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apple ii Atari computers

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#51 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:58 PM

Cool!  That means my TI-99/4A is going to be worth a veritable gold mine!  TI didn't just stop making them, the dropped it like a hot potato and got out of that segment of the market altogether.  In essence the TI is the quintessential orphan computer.  That's gotta be worth an additional sum of money (judging from Ebait pricing). 



#52 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:21 AM

Apple has this reality distortion field surrounding it.



#53 simbalion OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:12 PM

I saw part of an old episode of The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries on Boomerang the other day and guess what granny's computer is? An Apple II! I recognized the shape immediately and it even had the green phosphor monitor. Probably was a //e I would think.



#54 high voltage ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:16 PM

MSX



#55 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:44 AM

Cool!  That means my TI-99/4A is going to be worth a veritable gold mine!  TI didn't just stop making them, the dropped it like a hot potato and got out of that segment of the market altogether.  In essence the TI is the quintessential orphan computer.  That's gotta be worth an additional sum of money (judging from Ebait pricing). 

 

It's funny, but the main TI computer console has always been among the least valued mass market classic computers in terms of what it costs to acquire. I can only assume that it's because of the relatively large quantity produced and the relative lack of nostalgia for the platform. Obviously some items around it, like the PEB, MBX, and Geneve do command considerable interest within the active TI community, but the core computer itself (outside of that community), not so much. I'm not sure if that will ever change relative to other platforms, although there have obviously been several homebrew developments over the past several years that have probably made the platform more appealing to those not already into it.



#56 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:11 AM

Speaking as a grade-school kid when I sat down at an Apple II I had 5 ways of doing things on the machine.

 

1- I could program in Applesoft Basic.

2- I could program in Assembly/ML.

3- I had tape storage capability the day I bought my console home.

4- I could boot DOS and have access to disk commands.

5- I could insert any arbitrary disk and play something.

 

But the neat part was that I could go back and forth between all 5 modes of those things without turning off the power or even hitting reset on some occasions. I say some because in the case of copy-protected disks with non-standard DOS, #5 suddenly became a single play-only cartridge-like experience.

 

And the documentation was simply awesome. It brought all of it together! It was so well written that I swear the author was right beside me narrating and answering my questions. An imaginary teacher if you will. Keep in mind I was a kid at the time. The technical manuals were that good! The system came with 4 of them to start, about 200 pages each. And 70+ page pictorial step-by-step guide on how to wire everything up and complete a getting-started tutorial. I only got confused about needing an RF modulator because I skipped the quick-start guide! heh..

 

By the next day I knew the lay of the land. Ram, Rom, Cpu, software, hardware, firmware, I/O, and how the memory map defined it all. This was more important than the Puritans and Pilgrims and a bunch of dead men with funny names and clothes. And I'd often read Apple II stuff as opposed to doing useless homework. And it was a good choice! The correct choice! I learned concepts and skills that serve me well to this very day. Practical methodologies and knowledge that put a roof over my head.

 

When I had a question the answer was in one of those manuals. And an explanation of why it was the way it was was given too! This seems to be a lost art for consumer electronics nowadays. It's like they wanted you explore and experiment back then. This excellent documentation helped transform a single-board hobbyist's computer (not all that different from a KIM-1 or RCA COSMAC VIP) into a consumer product for home and business.

 

Unfortunately for me the TI-99/4a was a different experience, a limited experience. With the TI-99/4a I could only play cartridges. The machine seemed closed up and I couldn't find any documentation on how to do anything. I had questions and didn't get answers. It's like Texas Instruments didn't want me to get inside and play. So I had a hard time maintaining interest. it was frustrating at best. I felt like I was living in a tube, a straw, and having to suck things to make things not suck.

 

 

TLDNR previous posts

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#57 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:26 PM

^^

Excellent post!  Sadly I'm in agreement about the TI part too.  :_(

TI wanted to keep control, while the had documentation, it was not exactly designed for the average consumer (Editor/Assembler Manual).  There were third party books and stuff that came out later though and that helped.  

 

While the TI was crippled, it was my first computer, so I will ALWAYS have a soft-spot for it, no matter how irrational that may be so some folks.



#58 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:02 PM

By the time I got around to owning a TI (briefly) I was far entrenched in the Apple ecosphere and I'm not one to unlearn things very easily. This even applied to the 400/800 and 64. I had those too, but only barely learned enough to load and save programs.

 

Whereas on the Apple II - I was cracking things and learning how to step the printer 1/216th of an inch to get super resolution. But it took like 2 hours to print a hi-res picture with dithering using that trick. Not because it was more capable or anything like that. But because it was my first rig. The Apple II was my first real & serious computer. So all my activities focused around that.

 

While the SID, VIC-II, Pokey, GTIA, and ANTIC custom chips in the other 8-bit machines were impressive and were hosts to awesome games. I wasn't wowed again on a platform level until I got into the 486-DX2/50. Both application programs and games were rocking.



#59 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:08 PM

BTW: I have no dislike toward the TI.

#60 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:49 PM

Atari tried the closed model for the first year or so of the 400/800 and limited access to the documentation. The first programmers for the system had to reverse engineer the existing games. I think they really blunted the launch impact of these machines by not reaching out to a more technical crowd like the Apple had.

 

What TI did was therefore unconscionable. How many times do the same mistakes need to be made?



#61 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:13 AM

I had gotten my 400 within a short time of getting the Apple II. I immediately saw the sparse documentation and said awhhfuckit. It then became a game machine and stayed with my other consoles in the living room. Had it had good docs I might have taken more of an interest.

 

The key thing about the Apple II, to me, and I don't mind saying it again, were the docs and the ability to switch back and forth between BASIC and the ASSEMBLY/MONITOR instantly, all the while having DOS commands memory resident.

 

Imagine my surprise when I could gain extra memory by putting DOS into hi-memory. Or putting other languages up there. And then later on with the //e discovering RAMDISKS, and bank switching out a near-64K chunk of memory for variables or program expansion. All the while learning the theory-of-ops of how it all worked. It was like a playground!

 

I'm sorry if I sound like a 1 person soap opera. But fully 90% or more of the time I spent with the Apple II was quality time and full of goodness. Not only that but it was a great relief (in fact a lifeline) from the boring days of school.


Edited by Keatah, Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:28 AM.


#62 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:14 AM

The Apple ][ is truly a hacker/tweaker's computer, in a way no other computer has been (though the PC probably came closest).

 

And despite its limited hardware it has some good games.



#63 simbalion OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:14 PM

I think a lot of us have a soft spot for the old Apple ][ series. Even if you didn't own one or were a hacker/tweaker, the old ][ was the the first computer a lot of us got to see and even touch in the classroom in the 80's. Probably why I still like them now! The only other computers I can even remember in the 80's were the 1000 line in the Radio Shack store in town. That's it.



#64 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:22 PM

As a kid, I did the research and then asked my parents for the computer I wanted: an Atari 8-bit. They had great graphics and sound. I could imagine programming a fantastic game on them, and that's all I really wanted. When they got me one, I was very happy. It really was exactly what I wanted, and did all that I wanted it to.

 

Still, seeing Apple ][ computers at friends' houses, I always felt like my computer was inferior. See, the Apples were always owned by the dads, who ran serious, expensive software on them. Stuff for business or engineering. My computer was a game machine. Apple ][s were serious computers for serious people. At least, in my mind.

 

Eventually I bought an Apple ][ as well (a //c by that time) and I was very happy with it, using AppleWorks for my schoolwork and enjoying its 80-column display. Not to mention programming the heck out of it. But also playing games. I probably spent half my time with the Apple ][ playing games.

 

These days, I realize those dads were probably doing the same.



#65 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:40 PM

The Apple ][ is truly a hacker/tweaker's computer, in a way no other computer has been (though the PC probably came closest).

 

And despite its limited hardware it has some good games.

 

I might consider it to the be last of the single-board hobbyist computers. Initially Apple sold only the mainboards. And for a brief amount of time you could get a II or II+ board-only.

 

Yes. It does pretty well for a system that has no video chip or sound chip.


Edited by Keatah, Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:42 PM.


#66 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:01 PM

All my buddies and stuff would get together and "assemble" an informal game room, we'd bring over our systems and carts and soon enough we had a room full of VCS, Intellivision, Vectrex, Colecovision, Atari 400/800, Astrocade, Odyssey2, and more!

 

While the Apple II was also a part of these weekend-long gatherings it always sat off to the side and away from the main activity and hubub of bashing controllers and pulling on wires. We had to have a schedule and a timer, each of us got around 45 minutes to work with the machine. It was too damned popular and it was the only way to be fair and divy up the time. In fact it appeared everyone was there for the Apple II, and used the other systems to pass the time like in a waiting room.



#67 simbalion OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:12 PM

Hmm, I should find a serial cable that will work with my units and try ADT pro. I saw dual ended 3.5mm cords that will fit the cassette connectors on my II's, but they are stereo.



#68 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:56 PM

Stereo cable for mono is fine.  It'll just use the left channel.



#69 simbalion OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 6:05 PM

Oh, ok. Well, might buy one of the cheap ones I found at Dollar General then to start things off. Heck, I found a site that even sells ADT Pro on a 5.25" diskette. Neat stuff. I have a pack of blank diskettes I got off a member here a few years back to put some programs on.



#70 MarkO OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2016 9:42 AM

Dunno, I checked the longevity (?) of Woz' parents and grandparents. Out of those six people, three became 90 years or older (paternal grandmother 98 years old), only two died before 70 which gives an average of 83.5 years. I'd say chances are good that you'll have to wait at least 20 more years before Apple computers get valuable again. 

 

So this means that you can "justify, more easily" collecting Apple "memorabilia", because it will have a much higher value, in about 20 years time..  ;)

 

MarkO



#71 MarkO OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2016 10:04 AM

^^
Excellent post!  Sadly I'm in agreement about the TI part too.  :_(
TI wanted to keep control, while the had documentation, it was not exactly designed for the average consumer (Editor/Assembler Manual).  There were third party books and stuff that came out later though and that helped.


What surprised me about TI, was how Opposite they were in their approach to Computers, compared to Apple...

TI wanted to keep it ALL to themselves.. Verses Apple that Gave it All Away, ( and had to make the ][e and //c harder to clone ).
 

While the TI was crippled, it was my first computer, so I will ALWAYS have a soft-spot for it, no matter how irrational that may be so some folks.


My Friend Randy, ( My Partner in my First Apple ][e ) was a TI 99/4A Owner before the Apple, ( I was a Sinclair ZX-81 Owner ). So I really understand... ( I still have my Sinclairs too )

MarkO



#72 MarkO OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2016 10:15 AM

The Apple ][ is truly a hacker/tweaker's computer, in a way no other computer has been (though the PC probably came closest).

 
If you read about the History of the IBM PC, you find that the Engineers Looked very hard at the Apple and other 8 Bit Computers, and Included the 8 Bit Slots in the IBM PC, ( and XT, and AT and PS/2 ), because they saw the Value they brought the Apple ][ Line.. IBM also published the Hardware Specifications, and I beleave provided a Printout of the ROM Listing too, just like Apple and Commodore..

And despite its limited hardware it has some good games.


A focus on Game Play, and not so much on Versatile Graphics and Flashy Sound.. ( I do appreciate those too.. That being the Redeeming Quality of the C64.. ) Imagine a C64 with a Disk ][ System, that would be a Wonderful Combination..


MarkO

#73 MarkO OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2016 10:59 AM

As a kid, I did the research and then asked my parents for the computer I wanted: an Atari 8-bit. They had great graphics and sound. I could imagine programming a fantastic game on them, and that's all I really wanted. When they got me one, I was very happy. It really was exactly what I wanted, and did all that I wanted it to.

Good for You, doing Research.. ;)
 

Still, seeing Apple ][ computers at friends' houses, I always felt like my computer was inferior. See, the Apples were always owned by the dads, who ran serious, expensive software on them. Stuff for business or engineering. My computer was a game machine. Apple ][s were serious computers for serious people. At least, in my mind.

Strangely Enough, the 80 Column and the Fast Disk System made the Apple ][ a Productive Machine... Even if you could play games on it too...
 

Eventually I bought an Apple ][ as well (a //c by that time) and I was very happy with it, using AppleWorks for my schoolwork and enjoying its 80-column display. Not to mention programming the heck out of it. But also playing games. I probably spent half my time with the Apple ][ playing games.

 
;) I did Research and bought Quark Word Juggler... And we used a Vis-Calc clone from Franklin, called Ace-Calc....
 

These days, I realize those dads were probably doing the same.

My Mom played Surpentine, I played Castle Wolfenstien and Lode Runner... My dad use Word Juggler and Ace-Calc.....

MarkO

Edited by MarkO, Mon Feb 8, 2016 10:59 AM.


#74 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 9, 2016 4:34 AM

IDK.. I found the Apple II to be the perfect introduction to a huge variety of computer operation concepts. DOS, firmware, software, hardware, logic flow, types of ICs, basic + assembly programming, i/o, storage devices, printing, telecommunications, a/d & d/a, serial, parallel, buffers, bits, bytes, displays and text formatting, graphic representation of scientific data, sounds, gaming, typing, word processing, database, text adventuring to other worlds, speech recognition and synthesis, learning flight simulator, BBS'ing, AE lines, and whole lot more I'm not recalling at this very instant.

 

It was really a self-paced ongoing course in computer science because every time I encountered a new concept there was something I could try out immediately on the Apple II. There was always some sort of expansion cart or other hardware available to cover the advanced topics like hard drives and ramdrives and custom i/o cards connected to relays and motor controls. And if it was software, that was covered too.

 

At the time I didn't know I was sitting smack-dab in the beginning of the computer revolution. But I knew the Apple II was unlike any toy I ever had in the past and it was something special to be cherished forever. Therefore I kept (and managed to keep) 95% or more of all the Apple paraphernalia I ever had. And while today I don't use the Apple II that much anymore. I look upon my original stuff with a sense of pride and accomplishment and a big thanks to the guys that got the industry rolling. And even I myself is cool for just being there and getting involved!

 

I only wish rich and brilliant experiences like so were more easily available to today's youth.



#75 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 9, 2016 8:39 AM

Good for You, doing Research.. ;)

 

Yeah, I was That Kid. It must have bored my parents when I'd come to them with my argument for why it was worth buying me something, especially computers since I included details like how fast the processor was, what specialized chips it had, etc. They probably just heard "I spent a lot of time thinking about this so it's really important to me." :)

 

Thank God they were indulgent, or I wouldn't be where I am today.







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