II Something Issue # 15

II Something Magazine

Issue # 15
a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers
Sunday, February 4, 1996 – issue 15 – II.Smthg.960204


  • About…
  • Editor’s Greeting
  • Updata – Internet Email Subscriptions to II Something
  • Super Bowl XXX – boy, we’re glad that’s over!
  • The Phone – Alexander Graham Hell – concluded
  • Does The Editor Still Watch Too Much TV? – the week’s a blur
  • Do It In Software – Spectrum 2.0 – my first look
  • Webfind of the Week – U of Michigan – Classical etc
  • The Wire Service – the Incredible String Band
  • The Wire Service – The Stock Room
  • The Wire Service – Formatting Email
  • The Wire Service – Delphi’s Favorites.Sav file
  • Ouch!
  • Wish List – Last Base
  • Coming Next Week, Next Month, Next Year…



As you know, Apple Computer, Inc. owns all of the Apple II computer copyrights and trademarks, including their names.

II Something is offered as freeware – copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles. Intact distribution of the entire file is acceptable using online services, including BBSes, or via user group DOMs provided there are no commercial sales. Individual articles may be reprinted in user group publications only, provided the following paragraph (except for the opening and closing quotes) is included at the beginning or end of the reprint:

“This article originally appeared in II Something, a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers, copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles. It has been reprinted by permission. All trademarked names and phrases mentioned belong to their respective owners. Send email to CHStiles@Delphi.Com or C.Stiles3@Genie.Com via the Internet, or newsletters, disks, products for review, gifts, or bribes to Clark Hugh Stiles, Box 46, Comstock Park, MI 49321-0046.”

Editor’s Greeting

Welcome to II Something. February 1996 may have an extra day this year, but I’ll still be using an Apple IIgs the whole time.

On the 31st I ordered Spectrum 2.0 and Independence (the printer drivers) from Seven Hills. On the 3rd I was finishing this week’s issue and heard a clunk in the mailbox, which proved to be a Priority Mail envelope with both programs. No one can say we don’t get fast service. I also discovered to my chagrin that during the furnace installation insanity and the holiday hubbub I’d missed the deadline for the sale at ByteWorks. I’ll have to find out what’s available and buy some stuff. Vitesse also sells things that I want, so I plan to get in touch with them.

My attitude has been that a computer is not the ultimate priority, even though I enjoy using one, and therefore I’m immune to the complaint that I should save my money to buy something new (Dave) that is still supported. Actually, the Apple II is still supported, just not by Apple. You are currently reading some of that support.

This week (and for the foreseeable future) I plan to share my experiences with Spectrum for your enjoyment. I hope to be able to recommend it after I’ve used it for a time.

Development environments on the IIgs consist of the products from the ByteWorks and possibly Merlin 8/16. Micol BASICs and Assemblers, the TML (later Complete) family of products, AC Basic, Lisa 8/16, ZBasic, Aztec, Ravenware, Apple, and others have disappeared. So has Genesys, the resource editor used in Milestones and other programs. Is it possible to find these products to add to the Lost Classics project? The Foundation project has been a success. In the shareware or freeware arena there is Lisp, Smalltalk, and Hyper C, which has been available for a long time and has never been lost.

Due to sheer laziness and busy-ness, this issue will be fairly diverse in content, but somewhat short on quantity (well, a little short). I’m very surprised at the speed with which I wrote much of it. One thing that helps is that as I write one issue I think of things to do in the following week, so I can build an outline. Sometimes I rough out sections on Sunday or Monday night. Tuesday is the real beginning of my week of useless tv watching. This week I also spent a number of after work hours making x-rated icons for my own amusement.

The weather here has been getting colder every day and we’re currently somewhere below zero (as are a lot of the northern states). The sun is out and shining in my windows, which means that there was no cloud cover last night, and therefore what heat was available radiated right out of here last night. Seed orders are starting to arrive, which means spring is not that far away. Watch this space.

Updata – Internet Email Subscriptions to II Something

Last week’s issue went out to a whopping three subscribers. It’s a bona fide thrill to be on a non-spam emailing list. Since you count on me to do this kind of important research, I will be trying to get on a few to let you know how well it works. I’ve sent mail to confirm that a daily stock data dump will be available as email (since it is a single person, the information may be out of date). I had four pieces of email on GEnie (Friday 2/2/96), all of which were spam, including the updated news about user rates (see The Wire Service). Let me know about any subscriptions you currently enjoy, and how to sign up. I’ll pass along the information to readers without revealing your identity (unless you tell me you don’t care).

Super Bowl XXX – boy, we’re glad that’s over!

January 28, 8:40 PM – Pittsburgh’s QB threw a very obvious interception in their first serious mistake. Dallas is a favorite, so I’m very tempted not to remind readers that I predicted that Dallas wouldn’t be able to win no matter who they had to face. I hope they’ve forgotten.

9:36 PM – Pittsburgh was coming back bigtime, then their QB threw ANOTHER interception. The game is still close, but there’s little time left. Too bad. Only been one decent Superbowl (#23, SF and Cincinnati). I really wanted to watch “Friends”, but I’m not going to stay up. Tape it instead.

11:45 PM – I stayed up. Condolences to Pittsburgh, congratulations to Dallas. Friends seemed like a go-nowhere episode, but that could be due to the fact that I watched the first half and more with the sound muted (Dave called).

The Phone – Alexander Graham Hell – concluded

The phone just rang as I was trying to figure out how to start this. There was no one on the other end, no dial tone, no fast busy, just silence. Very annoying. Pushbutton dialing has led to more wrong numbers, and there are more kids with phones of their own and nothing to do (and no adult supervision). The old saying about small towns used to be that a wrong number didn’t matter, you were going to talk for fifteen minutes anyway.

I never noticed this stuff when I was a kid, because (believe it or not) I didn’t dial my first wrong number until I was twenty years old when I was using a pushbutton phone. The closest I came was trying to call a friend about fifteen miles away, not realizing it was a long distance call, and having the system connect me to a local household with the same four terminating digits. They were grouchy the moment they started speaking, almost as if they knew. Or maybe they had just turned down a twelve week trial offer from the Grand Rapids Press.

A while later some video pimp from the National Geographic called. I said I wasn’t interested in making any purchases. Guess what? He said, “this isn’t about a purchase. This is about a ten day trial viewing period for ’30 years of National Geographic Specials’,” to which I said “I’m not interested.” If I want National Geographic on video (I might if I had kids) it is available at Sam’s Club and at Best Buy.

Does The Editor Still Watch Too Much TV? – the week’s a blur

I watched six episodes of Seinfeld, two episodes of Friends, STVoyager, taped DS9, X-Files, the Single Guy, Frasier, Naked Truth, Drew Carey, and I hope that’s it. The ST:TNG video club selection is here but I haven’t watched it yet (the “Max Headroom” episode, and a skippable episode of some sort). I’m thinking about giving up television for a while. The X-Files has been really off all season. I haven’t been able to get into any of the episodes except for “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, and that one was anticlimactic. The biggest thrills I’ve had in the world of more or less interactive media (hey! TVs have remote controls!) was sending out the first Internet subscriptions of II Something and finding email of mine on the Strange Magazine website. As television and the Internet merge, I feel like I should have a weekly top ten list in the Wire Service.

Do It In Software – Spectrum 2.0 – my first look

Spectrum 2.0 is the latest version of Seven Hills Software’s telecom program for the GS. In use it cracks along pretty well. I tried the VT-100 emulation and it went wild on me, so I gave it the fingers (rebooted). I hope to sort out the problem by looking through the manual.

The Install didn’t work on the first, second, or third try. For some reason the copies I made on my floppy drive were bad. What I did was copy the files onto the destination hard drive, copy the Spectrum Extras disk to RAM5 (then renamed it), and used the bad block diskette to do the installation. The only file that needs to be replaced is the actual program file, because it gets customized by Install (not the Installer, which is also present). The sounds installation went along from the original diskette.

Zmodem is so great I can’t get over it. It transfers faster, it keeps the user’s filenames straight for uploads and downloads, and enhances Binary II. There is an auto detect feature for Zmodem (and CIS B+ protocol) that you can use or not as you choose. If you use it, your computer will automatically begin to download. Since the file name and file size is passed (that’s part of the beauty of Zmodem), you need only ask the originating system to send the file and everything is taken care of.

The scripting language is very similar to that of Talk Is Cheap, with a few new features thrown in, and some minor syntactical differences. Version 2.0 has a number of hypermedia features (like HyperStudio) but the demo was a bit slow, so I plan to use that sparingly. Too bad there isn’t an HTML XCMD for Spectrum…

As my experience with Spectrum 2.0 unfolds, you’ll read about it here in subsequent issues of II Something.

I’ve been having some trouble with the damned system crashing today. HTE saved my online capture buffer that I had edited, but then it went kaboom, and when I booted again and reloaded it I found that letters had been shifted one or two characters either way, pretty much at random. Whereas it is an interesting new method of encryption, it is also useless. I lost one piece of email and my reply to it. Needless to say, some of the links I listed using the Info directive got turned to trash.

Delphi also got so loaded that it dumped me offline.

I’m hoping that the Spectrum 2.0 interface will be better so that separate editors will be a thing of the past.

Webfind of the Week – U of Michigan – Classical etc


This is the Classics and Mediterranean Archaeology Home Page at UofM. I have a new home! The links to other academic sites alone are unbelievably great. I should warn you (in case you haven’t figured it out) that my interests are a little unusual. But who doesn’t want to know more about cooking in ancient Rome, the language of Akkad, find Alexander the Great’s Home Page, learn about Pompeii or the Great Library, or roller skate through the virtual museums of the world? I have a feeling that a number of future Webfinds will be found in the links here.

The Wire Service – The Stock Room


This one is interesting because when I connected I didn’t get a live document, I got the HTML (Hypermedia Text Markup Language) source code for what was supposed to be there. This may have been a server problem and may or may not be repeated, so to be on the safe side I’ll include part of the capture buffer in this week’s archive. I don’t know how the site works really, but seeing the HTML sample is educational.

The Wire Service – the Incredible String Band – Be Glad


This is another (Canadian, this time) home page for the Incredible String Band. I’m not sure which of the two ISB sites (see the 1/28/96 issue) I like the best. I’m just glad I got the correct address at last. Mike had told me about this one, but something was wrong with the link (the address had changed). I found I couldn’t connect using the correct address, so I went back to the other ISB site and used the link to this one. Yes, that will work sometimes.

This site has articles online regarding the ISB-Led Zep connection along with about two or three dozen other subjects.

In the original ISB site I found information about a hardcopy newsletter called Be Glad The Song Has No Ending, which apparently started in 1992.

The Wire Service – Formatting Email

Now that the Internet subscription version (text only) of II Something has swelled to three readers, I may as well tell you about what I do regarding line breaks. I’ve got this AppleSoft program located in my Delphi directory. It does a catalog of text files, then prompts for a file name. The Format external command then writes a copy with a line break at or before 79 characters. This makes reusing the whole thing (or even one article) a bit of a nuisance, but there are those who think the whole thing is a nuisance.

I’m working on a pure AppleSoft solution to these conundrums that will have a bit more flexibility, but I’m in no rush, so I’ll just keep you posted. If you want to make it easier on yourself, get the Unformat command which will take out the line breaks (it seems to work just fine). If you have trouble finding these commands, let me know. I can build a text file of a hex dump that you can EXEC very simply.

To make it easier to use I plan to add Karl Bunker’s excellent SFGet ampersand utility to the program. Point and shoot is not about football.

The Wire Service – Delphi’s Favorites.Sav file

I’ve combined all the SAV files into one file so that I can have the whole thing online at all times. It’s just easier. There is so much maintenance involved just with my Favorites file that having them organized as separate files (uploaded to Delphi when needed) seemed like a huge waste.

One problem is that the list is so huge (almost 400 entries) that I’m not sure what works and what does not work.

I edited each entry to give it an organizational or topical prefix (“Apple II:” for example) and made multiple entries for some (GR Freenet is under “Freenet:” and “Online:” for example). I used FreeWriter to add Tabs in uniform ways. AppleWorks loaded in the whole works, sorted it, and put the whole thing into a text file. I used FreeWriter to do a Find/Replace (adding back the Control-J’s, getting rid of excess Tabs, etcetera). I had to add the Unabomber entry back in with cut and paste in HTE.

Gopher entries were completely screwed up. Since I don’t have a lot of those, and they don’t change much, I just dumped those into a separate file and added them back in with HTE, moving them to their alphabetical location. Now it is one big organized file.

The beginning of the list now has entries containing the additional “All New:” prefix which was added to put things on the current investigation list near the beginning. At some point I’ll move it to its real location and remove the “All New:” prefix. This doesn’t mean the sites themselves are new, even to me. Sometimes I just don’t investigate them right away.

Delphi users will find some of this file to be pretty useful. Genie users will like the list of sites, but will have to chop out unneeded bits.


In the Wire Service “The Virtual Meet Market” (1/28/96) I screwed up the Internet address. I had an extra “http”, and the real address appears below:


Wish List – Last Base (an idea from 4/1/89)

Last Base (other names toyed with included 4Rs, NDBDA, NDADB, ADBDA, Mock Base, and Mocking Base) would be an NDA that reads, writes, reorganizes, and reports from Appleworks DB files. It would allow addition and deletion of categories without destroying report formats, reformatting by column for APW recognized date format, with power to create, import, and export ADB files. Last Base would use the clipboard and other standard GS/OS features. Perhaps it would be more practical to implement this as a standalone program to really make it run smoothly.

This would be very handy to have around, even if it merely imported ADB files and stuck them in a config file, resource fork, or some other type of data storage file. I’ve seen a CDA that will read an ADB file and display one record at a time in single record format only, but it isn’t too useful. There was a database NDA that used text files, but it was in the Deskpak and never seems to be stable (although I do still try to use it occasionally).

Coming Next Week, Next Month, Next Year…

A new Wish List, a bunch of more in-depth analyses of Internet sites, some new features adapted from my user group newsletter editing era, some more programs (including the elusive BetaBlocker), reviews (including Spectrum 2.0), a new Webfind of the Week, more Wire Service, and more.

I’ve been considering adding a Glossary file to each archive containing descriptions and definitions of commonly used terms (like “Dave”, “HTML” and the like). What do you think? You know my address, send me some email comments.


II Infinitum

Please follow and like us:

About the Author

Clark Hugh Stiles

Welcome to II Something. It’s October 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs. What am I missing? The newest machines use CRT screens (preferred, even with laptops except when actually used on the lap), keyboards, mice, and sound to implement an interface with the user. Hard drives are used for primary storage and boot volumes, while CD-ROMs are used to hold larger data files, and floppy and tape drives are used for current data and backup for the hard drives. Modems are used for communication with mainframes. These features have not changed in years; most of them have not changed in decade.