07/01/2013: A Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – Goodies Inside!

I'm going to have to invent a word for delivering gifts after Christmas. Let's just ignore my tardiness for another year and get on with these late presents!

Father Christmas, or as I've always known him, Antoine Vignau, has bestowed us Apple II children with multiple gifts.

First and foremost, Antoine did some unorthodox searching looking for the extremely rare title I added to the archive a couple of years ago after stumbling upon an article in InCider/A+ magazine: YourWordBox! Antoine found it for sale on an online bookstore. He ordered it and within a matter of days during the busy Christmas period, Antoine had in his possession the only known program that was specifically designed to only run from CD-ROM for the Apple IIGS.

Antoine has sought permission from the original publisher and developer, Terry Loar (as well as the artist, Joe Szarek) and it's been granted for inclusion on What is the Apple IIGS?! In the process, Antoine asked Terry a few questions about this very rare title (the interview reveals how many copies were sold and why):

Antoine Vignau: Why did you write that title for the Apple IIGS?

Terry Loar: At that time I was a certified Apple developer and Apple assured the
educational developers that the ][ GS would remain the educational platform,
and the Mac would be used for scientific and business applications. However,
Apple reneged on their promise and discontinued the ][ GS - even though an
upgrade design was in the offing.

Antoine: Did it sell well? By which channels (direct, resellers, schools)?

Terry: I did direct selling and it sold about a dozen copies, if I remember correctly.

Antoine: Was there a volume 2 developed (as stated in the volume 1 cover)?

Terry: Volume 2 was never published.

Antoine: Is that volume 2 (and 3) available for sale? I am interested in
those ;-)

Terry: No

Antoine: Did you convert the titles to the Macintosh platform?

Terry: No, it would have cost me $250,000 to convert to the Mac.

Antoine: Have you developed other titles for the Apple IIGS? Are they available?

Terry: Your Wordbox! Is the only title that I developed for the ][ GS.

YourWordBox! is one of the most historically interesting IIGS titles ever. The program itself and what Terry stated about Apple ‘promising' to keep the IIGS as their educational platform of choice lends even more evidence that the Mark Twain ROM04 prototype was something Apple was seriously considering as their flagship for the education market. One of Steven Weyrich's recent blogs also provides more evidence for this.

Beyond the exciting find of YourWordBox!, Antoine's also been busy with some other purchases. Suitably festive, Antoine has submitted everything for Paper Models - The Christmas Kit, a set of graphics released by Activision in a similar vein to Hometown U.S.A. that you can print out, cut, fold and make paper models from.

In addition, he's also been able to provide manuals for Design Your Own Home: Architecture, Platinum Paint, Arts Parts volume 1, (which I've rolled into the Deluxe Paint manuals collection, as well as a scan of the box), The Wonders of the Animal Kingdom (also including the box), the fairly rare hand held scanner Lightning Scan GS (although we're still missing the software drivers, please help if you can!) Magical Myths (and its box) and Medley. Last but not least, Antoine's also provided a box scan for Audobon Whales.

Santa's Little Helper, or more widely known as Andrew Roughan, has also submitted some manuals. Replacing the black and white manual scan that Antoine previously had done, Andrew's scanned the manual for Apple Video Overlay Card (as well as a supplement for the Australian PAL version of the card). Another graphics card, the AST VisionPlus, has also been given the full documentation treatment as part of its archive.

As always, all manuals have been OCRed, so search within Acrobat, Preview or even from OS X's Spotlight!

Andrew's also been able help out Ewen Wannop with his suite internet apps for the IIGS. A new version of the FTP client SAFE2 (v2.2.6) was recently released, along with a new desk accessory, Byte Bagger, which enables users to change file attributes and edit the raw data of a file while never leaving whatever GS/OS app you're in.

If you didn't get that Christmas present you were after, you might find it on a relatively new eBay store.

It's a very comprehensive store, although IIGS titles aren't specified well, which particularly becomes a problem when there is both an 8-bit Apple II release and a 16-bit IIGS specific version of the same title. Ask the seller if ever you're unsure.

Don't forget the other largest Apple II store on eBay: Vintage Software and More.

And last but not least, I saw Wreck-It-Ralph just before Christmas and enjoyed it immensely. There was a name that caught me during the rather awesome end credits: Art Director - Ian Gooding...Ian Gooding, where do I know that name? Oh yeah, he's the genius who did the graphics and animation for Zany Golf and The Immortal, who later went on to work at Disney. Hope it was a nice return to the 16-bit era for him working on the film!



Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a bumper Apple II year in 2013!

P.S. If you're looking for news for the last three years (as the buttons on the right hand side only go up to 2009)...