17/06/2017: 8-bit Eduware on 32meg Disk Image

With the recent addition of so many 8-bit educational titles (see the Pelican / Toucan archives), I've decided to finish up a ‘beta' version of a 32meg image including nothing but 8-bit eduwares...some of which run correctly from a 'hard drive' or any large ProDOS volume. Others, not so much.

 8-bit Eduware (A self-booting collation of 8-bit educational software, ~13.6meg)

Why am I particularly obsessed with hard drive installable software? Well, if ever there was going to be a museum that allowed people to use Apple IIs to see what it's really like to use one, I feel having a solid state drive is a good compromise - yes, it does remove the experience of using real 5.25" and 3.5" floppy disks (but at the same time, putting less wear on these mediums and the drives that read and write to them), but it will provide (after a three finger salute reboot if a program doesn't offer a ‘quit' option) a more intuitive and familiar way of presenting a menu to select which program to load next. Also, this method should be much faster than traditional media, allowing more time to actually explore the software and less time waiting for things to load. Using 3.5" disk based 8-bit software is a good base to do this as the software has been designed to run the program and its data from a single volume, where as many 5.25" disks ask for different disks – this may simplify the process of getting as many working titles onto a ProDOS mass storage volume.

This 32meg image self boots and runs Sneeze v2.2 by Karl Bunker, a great program launcher (and then some, with some file management abilities and allowing you to read text files and view graphic files). 8-bit eduware is allocated across folders representing different educational categories. I've used the IIGS utility Universe Master to alphabetise the order of the files in every directory, which should help find what you're looking for more quickly if you keep this in mind.

The following is a list of what does and doesn't work on this 32meg ProDOS volume. It's possible that many of these titles could work if, when sector editing, the hard path looking for the program's data is changed to a file path for this 32meg volume. HOWEVER, this crude method (the only way which I am capable) might be limited by the already large number of characters in the volume name and then the name of a sub directory.

I encourage anyone with more programming and sector editing skills than I to see if you can correct any of the following:

40,000 Selected Words - Seems to work great
Alge Blaster - The only executable is SHELL.SYS...which takes you to a shell. Then what?
Alge Blaster Plus - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Algebra Shop - Seems to work perfectly
Animal Watch Whales - Explore Version date display - then hangs
Atlas Explorer - Hangs after launch
Banner Books Across America - Works perfectly
Fairy Tales Big Book Maker - Works perfectly
Children's Writing & Publishing Center - ‘*** UNABLE TO FIND STARTUP ***' error message, suggesting
Classmate - Asks for original disk
Destination Mars - Works great
Electric Crayon - All work great
Explore Australia - Displays a crack date but then hangs
Gertrude's Secrets - works great with v2.3
Hollywood Squares - Works perfectly
Homeworker - Asks for original disk
Joshua's Reading Machine - Works perfectly
Magic Slate II - asks for original disk
Magic Spells - with v2.3, this could be hard drive installable. v2.2 hangs on title screen.
Math and Me - Works great!
Math Blaster - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Math Blaster Mystery - From System 6, works great with v1.3! ProDOS 8 - quits immediately!
Math Blaster Plus - Quits back to System 6 immediately / Crashes to monitor via ProDOS 8
Math Rabbit - Works perfectly
Math Shop - ‘CHECK YOUR DISK DRIVE' error message
Math Shop Fractions & Decimals - ‘CHECK YOUR DISK DRIVE' error message
Monsters & Make Believe - Works perfectly
Nature Park Adventure - Seems to work fine
Perfect Career - Error! Disk #2 not found message
Playroom, The - Works fine from ProDOS 8, but hangs when run from System 6.
Pow Zap Kerplunk Comic Book Maker - Works perfectly
Read n Roll - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Reading & Writing with the Boars - runs but with graphic glitches
Reading and Me - Runs perfectly!
Reading Team People and Places - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Report Card - Oddly, the only executable file opens the BASIC prompt and stops there.
Return of the Dinosaurs - Hangs on HGR screen ‘Please wait'
Scholastic Slide Shop - Works great! (essentially Powerpoint for the 8-bit Apple II!)
Sensible Grammar - Seems to work great
Sensible Speller - Seems to work great
Sesame Street Learning Library Volume 1 - Seems to work great
Speed Reader II - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Spell It - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Spell It Plus - Works perfectly!
Story Starters Science - Works perfectly!
Story Starters Social Studies - Works perfectly!
Studymate - Seems to work perfectly
Super Print - Works perfectly
Super Print II - Works perfectly
Super Story Tree - Works perfectly
The Treehouse - Works perfectly
The Whole Neighbourhood - Works perfectly
Think Quick - v1.4 works with ProDOS 8, but doesn't with System 6
Vocabulary Team Science & Health - Asks for original disk to be inserted
Where in Europe is Carmen? ‘Error 45 on file 00' error then hang
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? ‘Error 45 on file FF' error then hang
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? - Crashes to monitor
Where is Carmen Sandiego in America's Past? - Works great, but this isn't cracked - you can play 1 case before the game then asks for a word look-up in the manual.
Word Attack - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Word Attack Plus - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Word Attack Plus French - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Word Attack Plus Spanish - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Writer Rabbit - Doesn't work. According to the documentation the Learning Company released regarding newer versions of their classic eduware, there isn't a newer official version that will support hard drive installation. it will require a hack.
Your School Day - Works fine

With recent 8-bit 32meg disk images being done by John M Holmes Jnr and Jason Kersten on the Apple II Enthusiasts group on Facebook, Jason did a particularly good job using Prosel-8 to make a menu selection screen. I think I'll adopt this approach instead of using Sneeze for future revisions of this 32meg image of 8-bit educational software, as it's much more user friendly and efficient to loading each of the programs, not to mention that if the only to fix some programs is changing the hard path, an edited menu system can hide the ugly folder naming that would be required for hard path changes.

For those who have been in close contact with me, my wife and I have just had our second child and it's getting increasingly challenging to find time for the Apple II. For the meantime though, I'll get this 'beta' version out there so all can have a play with it, and if you're inclined 'fix' some of the programs listed above that aren't currently working on this volume.

UPDATE: 18/6/2017 – qkumba has already been able to hack Alge Blaster Plus! to work from a large ProDOS volume! The disk image has been updated with the newer version.

UPDATE: 19/6/2017 – qkumba has now patched both Explore Australia and Whale Watch and they now work perfectly from the 32meg image! Marco Verpelli has also done great initial work – Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego is now playable from any directory, and we've now also got the rare ProDOS based version of Where in the U.S.A is Carmen Sandiego – now fully working from any large ProDOS volume. Great work! There will be more to come!