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Drop III Inches

Updated 6 days ago

Technology
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The Apple /// podcast

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The Apple /// podcast

iTunes Ratings

5 Ratings
Average Ratings
5
0
0
0
0

Great!

By Something$$$ - Oct 30 2014
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This podcast is getting better and better. The interview with Colette Askeland was top-notch, giving me some insight into the challenges of creating the III's hardware, an area that I really had no awareness of before. Guys, keep up the good work. It would be great to track down the other folks who helped create the III, or who wrote software for it. I'd love to hear their stories!

Excellent show about a misunderstood machine

By CinemaslaveJoe - Jul 25 2014
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It’s great to hear a podcast dedicated to one of the most misunderstood systems of all time. Paul and Mike do a great job of conveying their enthusiasm for a machine I’ve long been interested in, but have never actually owned.

iTunes Ratings

5 Ratings
Average Ratings
5
0
0
0
0

Great!

By Something$$$ - Oct 30 2014
Read more
This podcast is getting better and better. The interview with Colette Askeland was top-notch, giving me some insight into the challenges of creating the III's hardware, an area that I really had no awareness of before. Guys, keep up the good work. It would be great to track down the other folks who helped create the III, or who wrote software for it. I'd love to hear their stories!

Excellent show about a misunderstood machine

By CinemaslaveJoe - Jul 25 2014
Read more
It’s great to hear a podcast dedicated to one of the most misunderstood systems of all time. Paul and Mike do a great job of conveying their enthusiasm for a machine I’ve long been interested in, but have never actually owned.

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Drop III Inches

Drop III Inches

Latest release on Aug 31, 2017

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 6 days ago

Rank #1: Episode 13: Wendell Sander

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This month, Paul’s Apple /// has trouble connecting with the world outside, so he speculates on possibilities for WiFi connectivity, and Mike’s Apple /// has trouble connecting with any worlds at all. So, we turn our attention to literature, including the full Apple /// patent, a survey of Apple II users, an early interview with Trip Hawkins, and books on the Apple ///. Paul’s gotten himself a Cursor /// and some late-era PFS software, and unexpectedly managed to get a CMC Quick-20 drive working, Mike’s gotten an Axlon 320 RAMdrive. And Charles Mangin has created a miniature Apple ///.

The second half of the episode is an interview Mike conducted over the phone with Wendell Sander, designer of the Apple ///, from a couple of years ago, covering things like the Apple-internal interactions between departments, problems and solutions to initial reliability issues, the RAM design and peripherals. Recorded from a speaker through the air for added retro sound quality, but very interesting indeed!

Oct 31 2015

1hr 41mins

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Rank #2: Episode 11: Fort Stanford, b/w Phase III: Dr. Melvin Astrahan

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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:

Jun 27 2015

1hr 33mins

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Rank #4: Episode 9: Phase III: The Future of the Apple III Hardware and SOS

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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.

Feb 24 2015

2hr 1min

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Rank #5: Episode 3: Dream machines, with Egan Ford (apple3rtr)

Aug 23 2014

1hr 3mins

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Rank #6: Episode 5: Dave Ottalini

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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:

Sep 25 2014

1hr

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Rank #7: Episode 7: Colette Askeland

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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.

Oct 27 2014

47mins

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Rank #8: Episode 6: Don Williams at Phase III

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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.

Oct 02 2014

39mins

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Rank #9: Episode 14: Daniel Kottke, Diving into SOS.DRIVER, Misc., and Etc.

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We begin 2016 discussing the “Driv3rs” python script with its author, Mike Whalen, some miscellaneous topics, and a phone interview with Daniel Kottke, from some years ago.

Mike Whalen’s Driv3rs script will take an SOS.DRIVER file and extract information about all of the drivers contained within, and we talk about using the script, finding drivers, the format of drivers within the SOS.DRIVER file, and other related things. Other miscellaneous topics include recapping power supplies, Apple /// prototyping boards, being foiled by copy protection, Monitor /// designs, the TRS-80 Models II and 4P, and probably other things.

Daniel Kottke is surely well known to anyone listening to this podcast, but he was an Apple technician in the very early days, working on the Apple /// project up until about when it shipped (then moving over to the Mac team). Daniel speaks with Mike in a phone interview from several years ago about various interesting features of the Apple /// and its development, and the general atmosphere within Apple before its launch.

Within the episode, various links were promised for the show notes, and they are as follows:

Jan 09 2016

1hr 55mins

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Rank #10: Episode 8: Bob Consorti

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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!

Dec 15 2014

1hr 8mins

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