II Something Issue # 6

II Something Magazine

Issue # 6
a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers
Sunday, December 3, 1995 – issue 6 – II.Smthg.951203


  • About…
  • Editor’s Greeting
  • Letters To II Something
  • Does The Editor Have A Life? – the ongoing story
  • Do It In Hardware – EZ Drive, Meet Mister Scrog’
  • The Wire Service – yes, a look at GS Worldview
  • The Wire Service – Illegitimi Non Carborundum
  • Multimedia – PhoneDisc, GEM, other CD-ROMs
  • Ouch!
  • Wish List – shorter cables, other complaints



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. It’s December 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs (actually two of them, but only one at a time).

This has been a very lazy week. Notice that this issue includes a Letters section, which is a first for II Something. I was careful to save the buffer this time.

Just for kicks, do a search on this document for ” I ” and ” me “. I suppose that I should be watching how I write this weekly journal (which was all MY idea).

The Desktop BASIC project? What’s that? I have not worked on this at all. Mea Culpa. I’ve learned a lesson about great ideas – from now on I won’t tell you about them until I’ve got the thing accomplished, and at that time I’ll include it in the archive.

In the near future a II Something archive will include Beta Blocker, which is an AppleSoft disk block editor with certain features in common with the old Beagle Bros Bytezap program, with the addition of 80 column screens, compatibility with more ProDOS devices, and having the entire block on screen at the same time. One thing I wanted was the nifty date edit function and a certain amount of the display options (differently implemented). Beta Blocker is already roughed in, and the binary routines are written and debugged. I just need to find it, er, finish it, and then release it as a beta version (hence the name). I was going to put a function in to follow a file, but I’m lazy, and that fork-following zap program is now available. Something like that should have been available before.

I’ve had mercy on you and not stuck a big bunch of K in the archive this time. I have found a few new Internet sites but haven’t explored them. I’ve switched to Delphi’s 20/20 plan (oddly, it costs a mere $19 to switch). If its CLI goes away, very soon thereafter I’ll be dumping Delphi.

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.

Letters To II Something

Item 0721886 95/11/29 02:11
From: A2.TONY Tony Ward, A2 File Librarian
To: C.STILES3 Clark Hugh Stiles
Sub: II Something
First let me say you are doing a wonderful job with II Something. I find it remarkable that someone can write a weekly newsletter about =anything= and it's refreshing to see one with an Apple II slant. Nice work!
In Issue #5 (11/26/95) you state that the Iomega Jaz cartridges cost $200. That must be list price. MacWarehouse sells the 540MB carts for $69.95 and the 1GB carts for $119.95. There is also a healthy volume discount, as low as $99.95 for 1GB carts in sets of 10 or more. They sell the drive itself for $599. It's a very nice drive, and it's faster than most hard drives on the market.
If you'd like to see the technical specs, let me know.
Tony Ward


Tony: Thanks for the praise and for the information about the Jaz drive. I still don’t think I’ll spring for it at this point, but as I’ve said elsewhere, I’d love to have one of every kind of drive, so who knows. The thing I’ve learned about publishing weekly is that I shouldn’t make too many promises or plans for upcoming issues, because something always falls through, and before I know it Friday is here (like now) and I haven’t written this week’s issue. Luckily, I have three letters to include in this week’s issue and work well against a deadline (see last week’s description of the reconstruction of my old waterbed).


Item 1210393 95/12/01 14:08
From: G.BALLEIN Gary D. Ballein
To: C.STILES3 Clark Hugh Stiles
cc: G.BALLEIN Gary D. Ballein
Sub: II Something
Just read your newsletter II Something from the November Disk of the Month on GEnie. Just curious though, is the newsletter going to be a regular feature of the disk of the month, or was this just a sample? If it was just a sample, how could one download on a regular basis?
I have both an Apple IIGS, and a 486 machine, but most of my family feels more comfortable on the Apple. Since this machine has been dying a slow death for the last few years, it is a pleasant surprise when you find someone new supporting the IIGS. I would like to know, and I am enclosing my GEnie e-mail address, if you can find time to respond. Thanks!
Gary Ballein


Gary: Thanks for your interest. I don’t know whether II Something will be part of the GEnie DOM or not, but I have a feeling that it is likely as long as I don’t spend too much time in digression. To download the various issues of II Something (in your case, on GEnie), go to A2, select the number for Software Libraries, and when you’ve reached that menu, select the number for Search. At the first search prompt, enter INFO as the keyword to find, and hit return a couple more times to skip the Uploader address and the number of Days. Most of my uploads will be listed as long as you’ve got ALL Libraries selected (which is likely and is usually a good idea).


INET# Document Id: UX012.BUX0985719

Item 1745938 95/11/20 13:02
To: C.STILES3 Clark Hugh Stiles
Sub: cheering your efforts

Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:02:00 -0500
Organization: Searchlight City BBS 319/391-0658
Subject: cheering your efforts
I downloaded the first two II.Somethings this morning and read them. Your style and content reminds me of how I write letters. I found them enjoyable and interesting. Well, they wouldn't be enjoyable if they weren't interesting and they wouldn't be AS interesting if they weren't enjoyable so those terms aren't quite synonymous.
Hope you can keep it up. I'll be back for more.
Nancy Crawford ( editor The_Applebyter Club Newsletter )


Nancy: This issue will contain the latest trials and tribulations of interfacing a hard drive (the Scrog’) with the EZ Drive. The wish list is pretty mundane, but the inspiration for came from trying to handle all these peripherals. Thanks for your remarks about II Something. It’s nice to hear that from another editor.

Does The Editor Have A Life? – the ongoing story

For years now I’ve preferred T-160 cassettes because they store eight episodes of Star Trek or X-files, or sixteen sitcom episodes. While Dave and Becky were here we went to look at the bedroom phone (has a clock and alarm built in, and is easy on the eyes) at the local discount department store (Meijer) and I discovered T-180 VHS videocassettes. The T-180 will tape nine hours of stuff and the picture looks just fine. This comes in handy for those times when I tape and watch at my leisure. Sometimes I’m a Brainiac and watch the show AS it’s being taped. I guess I could reuse the various poorly taped T-160 cassettes that are around here.

Dave and Becky really loved the touch sensitive adapter connected to the bedlamps. Like me and like everyone I’ve told, they were surprised that retrofitting a light to this type of user interface (seriously, think about it) was so easy, or even possible. To reiterate, there are two versions of this product, one screws into the socket and the bulb screws into the adapter; the type I use (same brand) is a box that plugs into the wall outlet and controls all the lamps connected to it (one outlet on the box, use an extension cord).

I’m beginning to like the look of Christmas. If you’d like to know what’s on my list of holiday greed, call my parents, Dave and Becky, or Mike and Jodi (oops. You don’t have the number, do you?). Why not send a gift of time to me (that is, if GEnie and Delphi do that)? Actually, as you know, II Something is freeware, so while gifts to me would be appreciated, they don’t have anything to do with its continued publication.

If I spend (even more) money on myself for computer gear, I’d buy an EZ Drive (this week I think – see the “Hardware” article below), one or more Zip accelerators, a Second Sight, and a V.34 modem (the Woz has an old 2400 baud Epic Classic – runs, but ugly, as they say in the auto classifieds). The Byteworks special (I hope it’s still running) looks good to me, but I’ve been procrastinating about that (as I have about the furnace, housekeeping, and a few other things).

This is the time of the year that I like to view some of those old Biblical blockbuster movies. My all time favorite is The Ten Commandments (the talkie one with Yul Brynner and Charlton Heston) just because it is so humorous. I’ve been tempted to get the restored video version of it, just to count the times someone says, “Moses, Moses, Moses”. Last night the absolutely dreadful “Cleopatra” (starring Rex, Liz, and Dick) was on and I watched it as long as I could. That scene when the Cleo character gets high handed about the destruction of the Great Library turned my stomach a little more than usual. For one thing, Caesar didn’t set fire to the Great Library, and in fact the Great Library endured for centuries after (even the Arab historians record its destruction by the first wave of Moslem rulers). For another thing, the real Cleo could not possibly have cared less about any such thing.

Since Caesar, Cleopatra, and Antony are dead, I have a better claim to having a life.

On Friday the building where I work had another small fire, necessitating evacuation. Unfortunately, I got to work a bit late and missed the festivities. Also unfortunate was the fact that the fire didn’t happen during that day’s Board meeting. The Board doesn’t seem to have a clue about what the staff has to deal with on a daily basis, and something like that might snap them out of it.

When I was a boy I had to walk across a mile of frozen river and fend off starving wolves to get to the one room schoolhouse where I used to contract hard measles.

One of the employees contacted me a couple of weeks ago about her paycheck. The U.S. Postal Service had not delivered it on time (this happens a lot), and she doesn’t use electronic deposit. I told her that I wouldn’t be able to order the replacement until last week Tuesday (Lansing’s rule) and to contact me Tuesday morning in the hope that the check would arrive. It didn’t. I spent Tuesday doing a bunch of other things and didn’t order the check, but left the information out so I’d do it first thing Wednesday. I forgot it until I went home Wednesday night, and worried about this all Thanksgiving weekend. The employee called Monday and said the check had made it on Friday (eight, really nine, days late). Procrastination comes through for me once again.

Do It In Hardware – EZ Drive, Meet Mister Scrog’

I’d tried to hook the Scrog’ O Matic (ancient hard drive, see earlier issues) to the EZ Drive on both the ROM 01 with RamFAST and the ROM 03 with the High Speed. Nothing. The system wouldn’t recognize the Conner on the AHS, and wouldn’t boot with the RamFAST. Finally got it to work tonight by setting the Conner to SCSI ID 6, the EZ Drive to ID 5, and cabling the Conner to the AHS with the daisy to the EZ Drive, leaving the terminator its the other 50 pin port.

In case I hadn’t mentioned that, the EZ Drive has twin 50 pin ports as opposed to the DB25’s (or something else compact) that is on the Zip drive. It also has a wider available range of SCSI ID numbers. It still uses an AC adapter like the Zip does.

Prior attempts had the system claim that I had but one SCSI device in the chain, then after a visit to ProDOS 8, it told me (quite correctly) that there was more than one volume named Groucho. I tried to have it rename Groucho to Groucho2, and it didn’t work. Boy, did it not work.

I rebooted, renamed the EZ Drive partitions, shut down from Finder, powered down everything, and made the above change to the cabling and IDs. The system booted off the EZ Drive, and the icons for the Conner came up. Not wasting a minute I tried a few things, then renamed the Conner partitions, put the EZ Drive partitions back to their original names, and my Alias files became usable again.

The plan right along has been to get the Syquest cartridge refills, partition them, and move the Conner contents to a couple of those (can’t have too many backups). I think I’ll probably leave the Conner on the ROM 01 for now, although the temptation to buy another new drive of some sort still beckons me. I think I’ll get another EZ Drive because they’re so darn easy, and also I can transport my cartridges wherever and they’ll work just fine.

I used to keep a bunch of file and folder icons on the Finder desktop so when I used the Scrog’ (attached to the Woz) I’d have all the commonly used things easily available. This morning I tried to boot up the ROM 03 with Mister EZ and the Scrog’ attached as noted above, and I got a text screen error dialog, “Infinite loop while walking icons,” whatever that means. I hit Return and the Finder desktop continued to appear, but then it stopped. The watch cursor was there and I could move it, but nothing else, so I gave it the three finger salute. On the second try it happened again.

That time I gave it the four finger salute (one on the shift key) and booted without DAs and Inits, and the boot finished. I put away all the icons except for the Alias icon I’ve been using for the EZ Drive volumes (an Alias icon on the desktop which represents a folder on Groucho, which contains alias files for frequently accessed files and folders). I spent the rest of the morning building up a similar Alias folder for the Scrog’.

If Syquest ever gets on the ball I’ll have three new EZ Drive cookies to back up the Scrog’, which will then be replaced. I’ll have to call Syquest this week to see why the holdup.

I’ve been considering getting a power control center (one of those flat plastic boxes that sets under the monitor and has a bunch of power switches on the front corresponding to the outlets on the back, with a surge suppressor built in). Right now I’ve got the drives hooked to the old reliable Syquest 44MB unit which is not in the SCSI chain at this time. I’m sucking up juice for no reason. My problem with this idea is that the top shelf where the monitor goes is but ten inches deep (the back of the monitor rests on a chrome plated pipe normally used for the integral bookends for this desk). If anyone knows of a shallower power unit, please let me know about it (new only, please).

The Wire Service – yes, a look at GS Worldview

As noted, Charles Turley has delayed the publication of his GS Worldview until December 7th. Due to the short period prior to the next issue of II Something, my first real look won’t be until the 17th. One email response to me suggested I distance myself from “Dr. Tom” (Turley’s handle) by “parsecs”.

Once again, 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.

The Wire Service – Illegitimi Non Carborundum

What does that mean, Clark? I was a bit surprised that no one has asked. According to Barbara Tuchman’s biography of General Joseph Stilwell, “Vinegar Joe” had this Latin phrase inscribed on small sign he kept on his desk, and claimed that it meant “don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Talk about word economy. “Illegitimi Non Carborundum” makes almost as good a motto as “II Infinitum.”

Multimedia – PhoneDisc, GEM, other CD-ROMs

Beginning next issue I’ll be looking at some of the CDROMs I’ve accumulated, and eventually at the DiskQuest itself. I really mean it this time. Okay, okay, I will say that the PhoneDisc CDROM set (four disks) will be really neat if I can figure out a practical way to access them. I’d love to be able to search for names and numbers from the privacy of my own home. Oh. I can. 555-1212. Forgot. Blew $40 for no reason. Damn.


In response to my brief mention of the Iomega Jaz drive in the 11/26/95 issue, A2 Librarian and II Something reader Tony Ward (see “Letters”) wrote that “MacWarehouse sells the540MB carts for $69.95 and the 1GB carts for $119.95. There is also a healthy volume discount, as low as $99.95 for 1GB carts in sets of 10 or more. They sell the drive itself for $599.” This is not exactly an Ouch!, but it seemed like a good idea to emphasize it.

Wish List – shorter cables, other complaints

I use a power strip on the ROM 03, which means that this wheeled desk is connected to the wall via one power cord and the phone line. The power strip is screwed to the bottom of the desktop (real, not virtual) and the cords are wrapped up to keep them from getting too tangled. I use those elastic cords with the glasslike balls on each end (little girls wear them in their hair) to fasten the loops of cord. The SCSI cables are three footers.

Since I generally stack drives, I’d love to have six inch, fairly flexible, SCSI cables to daisy the drives, with one DB25-Centronics to connect to the CPU. The power cords should be precoiled (like telephone handset cords) and extend no more than three feet. Someone help me.


II Infinitum

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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.