love The Captain & Tenille 1976 8 – Feelings Morris Albert 1975 9 – Yummy Yummy Yummy Ohio Express 1968 10- The Men In My Little Girl’s Life Mike Douglas 1966 11- Afternoon Delight Starland Vocal Band 1976 12- Billy, Don’t Be A Hero Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods 1974 13- Ballad of the Green Berets Sgt. Barry Sadler 1966 14- Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast Wayne Newton 1972 15- Candy Man Sammy Davis Jr 1972 16- In The Year 2525 Zager & Evans 1969 17- I’ve Never Been To Me Charlene 1982 18- Seasons in the Sun Terry Jacks 1973 19- Alone Again (Naturally) Gilbert O’Sullivan 1972 20- Paper Roses Marie Osmond 1973 21- Me and You and a Dog Named Boo Lobo 1971 22- Torn Between Two Lovers Mary MacGregor 1976 23- Sunshine On My Shoulders John Denver 1974 24- I’m Henry VIII, I Am Herman’s Hermits 1965 25- A Fifth of Beethoven Walter Murphy/Big Apple Band 1976 26- Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go Wham! 1984 27- After The Lovin’ Englebert Humperdinck 1976 28- Sometimes When We Touch Dan Hill 1978 29- Ebony and Ivory Paul McCartney/Stevie Wonder 1982 30- Escape (The Pina Colada Song) Rupert Holmes 1979 31- Put Your Hand In The Hand Ocean 1971 32- Have You Never Been Mellow Olivia Newton-John 1975 33- Kung Fu Fighting Carl Douglas 1975 34- Da Doo Ron Ron Shaun Cassidy 1977 35- The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia Vicki Lawrence 1973 36- I Am Woman Helen Reddy 1971 37- We Love You, Call Collect Art Linkletter 1969 38- Party All The Time Eddie Murphy 1985 39- Fernando ABBA 1976 40- Those Were The Days Mary Hopkin 1968 41- Love Will Keep Us Together The Captain & Tenille 1975 42- Jean Oliver 1969 43- The Night Chicago Died Paper Lace 1974 44- Venus Bananarama 1987 45- Watching Scotty Grow Bobby Goldsboro 1971 46- A Horse With No Name America 1972 47- Copacabana (At The Copa) Barry Manilow 1978 48- Indian Reservation Raiders 1971 49- Under The Boardwalk Bruce Willis 1987 50- Precious and Few Climax 1972 51- Half-Breed Cher 1973 52- Do That To Me One More Time the Captain & Tenille 1979 53- The Dream Weaver Gary Wright 1975 54- Cherish the Association 1966 55- Is That All There Is Peggy Lee 1969 56- I Think We’re Alone Now Tiffany 1987 57- Think of Laura Christopher Cross 1984 58- MacArthur Park Donna Summer 1978 59- In The Navy Village People 1979 60- Incense and Peppermints Strawberry Alarm Clock 1967 61- At Seventeen Janis Ian 1975 62- Touch Me In The Morning Diana Ross 1973 63- Rock Me Amadeus Falco 1985 64- Girl Watcher O’Kaysions 1968 65- Dust In The Wind Kansas 1978 66- Disco Duck Rick Dees/Cast of Idiots 1976 67- Wildfire Michael Murphey 1975 68- Sussudio Phil Collins 1985 69- The Logical Song Supertramp 1979 70- One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack) Coven 1971 71- Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me Mac Davis 1972 72- Brand New Key Melanie 1971 73- Silly Love Songs Wings 1976 74- I Honestly Love You Olivia Newton-John 1974 75- Simon Says 1910 Fruitgum Company 1968 76- Sing Carpenters 1973 77- Annie’s Song John Denver 1974 78- Babe Styx 1979 79- State of Shock Mick Jagger/MIchael Jackson 1984 80- I Just Called To Say I Love You Stevie Wonder 1984 81- My Sharona the Knack 1979 82- My Melody of Love Bobby Vinton 1974 83- Longer Dan Fogelberg 1979 84- The Morning After Maureen MacGovern 1973 85- I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) The Hillside Singers 1971 86- Times of Your Life Paul Anka 1975 87- Stuck With You Huey Lewis & the News 1986 88- It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me Billy Joel 1980 89- America Neil Diamond 1980 90- Colour My World Chicago 1971 91- We’ll Sing In The Sunshine Gail Garnett 1964 92- I’m Easy Keith Carradine 1976 93- Saturday NIght Bay City Rollers 1975 94- Do the Clam Elvis Presley 1965 95- Lady Kenny Rogers 1980 96- Good Morning Starshine Oliver 1969 97- Pac-Man Fever Buckner & Garcia 1982 98- Don’t Give Up On Us David Soul 1976 99- Tip-Toe Through The Tulips Tiny Tim 1968 100-Everybody Have Fun Tonight Wang Chung 1986 ____________________________________________________________________________ /===========================================================================/ HOME