Episode 11: Fort Stanford, b/w Phase III: Dr. Melvin Astrahan

We’re back for Episode 11. This time, we talk about really very small advances in booting a /// from a flash drive, the Cursor /// joystick and the history of The Keyboard Company, and a visit to the Stanford archives of Apple materials to get the real scoop on EMI/RFI emissions and the timeline of the /// plus. After that, another talk from the 1987 Phase III conference, this one by Dr. Melvin Astrahan, author of Draw On /// and the Mr. Sandman game, talking about the graphical abilities of the Apple ///.

The trip to the Stanford archives yielded two interesting Apple ///-related documents. More about these on apple2scans.net (link will be retroactively inserted here when it’s ready over there), but here are the documents themselves:

Links of Interest:

The Best of Ottalini #2

This PDF is the extracted text of files on disks included in the Washington Apple Pi’s Apple /// public domain collection, specifically APPLE-3-WAP-wap-02a and -02b. They are available on the WAP Apple /// DVD, or at your favorite file repository.

These are Dave Ottalini’s best Apple /// newsletters and articles from the 1987 issues of the WAP Journal. Here’s the table of contents:

TRAIL.COLUMNS (1987)

January

  • Sourceware products
  • Forth for the ///
  • SOS update

February

  • New Co-Chairman
  • Phase /// Update
  • Al Bloom joins WAP

March

  • /// EZPs upgrade
  • Business Basic on the GS

May

  • 3EZP Upgrade Dies
  • On Three News
  • Meeting and SIG notes

June

  • Troubleshooting
  • Titan Card problems

July

  • /// SIG Moves
  • Tip of the Month
  • Go Forth
  • ThreeWorks

September

  • Farewell to Richard Rowell
  • News from Sun Systems

October

  • Phase /// preview
  • ProFile for the office
  • New PD disks

November

  • Phase /// highlights and lowlights
  • New GS Basic
  • HyperCard

December

  • A look back at the year
  • Music on the ///

Other Articles:

A Plus: Article about the Apple ///
Taking apart the Apple /// demo program
Latest versions of Apple /// drivers
Kidword ///: A word processing program for the little folks
Latest versions of Apple /// programs
Bibliography of the /// Magazine for 1986
Bibliography of the /// Newsletter
What’s on the new member disk

Download the PDF Here:

The Best of Ottalini 2

The Best of Ottalini #3

This PDF is the extracted text of files on disks included in the Washington Apple Pi’s Apple /// public domain collection, specifically APPLE-3-WAP-wap-03a and -03b. They are available on the WAP Apple /// DVD, or at your favorite file repository.

These are Dave Ottalini’s best Apple /// newsletters and articles from the 1988 issues of the WAP Journal. Here’s the table of contents:

TRAIL.COLUMNS (1988)

January

  • New products discussed: SOS Driver Optimizer & Graphics card

February

  • New PD disks discussed
  • Future disks
  • WPL program “PD.CON”

March

  • D.A. Datasystems puts programs into the public domain

April

  • Has Frank Moore Returned?
  • More news from Lt. Sykora

May

  • More Public Domain Disks
  • /// SIG’s New Helper

June

  • ThreeWorks update
  • Apple /// News

July

  • Sykora Software Update
  • On Three News
  • Sun Remarketing

August

  • Menu.Maker Continued
  • Menu.Maker Take Two
  • New PD Disk

September

  • More On Three News
  • Sykora Software
  • July SIG Meeting

October

  • Apple /// News
  • Another Graphics Board
  • Music MIDI Driver

November

  • Where Do I Find Parts For My Apple ///?

December

  • History of the WAP /// SIG
  • /// SIG Christmas List

Other Articles:

The Legacy of Daryl Anderson
Taylor Pohlman on GS Basic (Parts 1 & 2)
Bibliography of On Three for 1987
TAU.PD.CON: WPL program used for PD development

Download the PDF Here:

The Best of Ottalini #3

The Best of Ottalini #4

This PDF is the extracted text of files on disks included in the Washington Apple Pi’s Apple /// public domain collection, specifically APPLE-3-WAP-wap-04a and -04b. They are available on the WAP Apple /// DVD, or at your favorite file repository.

These are Dave Ottalini’s best Apple /// newsletters and articles from the 1989 issues of the WAP Journal. Here’s the table of contents:

TRAIL.COLUMNS (1989)

January

  • Happy New Year
  • Robert Lissner on 3EZ Pieces

February

  • Reprint of January with comments on WAP 10th Anniversary

March

  • Telecommunications News
  • TerminALL operation
  • On Three

April

  • Spring maintenance tips
  • On Three News
  • PD Disks

May

  • A Visit to On Three
  • Apple Users Group International

June

  • Pascal Menu.Maker
  • Other PD Disks
  • Desktop Publishing on the ///

July

  • The Lisa Shop
  • On Three discontinues 800 number & BBS dies

August

  • New ThreeWorks update
  • PD Disks

September

  • Telecom Month at the WAP /// SIG
  • Bob Consorti moves

October

  • ThreeWorks update
  • Parallel printers
  • PublishIt!2 problems

November

  • PD Offerings
  • Kudos and comments
  • Power Supplies

December

  • A look back at 1989 and…
  • … A look forward to 1990
  • On Three news

Other Articles:

Best Public Domain disks for the holidays
Using the WAP TCS
Bargains for Apple ///ers in hardware and software
A history of 3EZ Pieces, an integrated Apple /// program
Finding parts for the Apple ///
More on finding Apple /// information
Apple Announces New Micro Line

Download the PDF Here:

The Best of Ottalini #4

The Best of Ottalini #5

This PDF is the extracted text of files on disks included in the Washington Apple Pi’s Apple /// public domain collection, specifically APPLE-3-WAP-wap-05a and -05b. They are available on the WAP Apple /// DVD, or at your favorite file repository.

These are Dave Ottalini’s best Apple /// newsletters and articles from the 1990 issues of the WAP Journal. Here’s the table of contents:

TRAIL.COLUMNS (1990)

January

  • The Year Ahead
  • Repairs
  • Color Monitors for the ///

February

  • More on Repairs
  • Joe Dobrowolski
  • Prodigy commentary

March

  • WAP 10 year anniversary
  • National Apple Users Group Conference

April

  • 24-pin printers
  • Keyboards

May

  • Happy Birthday SARA!
  • On Three moves
  • ThreeWorks update

June

  • How to be a power user on the ///
  • Dealing with Sticky Keys

July

  • SIG survey results
  • Titan ///+//e update

August

  • 100th PD disk
  • Apple /// Donation Program
  • Mentor Program

September

  • More on the Mentor program
  • IIGIF
  • Apple /// to MAC

October

  • SCSI on the ///
  • On Three News
  • Pair Software News

November

  • CD ROM Drives
  • On Three News
  • Donation Program

December

  • Disk Drive Maintenance
  • End of the Year
  • PD Disks

Other Articles:

Color monitors and the Apple ///
Desk Top Publishing in Emulation Mode
On Three Bibliography for 1989
A new RGB circuit for the /// (by D. D. Meisel)

Download the PDF Here:

The Best of Ottalini #5

The Best of Ottalini #6

This PDF is the extracted text of files on disks included in the Washington Apple Pi’s Apple /// public domain collection, specifically APPLE-3-WAP-wap-06a and -06b. They are available on the WAP Apple /// DVD, or at your favorite file repository.

These are Dave Ottalini’s best Apple /// newsletters and articles from the 1991 issues of the WAP Journal. Here’s the table of contents:

TRAIL.COLUMNS (1991)

January

  • Some Nice Words
  • A+/InCider
  • Dobrowolski News

February

  • Apple /// emulation on the Mac
  • February Disks

March

  • On Three
  • Printer Questions
  • Disk Library

April

  • ///+//e Cards
  • Apple ///ers Unanimous
  • EASY Accounting

May

  • Meetings
  • PD Disks
  • Directory Damage

June

  • A3 Donations
  • Jim Jutzin
  • On Three

July

  • GoBack ///
  • Budget Time
  • PD Library

September

  • Sun Remarketing
  • Paul Campbell
  • On Three

October

  • Disk Drive Speed
  • New BBS
  • 256K Upgrade

November

  • Bob Consorti
  • TCS
  • Mail

December

  • Holiday Gifts
  • Other Clubs
  • PD Library

Other Articles:

Cooling the Jets on your Hot Apple ///
How to buy and collect old computers By Tim Swenson
Review of the //GS version of DTM
The Apple ///: Death Bed or New Found Life
Using DTM Macros

Download the PDF Here:

The Best of Ottalini #6

ON THREE CPS Universal Disk Driver

We’ve located a copy of the CPS Universal Disk Driver that Bob Consorti wrote and distributed through ON THREE in 1987. It’s the only file on the non-bootable SOS disk included in the image (download ON_THREE_Universal_CPS_Driver). You can build this into your existing driver files with the SOS SCP.

cps

Basically, the earlier UniDisk driver only allows you to use the Apple Liron card and Apple 800K drives. This one was written in response to reader requests for similar functionality so they could access third party devices such as the CPS controller card and drive, the AE 800K drive, etc. You can also access your Liron/UniDisk setup with it.

Note that only one 3.5″ 800K drive can be included in a daisy-chain with 5.25″ Disk /// or MicroSci drives, and it must be the last device on the chain.

Episode 10: III Drives Diverged

In this episode, Paul and Mike talk about the wooden Apple /// sculpture featured on the cover of Apple Magazine v2n2 and an email interview with Tom Eckert, the artist who created it. Other topics include the issues and ultimate success in booting an Apple /// with only an SD-card drive emulator, the feasibility of using alternative CP/M cards, the new firmware for the Floppy Emu to do UniDisk 3.5 emulation, and some preliminary discussion of the variants of the Cursor /// joystick.

Interview with Tom Eckert
Plamen Vasilyov’s SDFloppy II
Nishida Radio’s UNISDISK
Big Mess o’ Wires’ Floppy Emu
BMOW announces firmware update for Apple II compatibility

Interview with sculptor/painter Tom Eckert

The cover of “Apple Magazine” (Volume 2, Number 2) featured a wooden sculpture of an Apple ///, a photo with which most “Sarasaurs” are familiar. We managed to track down Arizona artist Tom Eckert, whom Apple commissioned to create the piece back in 1980, and while Eckert declined to come on the air with us, he was happy to provide some insight into his creative process. Below, you can read our interview, which includes some never before published photos of another Apple-commissioned piece. We are grateful for Eckert’s participation.

DTI: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about your famous wooden Apple /// sculpture.

TE: The old Apple III was a grand computer for the day. The other computers ran DOS as the system software while the Apple III had SOS. This system proved to be way advanced for the time. I understand it was the computer that they sent to the moon.

DTI: How did you decide to do a sculpture of the Apple ///, as opposed to the more popular Apple II computer? Was this a commissioned piece or did you find something in the design of the machine that you wanted to express in this medium?

TE: It was a commission from Apple. Computers were just coming to life then so I was intrigued to take it on as a subject for a piece. The Apple III was brand new and I created the sculpture for the cover of “Apple Magazine”. I knew nothing about computers at this time, around 1980, but I found the design “Star Wars” -like, futuristic with mysterious implications. My son, who was around 12, had friends with computers and was aware of some of the games. It was through his excitement and the commission that I got interested in computers. I purchased a VIC-20 for my son and an Apple II for myself. I believe it was this early contact with computers that led to my son’s career. After pursuing a graduate degree in robotic engineering he is now a Bay-Area sculptor involved extensively with computing and creating kinetic sculpture. He currently has a solo exhibition up at the Museum for Craft and Design, San Francisco.

Apple Magazine Vol. 2, No. 2
Apple Magazine Vol. 2, No. 2

DTI: How long had you been working in wood sculptures at the time?

TE: Prior to the Apple commission, I had been with wood for just a few years. My undergraduate degree is in painting and drawing, and sometime during graduate school I evolved into a sculptor. My earlier sculpture was mixed media, but primarily plastic. I switched to wood as my media of choice after learning about some of the health concerns inherent with plastics – toxic dust and harmful vapors. When I discovered what I could do with wood I went a little crazy, pushing the material to extremes. Prior to the Apple commission I created “Tank Chair” and “Bomb Clock”. Both pieces illustrate my early compulsion with the material.

"Bomb Clock," an early sculpture by Tom Eckert
“Bomb Clock,” an early sculpture by Tom Eckert
"Bomb Clock" detail
“Bomb Clock” detail

DTI: What influenced your decision to use sugar maple (a very hard wood), rather than a softer wood that perhaps would have been easier to shape?

TE: I chose maple mainly because it lacks figuring (found in many other hardwoods) and is somewhat anonymous. It also works well and holds fine detail.

"Tank Chair"
“Tank Chair”
"Tank Chair" detail
“Tank Chair” detail

DTI: When did you begin working on the sculpture?

TE: I think it was around 1980.

DTI: What tools and techniques did you choose for the piece? Were these decisions informed by the particular design of the computer or the type of wood you chose?

TE: This piece was constructed, not carved. Pre-formed parts were assembled to create the finished piece. The commission goes back to a period of my working time that I refer to as my “small parts period”. I would make individual parts and then assemble them together. The Apple III sculpture is formed of many parts that were pre-formed and then assembled. The equipment used was typical to woodworking – table saw, lathe, router. The techniques used were not informed by the design or the wood used, but were consistent with the work I was doing at the time.

DTI: Does that mean that the individual keys move like a real keyboard when you press them? What about the disk drive door – does it open? Do power switches or other external parts move like they do on the real machines?

TE: None of the parts on the III work mechanically. On the Lisa, however, the plugs do plug in.

DTI: How long did the /// take to finish?

TE: As near as I can remember, it took me several months to complete. Because of the cover shoot date, Apple had a rigid deadline and I ended up working around the clock for days. I recall spraying the piece in the early morning of the due date, under set-up lights because it was still dark. Thanks to FED-EX Overnight, it just made it.

DTI: How much did the finished piece weigh?

TE: The piece is hollow and weighs less than ten pounds.

DTI: Do you still have it? If not, do you remember where it ended up?

TE: No, the last I heard it was housed in a Plexiglas vitrine at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

Eckert's sculpture in the mini-museum at Apple's Infinite Loop 4 building.
Eckert’s sculpture in the mini-museum at Apple’s Infinite Loop 4 building. (Source.)

 

DTI: If it’s not inappropriate to ask, how much did Apple pay for the ///?

TE: I can’t remember how much the commission paid but a new Apple III was part of my payment. I think there was also a check but I am not sure of the amount.

DTI: We’re fascinated by your current work, especially the realist pieces. Did the challenges in creating the Apple /// sculpture in any way influence your style on future works?

TE: Thank you. My latest work has to do with illusions (the impossible, magic). I am so challenged to make these pieces. I am getting more and more interested in painting. Funny, I seem to be going full-circle. Yes, I think the Apple commissions were a prelude to some of my current work. In addition to the Apple III, Apple also commissioned me to create my version of the Lisa, as I understand the first personal computer to use mouse technology. It was intended to be a going away gift for John Couch (I think) who was the mouse developer for Apple. As it turned out the piece took me longer to make than expected and he never received it. For my commission I received a Lisa valued at around $10,000 back then. I never even opened the box and quickly sold to a businessman who used it to run his shop.

"Lisa Computer" sculpture
“Lisa Computer” sculpture
"Lisa Computer" detail
“Lisa Computer” detail

 

DTI: Did you ever find out where the Lisa ended up? The photos you sent are the first I’ve heard or seen of that piece. 

TE: I have no idea what happened to the Lisa after I shipped.

DTI: Was the Lisa made of the same materials and small-parts techniques as you employed with the Apple ///?

TE: The Lisa was made in a similar way as the Apple III. The curly cord that attaches the keyboard was the biggest challenge. It was produced by wrapping several thin strips (veneer thickness) of maple around a cardboard tube with glue between each layer – the tube served as the form. The tube was then crushed and I had a spring form. This wooden “spring” was then shaped by hand.

DTI: Do you remember who within Apple commissioned the pieces?

TE: My contact within Apple was Phil Raymond. I believe he was Apple’s design director at the time.

DTI: Did Apple send you sample machines to reference while you worked, or were you restricted to pictures/plans, etc?

TE: Yes, I was given both an Apple III and a Lisa (Phil said it was a low production number).

DTI: Did you take any pictures of the pieces as you were working on them?

TE: I have a vague memory of some working images but not sure if they still exist. These commissions happened before digital photography, making progress shots of work much less convenient.


About Tom Eckert

Tom Eckert received his M.F.A. degree from Arizona State University, with advanced study at California State University at Northridge. He uses a wide variety of woodworking techniques in his sculptural pieces, including laminating, bending, carving, turning and painting. Exhibited in over 150 national and international exhibitions since 1966, his work is shown throughout the United States and the Netherlands, and was part of the Craft in America traveling exhibition. Solo exhibitions include Scottsdale Center for the Arts (AZ), Tempe Center for the Arts (AZ), Mesa Center for the Arts (AZ), Lois Lambert Gallery (CA), Mobilia Gallery (MA), Himovitz Miller Gallery (CA), West Valley Art Museum (AZ) and Gallery Materia/The Hand and the Spirit Gallery (AZ).

Numerous publications include Scientific American – Mind, Studio Furniture, American Craft, Art Space, and Fine Woodworking. His many commissions include McDonald’s Corporation, OSI Industries, Arizona Governor’s Award, and Apple Computer Inc. His work is included in many private and public collections including Los Angeles County Art Museum (CA), Racine Art Museum (WI), Museum of Fine Arts (MA), Museum of Arts & Design (New York), Albuquerque Museum (NM), Tweed Museum of Art (MN), Sheldon Museum of Art (NE), El Paso Museum of Art (TX), Tucson Museum of Art (AZ), Coconino Center for the Arts (AZ), Yuma Fine Arts Center (AZ). He received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts twice and was awarded WESTAF/NEA grants in 1993 and 1989.

Visit Tom Eckert on the web here.

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.