Tag Archives: Macintosh

Installing the Apple IIe Card on a Macintosh Color Classic

I finally had some time this past week to play with the IIe Card.  What began as a simple install ended up stretching over several evenings as I struggled to get the card to boot a floppy disk (more on that in a minute).

I started with a Macintosh Color Classic that had been upgraded to 10 MB of RAM and a 240 MB SCSI hard drive sometime in its past.  Conveniently, the Color Classic was already running System 7.5.5, the highest version you can run with the IIe Card.


The IIe Card was still sealed in its factory-new cellophane when I opened it.  I’ve never been of one those, “Don’t open that!” collectors.  I get this stuff because I want to play with and use it, and seeing a neat piece of hardware like this sitting on the shelf unused bothers me.

The box contained two 3.5″ diskettes, a user manual, the standard Apple warranty and reference materials, the Y-cable for connecting up floppy drives and a joystick, and the Apple IIe Card.


The manual contains basic set up and use information, but no instructions for installing the card itself.  This is because Apple expected you to have a dealer install it for you and serves as evidence of Steve Jobs’ lasting influence on Apple’s philosophies of the day, even though he was long gone by the time the IIe Card and the Color Classic were released: the computer should be an appliance and users shouldn’t be poking around in the interesting bits.  You wouldn’t want them to let the magic smoke out, right?  Fortunately, Apple took a different view of its dealers and wanted to make repairs and parts replacement as simple as possible.

Here. the back panel comes off and the motherboard is an all-in-one affair that slides in and out of the case and seats easily in its socket.


Installing the IIe card is an idiot-proof process – simply line it up with the PDS slot and plug it in.

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Slide the motherboard back in, replace the back panel and you’re done with mucking about in the Mac.  Next, the Y-Cable is attached and the Apple 5.25″ drive and joystick are plugged in.

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And that’s it for the hardware.  Easy, no?  Getting the software installed was just as simple and I was ready to boot up my Macintosh-shaped Apple IIe.

And this is where I encountered my first problem.  The floppy drive came to life and made that reassuring clunking that Apple II drives are supposed to make and then…. nothing.  The drive just spun, and I could hear that the arm wasn’t moving at all.  I put the diskette into a real Apple IIe and it started up just fine.  Back in the drive attached to the IIe Card again and no activity.

Like most retrocomputing enthusiasts, I have acquired a number of things related to my hobby over the years, including a seemingly ever-growing stack of Apple II floppy drives.  For the life of me, I can’t remember every buying one and yet they seem to be multiplying.  Perhaps they’re breeding down in the basement…

By the way, if you’re following along at home with your own Apple IIe Card, the only 5.25″ drive that will work is the Platinum Apple 5.25″, model A9M0107.  The older beige UniDisk, model A9M0104 won’t do the trick, as the IIe Card doesn’t supply the proper voltage required by the ‘0104.  I found that I actually had to check the model number on each drive, as yellowing has made it hard to distinguish the two models at a glance.

At any rate, I ended up going through several hours of troubleshooting with assistance from a couple of Apple II fans more knowledgeable than myself, and the tedious process of swapping out drive after drive before finding one that still works.


Well, now I know what I’m going to be doing with at least some of my time at KansasFest this July: drive cleaning and alignment.  Maybe I’ll do it as a session, so other people can sit and watch and keep me company…

Finally, though, I have a working card set up in the Color Classic:


One minor annoyance I noted with the card is that the Control-Command-Escape sequence to get into the IIe Card Control Panel more often than not caused the Color Classic to reboot itself.  It didn’t seem to be a genuine crash, but an actual proper restart sequence.  Odd…

For more pictures of the IIe Card installation and set up, visit my PicasaWeb Album.

If you’re interested (and if you’ve read this far, it probably safe to assume that you are), Ivan Drucker of IvanExpert (and recent Open Apple podcast guest) put together a nice presentation at KansasFest 2009 on the Apple IIe Card.  You can read it yourself here.

My New Apple IIe Project for a Friday Night

I’m posting this mainly because it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog.  Getting the Apple II Scans site up and running, and producing content for it, as well as prepping for the next Open Apple podcast have kept me from doing as much here as I’d hoped over the last month.

I recently acquired a Macintosh Color Classic to go along with my as yet unopened Apple IIe Card.  It’s still factory sealed, and yes, I will be opening it tonight and installing it in the Color Classic.  I know it’s nothing new – people have been installing this card for years in various flavors of compatible Macintosh.  That’s what it was designed for, after all.  But I’ve never done it before, so I’m going to do it and take some pictures.  If it turns out to be interesting, I might even write another blog entry on the subject.


Jef Raskin did NOT like Steve Jobs

Note: I’ve been meaning to blog about this since I came across it last month, but haven’t had the time…

Normally, this kind of thing doesn’t grab my attention, as I have little interest in anything related to Steve Jobs or the Macintosh, but this caught my eye.  For those who don’t know – likely anyone who is unaware (or has forgotten) that Apple made computers before Macintosh (David Pogue, I’m looking in your direction) – Jef Raskin gave birth to what would eventually become the Macintosh long before Jobs had anything to do with the project.  Woz designed the Apple II.  Dr. Wendell Sander and Dan Kottke designed the Apple III.  Other companies designed the iPod and its interface.  And that pretty much sums up Jobs and his responsibilities at Apple.  At least according to Jef Raskin, who didn’t have too many kind things to say about the Apple co-founder.

If you’re unfamiliar with the pre-Macintosh history of Apple Computer and the days leading up to the introduction of the computer for the rest of us, take a minute and read through Steve Weyhrich’s excellent narrative history of Apple here.  You see, Apple, Inc.’s revisionist history gives all the credit to Jobs for bring Macintosh to market but the reality is, Raskin had already done much of the design groundwork and the project was well under way when Jobs forced his way on to the team (and subsequently forced Raskin out the door when the two disagreed over design ideas).  Jobs had little to do with the design of the Apple-1 or Apple II – that was Woz – and his legacy for the Apple III, Apple’s first attempt at at business machine, was to design a case that caused overheating and other problems which contributed to the ultimate failure of the machine.

So other than the Reality Distortion Field – which admittedly, has done wonders to nurse Apple back to health in the 13 years since his return – has Jobs really done that much for Apple?  Well, he did kill several underperforming, money draining projects and streamline Apple’s production systems.  And he has a knack for hiring smart people who do know a thing or two about design.  But when it comes to the true design genius at Apple?  Probably not as much as Jobs would like you to think…

Apple: Touch the Screen

Here’s a fun set of videos that were captured from a 1984 Apple Kiosk Laser Disc.  Designed to be used in a touch screen kiosk, the disc goes over the latest offerings from Apple Computer, including the Apple IIe, III Plus, Macintosh, Lisa 2/10 and the brand new, portable Apple IIc.  Other items covered include the ProFile 10 MB Hard Disk, the DuoDisk, Apple’s line of printers, Apple credit cards, and the AppleCare Extended Warranty program.

Interestingly, this is one of the only pieces of Apple III advertising, other than scanned magazine print ads, that I’ve been able to find.


Part 1 of 3


Part 2 of 3


Part 3 of 3

What the hell happened here?

This is a bit weird, to say the least.  As I was swimming through the intertubes today, as I often do, I came across this blog entry, titled “Where Apple’s Go To Die”.  The blog belongs to a Lebanese photographer who lives (or lived) in Kuwait and though the page is dormant now (the last blog entry was made in November 2005), it’s still available for perusal.  Mostly routine photography stuff, centered on his life in Kuwait.  One entry in particular though caught my attention.  It’s an apparently-abandoned Apple Store.  And I’m not talking one of the new, shiny places that sell you iPads and a copy of the latest version of Aperture.  No, this place has been there for quite some time.  It featured the rainbow Apple logo and the old Garamond font from the days before King Jobs returned to reclaim his throne and expunge the company of its past.

Stranger still is that whomever owned the place looks to have simply closed up shop one day and never returned.  “Think Different” posters still hang in the windows; shelves of shrink-wrapped software lie undisturbed under layers of dust.  There are even a few old Macs still sitting there.  It’s like one of those bad horror movies where the protagonist awakes one day to find his city completely, suddenly devoid of human life.

One of the commenters points out a promotional poster for a G4 Quicksilver visible in one shot, which means that the store was open at least into 2001.

The blog entry itself is dated January 2005, and I find myself wondering about that store.  Is is still there, untouched like some weird monument to Apple at the turn of the millennium?  Who owned and/or operated the store, and most importantly – what the hell happened there?

Be sure to visit the the photographer’s other page of images, where you can see more photos.

Edit:  Looks like this story made the rounds back in 2005 in all the usual places (Gizmodo, TUAW, Cult of Mac, etc).  Not sure how I missed it, but there you go.  More info on the place can be found here.

Second edit:  The store has re-opened.  This is also old news.