Category Archives: Apple II

Apple II and /// software finds

falk_ii_screen_jpg2461
FALK II

Found some interesting boxed software sometime ago. All in great condition and complete so far i can tell. What makes it more interesting (for preservation and locality sense) some are in Swedish.

These all are now preserved in .woz format. The manuals are to be scanned later when i get a new book scanner (2019).

pfs-graph_s
pfs: Graph (Apple II)

pfs-report_s
pfs: Report (Apple II)

falk_ii_cover_s
FALK II (Apple II, Swedish)

falk_ii_2_s
FALK II (Apple II, Swedish)

falk_1_s
FALK II (Apple II, Swedish)

falk_ii_manual_s
FALK II (Apple II, Swedish)

pfs-file_s
pfs: file (Apple ///)

a3_writer_iii
Apple Writer /// (Apple /// – with Swedish floppy and manual)

a3_writer_iii_swe
Apple Writer /// (Apple /// – with Swedish floppy and manual)

 

Things kinds of finds keep me going with this hobby!

 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II & /// Forever.

 

 

p.s. Please contact me if you have more Nordic Apple II or /// software! 

 

Apple solid brass belt buckle (reproduction):

530409563_edc8145c7e_o
The original was offered in the Apple Gift Catalogs in late 70’s to early 80’s.
“This attractive , 2-3/16″ diameter, die-cast solid brass belt buckle is perfect for everybody (belt not included). Order no. D-001 for $8.00”

530409567_853496cdbb_o
What a cool family!

beltbuckle_1_s
This one is recent reproduction and is very close reproduction of the original one.

beltbuckle_back_s
In the back there’s BASIC software listed (engraved) & listing the copyright and manufacturer with the serial number.
It is delivered in a nice bag made out of soft cloth-fabric.

It is great (reproduction) item if you can’t find (& afford) the original one. 

 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Apple II – Disk II -drive extension cables:

cable_s
These are very handy extension cables for Disk II-drive users. You can swap the drives if needed much easier without opening the case. I found them very usefull when you’re preserving disks (even Applesauce have now taken over this process quite perfectly). These can be made yourself as it’s pretty straight forward if you have the tools.

cables_with_card_s
Connected to regular Disk II interface card.

 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever

 

Once there were Apple II clones:

all_set_s

This is again part of the Finnish Apple ][-history that i’m interested in very much of. I really enjoy finding these gems and hearing stories or the users, what they used these machines for and even finding software written by Finnish users and in Finnish. This setup in hand, was once used in Virrat, Westcoast of Finland in Graphical desing company at actually still exists today.

 

board_s

The computer itself, Apple ][+ is an clone (Made in Japan, unknown brand). The board have lots of custom wiring done from Slot #7. I’m not sure what they are ment to do, but i assume it’s done for getting color signal out of the board. Like an “Europlus-modification” they did for the ][+ boards before Europlus was released. There were few cards installed inside: 16k language card and Interface card for the plotter.

keyboard_s

The keyboard looked great, there were lots of “macros” printed to them. The spacebar seems to be needing some repair work as it’s somehow stuck. Hopefully the switches are not broken.

 graphics_tablet_s

Also, finally got the Apple Graphics tablet! I had previously had just the interface card that came with the Apple II (1978, Rev.2) some years ago. The owner had just earlier thrown away the tablet he had.. good timing but glad finding original Apple II that time. Also have the original software floppy (13-sector) and the manual but now i was finally able to get the actual tablet. So, let’s DRAW! I’ve been waiting for this.. more about this later in another blog-post.

 

plotter_s
The set also had WATANABE MIPLOT WX4675-plotter with manuals. This thing is quite big and heavy! I have no idea how to operate it but i’ll try later and see what happens. I found an old advertisement that had these for sale around $1000. If the manuals are not scanned, i’ll scan them.

 

 drive_s

The floppy drive was typical (what came with the clones if you bought one) half-height 5.25″-drive and had naturally, cloned Disk II-interface card with it.

joystick_s

The nice suprise was that there were very nice WICO Joystick “The Command Controll” with Apple II-adapter for two joysticks (16-pin Apple connector used with Apple II+).

Loose cards that came with the set, were common 80-column card, that was even boxed (plain white box with the name of the product).  There were also “PAL-encoder” -card (for color video output) for the Apple II+/europlus-era what they used to get color output.

books_1_s
There were few books:
“Apple Opas – DOS Basic/DOS 3.3/Pascal/Apple II+” – in Finnish. This is pretty great local original publication by Apple. Forewords by CEO of Apple Finland Oy at the time, Seppo Nykänen. I had this already but haven’t got around scanning it yet. Might actually scan this from the decent A4-copy i have, easier & much faster and less destructive. The common “The Applesoft Tutorial” -were there also.

 

mikrotietokone_tutuksi_s
“Mikrotietokone työkaluksi” book by great electronics and Apple II-wizard, Aapi Juntura. He and his son, wrote for Finnish Apple II user magazine “Omenahyve” for years. He’s still around but just not active anymore. This is also onebook i’m “in process” of scanning.. someday.

screen-shot-2018-11-20-at-17-08-14
Some floppy disks:
One of the most intresting part of obtaining these old collections, or setups, is always if you get software on floppy disks. You never know what you might find from them! I imaged all floppies that were possible to read. Few of them were in really bad shape and the surface of the floppy started to fall off when tried to read them. The disks contained a lot of different kind of software releated to making maps and making measurements for them. Software were Finnish made written in Basic. Some were by the great Aapi Juntura.

screen-shot-2018-11-20-at-17-09-13
Graphics Tablet software in Finnish (i believe this was by Aapi Juntura as well!).

 
Once again Finnish Apple II history saved!

 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever

MEGA Audio by a2heaven.com: Quick look

3_cards_s

MEGA Audio is a new audio card from a2heaven.com – developed by Plamen Vaysilov, for Apple II that holds inside several audio cards itself. It supports emulation of several different kinds of audio cards that were/are available for Apple II-computers, all-in-one:

2 x Mockingboard-cards (no support for SSI-263 speech chips emulation)
1 x A.L.F.-card
4 x S.A.M.-cards (4 x DAC)

MEGA Audio uses the internal speaker signal and routes it thru the emulated cards for output without connecting the cable from i.e. Mockingboard-card to motherboard connector. So you can hear the “beeb!” from better speakers now as well..

 

What it emulates?

mockingboard_a_s
Mockingboard:

Originally by Sweet Micro Systems with different versions.

The sound was generated through two AY-3-8910 chips for six audio channels and had two open sockets for optional SSI-263 speech chips (depending of the card model).

It worked in Apple II models with 48k RAM or more. Lots of software that had Mockingboard support, often needed 64k or 128k.

Support for Mockingboard-audio card on software/games was somehow limited. About 30 games/software supported the Mockingboard.  Very few games even supported dual mockingboards like “Ultima V” as well some modern Apple II-demos as well.

The known games/software supporting the Mockingboard:

Adventure Construction Set
Apple Cider Spider 
Berzap! (A clone of the classic arcade game, Berzerk!)
Broadsides 
Crimewave (Speech support)
Crypt of Medea (Speech support)
Cybernoid Music Disk
Guitar Master – Guitar tutoring
Lady Tut (Specific Mockingboard version)
Lancaster
Microbe
Mockingboard software (Sweet Micro Systems)
Mockingboard Developers Kit
Mockingboard Speech Developers Kit
Music Construction Set
Music Star (Patched version)
Night Flight
Oid Zone (Michael Packard)
One on One (Opening sequence music only)
Phasor software (Applied Engineering)
Popeye
Rescue Raiders v1.3 – (Speech support)
Silent Service 
Skyfox
Spy Strikes Back
Thunder Bombs
Ultima III
Ultima IV
Ultima V (Dual Mockingboards)
Under Fire
Willy Byte
Zaxxon (Mockingboard version)

 

 alf-mc1-a2heaven_s
A.L.F. -card “Apple Music II / Music Card MC1”

The ALF uses 3x SN76489N chips, thus allowing nine simultaneous voices (similar to three MC16 cards). Rather than starting at the same pitch as the lowest note on a piano (A0, the A below the C three octaves below Middle C) like the MC16, the MC1 started 15 semitones higher,  at C2 (the C two octaves below middle C; and rather than having an 8-octave (96 semitone) range,  it had a 6-octave (72 semitone) range. The Music Card MC16’s software was modified to operate the MC1. 

 sam_card_s
Software Automated Mouth-speech card (S.A.M.)

Is a versatile, 8-bit digital-to-analog converter, high-quality speech synthesizer card, created entirely on software and it does therefore have an built in timer module as Mockingboard-card does. It is easy to use and program with simple statements with BASIC or assembly-language. You can use the S.A.M. features directly from Applesoft or Assembler-language.

The card is now also supported by “Drum8 – 8-bit Apple II Drum Machine software” with 16 sounds, 8 simultanious, real time edit with mouse and 256-step pattern sequencer.

 

MEGA AUDIO HARDWARE:

 megaaudio_retail_s

MEGA Audio is based on Lattice small FPGA. Firmware (written by “Bulgarian Woz” Mr.Plamen Vaysilov) for the FPGA emulates chips of the audio cards supported by MEGA Audio: AY8910, VIA 6522, SN76489N and discrete logic using in these cards. The firmware is trying to be as close as possible to the original design of these cards hardware and emulate it. The card can route the internal speaker audio directly to external speakers without any extra cable.

The S.A.M.-card have one DAC assigned on address C0XH (X is 8+slot number and (Slot 1 = C090), H is a any address from 0..F, C0X0..C0XF). When you write value to address C0XH you set analog voltage on output and if you write fast on this port with some values you can make voltage shape of sound. So MEGA Audio have 4 DAC’s independendly assigned to C0X0..C0X3 therefore you can make 4 audio shapes in same time – 4 channels of S.A.M.

The supplied LED-equalizer unit comes with cable (50cm/19.5inch) – it is attached the connector on top of the MEGA Audio-card.

led_info_s
External LED-equalizer display:

Displays the activity of each channel in colored bar-formation. For example for the dual-Mockingboard setup the visuals would be:

-Mockingboard #1 Green    Left channel
-Mockingboard #1 Yellow    Right channel
-Mockingboard #2 Red       Left channel
-Mockingboard #2 Blue      Right channel

leds_3ledsleds_2

The led equalizer-bar-displays can be swapped to another style if desired. The type is: “10 Segment Bargraph Light”.

 

 card_led_colors_s
MEGA Audio-card leds:

When enabled and in use, the MEGA Audio-card’s led colors cycle thru rainbow colors, speed of cycling is dependent of frequency of the output of each channel.

 

INSTALLATION:

installed_s

MEGA Audio works in any slot (expect AUX in Apple //e). Depending of the emulated audio card you are using – they often need to be installed in certain slot, for example Mockingboard in #4, ALF in #2 and SAM in #4. Some games/software, allow you to setup the slot where the card is located, but not always. Some games that autodetect the Mockingboard and the slot & might have issues doing so if you are also having accelerator like FASTchip //e installed and running faster speeds then just 1MHz. Just slow it down and try again. This is not MEGA Audio problem.

For the audio we need either external active speakers attached or headphones (if those have audio level adjustment, the better).

 
setup_s
My testing setup:

Apple //e platinum

SLOT / CARD 
#7 CFFA 3000 & Smartport #7
#6 For Disk II-virtual slot (CFFA 3000)
#5 MEGA Audio : Mockingboard 1 / SAM (depending which one you are using)
#4 MEGA Audio : Mockingboard 2
#3 -empty-
#2 MEGA Audio : ALF 
#1 FASTchip //e
#AUX RamWorks III+VGA add-on adapter

+ External active speakers
+ Headphones
+ Attached external led-equalizer display module

ENTER THE MEGA AUDIO CONTROL PANEL:

You can access the MEGA Audio-card Control panel settings from monitor by typing:

]CALL -151 [ENTER] – to enter the monitor
*CFFF    [ENTER]
*CX00   [ENTER] X = slot number where MEGA Audio is installed, for example C400 (Slot 4)
*C800G [ENTER]


megaaudio_menu_s
MEGA Audio Control panel:

Here you can change and save the configuration:

Slot # – what emulated audio card is using which slot. In this case the setup is as : #2 ALF (A), #3 Mockingboard 2 (m), #4 Mockingboard 1 (M) and #5 SAM (S).

Output – If you want the output being Stereo or Mono. Mixing all chanels with one (mono mode audio) for example SAM outputs only in right channel with this option.

Light – if you want to turn the led’s of the MEGA Audio-card itself, On/Off.

Speaker – for speaker audio level adjustment – that is output to the MEGA Audio and the speakers.

 

HOW IT SOUNDS?

-Mockingboard & Mockingboard dual:

I played around many different Mockingboard-supported games and they all worked fine and sounded as with any Mockingboard-card. It is so great to have the same quality audio when playing games that the other 8-bit computers had in the 80’s.. sadly the Mockingboard did not get more support than it did. I found new favorite game, Night Flight! 

Tested also music disks like “Chiptunes” and “Not So Cheap Tunes” that did sound absolutely fantastic and i kept coming back to it and listening them as a backgroung music when i was doing other things. There’s also some demos that support Mockingboard, released by the great late French Touch. Also some modern games like Michael Packard’s “Oid Zone” supports the Mockingboard.

There’s only few known games with Dual Mockingboard-support, i.e. Ultima V that also have menu where you can listen the songs used in the game. Those are 12-channel tunes and they do sound fantastic, specially when you turn up the volume! Ultima IV says it would support dual Mockingboard but i could not get it working. I had Mockingboard’s configured to slots #4 and #5 – even you can also configure them at the menu as well to other slots. The reason for it is mostlikely bug in the Ultima IV’s code. There’s also music disk by French Touch that have dual Mockingboard support (12-channels) and wow, that did sound different and fantastic. It’s hard to believe it’s the same old Apple II with the “beeb” you’be used to listening! 

Some videos:
Night Flight : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFnSj0-q0LY
Chiptunes (#2) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b75ZsO63SU8
French Touch 12ch music disk : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ug7TIpg2Vc
Ultima V (12ch) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tZNJyWEhek
Popeye – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBUjGqfAsTs
Ultima IV – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv-TsecFaE
Skyfox – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV3DnszTxJ0

-A.L.F:

Usually used in Slot 2 but is configurable with the software.

Played the ALF Album disk – series and they did sound just like the vintage, or the clone, ALF-card would have. I however did not try to compose any music of my own (due my limited musical limitations). But if you’re into composing your own vintage computer music, this is an another possibility for you. Sadly the ALF-card did not get more support, it was great audio card of it’s time!

ALF music player: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-GU4Lgns24

-S.A.M. / Software Automated Mouth:

Usually used in slot #4.

Played around the old SAM speech disks that demonstrate the synthesization capabilities of the card. It is always fun to hear computer to speak. And the possibility to use it with your own Applesoft programs makes it even more fun and opens more possiblities.

Drum8 (Slot 5) – Absolutely great drum machine software if you are into making your own music. It supports 16 sounds, 8 simultanious, real time edit with mouse or keyboard and 256-step pattern sequencer. The quality was nice, but i am not much of a musician (more or less blues/guitar picker) to get more out of it but i played around and i was able to create some sort of a background beat for a song! The editor is quite easy to use.

I suggest you to take a look of it if you have the beat with you: https://blog.juicylizard.com/drum8-apple-ii-8-bit-drum-machine/

SAM Speech (demo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73X_zTTocZU
SAM Speech (#2) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCtahfcyvGY
Drum8 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVy0H9bxvjE
Drum8 “RockIt” : https://soundcloud.com/user-352744039/drum8-megaaudio-rockitwav

 

CONCLUSIONS AND THOUGHTS:

The card very handy and convinient by size, about the size of the FASTchip //e and supports many audio cards for Apple II -serie of computers. It’s reasonably priced card if you need to have several different types of audio cards in your Apple II. Having Mockingboard in optional dual-setup is already very interesting and possible deal-maker for some. We can hope more support in form of new games or demos, will appear after this kind of setup being so easily had (Michael are you paying attention..).

Accessing the Control panel menu thru monitor & commands is not difficult, but it would be more convinient if it could be done while booting the Apple II by pressing some key, like with FASTchip //e for example. The need to configure the slots within the MEGA Audio might not be something you need to do often however, depending your needs of course.

Audio quality, with my setups, was excellent. I had some humming when using old vintage 90’s PC-desktop active speakers but less, if any, with modern, quite new Lenovo desktop speakers. But then again, rarely those cheap active speakers are that high quality. With iPhone headphones the humming noise was clearly heard but not with better quality over-the-ear type. Routing the headphone-cable better away from the computer, might help if you have long enough cable to do so. The (dual) 12-channel Mockingboard sound was really awesome, rich and clear, sadly not much supported by software. The “regular” Mockingboad audio, i found myself listening Chiptunes and Not So Cheap Tunes -music disks as a background music when i was doing something else elsewhere. Those just sound that good!

The idea of having more than one audio card built-in is just plain genius! I wonder if Applied Engineering’s Phasor-card would have been added as well, even it’s basicly the same as two Mockingboads and why not then… bear with me, SID-chip? There is soundcards supporting SID for even BBC Micro called “beebSID”. So maybe we’ll see updaded MEGA Audio Pro someday?

If you don’t have Mockingboard card already, this is one way to get it and more, in one small package for the price of one.

 a2heaven_logo

Available soon at : https://www.a2heaven.com/webshop/
Estimated price for MEGA Audio is $85 + $20 for the Equalizer display (free shipping everywhere)

  

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

NOTE : The FinApple is having issues with WordPress and hyperlinks can not be added correctly. The blog will be moved to another domain some time soon….

 

Half-height slim-floppy drives:

top-front_s
Got these from a friend as a trade. He had saved these from the 80’s and not used them ever since. These were once used in a local textile factory close by his home. 

bottom_s
Bottom-view. Just different color from the bottom. The mechanism looks the same on both however they do sound totally different when reading the floppy.

cec-e_with_two_drives_s
I wanted these as the original Apple II disk drive, Disk II-drive didn’t boot for some reason with the CEC-E (it did with CEC-I). Disk II-drive did power up, but it would not boot or read anything from it. These drives work just fine (as i thought) and they are quite quiet as well. And they do look nice with the clone that CEC-E certainly is.

cec-e_with_one_drive_saxxon_s2
Zaxxon time! The colors look bit off. I think some component on the board is having issues as the picture starts to degrade after few minutes when the CEC-E is been turned on untill it’s totally unreadable mess. An another project then with another time…..

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

A2heaven products for the summer.. coming soon!

a2heaven_logo

FastChip //c

fc2c_s
This summer you’ll be able to ACCELERATE your Apple //c up to 16.6MHz!
Easy to install, easy to adjust speed, all you ever need for your Apple //c. If it would be faster, it would be I-N-S-A-N-E.

RamWorks III VGA add-on-card (PAL/NTSC)

all_top_s
RamWorks III VGA add-on card is very handy add-on card to your Applied Engineering (or equilevant) RamWorks III card.
This add-on board enables you to use VGA-monitors with your Apple //e (PAL or NTSC) and save up an slot compared to other
VGA-solutions. There’s never too many slots!

Color modes available are as of:
1 – Colour
2 – Colour Alternative
3 – Shades of Green
4 – Shades of White
5 – Mono – Green
6 – Mono – White
7 – Mono – Amber
8 – Mono – Green (Bold)
9 – Mono – White (Bold)
10 – Mono – Amber (Bold)

 

MegaAudio

ma_s
Mega Audio is audio card for your Apple II that holds inside several audio cards itself. It supports emulation of :
2 * MockingBoards , 1 * ALF , 4x * SAM cards .

 

ALL THESE ARE SOON AVAILABLE AT : https://www.a2heaven.com/webshop

Apple II and CP/M:

digital_research
CP/M being very popular Operating system back in the 70’s and early 80’s, lots of CP/M (soft) cards were made for the Apple II as well. One of the first ones was released by Microsoft, called “Z-80 Softcard” in 1980 and being first hardware product released by Microsoft. That card then was obiously cloned by Taiwanese and other manufacturers.

Wikipedia:
The Z-80 SoftCard is a plug-in coprocessor card developed by Microsoft to turn the Apple II personal computer into a CP/M system based upon the Zilog Z80 CPU. Becoming the most popular CP/M platform and Microsoft’s top revenue source for 1980, it was eventually renamed the Microsoft SoftCard and was succeeded by Microsoft’s Premium Softcard IIe for the Apple IIe.

Introduced in 1980 as Microsoft’s first hardware product, and bundled with the Microsoft BASIC programming language, the Z-80 SoftCard is a coprocessor card enabling the Apple II to run the Digital Research CP/M operating system, which was the industry-standard operating system for running business software. This gives Apple II users access to many more business applications, including compilers and interpreters for several high-level languages. CP/M, one of the earliest cross-platform operating systems, is easily adaptable to a wide range of auxiliary chips and peripheral hardware, but it requires an Intel 8080-compatible CPU, which the Zilog Z80 is, but which the Apple’s CPU, the MOS Technology 6502, is not. The SoftCard has a Zilog Z80 CPU plus some 74LS00 series TTL chips to adapt that processor’s bus to the Apple bus.

 Recent additions:my_cards_s
I came across few interesting cards made by Applied Engineering (Z-80 Plus) and Personal Computer Products Inc. (APPLI-CARD) and those run either 4 or 6mhz. These are the high-quality cards and not just plain clones.

setof_s
I think this picture of the set was from ebay:

floppy_s
Software:

box_s
Box of the set:

Applied Engineering Z-80 Plus (Z80 @ 4mHz)
http://ae.applearchives.com/all_apple_iis/z-80_plus/z-80_plus_brochure.pdf

Personal Computer Products Inc. APPLI-CARD (Z80 @ 4mhz or 6mhz)
http://apple2online.com/web_documents/appli-card_manual.pdf
http://apple2online.com/web_documents/pcpi_mini_manual.pdf

CP/M by Digital Research:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M

FinApple (c) 2018.
Apple ][ forever.

Apple II-software tapes

Thanks to Marko for these Apple II tape donations. These were first Apple II software tapes released by Apple Computer Inc. , in my collection.

COLOR DEMOSOFT / LITTLE BRICK OUT
600-2023-00
1979

ALIGNMENT TEST TONE / RENUMBER/APPEND
600-2024-00
1979

These are naturally digitized and preserved by the great Antoine Vignau of Brutal Deluxe at :
http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/projects/cassettes/apple/

 

apple_ii_software_tapes_s

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple ][ forever.

From Belgium with Floppies

“Floppies! Floppies! Let there be FLOPPIES.”

Bryan Bogaert sent these floppies to be preserved. One never knows what there is to be found.

box_s

What software were used:
-As most of the disks were not originals, not protected ones, i just used CFFA3000 to read the disk images (.dsk) out of the floppies. That’s the most easy/realible way to get the images read quick. For more difficult ones, or slightly protected ones, ADTPro could be used to read the .nib file, but currently i don’t have ethernet based network setup in my mancave/hobby/work-room so i had to skip that in this moment.

floppies_around_s

Any intersting finds?
Lots of basic stuff. Cracked game collections (i’m specially interested finding software cracked by European, less known, groups or persons), AppleWorks, DOS-masters -the basic stuff really.

ghostbusters_crack_screen
Cracked by some Dutch group/person:

itt_floppy_sBut atleast something very interesting, i found software made for the Apple ][ clone, ITT 2020!
Basic-Couse and some financing products labeled as “Bell Telephone Mfg. Co. Retail Management Program – Verkoop en Facturatie and Stock -en Klantenbeheer”. There were versions 1.0, 2.0 and 2.1 but all i could find were version 2.0 and 2.1. Those disks were really in bad shape, the mylar surface was badly grooved in few tracks. Cleaning did not help on that.

passported_sFew i could read with the Passport by 4am and it revealed that those were actually protected with DOS3.3P.

Also found some Dutch PD-collections:
-Apple Gebruikersgroep Amsterdam : Het Diskschift
-Software Bibliotheek Stichting Apple 2 Support
-IAC Klok-series

Images that did not contain any personal data, were uploaded to archive.org and asimov.

FinApple 2018
Apple ][ forever.