Feature Interview - Jawaid Bazyar
What was your first experience with the IIGS and when?
In the computer store I used to essentially live in. I was very
excited when I heard about the "IIx" project finally coming into
existence, and so the very day the IIGS was released I was there. The first
thing I saw was the Apple IIGS Dealer Demo - and that blew me away. The
best sound I'd ever heard out of any computer, and high-resolution color
What was the first program you wrote or were involved with for
It was "Liphe-816", a version of John Conway's 'Life' artificial
life program. It was an obvious first thing to do; I'd written an Apple
IIe version that was limited to using the text screen, and was reasonably
fast, but not blazingly fast. The features of the IIGS allowed me to use
the Super Hi-Res screen (so I could fit more blocks on the screen) and also
make use of the power of 16-bit instructions, which allowed me to speed
up the program by several times.
When and how did you first meet, team up with, develop and program
Tim and I had exchanged email on the Internet for a while, when Derek Taubert
and I hosted a sort of party for Apple II programmers on the Internet -
the First Annual Programming Party, I believe it was called. Tim and Greg
Thompson came to "lovely" Champaign, Illinois, to program IIGS's
and also attend a Yes concert that was showing the same weekend. During
that weekend, Derek and I finished a working core of a multitasking kernel
on a IIGS, and Tim started work on a shell, or command-line user-interface
for it. GNO was born that weekend.
After that, we collaborated over the Internet on GNO for over a year, until
it was done.
Where is Tim Meekins these days, what's he up to and does he
still do any
development work with you in any capacity, with respect to hardware of software?
Tim is working for a video game company near San Francisco called Visual
Concepts. We haven't collaborated on any projects recently, but one of these
days we hope to.
What is your background with respect to programming skills, languages,
hardware designing interest, IIGS programs, that you've written and hardware
that you've designed privately or for sale to the general public?
I am experienced in C, C++, assembly, Pascal, and Scheme. I like to *create*,
so software, hardware, and the occasional fix-it-up around the house are
things I love to do. I've written many, many software packages - the most
well-known ones would be discQuest, Switch-It!, and GNO/ME
What precisely would you say, concerning the future of the IIGS
as a computer?
As a computer? Well, mine still works great, and I still use it daily. As
a platform? It looks like things are starting to wind down. However, there
are a lot of hobbyists still around doing good work on the machine, so expect
to see new software for at least a couple more years.
What are it's strong points over say, a Mac or PC?
Unlike most Macs, it has a large number of expansion slots. That is the
#1 reason the IIGS wasn't relegated to dumpsters long ago - and it's something
Apple should take a serious look at again, for the Mac. It's simple to add
a peripheral card: you just plug it in, unlike a PC, where you have to worry
about IRQ's and DMA's and IO PORTS conflicting. It has BASIC built-in. The
Mac-like GUI was superior to Windows 3.1, and even had some better ideas
than the Mac. From a programming standpoint, the toolbox and operating system
were cleaner and easier to deal with.
Do you think the different models of computers that Apple has
and present; (all of them) Apple III's, II's, IIGS', Lisa's, Mac's and PPC's
can enhance and share their efforts with each others users, on a productive
cross-platform basis? If so, could you please give some in depth feelings
I think that's always been the case, that users interchange data among the
machines, and use multiple machines to get a job done. And I'll grant Apple
that much, that someone there had the foresight to make sure the Apple II
and Mac used common disk drives and networking.
Why do you still develop hardware and software for the IIGS,
when you could make more money with MAC and PC efforts?
Well, that's not always a given. The Mac and PC markets are huge, but there
is a lot of competition as well. I've always enjoyed the IIGS, and I was
good at programming it - and as I note in the Procyon catalog, if you can
make a living doing something you enjoy, isn't that what it's all about?
What exactly motivated you to design and develop the SS card
for the IIGS?
I've always wanted to do a video card for the IIGS. After I wrote discQuest,
Sequential Systems decided it would help sales to have a companion video
card, to better see the great images on the various discQuest CD-ROM discs.
What problems have you encountered during its development?
Lack of time; incorrect documentation from all parties; Apple, Oak, Zilog,
To date, how many SS cards have been sold, how much do they cost,
what exactly will they do, what do they require and so on?
I am not at liberty to say exactly how many Second Sight cards have been
sold. Suffice it to say that it exceeded my expectations. The cost is $199.95
for the full 24-bit color version, and it works in any IIGS or IIe.
Where (which area and/or country) have the most sales of the
SS card been to?
The United States, I'm sure. And if the sales of SS were anything like GNO,
then a plurality went to California and New York (not surprisingly :-)
Was any of the technology from the TurboRez card project ever
transferred to you or included in the SS card?
No. There were some vicious rumors being promulgated by Ian Schmidt and
others claiming that I and others "conspired" to "steal TurboRez
technology". These were outright lies. I haven't talked to Bill St.
Pierre since his sad announcement when he said that he'd stopped working
on the TurboRez.
Why was the TurboRez project abandoned? What, if anything that
you're aware of, did the TurboRez card projects have to offer that are not
included with the use of the SS card?
I suspect the main reason is the one Bill St. Pierre noted: SecondSight
got to market first, and there just wasn't room in the market for two cards.
From my understanding, TurboRez did offer some hardware animation support.
What made you decide on the name Second Sight card?
Thanks go to Petar Puskarich for the name. I liked it because "Second"
meant a new life, a second chance; and "Sight" indicated the the
fact that it was a video card; and the combination has a good sound to it.
How long do you continue to develop software and hardware for
As long as it's fun!
I noticed that you are somewhat connected to EGO, as they seem
to be with you, could you explain what exactly your connections are with
each other, as you are both separate companies?
The only connection between the two companies is that EGO systems sells
the Procyon software line, and Diz (Steve Disbrow) is a really cool guy
and fun to talk to.
It's interesting, as I see it, that difference IIGS development
circles and companies can work in unity and cooperate with each other, within
such a limited, yet competitive commercial market and be successful with
their efforts. That could never happen on the PC side of the fence. What
do you have to say about that?
Well, I wouldn't ascribe it to "cooperation". I'd chalk it up
to good old self-interest. Nobody wants to duplicate what someone else is
doing, because the market is too small.
Well, back to the SS card, what does the SS card offer its users,
with respect to; product enhancements, software (either; freeware or commercial)
releases and others software development efforts for its support?
The main benefit of Second Sight is its superior video output; plug in a
quality VGA monitor, and you have the best looking Finder screen in the
history of mankind. It's easy to read, the display is crisp and solid. That
12" monitor Apple designed for the IIGS was a big mess from the beginning.
Seven Hills Software is currently working on some product enhancements that
include support for Second Sight; Sequential, of course, has a lot of software
that supports Second Sight now.
Could you please give a detailed listing and description, with
availability, prices, status, software update cost, where and how to get
it etc. - of all such as card offerings, currently or in the future?
Current pricing and availability of Sequential products can be had by calling
800-759-4549. I can't comment on future projects.
I've seen a lot of both; pro and con comments about the SS card
and it's compatabilities, with your other products, i.e., the RAMFast cards,
posted on csa2 by many users. Could you outline (in detail please) exactly
what the SS card users might encounter and how to (possibly) correct any
problems they have with compatabilities, etc.?
All the hardware compatibility problems that I know of have been corrected,
so a new purchaser of the card should have no problems.
What's up - with respect to the status of programs, that will
be released to support the SS card, such as Tim Meekin's imageQuant, Lord
High Giffer, Seven Hills software products, etc?
You would have to contact those individuals or companies to find out.
What motivated you to set up the newest iigs IRC?
The existing IRC channel had little to do with the Apple II.
What do you think it's produced, so far that's been beneficial
It's a place where users can go to talk about their computer with other
Do you actively monitor its comments or involve yourself with
chats on it?
I participate in it quite often.
Is there anywhere others that can't access it, can find a transcript
of activity and content from it, available as, say a standard text file?
I don't keep logs of the content yet; but I hope to starting soon.
What was the first Apple computer you ever used?
It was an Apple II+, at my Junior High School.
Who are some of the people, that are still involved with the
IIGS, that impress you the most, with what they know, offer and what they
hope to provide for the IIGS, now or in the future?
I'd have to say that Derek Taubert, for his GS/TCP package.
What is your favorite memory of any experiences, encounters or
outstanding events concerning the IIGS, that you've ever been involved with
or a part of?
Apple Expo West was definitely a high point for me. It was a great show,
with some great people, and all were enthusiastic and upbeat.
What do you think is needed the most, with respect to the future
well being and continual improvements for the IIGS, its users and its developers?
If someone could find some way to reach the large IIGS user base in a cost-effective
manner, that would be a great boon to the IIGS. As it is, it's possible
to reach only a fraction of the user base; most users are "cut off":
few user-groups, computer dealers that know nothing about the product, etc.
Do you know anything about any IIGS emulators for the Mac and/or
Do you think such an emulator is possible and if so, what (if
any) limitations do you think it might have?
Certainly such emulators are possible. I'd say that emulating the Ensoniq
sound chip properly would be the hardest part.
Do you think it should be made available as a freeware, shareware
That would be up to the author, of course.
Do you think such an emulator, if released, could have any positive
influence with the future develop of software for the IIGS platform?
I believe it could extend the market for a while.
Do you think many IIGS users would sell their IIGS and buy a
Mac, if such an emulator were available and worked well, emulating IIGS
and II software, using the actual disks within the Mac or PPC disk drives,
rather than image files?
No I don't think they would sell their IIGS and buy a Mac. if such a theoretical
IIGS emulator were available. I do think it would be a stimulus for the
sales of the PowerMac and useful with Macs in the educational area.
There are a lot of various programmers for the IIGS, now working
on the active development of difference programs and related items such
as the IIGS'; ppp, tcp, gif, jpeg display and conversion programs, and an
ever increasing Web presents of Apple IIGS users, programmers, groups, Usenet
postings, etc. - presenting the very real possibility of a IIGS Web Browsers
need, development, availability and release. Could you please outline whatever
you think, you know and can relate with facts and information or even rumors
about such a thing?
I'm not one to spread rumors when I don't know for a fact that it is true.
I can state that this is an exciting time for Apple II users, and if half
of these rumors come about, Apple II's will continue to be useful well into
the next century, continuing to follow the latest technology.
One thing I can talk about is GS/TCP - this is a package that will allow
your IIGS to talk to the majority of Internet Providers that only support
SLIP or PPP connections. GS/TCP provides your IIGS with *direct* Internet
capability, so you can use such programs as FTP, Telnet, and Lynx right
from your IIGS (no "terminal" program needed). Your readers can
get more information on GS/TCP by going to: http://www.winternet.com/~taubert/gstcp.html
I guess that covers everything that I can think of to ask you about. Thanks
for the interview and the valuable information you've given. It was a pleasure
hearing everything you presented. I've learned a lot and I'm sure everybody
that reads this will also!
Should you care to contact Jawaid you can reach him as follows:
P.O Box 641
Englewood, CO 80151-0641
Voice: (303) 781-3273
fax: (303) 789-4197
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