All posts by paulhagstrom

Episode 9: Phase III: The Future of the Apple III Hardware and SOS

Back from a long hiatus, Mike and Paul discuss the newly-available cornucopia of games for the Apple ///, and then introduce the next bit of audio from the 1987 Phase III conference. The conference presentation was a panel discussion of the future of Apple III hardware and SOS, with Bob Consorti of On Three and Rob Turner of Apple (but formerly of On Three) as the panelists. Discussion topics include the meaning of “obsolete,” the feasibility of a SCSI card, the problems with creating a slot expander, the availability and support of the /// vs. the IIGS and marketing. There is a fair amount of audience participation in the panel, and the questions and monologues from the audience are not always very easy to hear. There also seemed to be a dance party going on next door.

Games discussed:

Mr. Sandman (Dr. Mel Astrahan, On Three)
Tic-Tac-Toe (John Lomartire)
Apple Chomp (Dan A. Kunesh)
Atomic Defense (Andy Hertzfeld)

Disk images: a3games.zip

Three-part column in Softalk: Hot Rod III (George Oetzel, July-September 1983). Part two is about how to use an Apple III joystick in Apple II emulation mode, which isn’t quite what we claimed it was about in the episode.

We also claimed there would be a link about Woz’s tic-tac-toe algorithm, it might appear here in a little while.

Episode 8: Bob Consorti

In this episode, we talk with Bob Consorti, who was president of On Three. Among the notable achievements of On Three were the long-running On Three magazine, Desktop Manager, BOS (Bob’s Operating System), a 512K RAM expansion card, device drivers, and many other things. Topics include the founding of On Three, the development of the 512K card, On Three’s internal development environment, emulation, and much more!

Episode 7: Colette Askeland

This episode consists of a telephone interview with Colette Askeland, the board layout designer who did all of the layout work on the Apple /// motherboard. We learn about the incredible challenges and accomplishments that went into creating this layout, and about the process, the community, and the environment at Apple at the time. Lots of things have been said about the Apple /// board, but mostly those things have been the same couple of critiques repeated over and over again. This interview leaves quite a different impression, one of a major accomplishment and no shortage of innovation and hard work, with a result that was truly impressive. If only. If only.

A couple of notes on what she talks about (spoilers!):

The Apple /// motherboard was the last at Apple to be designed by hand, rather than with computer layout tools. The computer layout tools were at the time unable to do a board as dense as the Apple /// without adding layers.

Wendell Sander, Colette Askeland, and Daniel Kottke worked as a team in the design and prototyping phase of the Apple ///, with Wendell getting all the communication from outside on specifications and doing the design work, then working with Daniel to breadboard it, and then passing it on to Colette to lay out the traces and components. Colette was the only one at Apple doing printed circuit board layout, and quite early in her career as well.

The process first involved creating a layout and routing traces on a drafting vellum, which involved a great deal of pencil work with component templates and electric erasing. By the time the project was done, the vellum for the Apple /// was in fairly sorry shape. After that, mylar versions were created by laying the mylar over the vellum and running miles of tape for traces and stickers for components. Then the mylar is sent to photography, and the photographs sent to the board producers. The vellum and mylar stages are all at double scale, so quite large.

Colette had the vellum framed and donated it to the Computer History Museum. She has photographs from when it was appraised, which we will post here when we get them.

Colette reinforced what we’ve heard before: the Apple /// board was incredibly dense for the time, with everything so crowded together that they had to use new experimental components and do a fair amount of “thinking outside the box” to get the thing to fit inside the box, at the expense of some fairly tricky manufacturing processes.

And plenty of stories about working there at Apple back in the very early days.

Episode 6: Don Williams at Phase III

The Phase III conference was organized by the Third Apple User Group in Chicago, held October 2-4, 1987. Dave Ottalini located and digitized his audio recordings of some of the sessions at that conference, and provided them to us. We have been cleaning them up as best we can, and will release them here on the podcast feed.

Don Williams had a long history at Apple, which he describes a bit in this talk. He is the author of Desktop/Plan, later sold on to VisiCorp, and was the founder of the APDA (Apple Program Developers Association). He worked at Apple doing software design from about September 1979 until early 1982, and then returned in early 1983 for another year, as National Accounts Sales Manager. The talk here is actually the second talk he gave, a more impromptu reminiscing about the marketing and sales of the Apple ///. Earlier in the conference, Don had a scheduled talk, also about the history of the Apple ///. The audio of that talk will require more work, so it will be posted to the feed later on. As it turned out, Don was not aware of the Phase III conference until he ran into his neighbor, Rupert (Robert) Lissner (author of 3 E-Z Pieces), who was very concerned about what he was going to talk about at the conference. In the end, Lissner did not attend the conference, and Williams went instead, with about two days’ notice. But we are all glad he did, even if it would have also have been nice to have heard from Lissner.

Episode 5: Dave Ottalini

In this episode, Mike and Paul had the opportunity to speak with Dave Ottalini, co-founder of the Apple /// Special Interest Group of the Washington Apple Pi user group. The entire episode is devoted to this conversation. And stay to the very end for an extremely interesting announcement!

A couple of related links:

Episode 3: Dream machines, with Egan Ford (apple3rtr)

In this episode, we talk about some introductory and demo materials, consider some Apple /// “dream systems” and talk with Egan Ford about the work he has done preparing the Apple /// “Ready-to-Run” quick start package for the MESS apple3 emulator.

 

Episode 2: MESSing with drivers

In this episode, we walk through getting the MESS emulator started with the assistance of Egan Ford’s Apple /// RTR, discuss the System Configuration Program, and the Apple /// Dimensions newsletter.

 

Episode 1: Until the Cows Come Home

Welcome to the show notes from the premiere episode of what is undoubtedly the premiere Apple /// podcast on the internet today.

Your hosts:

Links along the way:

Write to us. We are Apple /// users. We are lonely.