Author Archives: stern

replacing the i/o card in the Apple IIe

It worked.

Bank Street Writer - Apple II

Bank Street Writer

It’s in black and white only; I don’t know whether to blame the computer, the TV, or the cable. Also, one of the disc drives seems to be shot and I can’t find a functioning copy of AppleWorks. The copy I have crashes when trying to put new files on the desktop. Amusingly, it has saved the date it was last used for use in time stamping new files — May 14, 1986. I suspect that was the day we got our Mac Plus. I didn’t touch the Apple II for another 25 years.

Pirated Apple II games. I feel a little guilty.

Archon worked, as did a number of other games. I found the pirate-added splash screens more interesting than the games. Was there anything to be gained from these other than prestige? Where is “The Burglar” today?

Connecting an Apple IIe to the TV set

When I was young, my parents purchased an Apple IIe. My sisters and I played some games on it, and I did classwork on it after I figured out what a word processor was (intuiting the need for such a thing, I had attempted to program my own in Apple Basic. Imagine my simultaneous delight and disappointment to discover Apple Writer II).

Last year, I found the old machine in my parents’ garage, along with its disc drives. The monitors and dot matrix printer had not survived. I did not want to buy a replacement “composite” monitor, and it was unclear to me which, if any, of the “VGAbox” type devices on the market might allow it to talk to one of my computer monitors, so the Apple IIe sat in the basement until I realized today that it could probably be attached to our television via the RCA jack on the front of the screen. Indeed —

Apple //

Apple //e on a large high definition screen

Unfortunately, while the machine booted and the drives spun up, they would not load an operating system. I pulled the disk interface card and tried to reseat the chips, but this ended up frying the card entirely. Sigh.

A question you don’t want to hear from your wife when tinkering with old hardware —

“What’s that smell?”

A replacement card is coming, courtesy eBay. It would be nice to salvage some of the files on my old 5 1/4″ discs.

A recent torrent of work by Pamela

  1. December 17, 2010 — a review of Knuffle Bunny Free. An Unexpected Diversion
  2. December 30, 2010 — Studied column about research showing that rich people are less empathetic than poorer folks
  3. January 7, 2011 — For the Education section, an article about whether or not volunteering really helps high school students get into elite colleges
  4. January 14, 2011 — Studied column about research showing that nice guys tend to get married more than less-nice guys

Those were all for The New York Times. She also had a couple of columns in Worth magazine, including this one, about instilling a sense of charity in your child.

MySQL in VMWare Fusion

Whatever your development platform of choice, if you work with large amounts of data, you should be running a database management system. In the modern day, high quality DBMSs are available for whatever platform you’re probably using, and some are even available for free. For an important project on which my team is currently working, we have implemented MySQL, in part because it runs on all the same platforms that Mathematica does. Mathematica can interface with it easily, and it comes with decent administration tools. This means that we can program on Windows or Mac and run on either one, transparently.

All of our Macs also have Windows partitions, and we have Mathematica licenses for both. While it is possible to install MySQL under both operating systems, to do so would almost inevitably lead to inconsistencies between the datasets on the two sides. In development, this can complicate debugging, and it’s completely unacceptable in production.

A nice solution is to run the MySQL server under OSX, and to set up the Windows virtual machine as a client to it. This is not hard to do with a virtualization tool like VMWare Fusion, though it is not expressly documented.

To allow the windows account to see the mySQL server on the Mac side, you need to do three things

1. Create permissions on the MySQL server under OSX. For example, create a new account for root, limiting connectivity to hosts matching whatever the windows partition identifies itself as in its network control panel (with wildcards, this often comes to something like win-qae% or win-OFT%).

2. Create a server connection from the client (windows) side. When establishing the connection from windows, you can refer to the Mac by IP address or by its local network name, as appears at the top of the Sharing control panel (Mac-Pro.local in the example below).

sharing control panel

finding the computer's name (also, optionally turning on SSH to allow remote administration)

If you use DHCP, it may be necessary to use a wildcarded version of the laptop’s IP address (e.g. 192.168.%), though this obviously reduces security.

3. In Workbench under Windows, create a connection to a remote MySQL server. This can be pure TCP/IP (which requires you open port 3306 or any other you have set for your MySQL server) or TCP/IP over SSH (which only requires port 22 and encrypts the communication).

This is set up in the Connection Manager (left column, last entry on the WB home screen). Alternatively you can use the New Connection Wizard (click the “New Connection” link in that column).

If you want to be able to administer the database from Windows, including making database backups, you’ll need a couple more steps.

4. Go to the Mac Sharing control panel and enable Remote Login, which turns on SSH.

5. In Workbench under Windows, create a remote “command connection.” This is set up in the Server Instance Manager, which can be reached via the last link in the right column on the workbench home screen. Alternatively you can also use the New Server Instance Wizard.

When you open the server instance manager for an existing server instance, you will see a block of settings titled “Remote Adminstration” or “Remote Management” (select your instance in the left-hand list first). There are the 3 possible type settings (none, win-based, ssh-based) and you need ssh-based for this technique. The SSH hostname is your computer’s name:SSH port number (Mac-Pro.local:22 for example). SSH username is your account name on in OSX.

identify the host for the command connection


set the database connection values


set up remote administration

For the sake of your sanity, do not use the same username for your computer account and your database account. When MySQL asks for the password for user ‘fred’, you need to know which one it’s asking about.

If you have done all these things correctly, it will be possible to query the OSX database from within the Windows partition on the same machine, and to administer the database from either operating system.