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Is the Apple II too simple a computer?


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#26 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:00 PM

Maybe the earlier issues of byte has info. Or some newsletters.



#27 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:30 PM

RetroBall was a game that needed that mod. And it came with a wire/plug thing. It connected from an aux stake-connector for video to the cassette port. If you can plug the computer into the monitor, you can plug this wire/mod in. And it read vsync that way.


i assumed it worked along those lines (there's something similar but harder to fit for the Oric if memory serves) but is there a large body of Apple II machines actually fitted with the hardware already if a new game shows up...?

#28 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:44 PM

Of course this is all anecdotal, and anyone here could say "everyone I knew ran C64's connected to a TV and only used cartridges!" and I'd have no way to argue with that except to say "that was not my experience".


I didn't actually know anyone who had the Commodore monitor.

I tried searching and could not find "street pricing" for the Apple IIe/IIc in 1984 (or any year). I tried looking for ComputerLand ads. I don't know if they were able to be sold mail order in places like Computer Shopper.  I think only Apple dealers could sell them, and they were bound to sell for MSRP.
 
If you can find something solid other than hearsay, it would be great. It's easy to find pricing for Commodore and Atari, since there were sold in retail stores.


I don't think they were allowed to be mail-ordered. I don't recall computer retailer magazine ads ever advertising them or giving prices. However there were Apple II clone systems, like the Laser 128, that were often featured in those retailers' ads. From Wikipedia:

"Announced in early 1986, VTech sold the Laser 128 in the US at a suggested retail price of $479, while Central Point Software sold it by mail for $395; by comparison, the Apple IIe sold for $945 in April 1986"

#29 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:44 PM

* double post *

Edited by zzip, Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:45 PM.


#30 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:22 PM

i assumed it worked along those lines (there's something similar but harder to fit for the Oric if memory serves) but is there a large body of Apple II machines actually fitted with the hardware already if a new game shows up...?

 

No there isn't.

 

But, good programming practice would cover the haves and the have-nots. You could have a simple menu option to enable/disable vsync checking. And it would default to #1 after no user input. Or perhaps it could do some sort of detection via a timing loop.

 

1- Standard gameplay.

2- Enhanced flicker-free synchronized gameplay.

 

But just by having the second option there might encourage people to actually experiment and do real mods to real hardware. In some small way. And it's easy enough to accomplish. And it'd be rewarding to the newcomer.


Edited by Keatah, Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:25 PM.


#31 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:41 PM

But, good programming practice would cover the haves and the have-nots.


Who said i went for good programming practices...? =-)
 

You could have a simple menu option to enable/disable vsync checking. And it would default to #1 after no user input. Or perhaps it could do some sort of detection via a timing loop.


We-ell, i'm already getting vertical blank sync from $c019 (it apparently works with everything apart from the earliest models and i think i have a work-around for the IIc) so there wouldn't be a difference between those options for most users anyway... but is there any documentation for the wire-based method and is it emulated because i don't have and can't find affordable hardware for testing?
 

But just by having the second option there might encourage people to actually experiment and do real mods to real hardware. In some small way. And it's easy enough to accomplish. And it'd be rewarding to the newcomer.


There's already quite a few 8-bits with equally easy to apply expansions but the "if you build it they will come" approach to promoting the hardware doe's use rarely seems to work. F'example, anyone who owns a 1541 Ultimate 2 or Turbo Chameleon for the C64 has a Commodore-style 16Mb RAM expansion but i can't think of more than a handful of games which were designed to use extra memory and nothing has actually been finished.

#32 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:13 PM

We-ell, i'm already getting vertical blank sync from $c019 (it apparently works with everything apart from the earliest models and i think i have a work-around for the IIc) so there wouldn't be a difference between those options for most users anyway... but is there any documentation for the wire-based method and is it emulated because i don't have and can't find affordable hardware for testing?y been finished.

 

I've been following AppleWin a lot these past years, and hopefully it'll be taken care of there. It's on the issues list:

https://github.com/A...eWin/issues/298



#33 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:25 PM

I looked at the Apple back in the day, but to be honest after enduring the stuck up snobs at the local computer store that carried it, I never gave it a fair shake after that.  In some ways that single visit probably unfairly influenced my entire perception of Apple and Apple products.  To this day, whenever I think of Apple, I think snobbish, over priced, over controlled, and all about appearance... but with less selection.  It may be an unfair assessment, but that led me to computers like the TI-99/4A, NEC PC-8201A, TRS-80 Model III and more PC's than I care to admit.  



#34 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:49 PM

Back in the day you couldn't ask for a more varied and "open-minded" computer. There were no secrets inside it. The only secrets were the ones you imagined that you discovered. That in turn would have been a 100% reflection of you and whatever genius lay buried within your intellect.

 

Apple "retail" back then wasn't snobbish, at least not in my experience. But, today? Forget it. They wrote the book.



#35 CRTGAMER OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:56 PM



Back in the day you couldn't ask for a more varied and "open-minded" computer. There were no secrets inside it. The only secrets were the ones you imagined that you discovered. That in turn would have been a 100% reflection of you and whatever genius lay buried within your intellect.

 

Apple "retail" back then wasn't snobbish, at least not in my experience. But, today? Forget it. They wrote the book.

 

THIS. I own the Apple II Plus, definitely a "hackers" computer with open architecture.

 

The home brew PC of the day with expandable slots and so many 3rd party Apples such as the Laser and Franklin, that is until Commodore Vic20 and C64 took hold. Lot of neat games forgotten today (Google Bilestoad) and still the best Choplifter (including Arcade) out there played with a Kraft Joystick. Only the Apple II and Atari 5200 utilize the analog sticks adding to the collective control float to keep the helicopter flying.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apple_II_clones

 

The expansion slots!

 

Apple%20II%20-%20lid%20off.jpg


Edited by CRTGAMER, Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:35 PM.


#36 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:45 PM

I have never seen a stuck up snob at an apple store /sarcasm 



#37 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:03 AM

I've been following AppleWin a lot these past years, and hopefully it'll be taken care of there. It's on the issues list:
https://github.com/A...eWin/issues/298


It's a bit hard to code for something i can't reliably test... =-) Can't get to the disk image to go prodding around, but it seems to be based on that $C060 is up to in some way yes?

#38 polyex OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:28 PM

I looked at the Apple back in the day, but to be honest after enduring the stuck up snobs at the local computer store that carried it, I never gave it a fair shake after that.  In some ways that single visit probably unfairly influenced my entire perception of Apple and Apple products.  To this day, whenever I think of Apple, I think snobbish, over priced, over controlled, and all about appearance... but with less selection.  It may be an unfair assessment, but that led me to computers like the TI-99/4A, NEC PC-8201A, TRS-80 Model III and more PC's than I care to admit.  

 

When I think of Steve Wozniak, arguably the creator of the Apple I & II, I don't think of snobbish, over priced over controlled and all about appearance when I play with his creation either now or 40 years ago. If you're actually talking about a now popular stereotype of Steve Jobs, you're talking about a different half of the company and not much of anything to do with the Apple II series. The Apple II was a series of computers which were very open to hacking and experimentation, pretty much the opposite of what you describe. You are lumping together two different groups of collector communities and missing out on some retrocomputing fun because of it!


Edited by polyex, Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:41 PM.


#39 polyex OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:32 PM

The Apple II has no custom chips for sound or graphics, or anything else for that matter. So it gets boring rather quickly.

 

 

Get's boring quickly? Are you kidding with starting a topic like that in a forum for people who have had an interest in the machine for 40+ years?

 

I have to say that looking back through your posts, you are frequently starting topics with the theme of product X VS product Y and which is better?  I can't help but think you're trying to start flamewars.  


Edited by polyex, Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:46 PM.


#40 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:43 PM

Get's boring quickly? Are you kidding with starting a topic like that in a forum for people who have had an interest in the machine for 40+ years?

 

I have to say that looking back through your posts, you are frequently starting topics with the theme of product X VS product Y and which is better?  I can't help but think you're trying to start flamewars.  

 

Absolutely not, on both counts. I have and still enjoy my original hardware from the 1970's.

 

The intent is to start debate, discussion, and comparison. In this case, between the simple Apple II series and other more complex computers of the same era. A discussion about how the II held its own in face of more sophisticated and capable architectures.

 

I can't control what you're thinking, nor do I have much interest in doing so. And if the thread turns into a flame war, so be it. Not a damned thing I can do about it. Flamewars have little interest to me, they're a dime a dozen all over the internet.

 

If posting in this thread, we should be discussing the topic at hand. Not being concerned with anyone's past posts - because that action would more likely start a flamewar than the so-far civilized conversation that's been happening here. And past posts in other threads have nothing to do with this topic anyways.


Edited by Keatah, Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:36 PM.


#41 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:24 PM

To this day, whenever I think of Apple, I think snobbish, over priced, over controlled, and all about appearance... but with less selection.  It may be an unfair assessment, but that led me to computers like the TI-99/4A, NEC PC-8201A, TRS-80 Model III and more PC's than I care to admit.  

 

Back then the appearance of a computer was vitally important in allowing it to break into the consumer market. It had to look the part.

 

And I think most families would rather have a typewriter-looking-thing rather than an Altair-looking-thing in the den. Or even worse any one of the caseless hobbyist computers you could build from kits and breadboards.

 

I don't think Apple II had any more or less selection compared against the C64 or Atari 400/800 overall. Perhaps at certain stores or certain times it did, but that'd be the industry's natural ebb and flow.

 

 

What is noteworthy, and correct me if I'm wrong.. The Apple II may be a little more costly to get into today, but you're getting hardware that is perhaps easier to work on. And is definitely built better. And needs less upgrading to enjoy its entire library. I also believe it is easiest to physically and logically connect to a PC for intersystem file transfers. With a //c you only need some scrap wires if you're going to a legacy PC with a real serial port.

 

In all truth, all the classic computers have serial connections and ability to read SD cards. Getting a II series model lets one experience computing as it was in 1976/1977. That far back! Love them type-in Integer basic programs. Yes?



#42 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:50 AM

No there isn't.
 
But, good programming practice would cover the haves and the have-nots. You could have a simple menu option to enable/disable vsync checking. And it would default to #1 after no user input. Or perhaps it could do some sort of detection via a timing loop.


Programming on 8-bits, every byte is sacred and you often don't have the luxury of programming different routines to accommodate rare hardware

#43 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:17 AM

Detecting vsync should be really short. It's essentially checking the state of a memory location so to speak. A memory location toggled by the wire-mod.

 

With the spacious capacity of the 48K on the II, I can't imagine not being able find a few bytes to do so. This isn't like VCS programming.

 

Changing something in the shape table, or the formatting of some text, or even a little bit of restructuring could give you the extra space - if its already at a premium.

 

---

 

Having said that, my BBS ballooned out to something like 70 or 80K or so, for an Applesoft Basic program. And near the end I was clamoring for more memory. I used various utilities to extend it out into the AUX memory on the //e. I even removed commands from DOS and shrunk it down to gain back extra space. Really fantastic times!


Edited by Keatah, Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:43 AM.


#44 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:34 PM

i've been thinking about the original question a little... the Apple II as a computer might be considered as simple compared to the custom hardware aboard a C64 or Atari 8-bit but as a platform it's far more complicated. So far i've come across three or four different ways to check for the vertical blank; all have caveats and, from what i've seen at least, the majority of games don't go down that road anyway...

Then there's the matter of sound; beeper, Phasor, Mockingboard (with one AY or two), the Arcade Board's AY or perhaps MC16 and what about video upgrades like an 80 column card or the Arcade Board again? Faster processors can potentially bork code too, the way i'd expect to see those various vblank syncs to be implement is going to be problematic, as will anything not synchronised and instead relying on timing loops.

If you're familiar with the Apple II these questions are probably easier to answer but the reason other platforms have the popularity they do is, in part, down to new blood turning up and coming in from the cold like that is just so much easier on the A8 or C64.

#45 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:02 PM

So essentially you're saying the Apple II is harder to get into because of the expansion slots? And as an example adding a disk drive is more complex because you have to get the drive, and the controller, and a copy of some sort of DOS?
 

 



#46 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:34 PM

So essentially you're saying the Apple II is harder to get into because of the expansion slots? And as an example adding a disk drive is more complex because you have to get the drive, and the controller, and a copy of some sort of DOS?


i'm saying that all the variety those slots add to the machine and the range of machines themselves makes things significantly harder for an outsider to get into; which is the optimal configuration if someone wants to play games, which is best for other uses...?

Coming at it as a programmer is confusing too; i talked about the issues i've had trying to get a reliable vertical blank sync and you offered me a solution i'd never heard of, can't find good documentation for and isn't even emulated right now for testing!

#47 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:25 AM

i've been thinking about the original question a little... the Apple II as a computer might be considered as simple compared to the custom hardware aboard a C64 or Atari 8-bit but as a platform it's far more complicated. So far i've come across three or four different ways to check for the vertical blank; all have caveats and, from what i've seen at least, the majority of games don't go down that road anyway...


That 'complexity' is just people trying to overcome its limits though. Similar to all the complex ways people have come up with (besides DLI) to display high-color images on Atari 8bit.

#48 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:19 PM

That 'complexity' is just people trying to overcome its limits though.


Trying to overcome the hardware's limits is a Good Thing but it still makes the machine less approachable to a beginner. If someone with no prior knowledge looks at the Apple II series and all of those cards and other options it's confusing, if they look at a C64 and a disk drive it's far simpler because the only choices in that context are cosmetic. i've been following this sub forum on and off since it opened and i still don't consider myself educated enough to make the call about which model is best to go for or how to arm it.

Similar to all the complex ways people have come up with (besides DLI) to display high-color images on Atari 8bit.


They're not really the same situation though; forcing a machine past it's supposed boundaries with software means that everyone with that machine gets to run it, requiring a hardware expansion limits the program to only some of the user base.

#49 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:44 PM

If someone asks me what to get to get into the Apple II series, it's a simple answer.

 

1- Apple //e console

2- 5.25 disk drive

3- Disk interface card

4- AC power cord

5- Composite monitor

6- Composite monitor cable

7- Some software to run on it

 

Optionally: Joystick, 128K/80column upgrade card, serial card with ADTpro.

 

It isn't rocket science. There's nothing incomprehensible about the above items. It's pretty much the same now as it was back in the day.



#50 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:50 PM

yea even back in the day, I remember being stuck in my mom's dental lab at the community college, they had a II+ in there and it was pretty much the same as our //e as far as I was concerned until later years where you needed 64k to run something (our apple IIe almost direct out of the box had a 512k ramworks II card in it to run my dad's biz, and by the end of that era a hard disk)

 

that little "allied health" department actually had quite the computer gear, for students to use for school work, thus various machines for people to work at home and use things like the department library and labs to wrap it up ... big gray tandy's, apple II's, commies' at least a couple Atari 800's and of course the entire school administrative work was done on a VAX mini 

 

tween summer months with teaching dental assisting classes, and my dad being a ham turned micro nerd, is where I get my obsession with puters 


Edited by Osgeld, Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:52 PM.




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