P-Lisp rides again!

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Ron Garret

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Jun 6, 2008, 8:20:10 PM6/6/08
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A while back I went through my archives and discovered I had an old
5-1/4 inch floppy disk with a copy of P-Lisp on it. For those who don't
know, P-Lisp is one of the earliest implementations of Lisp for a
personal computer. It ran -- and, thanks to EBay, once again runs -- on
an Apple II:

http://flownet.com/ron/p-lisp.jpg

Jeff Shrager has independently resurrected the P-Lisp manual here:

http://nostoc.stanford.edu/jeff/llisp/1.html

I'm still working on how to get a disk image out of this machine so it
can be run on an emulator. (There's no ethernet port on this machine.
There is not even a serial port! Ah, those were the days!)

I did manage to copy P-Lisp onto another diskette, so I know it's
intact. In fact, the screenshot session is running off the copy. The
two copies I have are apparently the last ones on planet earth, so I'm
being quite careful with them.

BTW, does anyone happen to know if the Steven Cherry who holds the
copyright on P-Lisp is the same Steven Cherry who is now the editor of
IEEE Spectrum?

BTW2, I need a replacement keyboard for an Apple IIe if anyone happens
to have an old one lying around. Someone apparently spilled coffee onto
the one I ended up with. Seems to work fine otherwise. (The P-Lisp is
running on a different machine. I'm ending up with quite a collection
of vintage computers.)

rg

vanekl

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Jun 7, 2008, 12:36:05 AM6/7/08
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and here i was thinking /i/ was a packrat because i don't have the
heart to get rid of my mac se/30, system 7, 68030 :)
[wish i had kept my original, 128K mac, though]

I never bought a IIe, so can't help you there.
As for the keyboard, maybe something like
http://www.engadget.com/2005/05/31/your-keyboard-might-be-dishwasher-safe/
could help with the coffee stains (interesting comments, too).
I've never tried the dishwasher method.

After a quick look through the p-lisp manual, i don't think
i'm too controversial by saying that p-lisp is such a small language
that, to me, it resembles scheme more than CL. P-lisp even uses 'define'.

George Neuner

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Jun 7, 2008, 5:06:34 AM6/7/08
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On Fri, 06 Jun 2008 17:20:10 -0700, Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com>
wrote:

>A while back I went through my archives and discovered I had an old
>5-1/4 inch floppy disk with a copy of P-Lisp on it. For those who don't
>know, P-Lisp is one of the earliest implementations of Lisp for a
>personal computer. It ran -- and, thanks to EBay, once again runs -- on
>an Apple II:
>
>http://flownet.com/ron/p-lisp.jpg
>
>Jeff Shrager has independently resurrected the P-Lisp manual here:
>
>http://nostoc.stanford.edu/jeff/llisp/1.html
>
>I'm still working on how to get a disk image out of this machine so it
>can be run on an emulator. (There's no ethernet port on this machine.
>There is not even a serial port! Ah, those were the days!)

I'd help if I still had my //gs - but it died in 1997.

Best bet is to find someone who still has a working //gs - it has the
Apple bus so you can plug your disk controller into it to use 5-1/4
floppies. The //gs has built-in 422 serial ports or you can transfer
the program to 3-1/2 ProDOS floppies and maybe read them with a Mac.
System 6 and later could read ProDOS 800K floppies. There was a
plug-in to read 800K disks with 1.44MB drives. I don't know if OS X
can still do any of this.


>I did manage to copy P-Lisp onto another diskette, so I know it's
>intact. In fact, the screenshot session is running off the copy. The
>two copies I have are apparently the last ones on planet earth, so I'm
>being quite careful with them.
>
>BTW, does anyone happen to know if the Steven Cherry who holds the
>copyright on P-Lisp is the same Steven Cherry who is now the editor of
>IEEE Spectrum?

You'd have to ask him.


>BTW2, I need a replacement keyboard for an Apple IIe if anyone happens
>to have an old one lying around. Someone apparently spilled coffee onto
>the one I ended up with. Seems to work fine otherwise. (The P-Lisp is
>running on a different machine. I'm ending up with quite a collection
>of vintage computers.)

If you're real careful with disassembly, you can safely wash the
keyboard. I've never put one in a dishwasher but I have washed them
by hand with liquid soap. Just be sure to get all the soap off and
let it dry for a few days before reconnecting it.

George
--
for email reply remove "/" from address

quot...@gmail.com

unread,
Jun 8, 2008, 12:46:44 PM6/8/08
to
I was the one who asked about this before here at c.l.l. I wait with
breathless anticipation for you to be able to offer us a disk image.

Ron Garret

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Jun 8, 2008, 5:06:00 PM6/8/08
to
In article
<a1a9c5a0-cbbd-491f...@s50g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>,
quot...@gmail.com wrote:

> I was the one who asked about this before here at c.l.l. I wait with
> breathless anticipation for you to be able to offer us a disk image.

Working on it. I'm trying to use ADTPro to grab a disk image, but I
have to use the cassette interface because I don't have a serial card,
and it's not working. I'm able to upload ProDOS, but the ADT client
upload fails. I may need to buy a serial card before I can get it to
work.

Alternatively, if someone has an Apple II setup that they can use, I can
now make duplicate copies of the P-Lisp disk, so I could just mail a
disk to someone else to make the image. I was hesitant to do that
before because I only had the one copy.

rg

Ron Garret

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Jun 8, 2008, 5:07:10 PM6/8/08
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In article <0vek449vgl26clo5u...@4ax.com>,
George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:

> >BTW2, I need a replacement keyboard for an Apple IIe if anyone happens
> >to have an old one lying around. Someone apparently spilled coffee onto
> >the one I ended up with. Seems to work fine otherwise. (The P-Lisp is
> >running on a different machine. I'm ending up with quite a collection
> >of vintage computers.)
>
> If you're real careful with disassembly, you can safely wash the
> keyboard. I've never put one in a dishwasher but I have washed them
> by hand with liquid soap. Just be sure to get all the soap off and
> let it dry for a few days before reconnecting it.

I tried that. It didn't seem to help.

rg

Didier Verna

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Jun 9, 2008, 3:26:17 AM6/9/08
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Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:

> http://flownet.com/ron/p-lisp.jpg

Do I read 4:58 on the clock ? You should go to bed, you geek. On the
other hand, there seems to be light through the window... 4:58 PM ?

--
5th European Lisp Workshop at ECOOP 2008, July 7: http://elw.bknr.net/2008/

Didier Verna, did...@lrde.epita.fr, http://www.lrde.epita.fr/~didier

EPITA / LRDE, 14-16 rue Voltaire Tel.+33 (0)1 44 08 01 85
94276 Le Kremlin-Bicętre, France Fax.+33 (0)1 53 14 59 22 did...@xemacs.org

Ron Garret

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Jun 9, 2008, 12:00:32 PM6/9/08
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In article <muxod6b...@uzeb.lrde.epita.fr>,
Didier Verna <did...@lrde.epita.fr> wrote:

> Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:
>
> > http://flownet.com/ron/p-lisp.jpg
>
> Do I read 4:58 on the clock ? You should go to bed, you geek. On the
> other hand, there seems to be light through the window... 4:58 PM ?

Oh, that clock is only right twice a day ;-)

Seriously, it was 4:58 PM. I did have to postpone my afternoon tea.

Ordered a super serial card today.

rg

George Neuner

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Jun 10, 2008, 1:08:37 PM6/10/08
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On Sun, 08 Jun 2008 14:07:10 -0700, Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com>
wrote:

>In article <0vek449vgl26clo5u...@4ax.com>,

Odd that it didn't work. I once disassembled a //c and successfully
cleaned sticky cola residue out of its keyboard. And I've also
cleaned a number of detached keyboards of coffee, tea, soup, cola,
jelly donuts, etc. I've never had any problems doing it.

If it's just an ugly set-in stain that's not causing any malfunctions
you might try an oxygenated stain cleaner or a weak ammonia solution.
I would avoid more caustic cleaning chemicals and also avoid vinegar -
they might do some damage to such an old PCB.

Ron Garret

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Jun 10, 2008, 3:01:25 PM6/10/08
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In article <99bt44hkoo10tanqi...@4ax.com>,
George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:

> On Sun, 08 Jun 2008 14:07:10 -0700, Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com>
> wrote:
>
> >In article <0vek449vgl26clo5u...@4ax.com>,
> > George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:
> >
> >> >BTW2, I need a replacement keyboard for an Apple IIe if anyone happens
> >> >to have an old one lying around. Someone apparently spilled coffee onto
> >> >the one I ended up with. Seems to work fine otherwise. (The P-Lisp is
> >> >running on a different machine. I'm ending up with quite a collection
> >> >of vintage computers.)
> >>
> >> If you're real careful with disassembly, you can safely wash the
> >> keyboard. I've never put one in a dishwasher but I have washed them
> >> by hand with liquid soap. Just be sure to get all the soap off and
> >> let it dry for a few days before reconnecting it.
> >
> >I tried that. It didn't seem to help.
>
> Odd that it didn't work. I once disassembled a //c and successfully
> cleaned sticky cola residue out of its keyboard. And I've also
> cleaned a number of detached keyboards of coffee, tea, soup, cola,
> jelly donuts, etc. I've never had any problems doing it.
>
> If it's just an ugly set-in stain that's not causing any malfunctions
> you might try an oxygenated stain cleaner or a weak ammonia solution.
> I would avoid more caustic cleaning chemicals and also avoid vinegar -
> they might do some damage to such an old PCB.

I have no idea what the problem is. I soaked the whole keyboard in hot
water for about half an hour, then gave it a good rinse and dried it in
the sun. It's very clean now, but it still doesn't work :-)

rg

George Neuner

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Jun 10, 2008, 4:04:42 PM6/10/08
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On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 12:01:25 -0700, Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com>
wrote:

Sorry ... based on your initial comments I thought that the keyboard
was working and simply was dirty.

There very little to go wrong with a IIe keyboard - it's just a switch
matrix, a bit of TTL and a ROM (and IIRC the ROM is actually on the
system board). Most likely the cable is damaged somehow. If you're
handy with a meter and iron, you may be able to locate the break and
bridge around it ... or just make yourself a new cable.

Raymond Wiker

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Jun 11, 2008, 1:33:43 PM6/11/08
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George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> writes:

It's possible that it is the keyboard encoder chip that is
broken, in which case you might replace it with this:

http://www.brielcomputers.com/wik/index.php?title=SuperE

--- but not if you have a IIe, which I just noticed that you have.

Alternatively, http://seb.riot.org/appleII/keyboard.sml has a
design for attaching a PS/2 keyboard to an Apple. Don't know if it
works on a IIe.

Finally, since you have a IIe:

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/apple2/faq/15-028-My-IIe-has-a-bad-keyboard-encoder-IC-Where-can-I-get.html

Hope one of these might be of help.

Ron Garret

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Jun 11, 2008, 1:59:28 PM6/11/08
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In article <m2d4mn2...@RawMBP.local>,
Raymond Wiker <r...@RawMBP.local> wrote:

Thanks. Since I have a working Apple II+ fixing this is not the highest
thing on my priority list. But if I decide to beat on it some more I'll
report any progress I make.

BTW, since we seem to have some vintage Apple expert here, this thing
also came with a card labelled "Corvus Systems Apple Spooler". Does
anyone know what this thing does? I was able to find a few more for
sale on EBay (they are supposedly "very rare") but no description of
what the thing is actually for.

rg

Raymond Wiker

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Jun 11, 2008, 3:18:29 PM6/11/08
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Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> writes:

> BTW, since we seem to have some vintage Apple expert here, this thing
> also came with a card labelled "Corvus Systems Apple Spooler". Does
> anyone know what this thing does? I was able to find a few more for
> sale on EBay (they are supposedly "very rare") but no description of
> what the thing is actually for.

I'd guess that this might be a printer interface card, with
buffer memory - these used to be popular in the days of 8-bit
computers with limited memory and slow printers :-)

The Apple II experts in the comp.sys.apple2.* newsgroups
should be able to provide more information on this.

Ron Garret

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Jun 11, 2008, 4:47:49 PM6/11/08
to
In article <m263sf2...@RawMBP.local>,
Raymond Wiker <r...@RawMBP.local> wrote:

> Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> writes:
>
> > BTW, since we seem to have some vintage Apple expert here, this thing
> > also came with a card labelled "Corvus Systems Apple Spooler". Does
> > anyone know what this thing does? I was able to find a few more for
> > sale on EBay (they are supposedly "very rare") but no description of
> > what the thing is actually for.
>
> I'd guess that this might be a printer interface card, with
> buffer memory - these used to be popular in the days of 8-bit
> computers with limited memory and slow printers :-)

Except that it has no external connectors :-)

rg

Ron Garret

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Jun 11, 2008, 4:53:22 PM6/11/08
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In article <m2d4mn2...@RawMBP.local>,
Raymond Wiker <r...@RawMBP.local> wrote:

Well, when I went to see where this chip was located on the motherboard
it turns out there's just an empty socket there. That just might have
something to do with it :-)

rg

George Neuner

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Jun 11, 2008, 5:30:58 PM6/11/08
to
On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 21:18:29 +0200, Raymond Wiker <r...@RawMBP.local>
wrote:

Corvus was a vendor of an early network and file sharing system.

see "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvus_(company)"

My high school had a Corvus network installed in the computer lab.
There was a box with a large shared hard disk connected by a drop
network to about 20 Apples. Each Apple had a private directory on the
disk and also access to a common directory and a pair of spooled dot
matrix printers (one fast and one pretty good). Each station booted
from the shared disk.

I am not aware that Corvus made print spoolers, but Apple parallel
printer cables had a 20-pin DIP connector - if the card has a 20-pin
DIP or a 25-pin D serial connector, that's probably what it is.

Ron Garret

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Jun 11, 2008, 5:45:06 PM6/11/08
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In article <pkd054152gr1099t5...@4ax.com>,
George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:

This card has no connectors on it at all. That's what makes it so
mysterious.

Here's what the thing looks like:

http://i16.ebayimg.com/02/i/07/ea/b1/50_1.JPG

rg

Rob Warnock

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Jun 11, 2008, 11:41:41 PM6/11/08
to
Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:
+---------------

| This card has no connectors on it at all. That's what makes it so
| mysterious. Here's what the thing looks like:
| http://i16.ebayimg.com/02/i/07/ea/b1/50_1.JPG
+---------------

Hmmm... All the small chips are low-density (SSI) 74LS logic,
so the big one has to be where all the real action is.
If I'm reading the number correctly, the big one is an
RCA COM6116AE2, which a number of specialty websites list
among their obsolete/hard-to-find items, but for which they
give only an email or telephone contact, not a datasheet.
My guess, based on the era, is that it's just a RAM chip of
some sort, used as a buffer [since main memory on the machine
was so small], with the actual spooling being done by some
kind of terminate-and-stay-resident program (driver). This is
confirmed by a search for "RCA 6116 RAM" which suggested that
it's a 2K x 8 CMOS static RAM.


-Rob

-----
Rob Warnock <rp...@rpw3.org>
627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607

George Neuner

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Jun 12, 2008, 1:04:53 AM6/12/08
to
On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 22:41:41 -0500, rp...@rpw3.org (Rob Warnock) wrote:

>Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:
>+---------------
>| This card has no connectors on it at all. That's what makes it so
>| mysterious. Here's what the thing looks like:
>| http://i16.ebayimg.com/02/i/07/ea/b1/50_1.JPG
>+---------------
>
>Hmmm... All the small chips are low-density (SSI) 74LS logic,
>so the big one has to be where all the real action is.
>If I'm reading the number correctly, the big one is an
>RCA COM6116AE2, which a number of specialty websites list
>among their obsolete/hard-to-find items, but for which they
>give only an email or telephone contact, not a datasheet.
>My guess, based on the era, is that it's just a RAM chip of
>some sort, used as a buffer [since main memory on the machine
>was so small], with the actual spooling being done by some
>kind of terminate-and-stay-resident program (driver). This is
>confirmed by a search for "RCA 6116 RAM" which suggested that
>it's a 2K x 8 CMOS static RAM.

That sounds reasonable - I recall a software print spooler that used
the Apple's language card memory. But at that time TSRs were not very
popular precisely because of the memory limitations. The Apple
sported a lot of enhanced 3rd party device interfaces (and I had quite
a few of them) but with the exception of SCSI and SBC cards
(Z-80,8088,etc.), I never encountered any that had a resident driver -
everything I ever saw just put RAM on the interface and maybe had a
configuration utility to run at startup.

Anything from Corvus is pretty rare. If this thing really is a print
spooler and if Ron could scare up a copy of the driver, he'd have
quite a novelty to sell.

GP lisper

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Jun 12, 2008, 2:08:36 AM6/12/08
to
On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 22:41:41 -0500, <rp...@rpw3.org> wrote:
> Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:
> +---------------
>| Here's what the thing looks like:
>| http://i16.ebayimg.com/02/i/07/ea/b1/50_1.JPG
> +---------------
>
> some sort, used as a buffer [since main memory on the machine
> was so small], with the actual spooling being done by some
> kind of terminate-and-stay-resident program (driver). This is
> confirmed by a search for "RCA 6116 RAM" which suggested that
> it's a 2K x 8 CMOS static RAM.

When I first read this thread about Corvus, my memory popped up print
spooler too and since it's printed on the board, that's it. Old BYTE
magazines might be a source (since that is the only way it would be in
my memory), ones from the initial years.

--
One of the strokes of genius from McCarthy
was making lists the center of the language - kt
** Posted from http://www.teranews.com **

GP lisper

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Jun 12, 2008, 2:27:03 AM6/12/08
to
On Sun, 08 Jun 2008 14:06:00 -0700, <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:
>
> Working on it. I'm trying to use ADTPro to grab a disk image, but I
> have to use the cassette interface because I don't have a serial card,
> and it's not working. I'm able to upload ProDOS, but the ADT client
> upload fails. I may need to buy a serial card before I can get it to
> work.

Well, it can be captured off the printer port, look for a parallel to
serial convertor. There are other ways to get it off the printer port.

In the early days of home computing, having a read-any-floppy program
was common, look on the old DOS FTP sites (formerly cdrom.com for
instance). I did find those archives a couple years ago, and dug out a
couple old cdroms from my bin.

Ron Garret

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Jun 12, 2008, 3:47:41 AM6/12/08
to
In article <cg815453bb3tdsgek...@4ax.com>,
George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:

I seem to be well on my way to having a bustling Apple II restoration
shop going here. Always good to have something to fall back on I
suppose.

rg

Raymond Wiker

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Jun 12, 2008, 4:24:37 PM6/12/08
to
rp...@rpw3.org (Rob Warnock) writes:

> Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:
> +---------------
> | This card has no connectors on it at all. That's what makes it so
> | mysterious. Here's what the thing looks like:
> | http://i16.ebayimg.com/02/i/07/ea/b1/50_1.JPG
> +---------------
>
> Hmmm... All the small chips are low-density (SSI) 74LS logic,
> so the big one has to be where all the real action is.
> If I'm reading the number correctly, the big one is an
> RCA COM6116AE2, which a number of specialty websites list
> among their obsolete/hard-to-find items, but for which they
> give only an email or telephone contact, not a datasheet.
> My guess, based on the era, is that it's just a RAM chip of
> some sort, used as a buffer [since main memory on the machine
> was so small], with the actual spooling being done by some
> kind of terminate-and-stay-resident program (driver). This is
> confirmed by a search for "RCA 6116 RAM" which suggested that
> it's a 2K x 8 CMOS static RAM.

Agreed 100%, both on the function of the card and the
chip. The 6116 was a popular item in its time (almost the same pinout
as EPROMs of the same capacity), and it was frequently used in EPROM
simulators and, with a small battery, as non-volatile storage. It was
also much easier to interface with than the dynamic RAM chips used
elsewhere in the Apple II :-)

Ron Garret

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Jun 12, 2008, 6:49:27 PM6/12/08
to
In article <rNOSPAMon-817D0...@news.gha.chartermi.net>,
Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:

> A while back I went through my archives and discovered I had an old
> 5-1/4 inch floppy disk with a copy of P-Lisp on it. For those who don't
> know, P-Lisp is one of the earliest implementations of Lisp for a
> personal computer. It ran -- and, thanks to EBay, once again runs -- on
> an Apple II:
>
> http://flownet.com/ron/p-lisp.jpg
>
> Jeff Shrager has independently resurrected the P-Lisp manual here:
>
> http://nostoc.stanford.edu/jeff/llisp/1.html
>
> I'm still working on how to get a disk image out of this machine so it
> can be run on an emulator.

AAARRRGGHHHH!!!

So I'm using ADTPro to try to get the P-Lisp disk image off my Apple II+.

I tried the audio hookup. That didn't work. I did manage to get ProDOS
uplinked, but then I couldn't get the ADTPro client uplinked after about
a dozen tries.

So I bought a Super Serial Card from Ebay. It arrived today. It seems
to work. But I STILL can't get ADTPro to upload ProDOS! The problem
seems to be that ADTPro does not honor the "pacing" setting, so there is
no delay between uplinked lines, and so the Apple falls behind.

I'm pretty sure I can solve this problem by simply writing my own uplink
routine. I have everything I need to do that except the actual ProDOS
and ADTPro client images, which seem to be embedded in the ADTPro jar
file. So I have a favor to ask. Can someone with access to two
machines with serial ports please run ADTPro and capture the output of
sending ProDOS and the ADTPro client as a text file and send them to me?
(Or if someone knows how to extract these files from the ADTPro sources
or something like that, that would work too.)

Thanks,
rg

Ron Garret

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Jun 13, 2008, 1:01:46 AM6/13/08
to
In article <rNOSPAMon-AF5B1...@news.gha.chartermi.net>,
Ron Garret <rNOS...@flownet.com> wrote:

Never mind, I figured out how to extract these from the ADTPro jar file.

rg

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