Preservation: To have floppy-disks in 2017 is normal?

I Received bunch of Apple II (5.25″) and IIGS (3.5″) floppies from Germany, bunch being an about 66 kg of them in total! In year of 2017 to receive floppies in mail, is perfectly normal isn’t it? Feels very much like  golden days of 8/16-bit piracy in 1980’s in a bit larger scale however. Not all 80’s software pirates used BBS’s, specially in europe..

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5.25″ floppies for Apple ][

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3.5 ” floppies for Apple IIGS

My estimation is somewhere around 600-700 of 5.25″ and 1600-2000 for the 3.5″.
To my amazement 99% of the 3.5″ floppies had printed labels with numbers and excat listing what was on them. This is precise!  Not just typical, common home pirate there. However the 5.25″ floppies were more of a mess (like often they tend to be).  Not everytime anything written on the label, or some had an paper note inside the sleeve to indicate what the floppy might have written to.

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Every collection must have atleast one copy of “Karateka” and rare “Loadrunner” 🙂 (Typo: Loderunner).

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For the 3.5″ floppies, some of the software seems to be even for the 8-bit Apple as they’re listed as “IIe Spiele” (IIe games). Those game collections were made with using “UniDOS” by MicroSPARC Inc. which allowed you to use 800k disk space on 8-bit computers and of cos, you then needed the UniDisk 3.5″-drive or Apple //C Plus or GS. This was very handy.

I am aware most likely big persentage of the material on floppies is already preserved, but that doesn’t stop me. It’s too temping to go thru them all to find hopefully, something that is not preserved yet. There are probl. lots of Cracks made out of Apple II software in specially Europe, which are not preserved yet. Maybe crack made by neighbor kid who happened to use name “Krackman” or “WarezLord5000”. Who knows. It’s history and it needs to be preserved.

WHY TO PERSERVE? WHY BOTHER?
For some, obtaining old-obsolete floppies may sound like crazy, but there are valid reasons for doing this, unless you’re preserving your own personal AppleWorks floppies from the 80’s with your personal data:

-Not all Software is preserved.
-Not all Versions of the software is preserved.
-Not all Cracks of the software is preserved. No, they are not.
-We are running out of time. The magnetic media is on it’s end of it’s lifecycle, not much longer they are readable by decent way, or at all.

-And for me, to find local, Finnish Apple II software is the holy grail of it all. As Apple II wasn’t very popular in Finland, finding anything programmed or released in Finland, is very important and interesting for me.  But i am interested as well anything published in Europe.. or elsewhere.

kid-niki-crack-screen-green_jpg

I recently scanned bunch of game manuals from Taiwan, them being in Chinese of cos. Those are not scanned to my knownledge so it just had to be done.

THAT’S WHY.

 

As our community’s favorite archivist, Mr. JASON SCOTT would put it :
“The House is on Fire, the Fire Trucks are on Fire, The Fire is on Fire.”

 

SO THE GUESTION IS, HOW TO PRESERVE THESE?
I’ve used few different ways to preserve software in the past, but in this case, there’s most likely, not much of a problem with different copy protections so basic setup is enough. In this way you can name the file already what’s there for easing up the post-image processing. There surely is more ways to do this, specially when using GS, but let’s focus here on these options, specially on 5.25″ floppies. Basicly the same workflow works for preserving the 3.5″ disks.

HARDWARE FOR PRESERVATION WORK:
destop_of_apple_iis_2_s

You can use just Apple IIGS if you want for preserving either format. But i don’t have 3.5″ disk controller for my Apple //e so i am forced to use GS for 3.5″ preservation.

HARDWARE FOR THE 3.5″-DISKS:
-Apple IIGS + 3.5″ floppy drive(s)
-ADTpro + Uthernet II -> ADTPro host on modern computer (in this case, OSX) to receive & save the floppy to image file.
-Cleaning 3.5″ floppy + bottle of isoprophyl alcohol for cleaning the drive head. Essential.

HARDWARE FOR THE 5.25″-DISKS:
Either:
-Apple IIe + 5.25″ floppy drive (Disk ][)
-Apple IIGS + 5.25″ floppy drive
disk_ii_open_s
..just keep it open. You need to clean the R/W-head often anyway.

Options:
-CFFA3000 -> read directly to .dsk image (USB/CF)
-ADTpro + Uthernet II -> ADTPro host on modern computer (in this case, OSX) to read the floppy to image file.
-Sometimes the need is to save up an .nib file from problematic disks.
-Bottle of isoprophyl alcohol and cotton stubs for cleaning the drive head.

 

SOFTWARE:
ADTpro v2.0.2 (Client on: Apple II, /// and Host (server) on: Windows, Linux, OSX etc).
http://adtpro.sourceforge.net

-Automated cleaning program for cleaning the 3.5″ and 5.25″ floppies for Apple II & GS:
“You, Dusthead!” by Brutal Deluxe Software.
http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/products/apple2/dusthead/index.html
It’s available in 140k (5.25″) and 800k (3.5″) disk images as download.

CLEANING THE R/W-HEAD:
Cleaning the drive’s read-head is important.
bad_floppy_s
Old floppies vary in quality, they can have mold, dirt, whatever which really doens’t belong there.

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When the floppy rotates inside the sleeve, the dust, dirt stucks on the head and blocks the readout results. Sometimes the whole inner disk can stuck inside the whole sleeve and cause the whole drive to slowdown in speed.
disk_ii_cleaning_drive_head_s

MY WORKFLOW:
For 5.25″ floppies my workflow is pretty easy and straightforward:

Reading the disk images:inside_apple_iie_s-I use the Apple //e platinum with Disk ][-drive(s), CFFA3000 and USB-memory or ADTPro.
cffa3000_import_floppy_s
-Read the floppy with CFFA3000 to -> .dsk in USB-memory, name accordingly. I usually use some prefix-for the job, i.e. GERMAN001~
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cffa3000_reading_floppy_bar_errors_s
Sometimes the reading fails. Either: adjust your drive speed closer to optium, the disk is bad, or it’s copy protected. Just put it aside and look at it later.

OR:

adtpro
Read the floppy with ADTPro -> your modern computer. Name accordingly. ADTPro allows you to read .nib files from the floppies as well. Sometimes that’s needed to get working image from the floppy.
adtpro_select_connection_type_s
I am using Uthernet-II card.

adtpro_configure_sSettings for the network:

adtpro_send_image_choose_drive_sChoose the volume and then you can choose either standard (S) .dsk image or (N) nibble .nib.

adtpro_send_image_sAnd send the image.

adtpro_sending_file_s
Transfering the image.

-Sort the actual real-life floppies:
-If the floppy is non-readable, it gives too much of errors when reading, i place it in “to be checked”-box.
-Good ones i put aside so long i’ve tested the images in emulator/real hardware to be working.

 

POST-IMAGE PROCESSING?

Working or not?virtual_ii_s
-To check the image that it works, what’s on them, it’s easiest to use an Emulator.
-Either one will do, but basicly i’m using Virtual II (OSX) and AppleWin (Windows or OSX under Wine).
-So, test in Emulator. Name the file. Sort accordingly in folders on your HDD (sorted, upload etc. your call here).

What is on them?ciderpress_s
-For checking the contest of the created image, easiest way is to use Ciderpress (Windows, OSX under Wine) wich allows you to take a look of the files in the disk image- if it’s in normal DOS 3.3, ProDOS-format.

ciderpress_new_image_s
-Sometimes if the image wont boot, you can just copy-paste the files to new empty disk image (.po/.do).

To upload or not to upload?
-I dont upload images with personal information on them, so check the image thru before uploading please. Somebody’s business records or loveletters from the 80’s really doesn’t belong to the internet.
-Upload non-preserved images for the community to be enjoyed.

 

SOFTWARE/LINKS:

Ciderpress v4.0.1 (Windows)
http://a2ciderpress.com
-Tool to process the disk images. Sometimes you can just copy the files off the image and put them in a fresh new image and save it up.

AppleWin v1.26.0.6 (Windows)
https://github.com/AppleWin/AppleWin/releases
– Emulator for Windows.

-Virtual II v7.5.4 (OSX)
http://www.virtualii.com
-Emulator for Mac OSX.
-Limited (free)
-Full licence 40€, limited 18€

-OpenEmulator (OSX)
-Now supports Apple //e (128k)!
-Also supports .fdi files made from .edd files (Paul Hagstrom’s python script).
-Download: (not released yet)

The Internet Archive : “Where everything belongs”
http://www.archive.org

Textfiles (Jason Scott)
http://www.textfiles.com

 

 

SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY AT 4AM :Crash-course to: Preservation for Copy-Protected floppies?

These can be either original floppies or just badly cracked/bit copied floppies you have obtained.

passport_menu_1Where you absolutely need to start this with is, to try running Passport by 4am first to the disk.
Either using some CF/USB/SD-card solution as bootup device or just plain floppy-to-floppy solution. Note: Picture from Emulator so Slot 6 is been used only.

What Passport does is it reads up the original and if the protection scheme is supported by the Passport, it uses the disks own RWTS-routines to read up the floppy and write the resulting disk image (.dsk) without the protection. Easy. Quick. Perfect!

With CFFA3000 you can easily do it as follows:
-CFFA3000 in Slot 7
-Disk II interface card in Slot 6
-Empty virtual floppy image (.dsk) in Slot 5

-Boot up the latest Passport from S5,D1 and have an empty .dsk image in Slot S5,D2.
-Check the Slots are chosen correctly at Passport (S6,D1 -> S5,D2)

passport_verify
-You can run verification to the original floppy by pressing “V”.

passport_crack-If the floppy is ok, you can try cracking it with pressing “C” for Auto-Cracking.
-If the protection scheme is supported by Passport it’ll report the result on screen and produce an unprotected .dsk file.
-Also if the protection scheme is not supported, it’ll report the result on screen.
-Boot the cracked .dsk with CFFA3000 or in emulator to see if it works.

If the Passport can’t crack your floppy, then you have to manually crack it, which then requires more knownledge, time and coffee. Sometimes such help can be found from the community..

LINKS:

Passport by 4am:
https://archive.org/details/Passport4am

Apple II software library by 4am:
https://archive.org/details/apple_ii_library_4am

 

> I ACCEPT APPLE II FLOPPY DISK & HARDWARE DONATIONS. <

 

Get your Retro Apple ][ – products from :a2heaven_logo

 

 

Floppies, who could live without them in 2017?

Obtained literally thousands of 3.5″ and 5.25″ floppies lately for Apple II and Apple IIgs and this  where it ends to. Total chaos in desktop which is perfectly fine and normal. I love floppies!

This time it’s basicly all non-originals so there’s not much work for 4am’s absolutely stunning preservation software “Passport”. I’ll write an post later with more details about the process i use.

overview_invasion_of_floppies

Passport by 4am:
https://archive.org/details/Passport4am

CFFA3000 by R&D Automation, LLC.
http://dreher.net/?s=projects/CFforAppleII&c=projects/CFforAppleII/main.php

ADTPro by David Schmidt:
http://adtpro.sourceforge.net

Ciderpress (Windows):
http://a2ciderpress.com

 

Apple II – Chinese Game Manuals online

Finally, i got the remaining Chinese game manuals scanned! These are now all available at: https://archive.org/details/AppleII-ChineseGameManuals

They are scanned either 300 or 60dpi, black&white and some have box pictures and floppy labels scanned, if available. The quality of the originals wasn’t that great sometimes, but i did what i could. Important is, that they are now been saved up in digital form.

 

Apple /// – endless projects?

I have not one, but two, non working Apple ///’s. It’s pretty much normal if you own Apple ///.

No, these units are not found from Finland. I’ve never come across any Apple /// hardware in Finland, which is a shame. I know they had/sold 100’s of these (i have old stock inteventory listing which lists these) but i’ve never seen any in real life.

apple-iii-5v-256k
5v USA model. It’s pretty clean and seems to be working order (but that’s nothing in /// world).

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And it’s serial. It’s an 120v USA model (those PSU’s are easy to convert 240v with just one jumper wire).

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Like this: move the wire from 115v to 230v as above. Too bad, the caps on this PSU seems to be close to death, i can not get it to boot (feels like the current is not enough to power it up). I am in a process of getting an universal powersupply for it.

img_20151002_101342
My european 230v powered, 12v board-model. It’s pretty rough…and dirty. Few caps missing, PSU works BUT needs recapping ASAP. The Profile powers up as well. It’s in project stage.. Have no idea if this could be made working in the end.

img_20151010_161447And it’s serial number. It is 128k model with extra memory board and that’s when we (again) get into trouble… (common theme with Apple ///?).

img_20160424_1112332
Cleaning the memory board.

img_20160424_1503332The RAM-test in boot (diagnose) gives out results like this…

img_20160524_221215
..and i’ve managed to get it almost working with replacement board and swapping the chips. Still quite not there however. It could be the PSU issue as well.

apple-iii-collectionBrother’s in arms. Maybe someday one of them is made ALIVE! again…

 

Chinese Apple II game manuals

Got an nice donation from Simon Ng all the way from Hongkong. He was kind enough to donate all these  for archiving. Even all of them might not be totally original, preserving these will serve the common good and preserving the history of Apple II in Hongkong/China/Taiwan.

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-The Dam Busters (Accolade) – Chinese manual
-Project: The Space Station (HesWare) – Chinese manual
-The Halley Project: A Mission in our solar System (Mindscape) – Chinese manual
-Thunderchopper (ActionSoft) – English manual
-Ticket to Hollywood (BlueLion Software) – English manual
-Shard of Spring (SSI) – Chinese manual
-Rampage (Activision) – English manual
-Roadwar Europa (SSI) – English manual
-Techno Cop (U.S. Gold) – English manual
-Hacker II (Activision) – Chinese manual
-Strike Feet (EOA) – English manual
-Paperboy (Mindscape Inc.) – English manual
-The Seven Cities of Gold (EOA) – English manual
-Maniac Mansion (Lucasfilm Games) – English manual
-Alice in Wonderland (Windham Classics) – Chinese manual

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These games have either original Taiwanese gamebox or game manual (English/Chinese) and have Taiwanese  “Pirate” company TERMINATOR-badge on them.

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I’ll scan the boxes, disk labels and the game manuals (when in Chinese) for archiving and they’ll be  available at http://www.archive.org > “Apple II Chinese Collection” and Asimov-archives.

Some of the English language manuals (or disk images) are already available but the missing ones, will be scanned and uploaded to Archive.org & Asimov-archives.

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thunderchopper_actionsoft_1987_game_screenshot

The disk images will be available as well in Asimov. Most are cracked already, some are been cracked now in 2017 by talented crackers.

I’ll possibly crack these with the help of “Hardcore Computist”/”Computist” magazine just for the learning  purposes and as well, the FUN of it.

Wildcard Plus

I was donated some hardware and software in Summer 2016 by an older gentlemen and this very nice boxed WILDCARD PLUS (as it works with //e as well) came with the donation.  I am not sure if these cards were sold here in Finland, or if they were ordered from the States.

The card was of cos ment for copying (mainly single loading) software by capturing the memory after the software had loaded up and saving it to disk, even compressed into a single file. Very handy tool for non-cracker people who wanted to make their personal “backups”. This is later version which works with the Apple //e as well (64k). Later there were also an WILDCARD 2 (Alaskacard) which was able to capture full 128k memory. This is something i am missing from my collection.

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img_20160607_1834202

wildcard-plus-ad

wildcard-floppy

Manuals:
https://mirrors.apple2.org.za/ftp.apple.asimov.net/documentation/hardware/copiers/Wildcard%20Plus%20-%20User%27s%20Manual.pdf

https://mirrors.apple2.org.za/ftp.apple.asimov.net/documentation/hardware/copiers/Wildcard.pdf

Software:
https://mirrors.apple2.org.za/ftp.apple.asimov.net/images/hardware/wildcard/

Apple NPL II Information Management System (A2D0053)

Got an donation this summer for this software package, “Apple NPL II Information Management System” (A2D0053). I have not tried it what it would do however.. but it says it’s NonProgrammers Language which kind of sounds silly.

2016-12-08-07_47_28-infoworld-google-kirjat

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img_20160607_183540

img_20160607_1836102
4950 FIM would be around 850€+ thesedays. Not too cheap.

Disk images at:
http://mirrors.apple2.org.za/ftp.apple.asimov.net/images/productivity/database/Apple%20NPL%20II%20Information%20Management%20System%20-%20Disk%201%20-%20NPL%20-%20%28A2D0053-689-0017-A%29.dsk

http://mirrors.apple2.org.za/ftp.apple.asimov.net/images/productivity/database/Apple%20NPL%20II%20Information%20Management%20System%20-%20Disk%202%20-%20Utility%20-%20%28A2D0053-689-0018-A%29.dsk

 

 

Apple Graphics Tablet (A2M0029, 1979)

The Apple Graphics tablet (A2M0029) was released in 1979 and sold for $650. You could draw images in 280 x 192 resolution.

It came with:
-Tablet
-Stylus pen
-Interface card for the Apple II/II+
-Transparent overlay card
-Manual “Operation and Reference Manual”
-Graphics Tablet Software.

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“Graphics Tablet Software” -floppy.
messu_kuva_3
My copy of the “Graphics Tablet Software” had some images on it, clearly drawn at some Computer Expo back in early 1980’s…

I have in my collection just the “Graphics Tablet Software” -floppy and the interface card.
I am, of cos, looking for the tablet itself, stylus pen and the manual.