Open Apple #41 (November 2014) : Randy Brandt, Neuromancer, Bob Bishop

This month on Open Apple we present an early holiday gift, in the form of an epic three hour episode. We sit down for a great conversation with Apple II legend Randy Brandt, perhaps best known for his work at Beagle Bros. We go deep on Beagle Bros, exploring the making of their quirky, innovative software and the wacky characters that produced it. Never one to rest on his laurels, Randy is now helping to produce a modern reboot of Beagle Bros’ only major game release, I/O Silver. The game will be released very soon as of when you’re reading this, and it runs on all major mobile platforms. Look for it in an Apple App Store or Google Play Store near you.

If that’s not enough, we have a huge pile of news to talk about this month, joined together by the most epic series of segues ever to grace the history of podcasting. We talk Transwarps, we talk Woz, we talk Neuromancer, we talk Wizardry, we talk to our listeners, and we talk smack. That’s just how we roll here on Open Apple. We also spend a lot of time pretending to know anything about Apple II mice.

In addition, we have the unfortunate duty to recognize the passing of some Apple II luminaries- Bob Bishop and Mike Pfaiffer. The Apple II community is great because of a lifetime of hard work by many talented people. Join us as we remember the contributions of two of those people.

Don’t worry, there’s much Apple II stuff to be thankful for in this month of American Thanksgiving. So put down the turkey leg and get caught up on ye olde stripey Apple. The biggest episode of Open Apple ever!

More information on everything mentioned in the show can be found after the jump.

Links for Episode 41

  • Randy Brandt – An Apple ][ figure who needs no introduction. But just in case, here’s an introduction.
  • Randy on A2H – An overview of Randy’s career on Apple II History.
  • Beagle Bros – Everyone’s favorite software company.
  • Beagle Bros Archive – A repository of Beagle Bros software, created by A.P.P.L.E.
  • GPLE – The Global Program Line Editor, by Beagle Bros.
  • D Code – The AppleSoft compactor and debugger, by Beagle Bros.
  • Timeout – The series of AppleWorks add-ons from Beagle Bros.
  • AppleWorks – An excellent rundown on the history of this product by Dr. Weyrich.
  • Bubble Sort – The first sort you learn in Computer Science, and then never use again.
  • Quicksort – A much more sophisticated sort, in common use today.
  • Beagle Bag – Beagle’s first foray into gaming
  • I/O Silver – Beagle’s first full blown game, playable in your browser.
  • I/O Silver instructions – Complete text of the manual courtesy of
  • I/O Silver reboot – I/O Silver coming very soon for iOS and Android!
  • I/O Silver video – Gameplay video of the reboot of I/O Silver for iOS and Android
  • Platinum Paint – The best image editor for the IIgs, in Quinn’s humble opinion.
  • Mr. Robot – A new computer hacking drama on USA.
  • Transwarp GS reboot – Reactive Micro is cloning the precious, precious accelerator.
  • Reactive Micro – The wizards of reverse engineering old Apple cards.
  • Reactive Micro on Facebook – Check here for the latest updates on their projects.
  • Apple I Auction – Yet another crazy price, blah blah blah.
  • The Woz in Oz – We never get tired of saying that.
  • Tezza on YouTube – A great video blog on vintage computers.
  • Computers in the News – A breathless look into what the “normals” thought of computers at the time.
  • Woz on the Net – Popular Mechanics opens the floor to Woz for thoughts on how we got here.
  • Prince of Persia’s Rotoscoping – Jordan Mechner’s original home video of his brother performing the Prince.
  • Let’s Play Neuromancer – In tribute to William Gibson’s newest book, a fresh look at Neuromancer GS.
  • Neuromancer GS – The canonical version of this terrific game by legendary developer Burger Becky. Play it here if you can.
  • Neuromancer – You can also play in double-hires on your IIe and IIc.
  • Rogen as Woz – Seth Rogen is rumoured to be playing Woz in the upcoming Jobs biopic.
  • Bale not as Jobs – Christian Bale has opted out of playing Steve Jobs.
  • Stickers – The Apple commercial with the secret tribute to the past.
  • …that you can buy – A great list of all the stickers in that commercial, and where to buy them.
  • VisiCorp turns 35 – We never get tired of talking about the first ever killer app.
  • VisiPi – Egan “Datajerk” Ford computes Pi with VisiCalc on an Apple ///.
  • VisiOn – VisiCorp’s brief entry into the GUI productivity tool world.
  • Wizardry I Disassembled – Detailed analysis, verdict is that it’s still not as good as Ultima.
  • Apple Poster 3.0 – Because you can never have too many posters with Apple IIs on them.
  • Ellen Leanse – The under-recognized first Apple user evangelist.
  • Colette Askeland – Drop /// Inches <plugplugplug> talks to Apple’s first PCB layout designer.
  • Mike Pfaiffer – A tribute to the president of A.P.P.L.E.
  • Bob Bishop on A2H – A terrific summary of Bob’s career by Dr. Weyrich.
  • Bob Bishop at KFest – KansasFest remembers Bob’s contibutions.
  • Bob Bishop in Juiced.GS – Mike interviews Bob for Juiced.GS.
  • Something Ventured – A documentary about the early funding of Apple and other tech startups.
  • Gravis Apple II Joystick – The single best way to play Autoduel. And not much else.
  • Traveller – The coolest 1980s sci-fi RPG, still available today.
  • Magic Window – The virtual 80 column word processor for early IIs.
  • Magic Window Image – Try it out for yourself!
  • Ultima Dragons – The long-running Ultima fan club.
  • Platinum Hack – Removing the capacitors on the Platinum IIe that prevents game port accessories like NadaNet from working.
  • Apple II Mice – A great rundown of all the meeses that you might find on eBay. Buy the right one!
  • BitMouse Card – The rare PC mouse card for the Apple II. Hard to find information on this one, but here’s a mention.
  • GEOS – The most under appreciated GUI in history. So much better on the Apple II than it was on the Commode Door.
  • GEOS in depth – A very deep dive on the entire history of GEOS.
  • Alter Ego – A terrific deep dive on this bizarre abomination of a game, courtesy of Jimmy Maher.
  • Alter Ego follow up – Dorte Maher’s much-needed female perspective on this weird game.
  • Castle Smurfenstein – A weird mod to an Apple II game with a blue chip on its shoulder.
  • Task Force – The original game, among the best for the IIgs. We’ll link to the Swear Hack version if we can ever find it.
  • Magic Goto – Ivan Drucker’s black magic for symbolic AppleSoft.
  • Slammer – Ivan Drucker’s tool for embedding assembly directly in AppleSoft programs.
  • Slammer demo – Ivan Drucker demonstrates and explains Slammer at KansasFest.
  • Woz still optimizing – Woz is still thinking of new ways to optimize and improve the Apple II.
  • Classic Computing on caps – An in depth discussion of capacitor maintenance and repair on vintage gear.
  • Capacitor reforming – An alternative to replacement in your power supplies and such.
  • Capacitor plague – The bane of every retrocomputerist’s existence.
  • IIc Plus teardown – Quinn inspects the capacitors on her IIc Plus <plugplugplug>.
  • Battery leakage – A sample of the cancerous effect of alkaline. Remove that IIgs battery!

A final note on GEOS – we really really tried to provide a download link for GEOS in this episode. It was released as freeware in 2003, and is thus completely legal to download and run on your Apple II. Unfortunately, all download links online point to Breadbox, the current owner of the IP. Breadbox has scrubbed their site of any mention of Apple GEOS, however, and we’ve been unable to locate the images on asimov or anywhere else. We’ll provide links in a future show if we can find them.

Stream the audio edition of this episode above or from A2Stream, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive.