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Apple II Telecommunications

By Brian Mason

Washington Apple Pi Journal, September/October 1999, p. 92-93, reprint information

How to reach the outside world using your computer has always been a hot topic. This is no less the case with Apple II users.

One of the best places to go (other than the WAP TCS, of course (gotta be loyal here)) to discuss issues you are having with your Apple II computer is the A2 forum on Delphi (http://www.delphi.com/). There has been quite a bit of discussion on the A2 forum lately regarding communicating using your Apple II.

For example, someone was asking if there was a terminal program for the Apple II. First of all, people new to the Apple II need to realize that the system software did not come with all the add-ons and plug-ins and extensions, etc. that today's bloated system software comes with. If you wanted terminal communications, you got it separately.

The recommendation given on the Delphi A2 forum was that ProTerm 3.1, ANSITerm 2.2, or Spectrum 2.2 are all pretty good and powerful terminal programs. The only two currently available commercially are ProTerm and Spectrum. If you have in mind to use PPP and to browse the World Wide Web (with limited graphics and no Java though . . ), you will need to get Spectrum and the Spectrum Internet Suite (SIS). Otherwise, if you access the web via a shell account, use any term program and Lynx will do that job nicely. If you are interested in accessing Delphi from the web, Lynx will be the way for an Apple II user to go.

For ANSITerm there is a very nice Delphi off-line reader for free (called OLRIGHT! and made by Don Zahniser).

Spectrum, done by Ewen Wannop has a Delphi off-line reader as well and it's sold by Seven Hills, which recently changed their address. Spectrum 2.2 is a full GS/OS application that retains the use of the IIGS desktop while it is operating. It has the best scripting language of any comms program, on almost any platform, and can use a variety of displays of your choice. It is also compatible with the software program Marinetti, which allows you to make TCP/IP connections through your local ISP.

You can order a copy of Spectrum with a Visa/Mastercard/Discover card (give expiration date) via email or by phone (850 575-0566) or mail a check/money order to:

Seven Hills Solutions Specialists 1254 Ocala Road Tallahassee, FL 32304

Upgrading from any version of Spectrum (1.0-2.1) is $25. A new/full copy is $85 (Special offers may be available -- Contact Seven Hills). In the U.S. you have to add 7% tax if in Florida plus you need to add $3.50 shipping and handling. Outside U.S. you would add $3.50 S&H for either upgrade; $5.00 for full version. You can contact Seven Hills online by email at sales@myesource.com or on the Web at http://www.myesource.com/sevenhills/applesoftware/index.htm.

Spectrum comes on three disks, has several printed manuals, and is fully supported both by its publisher and the author.

ProTerm is a fast P8 based program that is very comprehensive in its features. Being P8 based, it uses the 80 column text screen. ProTerm works on both 8-bit Apples like the IIe and the IIGS. Personally, as pure term program, it's that one I like most -- on all platforms -- and its text editor, possibly, is one of the best pure text editors. It's still on the market and nicely supported. You can get this from InTrec (check http://www.intrec.com/), and demos are available from various sources. Pay just $59.95 (free phone call, free shipping in the USA and North America-Visa,

Mastercard, Discover, Amex). You can write InTrec Software, Inc. at 3035 E Topaz Cir., Phoenix, AZ 85028-4423 or call 888-PROTERM or 602 992-5515. Their email address is sales@intrec.com.

One of the best non-commercial Apple II telecomm programs available now is Talk Is Cheap. It is not as full featured as the current commercial offerings but a few years ago the source was made freely available, and if you assemble the code yourself, you are then free to use the end result for your own use. It would certainly be more than adequate to use to transfer programs and files by null modem for example between a IIe and IIGS.

Also, there's a version of Kermit for the Apple II. It is freeware, supports VT-100, Xmodem, and of course, Kermit file transfers. It has a very similar interface and command syntax to the MS-DOS version of MS-Kermit, if you are familiar with that, and is also similar in action to Kermit for the DEC computers, if you are familiar with that. It'll run on anything from an Apple II+ to an Apple IIGS.

There's also FreeTerm GS, an Apple IIGS-specific, GUI based terminal program that provides a tty terminal with Xmodem file transfers.

Both are available for download from a number of ftp sites, but you might try: ground.ecn.uiowa.edu first.

And finally, there is the shareware program, SnowTerm, which provides emulation of the DEC VT100 and VT52 terminals to send and receive ASCII text files. The shareware fee is $20.00. You receive the printed manual when you send in your fee.

The WAP disk library has both SnowTerm and Kermit available for you to use on your IIGS as well as another IIGS program, GenericTerm.

For the Apple II, the library has a number of communications programs for you to try out to see which one best fits your needs. Besides Kermit, which is probably the most versatile, there is D-Comm, which can do terminal emulation as well as file transfers. You get the documentation for D-Comm when you register the program. Zlink, of which the library has version 12.15 (!) is also quite versatile.

CommTerm can do uploads and downloads. Comm.System is capable of doing XModem file transfers. Eve is a terminal program for use with the Hayes MicroModem. It does not work with the Transmodem 1200. And finally, there is MicroModem II, which is the software that was distributed with the MicroModem II modem.

The WAP also has 3 copies of the defunct commercial program, ASCII Express, which runs on the Apple II and was one of the best commercial programs until ProTerm came along. As of the middle of July there was one DOS 3.3 copy and one PRODOS copy with just the disk. And there was one PRODOS copy complete with manual. Contact the office. On a first come, first served basis, you may obtain the disk-only copies for $5 plus $5 S&H. You may obtain the copy with the manual for $10 plus $5 S&H.

Though when the Apple first came out, most people used it as a stand-alone computer, it wasn't long until modems and communications programs were being developed to connect it to the outside world.That ability still exists.

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Revised September 6, 1999 Lawrence I. Charters
Washington Apple Pi
URL: http://www.wap.org/journal/