Quite a lot has happened since last time. Let’s take a look at what’s new in the world of Apple II!
David Schmenk has made an Apple II card that will interface with the Raspberry Pi. It is called Apple II Pi.
A new utility called Spyglass is an online disk image browser that will show disassemblies, hi-res graphics, and BASIC listings. It is in beta and will be improved in the coming weeks.
Option8 is selling Apple IIe card replacement “Y” cables.
Episode #31 of the Open-Apple podcast is out. The show hosts speak with Brendan Robert, famous for his Java Apple emulator.
The world of Apple II is never dull; there are new projects and things happening each month! Let’s take a look at what’s going on this week:
The Virtual ][ Emulator for Mac OS X has been updated. Version 7.3 was released with a host of new fixes and updates including:
- The "No Slot Clock" now reports Monday as weekday no. 1. Previously it reported Sunday as day no. 1, which was incorrect.
- Added Applescript properties for better control of the connected devices.
- The application preferences now offer two color schemes for high resolution rendering.
- The Inspector now retains its window positions when the virtual machine is restarted.
- Fixed several layout and font issues in the Inspector.
- "Set Disk Properties" in the Media menu no longer refuses volume numbers 0 and 255.
You can download the shareware version of the Virtual ][ Emulator from http://www.virtualii.com/
The Usenet newsgroup comp.binaries.apple2 contains about 2-3 thousand Apple II programs, but they’re tricky to download to an emulator or a real Apple II, owing to the fact that they’re all encoded with ASCII armor.
Well thanks to Format Converter, technology that will decode all the Apple II and Macintosh file formats, these files from comp.binaries.apple2 can be easily downloaded to your computer as a ShrinkIt file. BinSCII files will be decoded (usually to ShrinkIt archives) and so will Executioner format.
The ONLY limitation so far is that multi-part archives are not joined. I will have this last bit going ASAP. Something else I found wrong, but that is beyond my control, is that some of the ShrinkIt files have a bad CRC. They will probably still extract OK if you’ve got a program that will ignore a mismatched CRC.
Here is an example file, Anix2.2. Click the bold Download Binary link.
This should also work when using a web browser on the 8-bit Apple such as Contiki, or the Spectrum browser for IIgs. Let me know how it works.
What is this file? That’s a good question when it comes to these Apple II files which often have pretty cryptic names, such as “Mmgrdosinst.” Earlier this month, file catalogs were added to show the contents of ShrinkIt archives and disk images, but that only helps a little. Having a screenshot of what the program looks like is a much more valuable asset.
To that end, exactly 10,657 screenshots are now available for 4,668 8-bit Apple II programs in Mac GUI Vault. Files with screenshots will have anywhere from 1 to 4 screenshots.
The entire process was automated from start to finish, using AppleScript and Gerard Putter’s Virtual ][ emulator. In fact, Mr. Putter’s emulator was the only choice, as it was the only scriptable emulator. A series of sophisticated algorithms sifted through 21,000 candidate screenshots to eliminate exact duplicates, near duplicates, and other low-quality screenshots to return only the best possible screenshots for each program.
Special thanks goes to the afore-mentioned Mr. Putter for his assistance in the process. Any one interested in a detailed description of the process and algorithms used could read this blog entry.
Following are some example files with screenshots: Taxman and Apple Panic, Dragon’s Eye.
Today’s Mac GUI Vault update brings enhanced file catalogs to over 70% of the 27,000 files currently in the Vault archive; that’s almost 19,000 files. These file catalogs are in the search database too, so you can use them to find the programs that you’re looking for. Some files, such as BinHex and BinSCII, will often have a description of the program in them; this description has also been copied out and is searchable.
The following file formats are cataloged: Binary II, BinHex 4.0, BinSCII, Compact Pro (Compactor), DiskCopy 4.2, DOS 3.3, MacBinary II, MFS, Pascal, ProDOS, ShrinkIt (NuFile), StuffIt 1.5.1, Universal Disk Image (2mg). In future, more formats will be available, including StuffIt 5 and HFS disks. My goal is to have at least 90% of the files in Mac GUI Vault cataloged.
Future updates will bring more screenshots to the Apple II programs in Vault, as well as the ability to search within files and convert between any format.
Mac GUI Vault opened on 09/09/09 with the goal of being a cataloged, searchable database of all vintage Apple II and Macintosh material.
Virtual Apple ][ has published a new Apple ][ game. SHELL*SHOCK is a high paced action tank battle game for the Apple ][ computer. Originally written in 1985 by Peter Blum, Alan Burkle, and Jonathan Dunaisky, the game has been largely unseen until this month when it was resurrected by the original authors and sent to Virtual Apple ][.
SHELL*SHOCK is unique in the Apple ][ gaming realm as it allows users to battle each other in two player mode over the modem. While this feature is something that is long lost to the annuls of computing history, in 1985 it was a feature that was not really available in games of the time.
SHELL*SHOCK runs on any Apple II series computer with at least 64K of memory. The game comes complete with a full 40 page instruction manual, two disks and is freely downloadable from the Virtual Apple ][ website at:
The first is more of an update than a review. Ubuntu 13.4 is out. For those into running Linux this has been a fairly successful update. Although I haven’t tried it there does not appear to be many complaints. Mint 15 (derived from this version of Ubuntu) should be out toward the end of May.
The second is a program called Simutrans found at http://freecode.com. Alternatively it is available in the repositories if there is access to a Debian based system (such as Ubuntu). It is an open source simulation similar to Transport Tycoon. It is also cross-platform with source code provided. This means it should run on just about any computer. I haven’t played the original game so I can’t say how close it is to the original. The program runs well on my Linux system. I don’t know much about game play but it appears to be doing what it is supposed to do. The other thing to be aware of is a graphics pack will need to be downloaded. Two are downloaded via the repositories but adding others should be simple.
Third is a free Minecraft server called Craftbukkit (or Bukkit for short). There are plenty of videos on Youtube and links in Google to give people an idea of what it can do. They have recently updated to version 1.5.1 to match the Minecraft client and Mojangs Vanilla server. The main advantage to running Bukkit as opposed to Vanilla is the features. There are more things which can be done out of the box. Plugins (server modifications) are incredibly easy. Plus Bukkit is quite a bit more stable. Again it is cross-platform and will run on Windows, OS X, and Linux. My preference is to run it in a bare bones text mode Linux virtual machine for speed. Installing it is as simple as downloading a single file, unpacking it, running the binary once (assuming this is the first time) to set things up, then run it again to run the server. I have set up a series of scripts to make life easier. Connecting to the internet requires some router magic but there are plenty of references to help out. If anyone is into creating their own plugins or running a world, this is the way to go.
Gerard Puter, developer of the Virtual ][ Emulator has released a maintenance update to the Apple ][ emulator. Version 7.2.1 addresses an issue with sound compatibility in the emulator with Mac OS X 10.7.
Virtual ][ is a Mac based Apple ][ Emulator which contains many advanced features including Print to PDF as well as interface card control. The program is shareware and costs $49.95 for the full version of the program.
You can download the latest version of the Virtual ][ Emulator from the Virtual ][ website at:
Gerard Puter, the developer of the Virtual ][ Emulator has released an update to the emulator. Virtual ][ Version 7.1 is primarily a bug fix release witht he following items changed:
- Fixed an issue that could cause Apple II screen pixels to be randomly shown or hidden.
- Improved implementation of the "mounted OS X folder" feature to fix an incompatibility with EDASM.
- Some of the Applescript demos didn't work in version 7.0; this has been fixed.
Virtual ][ is a full fledged GUI interfaced Apple ][ emulator for Mac OS X. You must have at least Mac OS X 10.4 to use the latest version of this emulator. The shareware version of the Virtual II Emulator can be downloaded from the Virtual ][ website at: