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OzKFest 2015 - (Solid) State of the Nation

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My presentation at OzKFest 2015 was an overview of solid state storage options for the Apple ][, ][+, //e, IIgs and //c line of retrocomputers (with occasional mention of other machines such as early Macs and Lisas). This included both modifications/add-ons to existing interfaces and via new storage solutions. The OzKFest 2015 conference was held in Keysborough, Victoria, Australia from 17-19 April 2015.

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OzKFest 2015 - (Solid) State of the Nation

  1. 1. SEAN McNAMARADATE BY 19 APRIL 2015 (SOLID) STATE OF THE NATION OzKFest 2015                                                
  2. 2. Who am I? Computer user since 1980 (TRaSh-80) Apple ][ user since 1982 Mac user since 1984 Mac/Apple consultant since 1997 Apple ][ hoarder collector since 1998 (thanks, Craig!) Contacts: europlus@mcnamaras.id.au europlus on a2c.chat @apple2europlus on Twitter europlus.a2hq.com (currently inactive) Fair use of copyrighted material for non-profit educational purposes is claimed for this presentation.
  3. 3. My Retro Solid State Story Semi Virtual Diskette “I Conner store no more, Cap’n!” – IDE to Compact Flash CFFA3K SCSI Card Reader SCSI to Compact Flash Floppy Emu
  4. 4. Why Solid State? Vintage magnetic media can fail (bit rot, mould, physical damage) Mechanical drives can fail Access to media from modern computers Difficulty sourcing new media Convenience/flexibility
  5. 5. Types of Solid State Storage for Retro Computers Compact Flash SD and its variants USB Servers, other devices acting as storage devices Custom devices I’m technically including some mechanical media
  6. 6. Types of Solid State Solutions for Retro Computers Interface adaptors Device emulators Server-style solutions
  7. 7. Interface Adaptors Allow old devices/cards/cases to use solid state media in place of spinning disks Compact Flash to IDE (40 and 44 pin) Compact Flash to SCSI
  8. 8. Focus card An early (apparently the first) 
 IDE controller for slotted 
 Apple ]['s (][, ][+, //e, IIgs) 44 pin IDE connector Block level access to media Optional rails to hold 
 2.5" drive in place Can power 2.5" drive Not strictly solid state, but often used with an IDE to CF adaptor http://16sector.com/shop/featured/focus-ide-hd-controller/
  9. 9. MicroDrive/Turbo IDE controller for the Apple IIgs 40 pin IDE connector Dual IDE support Block level access to media Supports DMA Includes a dual CF adaptor Requires ROM1 or ROM3 Not strictly solid state, but most often used with an IDE to CF adaptor http://www.reactivemicro.com/product_info.php?products_id=34
  10. 10. Classic IDE IDE controller for the Apple ][, 
 Apple //e and Apple IIgs 40 pin IDE connector Dual IDE support Block level access to media Supports DMA Not strictly solid state, but most often used with an IDE to CF adaptor http://tecnobytescc.blogspot.com.au/p/classic-ide-for-apple-ii.html
  11. 11. Device emulators/ controllers Semi Virtual Diskette CFFA/CFFA3000 UNISDISK/UNISDISK Air Floppy Emu MicroDrive/Turbo Classic IDE X/Profile Smartport Virtual Hard Drive iPod, Audio Sources
  12. 12. Semi-Virtual Diskette (SVD) Originally designed for TRS-80 Disk drive emulator, disk images loaded over serial link from modern computer 256KB built-in memory Apple ][ support through adaptor cable Low availability http://www.rothfus.com/SVD/
  13. 13. CFFA3000 Hard drive, SmartPort and two-drive floppy interface emulation On screen controls CF and USB storage Optional external 
 switches to cycle 
 through disk images Currently unavailable 
 (ETA Nov 2015) NB: CFFA1 is a version 
 for the Apple 1 http://dreher.net/?s=projects/CFforAppleII&c=projects/ CFforAppleII/main.php
  14. 14. UNISDISK/UNISDISK Air Emulates 5.25" and SmartPort devices UNISDISK Air Series uses Toshiba FlashAir SD card to incorporate a web server for image transfer and management http://tulip-house.ddo.jp/ DIGITAL/english.html
  15. 15. Floppy Emu Originally designed as 
 floppy drive emulator for 
 early Macs Firmware is upgradable for enhanced functionality and additional device emulation Now also emulates an HD20 on external floppy port of compatible early Mac models Now also emulates an external 3.5" floppy drive for the Apple IIgs http://www.bigmessowires.com/macintosh-floppy-emu/
  16. 16. X/Profile Replaces proprietary drive interface device in Profile drive cases with Compact Flash or IDE drive http://sigmasevensystems.com/xprofile
  17. 17. Smartport Virtual Hard Drive SmartPort device for mounting hard drive images from USB storage Very hard to get a hold of http://pcedric3.free.fr/ SmartportVHD/
  18. 18. iPod, Audio Sources Use any audio source with digitised cassette-style data in place of cassette drive Cheap and easy, but not particularly fast
  19. 19. Server-style Solutions A2SERVER http://ivanx.com/a2server/ Apple Games Server http://asciiexpress.net/ gameserver/
  20. 20. Resources CiderPress
 Disk image management
 http://a2ciderpress.com/ Asimov Images, info
 ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/ What is the IIgs? Images, info
 http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za Brutal Deluxe BenchmarkeD Apple IIgs ProDOS benchmarking
 http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/products/apple2gs/benchmarked.html
 BenchmarkeD Results Google Sheet
  21. 21. Caveats Compatible file formats Block level vs disk image use Some brands/sizes cause issues Backup!
  22. 22. Acknowledgements Andrew Roughan, Jason Griffiths and the other organisers of OzKFest 2015 Tony Diaz for coming all the way from Up Over with such an extensive collection of gear and knowledge to share Andrew Roughan, Jason Griffiths, Tony Diaz, Craig, Jon Co and Alex Lukacz for adding their devices to the table for viewing Peter Wong, Henry Courbis and Steve Chamberlin for info and thoughts from afar (see following slides) OzKFest attendees for their insights and experiences with solid state solutions across the whole OzKFest weekend
  23. 23. From: "Peter Wong" <pitz.wong@gmail.com> I've also been making use of solid-state solutions, specifically with the Apple IIgs. One particular category is making use of SCSI. I use the Apple II High Speed Card on my Apple IIgs for these solutions (though this would be limited to ProDos and HFS disk partitions, and does not apply to DOS 3.3 disk images). * http://www.codesrc.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=SCSI2SD This is the adapter that I make use of the most. A disk image(s) containing multiple ProDos partitions can be loaded into a microSD card by mounting the raw microSD card in modern machines (e.g., Windows) and using some raw read/write utility like dd.exe. I use CiderPress in Windows to load and extract files from the microSD directly. * SCSI/IDE adapter There are a series of SCSI-IDE adapters like those marketed as ACARD AEC-xxxx adapters. They serve as a bridge from SCSI to IDE. With these adapters, you just need an additional cheap $5 IDE-CF or IDE-SD adapter to make it a true solid state solution. * SCSI/CF adapters An older set of SCSI/CF adapters, the Microtech PCD-xxxx set of adapters, also work. It doesn't bridge to IDE, but bridges directly to the CF (or SD) cards inserted in the adapters. * SCSI CDROM or MO or ZIP? Not exactly solid-state, but you can boot GS/OS from a CDROM (sorta like a Live CD). There are some additional details in my blog, and this mechanism has been around for a long time. All the SCSI-based solutions also work with other platforms that make use of SCSI (older Macs, NeXT). One caveat with the SCSI solutions is that with the Apple SCSI cards, SCSI termination power is not provided by the card, unless the card is modded to do so. Another device in the SCSI chain has to provide SCSI termination power. Then there's the regular direct bridge to IDE approach. The Focus card or the MicroDrive cards offer an IDE interface. With the cheap IDE-CF or IDE- SD adapters added, this also becomes a solid-state solution. I've personally tried the Focus card, but not the MicroDrive cards. The CFFA cards also work the same way -- the older version pre-CFFA3000 offers an IDE interface aside from the direct CF slot. For several years, this has been my preferred solid-state solution, booting my IIgs from the CF card. The new CFFA3000 card still offers the CF slot which I boot from, but also adds the capability to have disk images stored on a USB thumbdrive. These disk images can be mapped to the Apple slot/drive combinations and they appear as regular DISK II or Smartport drives. In short, this card is awesome. One category which is getting popular lately is to provide solid-state solutions through the external disk interfaces (e.g., the DISK II Interface card connectors, or through the DB-19 disk connectors). Several vendors, from Bulgaria, to Korea, to Japan (see csa2 discussions) regularly offer these in eBay or direct purchase. Another domestic (U.S.) one (http:// www.bigmessowires.com/2015/04/01/apple-ii-800k-3-5-disk-emulation/) is also in the works. I've only had the experience with the UNISDISK from Nishida Radio. It's also a great solution, but since I prefer an internal solution over an external solution, I mostly use the SCSI2SD or the CFFA approach. Another (maybe a little off-topic) category is remote-booting from an AppleShare system. AppleShare servers were initially used in Macs, but there is a port to Linux (netatalk). Steven Hirsch and Geoff Body have extensive backgrounds on this approach. The Linux box is essentially a file server, and the Linux box could run off a solid state device like an SD card or a USB thumb drive. I think Ivan Drucker has ported it to the Raspberry Pi. The IIgs natively supports AppleShare servers; the IIe needs the Apple Workstation card. Those are all my thoughts on solid-state solutions. Hope it helps. /pitz http://peterwong.net/blog/?tag=apple2
  24. 24. From: "Steve Chamberlin" <steve@bigmessowires.com> I'm relatively new to the Apple II world, but I wanted to call your attention to some work I've been doing recently with a disk emulator I designed called Floppy Emu. It's an external board with a microcontroller and a CPLD - a versatile combination that enables it to emulate many different kinds of floppy drives with only a firmware change. Disk images are stored on a SD card in Disk Copy 4.2, 2MG, or other standard image formats. You can also pop the SD card in a modern PC and open the image files with Ciderpress or other tools. Originally Floppy Emu emulated 800K Macintosh floppies, and I've since added 400K and 1.44MB Mac floppies, Mac HD20 hard drive, and Lisa 400K and 800K floppies. Then just a few weeks ago, I started looking at Apple II floppy emulation, and ProDOS 800K disk emulation is now working on the Apple IIgs. There are still some kinks to work out, and a ROM 3 compatibility issue, but I'm optimistic it will all get sorted 
 
 
 out. I've also researched 5.25 inch 140K floppy emulation, as well as Smart Port emulation of Apple II hard drives, and both should be possible with a firmware update on the current Floppy Emu hardware. In the end, my goal is to have a single device that works on any Apple II, Lisa, or Macintosh - for floppy emulation as well as hard disk emulation where possible (HD20 or SmartPort). The Floppy Emu product page is here - http:// www.bigmessowires.com/macintosh-floppy-emu/ This page doesn't yet mention the Apple II support, since it's still "beta" You can follow the development history in a series of a few dozen blog posts going back 3.5 years here - http:// www.bigmessowires.com/category/macintosh-floppy-emu/ The most recent ones are all about the Apple II work. Best, Steve
  25. 25. From: "Henry S. Courbis" <support@reactivemicro.com> My name is Henry from ReActiveMicro. I am writing to you in reference to your posting on CSA2 asking for HDD experience with solid state storage on the Apple II. I happen to sell the MicroDrive/Turbo card and would be glad to answer any questions you may have regarding the device. It is the fastest controller out there since it's the only one to use DMA reads and writes. It allows booting to all volumes while resetting using the Open-Apple key and the volume number or letter (if over 9 volumes). You can even 'skip' the MDT on boot by holding down the ESC key. This is useful if the MDT is installed in Slot 7 and you want to boot to the Floppy Drive. Cards are being sold on eBay for $175USD, plug-and-play ready for the enhanced IIe and IIgs. Any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Henry S. Courbis www.ReactiveMicro.com Office (no mail): 108F North Reading Road, STE 185 Ephrata, PA 17522-1668 SHIPPING: ADDRESS UPON REQUEST Office Toll Free: (800) REACTIVE (732-2848) Office/Mobile Direct: (856) 779-1900 facebook.com/reactivemicrousa - Blog and pictures, project updates, and downloads!
  26. 26. A FEW PHOTOS FROM OzKFest 2015 17-19 APRIL 2015 – KEYSBOROUGH, VIC, AUSTRALIA IN MEMORIAM: CONNER CP-2024 S/N K0DKTX 1990-2007
  27. 27. Apple ][ Collectors Anonymous The Apple ][ Collector’s Twelve Step Program 1. We admit we are powerless over Apple ][ collecting – that our collection has become unmanageable. 2. We have come to believe that a power supply greatly re-capped can restore us to sanity. 3. We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Woz as we understand Him. 4. We will make a searching and fearless inventory of our Apple ][ collection. 5. We admit to Woz, to ourselves, and to one other Apple ][ collector the exact extent of our collection. 6. We are entirely ready to have Woz remove all defects of programming. 7. We humbly ask Woz to sign our collection. 8. We will make a list of all persons we have harmed and bored with our collecting, especially our spouses and children. 9. We will make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure our collection. 10. We will continue to take a collection inventory, and when we are missing something, promptly bid on it. 11. We will seek through PEEKs and POKEs to improve our contact with Woz as we understood Him, praying only for more of His signatures and a power supply with no magic smoke. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to other Apple ][ collectors, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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