Retro-Computing

In 1980 I bought an Apple ][+ computer.  Some other computers of that era were the Apple ///, Commodore Pet, Radio Shack TRS-80,  Atari 400 and 800 and the Texas Instrument TI/99.  The IBM PC and the Macintosh had yet to be invented.  I continued using the Apple ][+ and later an Apple ][GS as my main computer until 1997 when I bought my first Windows machine.  Not long afterward I found out there were programs called emulators that could turn your new machine into a reasonably good representation of an old computer. 

Why would I want to do that?  Well, it turns out that all those old games I like to play, utilities I'd spent hours learning how to use, and programs I'd written could be used again.  Better than that, most of the programs that I didn't have the money to buy could be found (usually as disk images) for free download on the internet.

After collecting a lot of disk images I found it frustrating to be unable to manipulate or even view the contents of the images from within Windows.  To solve that problem I wrote a disk image utility (FishWings) that displayed the contents and allowed copying and pasting files between images and/or the PC world.  It was the best program of it's kind at the time mainly because it was the only program of it's kind.☺ You can still download the FishWings but I have to admit there are now better programs available.

More recently I've written an Applesoft BASIC editor (WASP) that works with the AppleWin emulator. 

Both programs include a true type font (A2like) that I made to look similar to the Apple ][ 80-column character set.  It looks best when set to 12 point or multiples of 12 and prints well at any reasonable size.

In 2009 I bought a Carte Blanche card which is a configurable FPGA peripheral board that plugs into an Apple II slot.  The included bitstream files allow the card to load disk images from an SD card, act as a z80 card and output VGA video, but the real fun is writing your own bitstreams to make it do what you want.  I have been learning Verilog (a language used for programming FPGAs) and using what I've learned to modify the video output part.  I have added some of my observations and notes to this site.  These ramblings contain information that might help someone get started with there own Carte Blanche project.  I have also included information about bitstreams I've modified for the Apple //e and Apple IIGS as well as a download page for the bitstreams and Verilog source code.