Busy Moving

Please forgive the poor response time over the next couple months (as well as the last couple). I’m in the process of moving to a new home and therefore not online very much. Things will be back to normal in November or December.

Meanwhile I have been getting lots of interesting things together. Prototype sync sensors for the 5.25 half height Apple drives (A9M0104 and A9M0107) have been completed and are awaiting production. Also a new sync sensor specifically for the earlier Shugart-based Disk II drives is on the way.

I am also hoping to have client software version 1.39 released very soon. Many new features and improvements are coming!

If you are interested in an Applesauce FDC, feel free to fill out an order form. I am completely sold out currently and the order form will indicate that. But I am using these orders as a wait list for another production run. No ETA yet on when that will be able to happen.

Release 1.37 – Major 5.25″ Fast Imager upgrades and now supports Commodore, Atari 8-bit, and other platforms.

Lots of new things happen with the Applesauce client! I’m currently in the process of going through all of the various portions of the app and hooking up newer bits of code and adding things from my to-do list as well as features requested by users. The next several releases are each going to be focused on a single area of the app as only minor cleanup and bug fixes in other areas.

The focus of the 1.37 release has been enhancing the 5.25″ Fast Imager. It has gotten just about a complete rewrite with several new features.

The overall feel is very similar to the existing 1.36 and earlier Fast Imager. One of the primary advantages of the Fast Imager rework is the ability to support disks for platforms other than Apple II. Full validation has been added for Commodore DOS as well as Atari DOS 2.0 and 2.5. The foundation of these new capabilities is the fact that in addition to the support of GCR encoded disks, Applesauce can now also image FM and MFM encoded disks. This includes many additional platforms as well, like TRS-80, PC, and obscure formats like Compugraphics. To go along with these additional formats, the Fast Imager also now has 40 track support. Normal Apple II disks were primarily limited to 35 tracks, and most Disk II drives can only access 36 tracks. But there are 3rd party drives designed for the Apple II that could access 40 tracks, like the Rana, MicroSci, and many others. If you are using one of these drives, then you will be able to enable 40 track mode. If you don’t know how many tracks your drive can access, you can use the Check Disk function of the Applesauce Diagnostics. You can also have Applesauce generate a log file that saves information about the imaging session like whether there were bad sectors.

With these new kinds of disks that can be imaged, the old Format selector became very bloated. So there is now a list of file formats that appears when Applesauce determines what kind of disk you have images. It will dynamically build the list with appropriate choices. And you can now select multiple formats. When you hit the Save button, it will save images in all of the checked formats.

The Retry Bad has always been a popular feature in the Fast Imager as it is a powerful data recovery tool for failing disks. Well, it has been improved even more!

The last new feature I will mention here is the new Show Catalog button above the sector status area. Clicking this button will display a catalog/directory for the imaged disk if Applesauce can identify the format. This can be a huge help when you are trying to figure out what is on a disk in order to come up with a save name.

One additional note about the Commodore support, it seems that when Apple was developing the Apple 5.25 Drive (A9M0107), they switched the main disk reading chip from MC3470 and replaced it with a HA16642MP. Interestingly, this drive appears to be unable to reliably read the faster zone 1 speed of 3.25µs (vs 4µs) that Commodore uses. I haven’t found any other Apple II drive (1st or 3rd party) that have this same issue, but all 6 of the A9M0107 drives that I have do. So, they are not recommended if you want to image Commodore disks.

And as always, there are lots of little cleanups and bug fixes all over the app. Hope you enjoy the new improved Fast Imager!

Release 1.35 is now available!

This has been a big hunk of work! I have completely reworked large portions of the low-level architecture of the client software. The first fruit of this endeavor is that if you have an Apple SuperDrive, you can now image High Density (1.44MB) disks!

  • The Fast and Flux Imagers for 3.5 disks supports imaging 1.44M and 720K disks with an Apple SuperDrive. If you are Fast Imaging non-Apple disks (like MS-DOS), then you can save them as “Raw Sector Image” in order to output as a .IMG file. No file-level validation exists yet for non-Apple formats.
  • Support for loading and saving 1.44MB PO, 2MG, DiskCopy 4.2, and DART (read only) disk images.
  • Updated Applesauce Firmware adding support for MFM flux streams and improved Apple SuperDrive support.
  • Major rework of the low-level flux handling and nibble generation code within the app and firmware. This is the groundwork for many upcoming features.
  • Loading of disk images is now much faster.
  • Fixed rendering of Pascal text files. It was misinterpreting paragraph indenting and showing random characters in its place.
  • Some improvements to the Check Disk function of Diagnostics for 3.5 drives.
  • Lots of performance improvements all over the app.
  • Many small bugs squashed and typos fixed.

IMPORTANT

This release contains a firmware update for the Applesauce Floppy Drive Controller. When you run Applesauce, it will want to update the hardware. You must do the update in order to use the new release. But, the new firmware is not backward compatible with older client versions.

KNOWN ISSUES

    • Flux-level repair of MFM disks (1.44MB and 720K) in the Disk Analyzer is still a work in progress.
    • Disk Writer 3.5 does not yet support writing MFM disks.

Applesauce 1.34 is now available.

Ok, in case you haven’t noticed, I am terrible at keeping this news feed up to date. Development on the Applesauce project has been very active. In the 7 months since version 1.2.0 came out, I have had 16 releases with the most recent being version 1.34. I tend to try to make a release every two weeks. Lots more new features and enhancements are on the way. Here is a quick recap of the changes since my last update (newest changes first):

 

  • Ability to show tracks as Logical Blocks. If Applesauce can determine the operating system, it will translate the sectors into blocks.
  • Support for reading the DART disk image format.
  • Fixed the date handling when formatting disks.
  • The 5.25 Disk Analyzer was getting stuck on dual core machines. Fixed.
  • Fixed crash when viewing files on macOS 10.11.
  • Applesauce was incorrectly marking extremely sparse ProDOS tree files as being corrupt. Fixed.
  • You can now show tracks as Physical Sectors instead of only Nibble Streams in the Disk Editor. Use the pop up menu labeled “Show Track As” at the top of the Disk Editor window.
  • Added an “Applesoft BASIC (Condensed)” file viewer. This will show each line with all of the extra spaces removed. This comes in very handy when you want to copy and paste a program into an emulator, but the program has very long lines or uses embedded control characters.
  • Viewing Pascal text files now correctly skips the 1K system header.
  • Viewing file contents of disk images has been added. Double-click any file in the File System pane of the Disk Analyzer, and a hex dump will be displayed. It can also detokenize Applesoft and Integer BASIC files so that you can view the source code. Viewing of resource forks for Mac and GS/OS is also supported.
  • New system for determining where tracks were written on the media surface. It does a better job determining when media shifts to half tracks and such. Interleaved half tracks still not supported, but this is the work to enable that to happen.
  • The Apple II variant of CP/M is now supported for file-level verification and analysis. File systems supported: DOS, ProDOS, Pascal, CP/M, and Mac MFS/HFS.
  • Better processing of some copy protections that are hiding data sequences within sector gaps.
  • Handles tracks that have multiple sectors with identical addresses.
  • Fixed issue with validating/exporting some sparse text files from DOS 3.3.
  • WOZ files can now be opened in the Disk Analyzer and will undergo disk and file-level validation.
  • Improved track looping routines.
  • Big improvements to track and sector repair for 5.25 and 3.5 disks.
  • Support for some additional copy protection styles.
  • Metadata Editor screens for 3.5 disks correctly use Number instead of Side for the Disk metadata.
  • Fixed crash when saving some 13-sector Fast Images as WOZ.
  • Cleaned up some error logging in the disk Analyzer.
  • Lots of additional fixes and cleanup.
  • Improved the repair of address fields within the disk analyzer.
  • All Bulk Processors will now save a log of their work to your desktop.
  • File view wasn’t properly refreshing after making flux edits.
  • Fixed detection of corrupted a2r files during load. Will now display an error instead of crashing.
  • Fixed issue with client getting confused whith multiple windows being open looking at the same file.
  • Very silent 3470s are able to return 0 fluxes to download. This would trigger a code path that wouldn’t save the track and would not step to the next halfphase. If the 3470 went into full clamp mode, then this would cause the client to not read any tracks following the gap.
  • Fixed crash for in DOS 3.3 format recognizer for a specific error condition.
  • Improved handling of DOS 3.3 sparse files.
  • Added “Clear All Folders” to Where menu of imagers.
  • The client now has the ability to read and analyze the file structure of many disks. It currently supports DOS 3.2, DOS 3.3, ProDOS, SOS, GS/OS, Pascal, and Macintosh MFS and HFS.
  • The Fast Imagers and Disk Analyzer now have an additional save/export option. You can choose “Extract Disk Contents as Files” and it will save the files to a folder for you instead of making a disk image. Very handy if you want to inspect files instead of just playing with them under emulation. It currently does no conversion of the file data, so you won’t be able to look at Applesoft listings and such without using another tool to do the conversion.
  • The Disk Analyzer now has a button to view the files on the disk. If the analysis detected any damaged files, the icon for the button will be red to let you know.
  • The Fast Imagers will now utilize the file structure recognition in order to give you additional intelligence about the imaging process. For failing disks, it will indicate if any bad sectors are associated with files, or if they can be safely ignored due to being unused.
  • Added an “Edit Metadata” button to the Disk Analyzer. This does the equivalent of the “Metadata Inspector for Current Disk” menu command (shift-cmd-m).
  • Improved workflow for editing metadata. Several people have been exporting a .woz from the Disk Analyzer and then running it under emulation in order to gather more metadata info. This means that you need to duplicate the new metadata for the .a2r and .woz files. If you use the new “Edit Metadata” button (or the menu equivalent) AFTER you have exported the .woz, then it will bring up the Metadata Inspector for the .woz file. Pressing “update” will update the .woz file on disk as well as the .a2r in the Disk Analyzer. You will need to use the Save menu to save the metadata to the .a2r.
  • The Save menu item is now available from the Disk Analyzer. It will currently only be enabled if you change the metadata, but in the near future it will also be used for saving flux-level edits as well as finalized and validated flux streams. Some enhancements to the A2R file spec are coming soon.
  • Fixed issue with not properly detecting 13-sector disks that have illegal sync fields.
  • Added tooltips to all of the buttons in the main window.
  • Cleaned up the Diagnostics screens for 5.25 and 3.5. Added indicators to let you know which tests are currently running.
  • Fixes some crashes in the Disk Analyzer.
  • Enhancements to sync field repair.
  • When loading .dsk images into the Disk Writer or Disk Analyzer, it will check the sector ordering to do the right thing for ProDOS and SOS disks.
  • More big improvements to validation, repair, and noise cleanup routines. Support for DOS 3.3P disks has been added.
  • Better error messages when attempting to load problematic disk images.
  • The functionality of the “Save…” command from Disk Analyzer has been moved to “Export to Disk Image…”.
  • DiskCopy 4.2 images can also use the .dc42 file extension in addition to .image. Also supports DC42 images that are smaller than a complete 400K/800K disk.
  • Bulk Processor has been cleaned up to more accurately reflect issues in A2R to WOZ conversion.
  • More messages logged during the analysis process.
  • The “Save & Analyze” button is now the default for the Flux Imagers.
  • The Applesauce app is now notarized by Apple before distribution.
  • Updated Sparkle library that handles automatic app updating.

As you can see, I’m far more interested in writing code than I am posts about releases. I’ll try to get better at keeping things updated here, but no promises.

 

 

Applesauce client 1.2.0 has been released!

Huge focus on 5.25 disk analysis and .woz generation. Lots of great new features like half track support, flux-level disk editing/repairs, and a new log to highlight interesting things about the disk.

Here are some of the details:

  • Massive amount of work in .woz generation for 5.25 disks. More improvements to 3.5.
  • Detects the proper width of tracks so that protections like the EA fat track are now properly preserved.
  • Support for locating data on half tracks. Doesn’t like interleaved half tracks yet.
  • Lots of additional repair techniques in the Disk Analyzer.
  • Will attempt to resolve custom nibble translate tables. Only currently works on tables that introduce normally illegal nibbles.
  • Logging warnings and protection information to log pane. Lots more work coming on this front!
  • Ability to edit a2r images at the flux level.
  • Tracks that have a couple of sectors with standard markers and others using custom markers is now analyzed correctly more often.
  • Fixed up a couple of issues in the Diagnostics screens.
  • Fixed issue with Metadata Editor not enabling the Save button after changing platform-specific check boxes.
  • Improvements to the mastering analysis stage.

Applesauce client 1.1 released!

The new Applesauce client is finally out of beta! This is a huge update with lots of new features all over the app. The biggest work has been around .woz generation. The 3.5″ woz generation is now completed, including the ability to write copy protected images back to floppy! The 5.25 woz generation is spitting out functioning files, but still has a good amount of work left to do. It is available to download from the Software page here, or should show up in the app as an update.

Applesauce units to begin shipping next week!

As many of you know, we have been waiting on some very specific USB cables which have been on backorder with DigiKey. Good news is they are in stock again and ours are going to be delivered on Tuesday! So, we can finally get the new units tested and shipped out starting next week! Just please remember that we are a small shop that are working on Applesauce after the day job. It may take a couple weeks to get everyone’s orders out the door, so please be patient just a bit longer. Thanks!