An A.P.P.L.E. Review – The New Apple II User’s Guide

Book Title:  The New Apple II User’s Guide
Author: David Finnigan
Pages: 775

The New Apple II User's Guide cover

In 1993, Apple Inc. discontinued the Apple IIgs computer and all production of software and manuals for the Apple II series of computers came to a screeching halt.  Within a year, 95% of all Apple II software publishers were for the most part either shut down or they had moved on to publishing materials for the IBM PC or the Macintosh.  A sturdy handful of folks however, continued keeping the Apple II series alive and selling software for the system.

Now 20 years later, another great push to re-introduce the Apple II series computers has come along.  The New Apple II User’s Guide gives the read not only a introductory foray into the different types of Apple II computers but also gives the user a bevy of ideas and programming skills right out of the box..

The book lists each one of the Apple II computers starting with the Apple II and ending with the Apple IIgs, showing and explaining the differences between the systems, what peripherals were made for each system and how to connect items allowing a real Apple II computer to be used by the reader.   This has become more and more important as manuals which accompanied these systems have become more and more rare each year.

Once the user has their computer connected and powered, they can delve into the Beginning BASIC section of the book.  Simple programs written in easy to understand, commented format take you through the steps necessary to learn how to program the Apple II.  Basic variables, printing, and screen control are covered in these early sections.  Once a user has a handle on these simple topics, the book leads them into more advanced topics such as printing, printer control, floppy disk copying and other items that are necessary in order to fully utilize the computer.

While the book does not over indulge and jump into any one topic too heavily, it does give every level of Apple II user something to learn and is the must have reference for even the seasoned Apple II programmer.  Graphics, Mouse Text, Gui Interfaces of the Apple II gs and even Assembly language is covered in this book.   There is also a complete reference guide to Applesoft BASIC, the primarily used and common programming language between most of the Apple II computers.

What is most amazing about this book is the actual amount of information that David Finnigan, the author of The New Apple II User’s Guide and the curator of MacGui.com, has managed to stuff into the book.   Everything from Local talk networks to cleaning and adjusting floppy disk drives is in here making it a complete reference for the modern age.  He even presents early on a buying guide for those people looking to get into the Apple II series computers who want to run real hardware.

Many people believe that the Apple II computers only belong in the past.  However, the sections covering FTP, Web Surfing and other modern topics put the Apple II right back into the modern day.  Even email is possible using the Apple II series computers with cards created during the past ten years.  Once again, David covers these items in exacting detail making it easy for a user to utilize these peripherals and capabilities.

The only part of the book we didn’t like is the darned thing is just too heavy and is luggable much like the computers of the time.    Weighing in at about half a ton, the book is a real workout.   If you don’t mind the little bit of a weight workout, then your mind will benefit from the absolutely complete and thorough mental workout you will get from the scope of materials covered by David Finnigan in The New Apple II User’s Guide.  The $25.00 cost of the book also makes this book perhaps the best value ever with regards to manuals and books in the Apple II computing realm.

To purchase to book, go to The New Apple II User’s Guide website at:
http://macgui.com/newa2guide/

Rating: 5 of 5 Apples

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