Saturday, January 30, 2010

Enhancing Your Apple II

Back in the day friend Richard Stoddart loaned me a book titled Enhancing Your Apple II by Don Lancaster. Mind you, I didn't even own an Apple II but I was very interested in learning, and the book seemed promising so I took it home. The author Dan Lancaster was a popular writer and quite an Apple II guru. My understanding is that he was part of the same computer users group that Steve Wozniak, the creator of the Apple II belonged to. The contents of this book are certainly compatible with the idea that he had an insider's caliber of insight.

The book starts off with some really neat but simple modifications to the motherboard of the Apple II. The kinds of modifications described were things like adding a single wire to connect together circuits that would otherwise not have any knowledge of each other. Then he explains how with this and some simple software tricks you can do multimode graphics and high resolution text. He even shows how to do this from an Applesoft BASIC program by calling some machine code he provides in the book. Very nice.

Later in the book he explains how to disassemble machine code and figure out how a machine language program works so that you can make modifications. What an excellent education!

There is also supposed to be a Volume 2 of this book, but I'm not sure what it contains.

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