Category Archives: Apple II

Aapi Juntura – interview:

I thought of interviewing a long-term Apple II user, Aapi Juntura, to my blog and to collect his thoughts and memories of early Finnish Apple II history and his career with Computers, hardware and Information Technology.

I sent few questions to Aapi by email. This is rough English translation from the original Finnish interview. 

aapi_juntura_insinoori_edit_s
AAPI JUNTURA

Who are you and where you come from?

Aapi Juntura: Siina Maria Keskinarkaus gave birth to me in April 1943. My father Otto Jalmari was a small farmer. A total of 11 children were born into the family, of wich seven are still alive. I am the middle one.

I attended elementary school in Peurajärvi in 1950-1956, secondary school in Ranua in 1956-60.

google_map_s
google maps

I got into TVH (Road and Civil Engineering Authority) as a trainee in summer of 1960 and after that i took map drawing course. In the spring of 1961 i took engineering job at district of Kemijärvi where a giant company Marion dug a new riverbed in the Kemijoki river. Served in the Finnish Army in the Oulu Artillery Regiment 1962-1963. I was a rookie from Ranua, who protested against the superiors.. According to the military passport i’m a sergeant.

I applied for Oulu University of Technology in 1960, and i got to choose wether to start in 1961 or 1964. So I rented a room in downtown from a elderly person. He heated the oven and kept the washing water in the enamel containers. In addition, he often talked about nice things about human life. In the dances of the workers house 1965 I met a postwoman who worked with IBM punchcards and got even paid for doing so. I didn’t want to live together because she was moody and only 18 years old.

poroja_s
Reindeers in Lapland

I graduated as a civil engineer in 1968. I went in the summer of 1968 to Sodankylä to work as a foreman on a forest road road construction site. Engineer Esko Valtanen from the district asked me to apply for a job in the engineering district and there i designed bridges, forest roads, drains etc. I handled the checkups of water passages in Lapland. Mikko Puronlahti advised to become a vocational school teacher for techical/map-drawing. In Lapland, vocational school students were in 1960s and 1990s the most eager to learn in my opinion. The work as of a teacher was very rewarding, the teacher learns the most. A couple of times they asked me to apply for a principal’s post but that would have ment less summer vacation time and the daily race for resources and have pecking order i didn’t care much of.

 

What was your first touch to computers and when?

VTT (technical research centre of finland) had purchased computers of the size of a closet and there Pekka Malinen taught us FORTRAN-programming at TEKU (University of Technology) in the spring evenings. The first print of the program that was run, we got “SYNTAX ERROR”. It was just colon being incorrect.. A third run produced a table with a line printer moments at different points in the beam. At that time, there were electronic calculators with the tube screen and they were able to calculate trigonometric calculations as well. The real big change happened in 1972, the HP35 calculator made spreadsheets unnecessary. It’s reverse Polish logic RPN was handy in my work for at least a decade. Popular Elektonics-magazine i found through a family friend, Hannu Ylioja. There were ads for devices and components and wiring diagrams.

hp35
HP-35 calculator

Vocational school had electrical and radio engineers and i was also interested what they studied. The first radio I built in 1974. That’s where my Electronics hobby began. In 1977 there were rumors of memory circuits and microprocessors. So the school acquired a microcomputer building kit in 1978.

apple_ii_setup_s
Apple II setup for drawing and printing

The first Apple II came to Lapland central vocational school in 1980 by a new teacher of telephone dept. Four programmable SHARP-calculators were networked in it.

At school, Markku Siivola (a psychiatrist from Muurola) held Apple evening courses about Word Processing and Spreadsheets, Magic Windows and VisiCalc. Then it became clear in seconds that typing had taken a giant leap. No scratching or correcting but proofreading and editing on screen before printing. Cost estimates and lists were redone due to minor changes. All you need to do is make changes to the spreadsheet and at the same time the total amount is done. Maybe a 90% improvement compared to the mechanical calculators.

watamabe_plotter_a3_picture_2_s
Watanabe digi-plotter, map of land division drawn (1982).

In addition, with Apple II’s graphics tablet most maps could be digitized and then edited in many ways, the scratch pen and knife became obsolete. The Watanabe Digi-Plotter was able to print A3-size illustrations. The print scale and details could be selected or added. Lots of development opportunities at once!

I was a map drawing teacher and immediately made a purchase proposal for Apple ][ despite the fact that back in 1972 the acquisition of an electronic calculator (HP35) the Principal found it unnecessary. I remembered this in my purchase proposal presentation, total cost: 40,000 FIM. The normal annual purchase limit was 2000 FIM. To my surprise, there was no quarrel and a year later, in 1981, we reached the digital age with the students. 

The jobs for the following years had been selected. I programmed just about everything about map and document production on a computer, if a good program didn’t exists. There were thousands and thousands of BASIC program lines. 

As a tool for teaching and learning, the Apple II turned out to be a great tool for about five years, the limits came against the limitations of speed, display and memory at the end naturally.

Graphics charts were used as a basic tool for digitization for surveying training in mapping. In this case, the map on paper became adaptable and versionable for different uses. Although the accuracy of digitization was not good, it was a good fit for teaching assignments. In addition to the lines were needed map characters, text size and gradient variation, color rendering was needed. Areas were created when the pattern was digitized to be closed.

Splitting the map into sub-drawings came at the same time, so it could print separately, borders, roads, buildings, fields, plots, landmarks, etc … I needed to control the printers one by one, for example the HP-GL had to be learned. The mapping software expanded to PC’s, including terrain measurement and related computing. The whole project i was able to sell to other schools for 5000 FIM from wich the taxation took 60% off …

When you obtained your first computer and what was it?

osi-80_s
Ohio-Scientific

Ohio-scientific was in used before the first Apple ][. Ohio Scientific’s motherboard ad was on the back cover of Popular Elekronics Magazine. It could be ordered from the US and paid with a VISA card. So I immediately got a credit card and an import license from the License Office, which was then needed for foreign trade. I remember the device arrived in a few months in 1980. The price was less than a thousand marks.

In addition to the boot rom, the motherboard had a BASIC interpreter. Similar to Apple without line drawing capablity. The only block graphics was the ASCII extension 128 … 255. The display has 24 rows and 24 columns. There was 8 kilobytes of static RAM-memory but the expansion seemed troublesome to get done.

The tape recorder was 150 baud for the Kansas City code, which almost could be read in the contents of the download code on screen. It took about 8 minutes to fully load the memory.

There were games from around the world, Aarvark from Canada had done a couple of cassettes of shooting games. Within a couple of year i had about a dozen of casettes

It could be used to learn the basics of programming just like any other system of its time. The children were also interested in it. Neighbors (religious) denied visits by their own children when they heard about the computer.

As a monitor i used a 14 “mobile TV which i modified with capasitor after the video selection circuit. The school’s TV-dept teacher Eero Niemelä told me how to do the modification and not get killed by electricity. TV-deflection requires a voltage of 25 kV.

Ohio Scientific had to switch to an EPROM-monitor program. It allowed you slightly editing the editable line.

apple2_s
Self built Apple II clone.

Due limited memory and display in Ohio Scientific, a better system had to be purchased. It was Apple II that was available as components and with floppy drive from Germany. Paying for an order in advance by check annoyed me greatly. Risky business so to speak.

apple_ii_setup_self_made_s
Self built Apple II with Silentype printer.

The pictures above shows the first Apple II clone built by myself from components on a circuit board. The cases were self-made with using the school’s edge machine and a cutter (damper cost 10mk/m2). Joystick has two potentiometers joined (i wrote article how to buld it at Omenahyve magazine). There is a film of both sides of the circuit board in my storage. I still could make the circuit board.

I ordered the components from Germany in 1980-81. I waited a couple of months. The guy sent a paper picture of the device and was going to ship as soon as he got all the parts (about 150pcs). The import license had to be obtained from the licensing agency. In Germany i had to pay “Vorkasse Schek” in advance 4000FIM (back then Apple II cost about 10.000FIM). When the delivery was delayed and customs numbers had to be given to customs i felt anxious. The announcement i saw in German-language magazine MC (Micro Computer).

Later, my wife’s sister’s husband was working in England at the time. He bought a used Apple II and sent it to Finland. I bought Finlux TV and a MiniTel-text terminal as a scrap in Kajaani to be used with it.

aj83_s

In this picture (from 1983) shows a used Apple II i purchased from England (it had unstable power supply). Also the 12″ green monitor came from England. The thermal printer printed on 5″ paper, but paper availability was poor. Print accuracy was moderate (the cord was twisted around the axis as on old radios).

apple-finlux_s

Pictured here is my work horse, Apple II 64KB RAM, PAL, Color TV, MV Monitor with 80 characters / line custom sync, joystick (self-made), thermal printer (silentype), 2 * floppy 143 kB Sheet metal enclosures made from 1mm sheet metal by my self.

a2-86_s

I built the last Apple II around 1985-86 for nephews as a gaming machine. I also made the power supply myself.

 

Apple II, why Apple II? What was best on it?

Apple II was selected by needs and features it fullfilled:

  * Line drawings or graphics are required.

  * Expansion, 7 slots

  * Easily expandable memory.

  * Sounds and games.

  * Applesoft was well documented and easily usable.

  * Support, that is, the network of user’s existed.

  * Clones and motherboards readily available and ROM-copying easy.

  * Peripherals available: printers, plotters, graphics tablets, PAL and RGB-color cards, etc..

  * A wealth of articles in German, English, Italian …

  * Large variety of good usefull software: VisiCalc, DB master, Word Processing.

  * Lots of pirated software available.. and copy protections easily defeted.

  * Lots of enthuastic users!

 
I actually borrowed the school machine for the weekend and came with the boys to the conclusion that we had to get it, it had colors and audio!

 

Was it difficult to get programs or hardware from Finland at the time?

A few programs were purchased with VISA from USA, for example: DB master, Spredsheet, Magic Window, Copy II Plus. There are not many original packages left. Mainly programs were exchanged with acquaintances. Cracked programs were bought from Singapore, for example.

Popular games included : Karateka, Boulder Dash, Choplifter, Chess, Space Invader, Spider, Sammy Lightfoot, The Spy Strikes back, One on One, Minit Man, The Quest, IFR Flight Simulator, Starblazer, Ultima IV..

 

What did you do with your Apple II?

Maps, databases, programming, gaming .. hardware building.

I was on vacation in Italy in 1981 and it was raining so I went around bookstores and found Applesoft the book had a whole bunch of interesting program examples. Magazines had examples of voices programming and drawing a plot map. Fine coincidence and generous rain. 

 

You have also lectured about information technology? 

In southern Finland I went to give few presentations around 1983-85 about Apple II and computer-aided design and digitalization. Some listener was amazed about where i came from. Some people were amazed that somebody from Lapland arrived and acted like expert on such matters..

Few years ago, when I bought an old mowing machine, i met a man who said that he was my course back then and had stated to his wife that “it was a futile course”. Now he had changed his thoughts about it and found that their children do everything with their computers from morning to night.

YLE (National Radio/TV) reporter made a story about me on the radio. Later, a TV-program for School-TV was shot at school for a couple of days. The program was aired a couple of times during prime time. MTV (Commercal TV station) also filmed a news clip about house design.

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On YLE-TV program

The YLE archive contains 1985 new school tools:
https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2014/08/14/tietokoneet-koulujen-opetuksen-tukena (only watchable in Finland, geoblocked)

There is a video on the use of information technology at the Central Vocational School of Lapland. Our part starts at about 12 min

You have made and published programs for Apple II, would you tell more about them?

aapi_juntura_3d_house_building_s

Because Apple II had better drawing and graphics features, in one Saturday morning a element-housebuilder/salesman (private constructor) arrived to my doorstop and wanted a piece of computer equipment and a program to do everyday routines for him. At the same time, it would be a good selling point in advertisements that it was “computer desgined”. We ate, bathed, and played around with the computer equipment, went to the sauna and the house salesman took the train back home.

I looked at the elements of the house suppliers. They were 30cm wide, then, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 cm. The base images of such are simple and 1/10 size would fit the entire floor plan. First you had to make the elements by manufacturing and then using them (selection, transfer, turning). Texts and dimensions had to inserted. Saving the image as a bitmap and element database was required also. I added more features to the database, such as price. Surprisingly from the ground plan pages and ends and cost estimates were also added and created. I didn’t get the process taught for the element-housebuilder, that he would have sold houses with. Result was, plain zero.

I offered the program to a software bank and set the price at 20,000FIM, same as one Apple II’s price at the time. I was surprised when they paid and so they got their first CAD software (Computer Aided Design).

You also wrote articles to “Omenahyve”-user’s magazine?

artikkeli_ho

The articles in “Omenahyve” were published in 1982-1988 and contained, among other things, the following topics:

-Automatic Drawing (Apple Graphics Tablet, Watanabe digi-plottter)
-Purchasing Ananas (Taiwanese Apple II+ clone)
-Apple for Musical Instrument (La Mela Musicale)
-Joystick building
-Making graphical patterns
-New power supply to Apple II
-Book reviews
-Databases
-TV as monitor
-Building a EPROM programming card
-Micro-Computer assisted House Design
-Terminal for Monitor
-Copy Programs (CopyII+, EDD, Locksmith etc) and protections.
-Game port expansion

Most “Omenahyve” magazine issues are scanned to pdf:
https://archive.org/search.php?query=omenahyve 

Just the file size is unreasonably large, sorry about that.

I also wrote a couple of pages of “Light Pen” magazine about a house design program.

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Article how to build your own joystick/Omenahyve.

 

You are also published author of Computer books?

kirjat

“Mikrotietokone työkaluksi” / Microcomputer as a tool (National Board of Vocational Education, National Printing Center) 1984/1991 editions. 

The Board of Vocational Education asked the school to make a textbook for group work and learning. Others refused but i collected a couple of hundred pages and asked for a opinion from the principal..  but all the material i delivered got lost by him! Maybe it wasn’t good enough, so i did an another draft, and i no longer offered it to others to review.

I wrote, photographed and rasterized the material, text printed through printer adapter of disc typewriter. I glued the rasterized pictures to the openings and my son’s line art clips as well. I sent an A5-size booklet to the subscribers. I remember that the proof-reader was the real pain in the ***. The cover image had been transformed looking like crazy person! What a butcher!

So i did the book a second time. That’s where thousands of copies were sold and taken to print an another edition. I think I got an hour’s pay for this job just like the school cleaners. Jealous double. But i did heard a couple of praises as well. A relative of mine was at the University of Oulu and he was amazed that my book was used as the basis for the lecture. I went to Jyväskylä for a course and there were 20 pages of my book copied for me to study from!

 

What happened after the Apple II?

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PC-V30

I searched the drawers for pictures and found some. It explains why Apple II was left aside in the end. It was better than the IBM-PC but worse than the Olivetti M21. Variability was imitated by many manufacturers. From xerox sheet metal i made PC-V30 (8086 Clone, 10MHz), with floppy drives, old power supply from HP. It had display card text 80/24 and resolution 640*240 (as far as i can remember) and the TV was used as monitor. I ordered a few 14″ monitors from Germany without a case, also for school. I made tin covers myself.  They still work, in 2019. Apple’s Macintosh wasn’t practical at school with a lack of variety of peripherals needed. So it was app IBM-PC compatibles after that.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Apple /// – The ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo IDE Controller

“We offer the ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo IDE Controller in several configurations. It can come fully setup “Plug And Play” ready with a presetup 512MB CF Card and Dual CF Card Adapter. Just install the card in your Apple //e enhanced and boot to ProDOS or GS/OS. Or you can buy the card with or without the IDE to Dual CF Adapter and CF Card”. (reactivemicro.com)

 

card_s

Thanks to Henry Courbis/Reactivemicro, i got my hands on the latest (under development) firmware that should allow the card to be used with other than Apple //e enhanced and Apple IIGS -models.

I tested the card with ][+ and ][ europlus (64k), and it worked fine as ProDOS hdd and all software loaded up nicely what i went thru of. My good ol’ europlus give it’s magic some while testing – that was first time for me ever. It gave nice popcorn smell for the room..

There is no driver for Apple /// so it would not obiously work with the /// but, as i happen to have the Titan Plus /// and Titan Plus //e cards installed, i thought to try the card under //e 128k emulation.

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Installed in vacant slot 4.

It does work, kind of. It crashes occationally, not totally sure why as of yet. But i was able to load bunch of software and games from the ProDOS 32Mb partition. 

prodos_loaded_s

-Titan //e emulation floppy booted
-Start //e emulation
->RESET<
-PR#4,1 (Slot 4, Partition 1 for the ProDOS hdd partition)
-Loads up the ProDOS 2.4.2 menu system
-Loading software/games (Karateka, Choplifter etc).

karateka_a3_s

“Karateka”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHctOJn8Jmk

The built-in Apple ][+ emulation mode would not work with the card due the silly limation of 48k RAM on it.

So.. hope somebody makes driver for the card so it can be used as HDD in /// mode as well….
 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

 

Aapi Juntura – haastattelu:

Ajattelin haastatella pitkän linjan Apple II-käyttäjää, Aapi Junturaa blogiini ja kerätä talteen hänen ajauksiaan ja muistoja varhaisesta Suomen Apple II-historiasta.  Lähetin kysymyksä Aapille sähköpostitse..

aapi_juntura_insinoori_edit_s

Kuka olet ja mistä tulet?

Aapi Juntura : Siina Maria os. Keskinarkaus teki minut huhtikuussa 1943. Isäni Otto Jalmari oli pienviljelijä. Lapsia syntyi perheeseen kaikkiaan 11, perillisiä elää seitsemän. Minä olen keskimmäinen. Kansakoulua kävin Peurajärvellä 1950-1956, keskikoulua Ranualla 1956-60. Pääsin TVH:lle harjoittelijaksi v.1960 kesäksi, sitten suoritin kartanpiirustuskurssin. Keväällä 1961 menin insinööripiirin hommiin Kemijärvelle. Silloin Jättimäinen Marion kaivoi Kemijoelle uutta uomaa. Armeijan suoritin Oulussa tykistörykmentissä 1962-1963. Olin alokas Ranualta, joka osoitti mieltä ylivääpelille. Sotilaspassin mukaan olen kersantti, kauhia tappaja?

Oulun teknilliseen opistoon hain jo 1960, sain valita aloituksen 1961 tai 1964. Niinpä vuokrasin Heikinkadulta huoneen vanhukselta. Hän lämmitti pönttöuunin ja piti emaliastioissa pesuveden. Lisäksi hän puheli monesti mukavia ihmiselämästä. Työväentalon tansseissa 1965 tapasin postineidin, joka puuhaili IBM:n reikäkorteilla ja sai siitä palkkaakin. Yhteisasumiseen en halunnut, koska neiti oli oikukas ja vain 18v.

Sain tien- ja vesirakennuksen insinöörin pätevyyden 1968. Menin kesällä Sodankylään pomoksi metsätien tierakennustyömaalle. Insinööri-piirista Esko Valtanen pyysi lokakuussa töihin insinööripiiriin ja siellä suunnittelin siltoja, metsäteitä, ojituksia yms. Pidin myös vesilain mukaisia toimituksia Lapissa. Mikko Puronlahti kehoitti siirtymään ammattikoulun opettajaksi kartanpiirtäjille niinpä sitten vaihdoin alaa. Lapissa Ammattikoululaiset olivat 1960-1990 ikäluokkansa opinhaluisinta joukkoa. Opettajan työ oli antoisaa, opettaja oppii eniten. Pari kertaa kehoitettiin hakemaan rehorin virkaa mutta kesälomat olisivat romahtaneeet ja jokapäiväinen kisailu resursseista sekä nokkimisjärjestyksestä ei kiinnostanut.


Mikä oli ensikosketuksesi tietokoneisiin ja milloin?

VTT:kin oli hankkinut komeron kokoisia tietokoneita ja sieltä Pekka Malinen opetti meille kevätiltoina FORTRAN-ohjelmointia TEKU:lla. Ensimmäinen tuloste jatkuvan palkin momentiksi oli SYNTAX ERROR. Oli kaksoispiste väärin.. Kolmas yritys tuotti rivikirjoittimella taulukon momenteista palkin eri kohdissa. Silloin oli esillä elekronisia laskimia putkinäytöllä ja niillä pystyi laskemaan trigonometrisiakin laskuja. Varsinainen suuri muutos tapahtui vuonna 1972, HP35-laskin teki taulukkokirjat tarpeettomiksi. Sen käänteinen Puolalainen logiikka RPN oli kätevä omassa työssäni ainakin vuosikymmenen. Popular Elektonics-lehteen tutustuin perhetuttavan (Hannu Ylioja) kautta. Siinä oli mainoksia laitteista ja komponentista sekä kytkentäkaavioita. Ammattikoulussa oli sähkö- ja radioinsinöörejä ja kiinnostuin heidänkin puuhista. Ensimmäisen radion rakensin vuonna 1974. Siitä alkoi elekroniikan askartelu. Vuonna 1977 kuului huhuja muistipiireistä ja mikroprosessoreista. Koululle hankittiin mikrotietokoneen rakennussarja 1978.

Apple ][ tuli Lapin keskusammattikoululle 1980 uuden puhelinpuolen opettajan mukana. Siihen oli verkotettu neljä ohjelmoitavaa SHARP-laskinta.  Koululla Markku Siivola (Muurolan psykiatri) piti Apple iltakurssin tekstinkäsittelystä ja taulukkolaskennasta, siis Magic Windows ja Visicalc. Silloin selvisi sekunnissa, että konekirjoitus on ottanut loikan. Ei raaputeta, eikä korjailla vaan oikoluetaan ja muokataan ruudulla ennen tulostusta. Kustannusarviot ja luettelot tehtiin uusiksi pienenki muutoksen takia. Taulukkolaskennassa vain tehdään muutokset ja loppusumma yms on samalla valmis. Ehkä 90% parannus veivikoneisiin.

 

setup_with_a3_plotter

Lisäksi Apple ][:n graphics-tabletilla voitiin valtaosa kartoista muuttaa digitaalisiksi ja näitä sitten korjailla monin tavoin, raapekynä ja-veitsi kävivät vanhanaikaisiksi. Watanaben piirturilla pystyi tulostamaan A3-kokoisia piirroksia. Tulostusmittakaava ja yksityiskohdat voitiin valita tai lisätä. Paljon tuli kehittämismahdollisuuksia kertaheitolla!

Olin kartanpiirtäjien opettajana ja tein samantien hankintaesityksen Apple ][:sta siitä huolimatta, että v. 1972 elekronilaskimen (HP35) hankintaa rehtori piti tarpeettomana. Muistin tämän hankintaesityksessä, 40.000mk. Normaali vuosihankinta oli 2000mk. Ihmeekseni asiasta ei kinasteltu ja vuoden päästä päästiin opilaiden kanssa digi-aikaan, siis 1981. Seuraavien vuosien puhdetyöt oli valittu. Ohjelmoin jokseenkin kaiken kartta- ja asiakirjatuotannon tietokoneella tehtäväksi, ellei ollut valmista hyvää ohjelmaa olemassa. BASIC-rivejä tuli tuhansia.

Työkaluna ja opetus/opiskeluvälineenä Apple ][ osoittautui mainioksi vekottimeksi noin viiden vuoden ajan, rajat tulivat vastaan nopeuden, näytön ja muistin rajallisuudesta.

Maanmittausalan koulutukseen  kartanvalmistuksessa oli grafiikkataulu soveltui digitoinnin perustyökaluksi.  Tällöin paperilla oleva kartta tuli muunneltavaksi ja versioitavaksi eri käyttötarkoituksiin.

Vaikka digitoinnin tarkkuus ei ollut hyvä sopi se mainiosti opetusen harjoitustöihin. Viivojen lisäksi tarvittiin karttamerkit, tekstit koko ja kaltevuus muuntelulla, väritki tarvittiin. Pinta-alat syntyi kun kuvio digitoitiin suljetuksi.

Kartan jakaminen osapiirroksiksi tuli samalla, niipä saattoi tulostaa erikseen, rajat, tiet, rakennukset, pellot, tontit, rajamerkit jne… Tulostimien ohjaukseenki tarvittiin yhtä sun toista, esim. HP-GL piti opetella.

Karttaohjelmisto laajeni PC-koneisiin käsittäen myös maastomittauksen ja siihen liittyvät laskennan. Koko projektin sain myytyä muihin alan kouluihin 5000mk hintaan, josta verottaja otti 60%…

 

Milloin hankit ensimmäisen oman tietokoneesi ja millainen se oli?

osi-80_s

Ohio-scientific oli käytössä ennen ensimmäistä Apple ][:sta. Ohio Scientific:n emolevyn mainos oli Popular Elekronics-lehden takakannessa. Sen pystyi tilaamaan USA:sta ja maksu tapahtui VISA-kortilla. Niinpä hankin heti luottokortin ja Lisenssivirastosta tuontiluvan joka silloin tarvitiin ulkomaan kauppaan. Muistaakseni laite tuli muutamassa kuukaudessa vuonna 1980. Hinta oli alle tuhat markkaa.

Emolevyllä oli bootirommin lisäksi BASIC-tulkki. Samanlainen kuin Applessa ilman viivan piirtämistä. Vain blokkigrafiikka oli ASCII-koodin jatkella 128…255. Näytössä on 24 riviä ja 24 saraketta. Muistia on 8 kilotavua staattista RAM:ia mutta laajennus vaikutti hankalalta.

Kasettinauhuri oli Kansas City-koodin 150 baudia, eli melkein kerkis lukemaan näytöltä latauksen sisällön. Muistin lataaminen täyteen kesti n.8 minuuttia.

Pelejäkin sai maailmalta, Aarvark Canadasta oli tehny pari kasetillista räiskintää. Parin vuoden aikana kertyi kymmenkunta C-kasettia.

Ohjelmoinnin perusteita sillä saattoi opetella kuten muillakin sen aikaisilla vehkeillä. Lapsetkin oli siitä kiinnostuneita. Naapurit (lestadiolaisia) kielsivät omien lastensa vierailut kun kuulivat tietokoneesta.

Näyttönä käytin 14″ matkatelevisiota johon laitoin konkalla videoliitännän videoilmaisimen jälkeen. Koulun TV-puolen opettaja Eero Niemelä kertoi mihin ja miten liitos pitää laittaa, jotta ei tule sähköiskuja. TV:n poikkeutus vaatii 25 kV jännitteen.

Ohio Scientifigissä oli vaihettava EPROM monitor-ohjelmalle. Sillä pysty hiukan editoimaan muokattavaa riviä.

 

apple2_s

Muisti ja näyttö rajoittivat käyttöä, joten parempi vehje piti hankkia. Se oli sitten Apple ][ komponentteina ja levykeasemalla tilattavissa Saksasta. Tilauksen maksu etukäteen shekillä ärsytti.

Ylähäällä kuvassa ensimmäinen piirilevylle komponenteista tinattu kokoamani Apple ][-klooni. Kotelot ovat omatekoa koulun kanttikoneella ja leikkurilla (pelti maksoi 10mk/m2). Joystick on kaksi potentiometria yhdessä (juttu Omenahyve-lehdessä). Piirilevyn  molemmista puolista on hyllyssä filmi. Voipi tehdä piirilevyn vieläkin.

Komponentit tilasin Saksasta 1980-81, odottelin pari kuukautta ja piti kiirehtiä. Kaveri lähetti laitteesta “kymmpikuvan” ja aikoi toimittaa kunhan saa kaikki osat (n.150kpl) kasaan. Lisenssivirastolta piti hankkia tuontilupa. Saksaan piti maksaa “Vorkasse Schek” etukäteen 4000mk (Apple ][ maksoi silloin n.10000mk). Meinasi jännittää kun toimitus viipyi ja tulliin piti antaa tullausnumerot. Ilmoituksen näin saksan-kielisestä MC-lehdestä (Micro Computer).

Vaimon siskon mies oli silloin töissä Englannissa. Hän osti käytetyn Apple ][:n ja  lähetti sen Suomeen, minä lähetin rahat. Kajaanista ostin romuna Finlux:n ja MiniTell-tekstipäätteen.

aj83_s

Kuvassa (1983) on Englannista ostettu käytetty Apple ][. Myös 12″ vihermonitori tuli Englannista. Silentype- lämpötulostin tulosti 5″ -paperille, paperin saatavuus oli heikkoa kuitenkin. Tulostustarkkuus kohtalainen (naru kiertyi akselin ympäri kuten vanhoissa radioissa). 

apple-finlux_s

Kuvassa perustyökalu, Apple ][ 64Kt PAL , Väri-TV, MV-monitori 80-merkkiä/rivi oma synkronia, joystick (omatekemä), lämpötulostin (Silentype), 2*floppy 143 kt. Peltikotelot 1mm peltiä.

a2-86_s

Viimeisen Apple II:n tein 1985-86 veljenpojille pelikoneeksi. Siihen tein myös virtalähteen itse.

 

Apple II, miksi juuri Apple II? Mikä siinä oli parempaa kuin muissa merkeissä?

Apple ][ valikoitui tarpeiden ja ominaisuuksien mukaan:
* Viivapiirrokset eli grafiikka pakollinen.
* Muunneltavuus, liitäntäväyliä 7 kpl
* Muistin helppo laajennettavuus.
* Äänet ja pelit.
* Applesoft dokumentoitu ja käyttökelpoinen.
* Valmiiksi muutama tukihenkilö, eli verkosto olemassa.
* Klooneja ja emolevyjä hyvin saatavilla ja ROM-kopiointi helppoa.
* Oheislaitteita saatavilla: kirjoitin, piirturi, grafiikka-tablet, PAL ja RGB värit.
* Lehdissä runsaasti artikkeleita saksaksi, englanniksi, italiaksi…
* Valmisohjelmia: VisiCalc, DB-master, teksinkäsittely ohjelmia.
* Piraattiohjelmien tarjonta maailman laajuista.. Kopiosuojaukset kierrettävissä helposti.
* Muutenki syntyi hyvä meininki!

Lainasin koulun konetta viikonlopuksi ja tultiin poikien kanssa siihen tulkseen, että tämmönen pitäs hankkia, siinä oli värikuva ja äänet.

 

Oliko Apple II ohjelmia tai laitteita vaikea saada Suomesta?

Muutama ohjelma ostettiin VISA:lla USA:sta, esim. DB-master, Spredsheet,  Magic Window, Copy II Plus. Alkuperäispakkauksia ei ole enää montakaan jäljellä. Pääasiassa ohjelmia vaihdettiin tuttujen kanssa.. ja valmiiksi kräkättyjä ohjelmia ostettiin esim. Singaporesta.

Suosittuja pelejä olivat esim: Karateka, BoulderDash, Choplifter, Shakki, Invader, Spider, Sammy Lightfoot The Spy Strikes back, One on One, Minit Man, The Quest, IFR Flight simulator, Starblazer, Ultima IV..

 

Mitä kaikkea teit Apple II:llasi?

Karttoja, tietokantoja, ohjelmointia, pelien pelaamista..

Olin Italiassa lomalla vuonna 1981 ja vettä satoi, niinpä kiertelin kirjakaupoissa ja löysin Applesoft kirjan josssa oli kokojoukko kiinnostavia ohjelmaesimerkkejä. Aikakausilehdissä oli esimerkkejä äänien ohjelmoinnista ja tonttikartan piirtämisestä. Hieno sattuma ja antelias sade. 

 

Olet myös luennoinnut tietotekniikasta?

Etelä-Suomessa kävin pitämässä muutamia esityksiä 1983-85 Apple ][:sta ja tietokoneavusteisesta suunnittelusta sekä digitalisaatiosta. Jotku kuulijat hämmästyi asiasta ja jotkut kotipaikastani. Jotkut piti häpeällisenä, että Lapista tulee ukko puhumaa muka asiantuntijana..

Toissakesänä ostaessani vanhan niittokoneen tapasin miehen, joka sano olleensa minun kurssilla ja todenneen silloin vaimollekin, että “olipa turha kurssi”. Nyt oli perunu kantansa ja totesi lastensakin värkkäävän niitä juttuja tietokoneilla aamusta iltaan.

YLE:n toimittaja teki minusta jutun radioon. Myöhemmin tehtiin Koulu-TV:n ohjelmaa koululla pari päivää. Ohjelma esitettiin pari kertaa parhaaseen katseluaikaan. MTV kävi myös kuvaamassa uutispätkän talonsuunnittelusta.

 

yle

Ylen arkistossa on 1985 koulujen uusien työvälineet:
https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2014/08/14/tietokoneet-koulujen-opetuksen-tukena

Siinä on video Lapin keskusammattikoulun tietotekniikan käytöstä. Meidän osuus alkaa n.12 min kohdalta.

 

Olet tehnyt ja julkaisuut ohjelmia Apple II:lle, kertoisitko niistä?

 

aapi_juntura_3d_house_building_s

Koska Applessa oli piirrosominaisuudet, ilmeistyi eräänä lauantaiaamuna elementtitalokauppias ja halusi laitteen ja ohjelman, joka tekisi osan hänen töistään tai arkirutiineista. Samalla se olis myyntivaltti, tietokoneella tehty. Syötiin, saunottiin ja pällisteltiin laitteita, käytiin saunassa ja talokauppias lähti junalla takasin.

Katselin talotoimittajien elementtejä. Niiden leveys oli 30cm kerrannainen, siis, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 ja 180 cm. Sellaisten pohjakuvat ovat simppelit ja 1/10 kokoisina näyttöön sopisi koko pohjakuva. Ensin piti tehdä elementtien valmistus ja sitten niiden käyttö (valinta, siirto, kääntö). Tekstit ja mitat piti sijoittaa. Kuvan tallennus bittikarttana ja elemettien tietokantana tarvittiin myös. Tietokantaan lisäilin vielä ominaisuuksia, esim. hinta. Yllättäin pohjakuvasta syntyi myös sivut ja päädyt sekä kustannusarvio. Talotoimittajalle en saanut puuhaa opetettua niin, että hän olisi sillä taloja myynyt. Tulos nolla.

Tarjosin ohjelmaa ohjelmistopankille ja laitoin hinnaksi esim. 20 000 mk, siis yhden Apple ][:n hinnan. Yllätyin kun he maksoivat ja saivat ensimmäisen CAD-ohejlman käyttöön (Computer Aided Design).

 

Kirjoitit myös Applekäyttäjien “Omenahyve”-lehteen, miten ja milloin aloitit ja mitä artikkelisi koskivat?

artikkeli_ho

Artikkelit Omenahyve-lehdessä ilmestyivät vuosina 1982-1988 ja ne koskivat mm. seuraavia aiheita:

-Automaattinen Piirtäminen (Apple Graphics Tablet, Watanabe-piirturi)
-Ananaksen Osto (Taiwanilainen Apple II+ klooni)
-Apple Soittimeksi (La Mela Musicale)
-Joystickin teko
-Kuvioiden teko
-Varavirtalähde Appleen
-Kirjakritiikki 
-Taulukointiohjelmat
-Televisiosta monitori
-EPROM ohjelmointikortin tekeminen
-Mikrotietoavusteinen pientalosuunnittelu
-Pääte monitoriksi
-Kopiointi ohjelmat
-Peliportin laajennus

joystickin_tekeminen_s

Omenahyve lehdet löytyvät skannattuna pdf:ksi : https://archive.org/search.php?query=omenahyve (joskaan tiedostojen koko on SUURI).

Kirjoitin myös “Valokynä”-lehteen parin sivun jutun talonsuunnittelu-ohjelmasta.


Olet kirjoittanut myös tietotekniikka-kirjoja?

kirjat

mm. “Mikrotietokone tutuksi” (Ammattikasvatushallitus, Valtion Painatuskeskus) Ammattikasvatushallitus tarjosi koululle ryhmätyöksi oppikirjan tekemistä. Muut kieltäytyivät, keräsin aineistoa pari sataa sivua ja pyysin lausuntoa silloiselta rehtorilta ja koko aineisto hävisi sen siliän tien. Ehkäpä se ei ollut hyvä, joten tein toisen luonnoksen enkä antanut sitä enää muille.

Kirjoittelin ja kuvasin sekä rasteroin aineiston. Tulostin sovittimen läpin kiekkokirjoituskonelle tekstit. Liimasin rasteroimani kuvat varattuihin aukkoihin ja pojan viivapiirroskuviakin liitin mausteeksi. Lähetin A5-koisen kirjasen tilaajalle. Oikolukija  oli varsinainen pilkun nussija. Kansikuvakin oli muutettu mielisairaan näköiseksi naiseksi..

Joten tein kirjan toiseen kertaan. Sitähän myytiin tuhansia kappaleita ja otettiin toinenki painos. Taisin saada tästä työstä tuntipalkaa saman mitä koulun siivoojat. Kateellisia kaksinverroin. Pari kehuakin kuulin. Joku sukulainen oli Oulun Yliopistolla hämmästyny, että Aapin kirjaa käytetään luennon pohjaksi. Jyväskylään menin kurssille ja siellä oli kirjastani kopioitu 20 sivua minulle opiskeltavaa.

 

Mitä Apple ][ jälkeen?

pc-v30-1984_s

Etsin laatikosta kuvia ja löysinkin. Siitä selviää miksi Apple][ jäi sivuraiteelle. Se oli parempi kuin IBM-PC mutta huonompi kuin Olivetti M21. Muunneltavuutta matkivat monet valmistajat. Kopiokoneen pelleistä tein PC–V30 (8086-klooni, 10Mhz), korppu ja lerppu-asemat, HP:n vanha virtalähde. Näyttokortin teksti 80/24 ja tarkkuus 640*240 (muistaakseni) ja TV toimi näyttönä. Muutaman 14″-monitorin tilasin Saksasta ilman koteloa, myös koululle. Peltikuoret tein itse. Toimivat vieläkin, vuonna 2019.

Applen Macintosh ei ollut käytännöllinen kouluissa joissa oli monenmoisia oheislaitteita ja käyttötarpeita.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

The Ultimate Universal Power Supply for Apple II’s:

FIGHT THE POWER!

top_1_s

“The Ultimate Universal Power Supply” is the real ultimate solution to your Apple II what comes to power supplies. It have new case, “Ultimate Enclosure” by UltimateApple2 and the Universal Power Suply v1.3 bulit-in from ReActiveMicro. It supports voltages from 90-240V AC making it useable anywhere in the world. You just supply the correct power cable used in your country. There’s //e and IIGS versions available (different power connector) or you can choose “Universal DC output cable-set” for it as well. It provides both different power connectors and USB-A connector. (Reactivemicro.com)


INSTALLATION:

I wanted to replace the power supply i had in my “main rig” (Platinum //e) even it did have recapped “heavy duty” Applied Engineering Power Supply already. I have other plans for that one later. The “main rig” is filled with cards, mainly modern so they might not draw as much current as vintage cards would but still, i feel more confident with modern power supply solution installed. And it looks so modern too.

The installation itself couldn’t be any easier, just needed to unscrew and remove the original power supply and replace it with the universal one. It would have been nice if the package would have had the installation screws too, still very much of Plug-n-play.

power_connector_back_s

Universal DC Output Cable supports all models: II, II+, IIe and IIgs in the same cable. It also also has a 4-pin Female Molex and a USB-A Female connector for extra connectivity if ever you should need such.

installed_1_s

The cables that were not used, i just tide together and pushed aside. It was bit tight fit as i have the RamWorks IIII (reactivemicro) with the VGA-extender addon-board (a2heaven.com) installed, just where the power cables come out from the power supply’s enclousure.

It IS the ultimate solution!

rm_logo_jpgUltimate Universal Power Supply is available from https://www.reactivemicro.com/shop/

a2heaven_logo

Ramworks III VGA add-on extender is available from https://www.a2heaven.com/webshop/ 

Preview at Finapple at https://finapple.hho.fi/finapple/index.php/2018/11/24/ramworks-iii-vga-add-on-extender-palntsc/

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

Tillbehör till Apple!

booket_card_s

Just few finds lately,

Apple II & /// brouchure “Tillbehör till Apple” (Gylling System-Elektronik AB), Febuari 1982, In Swedish. In English it would be translated as “Accessories for Apple”. It lists all kinds of producs that were available for Apple II and /// in Sweden, late 1981-early 1982.

Disk II analog board, for repairing some Disk II drive i have with missing analog board/broken parts. Never have too many of these. Actually i could use complate DISK II-drive without the enclousure, to replace one early DISK /// (in Disk II enclousure) mechanical parts. Contact me if you have one?

 

“Tillbehör till Apple” PDF (OCR in Swedish) is available here: https://archive.org/details/Tillbehor_Till_Apple

The quality is not perfect. This is first scannings with the new CZUR AURA book scanner and i’ve not got the setup pefected as of yet. I might rescan this but here it is for time being.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

VGA-scaler for Apple II

a2vgascaler_jpg-100374-500x500
Picture by a2heaven.com

This is bit older product, but still available (atleast occationally) from a2heaven.com 

There’s now also VidHD-card available for Apple II’s so there’s more options to choose from. VidHD requires however 1080p capable display (and those are 16:9) so if you want more authentic user experience with 4:3 display, this is option for you. VGA-displays are around and very easy to get, any type, color and size, be it CRT or LCD. 

VidHD add’s new graphics modes to Apple II, where VGA-scaler does not. It just grabs the video signals and converts it to VGA. Glad there’s many options for the hobbyist.

There’s also similar product available, add-on board for RamWorks III card – Ramworks III VGA extender that does the same trick. It’s installed to AE RamWorks III card and outputs VGA signal as well. That solution saves you a slot if you already have RamWorks III or IIII (by Reactivemicro).

So basicly, 
It is a card that takes the Apple II video signals and converts it to VGA signal output. It works with several Apple II models from II, II+ to //e models, PAL and NTSC. It can be installed in any regular slot of Apple II. Depends of which slot it’s installed, different cable setups must be installed.

It outputs the standard VGA 720×480 output. So the monitor must support that resolution. The VGA-scaler supports 20 different dispay modes with: color, color alternative, monochrome (green, white, amber – regular or bold modes for each), and emulation of scan lines for each mode (emulating CRT monitors for more retro feel).

The color modes can be changed with by pressing the button and the default mode can be chosen with dip switches at the card itself.

-40 and 80 columns text, with 24 lines.
-Low-Resolution, 40×48 (15 colors)
-High-Resolution, 280×192 (6 colors)
-Double-Low-Resolution, 80×48 (15 colors) * enhanced //e only 
-Double-High-Resolution, 560×192 (2 colors) * enhanced //e only 

It would be very interesting to find if this could be used with Apple /// ?

package
picture from a2heaven.com


The package comes with:

-VGA-scaler card 
-VGA-extention slim-cable and VGA-adapter
-Purple cable with clip
-Red cable with clip
-Yellow cable with clip (shielded cable for 14M signal)
-White cable with clip 
-5 jumpers, white, red, green, blue and yellow.
-Switch mode cable with button

Detailed installation manual pdf can be downloaded from a2heaven.com 

 

INSTALLING:

installed_s

I had it installed in an another unit earlier but now i installed it to my “test/hack” Apple //e UK PAL (unenhanced). I replaced the hook-cables as well as i found better type that are easier to install in tight spots like those IC’s that aren’t installed in sockets.

It’s relatively easy to install after you get the idea from the manual. It’s good idea to read it few times to be sure what you’re doing. There’s several revisions of each board made.

In this case, using //e and installing it to Slot 7, it required 3 wires to be installed:

– SEROUT > D12 74LS10 PIN 3  
– GR > C8 344-0022 PIN 2  
– 14M > C13 74LS166 PIN 7

The VGA-cable can be attached to the card by either directly to the VGA connector, or using the supplied slim-cable that allows you to get the cable out of the Apple II case and attach the VGA cable outside of the unit. The regular VGA cable wont fit inside the case from the slot openings of Apple //e.

 

DIFFERENT DISPLAY MODES:

modes
Picture from a2heaven.com

 

zaxxon_closeup_lines_s
With scan-lines

zaxxon_closeup_no_lines_s
Without scan lines.

 

zaxxon_closeup_lines_green_s
Monochrome green

 

The modes can be changed with by pressing the button. The default mode can be chosen with dip switches at the card itself.

-Color modes | with scanlines on/off
-Mono / regular / bold | with scanlines on/off

 

THOUGHTS?

The installation is bit tricky but if you take your time and carefully aproach the task, it’s not that complicated. There’s just different Apple II models and main logic board types that are different.

vga_card_installed_s

It does take one precious slot from your Apple II but that is not serious sarcifice as the result is much clearer video output. Another option would be the Ramworks III VGA extender if you already have the RamWorks III or IIII-card. One gains also different models of video, monochrome models, different color modes and as a extra feature, the scanlined modes that do look nice, emulating the good ol’ CRT.  So basicly the product is no-brainer to get unless you want the HDMI then you need to look into the VidHD card instead. It’s up to you.

I have the Ramworks III VGA-externder in my “main” //e and it works great, it needs naturally the Ramworks III or IIII-card but i happened to have one. That way i could save a slot and have RAM-card. Not bad. This VGA-scaler works similary, it just needs the slot and setting up is slightly more complicated (board variations). Both solutions have worked for me as i do not need right now the 1080p HDMI output. That might change however someday, if nothing but curiosity. But right now, i am very happy with VGA. The color modes are neat! Switching between them is quick and easy even i found myself stuck in few modes most of the time and not changing them. But, the option is there.

 

 

 

a2heaven_logo

VGA-scaler is available from a2heaven.com

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

“Welcome to the world of real time!” – Timemaster II H.O. by a2heaven.com

timemaster_ii_ho_top_s
Timemaster II H.O. by a2heaven.com

timemasterho_med
The original Timemaster II H.O. by Applied Engineering

 

…before

Back in the day, Apple II’s didn’t have real time clocks so you couldn’t see from files when they were created or use the date/time in your programs, calculate time intervals and so on.  Several companies released their own Real Time Clock card solutions for the Apple II. Most popular being the Thunderclock Plus from Thunderware Incorporated released in 1980. It quickly became the standard “clock cards” of the time that majority of different software supported. An another popuar card was AppleClock by Mountain Computer. Later Applied Engineering released Timemaster II H.O. – the fourth generation of clock cards – most likely, the most advanced clock card relased for the Apple II. It was capable of showing 24 hour format or 12 hour with AM/PM format, millisecond timekeeping with an accuracy of 0.00005%. It had a onboard timer which could time down any interval up to 48 days. It also maintained an internal calendar, separate of the 7 year cycle which ProDOS mapped. The Timemaster H.O. was 100% ProDOS and DOS 3.3 compatible.

The H.O. was for “High Output”. This referred to the 8-pin Digital I/O port on the card for remote commands. Through this port, one could hook up Applied Engineering’s BSR X-10 interface and “command console” to remotely control for example lights and electrical appliances. The BSR-system could send signals over existing 120 volt wiring.

…and now:

Timemaster II H.O. by a2heaven.com is modernized, smaller, if not tiny, clone of the original Applied Engineering card with the I/O connector for for home automation X-10 -devices. 

The card is designed, manufactured and sold by Plamen “Bulgarian Woz” Vaysilov of a2heaven.com

It was tested to work with Apple II+, //e, Laser 128 (ext.slot 7 enabled), CEC-E (ext.slot/slot 2 setup) and Pravetz 82, 8A, 8C, 8M.

There is SOS-driver for Thunderware Thunderclock Plus Clock card for Apple /// that is supported by the Timemaster II H.O.

card_small_ready
1 = Switches for modes/interrupts
2 = Pins for BSR/X10 devices
3 = Jumpers for enabling/disabling the LED’s
4 = Adjusting the quartz crystal
5 = CR1220 battery holder 

 

INSTALLATION:

battery_holder_s

You need to supply the battery yourself, it is common type CR1220. There’s holder for it in the card PCB. I had to press & bend the small metal fingers in top side of the battery holder so they would keep the battery in place and it not dropping off.

The card be installed in any slot, expect 0 in II+ or AUX in //e. Preferred slot is 4. Some commerical software expects a clock to be in slot 4 but it does work in any slot.

Make certain the switch #1 is ON (closed) in order to be able to setup the time. After setting the time you can if you wish, so you wont accidentally change it, turn it OFF.

SWITCHES:

switches_s_3

There’s Four switches:
#1 Set the time ON/OFF (must be CLOSED when setting the time)
#2 Mode: of the clock : Appleclock/TimeMaster II (selects the display mode)
#3 Enables the Non-Maskable Interrupt
#4 Enables the Interrupt Request 

OPEN – OFF. Push down towards “OPEN” to turn Switch off. The normal settings are switches 1 and 4 CLOSED, and 2 and 3 OPEN.

JUMPERS:

There’s three jumpers on the card, all with jumper inserted. You can controll the led’s of the card with these jumpers inserted/removed.

When jumper inserted (LED is “ON”) or not inserted (LED is “OFF”):

– First jumper = GREEN accessing the clock 
– Second jumper = RED write access 
– Third jumper = BLUE interrupt access  

When powered the GREEN or BLUE led is light, depends of the mode of the chosen clock card type. This works with or without jumpers inserted.

USAGE:

The Timemaster II H.O. supports fully DOS 3.3 (patched), ProDOS, Pascal and CP/M.

The current time information is available from the clock via DOS 3.3, ProDOS, Pascal etc to your own programs. Also there’s suppport for CP/M if you have such card installed on your system.

It supports:
-Time in hours (24 or 12 with AM/PM format), minutes, seconds and milliseconds (the only ProDOS compatible card with millisecond capability). 

-Date with year, month, day of week and leap year.

But,there’s a marjor bug in original firmware..
When you setup the date, and you can do it up to 2083 (1984-2083) but it will only dislay the year up to 1999. But if i saved the year “2019” it turned out to be “1919” or show’d as “15-MAY-19”.

The different modes:
Dip switch #2 : Mode of the clock : Appleclock/TimeMaster II (selects the display mode)

– AppleClock = (CLOSED) support for older types of Clocks and formats. Format : MO/DD HH:MM:SS:WYY
– TimeMaster II = (OPEN) support for many other more modern types of Clocks and formats. 

Supports various output formats & Thunderclock (Applesoft, Integer) compatible.

(CLOSED)
APPLE CLOCK MODE : 
MO/DD HH:MI:SS:WYY
12/14 15:30:23:384

 

(OPEN)
TIMEMASTER MODE :
W MO/DD/YY HH:MI:SS
3 12/14/83 15:30:23

THUNDER CLOCK APPLESOFT :
WWW MMM DD HH:MI:SS PM
FRI DEC 14 04:30:23

THUNDER CLOCK APPLESOFT :
WWW MMM D HH:MI:SS
FRI DEC 14 15:30:23

THUNDER CLOCK APPLESOFT : 
MO,OW,DD,HH,MI,SS
12,03,14,15,30,23

THUNDER CLOCK INTEGER :
WWW MMM DD HH:MI:SS PM
FRI DEC 14 03:30:23 PM

THUNDER CLOCK INTEGER : 
WWW MMM DD HH:MI:SS
FRI DEC 14 15:30:23

The Timemaster II mode is clearly prefered mode with it’s larger variation of supported output formats. TimeMaster II H.O. is really 8 clocks in one with it’s different modes!

 

READING THE CLOCK?

Reading the time can be done by Basic easily. You can call the clock easily and get different formats of time to be used in your own programs. That does depends however what mode your card is set on. Clearly the TimeMaster mode is superior.

It’s also possible search in your basic program the actual slot where the card is installed and what mode it is currently at. Other languages can be used to fetch the time and date from the clock as well.

The card supports milliseconds, for that the interrupts are needed (setting up the switch for it). DOS 3.3 canbe made to support it with “Patch DOS 3.3 for Interrupts”.

Automatic time/date stamping (DOS 3.3):
To use time/date stamping with DOS 3.3, there’s patch for it “INSTALL DOS DATER”. The card must be in TimeMaster mode (#2 open)

Automatic time/date stamping (ProDOS)
With ProDOS it’s already automatic there’s no need for patching. It shows already the info as : Date and time of original creation of the file, and date and time of last modification.

 

REMOTE CONTROL:

The BSR X-10 interface for the TimeMaster II H.O. allows you to send remote control signals to your BSR Ultrasonic command console. The command console sends the commands to your 120 Volt AC wiring to remotely controll appliances or almost any electrical device plugged with BSR remote module with. So you can turn on ligts or heating. Real high tech for mid 1980’s!

I have no such devices..  and not sure if it would even work with local current (230V) but the support is there.. So go ahead and try it yourself 🙂 Controll your home from your Apple II!

 

CALIBRATION:

Over the time the clock quartz crystal oscilator may slighly need to be adjusted, this can be done with the trimmer top of the 18-pin chip in the middle by using small screwdriver.

 

THOUGHTS?

dos_dater_s

After the DOS 3.3 is patched, the files got date stamped correctly. This is something every modern computer user is used to, as there’s no need for these kinds of clock cards anymore. It’s odd feeling to have this feature with Apple II as i didn’t think i was missing anything. I have few clock cards but i haven’t used them frequently simply due lack of free slots..

But it is usefull. With cases like programming where you might have many similar files and the version control might be difficult without the time/date stamping. Depends of your methods and processes of cause. Also it is handy feature when you write lots of text documents with i.e. AppleWorks or such.

Getting correct time/date for your own program or calculating the time intervals can be now done. We take that for granted these days.

The build quality is good. The PCB is white as it being an signature of a2heaven.com. Only the battery holder needed some adjusting but that’s nothing major. The card i had for testing was Revision 1.0.

I do not have the original AE Timemaster II H.O. so comparing to it is not possible. I however believe this is accurate and fully working clone of the original (with the same firmware).

qr_code_s 
The QR-code on back of the card’s PCB takes you to a2heaven.com – see you there!

 

a2heaven_logo

TimeMaster II H.O is available from a2heaven.com 

 

LINKS:
User’s Manual and Timemaster II H.O. software:
http://ae.applearchives.com/all_apple_iis/time_master_ii_ho/

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Microsoft Softcard

ad_of_z80card

Apple ][ CP/M
56K Ver. 2.20B
(C) 1980 Microsoft

Found the Microsoft Softcard with original packaging and with the Osbourne CP/M book. This is not the first revision of the card/package/release, but the later with different packaging released in 1983 (?).

old_package_inside_s
Already had older version of the product but without the card, in brown fake leather packaging that came in two binders with manuals, floppies in both 13 and 16-sector formats.

Background:

The Softcard is a plug-in Zilog Z80 co-proessor card developed by Microsoft to turn the Apple II into a CP/M system. The card was originally released March 1, 1980 and it was first hardware product by released by Microsoft. It enabled running business applications, including compilers and interpreters for several high-level languages. Microsoft later released a updated version, the Premium Softcard IIe for the Apple //e. That card had 80-column and 64K RAM functions added so it would be installed to AUX-slot saving one slot on your //e.

Package:

setup_out_s
The package seems to be localized to Germany as there’s some additional pages in German language. Otherwise it’s all English.

setup_in_s
With even Microsoft product catalog..

Using CP/M:

setup_cards_s
Basicly any slot expect 0, or 6. Slot 6 must have disk contoller for drives A: and B: (as minimal setup). Ideal slots would be either 4 or 7, so i used the traditional slot 4 in this case. 

cards_setup_apple_iie_s

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Applesauce client v1.1 with 3.5″ disks

devices_s

John Morris, the developer of Applesauce device has added support for 3.5″ drives and also released sync-sensor for the drive to be used. Applesauce client v1.1 was released in (5.5.2019) and it supported fully the Apple 3.5″ drive, reading and writing back to the disk.

Installation:

It’s easiest to follow the teardown instructions by ifixit.com  
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple+3.5+Drive+External+Floppy+Drive+Teardown/92324

installed_edit_s

The sync-sensor is installed next to the spinning wheel of the 3.5″ drive in bottom. The idea is the same, basicly the sensor reads the magnet strip that is installed to the spinning wheel for more accurate location of the disk.

There is room for the sync-sensor cable to route if out of the case along with the connector cable.

Testing?

writing_disk_s

I had only few original 3.5″ (Apple IIGS) floppies so i chose the “Marble Madness” that i had in hand. I first read the .a2r flux image out of the disk and then made .woz out of it (analyze and save). The .woz file then can be written back to blank disk.

working_copy_booted_s
I booted the written copy with my IIGS (ROM3) and it worked perfectly. Pretty amazing!

marble-madness-disk-1-side-0_s marble-madness_sync-disk-1-side-0_s

“Marble Madness” (GS) – without the sync-sensor installed vs with sync-sensor installed (both booted).

John Morris about the copy protction at twitter:
“Marble Madness has an “impossible to copy” track at $20 side 1 (400+ nibbles too big) that was clocked in a way that the IIgs couldn’t write out. Applesauce detects the abnormality and re-clocks the write on the fly. This exact protection scheme proved to be so effective that many competing publishers adopted it. It evolved a bit over the years, but largely remained the same. It is structured in a way that sector copiers think they copied it, but the sectors were actually just a decoy”.

This shows how genious the Applesauce client (and John) really is! 

Applesauce can be bought from:
https://applesaucefdc.com

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

Atari 130XE vs CEC-E:

cec-e_and_atari_130xe_s

THAT .. IS .. ATARI?!

I recently bought an nice boxed, Atari 130XE from Sweden that was quite complete. The model is quite nice as it’s with the new XE-case design as well it have 128k RAM already built in. Sadly the built quality of  the XE-line was somehow questionable.. specially the keyboard is absolutely horrible compared to 600/800XL-models.. 

My goal was to be able to play the recently ported version of “Stunt Car Racer” (128k) with the 130XE and compare it, first hand, to the “Chinese Education Computer Expanded” (“CEC-E”) as they kind of look alike. Too bad i had no early Atari ST in hand for this.

“UNBOXING”

 boxed_stuff_lq_s
Kind of have to do it. So here it is..

-The original box and styrox
-Atari 130XE
-Power supply 230v
-Manuals (German)

 

PICTURES:

atari_130xe_vs_cec-e_r_side_2_s
Atari 130XE vs CEC-E from Right side.

 

atari_130xe_vs_cec-e_backside_both_s
Atari 130XE vs CEC-E, backside. Clearly very different connectors used.

atari520st_interfaces_s
Clearly early Atari ST is closer by design. I just do not have one in my collection (it’s 16-bit!).

 

atari_130xe_bottom_s
Atari 130XE bottom:

cec_e_from_bottom_s
CEC-E bottom:

 

 

Testing / playing:

I connected the Atari 130XE with it’s video output and used a composite-to-scart adapter and LCD/TV that had scart connector. HDMI or VGA sure would be nice to have with Atari’s as well.

The power supply is a new one from lotharek proven to work great with 600XL and 800XL and is compatible with 130XE as well so that was safe choise to be used. My original Atari power supply burned all the RAM chips from my 800XL a while ago.. luckily they all were socketed and it was easy job replacing them.

For loading the software, i used the neat sd-card reader solution “SIO2SD” from lotharek as well. Playing the games i used my favorite joystick the legendary TAC-2 from Suncom.

atari_130xe_stunt_car_racing_s

Testing with playing the “Stunt Car Racer” that was never released to Atari 8-bits but it got ported early 2018. It requires 128k RAM so either stock 130XE is needed or modded model with 128k RAM on it. The display have some issues with RGB signal/composite at times..

I found out that there’s several homebrew/conversions that require more RAM up to 320K so that’s something i might need to look into later. Unless i finish the memory upgrades for my 600XL (16k ->64k + 512k) someday.. still not done!

The Stunt Car Racer run pretty nicely! I’d need to test the game on C64 and BBC Master 128k as well now as it got ported to BBC as well. This game is fun!

 

Links:
About the Stunt Car Racer Atari port:
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/276082-stunt-car-racer/

Lotharek products:
https://lotharek.pl

Youtube video of Stunt Car Racer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kRUkl7G7Oc

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.