Labour Day Weekend - Apple II Archiving

As for my long weekend, after gardening (watering in really dry and hot weather on Saturday, of course it's raining heavily now) and chores and reading (Dr. Dobbs and Jack Aubrey Naval stories), I finally got around to continuing with archiving the old Apple II - video taping my significant programs running. That took a while to figure out, since some of them are on audio tape and need cryptic commands to start (load addresses mostly - stupid OS - doesn't store file names or even sizes like the PET does), and I had to hunt around for documentation. None of that wimpy self explanatory user interface stuff - you really need the docs to run it. Fortunately I found some old mark sense cards with the tape indices for most of the tapes written on the back.

Unfortunately I was getting many read errors, until I found out that the felt pad which holds the tape against the heads had fallen off due to glue age. A bit of super glue fixed that (just hope that the oxide doesn't fall off the tapes next :-). Fortunately that was the only age problem I had, the computer hardware still works (including a 1979 vintage printer card with EPROM - guess they last at least 20 years before forgetting). Even the old Epson MX-70 dot matrix printer worked too (ribbon had a bit of ink left after a decade or more), and was able to print out a family tree sideways in graphics mode, really slowly (80 cps).

My little project for the rest of the week will be to get useful stuff off the old floppies - which means writing a program to read text files off the floppy and dump them to the serial card. I'll try AppleSoft BASIC first (but it can't read text - barfs on commas) so I may need to do some assembly coding. Dumping program listings should be relatively easy in comparison (just list while output is redirected to the serial port). On the Amiga side, I'll have a little program (terminal program script) controlling it all by sending keyboard commands via the serial link to do the operations needed. Well, that's the plan.

- Alex

Copyright © 1999 by Alexander G. M. Smith.