Category Archives: Applesauce

Kasettilamerit: rescuing Turku GameLab Apple II disk collection:

screen-shot-2019-02-13-at-22-44-59

Turku Gamelab borrowed about 80 pcs of Apple II 5.25″ floppies to be preserved. Some of the disks were original, some typical “backup” material that went from hand-to-hand among the hobbyists back in 80’s. Most likely most of the material is preserved already, but.. who knows. Just in case.

The floppies were read with Applesauce device and saved as .a2r and then converted to .woz, the format that is more useable. Most emulators read .woz files thesedays as well some hardware devices to be used the the real Apple II hardware.

Some images had personal information so they were excluded from the collection.

Most intresting find was those few graphical rolling on-screen demos made for Finnish electronics retailer “Mustapörssi”. There were demos for “Access //” and “AppleWorks”programs. Mustapörssi sold Apple II’s in mid to late 90’s, atleast //c and IIe.

AppleWorks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzAFmMdWzmY

Access //:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRv_-HY6dW0

The collection is downloadable at:
https://archive.org/details/TurkuGameLabAppleIICollection

The .woz files can be loaded with emulators like: OpenEmulator (macOS), Virtual II (macOS), MAME, microM8, EPPLEII.

Or with card readers for real Apple II’s like: wDrive or Floppyemu.

 

Finapple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever

 

wDrive by KbooHK

World of .woz:

I must admit. Even i obtained the AppleSauce device from the first run in summer 2018, i did not have any rush to get the .woz files running in real hardware. Emulators were covered quite quicky and the support was added to OpenEmulator, Virtual II, MAME, microM8, EPPLEII. Just that “most” files read with AppleSauce to .a2r and then converted to.woz do exist on cracked .dsk format already. Most? What an excuse?! I was happy (still am) using .dsk ,as it really doesn’t matter what format i load the software in, if it works. But i do see .woz as important preservation/archive-format absolutely. It is the future.

John K. Morris have done absolutely phenomenal job with the .a2r and .woz formats as well with the AppleSauce-device itself and the software supporting it. This is absolutely what we needed in the Apple II community hands down! The other preservation efforts have not been as successful what comes to Apple II software by far sight – and we do not have too much time to loose in sake of preservation either. John also did upgrade the .woz format and the board PCB lately and you could get the upgrade board from him directly for nominal fee if you bought the first revision device.

We own you a lot John.

About the wDrive:

product_s

BUT. As “wDrive” got also .dsk, .po, .do support lately, i thought to give it a try. Why not. I’ve had heard mostly only (if not all) positive comments about the device and the developer have been actively updating the firmware that is good for the users. 

“wDrive” is designed and manufactured by “KbooHK” out of Hongkong, China. It was the first device to support the new .woz format in 2018 that are created with AppleSauce-device (.a2r -> woz). The support for .woz arrived for the Floppyemu as well, about the same time i received wDrive from Hongkong.

wDrive specifications are as follows (from kboohk.com):
-5.25″ disk image formats: .dsk, .do, .po, .nib, .edf, .woz (version 1.0 & 2.0).
-Disk image read/write.
-FAT16, FAT32 formatted SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
-Maximum files in each folder limited to 100.
-Maximum levels of sub folder limited to 10.
-Firmware is upgradeable.
-Dimensions are : 70mm x 40mm x 20mm.
-It comes with 20-pin flat ribbon cable.
-Includes also a 3D Printed case (color of chosing) with buttons and display.

KbooHK offers online file converter tool at their webpage, http://kboohk.com/dsk2woz/  for converting files to different formats (some format-to-format conversions are not yet supported however as of today):

.edd > .nib, .woz, .edf
.dsk > .nib, .woz, .edf
.po > .nib, .woz, .edf
.do > .nib, .woz, .edf
.zip > .nib, .woz, .edf

I’d like to see this released as offline tool as well. You never know how long this tool get’s supported, or maintained in online location. There’s however other tools for these conversions available as well, .dsk to .woz.

I however fail to see the need to convert non copyproteced disk images to .woz, but it’s available. Maybe i’m missing something here?

INSTALLATION:

The wDrive is very easy to install as any Disk II drive would be. Just look at the orientation of the cable and plug it in the Disk II interface card.

idc20todb19_adapter-s
or with adapter :

..or with suitable adapter if you’re using //c, //c+ or IIGS. I tested the wDrive with Apple //e, //c and //c+. Using the wDrive required adapter with //c and //c+, IDC20>DB19 (thanks to a2heaven.com)

THE wDRIVE ITSELF:

display_s

The display:
Nice thing about the wDrive’s display is that the chosen file, the font, get’s bigger and highlighted when it’s chosen. The built-in LED shows when the file is accessed. If anything to improve, the display could be upgraded to OLED for better quaility reading like in WiModem232-OLED but that might be more expensive option. The display have great feeling of old Nokia phones that is very nice and suits the use very nicely actually.

The Buttons:
UP – SELECT – DOWN + RESET (on right side)
Navigating thru the files and folders is done by buttons in front of the enclousure. UP, SELECT and DOWN and in the right side there’s the RESET button. The buttons however are quite slow and unresponsible in my opinion and need pressing harder that one would maybe expect. But that’s something to get used to.

3d_printed_case_3_s

The Case:
The 3d-printed case is good quality (at the time of odering only frosted-transparent was available) and it’s really nice small and light weighted. The print quality is fine, as it’s 3d printed you can see the printhead marks but i don’t see that as a issue of anykind. The casing is very smooth, cute and small.

3d_printed_case_2_s

SD-card slot:
The SD-card slot is in the front and the card it inserted upside down (label facing down). The drive looks like an small 3.5″ drive.

USAGE:

apple_iic_romx5_gaming_wdrive_woz_s

Using the wDrive with Apple //e was very straight forward. Just plug it in and use. Every .woz file i used loaded perfectly and worked fine. The device is using regular SD-cards as storage medium.

With Apple //c and //c+ (both had custom ROM’s on them) it was different. The //c would not boot every .woz image due the restrictions of the model, as it’s external drive and some software are hardcoded to boot from internal drive only. With the //c+ this wasn’t the case, it booted everything i could throw at it and the loading times were quite fast. 

wDrive vs Floppyemu disk image loading times differences?

I tested few .woz files with both (Apple //c+@4MHz), wDrive and the Floppyemu (Rev.A with latest “beta” .woz firmware) and both were about the same. I’d say there’s no performance differences between these two drives.

online_converter_too_s
Converter software online:  http://kboohk.com/dsk2woz/ 

.edd > .nib, .woz, .edf
.dsk > .nib, .woz, .edf
.po > .nib, .woz, .edf
.do > .nib, .woz, .edf
.zip > .nib, .woz, .edf

Usefull converting might be the .edd > .woz (but it isn’t supported yet). Converting non protected format to .woz would serve no purpose in my mind.

I tested several (known good) .edd-files and converted them to .edf with this tool and the .edf files booted fine with the wDrive. Edd-file format might be pretty much obsolete now as everything is moving towards .woz but there might be some cases it might be proven usefull.

OTHER TOOLS:

Other tools for manipulating WOZ-files:
https://applesaucefdc.com/woz/

wozardry
A multipurpose tool for manipulating WOZ disk images.
https://github.com/a2-4am/wozardry

dsk2woz
A tool for converting DSK images to WOZ format.
https://github.com/TomHarte/dsk2woz

Apple II Disk Browser
A tool that allows you to view the contents of disk images.
https://github.com/dmolony/DiskBrowser

DskToWoz2
A tool that converts DSK images into WOZ 2.0 format.
https://github.com/cmosher01/DskToWoz2

THOUGHTS?

floppyemu_and_wdrive_s
wDrive reminds a lot of FloppyEmu, the design is similar, the size is similar, the display is similar.  Differences come from the connectivity. Both are connected with IDC 20-pin (or DB 19-pin connector with adapter) but Floppyemu have support for smartport 3.5″ and HDD devices/images as well. wDrive have support for .edf (from .edd). Both use sd-card as storage medium, wDrive uses the older (regular) sd-card and Floppyemu (B) uses the micro-SD card. It would be nice if the wDrive would support 3.5″ devices/images as well HDD images. Doable with future firmware update maybe?

For the future, as i’m mainly using //e and IIgs, i’d hope, possible “wDrive 2” that would be .. slot based, with on-screen menu, USB-connector for mass storage instead of SD-card and keeping the features what it have now naturally with added smartport support.

Overall, the wDrive does what it is advertiseed for. It’s cheaper than other similar SD-reader solutions for your Apple II and if the external device design doesn’t bother you or lack of smartport device support, this is the product for you. Sadly as when i’m writing this the wDrive is no longer available but it should (?) be available again some time soon.

kboohk
wDrive retails $69.00 + shipping from http://kboohk.com [currently unavailable]

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.