Is there any (easy) way to convert DO to .DSK file format? I'm forced to use Linapple (Retropie) and it only takes .DSK.
"DO" suggests that your image is (already) using DOS sector ordering. There no change besides renaming to whatever.DSK to make Linapple happy. By way of background... DOS sector ordering is the original mapping of physical to logical sectors; sectors 1, 2, 3, etc. are laid out using a skew factor so that they come flying by the read head not in numerical order, but in the order in which DOS is ready to read them. ProDOS changed this order since it always reads two sectors at once, so they're clustered together differently (and due to some code speedups in the core OS, they're skewed differently as well). If a disk was captured in native ProDOS sector order, it would be correctly suffixed with .PO. The naming scheme of "DSK" is ambiguous - it could be either ProDOS or DOS sector ordered. You won't really know unless you inspect it closely and know what to look for; tools like CiderPress and AppleCommander use heuristics to determine which order an image is likely to be. Most newer emulators automatically make the switch to whatever they need as well.
A picture of the *other* side would be very interesting. If it's all sealed up - it's probably a software protection dongle. Not a particularly common thing to do with the Apple II line, but they did happen from time to time. Not likely for protection of the socket; it's for protection of software. :-)
Never having owned an Apple II, I've got a few questions - what cards should I track down (or make sure it has already) to get this thing into the ideal game playing shape for its type? How can I figure out what RAM configuration it is? My understanding is that it maxes out at 64k of RAM with the language card in slot 0, though there are third party cards that go beyond that - is that the case, and do they work with the last batch of games that require that much memory?
You want to be sure it has a 16k memory ("language") card in slot 0. That gets you up to 64k, and is the max requirement any game that will run on a II+ has. While you're there, turn it on and make sure you hear a "beep" - that will indicate it's alive. No beep (assuming the speaker is good and connected) is a bad sign. As is a loud bang and smoke coming from the power supply - which is altogether likely to happen if it's been sitting all this time.
Any chance or consideration of porting ADTpro over to something more well-received? Something other than Java? Java, to me, is a dotcom era language.
That's the downside of you getting to use something that I built because I want it. I use Java daily at work - so it's very comfortable for me. It's very much a "today" language for me. I get threats from time to time that folks are going to port it to [insert your favorite language du jour here] but it never quite happens. So... no.
I can't get ADTPro working on Windows 98SE, something about Java being out of date. Anyone here know if Windows 2000 will work?
Regardless of OS - you'll need a fairly recent version of Java on the host. A 32-bit Windows is a base requirement for the serial libraries. Windows 2000 may work - XP is a better bet. If you want to go all the way back to Windows 98, you might want to look at using the old ADT (not ADTPro) server:
I looked at the batch file that starts it on the PC but I haven't tried typing the launch command directly.
I hadn't even thought of that - I was having trouble finding a cross-platform way of checking bit width of the OS from within Java. Moving that out into the Winders batch file solves that problem right there!
I had a disk where the actual plastic disk was fine, but the binder material was almost gooey and the oxide just rubbed right off. It's like the binder material didn't bite into the disk substrate, but was merely held in place by surface tension. 40 years ago, these disks were absolutely just fine.
The solution in these cases is to "bake" the cookie a little bit - one of those toaster ovens does wonders. I find most Control Data 5-1/4" disks I run across are in this camp... gooey binder that rubs right off of you're not careful.
An accelerator doesn't make tons of sense in a gaming context. Unless you're playing Akalabeth and you want to speed up the maddeningly slow drawing. :-) Jorma makes an interesting point in his article that you can actually use it to slow a game down that is moving too fast for you (though that would also slow down the controls, which might be just as maddening). Otherwise, for any other compute-intensive operation under the sun - it makes tons of sense. I/O on the Apple II is famously tied to 1MHz CPU speed, but any other task benefits: word processing, database, whatever. Even disk transfers are zippier because data still has to move around internally... it'll be 1MHz coming off the floppy and out the serial port, but it'll be 16MHz for any other thing going on (compression/decompression, screen updates, ...).
BITD, folks used AppleWorks to get real work done on an Apple II. It drove tons of sales of memory expansion cards and accelerators because it gave you more room to do your work and made that work go faster.
I'm thinking I might pick one up once they're out there again then, and sell my Floppy EMU.
Definitely pick a CFFA3000 up when you can, but don't sell the Floppy EMU - you can never have too many gadgets.
The reason why the CFFA3000 is so flexible is that it's sitting directly on the bus - and it can insert its phantom Disk II-ness anywhere else in the bus you want it to. Then, any other disk images you want are on the SmartPort, including hard drive or any size floppy images, 5-1/4" included. It can hook itself into DOS 3.3 and speed up Disk II access even more. I try to have one of everything (I "need" to test them for ADTPro compatibility, I tell myself) but the CFFA3000 is really the Swiss Army knife of disk surrogates.
Im assuming I can use any CRT TV monitor with this? I just have the original monochrome monitor.
Yes, any TV with video-in, aka composite (not component) will work. You know, the yellow RCA plug.
There are no cards or anything under the hood of this machine Im assuming I can get a hard drive or SSD drive in it? Extra ram or other useful things?
Turn it on and look at the copyright message and stuff at the bottom of the screen. Does it say ROM 01 or ROM 03? Or does it make no mention of ROM whatsoever (and so ROM 00)? That will have a bearing on whether or not you should be looking for more RAM or not. ROM 03 = about 1MB, enough to run most normal stuff. ROM 01 = about 256KB, not enough to usefully run GSOS without expansion. ROM 00 = look for a ROM 01 chip.
About the mouse - you will need an Apple ADB mouse, specifically. The kind that Apple used before USB was a thing.