Saturday, April 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Apple!

Yesterday, I learnt that Apple would have her 30th birthday today, 1st April 2006. Congratulations!

APPLE2I have never been a Macintosh user of Apple. I was an Apple II plus and Apple IIe user! I used Apple II computers for 3 years, from 1986 to 1988, during my study at the high school in Jinan, China. That was a fantastic period in my life; it eventually caused me to choose computer and then IT as my vocation.

I still remember a lot of operational and technical details of Apple II, such as CALL -151 for entering the monitor mode, assembling short machine-code routine at $300, $C000 segment for I/O slots, $FFFFFF sync codes in floppy tracks, and $D5AA96 header for identifying a disk sector. The $D5AA96 even became the secret code and the lingo word for us to seek for other Apple fans in the city!

In the early days after I graduated from the high school, I was really not used to working with PCs, though it seemed that a PC was more powerful, with much more memory (640KB vs 64KB), much wider screen (80-column vs 40-column) and more colours (256 vs 16), oh, and hard disk! So I later decided to write an Apple II emulator on PC, to allow me to continue my fantastic dream with Apple. After studying PC's architecture, practicing 8088 assembly language and learning MS-DOS, of course and programming and debugging my first piece of codes on PC, I finally finished my Apple II emulator and made it work! But guess what, when I actually saw the expected Apple II DOS 3.3 prompt "]" and the block cursor on the IBM-PC/AT screen, I suddenly realized that a PC was really better than an Apple II!! Haha, sounds funny? Then, I did not use my emulator any more and started my stories with PC, MS-DOS and later Windows...

Anyway, I still enjoy Apple II; I love it, till now.

BTW, now I use Michael O'Brien and Oliver Schmidt's Apple IIe Emulator on my tablet computer. It is an excellent emulator, much much better than the one of mine. :-)) This emulator is still being further developed, and is currently hosted at BerliOS and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. The CVS repository is located here: AppleWin CVS.

Sometimes, I play Lode Runner and Crossfire with my virtual Apple IIe. ;-)

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