Aug 252012

Things keep pouring in that I need to clean up, set up, test, and document, but the day job continues to require most of my attention. I did manage to scan a couple of manuals, I’m not sure if they are already out there scanned somewhere, but here are mine. These are the first two programs I bought for the Apple II.

Both are early Apple II titles, one is The Graphics Magician by Penguin Software, and the other is The Voice by MUSE. Both are things I played around with quite a bit early on in my programming life.

The Voice (asimov image, recently converted to copyable DOS 3.3 format by Hot Rod) is basically the program that was used to make the guards talk in Castle Wolfenstein (“Kommen Sie!”). It allowed you to record your own words, tweak them, and then use them within your own programs. This was what enabled me to record my 12-year-old opinions on livestock in the program I recently unearthed that produced the following: (Unfortunately, the conversion vimeo did cut off the end of the sound, but I do have the unconverted version as well.)

The Graphics Magician was a similar (and really rather more sophisticated) toolkit for producing graphics within your own programs, by providing a library of machine language routines that could be called from within Applesoft BASIC (or assembly language). (There are several images in the asimov graphics directory, I haven’t checked them to see what distinguishes them.) I played with this a lot, but I have to do some more archaeology to discover most of my creations. Here is one, though, a demo of a “game” (from a collection I wrote under the name of “The Rather Pointless Software Company”) entitled “Dodge the Weights.” (For quite a while my “alias” on BBSes was “Grimalkin”—I liked the kind of sound of it and the association with cats [due to my affinity for my Apple-Cat II modem] as well as with kind of witchcrafty stuff. I chose to ignore the fact that it’s also generally a female cat.)

Anyway, here are scanned and auto-OCRed versions of the manuals. The Graphics Magician came with a main manual and a separate programming tutorial, both are linked below. The version of The Graphics Magician that these manuals pertain to, it seems, is 5.82 (May 1982).

Graphics magician manual

Graphics magician tutorial

Muse the voice manual

Aug 142012

I’m still here. But good grief! So, after KansasFest, I went on two further week-long trips, and since having gotten back to my office, I haven’t really had a chance to do much at all vintage-related. But things have been piling up, I have a really kind of ludicrously long list of projects to do here by now. Lots and lots of interesting things to try to get running, to learn about, and to document. But it’s going to take a while, because the summer seems to have vanished without having given me the time I was hoping to have, and with the academic year coming up now, things have kicked into high gear again.

First of all, I still intend to post KansasFest 2012 reflections, it having been my first (and likely not last) KansasFest. I did have a chance to talk (kind of incoherently) about it with Ken Gagne, Wayne Arthurton, and Jeremy Rand on the Open Apple podcast, show #18, which is likely to hit the pod waves soon. But I’ll try to do that sooner rather than later (despite the fact that there are all these interesting toys left to look at!).

Among the things that are KansasFest related, my HackFest project (which was to be a QR code generator for the Apple II) did not get finished, but got far enough along that it is probably not eligible for an entry next year, so I intend to finish that. And at least I want to put an epilogue on my RetroChallenge 2012 “entry.”

Also, things kept arriving while I was away. eBay opportunities do not stop just because I’m out of town, it turns out. My office looked kind of ridiculously full of boxes upon my return.

At KansasFest itself, I wound up acquiring an impressive load of Softalk magazines, a DuoDisk, and an extra new-style 5.25 disk controller. The Softalks were the real gems, I am particularly happy to have become reconnected with the issue containing the article pictured below, “Have an Apple Split” by Bob Bishop, in the October 1982 issue. I intend to write about that article itself later, I think it had a pretty profound effect on me when I read it originally. It is possible to read the text of the article online, but now I have the real article back. I do intend to do some scanning of these issues, as one of the many upcoming projects.


I also need to work a bit on setting up this site as well, right now things are not really very well tagged and categorized, and it looks kind of awful on an iPhone.

So, this is really a “I’m still alive” post. More to come, but it will probably take a little while before things start moving here again.