Author Archives: cosadmoza

EOA “Album sleeve” games for Apple ][

electronic_arts_historical_logo_80s_sm

I have lately added to my collection some more nice games released by Electronic Arts (good ol’ “EOA”), those all come in  “album”-style sleeve. Activision also released games in such packaging – not sure if any other company did this?

eoa-games_s

This made me wonder of cos, what games were released by EOA packaged like this?
I found an list from wikipedia listing these:

list-of-apple-ii-games-wikipedia_shttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Electronic_Arts_games

I don’t think the Wikipedia-list is very complete however..


My collection:

Adventure Construction Set
Music Construction Set
Movie Maker
Archon
Archon II: Adept
Lords of the Conquest
Age of Adventure
Murder on The Zuinderneuf
The Seven Cities of Gold
Pinball Construction Set
Marble Madness
Skyfox
Pinball Construction Set
Axis Assassin
The Seven Cities of Gold (Chinese disk and manual, no box)
Adventure Construction Set (Chinese disk and manual, no box)

What i am looking for:
Hard Hat Mack
Arcticfox
Bard’s Tale
Bard’s Tale II
Bard’s Tale III
Amnesia
Wasteland
etc..etc…”collect ’em all”

FinApple 2017
Apple ][ forever

Not Apple: Atari 800 : Oddity in Finland

ad_s

No the blog is NOT GOING TO turn into “FinAtari” -anytime soon, like it or not. This time i just quickly, present the latest addition (or addiction?) of 8-bit era i so much love.
The original Atari 800.

atari_800_logo_s

Finding Atari 800 isn’t really difficult from USA, but elsewhere, it feels that it’s closer to
Impossibility. That is if you want PAL and 220/240v model for some reason. I’ve wanted to
find the original 800 for ages and now it finally became possible. They are not easy nor cheap
like mentioned, so when they do come available, you’re battling with moral issues, to pay
or not to pay (too much). Depends on you.

psu_240v_sThis Atari 800 i got was boxed, international PAL-version with 240v 50hz powersupply (non
atari original however but i’ve seen this type before in europe, heavy bulky almost like industrial)  with boxed casette drive 410, few joysticks and modules “Basic” and “k-Razy Kritters”. It does have the 48k RAM and 10k ROM modules. It does kind of need the floppy drive, Atari 810 of cos.

atari_800_gaming_s
The unit itself is in *great* condition! No yellowing, no cracks, everything is there. I feel this wasn’t used much by the previous owner (sorry for bit darkish picture).

It came with all kinds of documents, Atari club letter, price lists from british Atari dealers, handwritten sales offer from the shop for the previous owner (!), few Atari IO magazines, manuals for Basic, Atari 800 International brouchure etc. I’ll scan those that needs to be scanned for. You can find those from the internet archives now.

owners_guide_sThe Atari 800 Home Computer Owner’s Guide International

atari_io_mag_sAtari Imput/Output -magazine (Spring 1984)

software_price_list_sSoftware pricelist from British microcomputer shop.

I have not been able to found out anything (!) about the Atari 800 history in Finland (or Sweden) like when it was introduced, any advertisements, games or units itself sold etc. That’s something to i need to work with. I remember seeing ONE unit sold few years ago in Finland, but i think it reached quite high prices even without PSU & it was untested. It was way too risky of a deal. So far i’ve gathered information, the Atari 400 and 800 were not sold or imported by any larger companies, they might have been imported in low ammounts by some smaller companies who did not advertise them heavily. Let’s remember. There were no Micro-Computer magazines in late 70’s yet, only professional Computer magazines over here. I’ll try finding those more “serious” computer magazines if there’s any mentioning of the Atari 400/800.

UPDATE:
I recently found an Finnish Tech-magazines “Tekniikan Maailma” issue 20/1982 that had an Atari 400 preview. The Atari 400 was imported to Finland by company called “Sivenin Koneliike Oy, Höyläämötie 3, Helsinki“. The same issue had ad for ATARI 2600 gaming console as well.

I’ve tried to search about the company but only could find references to it till 1977, then, nothing. I hope the Atari 800 was reviewed also by the magazine. I know 800XL was of cos but that’s an another story all together.

fin_prices_s
Some prices from 1982:
-Atari 400 / 3390 fim
-Atari 800 / 7360 fim
-Powersupply / 155 fim
-Basic-ROM cardridge / 800 fim

The Atari 800XL was sold in quantities and more material about it is available. Atari itself wasn’t
the most popular 8-bit computer over here. I am not sure why, possibly the retailers didn’t carry as much software for them, or as i assume, the pirated software wasn’t available so easily as for Commodore 64 specially. “Everybody had 64”. That’s what Commodore 64 was called, just “64”. Everybody knew what it was referred to. It was kind of sad situation if somebody had anything else than “Commodore 64”. You were pretty much alone.

So, while waiting the 800 to be delivered to me, i ordered SD-card reader “SIO2SD” for it from http://www.lotharek.pl. The SIO2SD -supports few different disk/rom-image formats as of ATR (rw), XFD (ro) and COM/XEX (ro). It have 16×2 LCD display which allows you to walk thru the catalog tree and choose files to load. I only recently noticed that the unit supports on-screen menu as well, it just reguired one file dropped to the SD-card and some configuration to the device itself and you could choose the files from the screen using joystick or keyboard. NEAT! This is what i was after for. The device came with the SIO-cable but i didn’t opt for the SD-card itself. I have those plenty of & images are readily available if you look (hint: TOSEC).

sd2sio_s

Also picked up an video cable from ebay. Those are cheap and easy to get. This should provide better picture and audio quality. Works on most if not all, Atari 8-bit computers.

cables_s

Usage & thoughts:

The 800 does sound more like MSX than C64, but in more clear, MIDI kind of way. I might be objective but i do like SID bit more. It’s more rough so to speak. But, the 800 does sound GOOD. Of cos there’s no comparing to Apple II.. there’s no.. sound per say, expect Mockingboard.

Graphics, the Atari 800 is fast and hey, the spites (player/missile) are just MUST HAVE just like in Commodore 64, the sprites. MSX-graphics reminds me of Spectrum a lot even they are far better (IMO). I’ve never been too much into Spectrum’s for some reason. Those MSX-module games released by Konami were stunning in every aspect however, expensive however. They had the real coin-up feeling on them compared to any other game i’ve played. But..i m not an MSX-expert (currently do not have any working MSX computers in my collection).

pile_of_800_800xl_s

..and of cos this happens:
After a week i got the original ATARI 800, i was able to find a fully boxed set of ATARI 800XL with 1010 casette drive, 1027 printer, and even boxed Atari 2600 joystick, few boxed Atarisoft cartridges and casette games among other things even with original receipt from 1985. I had an idea to get one 800XL later, someday, in the future for sure but this was too good of a possilibity to walk by.

atari_800xl_pile_s

The unit was in great shape, not ANY yellowing and even the protective sticker in top of the logo badge and even the module port itself. Very nice!

atari_800xl_logo_s

Also picked an boxed Atari 1050 floppy drive right after to make the set more complete. It’s with UK power supply but those adapters are easy to get and the electrical current is the same.

800xl_gaming_set_s

So, i’ve replaced the 800XL as my main ATARI for now, as 800XL is easier to replace than the classic (and specially PAL version of it) original 800 (PAL).

LET’S ATARI! (no booo! atari from me)

(C) FinApple 2017
Apple ][ forever

LINKS:
Podcast
: Antic-The Atari 8bit Podcast by Randy Kindig, Kevin Savetz, Brad Arnold
http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/
Forums: http://Atariage.com
Facebook group : Atari 8-bit Computers

Quick: DarkSound by ByteBoosters

The Apple IIgshave GREAT audio capabilities with it’s Ensoniq 5503 DOC – chip but there’s no connectors in the logic board for stereo output for speakers. So the DarkSound-card resolves that problem with simple, single board with connector to the logic board itself taking the signal and outputs it to external speakers/headphones or amplifier in Stereo.

settings_s
The pin settings in the card you can use are as of:
*HIGH – for non-amplifed speakers (direct 8ohm, 1.5mm plug)
*LOW – for headphones or amplified speakers (1.5mm plug)
*LINE – for external aplifer / home stereo-system (3.5mm plug)

The card itself is not slot dependent, as you can install it to any slot and it will maintain the internal slot/port settings.

It also features as digizer as it have input for the signal to be digized with software.

darksoundbybyteboostersappleiigsstereocard_smallTHE PACKAGE COMES WITH:
-The board itself with adapter cable connected (to logic board)
-Stereo adapter (1.5 mm -> 3.5 mm stereo)
-Extension cable (1.5mm male to female)
-Printed installation and user instructions

darksound_connected_side_small
Connector attached to logic board . It’s a bit tight fight with the Apple IIgs 8MBRAM/ROM-card (a2heaven.com) but it did fit there just barely however.

darksound_connector_small
Bit tight but fits.

oma_kaiuttimetI attached the card to crappy-old-Creative 2.0 speakers but they work just ok for time being.

ByteBoosters also produce other products for Apple IIGS. Available is also 4MB and 8MB RAM-expansion cards. Both are tiny and very reasonably priced.

WHERE TO BUY?:
DarkSound IIGS
https://console5.com/store/darksound-apple-iigs-stereo-sound-card-and-digitizer-w-amplifier-line-out-2gs.html

8MB DarkRam IIGS
https://console5.com/store/byteboosters-8mb-darkram-apple-iigs-memory-expansion-card-2gs.html

4MB RAM-expansion IIGS
https://console5.com/store/byteboosters-4mb-xlp-apple-iigs-memory-expansion-board-2gs.html

(C) FinApple 2017.

 

Sega SG-1000 & Colecovision on your Apple //e ?

SEGA SG-1000:

 

SONY DSC

Was the very first video-gaming console released by SEGA in 1983.
Running with Zilog’s Z80 3.58MHz with amazing 1kB of RAM and 2kB of VRAM and capable of displaying up to 16 colors.

 

COLECOVISION:

colecvision_1

Was Coleco Industries’s second generation home video-game console released in August 1982.
Running with Zilog’s Z80A at 3.58MHZ

So what is this “CP/M Turbo 7 with VDP-1000 Plus”-combo then?

01_cards_front_s

Ian Kim of Apple2.net from South Korea have made very interesting board-add-on to his previously released, CP/M Turbo 7-card. It’s called “VDP-1000 Plus” wich is an VDP-option board which you can add to your CP/M Turbo 7-card. If you add it later, it requires some soldering or if you buy them together as a kit, they come completely ready product.

Basicly it allows running SEGA SG-1000 and Colecovision games on your Apple //e at 2MHz.
Both of those systems were Z80 based (and this opens interesting thoughts..) so the add-on card CP/M Turbo 7 acts as an processor for those two systems and the VPD-1000 Plus-add-on works as video generator for both. Currently they sell about 160 dollars + shipping at Ian’s Webpage (see link in the end) as a combo.

Explanations from Ian Kim:

vpd_1
CPLD chip have logic circuits to act as the SG1000 and Colecovision same I/O address decoders for Joypad, TMS9918 and SN76489. TMS9918 require 1bit DRAM 8pcs but, 1bit 16Kb DRAM is rare andmore it required negative voltage so, changed non negative DRAM but,
finally I decided to use 8bits one SRAM. it is much easier to find hence, the circuits should be much different than original.  Finally I’ve used one 9bit 32K SRAM. it is still oversize but cheap and one SRAM required. Three latch used and one Not chip. It were used to split data I/O and Address.

Sound generator chip is SN76489 which is used by SG1000 and Colecovision. it have three tones and one noise and it has some strange behavior it made sound after power ON not accessed but it generating noise maybe it is too much small to put reset function.

So, when I apply this sound chip and power ON the APPLE II, it start making annoying noise as beep… so, I must OFF this so used switch. Now, It is ON when the board start to work. Also Video output can be switched from APPLE II and VDP side. It active when  data come to VDP address.

vpd_2

So how it all fits in yer Apple //e then?

04_all_cards_assembled_sInstallation : you install the both cards together and then put the combined cards in SLOT #1. There’s the joystick connector you need to connect, and video signal you take to the internal video connector on the Apple //e motherboard as well the audio+video cables (red and white rca-type) you need to connect to your monitor for video and audio output.

video_connection
Internal video cable connection to motherboard:

05_installed_sInstalled.

speed
Set up of speed Z80-card to 2mhz “normal” otherwise the SEGA or Colecovision-modes are not working.

 

sega-or-col
Set up of system VPD-mode, choose which mode you wish to use (from the VPD-card). “SEGA” or “COLV”.

So, how you use it?

The card came with links to few disk images (.nib and .hdv) that contain the basic bootup (ProDOS) software you need to boot first from. I used the .hdv file (hdd image) with Apple //e Enhanced NTSC with CFFA3000. At boot you need to choose wich system you are using:

10_booted_menu_s
1. SEGA SG-1000
2. COLECOVISION

11_files_s
And after choosing it lists you the rom files that are included – or you have transfered to the disk image yourself. It asks what ROM-file you want to load up, and after you type the filename, it loads it up. The software itself is very simple basic program so you can modify it at will.

Then you’re, with luck, good to go!

 

It works! It works!

13_sega_sg1000_hero_s
H.E.R:O. (Activision) running with SEGA SG-1000-mode:
https://youtu.be/ecZ9xUZzejg

14_sega_sg1000_loderunner_sjpg
Lode Runner (Broderbund) running with SEGA SG-1000-mode:
https://youtu.be/__5Yh0QvcKA

And one more gameplay video:
https://youtu.be/bODOZRQZq8w

Some games do not work, some games freeze or are too slow due the 2MHz mode the emulation works. There’s however coming an upgraded CP/M Z80-card wich should fix these issues with speed. Audio works great on those rom-images i was tested playing with.

By no any means it’s perfect of 100% compatible with all titles, but it’s close and i see lots of fun with these kinds of projects! Maybe the upgrade of the CP/M Turbo 7 card to faster speeds will make difference?

 

Afterwords .. and more:

15_msx_s
There’s a “APMSX” (AppleMSX) -card in development wich is an standalone card which emulates the MSX (Z80) and allows playing (some) MSX-games on your Apple //e. There’s also possibility of MSX2 (!) card coming after the MSX-card is released. This picture is static rom file loaded up with the card, it does not support the keyboard so it’s not usefull as of yet.

msxcard
EARLY APMSX development/prototype-card from Ian’s webpage.

This is SUPER interesting implementation for the Apple //e for sure, i personally can not wait for the MSX/2 card to be released!

This is absolutely one of the most interesting cards and ideas for long time in Apple ][-community!

We truly live the golden-age of the Apple ][.

LINKS:
Ian Kim : http://apple2.net
CP/M Turbo 7 and VPD : http://quick09.tistory.com/1376
User manual : http://quick09.tistory.com/attachment/cfile9.uf@245A6F405957414B121465.pdf
SEGA SG-1000 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SG-1000
Colecovision : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ColecoVision

(C) FinApple 2017 & Apple ][ forever!

Apple ][ & internet surfing?

Yes, it’s possible, even it really doesn’t much make sense. All you need is, Apple //e + Uthernet II-network card + Contiki (version 2.7 with support for Uthernet II). It’s surely primitive, you can basicly browse pages in text but what you can expect from a computer with 6502@1MHZ,  still, it’s great feeling when it does work. You can use an accelerator if you wish, it does make an difference here, greatly.

My setup was:
cards_s– FASTchip //e – Slot #1
– Uthernet II – Slot #3
– Mouse card – Slot #4
– Disk II interface – Slot #5 & Disk ][-drive
– Disk interface card – Slot #6 & Floppyemu

Setup is very easy. Just boot the first diskimage containing the Contiki v2.7 and use the setup provided.

menu_1Choose -> ETHCONFI.SYSTEM

menu_2
To choose what type of card you have, choose “2” Uthernet II in this case and then
choose the slot (1-7) where your card is installed, in this case, i choose “3”

Choose -> IPCONFIG.SYSTEM
From main menu to setup your network settings as they are in your network enviroment.

Choose -> WEBBROWS.SYSTEM
To load up the browser itself.

apple-iie-uthernet-ii-internet-browser_s
To use the actual browser. It’s text based, and you only have options : BACK, DOWN, STOP, GO
But it does work. Obiously you can’t log in twitter, facebook or such which would need secure connections, certificates or use of Java, flash or anything too modern. Basicly you have web-browser like LYNX.

If you have the mousecard installed, you can use it to point options on screen. Obiously there’s no pictures loaded up.

With FASTchip //e @16.6mhz the loading and browsing is f-a-s-t compared to stock 1mhz obiously. It’s quite useable. Only wish there would be more webpages designed for text-only in mind 🙂

With Contiki there’s lots of other options as well but there i wont get into here. I did run website with //e just for the fun of it (basic html page) thanks to great video podcast episode of Chris Torrence -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfbVDof-nLw

Download latest Contiki:
https://github.com/oliverschmidt/contiki/releases
-The zip contains 3x140KB .dsk images and 1x800KB disk image.

Have FUN and see you online!

FinApple 2017

FASTchip //e by a2heaven.coma2heaven_logo

 

Apple //e Platinum European edition?

So it DOES excists! It’s not just an rumour..

I’ve had wondered about this for long time and not been able to find any details that Platinum version (last version of released in 1987) Apple //e was ever sold in Europe. I assumed it was, but in small quantities but looks like the history was even more interesting….

They actually made kind-of “hybrid” of Apple //e Enhanced and Platinum for the International markets using the old case that was platinum colored, but with new platinum board on it. It does then of cos lack the numeric keyboard. The logo was interesting, it was the old logo but it  also was changed to platinum colored. It does kind of look it was bleached.
apple_iie_platinum_europe_logo

Details of the differences:

board_ntsc_internationalBoard : is the same more simple, cost reduced, Platinum-model board, it says “International NTSC” in top.

board_largeThe Whole board looks like this, regular Platunum-board expect the AUX-slot in the middle as in PAL-boards it is located to.

euroCase : Older //e type case but in lighter color, lighter color badge, is marked as “65C02” next to the keyboard light (as in regular enhanced //e was marked “Enhanced” in English-speaking countries and “65C02” in non-english speaking countries).

Keyboard : Older style keyboard as in regular Apple //e, no numeric keypad as in Platinum //e

back_panelBackplate is lighter color as well to fit the platinum coloring scheme.

usa
to regular American Apple //e platinum the difference is quite big.

I am quite skeptical if these were ever sold in Finland. I think not. However, i’ve seen one regular //e upgraded with platinum board  but the case was regular //e enhanced case. That unit however was used in graphics design productionline so it might just been fixed with new motherboard when the old one (regular //e 65C02) was broken and no replacement boards could be obtained in later part of the 1980’s (that’s my guess).

Wikipedia article states that these were sold in very small quantities in US/CAN-area with local keyboard layout and motherboard.

IF you have one, i am very interested adding one to my collection!

FinApple 2017

Apple Opas

img_20170912_0818312_sFinally i was able to find an copy of the “Apple Opas”. I had an photocopied version of it in my collection before. Book was translated to Finnish and written by Tietoväylä in Jyväskylä, Finland, 1981.

img_20170912_0818332The book covers BASIC / DOS3.3 / Pascal as well various hardware add-on’s at the time. The terminology sound funny now in 2017 however of cos.

apple-opas-_-oy-apple-computer-finland-ab_closeup_sAnd it have  have forewords by Seppo T. Nykänen CEO of OY Apple Computer Finland AB at the time.

The book will be scanned and it will be available as PDF at : archive.org later this year.

(C) 2017 Jorma Honkanen
Apple ][ forever – finapple

CEC-I (beige/white)

img_20170729_1835272_sThis beige/white colored CEC-I i got from China as well. This must have been manufactured in different province and factory (if somebody know in which provinces & cities these were made at?). My knownledge of chinese relies on google translate, my wife and help of other Apple II-enthusiasts.

beige_board_s
The board looks pretty much the same as in the “red” one i got earlier. Sadly both CEC-I’s i have, do not power up. I have had no time to investigate (i am not so skilled with electricity afterall) why.

img_20170730_0911082_s
All the connectors are well marked. Left: joystick, Right: Casette port.

img_20170730_0911163_s
The backside is pretty much identical to the “red” one.

img_20170730_0911164
This is the “Disk II” port in the back. The connector is integraded into the main logic board.

img_20170730_0911302_s
Manufacturing information.

img_20170730_092034_s
ROM-chips.

img_20170730_092042_s
More ROM-chips.

img_20170730_0920122_s
Power supply specs.

img_20170729_2010082_s
Also came with slot extender (yes, externder as height!) as the slot is inside the machine and there’s an slot where you put the card inside, IF you actually could. But.. the card would be really small. So there’s this slot extender that allows you put cards to it as it extends outside the case…. like this:img_20170730_0913342_s
It does extend outside of the case. Wonder if something like FASTchip //e would work on it…. 🙂

img_20170730_0958232_s
The in the main logic board you can actually setup the slot what number it is. Good idea, BUT you need to open the case in order to change it.

Got also few manuals (copies/reprints) but they are rather ok quality. Originals seems to be difficult to find in China. Lots of those are scanned and now in Archive.org.

Luckily there is now some CEC-I enthusiasts around the world to seek and preserve
these obscure and rare pieces of Chinese computer history. So much more specially software
should be found. If you can help, please contact using email address on this blog.

Now only if could find the CEC-E and CEC-1A.

If i ever get to go the KansasFest i’ll bring one along if somebody wants to take an shot repairing one.  Or any volunteers before that? 🙂

Moving to the “bunker”

moving_2_sI am in a process of moving my work/hobby-room to another floor, the 1st floor of our house which will mean some major reorganizing. The space should be slighly larger but i am not sure yet how it work out. And yes, the walls are pink, but they’ll be covered with Apple ][ flag, bookshelfs and such so i wont bother painting them white, yet.

Slight problem being the lack of ethernet/wifi access due thick walls and doors (it’s ½ underground) but i have few ideas to get it done. It’s nothing major in the end. Just tinkering around.

I’d love the name “8bit Bunker” but that name’s been reserved by Michael Mulhern 🙂 So i’ll have to come up with something else. I’ll call it for now just “bunker” that’s what it feels like (not a bad thing really).

moving_1_s
I’ll add 3rd Ikea-billy bookshelf there as there’s space & i need shelf-space. I am not showing here the total chaos the room is now at… this was just beginning when there was virtually nothing yet carried in 🙂

Moving:
One always underestimates the effort needed! I can’t believe how much work it all was. Really.
I thought i didn’t have “that much stuff” in my work/hobby room but oh boy, was i amazed! Slight suprise was that the “bunker” room was not as tall (i knew it, just didn’t relalize the measurements) so some stuff i kept in top of the bookshelfs, wont fit there anymore. I’ll work it out no problem.

I think for the beginning i’ll setup these units in use:
– Apple //e platinum (my main Apple rig)
– Apple IIgs (ROM3)
– Apple /// (this baby is so big & heavy so either it’s on table or stored in the floow heh).
– Atari 800 / Commodore 64 (swap in area)

 

Vintage Apple-logo signs

mainos_loydetty_sThese Vintage Apple-signs or trade show props, were donated to my by a friend and colleague. He used to work to repair Apple and Macintosh computers back in 1980 and 1990’s. He must have saved these and totally forgotten these for all these years. They came across his basement storage recently and he of cos,  knew my interested in the “old apples”, offered them to me right away.  There were supposed to be just one, but to his suprisement, there were two of them. One being more rough,  the sticker corners are peeling off due old age, but the other one is in much better shape.  Needs just some cleaning. The better one will make nice props to my work/hobby room.

manos_puhditust_2Cleaning was needed or at least trying …

mainos_label_off_s
So basicly i tried just basic every household cleaning methods. Tolu-foam which really didn’t do much but maybe  polish the plastic a bit – the darker dirt came off however perfectly with Label-Off spray. The plastic itself was partly yellowed (I know! this sounds like a job for Mr. Retr0bright..). But i don’t think it’s much of a worth the effort to go that extreme on this case. If you want these, you can easily make your own copies.

mainos_puhdistus_1_sSo i was quite ok with them cleaned up, glued together the logo a bit and we’re good to go.

mainos_gs_seinalla_s
I placed them to my work/hobby room against the wall. But. I had an idea. I need to find where i can cut another of them to perfect square around the logo itself, it would make great framed decoration to the wall..