ProFiles encouraged

Apple’s ProFile drive, designed (clearly) for use with the Apple ///, came in a couple of variations, and quickly made its way to the Lisa and Apple II as well. They came in 5MB and 10MB varieties (the 10MB versions are quite rare now), as distinguished by their model numbers (A9M0005 vs. A9M0100).

Profile ready light on

Profile a9m0005

To use the ProFile, an interface card is required appropriate to the machine. The Apple /// and Apple II each require a dedicated interface card, while the Lisa (sort of) required a more general parallel interface card. I say “sort of” because the Lisa actually has a built-in parallel port that can be used for this out of the box, but the port in the Lisa 2 at least was internal, used to support an internal widget drive. In my Lisa 2, I have an X/ProFile connected to the internal port, so to connect an external (second) drive, I need the parallel interface card. I actually have a couple of 5MB ProFile drives and two parallel cards, but the first parallel card I tried didn’t work and I haven’t gotten around to trying the second one yet. My plan is to back up whatever is on the ProFiles now (which were almost certainly formatted for Lisa use), and then reformat them with the Apple ///.

Here is the Apple /// card alone, and then installed:

A3 profile io card

A3 profile io card installed

The Apple II card had a more generic name (“Apple II interface”), but was specifically for the ProFile. Moreover, the EPROM on the card determined whether it was for the 5MB or the 10MB ProFile. I am not at present sure whether a 10MB EPROM will work with the 5MB drive, but as I understand it the 5MB EPROM will only see 5MB of a 10MB drive if connected.

Profile apple ii interface

Here is the Lisa parallel card. I have two of them, and, oddly, they differ in that one has a 6-color logo on it and one does not. I have tested the white-logo one and it didn’t work, I haven’t tested the 6-color logo one yet.

Lisa parallel card Lisa parallel card 6color

Speaking of formatting the drives, another point about the ProFile: It is possible to erase a ProFile drive on any of the machines you can connect it to, but to do a low-level format requires an Apple ///, the ProFile interface card, and a special “low-level formatting kit.” I have the kit, but I haven’t used it yet (or even unwrapped it). First, I’ll back up the drives, then I’ll reformat them. My thinking is that they could use a good reformatting to extend their usable life. All of the ProFiles I have power on and make it to the “ready” state, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re on their penultimate legs.

The picture below is “of” my LLF kit, but it may well not be in its authentic packaging. It’s just in a standard “accessories” box, probably shrink-wrapped and labelled by the guy I bought it from (VintageMicros).

Llf format kit wrapped

Anyway, on to the manuals, disk images, and paper stuff. This is ProFile stuff specifically for the Apple ///, originally contained within a box, here’s a (particularly beat-up) instance of it:

Profile accessories box

Apple iii profile accessories packing list Apple iii profile accessories packing list 2 Profile driver diskette
Profile owners manual errata iii Apple iii profile owners manual Profile helpful hints with iii
Apple backup iii disk Apple backup iii users manual Apple iii user input report 2
Apple iii user input report 1 Profile warranty form

I don’t have any materials for the Apple II version, and I posted the ones I have from ProFiles intended for the Lisa a couple of entries ago about stuff packed with Lisa. So, there it is. When I actually go through the process of doing the backup and low-level formatting, I’ll document the process and results here, but for now, just clearing up the backlog of scans I’ve got.

It’s Business Time

Today, we have the Apple II Business Graphics package. I was surprised to discover that it didn’t seem to be archived in any of the places I looked, but it also turned out to be kind of a beast to copy. Even Apple-branded stuff back in the day was copy protected.

A2bg outer box

A2bg opened

This is a complete set, at least according to the packing list. The only thing I haven’t scanned is the “How-To Sheet”, which is glued to the inside of the top cover of the box.

Here is the scanned documentation and paper that came along with it:

A2bg packing list Apple ii business graphics manual A2bg user input report
A2bg software lic agrt A2bg sticker A2bg disks
A2bg slipcover side2 A2bg slipcover front A2bg slipcover side1 A2bg slipcover back

The real coup here, actually, is that I finally managed to get disk images that seem to work in an emulator. It was no easy task. I first managed to get a bootable copy using Locksmith 5.0, and then tried a couple of different nibble disk transfer methods until I finally wound up using SST to nibblize the disks on actual hardware and then reconstitute the image in an emulator. Virtual ][ seems only to like it in its half-track format (v2d), so accordingly, it only runs right now in Virtual ][. Maybe someday I’ll try it again—it is not flawless. Sometimes (randomly?) it bombs out with an I/O error and you have to reset the machine. But I tried it a little bit (nowhere near exhaustively), and it basically seemed to work.

Update: Thanks to Rich Thompson in the comments, I was made aware that Computist #48 has a softkey for this. The trick is that track #1 is unreadable on the original, and if it can be read, the program bombs out. So, I re-imaged the disk straightforwardly with ADTPro, converted it to a .nib file using Disk Muncher in the emulator (reading from the .dsk.po file, writing to a .nib file), and then went in with a hex editor and changed all instances of D5 AA 96 FF FE AA AB to D5 AA 96 FF FE FF FF, which effectively destroys track #1. The .nib file now boots fine, so I have replaced the disk images I’d had up before with these. Because the Computist softkey relies on using a magic volume number (005) to see if it’s dealing with the PLOT disk, and because the .dsk format doesn’t preserve the volume number, I have not gone ahead with deprotecting the disk, since it would have to be stored in a .nib file anyway.

I was previously having occasional I/O errors that would force me to reset, and I don’t know whether that behavior is gone or not (perhaps that even happened BITD). I haven’t stress-tested this new image, but I was able at least to recreate the plots I’d done without any errors appearing.

A2bg splash

A2bg start

A2bg posts