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Commodore 64 vs Apple II


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#51 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 7:23 PM

Of course!

However, this ALWAYS works. It's not just some people, or a particular time, or some other shallow thing. Adding a lot of value means getting a lot of margin and there are a full range of people to sell to.

Google the technology life cycle sometime. The thickest margins are in the early adopters and early majority, with a strong second happening with a solid share and recurring business for the majority. Volume is lower, but the margins are higher. Higher volumes and multiple players happen mostly at the end of the early majority, running through to the late adopters and laggards, who are always looking for cheap, thin margin things, and that's the race to the bottom right there.

At any given time there are always plenty of people looking to adopt new tech and get shit done so they can get the benefit of doing that. They pay and always pay big because their priority is getting shit done, and that's where the Apple ][ was and that's a lot of why it had the appeal and focus it did. Atari, C64, many others played to the early majority all the way through to the laggards, thin margin, capable machines, etc...

Nothing wrong with any of that, BTW. It really is to each their own, and I like all of it from that time period. So much texture! Fun time. I'm just not going to let some statements about the ][ go without some context, that's all. The same is true of any of these machines. The whole era was kick ass, and I find it far more interesting to talk about the realities of it and how those differences played out than I do, "mine is just better"

BTW: For you it was not repeat business. Many people dealing in Apple products would beg to differ through to present day. That's the value difference in play I just spent some time writing about. The same can be said about those people dealing in PC hardware. Where they raced to the bottom, volume got really high, margins thin, and it didn't end well with the likes of Dell taking over. Where they didn't? They are still in business today selling solutions instead of hardware and they are doing fine, with repeat business over time being the majority of the revenue. I'm one of them. :)

For me, it's higher end CAD, and Linux, Windows, Mac OS, full service, support, etc... Not cheap stuff, but very high value stuff. Some relationships are past 20 years now.

#52 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 7:33 PM

When I get a head of steam going I'm not trying to build up a who's better or this is better or that is better and that's the final answer type of war. We're all retrocomputing enthusiasts here and the purpose is to hash out and present all kinds of viewpoints. And when I quote 50 messages I'm not debunking any viewpoint, just stating fact! :grin:

That's sort of how processor upgrades or replacements work on the C64 too, except they arrive as a cartridge rather than a card; the SuperCPU is basically a big cartridge with a 20MHz 65816 and up to 16Mb of RAM that takes over the bus, tells the 6510 to nod off and just uses the video, audio and I/O whilst the relatively recent Turbo Chameleon has an FPGA implementation of the C64, 16Mb RAM expansion and 1541 in one standard cartridge case and can run at over six times regular speed - it makes games like Driller almost playable! The Spartan apparently doesn't even need to halt the C64, it "mates" with the ports and borrows the keyboard but you get two machines (C64 and Apple II+) working simultaneously.

i'm keeping out of the main discussion because i've only ever seen two Apple II machines in the "flesh" (one was i think about thirty years ago) and never actually used a real one myself.

One question that springs to mind whilst i'm here though; are any of the Apple II folks in this 'ere thread writing new games at all? i'm always looking for new stuffs to review for Retro Gamer! =-)


You bring several good points to the table here. I liked reading the background story on the Spartan, makes me want to go out and buy a C64 just to get mine and running. It was amusing to read the draconian style of management they had going. Clock out to take a shit.. Yep. When I was all green and worked in summer tech support jobs I had the same restrictions. I imagine working at Foxconn and a modern call center is even worse! Just try to get FMLA or personal time. Ughh.. I can't bear the thought of even touring one of those sweatshops.

sounds interesting, just never did (and still dont) much like analog joystick, funnyt how in time that became the satandard,though not in the cludgy way of an apple or PC. Also on another note while an Apple kind of was the as you say, "get stuff "meaning work" done " 8 bit, that was also because mainly that was all it could do, no dedicated graphics or sound,poor joysticks etc. Atari should have stomped the crap out of it with the lower price and greater features. Business places carried apple for sure but there were very few of these type of stores. My high school had a couple of early apples but sadly nobody was allowed to touch them (1980-81)

Keep in mind that when the Apple II was put together and the "joystick & paddle circuit" was drawn up, it was not intended for gaming. It was for instrumentation. An undefined user port. That it could be used for games came was "discovered" much later. Case in point - look at the socket. It's a standard 16 pin DIP socket. And the connectors that plug into it had needle-sharp pins on it. Hardly mom'n'pop consumer-friendly. Today this would be considered a health hazard and there would need to be numerous sharp-object warnings in bright orange stickers. Gaming was an afterthought. Not the driving motivation. And the early II, II+, & //e's have better high-frequency response and thus more noise/jitter on the gameport inputs. But this high freq allowed faster A/D conversion. When the later //e's came off the assembly line, they had extra capacitors in stalled to quiet the noise a little, but hobbyists using the port for data acquisition had to snip out the capacitors to regain the performance sported by earlier versions. I do not recall if this was RF regulation related or not.

I recall one of my very first "upgrades" was extending that socket to the outside world so I would not have to pop the cover when I wanted to change between paddles and joysticks and graphics tablet. The second advantage was the cable had ZIF going and it was hella lot easier on the connectors. No longer did I need to use a screwdriver to pry-up the cable! Changing controllers used to be like changing a chip, you had to use a screwdriver to wiggle it up or a really good grip on the DIP plug. And sometimes the DIP plug would slip in your fingers and you'd end up with punctured skin and a bent pins. The ZIF extension cable fixed all that!

And later, the //e sported a DB9 style connector for game controllers, and yet still kept the 16pin DIP socket! How thoughtful!

I always felt the Apple II could push text around like nobody's business. The C64 & A800 had to go through tons of gymnastics to get a single character of text on-screen. It was, like, just there. No custom chips to program registers, no lengthy firmware write routines. Just a simple text generator circuit. Don't get me started on the Amiga, it was even worse - ughh! There have been times when I wanted to make a personal journal entry of perhaps a few lines, a short paragraph at most. Sometimes I could complete this task on the Apple II entirely in the time it would take to get my Amiga booted and the software loaded and the data file (text.doc for example) loaded. Business can't afford that kind of lollygagging.


I dunno, pirated Apple ][ software was everywhere I went back in the day. xD

There were times when we didn't know commercial software existed! Everything was warez.

I'm not making *new* games but I've been working on enhancing existing ones.

There's a serious lack of new action-gaming software (any gaming software for that matter) on the Apple II series these days. It seems the art of 6502 programming (Apple style) is seemingly a lost art. Great games like Choplifter, Phantoms Five, Drelbs, Gorgon, Snake Byte, Eliminator, and 2,000 other single-file BRUN-style games are to be treasured forever. Development of action games stopped and I can't quite say exactly why. I have theories as to why, but that's about it.

People always like to say the VCS is the most difficult game platform to code for. But considering what was done with the bare-metal elementary hardware in the Apple II series, one has to wonder. And generating any kind of color animation (while correctly considering artifacting) was tedious. A different kind of tediousness than on the VCS/TIA, but still.. And don't forget, on the Apple II, the 6502 controlled everything except the Graphics Scanner. That was free running on its own terms. But to access the disk, read the keyboard, beep the speaker, transfer a byte to the area of memory to be scanned by the Graphics Scanner, read the joystick. All this had to be meticulously sequenced. There were no custom chips to blit data for you, or generate a sinewave for audio, or read a byte off the disk. There was no such thing as sprite hardware. The 6502 had to plot and erase and plot again to move something. When done through Applesoft Basic this was a slow process and resulted in little more than 1" stick figure animations that flickered. When done in Assembly/ML things were much faster of course. You didn't need run the BASIC Interpreter. You get the idea..

As a fan of both, and from a purely gaming perspective, I think the Commodore 64 smokes the Apple. You can make any excuse you want about the Apple being released years earlier* and not having dedicated graphics or sound chips, but I stand by the statement. The Commodore played better games, IMO.

I won't say the Apple didn't have some things going for it; the two-button joystick (really two paddles stuffed into the same box) was an advantage, it had an arguably nicer and faster disk interface, and it excelled at text adventures and RPGs. But generally, any game the Apple II could do, the C64 usually did better (Kung Fu Master, Gauntlet, Donkey Kong, and any of the other Atarisoft titles immediately come to mind). It had lower graphical resolution, but the Commodore had vastly better color and unquestionably superior audio.

It also had games like Blue Max, Stealth, Beach Head II, Space Taxi, and other games I consider favorites. The Apple didn't. The list of "exclusive" Apple games I count as favorites is limited pretty much to Sabotage and Star Blazer, which was later ported to the Atari 800 as Sky Blazer anyway. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Apple games that I like a lot. It's just that I can also play most of them (Lode Runner, Choplifter, Miner 2049er, Apple Cider Spider, etc) on other platforms. And they're often better on said platforms, even if only marginally.

I make the comparison only with the II+ and IIe systems that were roughly analogous to the C64, since it's not fair to compare the C64 and its software to the generic late '70s BASIC games that the early Apple II had (it DID have Apple Invaders, at least, which is amazing btw). I really don't even consider the IIgs to truly be an Apple II. It's almost more like a Mac mishmashed with Apple II functionality and compatibility, like some kind of FrankenApple. The IIgs is better than the C64 in most, if not all ways, but again, it's not really an Apple II. (Similary, I consider the Color Computer 3 a separate system from the CoCo1 and CoCo2.) The Atari ST or Amiga would be a fairer comparison.

If you want to talk about stuff like performance and processor speed and programmability and practical utility, those are separate arguments. From a purely gaming standpoint, none of those things really matter (unless you write games) since they each run their games equally well, although I will concede that some later Commodore 64 games have some atrocious load times.

The Apple II is a hella fun piece of hardware to work on, though. :-D

(* If you're going to use this argument, btw, you don't get to flip it around and say the IIgs was better than the C64. ;) Especially since it isn't really an Apple II anyway.)

You make several interesting points. I have some comments on them. I'm not making any excuse for why the Apple II was or wasn't the best game machine. I completely agree the SID & VIC-II were great allies to great gaming. For example I always though the arcade port of Gyruss-to-C64 was the best there was; until MAME on the PC blew into town. That says a lot for the C64. Even later remakes on the NES sucked in comparison to the C64 port. But, anyways, the Apple II series was so minimalist I'm amazed every single day that it managed to do so much for so long. What was the II series' production run, 13, 14 years long? Something like that.

I know very little about the VIC-II and SID other than what I read here:
http://en.wikipedia....chnology_VIC-II
http://en.wikipedia...._Technology_SID

Same thing can be said for the Pokey, GTIA, ANTIC:
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Atari_POKEY
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GTIA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANTIC

Arguably (and I didn't research completely) each one of these chips contains more logic elements than an entire Apple II computer does, save memory and 6502. That's a lot of gaming and animation horsepower. Fully one half of these graphic processors is allocated to just pushing around sprites and blitting memory - the Apple II has none of this capability! Each blit on the Apple II requires a clock cycle from the CPU (to put it simply). Just changing the screen color on II series took a lot of time.

I also totally agree (and constantly correct others) that the IIgs is not really part of the Apple II lineup. It bears the name, and that's about it. I can unequivocally state that is NOT an Apple II. The IIgs contains, on a single chip all of the II+ and //e logic. They called this the Mega II. It is a separate computer-on-a-chip. In fact, this was Apple Co's first SOC! Connect it to the 65816 and some memory and you now have an Apple //e. Some articles call it hardware emulation, but that is incorrect. It *IS* a single chip version of II series logic! A IIgs is really two different architectures within one box - the //e side and the IIgs side. There's a custom chip to switch back and forth between them. And the //e side of things borrows or shares some peripherals from the IIgs side of things. It is the Mega II chip that is the tack-on component here. They did this for backward compatibility.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mega_II
http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Apple_IIGS
http://apple2history.org/history/ah10/

#53 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 7:36 PM

Of course!

However, this ALWAYS works. It's not just some people, or a particular time, or some other shallow thing. Adding a lot of value means getting a lot of margin and there are a full range of people to sell to.

Google the technology life cycle sometime. The thickest margins are in the early adopters and early majority, with a strong second happening with a solid share and recurring business for the majority. Volume is lower, but the margins are higher. Higher volumes and multiple players happen mostly at the end of the early majority, running through to the late adopters and laggards, who are always looking for cheap, thin margin things, and that's the race to the bottom right there.

At any given time there are always plenty of people looking to adopt new tech and get shit done so they can get the benefit of doing that. They pay and always pay big because their priority is getting shit done, and that's where the Apple ][ was and that's a lot of why it had the appeal and focus it did. Atari, C64, many others played to the early majority all the way through to the laggards, thin margin, capable machines, etc...

Nothing wrong with any of that, BTW. It really is to each their own, and I like all of it from that time period. So much texture! Fun time. I'm just not going to let some statements about the ][ go without some context, that's all. The same is true of any of these machines. The whole era was kick ass, and I find it far more interesting to talk about the realities of it and how those differences played out than I do, "mine is just better"

BTW: For you it was not repeat business. Many people dealing in Apple products would beg to differ through to present day. That's the value difference in play I just spent some time writing about. The same can be said about those people dealing in PC hardware. Where they raced to the bottom, volume got really high, margins thin, and it didn't end well with the likes of Dell taking over. Where they didn't? They are still in business today selling solutions instead of hardware and they are doing fine, with repeat business over time being the majority of the revenue. I'm one of them. :)

That is certainly correct,early stuff = more margin. We were into all parts of each systems cycle , with the greatest margin being trailing edge or closeout, that said your lifecycle comment is true, lived it for sure. Yes it is with some satisfaction seeing dell and HP falter in the hardware business they made a mess of. Heck even IBM is solutions. I do recall the days (mid 80's) when apple wasnt doing so great and at one point was almost gone. That was due to value being great in PC,C64, Amiga,ST etc during those days. Still not a fan of them(apple) but not really MS either so it leaves little but consoles and Android and stuff here on Atariage for me. Still in the PC business but on the EOL end of things, with most fortune 500 getting rid of stuff every 2 years, printers,servers,pc's laptops, all of it.

#54 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 7:38 PM

You can't play The Bilestoad on a C64.

#55 magnusfalkirk OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 9:36 PM

I guess I must have been an oddball because I bought my first Apple II, a II+, in 1981 SPECIFICALLY for gaming. I started out with a TRS-80 Model I. A friend told me about Apple and I went with it. I bought a few games with it and slowly added more over time. When the Air Force sent me to W. Germany in 1983 I got TONS of pirated games from other people I knew over there. Bought a copy of Newsroom while I was over there and added a printer to my setup so I could do a newsletter for the air traffic control facility I worked at. Also picked up a copy of Print Shop. Up to that point gaming was my main use of the II+. Upgraded to an Apple IIe in 85 and after transferring to Illinois started doing a newsletter for a Star Trek fan club. Continued adding games and also picked up a copy of GeoPublish, didn't use it long, and eventually switched over to Publish It! for the newsletter. Also got a copy of the BEST program for the Apple II, Appleworks!

And when I got back into the Apple II for retro-computing gaming was my main idea. So now I've got a //e, //GS, //c, and just within the last 6 months picked up a //c+. A friend recently gave me a C128, with two monitors, disk drive, printer and a bunch of software, but I have yet to set it up and do anything with it.

#56 yell0w_lantern OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 9:37 PM

Considering each in the context of its time, the Apple II wins every category except price. C64 was cheaper.

Apple II was designed by one guy after work hours. Its innovations launched the whole personal computer industry. Its graphics, performed with a minimum of off-the-shelf chips, were revolutionary at the time. It will forever be remembered in the history of technology.

C64 was designed by a big company with a chip fab in the back. It was built down to a price, with only incremental improvements over its predecessors. It succeeded only through brutal price wars. It will be forgotten (and none too soon).

Your argument and evidence are at odds. Your initial assertion is that the Apple ][ is "better" in all the listed categories. But your evidence consists of pointing out that it was more novel for its time and designed by a single man, which are more suited to supporting an assertion regarding the Apple ]['s historical importance. To demonstrate my point, if we extend your reasoning from the above we would come to the conclusion that an Apple ][ actually has better Graphics, Sound, Durability, Expandability, Performance, BASIC Programming, Gaming Library, Business Library, Keyboard, Open-Architecture, and Design / Appearance than an iPad, MacBook, PC, or any other modern computing device on the market because

"Apple II was designed by one guy after work hours. Its innovations launched the whole personal computer industry. Its graphics, performed with a minimum of off-the-shelf chips, were revolutionary at the time. It will forever be remembered in the history of technology."

WHEREAS

all these other devices were designed by big companies, built down to a price, and with only incremental improvements over their predecessors.

Clearly, there is a problem in your reasoning.

Edited by yell0w_lantern, Sat Dec 8, 2012 9:46 PM.


#57 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 9:53 PM

The only machine I know of with pirating parties and a magazine dedicate to game copying parameters.

Well yes of course! I had a warez wagon going. I would bring the warez 2 U. At first it was a Radioflyer towed behind my BMX' with the dog leash. Apple hardware strapped in with those big rubber bands movers use to hold boxes together. Flying around the neighborhood corners at breakneck speed. Hardware spilling out from time to time. I thought it was the fastest manned vehicle in history. Arriving at the after school warez parties in style. Fantastic fun!

Soon enough if I was to uphold my "reputation" I realized I would need a much faster ride. It would have to be big and powerful. My distro-wagon was now a hopped up Chevy. This upgrade was a sight to behold. Screaming in arrest me now red, with slicks and enough rattles so it seemingly would fall apart at every pothole.. It was as important as ever to get the warez 2 U on time. My buddies would crack something and I'd haul ass back to the BBS and get it posted. Many times this was indeed faster than the 300 baud modems we had. Cheaper too. Once out on the open highway away from traffic I'd really get going. Manning what was *NOW* the fastest vehicle in history I'd reach 230 klicks in seconds. Covering massive distances in minutes. These were indeed the best of times.

#58 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 9:58 PM

Let me backtrack for a moment, before I forget, in Post number 30 I said,

"I always thought of the Apple II as the last single-board hobbyist computer. Thinking of S-100's, RCA Cosmac VIP, Kim-1, TRS-80 Model I, IMSAI, Altair, Heathkit, countless others. The Apple II belongs to the same heritage and engineering philosophy as those machines. Sooner or later, a machine would hit on the right combination of features to make it long-lived. And the Apple II happened to be it."

And you know what? Look at the early advertisements for the Apple II, not the Apple I, but II and II+. Look. They depict the computer as a naked PCB, showing all the chips and a speaker. No case, no power supply, no keyboard. No nothing.. This further strengthens my "case" that that II was the last of the single-board hobby systems.

Now, having high prices has a very real psychological effect. People that spend "big money" on computer stuff expect big returns and if they don't get them they magically convince themselves that they *do* get them! It is also shown time and time again, especially in the PC world, that a high cost machine appeals to a different crowd. This crowd will also pay for custom solutions and expansion options not normally seen on toy computers.

Somebody said that Apple and PC gaming inputs are kludgy? Absolutely not. Does anyone know the definition of "kludge"? -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kludge -- There is nothing stoogy or fudgy about Apple's gaming input ports. They are simple, and straight to the point. No patchwork. Almost too simplistic! If anything, my iPod-on-a-card is a kludge if ever there was one. Everything works but for the wrong reason! A lot of the design of the II is so fucking minimalist that some tricks are needed to get functionality going. But nowhere in the layout or schematics do you see stuff tacked on to fix another problem that fixes something else.

An example of a kludge is the 1541 disk drive. That thing has a monster circuitboard running the length of the drive, half-a-meter long for godsakes! And there was a bug or something in a serial interface chip in the controller inside the drive. Now instead of redesigning the board, they wrote software to work around the bug and this software had to execute on the drive's 6502 processor. Processor? Why does a disk drive need a processor in the first place? Today's 2TB disks notwithstanding. Shit.. Well, the software patch got the job done, but at cost. The cost was speed! This is why C64 drives were so slow. They were working at 1/8th of their intended speed. Not only that, the drive was prone to banging its head against a rack of some sort. Eventually throwing the disk out of alignment and damaging the mechanism. Granted this was on the first run of drives, but, still, no one thought to test and re-test and engineer this stuff out. That's kludgy. And fastloaders on the C64 were kludges ontop of kludges. They rewrote the read routines to. I don't know the details of exactly how fastloaders worked on the C64. But I believe them to be different than on the Apple II.

On the Apple II, basically, a fast DOS or fastloader skipped a lot of the redundant error checking. It took a few other things for granted. And the state machine controller just dumped raw bits into the memory. No processing or syncing. That's it in layperson detail. Fastloading on the Apple II drives *eliminated* things and thus the drive and controller did less work. Completely opposite of the 1541's fix.

One of the reasons why writing on on fastdos' (hyperdos, diversi-dos, david-dos, pronto-dos) is still slow *is* because of hardware timing and the need to verify written information. This was never really worked around, nor was it important. People were more interested in load times than save times anyways. And a user did far more reading than writing.

For anyone that gives a rat's ass, I purchased my 400/800 solely because it was Atari and had Star Raiders. I acquired a C64 because of the pretty musical notes on the box cover. Simple as that. Unfortunately it was also around this time I lost interest in the VCS. And look, today, the VCS has all sorts of homebrews going. Some with graphics comparing right against these 8-bit computers. Fantastic!

I purchased my Apple II originally to play games. But I quickly thought about something. But first understand I was into sci-fi books a lot then, and thus was influenced a little too much! Here, look, I often thought the 100+ chips on the logic board had tipped the criticality balance and if you had enough of them then the machine would become an artificial intelligence on its own. I was greener than green and didn't really know what was inside these tiny black modules called "chips". Well, I would sometimes leave these "complex" math programs running, occasionally peeking into them with the HGR2 "window" and hoping for signs of life to magically emerge. I used to hope that the program would escape and start modifying itself. So imagine my surprise when I discovered Eliza. She was pretty cool, if stupid. And I always wanted to take her out on a date!

Edited by Keatah, Sat Dec 8, 2012 9:58 PM.


#59 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:21 PM

My work in progress winter electronics project: Taking apart an old iPod Nano, 1G and mounting the circuit on a prototyping expansion card for the Apple II.

Look, the controls are simple enough, I interfaced and mapped the click wheel to memory locations on the II. These are simple buttons, soft-switches, which can be toggled neatly through Applesoft Basic or ML. Now the II can control all the iPod's functions. It takes just a couple of bytes and cycles to flip a soft-switch on a peripheral card. Incredibly simple. There's lots of possibilities here, use a paddle to spin the click wheel. Or use the arrow keys.

Since the iPod Nano screen is pretty low-res to begin with I just map each pixel into an 8k framebuffer, then transfer it directly into the Apple Hi-Res screen, with 2Kbytes to spare! Basically the output of the iPod's "Graphics Chip" goes to a small translator or mux/demux circuit that fills an 8Kbyte memory chip on the "PodCard" as I unimaginatively call it. This 8K contains a bitmap of the iPod's display. In keeping with the spirit of how the Apple II does its own graphics, I did the same thing in reverse. The "nanobuffer" part of the circuit is constantly updating itself. When you want to make a transfer of the iPod's screen image to the Apple II you just call a tiny routine, about 0.5K, and now the II's memory has a bitmap. You flip the page switch and voila! If I want to just update part of the screen, to save bus cycles, I just read transfer a portion of the framebuffer back to the Apple. Think of this as a videocard in reverse.

Audio? I just pipe it through a stereo/mono mixer and right into the built-in speaker. I also mux'd in the piezo beeper. It does little more than click sounds, which is what fired me up on this project to begin with. I was out with the lady and we were discussing automotive sound systems. And somehow I got to talking about how old computers generated sound, just by clicking the speaker in the Apple II's case (no pun intended). And she remarked that they still do that on the iPod. Tiny clicks to provide a simulated tactile feedback that you did something. Fantastic similarities, both Apple products, new and old alike, making sounds by clicking. Granted the iPod's click is more than an on/off click, it's a fully shaped wave. But the similarities "seem" close enough. Click sounds.

This is a proof of concept thing, and most importantly, it uses old-school logic gates and techniques. The card is standard sized, 2x a Disk II controller. IPod innards mounted on the same side as old-scool 74xx and similar logic. I extended the dock connector, hardware lock switch and stereo audio out to both a stake connector internally and plate that can be bolted into one of those cutouts they use in the //e for mounting DB-x connectors, like parallel and serial cards.

A more modern version, part 2.. I'm sketching out using an Arduino or ARM controller to interface directly with the dock connector and format and interpret I/O. This would be very much like how a car stereo controls an iPod today. It would not use old-school engineering.

The future, part 3 - Make the 6502 run iTunes! Anyone care to help with that?

#60 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:40 PM

Your argument and evidence are at odds. Your initial assertion is that the Apple ][ is "better" in all the listed categories. But your evidence consists of pointing out that it was more novel for its time and designed by a single man, which are more suited to supporting an assertion regarding the Apple ]['s historical importance. To demonstrate my point, if we extend your reasoning from the above we would come to the conclusion that an Apple ][ actually has better Graphics, Sound, Durability, Expandability, Performance, BASIC Programming, Gaming Library, Business Library, Keyboard, Open-Architecture, and Design / Appearance than an iPad, MacBook, PC, or any other modern computing device on the market because

"Apple II was designed by one guy after work hours. Its innovations launched the whole personal computer industry. Its graphics, performed with a minimum of off-the-shelf chips, were revolutionary at the time. It will forever be remembered in the history of technology."

WHEREAS

all these other devices were designed by big companies, built down to a price, and with only incremental improvements over their predecessors.

Clearly, there is a problem in your reasoning.

Actually the apple was offered to atari by jobs, they were not interested as they already had something in mind,so it was really not that original, however I recall somewhere that one of the principals at Atari helped introduce Jobs to some of their money guys,so the story goes, don't know if it's really true but it does show it was not that innovative or Atari might have gone with it.

#61 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:44 PM

What it shows is the Atari vision differed from the Apple one. That's it.

And one of those visions made billions of dollars, carrying through today as one of the most capitalized computer companies of all time, and the other one?

:)

#62 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:47 PM

It was the custom chip issue, again. Lack of ASICs indicated old-school tech. Especially back then.

#63 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:47 PM

Let me backtrack for a moment, before I forget, in Post number 30 I said,

"I always thought of the Apple II as the last single-board hobbyist computer. Thinking of S-100's, RCA Cosmac VIP, Kim-1, TRS-80 Model I, IMSAI, Altair, Heathkit, countless others. The Apple II belongs to the same heritage and engineering philosophy as those machines. Sooner or later, a machine would hit on the right combination of features to make it long-lived. And the Apple II happened to be it."

And you know what? Look at the early advertisements for the Apple II, not the Apple I, but II and II+. Look. They depict the computer as a naked PCB, showing all the chips and a speaker. No case, no power supply, no keyboard. No nothing.. This further strengthens my "case" that that II was the last of the single-board hobby systems.

Now, having high prices has a very real psychological effect. People that spend "big money" on computer stuff expect big returns and if they don't get them they magically convince themselves that they *do* get them! It is also shown time and time again, especially in the PC world, that a high cost machine appeals to a different crowd. This crowd will also pay for custom solutions and expansion options not normally seen on toy computers.

Somebody said that Apple and PC gaming inputs are kludgy? Absolutely not. Does anyone know the definition of "kludge"? -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kludge -- There is nothing stoogy or fudgy about Apple's gaming input ports. They are simple, and straight to the point. No patchwork. Almost too simplistic! If anything, my iPod-on-a-card is a kludge if ever there was one. Everything works but for the wrong reason! A lot of the design of the II is so fucking minimalist that some tricks are needed to get functionality going. But nowhere in the layout or schematics do you see stuff tacked on to fix another problem that fixes something else.

An example of a kludge is the 1541 disk drive. That thing has a monster circuitboard running the length of the drive, half-a-meter long for godsakes! And there was a bug or something in a serial interface chip in the controller inside the drive. Now instead of redesigning the board, they wrote software to work around the bug and this software had to execute on the drive's 6502 processor. Processor? Why does a disk drive need a processor in the first place? Today's 2TB disks notwithstanding. Shit.. Well, the software patch got the job done, but at cost. The cost was speed! This is why C64 drives were so slow. They were working at 1/8th of their intended speed. Not only that, the drive was prone to banging its head against a rack of some sort. Eventually throwing the disk out of alignment and damaging the mechanism. Granted this was on the first run of drives, but, still, no one thought to test and re-test and engineer this stuff out. That's kludgy. And fastloaders on the C64 were kludges ontop of kludges. They rewrote the read routines to. I don't know the details of exactly how fastloaders worked on the C64. But I believe them to be different than on the Apple II.

On the Apple II, basically, a fast DOS or fastloader skipped a lot of the redundant error checking. It took a few other things for granted. And the state machine controller just dumped raw bits into the memory. No processing or syncing. That's it in layperson detail. Fastloading on the Apple II drives *eliminated* things and thus the drive and controller did less work. Completely opposite of the 1541's fix.

One of the reasons why writing on on fastdos' (hyperdos, diversi-dos, david-dos, pronto-dos) is still slow *is* because of hardware timing and the need to verify written information. This was never really worked around, nor was it important. People were more interested in load times than save times anyways. And a user did far more reading than writing.

For anyone that gives a rat's ass, I purchased my 400/800 solely because it was Atari and had Star Raiders. I acquired a C64 because of the pretty musical notes on the box cover. Simple as that. Unfortunately it was also around this time I lost interest in the VCS. And look, today, the VCS has all sorts of homebrews going. Some with graphics comparing right against these 8-bit computers. Fantastic!

I purchased my Apple II originally to play games. But I quickly thought about something. But first understand I was into sci-fi books a lot then, and thus was influenced a little too much! Here, look, I often thought the 100+ chips on the logic board had tipped the criticality balance and if you had enough of them then the machine would become an artificial intelligence on its own. I was greener than green and didn't really know what was inside these tiny black modules called "chips". Well, I would sometimes leave these "complex" math programs running, occasionally peeking into them with the HGR2 "window" and hoping for signs of life to magically emerge. I used to hope that the program would escape and start modifying itself. So imagine my surprise when I discovered Eliza. She was pretty cool, if stupid. And I always wanted to take her out on a date!

Are you kidding me about those super crappy joysticks. Try a real arcade game with them as were the standard at the time, just horrid and a silly plug in chip type connection straight to the motherboard.. very poor. Goofy,oddball if you prefer.
As for high prices,there is a sucker born every minute and business take advantage of that. It's often based at that time on a specif known need or a total lack of knowledge about a home pc. A c64 (or Atari as a more contemporary) offered so much more and had such greater capabilities. to this day it still amazes me that some assume spending more and getting less is somehow correct

#64 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:48 PM

What it shows is the Atari vision differed from the Apple one. That's it.

And one of those visions made billions of dollars, carrying through today as one of the most capitalized computer companies of all time, and the other one?

:)

True, by a lot of luck and a few schools an inferior design continued. mainly why I avoid their overpriced inferior product to this day :-D

#65 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:49 PM

Keep in mind that when the Apple II was put together and the "joystick & paddle circuit" was drawn up, it was not intended for gaming. It was for instrumentation. An undefined user port. That it could be used for games came was "discovered" much later. Case in point - look at the socket. It's a standard 16 pin DIP socket. And the connectors that plug into it had needle-sharp pins on it. Hardly mom'n'pop consumer-friendly. Today this would be considered a health hazard and there would need to be numerous sharp-object warnings in bright orange stickers. Gaming was an afterthought. Not the driving motivation. And the early II, II+, & //e's have better high-frequency response and thus more noise/jitter on the gameport inputs. But this high freq allowed faster A/D conversion. When the later //e's came off the assembly line, they had extra capacitors in stalled to quiet the noise a little, but hobbyists using the port for data acquisition had to snip out the capacitors to regain the performance sported by earlier versions. I do not recall if this was RF regulation related or not.

This disagrees with you.
http://apple2history.org/history/ah03/

Edited by JamesD, Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:51 PM.


#66 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:50 PM

It was the custom chip issue, again. Lack of ASICs indicated old-school tech. Especially back then.

custom chips are an asset and a feature and to put in in context of the time the lack thereof left the apple as a very crippled machine. Without sound and graphics and you have is work,people realized you could have both with other systems and for a lower price. ;-)

#67 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:53 PM

Yeah?

You said this Atarian63: "As for high prices,there is a sucker born every minute and business take advantage of that."

Did you read what I wrote above? Failure to properly value things makes the sucker. Those that get it right are still doing business, those that don't generally aren't.

#68 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 10:54 PM

This disagrees with you.
http://apple2history.org/history/ah03/

This agrees with it and then some, also was offered to commodore and hp
http://classicgaming...s.Detail&id=263

#69 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:00 PM

This agrees with it and then some, also was offered to commodore and hp
http://classicgaming...s.Detail&id=263

What are you talking about? Did you read the quote. Even that page says the same thing.

The Apple II was even more a direct reflection from his experience working for Atari. The idea for his color graphics scheme came directly from ideas while he was working on Breakout and thinking of how to do it in color. And the rest of the design of the computer came from Woz's wish to be able to produce Breakout through software rather than hardware.
...


<edit>
I wasn't even talking to you.

Edited by JamesD, Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:04 PM.


#70 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:02 PM

Yeah?

You said this Atarian63: "As for high prices,there is a sucker born every minute and business take advantage of that."

Did you read what I wrote above? Failure to properly value things makes the sucker. Those that get it right are still doing business, those that don't generally aren't.

really, there are so many examples of a product that was not best but "good enough" apple is one, right time right place, and a school connection,that's it. There are so many by the wayside that did not make it. Apple became the "cult" so people bought into it and sadly still do.
http://www.dailymail...smug-bores.html

#71 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:06 PM

What are you talking about? Did you read the quote. Even that page says the same thing.



<edit>
I wasn't even talking to you.

do you read? his quote talks nothing about who the apple was offered to. :?

#72 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:06 PM

Ahh yes of course. I stand corrected on the gameport. What with all the Breakout demonstration for the show.. Makes sense.

It was later discovered, IIRC, that it could be used for instrumentation purposes. Didn't school science classes use a small breakout box for temperature measurements and things like that?

#73 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:12 PM

...And one of those visions made billions of dollars, carrying through today as one of the most capitalized computer companies of all time, and the other one?

:)


The other one had better games. ;) :P

And let's not pretend the first one wouldn't be dead and buried by now if not for the iPod. It's a wonder they even made it through the '90s.

#74 BillyHW OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:18 PM

I vote C64. Sound it too important to me.

#75 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:19 PM

Yeah?

You said this Atarian63: "As for high prices,there is a sucker born every minute and business take advantage of that."

Did you read what I wrote above? Failure to properly value things makes the sucker. Those that get it right are still doing business, those that don't generally aren't.


Fact: Atari and Commodore are non-forces in the industry, today. It is Apple and IBM. While not the only players, they are survivors from back in the day that still make waves in the market. IBM as solutions provider, Apple as innovator for consumer electronics. Among other things.

I don't know what Atari is really doing, blowing farts around tablets and small-time apps? Certainly not any kind of innovator. Resting on past laurels through remakes and ports of arcade classics. The shitbox Atari outfit of today is but an ill-defined shadow of its glorious past.

Commodore? Didn't they go back to shipping logistics & importing or something?




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