I have been working on restoring an Apple Power Macintosh 7100/80, first released in 1994. While tearing it down to remove the original PRAM battery from 1994, I decided to also pull out the 3.5-inch floppy drive to service it before attempting to power on the Mac.
What I discovered was that I couldn’t find any documentation (service manual, blog post, YouTube video) about how to open the drive without breaking the plastic faceplate. So, I made a video of me fumbling around trying to open the drive so you don’t have to wonder how to open it or break any plastic clips.
How about a little retro gaming fun to close out #Appril2? While looking for replacement RAM chips for my Applied Engineering GS-RAM card for my Apple IIgs, I ran across an Apple Joystick IIe and IIc. Not finding one at the VCF East 2023 consignment sale, I snapped up this one on eBay at a reasonable price.
Now that I have a joystick for my Apple //e, it’s time for a little 8-bit retro gaming nostalgia!
What happens when you tumble down a retro-rabbit hole? You end up making an accidental Apple IIgs upgrade video for the retro computing Appril2 community event!
What started out as just trying to figure out how to use the Drive/Turbo CF flash card hard disk emulator turned into a chip pulling and drive servicing bonanza that had me going bananas by the end of the day.
Come watch me try not to use spicy language while I try to get a 3.5″ floppy drive from 1988 put back together again so I can us it with my Apple IIgs.
I was a first timer to VCF and I was fairly impressed by the show that was put on. The exhibits were interesting, and the vendors had good products on sale. For me personally, I really enjoyed the speakers, and the hands-on labs – Glitchwrks XT-IDE board build and Commodore 64 BASIC programming.
VCF East was held on the InfoAge museum campus which featured early UNIVAC computers, several military artifacts, communications, and electronic warefare exhibits.
I am already thinking about next year’s trip. In the meantime, I put together a “what I saw” recap video. I hope you enjoy it.
Apple’s Macintosh RGB monitor was intended to be the companion monitor for the company’s Macintosh LC-series of computers.
Before I could set about working on my Macintosh LC III #MARCHintosh2023 project, I needed to service the monitor that my LC (Low Cost Color Computer – I know, the acronym seems to be missing a few letters) was going to need.
Come watch the roller coaster ride of will he or won’t he repair this monitor but stay to see if I electrocute myself!
In the final installment of my Apple IIGS Welcome-Home-Athon video series, I talk about the various solutions I tried to get the GS working with a modern LCD display and see what it was like to use System 6.0.1 and Zany Golf on a color display.
I purchased a Macintosh LC III (1993), the companion Macintosh 12-inch RGB Display (1990), and an ImageWriter II printer (1985). What can I say? The Mac had an Apple IIe Card (1992) installed.
One of the things that you will inevitably have to deal with when you get into retro computing is tracking down technical information about the equipment to repair and service it.
As for my monitor, well, as you can see from the picture above, old brittle plastics don’t always hold up to the stress of being shipped around the country. I’m using PAPPP’s blog post to help me take apart and get inside my monitor so I can replace the CRT housing.
I wanted to share the information that I collected and downloaded. Hopefully, if you are looking for more information about the 12-inch RGB Display that has found its way to you, this will help.
In this second installment of my Apple IIGS Welcome-Home-athon series, I work on testing out video output, booting up GS/OS 6.0.1, verify the RAM configuration, and check which ROM my little guy has. The RetroComputing Shenanigans Bus also takes us on a short trip to Dongle Town!
I’m an Apple //e fan, but in the mid-1980s, with the introduction of the Lisa in 1983 and the Macintosh in 1984, it was becoming clear that the largely text input-based Apple II line of computers needed an innovative refresh.
In 1986, Apple II fans got their new graphical interface upgrade in the form of the Apple IIGS.
Developed under codenames such as “Phoenix”, “Columbia”, and “Cortland” the Apple IIGS was an attempt to modernize the Apple //e and the non-expandable Apple IIc into a modern computer. At the time, attempts to replace the venerable Apple //e with the Apple III and the Apple IIc did not go according to plan. The Apple III ended up being a commercial failure and customers favored the Apple //e over the IIc largely in part due to the //e’s expansion card bays.
The Apple IIGS is a curios machie because it encapsulates both what has come before, the Apple II platform, while embracing a future with a graphical interface, a mouse, improved sound capabilities, and a 3.5-inch floppy drive – just like the Macintosh. Powering the Apple IIGS is the new 16-bit 65C816 chip running at 2.8MHz. The 65C816 is a 65C02 compatible processor, meaning that it can emulate the CPU used in prior Apple IIs. The 65C816 also has two run modes: the native 2.8MHz mode for running software written specifically for the graphical GS/OS operating sytem, and a 1MHz mode for running a customer’s older Apple II series software.
In addition to the new CPU, the Apple IIGS also includes 256kb of system RAM, expandable out to a total of 8MB. The “GS” in the IIGS name stands for Graphics and Sound, and this Apple II is able to deliver. The new GUI interface was made possible due to a new super Hi-Res video mode capable of putting a 16-color palette up on a 200×320 screen. The included Ensoniq Mirage sound chip improved the audio features of the machine.
There is a lot going on under the hood of this Apple II and that’s because the designers needed to address two project goals. First, make it compatible with the older generation of Apple II hardware and software. Second, bring the technology advancements from the Apple III, the Lisa, and the Macintosh to the Apple II line. In short, the IIGS ended up becoming a bridge from the Apple II line to the Macintosh line.1 This feat was made possible by Apple’s new custom integrated circuit (IC) the Mega II. The Mega II included the functionality of several of the ICs from the Apple //e and the IIc into the IIGS motherboard. In the end, the IIGS was able to run at least 90% of the titles in the Apple II software library. With the use of an optional disk controller card and floppy disk drive, the Apple IIGS could also read and write 5.25-inch disks created for earlier Apple IIs.
The Apple IIGS was forward looking too. For example, the graphical GS/OS environment used 114 of the same QuickDraw calls as was found on the Macintosh. The graphical interface program used to access disks, draw windows, and work with menus and files is called the Finder and is modeled after the Macintosh desktop program of the same name. The Apple IIGS also has an Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) port for connecting up to 16 daisy-chained devices. The same ADB technology that is used on the Macintosh, allowing keyboards and mice to be interchangeable. And, finally, the IIGS is the first Apple II computer to include built in support for AppleTalk networking. Yes, the Apple IIGS and the Macintosh could talk to each other and share files over an AppleTalk network.
The Apple IIGS was released in September 1986 with a base price of $999. Customers would then need to add one or more disk drives, a color monitor, and possibly a printer, easily raising the price of the machine to the $2,499 – $3,199 range.
The Apple IIGS did succeed in delivering on it’s promise to be true (and compatible) to it’s Apple II roots and simultaneously embrace a graphical interface future. And for Apple II fans, that was a positive point. However, in terms of the state of technology in 1986, many journalists coving technology at the time considered the Apple IIGS to be too slow and too expensive when compared with contemporary machines of the day, including the Macintosh, the Amiga 500, and the Atari ST.
In 1988, waiting for my back ordered Apple IIGS to be delivered by ComputerLand, I was excited to this new computer. For me, I could leverage everything that I had learned about my Apple //e with the IIGS and share hardware and software between the two machines. I will admit that my cousin’s Amiga 500 had way better looking games, but I loved my Apple IIGS. Unlike the closed case Amiga 500, the Apple IIGS could be easily opened allowing me to tinker around inside and add new expansion cards, foreshadowing my career in Information Technology. Today, I still tinker around inside PCs and servers thanks, in no small part, to the openness of the Apple II platform.