Monthly Archives: March 2010

No, really!

I’m sure that the two of you who come here on a regular basis have by now decided that this blog is exclusively dedicated to the Apple III, so here’s a little reminder that I haven’t completely abandoned my Apple II roots.


The upcoming issue of Juiced.GS will include my review of the new(ish) iDisk for Apple II.  If you’re an Apple II fan and you haven’t yet subscribed to the last remaining Apple II publication in print, you should definitely consider it.  And not just because you love my writing.

Working with Catalyst

This turned out not to be as bad as I’d thought.  The first Catalyst disk I tried (which I’d made from an image I stumbled across somewhere in the dark recesses of the net) immediately popped up a Drive Not Ready error.  Since the activity light on the ProFile didn’t blink, I suspect that this particular copy was configured to look for a ProFile controller in a different slot.  Catalyst doesn’t do any kind of automatic slot scanning, and there’s no menu option to reconfigure this – you have to go in with a sector editor and make some changes to the disk itself if you want Catalyst to look somewhere else.


As I couldn’t be bothered to load up the sector editor (I’m old and tired) or open up the /// and manually move the card, I took the easy way out.  I had better luck with Dave Ottalini’s disks, as Catalyst recognized the ProFile and loaded the program list from the configuration file it found.

DSC_0024 DSC_0026

I poked around a bit in the application configuration options, before diving in and running a few applications.


Here, my luck ran out, as almost every application failed to start, a number of somewhat cryptic error messages popping up:

DSC_0030 DSC_0031 DSC_0033

I decided to take another approach, and as I was browsing the ProFile directories with the System Utilites disk, I ran into the real problem:


I don’t have one of the ProFile low level format kits (available on eBay for a mere $300 or so… sheesh), but the drive passes the inital diagnostics that run at power up, so I’m hoping I can reformat and install a new set of programs.  The existing data, unfortunately, is probably lost but that’s how it goes sometimes.   I learned that someone wrote an Apple /// driver for Rich Dreher’s excellent CompactFlash for Apple card, so I may just shelve the ProFile for now and continue playing with the Apple ///’s mass storage capabilities in a different area.  I wonder if Catalyst can be made to work with the CFFA…

Maybe I should just drive downtown and visit Quark, Inc.

So, it’s back to the Apple ///.  Hey, it’s been calling – what can I do?  I just can’t leave a problem unresolved.  Anyway, I’d like to thank Dave Ottalini from Washington Apple Pi for providing me with working Quark Catalyst disks so I could try to get to the data on the ProFile drive.


My concern here, though, is (if I understand the manual) once you load a program onto the ProFile with Catalyst, it’s “branded” with the Catalyst’s serial number, so that files loaded with one serial number can’t be accessed with a copy of Catalyst that has a different serial.  Which would have been a major inconvenience 20 years ago, if your Catalyst disk went bad and you didn’t have a backup.  And since the Catalyst disk is apparently so heavily protected, that scenario probably isn’t so uncommon, especially these days with more and more floppy disks lost to the ravages of time.  True, Quark included a complementary back up floppy with the package, but if you’ve lost it or it’s dead, you could be out of luck.

WAP has a disk image for a program that apparently deserializes Catalyst, and another to make a back up of your existing disk, but I don’t know if that allows you to access programs that have already been installed by another Catalyst that hasn’t already been deserialized.

Stay tuned!


A bit of personal trivia.  The Quark headquarters building, which Google maps tells me is about 10 miles from my house, is located at 1800 Grant Street in Denver.  In the mid-1990s, I worked for Kaiser-Permanente, building databases to help them index their extensive library of medical publications and articles.  The Kaiser offices were located in this building, several floors below Quark.  On my lunch breaks, I used to ride the elevator up and talk tech with whomever happened to be around that would listen to me.  I wonder what they’d say if I walked in with a copy of Catalyst, asking for technical support… Actually, I know what they’d say: “Security!”