II ALive Volume 1 Number 1
Apple II software may not be plentiful on the retail shelf, but that doesn’t mean there’s no software out there. Recently, GEnie (General Electric’s information service) celebrated its 20,000th Apple II upload. America Online is at 18,000 Apple II files. There are also a number of “servers” on Internet, including Apple Computer itself, and our favorite:
CCosun@caltech.edu (California Institute of Technology), which has some of the more exotic Apple II files. Your local user group is also a good source of shareware. Shareware is software that is marketed on a try-before-you-buy basis. You get to try the software for thirty days. If you like the program, you send the author a fee to register it; if you don’ t, you pass the software on to someone else or erase it. The cost of registering shareware ranges from $5 to $25. If you’re a programmer dying to get noticed, shareware is one way to go.
Some other programs are freeware, which means that the author allows the software to be freely distributed (sometimes with minor restrictions) and retains copyright to the software. (The fact that the author retains copyright means that he or she can legally prevent others from passing it off as their own work.) Public-domain software is software with no copyrights at all; you can copy it, change it, and do whatever you want with it. Here are a few files you may find interesting:
Keyboard Extender v1.0
Keyboard Extender is a permanent initialization file (PIF) that adds functionality to any extended Apple Desktop Bus key board. Extended keyboards have function keys across the top and extra cursor keys that are missing from the stock keyboard, and many “power users” use them. However, support for the extra keys is not built into the IIGS, since Apple never actually sold the IIGS with an extended keyboard. With this PIF, the extra keys work as they’re labeled. For example, F l is Undo, F2 is Cut, F3 is Copy, and F4 is Paste. The extra cursor keys (page up, page down, home, and end) will work as well. If your keyboard has function keys up to Fl5, you can toggle the Keyboard Extender on and off while you work.
BRAM Checker is another Initialization file, a temporary one. At startup, it checks your Control Panel settings (stored in BRAM, or Battery RAM) against a file that was created when you installed the program. If your settings have changed since the last time you started the computer, BRAM Checker will notify you of the change and allow you to save the change or restore your original settings. This TIF is especially handy if your battery has died (while you’re waiting for your Nite Owl replacement battery to arrive)-you’d have to boot twice every time you turn the power on, but at least your control panel settings will be valid. It’s also nice for finding out which programs mess with your control panel. This program has helped me discover quite a few.
Robert Mueller & Tony Morton
Scrapbook is a New Desk Accessory (meaning that it appears under the Apple menu in IIGS Desktop programs) that stores graphics for use · in any GS/OS program that can paste graphics. For example, you might keep your company logo in the Scrapbook. To place that in your document, just choose Scrapbook from the Apple menu, find the graphic, choose Copy from the Edit menu, bring your document back to the front, and choose Paste from the Edit menu. It’s much easier than storing your graphics in individual files which must be opened in a paint program.
David R. Hill
Finally, there’s a IIGS program that can control your home automation system. X10-GS works with the BSR X10 Powerhouse system, which can control your lights and appliances remotely. With X10-GS, you can select the times at which your lights and appliances turn themselves on and off. Imagine being awakened by your stereo system playing your favorite tape to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee! Of course, you have to leave the computer turned on all the time, and you have to be careful not to tell the X10 to turn it off. In addition to the timing capabilities, the program can also turn lights on and off from your computer’s keyboard.
GUIMaster is a combination of two programs that let you customize the colors for windows, alerts, scroll bard, radio buttons, check boxes, and size boxes. You can redesign your IIGS’s screen to match the furniture if you feel like it . (By the way, the “GUI” in the program’s name refers to the IIGS’s Graphic User Interface, which finally comes under user control with GUIMaster.)
AppleWriter II, AppleWriter III, Electric Duet, and GraFORTH
Thanks to the efforts of the A2 RoundTable on GEnie (particularly the seemingly tireless Tim Tobin), these programs, formerly published commercially but now out of print, are available once again, and best of all, they’re now free’ AppleWriter II is a true classic, and is still the word processor of choice for many Apple II owners. It features a built-in programming language called WPL. Electric Duet is one of the first Apple II programs to offer two independent musical notes performed entirely through tricky programming, and GraFORTH is a fast, graphics-oriented variation of the obscure, obtuse, and perversely fun programming language FORTH.
This simple but essential utility converts standard “raw” (binary) sound files to the new rSound format used by System 6. Now you can move those sounds you were using with StartSound and other “event sound” programs to System 6 for use with the Sound control panel!