Apple II Story
by Jim Pitman
I have been able to use Apple IIs in my job at a university computing
center for many years and may continue to do so for years to come.
In 1984 I started using an Apple II Plus running Softerm 2 with a
modem in my office as a terminal to our Unix system. Softerm 2 worked
great emulating a TeleVideo 912-C terminal.
A few years later a terminal server was installed and I was able to
connect at 9600 bps. Upgrades to the Unix system required me to change
to VT-100 emulation instead of TeleVideo, but that worked well also.
The II Plus worked as a terminal (and sometimes as a word processor)
in my office for twelve years! In 1996 it started becoming unreliable
and I finally had to give it up (actually it was the Videx keyboard
enhancer that died) so I brought in an Apple IIe, installed Softerm 2
on it and continued connecting to Unix as a VT-100 terminal. Except
for the different keyboard and losing my Videx enhancer macros, the
IIe worked fine. It even worked with a Videx Ultraterm video card. I
made some new macros with Softerm 2 that worked almost as well as my
original Videx macros.
In 1998 I replaced the Apple IIe with an Apple IIgs running Spectrum.
The IIgs had a Second Sight card so I used a VGA monitor. Spectrum's
capabilities (a great editor and easily modified macros) were a big
improvement over Softerm 2.
In April of this year management re-wired the building for ethernet.
The last terminal server in the building (the one my IIgs was using)
was removed. No ethernet card for the Apple IIgs meant I'd either
have to go back to a modem or give up using an Apple II as a terminal
to Unix. My boss got a Power Macintosh for me; I bought ProTERM-Mac
(from InTrec who still sell ProTERM for the Apple II) and soon I was
again using an Apple computer as a VT-100 terminal to Unix. Okay, it
was not an Apple II but ProTERM-Mac is a great program so I survived.
In July of this year my boss replaced my old slow Power Mac with a new
B&W G3 Mac (400 MHz and OS 8.6!) and it runs ProTERM-Mac just fine.
But - it has no floppy drive. It does have a Zip drive, though.
I installed a RamFAST in the Apple IIgs in place of its old Focus
drive, attached a Zip-100 drive and a SCSI hard drive, installed an
Apple 3.5 controller card and a 1.44-MB capable 3.5" drive. So, now
if the G3 Mac needs data on an 800-KB or a 1.44-MB floppy disk, I can
use the IIgs to copy the data to an HFS-formatted Zip disk and feed
the Zip disk to the G3.
Of course I have MUG! on the IIgs (thanks, Peter Watson) so I can
read/write MS-DOS floppys there if I need to.
One problem remains: while I can read Zip disks formatted on the Mac
in HFS, I can't read PC-formatted Zip disks. Of course, the Mac can
read and write PC-formatted Zip disks no problem, or I can re-format
PC Zips to HFS which both the Mac and the IIgs can read/write.
By the way, the G3 Mac runs Bernie ][ The Rescue 2, so it can emulate
a very fast Apple IIgs. Bernie can "share" a Zip disk, so anything on
a Zip disk can be read into Bernie, and any data I produce in Bernie
can be written to a Zip disk and passed back to the real Apple IIgs.
At present it looks as if I'll be getting a lot of use out of Apple
technology (real and emulated) well into the twenty-first century.