Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Apple ][gs User

The first computer I saved up money for was an Apple ][gs. The commercials roped me in, as did the graphics capacity and the ability to increase speed 3x from the standard Apple ][. I had programmed in Logo and Basic and at the time had a ton of 5.25" Floppy discs.

After singing in the New York City Opera and Met Children's chorus, I had earned an extra $800 to spend on a New Computer, The GS.

I bought it from some hasidic jews who ran "47th Street Photo," an electronics store in mitown manhattan. I remember going to the bank with my passbook savings account and withdrawing 8 crisp $100 bills, then taking a bus downtown with my parents to Buy It.

I got a Apple ][GS, Applecolor monitor, Imagewriter ][ printer, and a RAM expansion along with 3 1/2 and 5.25 drives. The power brick on the ][c was rivaled only by the Texas Instruments one in size.

DeluxePaint from Electronic Arts was one of the first graphics programs with menus and tools. It got me hooked on computer graphics, and many of the works I made while attending High Schoool of Art and Design became the Slides that earned me admission to the Computer Graphics BFA program at Pratt Institute in NYC.

Games that were released for the Apple ][gs were not always stellar, but Will Harvey's Immortal and Zany Golf were great examples of what dedicated people could make for the ][gs.

Other software companies used the default system tools, which were in a Mac Plus state of clunkiness.The official ][gs developers used C, Pascal, or LISP to make their Apps, which was a huge barrier for amateurs to make apps.

After finding Applesoft Basic Extensions from So What Software, I was able to create software that used the Enhanced Graphics of the ][gs, which were not available from BASIC at all until then.

I once programmed a 3d facet renderer in Applesoft Basic, I Created the EXIT board game in basic with a GUI display, and rendered animations of fractals. I also made a voxel [volumetric pixel, like from a 3d scan] rendering system. Debugging and Test Runs took forever (back when scripting lanugages were slooow) but I pushed through, eventually buying a TransWarp accelerator card to 7MHz and cutting development time in half.

The FREE TOOLS ASSOCIATION were some french GS hackers who made their own System software. They came closer than anyone to utilizing the machine's potential. The Amiga Demos were even more spectacular, but they had even greater multimedia functions in hardware.

These days, there are some great emulators for the ][gs and most of the software is still available. A flash drive makes everything 1000% easier today, along with terrabyte drives. Back then it was floppies or nothing.

My Apple ][gs is the "Signed By Woz" special edition.
Now Steve Wozniak is on Dancing With The Stars.
I love the guy, he decided to return to education after Steve Jobs and the Mac's cult of personality pushed the original creative team out.

See Also:
Apple ][gs as a Laptop
Apple ][gs Emulator for Mac for PC
History of the Apple Line
Apple ][gs Wiki Page

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