Fried Apple

I've had this Apple ][ Plus for a couple years now, but never taken the time to do any testing. Well, today I was bored, so I powered it up, tested the keys, and gave the case a good cleaning. Most of the keys weren't responding at first, but through rapid button pressing I was able to get them all going again - though some are still flaky. I might need to dig out the contact cleaner.  Anyway, I was happily typing in some BASIC code for fun when I heard a sizzling noise and smoke started billowing from the back of the power supply. I quickly unplugged the power cord, but now I'm left with yet another project. At some point I'll tear into the Astec branded PSU and replace what is most likely the C7 capacitor. In the meantime, I may borrow a PSU from a IIe to continue playing with the II Plus.

Guided Access - Toddler Proofing for iOS

I’m sure there are many people already using Guided Access on their iOS 6 devices, but for those with small children who don’t know about it, I thought this would be a tip worth mentioning. My wife and I are flying with our 17-month-old twin boys for the first time next month, and I have been looking for ways to allow them to use my iPhone and my wife’s iPad - should they get cranky - without constantly hitting the Home button or pausing videos. After exhaustively searching for the best solution, I stumbled across a new feature in iOS 6 called Guided Access. Guided Access allows you to disable touching on all or part of the screen, all hardware buttons, and motion sensors. To enable Guided Access, go to Settings/General/Accessibility and tap the Guided Access button in the Learning section. After turning on Guided Access and setting a Passcode, launch the App of your choice and triple-click the Home button to configure the interface elements you wish to block. To disable certain parts

Apple II Serial Terminal

One of my on-again, off-again, side-projects has been getting my Apple //e setup as a dumb terminal for OS X. I've been tinkering with this for about 9-years now, but never really had a setup I was happy with. I occasionally re-visit the project, but could never dedicate the time to get it right. In my ideal setup, I wanted one monitor that handles multiple devices (Atari 7800, G5, Apple //e, etc...). For the most part my Dell 20" LCD has served me well, but o ne source of dissatisfaction with regards to the Apple //e is how it handled the composite video output in 80-column mode. The video would twitch every few seconds which is very annoying and tough to read. About a week ago, the display started to fail. The screen would go black after several minutes of use. I suspect that the inverter is failing, but don't want to just throw $100 at a hunch. For $150, I decided to replace it with a 22" 1080p HDTV instead of a new monitor, primarily because of the variety of

2.5 Years to Dry

I finally had a reason to get back to the "Classic II #2" project that I started working on about 2.5 years ago. When last we left this malfunctioning Mac, I had finished washing the motherboard to see if that would serve as a temporary fix for the leaking caps. Unfortunately, the office remodel put everything I was doing on hold. Well, the good news is that it did work. After reinstalling the board, the computer booted up flawlessly. However, I was brought back to this project through a trade proposal for this Classic II and an Apple 3.5 External 800k floppy drive in exchange for a Power Mac G3 All-in-One (AIO). Normally, I wouldn't be interested in something that recent, or your average run-of-the-mill Power Mac. The AIO is different. It is both rare and unique, and something I just couldn't pass up. So, as of last week, I no longer own Classic II #2, which was a model variation on my Classic II #1. #2 is the original Classic II sans speaker grille on the left s

Home Office featured on "The Mac Observer"

Jim Tanous at "The Mac Observer" ( ) wrote an article this week featuring my home office in his new weekly column "TMO Workspaces". Here is a link to the article: The Mac Observer is a well-respected news site in the Macintosh community that I have been following for over a decade, and it was an honor having them run a feature on my home office. Thanks, Jim!

Quick and Dirty Website

For years now, I've done business solely by word of mouth, relying on clients to refer me to other potential clients, and so on. This practice probably nets me $1000-$2000 per year in computer repair work. I've long had grandiose plans for an elaborate website, but never have the time to put it together. It's long overdue to have some sort of a web presence, so I've thrown together a very simplistic page that I can slowly expand as time allows. Now that I've made this step, who knows what's next... A Facebook page? Gasp!!

Useful (and FREE) Hard Drive Utilities

Currently, I'm working on a laptop for one of my clients and thought I would share a few of the FREE hard drive utilities that I used to get the computer back in working order. First, after a CHKDSK scan revealed and successfully relocated 3000-some-odd bad clusters, I informed my client that the HD would need to be replaced. At this point I decided that cloning the HD to a new drive would be a reasonable course of action. A new 500 GB HD would replace the old 250 GB drive. Here are few utilities that I used to accomplish this: Clonezilla (  ), is a Norton Ghost-esque, Debian Linux-based drive cloning live CD. Clonezilla offers several different methods for cloning drives, but for my needs I opted to download and burn the latest stable CD-ROM bootable .iso image to CD. I attached the new HD to the laptop using a SATA-to-USB adapter cable, booted from the Clonezilla CD, and performed a direct local disk to local disk image. The imaging worked perfectly, h