II Something Issue # 5

II Something Magazine

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Issue # 5
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a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers
Sunday, November 26, 1995 – issue 5 – II.Smthg.951126
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Contents
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  • About…
  • Editor’s Greeting
  • Does The Editor Have A Life? – the ongoing story
  • Do It In Hardware – The New Hard Drive, Zip Drives, more
  • Do It In Hardware – Performantz Mouse, MacPro keyboard
  • The Wire Service – review? Not this week…
  • The Wire Service – Illegitimi Non Carborundum
  • The Wire Service – Jargon, Slang, & Faces
  • Multimedia – CDROM is more than a job… – continued
  • Wish List – tv in a window

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About…
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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.”

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Editor’s Greeting
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Welcome to II Something. It’s just after Thanksgiving Day 1995, I’m still using an Apple IIgs, and I’m thankful for that.

This issue seems a little light. This week was very busy for me, since in addition to the traditional overeating (never can get too much of that) I also tore into the back bedroom (what was the computer, tv, exercise, and beanbag room) to turn it into a guest room in time for the visit of Dave and Becky. That does not mean that there is nothing of interest in this issue, however.

This week I replaced the venerable (worn out) old mouse on the Woz machine (the one with the Scrog’ drive), chained a Zip drive off the EZ Drive for some file transfer, ordered blank EZ Drive media, learned of a new removable drive, and of course had some fascinating human experiences.
Like Herodotus, when I don’t manage to get somewhere I’ll tell you that too. I haven’t been online this week. I’m hoping for more email. Last week I got a few pieces regarding the newsletter, and someone in realtime conference actually mentioned II Something in a positive light while everyone was around (don’t make me look through the edited buffer please). Pride comes easy to the vain, so guess what happened next?

As always, please send me anything you know or any kind of feedback about anything you read here. I may or may not print it, but regardless, submissions become my property to use as I see fit, subject to my own editing.

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Does The Editor Have A Life? – the ongoing story
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On Wednesday, November 15 the local Computer City opened. The site had gone from vacant lot to opening day in 12 weeks (I asked). While I was looking around for hard drives (see earlier issues of II Something) someone in a big floppy hat asked me what kind of computer it was. I assumed he was an employee, especially after he gave me a full description of my options as a GS owner. It turned out that he was a Computer City employee from St Louis who, while driving here to visit friends, had heard on the radio about the grand opening of the Grand Rapids store and decided to swing in for a look. He said that this new store is one of Computer City’s Express format outlet.

I liked the guy, but I think that the Editor has a better claim to having a life.
This week Mike came over to help me with the carpet demolition and setting up of the old waterbed. We ended up getting a few big things done, including the beginning of the carpet removal, but then the furnace threatened to kill us and we evacuated for a while. This furnace is one of those gravity gas octopus types, probably made in 500 B.C. to burn up those three guys in Babylon. I’ve been getting estimates for a couple of months, not because the furnace is dead, but because I want better efficiency.
Thanksgiving morning I tore up the remaining carpet and loaded it and the pads in my back seat (and I have a Sundance). After the Thanksgiving gathering I went to the store for a few things and got a number of others due to a 20% sale on certain furniture items. When I got home I tore up staples and that plywood thing around the edge, cleaned the floor three different ways, and began to set up the old waterbed, rebuilding as I went.
I got tired and went to bed, not yet finished, after 7 A.M. Dave called from his mother’s house about 11:30 A.M. I got up, ate a little, and got back to work. Friday evening we went to this high class blues club (is that an oxymoron?) called The Rhythm Kitchen Cafe (the food is yuh mee). In the morning Dave and I went to the Brandywine for breakfast (started eating around noon) while Becky (who doesn’t like to eat breakfast in restaurants) ate some toaster waffles, showered, read, watched “Hannah and Her Sisters” on tape, and relaxed.

We had dinner at Dave’s mom’s, and Dave and Becky drove home today while I was in Lansing for my oldest niece’s birthday. I sent copies of the first five issues of II Something on his Zip disk, so expect some letters to the editor.

This morning a squirrel kept knocking his nuts on the side of the house and I kept thinking that my ride was here. Rodents! The little feces-heads are familiar enough with my voice to go running when they hear me. Maybe they even recognize me on sight. In the summer I live trap them and haul them off to a large cemetery at Eastern and Hall where I release them to romp and play. For a couple of months I couldn’t do that because the heat was so great I was afraid they’d die in the trap.

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Do It In Hardware – The New Hard Drive, Zip Drives, more
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The EZ Drive cartridge quest has ended. Failing to get a call back from AMS (which seems to be charging about $60 for ONE), I called MacZone, which lists the cartridges at $23 something. Ordered a mouse instead of another drive or any cartridges. Called Syquest, they were out of stock on the three pack, so I ordered three singles at $19.99 each, plus $5.75 shipping (a little high). I should have those soon.

Global (1-800-845-6225) carries EZ Drive cartridges at $19.99, less for larger quantities, plus shipping. MacMall (see “Multimedia” below) also charges $19.99 plus shipping.

I plan to move the Scrog’ drive off the Woz machine (temporarily) and back up everything onto a newly formatted EZ Drive cartridge. Dave wants to sell his almost new 1 Gig Conner drive, for $200, because it won’t work with the Quantums for some reason. I could pull the old 120MB Conner (Scrog’) and use that case and power supply for the 1 Gig, saving the Scrog’ for, uh, offline storage (in a pink bag in the closet).

Job one will be to check on prices for large fixed drives, probably from APS. Really do think I’ll get another EZ Drive. Dave knows someone who just bought FOUR.

The EZ Drive lever moves in the opposite direction compared to my 44MB Syquest. I never know what to do, so today I drew an arrow on the spine label with the word “Unload” next to it. No more problems with that.

Dave brought his Zip drive and a Zip disk containing the 14MB or so of stuff I’d left on his hard drive (don’t know about this Dave person? Read some of the earlier issues). I pulled the terminator off the EZ Drive, shuffled some cables, and hooked up the Zip. The Zip has a switch to determine termination, which is convenient (the EZ Drive ships with a terminator).
As the Finder appeared so did the dialog about the non-data partitions left on the Zip disk by the Mac partitioning software. I clicked “Eject”, and the disk stayed in there. The dialog appeared a second time and I clicked “Eject” once again. In between those problems, the icon for the data volume popped up on the desktop as it is supposed to. This problem would appear again after periods of inactivity by the Zip drive, but clicking “Eject” twice would fix the problem.

I like the Zip drive and its disks, and this problem with the Mac-formatted diskettes goes away after a nice clean repartitioning and initializing job on the IIgs. I don’t much care for the fact that the disk spins when needed, much as a floppy drive does, and that it is slow. The light weight is nice (the EZ drive is fairly lightweight, but noticeably heavier). Both the Zip and the EZ Drive get their operating power from AC adapters. The Zip disks are probably more likely to survive rough handling if you have to mail them across the country filled with data, but they don’t hold quite as much. The Jaz drive from Iomega puts 1 Gig on a similar diskette, but that unit costs a bundle, and its diskettes are over $200 each.

Oddly enough, I couldn’t get the Zip to eject its media using the Trash in Finder. It worked out well enough, but this problem is new to me. I believe I used the Zip on the RamFAST before.

A company called MCD has a 540MB removable drive that also can use 270MB Syquest disk cartridges at the 270MB capacity. The price in MacMall (see “Multimedia” below) is $579 for the drive, $249 for a five pack of media, $119 for a two pack. It is SCSI-2, 10 millisecond average seek time. These prices are not extraordinary, but when I get to $300 I would rather have the lower price per MB of large fixed hard drives. If money were no object I’d have one of these MCD drives in a shot.

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Do It In Hardware – Performantz Mouse, MacPro keyboard
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The Woz machine had a mouse that was skee rood so I ordered a $23 mouse from MacZone. It was here in a few days ($3 gets you next day, but I was in no hurry) and the report is that this mouse is comparable to the Apple ADB Mouse II in the way it feels in the hand and performs. It is supposed to use optical technology, but inside the ball socket it looks like the old mouse. The original Apple ADB mouse that used to be here is now on the Woz machine.

I got a $5 off coupon for orders placed within ten days, so if I end up not using for another EZ Drive, I’ll get another mouse because I’m that satisfied.
I’ve had good luck with MacZone on one or two other occasions – the one I remember for certain is the keyboard I’m using now, a MacPro by Keytronic. Right after it arrived I installed one of those cola catchers (transparent plastic, with adhesive around the edge, to protect the keys), which has enhanced its longevity.

I’ve used the MacPro without problems for about three or more years. The only thing I’ve never cared for is that the included cord is hardwired to the keyboard, and comes out of the right side of the back to make it compatible with the then-current Mac II models (Mac II? What’s a Mac II? For one thing, some of those had two ADB ports in back, on the right side). The ADB port on the keyboard is in the middle of the back instead of on one end. This arrangement is just bad. Wound up getting an ADB splitter.

The new MacPro keyboards are set up (last time I checked at Best Buy) with one ADB port on each end of the back, similar to the Apple keyboards and pretty much any other third party ADB keyboard. My advice is to check that feature before buying. The local Computer City is running Interex keyboards for about $35, and I would have got that in a minute but I wasn’t too sure I liked the key action. If I should have to replace another keyboard I’d get another MacPro or other keyboard with a good key action. Dave pointed out an ADB ergonomic keyboard in some catalog, but I’d prefer to try that out rather than mail order it.

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The Wire Service – review? Not this week…
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As noted, Charles Turley has delayed the publication of his GS Worldview until December. After viewing the GIFs available on his website I began to wonder about the quality of his work (the GIFs were pretty awful). Later I got some email regarding his past behavior regarding software copyrights and was advised to disregard Mr. Turley and his GS Worldview.

While I appreciate the feedback, on reflection it is best that I review GS Worldview. If it’s really great, you will read about it here. If it sucks, you will read about it here. Although it has been suggested I would lose credibility by reviewing it, I’ve decided that view is incorrect. I’m glad that others have expressed their concern about Mr. Turley, but my credibility is not on the line unless I now say, “We won’t be going there” after I’d said we would.

Let’s hope I’ll be able to say the same about the Desktop BASIC project…
For those who don’t like him, don’t read the review. I think that would be a mistake, because at the least you should know your enemy. Those who don’t know anything about him should read it to see if the site is worth checking into. Those who really want to find out about the site should ‘net over there and see it firsthand, then decide.

Please note that I have never communicated in any way with Mr. Turley, am not related to him, and in fact had never heard of him prior to my exploration of his site. Mea non culpa. This paragraph in and of itself discharges any claims that I’ve given up or will give up any credibility during my coverage of GS Worldview. I’m grateful that someone was concerned enough about this to send information I did not have before so that I could share it here, before someone drew the conclusion that I was concealing something.

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The Wire Service – Illegitimi Non Carborundum
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While Dave was here I got that 14 megs or so of files I’d downloaded while visiting them. I got the freeWAIS tape archive file (.Tar) that contains the source for freeWAIS. I won’t be rash and tell you that I’ll be porting freeWAIS, because that would be a hell of a big job even compared to the Desktop BASIC project. It would be nice to have freeWAIS available, since it is a Wide Area Information Server, i.e., host software to provide URL service on the Internet. Being able to maintain an Internet node right on this machine would be a major blast. The Internet address which has the freeWAIS source available is the CNIDR Home Page (freeWAIS) at http://cnidr.org/

Of course, I’d be needing a new phone line…

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The Wire Service – Jargon, Slang, & Faces
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I found something last month called the Modem Dictionary v2.00 by R. Scott Perry, 178 Morton Street, Newton Centre, MA 02159. I think it will prove to be a satisfactory listing of the acronyms and ASCII graphics common to online messages. Look for it in this week’s archive. Note that it Mr. Perry holds the copyright of it but distributes it as freeware, making intact distribution okay. There are four files related to the dictionary, but three of them are a bit useless.

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Multimedia – CDROM is more than a job… – continued
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In MacMall (1-800-222-2808) there is the NEC Multispin 2Xc 7 disk changer CDROM for $159. Obviously there would be a need for a SCSI-2 driver for such a thing. SCSI-2 uses the same cables and connectors as SCSI, but has an extended command set, at least according to an off-duty hardware salesman (see “…Life?” above). Perhaps the SCSI-2 driver available from Sequential Systems would provide this. As far as NEC compatibility, I’m not sure. Only one CDROM disk can be on the desktop at a given time, but switching them would require very little effort (perhaps an NDA, PIF, TIF, or FExt).

Alltech Electronics’s ad in Enhance lists DiskQuest with drive at $159. I’ll be calling this week. Alltech is at 619-724-2404 (orders), 619-724-4660 (BBS), 619-724-8808 (Fax).

Beginning next issue I’ll be looking at some of the CDROMs I’ve accumulated, and eventually at the DiskQuest itself.

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Wish List – tv in a window
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In a GEnie RTC the other day someone online claimed to be using a Second Sight card and Video Overlay Card connected to a VCR or some other tuner to watch television in a window on the monitor of his GS. Now THAT would be something I’d love to see. That’s also something I’d love to HAVE. I could use this, even if only to keep track of the progress of something going on over in the other computer (which is now in my real bedroom).

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Enjoy.

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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.