One guy's collection of rants, babble, and 6502.


Why I chose the Apple][

When I first saw a computer, it was an Apple][(+?) ... Also, the first computer I'd ever programmed for was an Apple][(+/e). Those reasons alone aren't why I stuck with it, however. Set your watch to October of 1986.

I'd been in my first computer class in HS which I was truly interested in. This evening, we went to the public library to get an orientation on their computers, which happened to be a ][e and a ][+. To prove that I was green about computers in general, I'd brought my TRSDOS-formatted floppies in and asked the caretaker to try booting one. Naturally, it failed.

I took the simple test and got my orange dot on my library card anyway. This was the beginning of loads of tube time on these two machines.

I started out by running a few of the BASIC programs off the System Master, then LISTing them to see how they worked. I had no clue (back then) how a "CALL 2080" made the Apple do all that nifty shit (in this case, it did a CATALOG, then let you select what actions to perform on the file). I had no clue about anything Apple. What I DID have, however, was access to loads of documentation on these machines!

Thanks to having the docs, I taught myself FPBASIC, a bit of INTBASIC, and most importantly, 6502 assembly language. I'd also gotten proficient in doing things with the disk -- sector editing, CopyII+ parm file hacks, hacking DOS with nothing more than a well-worn copy of _Beneath Apple DOS_, getting into ProDOS, etc... There wasn't as much documentation as I needed, but I got good results with what I had and what I reverse-engineered on my own, so that made me stick with it.

Contrast this to the TRS-80 Model III I'd been working on that first year. Sure, I had a GWBASIC-like reference available, and used it... but by the end of the year, I'd had a taste of assembly language, and there was no TRS-80 memory map, no Z80 instruction set (hell, I didn't even KNOW what CPU was used in the TRS-80 back then), no docs of which locations were special for TRSDOS or the TRS-80 in general... none of that! All of this was available to me for the Apple, or I could find out if I really needed it.

Many years later -- and despite the fact that I'd thrown most of my best docs in the rubbish bin right after I'd drank an excess of Stupid -- I can still find out what I need to know about the Apples I have. Yes, I still use the Apple today.

I'm currently working on some ROM enhancements to the Apple][e... it's going pretty good, but I find that enhancing one piece breake another...

Did I mention that, even though I'd been using an Apple in some way since 1984, I still learn new things about it today?

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