Softdisk (disk magazine)
Softdisk Softdisk Magazette, was a disk magazine for the Apple II computer line, published from 1981 through 1995. It was the first publication of the company, known as Softdisk, which would go on to publish disk magazines for other systems, other software, be involved in Internet access and development; the brainchild of Jim Mangham, who worked at the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, Softdisk was published out of Mangham's house, with his then-wife Judi Mangham, LSUMC co-worker Al Vekovius, Softalk magazine as partners in the venture. The first issue was published in September, 1981, consisted of a single 5.25" floppy diskette which could be flipped over to get to content on the back side. There was little content on the first issue, it was repeated on the second issue, so when issue numbers were retroactively assigned for the purpose of back issue sales the October, 1981 issue was designated as "Softdisk #1", with the preceding month's issue considered either "#0" or unnumbered; the subscribers had to send back the previous month's disk when the following issue was received.
This disk return requirement was due in part to the fact that floppy disks were more expensive in those days and needed to be reused for economy, but was designed to allow the subscribers to participate by leaving feedback electronically on the returning disks, as well as article and program submissions. At first, the only payment for published material was in the form of coupons for free issues, though monetary payments were instituted. There was quite a bit of submitted material before there was any financial incentive to participate; as the publication grew and evolved, however, it became more conventional and "mainstream", losing some of its early quirky flavor and the community that developed around it. Within the Apple II platform, Softdisk spawned Softdisk G-S for the Apple IIgs computer in 1989, it took advantage of the improved graphic and sound capabilities of the IIGS over earlier Apple models. Diskworld for the Macintosh was published, Softdisk was redesigned to have a similar user interface, with many of the same staff people working on both the Mac and Apple II products.
The original publication continued past the time when most people in the computer field regarded the Apple II as obsolete, but ended publication in August, 1995 with issue #166, survived by disk magazines for other computer lines such as the Macintosh and Windows which lasted a few more years before the entire line of Softdisk disk magazines was terminated. Back issues of both Softdisk and Softdisk G-S magazines for the Apple II and IIgs can be purchased through Syndicomm, they sell complete sets of the two magazines on CD-ROM, with each issue's disks in multiple disk image formats for use in either emulators or on actual Apple II computers. List of disk magazines
Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977, that started with what Byte Magazine called the "trinity of 1977", which became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user; these computers were a distinct market segment that cost much less than business, scientific or engineering-oriented computers of the time such as the IBM PC, were less powerful in terms of memory and expandability. However, a home computer had better graphics and sound than contemporary business computers, their most common uses were playing video games, but they were regularly used for word processing, doing homework, programming. Home computers were not electronic kits. There were, commercial kits like the Sinclair ZX80 which were both home and home-built computers since the purchaser could assemble the unit from a kit. Advertisements in the popular press for early home computers were rife with possibilities for their practical use in the home, from cataloging recipes to personal finance to home automation, but these were realized in practice.
For example, using a typical 1980s home computer as a home automation appliance would require the computer to be kept powered on at all times and dedicated to this task. Personal finance and database use required tedious data entry. By contrast, advertisements in the specialty computer press simply listed specifications. If no packaged software was available for a particular application, the home computer user could program one—provided they had invested the requisite hours to learn computer programming, as well as the idiosyncrasies of their system. Since most systems shipped with the BASIC programming language included on the system ROM, it was easy for users to get started creating their own simple applications. Many users found programming to be a fun and rewarding experience, an excellent introduction to the world of digital technology; the line between'business' and'home' computer market segments blurred or vanished once IBM PC compatibles became used in the home, since now both categories of computers use the same processor architectures, operating systems, applications.
The only difference may be the sales outlet through which they are purchased. Another change from the home computer era is that the once-common endeavour of writing one's own software programs has vanished from home computer use; as early as 1965, some experimental projects such as Jim Sutherland's ECHO IV explored the possible utility of a computer in the home. In 1969, the Honeywell Kitchen Computer was marketed as a luxury gift item, would have inaugurated the era of home computing, but none were sold. Computers became affordable for the general public in the 1970s due to the mass production of the microprocessor starting in 1971. Early microcomputers such as the Altair 8800 had front-mounted switches and diagnostic lights to control and indicate internal system status, were sold in kit form to hobbyists; these kits would contain an empty printed circuit board which the buyer would fill with the integrated circuits, other individual electronic components and connectors, hand-solder all the connections.
While two early home computers could be bought either in kit form or assembled, most home computers were only sold pre-assembled. They were enclosed in plastic or metal cases similar in appearance to typewriter or hi-fi equipment enclosures, which were more familiar and attractive to consumers than the industrial metal card-cage enclosures used by the Altair and similar computers; the keyboard - a feature lacking on the Altair - was built into the same case as the motherboard. Ports for plug-in peripheral devices such as a video display, cassette tape recorders and disk drives were either built-in or available on expansion cards. Although the Apple II series had internal expansion slots, most other home computer models' expansion arrangements were through externally accessible'expansion ports' that served as a place to plug in cartridge-based games; the manufacturer would sell peripheral devices designed to be compatible with their computers as extra cost accessories. Peripherals and software were not interchangeable between different brands of home computer, or between successive models of the same brand.
To save the cost of a dedicated monitor, the home computer would connect through an RF modulator to the family TV set, which served as both video display and sound system. By 1982, an estimated 621,000 home computers were in American households, at an average sales price of US$530. After the success of the Radio Shack TRS-80, the Commodore PET and the Apple II in 1977 every manufacturer of consumer electronics rushed to introduce a home computer. Large numbers of new machines of all types began to appear during the early 1980s. Mattel, Texas Instruments and Timex, none of which had any previous connection to the computer industry, all had short-lived home computer lines in the early 1980s; some home computers were more successful – the BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Atari 800XL and Commodore 64, sold many units over several years and attracted third-party software development. Universally, home computers had a BASIC interpreter combined with a line editor in permanent read-only memory which one could use to type in BASIC programs and execute them
A microcomputer is a small inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit. It includes a microprocessor and minimal input/output circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit board. Microcomputers became popular in the 1970s and 1980s with the advent of powerful microprocessors; the predecessors to these computers and minicomputers, were comparatively much larger and more expensive. Many microcomputers are personal computers; the abbreviation micro was common during the 1970s and 1980s, but has now fallen out of common usage. The term microcomputer came into popular use after the introduction of the minicomputer, although Isaac Asimov used the term in his short story "The Dying Night" as early as 1956. Most notably, the microcomputer replaced the many separate components that made up the minicomputer's CPU with one integrated microprocessor chip; the French developers of the Micral N filed their patents with the term "Micro-ordinateur", a literal equivalent of "Microcomputer", to designate a solid state machine designed with a microprocessor.
In the USA, the earliest models such as the Altair 8800 were sold as kits to be assembled by the user, came with as little as 256 bytes of RAM, no input/output devices other than indicator lights and switches, useful as a proof of concept to demonstrate what such a simple device could do. However, as microprocessors and semiconductor memory became less expensive, microcomputers in turn grew cheaper and easier to use: Increasingly inexpensive logic chips such as the 7400 series allowed cheap dedicated circuitry for improved user interfaces such as keyboard input, instead of a row of switches to toggle bits one at a time. Use of audio cassettes for inexpensive data storage replaced manual re-entry of a program every time the device was powered on. Large cheap arrays of silicon logic gates in the form of read-only memory and EPROMs allowed utility programs and self-booting kernels to be stored within microcomputers; these stored programs could automatically load further more complex software from external storage devices without user intervention, to form an inexpensive turnkey system that does not require a computer expert to understand or to use the device.
Random access memory became cheap enough to afford dedicating 1-2 kilobytes of memory to a video display controller frame buffer, for a 40x25 or 80x25 text display or blocky color graphics on a common household television. This replaced the slow and expensive teletypewriter, common as an interface to minicomputers and mainframes. All these improvements in cost and usability resulted in an explosion in their popularity during the late 1970s and early 1980s. A large number of computer makers packaged microcomputers for use in small business applications. By 1979, many companies such as Cromemco, Processor Technology, IMSAI, North Star Computers, Southwest Technical Products Corporation, Ohio Scientific, Altos Computer Systems, Morrow Designs and others produced systems designed either for a resourceful end user or consulting firm to deliver business systems such as accounting, database management, word processing to small businesses; this allowed businesses unable to afford leasing of a minicomputer or time-sharing service the opportunity to automate business functions, without hiring a full-time staff to operate the computers.
A representative system of this era would have used an S100 bus, an 8-bit processor such as an Intel 8080 or Zilog Z80, either CP/M or MP/M operating system. The increasing availability and power of desktop computers for personal use attracted the attention of more software developers. In time, as the industry matured, the market for personal computers standardized around IBM PC compatibles running DOS, Windows. Modern desktop computers, video game consoles, tablet PCs, many types of handheld devices, including mobile phones, pocket calculators, industrial embedded systems, may all be considered examples of microcomputers according to the definition given above. Everyday use of the expression "microcomputer" has declined from the mid-1980s and has declined in commonplace usage since 2000; the term is most associated with the first wave of all-in-one 8-bit home computers and small business microcomputers. Although, or because, an diverse range of modern microprocessor-based devices fit the definition of "microcomputer", they are no longer referred to as such in everyday speech.
In common usage, "microcomputer" has been supplanted by the term "personal computer" or "PC", which specifies a computer, designed to be used by one individual at a time, a term first coined in 1959. IBM first promoted the term "personal computer" to differentiate themselves from other microcomputers called "home computers", IBM's own mainframes and minicomputers. However, following its release, the IBM PC itself was imitated, as well as the term; the component parts were available to producers and the BIOS was reverse engineered through cleanroom design techniques. IBM PC compatible "clones" became commonplace, the terms "personal computer", "PC", stuck with the general public specifically for a DOS or Windows-compatible computer. Monitors and other devices for inpu
Wayne Sanger Green II was an American publisher and consultant. Green was editor of CQ magazine before he went on to found 73, 80 Micro, Byte, CD Review, Cold Fusion, Kilobaud Microcomputing, RUN, InCider, Pico, as well as publishing books and running Instant Software. In the early 1980s, he assisted in the creation of the Brazilian microcomputing magazine, Micro Sistemas, he sold five of his magazines to CW Communications in 1983, his publishing company subsequently merged with them. Licensed by the Federal Communications Commission in the Amateur Radio Service with the callsign W2NSD, he was involved in a number of controversies and disputes in the Ham Radio world, notably with the ARRL and CQ magazines; such controversies occurred in the computer world. It promised that the magazine would "tell you the truth" because "Wayne Green has never been one to mince words", adding "of course, 80 Microcomputing has the editorial fireworks from Wayne that the industry has come to expect", he used the backronym "Never Say Die" for the NSD in his amateur callsign.
As of 2011 he lived in his wife's farmhouse in Hancock, New Hampshire and maintained a website with content from his on-line bookstore. Virginia Londner Green Official website 73 Magazine archive Byte Magazine archive 80 Micro Magazine archive Kilobaud Microcomputing Magazine archive inCider Magazine archive
Apple II series
The Apple II series is a family of home computers, one of the first successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed by Steve Wozniak, manufactured by Apple Computer, launched in 1977 with the original Apple II. In terms of ease of use and expandability, the Apple II was a major advancement over its predecessor, the Apple I, a limited-production bare circuit board computer for electronics hobbyists. Through 1988, a number of models were introduced, with the most popular, the Apple IIe, remaining changed little into the 1990s. A 16-bit model with much more advanced graphics and sound, the Apple IIGS, was added in 1986. While compatible with earlier Apple II systems, the IIGS was in closer competition with the Atari ST and Amiga; the Apple II was first sold on June 10, 1977. By the end of production in 1993, somewhere between five and six million Apple II series computers had been produced; the Apple II was one of the longest running mass-produced home computer series, with models in production for just under 17 years.
The Apple II became one of several recognizable and successful computers during the 1980s and early 1990s, although this was limited to the USA. It was aggressively marketed through volume discounts and manufacturing arrangements to educational institutions, which made it the first computer in widespread use in American secondary schools, displacing the early leader Commodore PET; the effort to develop educational and business software for the Apple II, including the 1979 release of the popular VisiCalc spreadsheet, made the computer popular with business users and families. The original Apple II operating system was in ROM along with Integer BASIC. Programs were entered saved and loaded on cassette tape; when the Disk II was implemented in 1978 by Steve Wozniak, a Disk Operating System or DOS was commissioned from the company Shepardson Microsystems where its development was done by Paul Laughton. The final and most popular version of this software was Apple DOS 3.3. Some commercial Apple II software did not use standard DOS formats.
This discouraged the modifying of the software on the disks and improved loading speed. Apple DOS was superseded by ProDOS, which supported a hierarchical filesystem and larger storage devices. With an optional third-party Z80-based expansion card, the Apple II could boot into the CP/M operating system and run WordStar, dBase II, other CP/M software. With the release of MousePaint in 1984 and the Apple IIGS in 1986, the platform took on the look of the Macintosh user interface, including a mouse. Despite the introduction of the Motorola 68000-based Macintosh in 1984, the Apple II series still accounted for 85% of the company's hardware sales in the first quarter of fiscal 1985. Apple continued to sell Apple II systems alongside the Macintosh until terminating the IIGS in December 1992 and the IIe in November 1993; the last II-series Apple in production, the IIe card for Macintoshes, was discontinued on October 15, 1993. The total Apple II sales of all of its models during its 16-year production run were about 6 million units, with the peak occurring in 1983 when 1 million were sold.
The Apple II was designed to look more like a home appliance than a piece of electronic equipment. The lid popped off the beige plastic case without the use of tools, allowing access to the computer's internals, including the motherboard with eight expansion slots, an array of random access memory sockets that could hold up to 48 kilobytes worth of memory chips; the Apple II had color and high-resolution graphics modes, sound capabilities and one of two built-in BASIC programming languages. The Apple II was targeted for the masses rather than just engineers. Unlike preceding home microcomputers, it was sold as a finished consumer appliance rather than as a kit. VanLOVEs Apple Handbook and The Apple Educators Guide by Gerald VanDiver and Rolland Love reviewed more than 1,500 software programs that the Apple II series could use; the Apple dealer network used this book to emphasize the growing software developer base in education and personal use. The Apple II series had a keyboard built into the motherboard shell, with the exception of the Apple IIGS which featured an external keyboard.
The Apple II case was durable enough, according to a 1981 Apple ad, to protect an Apple II from a fire started when a cat belonging to one early user knocked over a lamp. Early II-series models were designated "Apple ]["; the first Apple II computers went on sale on June 10, 1977 with a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1.023 MHz, 4 KB of RAM, an audio cassette interface for loading programs and storing data, the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROMs. The video controller displayed 40 columns by 24 lines of monochrome, upper-case-only text on the screen, with NTSC composite video output suitable for display on a TV monitor, or on a regular TV set by way of a separate RF modulator; the original retail price of the computer was US$1298 and US$2638. To reflect the computer's color graphics capability, the Apple logo on the casing was represented using rainbow stripes, which remained a part of Apple's corporate logo until early 1998; the earliest Apple IIs were assembled in Silicon Valley, in Texas.
The Apple IIe is the third model in the Apple II series of personal computers produced by Apple Computer. The e in the name stands for enhanced, referring to the fact that several popular features were now built-in that were only available as upgrades or add-ons in earlier models. Improved expandability combined with the new features made for a attractive general-purpose machine to first-time computer shoppers; as the last surviving model of the Apple II computer line before discontinuation, having been manufactured and sold for nearly 11 years with few changes, the IIe earned the distinction of being the longest-lived computer in Apple's history. Apple Computer planned to discontinue the Apple II series after the introduction of the Apple III in 1980. Management believed that "once the Apple III was out, the Apple II would stop selling in six months", cofounder Steve Wozniak said. By the time IBM released the rival IBM PC in 1981, the Apple II's technology was four years old. In September 1981 InfoWorld reported—below the PC's announcement—that Apple was secretly developing three new computers "to be ready for release within a year": Lisa, "McIntosh", "Diana".
Describing the last as a software-compatible Apple II replacement—"A 6502 machine using custom LSI" and a simpler motherboard—it said that Diana "was ready for release months ago" but decided to improve the design to better compete with the Xerox 820. "Now it appears that when Diana is ready for release, it will offer features and a price that will make the Apple II uncompetitive", the magazine wrote."Apple's plans to phase out the Apple II have been delayed by complications in the design of the Apple III", the article said. After the Apple III struggled, management decided in 1981 that the further continuation of the Apple II was in the company's best interest. After 3 1⁄2 years of the Apple II Plus at a standstill, came the introduction of a new Apple II model — the Apple IIe; the Apple IIe was released in the successor to the Apple II Plus. The Apple IIe was the first Apple computer with a custom ASIC chip, which reduced much of the old discrete IC-based circuitry to a single chip; this change resulted in reducing the size of the motherboard.
Some of the hardware features of the Apple III were borrowed in the design of the Apple IIe, some from incorporating the Apple II Plus Language card. The culmination of these changes led to increased sales and greater market share of home and small business use. One of the most notable improvements of the Apple IIe is the addition of a full ASCII character set and keyboard; the most important addition is the ability to display lower-case letters. Other keyboard improvements include four-way cursor control and standard editing keys, two special Apple modifier keys, a safe off-to-side relocation of the "Reset" key; the auto-repeat function is now automatic, no longer requiring the "REPT" key found on the keyboards of previous models. The machine came standard with 64 KB RAM, with the equivalent of a built-in Apple Language Card in its circuitry, had a new special "Auxiliary slot" for adding more memory via bank-switching RAM cards. Through this slot it includes built-in support for an 80-column text display on monitors and could be doubled to 128 KB RAM by alternatively plugging in Apple's Extended 80-Column Text Card.
As time progressed more memory could be added through third-party cards using the same bank-switching slot or, general-purpose slot cards that addressed memory 1 byte at a time. A new ROM diagnostic routine could be invoked to test the motherboard for faults and test its main bank of memory; the Apple IIe lowered production costs and improved reliability by merging the function of several off-the-shelf ICs into single custom chips, reducing total chip count to 31. The IIe switched to using newer single-voltage 4164 DRAM chips instead of the unreliable triple-voltage 4116 DRAM in the II/II+. For this reason the motherboard design is much cleaner and runs cooler as well, with enough room to add a pin-connector for an external numeric keypad. Added was a backport-accessible DE-9 joystick connector, making it far easier for users to add and remove game and input devices. Improved were port openings for expansion cards. Rather than cutout V-shaped slot openings as in the Apple II and II Plus, the IIe has a variety of different-sized openings, with thumb-screw holes, to accommodate mounting interface cards with DB-xx and DE-xx connectors.
Although the lower IC count improved reliability over previous Apple II models, Apple still retained the practice of socketing all ICs so that servicing and replacement could be performed more easily. Later-production IIe models had the RAM soldered to the system board rather than socketed. Despite the hardware changes, the IIe maintains a high degree of backwards compatibility with the previous models, allowing most hardwa
Softalk was an American magazine of the early 1980s that focused on the Apple II computer. Published from September 1980 through August 1984, it featured articles about hardware and software associated with the Apple II platform and the people and companies who made them; the name was used on a newsletter of Apple Software pioneer company, who in 1980 changed its name to Artsci Inc. The startup capital for Softalk came from Margot Comstock, who had won on the television game show Password, along with a generous contribution after a few months from John Haller and from Comstock and Al Tommervik's second mortgage on their house. Partners William V R Smith III, William Depew contributed early office space in their Softape storeroom and arrived unexpectedly with office desks when Softalk moved into its own location. Unlike other computer magazines that focused on a specific, narrow subject matter or market segment, Softalk gave broad coverage to all parts of the Apple world of the time, from programming tips to game playing, from business to home use, including computing as an industry, a hobby, a tool, a toy, a culture.
On occasion it ran fiction. Another characteristic of the magazine was a insider-like voice; the experts in those early days chatted in their own relaxed language about the techniques and elements of their world. Bert Kersey, Beagle Bros, was one columnist. A regular feature was a monthly chart of the most popular software in various categories, the Apple community's equivalent of the Billboard charts for pop music. Unlike most such bestseller lists, which report shipment from warehouses, not sales, Softalk's bestseller numbers were drawn from polling retail sales in computer stores throughout the world. There were contests encouraging the participation of readers. Softalk was sent free to all registered Apple owners, but it required paid subscription after one free year. Softalk underwent rapid expansion in its early history, with issues getting thick, but an industry slump in 1984 caught Softalk with too much unrealized revenues against heavy printing costs, which overtaxed its undercapitalized status.
Rather than take the desperate path of erratic publication, the Softalk board chose to cease publication. In its 48 influential months, the original Softalk readership grew from 30,000 names loaned by Apple Computer Inc. to 250,000 readers. In its third and fourth years, Softalk achieved a place on the Folio 400 list of the nation's largest magazines; when the IBM PC came on the market, Softalk Publishing started "'Softalk for the IBM PC."' And with the advent of the Macintosh, Softalk Publishing launched Softalk Mac, written as ST. Mac. For a few years Softalk Publishing published a magazine begun by On-Line Systems: Softline, renamed to ST. Game for its final issue; the disk magazine Softdisk was partly owned by Softalk, survived on its own. Softalk at the Internet Archive