Tag Archives: video

My Apple IIe: Introduction to AppleSoft Basic

This simple introduction to AppleSoft Basic is demonstrated on my working Apple IIe from 1983. It’s meant for beginners, so it doesn’t dive deeply into any one topic.

This 30 minute video lightly covers the following topics:

  • numeric and string variables
  • moving around the text screen
  • common error codes
  • procedural programming in RAM
  • editing and debugging
  • low resolution graphics
  • high resolution graphics
  • beeps and audio

If you want to try AppleSort Basic for yourself on a Windows PC, the best Apple IIe emulator I’ve found is called AppleWin and it is located here:
https://github.com/AppleWin/AppleWin
Scroll down to the bottom of the GitHub page to click on the release link to download the zip file. Admin rights are not necessary. Just unzip the file and run the executable. Then click the Disk 1 button and choose the default (master) file. Then click the Apple button to boot up!

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

Introduction to my 2-XL toy robot from 1978

I created this 20 minute video to introduce you to my 2-XL toy robot that I played with when I was 8 years old.  It still works!

Apparently the manufacturer is pronounced “meego”. Oops!

Here’s the website that I got the image of the internals of an 8-track tape from that I used in the video.

And here is a full resolution map of the 2-XL General Information user experience (click thumbnail):

map-720p-2

I love this 2-XL commercial!  “Can be used to play any 8-track cartridges!  Teenagers love it!”

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

My Apple IIe: A simple text based arcade game in Applesoft Basic

apple-second-logo-rainbow-bitten

If we type this simple 8 line Applesoft Basic program into my working Apple IIe computer, we will end up with a cool little text based arcade game!  Watch the video below to see the game in action!

This small Applesoft Basic program was published in one of my Beagle Bros Apple Software Catalogs from 1987 (volume 0, number 10).  This little program was credited as being submitted by Beagle Bros customer Tim Boehme, who received a box of Beagle Bros magnetic write protect tabs for his efforts!

Wow!  Write protect tabs!  Amazing!  🙂

Applesoft Basic

Applesoft Basic is the programming language of all the early Apple computers and was provided in ROM (memory) to make it available to the user without the need for a startup disk or the need to load it into memory from a cassette tape.

Applesoft Basic was actually created by Microsoft for Apple.  Hence the name.  It is interpreted and not compiled, so it is not very fast.  And it can throw syntax errors at runtime if it’s unable to interpret a line of code.

One sort of funny feature of Applesoft Basic is that variable names are only significant to 2 letters, although it allows more.  So if you initialize a variable named “KURT” to a value of 10, you can PRINT the variable “KU” and also the variable “KURT” and also the variable “KUPP” and they will all three show a value of 10.  They are all three pointing to the exact same memory location.

applesoft-iia

Code

Here’s the source code:

10 REM "MUNCH THE SNAILS!"
20 TEXT: HOME: H = 20: PRINT CHR$ (21): POKE 35,22
30 K = PEEK (49152): ON K < 128 GOTO 40: H = H + (K = 149) - (K = 136)
40 POKE 49168,0: IF RND (1) * 10 < 1 THEN VTAB 20: HTAB RND (1) * 20 + 10: PRINT "@": GOTO 70
50 VTAB 22: HTAB RND (1) * 39 + 1: PRINT CHR$ (46)
60 IF PEEK (1535 + H) = 192 THEN S = S + 1: VTAB 5: HTAB H: PRINT "#"; CHR$ (7): VTAB 23: PRINT "MUNCHED: ";S: GOTO 80
70 VTAB 5: HTAB H: PRINT "V"
80 T = T + 1: IF S < 10 THEN 30
90 TEXT: VTAB 23: PRINT S;" SNAILS MUNCHED IN ";T;" SNAIL SECONDS.": END

Emulators

If you don’t have a working Apple IIe of your own to try your Applesoft code on, you can first try it in a JavaScript implementation of Applesoft Basic.  There are some things that this emulator cannot do, though.  It’s just not terribly robust.

A very robust option is the standalone Apple II emulator program that you can install onto your Windows computer.  It’s called AppleWin.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the Github page and download the latest release.  It’s in a zip file, so just unzip it and run the executable.

Once it starts, just click on the floppy disk 1 icon and choose the master disk file that comes installed with the emulator.  Then reboot with the Apple button and it will boot to Applesoft Basic.  Or, you can download ROMs for various Apple games and programs from the Internet and boot those instead.  It emulates the speed of the processor, so it’s a very realistic emulation of the Apple IIe.  Including several monitor types to choose from.

Thanks

I hope you found this post informative and/or entertaining!  Thanks for your interest!  And feel free to leave comments or questions below!

Thanks,
Kurt

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978). What has been seen cannot be unseen.

Wow.  I don’t recall actually watching this 2 hour television spectacle when I was 8 years old.  But maybe my subconscious blocked it from my memory.  It had good reason.  This was probably the worst television variety show that was ever made.

Ever.

And that’s saying a lot because there were a lot of really bad variety shows made in the 70’s.

star-wars-holiday-special

It’s like watching a train wreck.  It’s so horrible.  And yet you cannot look away.

Try it yourself.  This YouTube version is just over an hour and a half long because all the commercials have been removed.  There is some copyrighted content in this version so if it gets taken down, just search the Internet for another version.


George Lucas isn’t really to blame for this travesty.  He did not produce it.  He did not direct it.  He did not write it.  He didn’t even consult on it.  He was starting to work on his follow-on to Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back.  He did greenlight the Holiday Special, though.  And that started this big ugly snowball rolling downhill.

The special was broadcast only once on Friday November 17, 1978 which was the week before Thanksgiving. It aired on the CBS television network from 8pm to 10pm, which pre-empted both Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk.

And then everyone promptly tried to forget it ever happened.

StarWarsHSposter

In case you don’t have the stomach to watch a recording of the entire special, I’ll summarize.  The main characters from the Star Wars film were in the television special.  Reluctantly.  In several scenes it appears their hearts were not really in it, though.

“Starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.  With Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.  Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca.  R2-D2 as [pause] R2-D2.  And James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader.”

The variety skits in the show had several high profile guest stars.  “With special guest stars, Beatrice Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, The Jefferson Starship, and Harvey Korman.”

Most variety shows had been filmed in front of a live studio audience or at least had a post-production laugh track added.  This special had neither.  So every time an actor tried to say or do something funny, the viewer got an uncomfortable feeling like something odd just happened.  It’s like when you tell a joke to a room full of people and all you hear are crickets chirping.

Awkward.

The plot, if you can call it that, is very very boring and pointless and only serves to tie together several musical numbers and some attempts at humorous skits.  I’m not even going to try to summarize the plot here because it is so long and boring.  It centers around Chewbacca’s family on his home planet, though.  The main characters in the show are Chewie’s wife, son, and father.

wookies

The best part of the show is an animated cartoon that features the debut of a new character named Boba Fett.  You may have heard of him.

animation

If you suffer through all the way to the end, you will get a special treat.  The final musical number sung by Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.  She’s not a terrible singer.  But the whole scene is just as uncomfortable as the rest of the show.  And the finale isn’t at all inspiring, as it intends to be.

leia-singing

Thanks to Josh and Chuck of the Stuff You Should Know podcast for bringing this production back up from the annals of my subconscious and forgotten memories.

And thank you for reading this!

Kurt
(a Star Wars fan since 1977)

VOB file fixer quickly and easily fixes incorrect video length

I’m blogging about this because I had a terrible time finding a solution to my problem and I want to help other people who are having the same problem.

A while back I was digitizing old VHS tapes using my DVD/VCR combo player/recorder.  I was creating raw DVDs from old VHS tapes and then taking the raw DVDs and copying them onto my laptop for editing.  But sometimes the VOB files that were created by the DVD recorder would have terribly incorrect lengths when viewed on my PC.  For example, a 30 minute VOB file would show up and play as a 10 second long VOB file on my PC.  This incorrect time was keeping my PC software from being able to view and edit the VOB files.  Apparently this is a fairly common problem with some DVD recorders, since this VOB length information is not actually used by many consumer electronic devices.

It took me a while, but I was finally able to find a simple and free utility called MPEG Streamclip that was able to fix the VOB file length data without having to completely render the entire VOB.  This program has a terrible user interface and it also has a couple of quirks.  For example, it gives me a couple errors regarding some Apple Quicktime software that is not installed on my system, but it did what I needed it to do anyways.  But what do you expect for free, huh?

MPEG Streamclip screen shot

When you tell it to open a VOB that has incorrect length information, it realizes the problem during the open operation and prompts you to fix the timecode breaks or not.  Once it fixes the timecode breaks, you can save as MPG (not Export … Save As) which doesn’t perform any processing nor rendering of the file because the VOB was in MPG format already, or you can export into a number of different video formats.

broken and fixed VOB file

One other thing.  MPEG Streamclip does not require admin rights to install on your PC.  Just download the zip, unzip it, and run the executable.  Here is the website where you can download the utility.  Have fun!

http://www.squared5.com/

Kurt

Postscript: In January 2017 I got a new PC and MPEG Streamclip refused to run until I installed the Alternate Quicktime package that it pointed me to.  This Alternate Quicktime package does require admin rights to install.