Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ADTPro and the Merlin assembler

As I mentioned in my last post, I got a nice Apple IIc off of eBay a few days ago.  So far I'm quite pleased with it, but it hasn't actually been that much fun or useful.  The previous owner (who apparently took very nice care of it) was a user, not a developer.  He bought it new and used it to run his business for many years, and then when it was no good for that it became a game machine for his kids and grandkids.

Unfortunately I'm not really much of an arcade gamer, and in any case the bundle didn't include a joystick (he told me that it didn't work any longer).  And the only other software that came with the machine were applications: AppleWorks, Quicken, and a set of utility programs.  But no development tools or anything that I would be interested in.

So of course I looked into ADTPro.  I just didn't have the cables to hook it up however, and I didn't have the parts to build a DIN connector.  I could have cut the modem cable, and I do have the parts for a DB-9 connector, so I could have made a cable.  But I actually have some hope of eventually using the modem to connect to one of the few remaining dail-up BBS's around, so I didn't want to ruin the cable.

In any case, I ordered the cable from RetroFloppy.  Incidentally, although I didn't talk to any of the guys there, I would recommend them if you need anything.  When I ordered the cable through PayPal, it charged me a pretty hefty shipping charge of around $10.  Well, I didn't think too much about it, but the next day I got an email from one of the guys there who informed me that PayPal had estimated too much for shipping and they gave me a nearly $4 refund.  Honestly, the money isn't that big of a deal, but still it's always nice when a company is honest.

So the cable arrived today and of course I hooked it up as soon as I could.  And it worked without a problem.  I already had a USB-serial converter, so I plugged that into my iMac and ran the ADTPro cable to my Apple IIc.  I launched the ADTPro server and followed the instructions and soon enough I had an ADTPro client bootable disk.  I then created a ProDOS v1.9 System Utilities disk (the Apple IIc came with a much older copy of ProDOS), and two floppies for Merlin-8 v2.58.  It was all simple and worked flawlessly.

So now with Merlin-8 transferred (an Apple II assembler, if you're unaware) I can start doing some development.  I've had the Merlin-8 disk images for a while, and I actually also own a copy of the Virtual-][ emulator (a very nice emulator, btw - highly recommended for a nice, retro feel).  I've got a copy of Roger Wagner's Assembly Lines, so now I plan to start working through that.  Of course, I could have already been doing so using the emulator, but for some reason I really didn't want to until I had a real computer I could use.  But with my Apple IIc and Merlin-8 assembler in hand, I hope to start working through the book.

Stay tuned...

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