Enhancing AppleWorks 4

February 6th, 2012 11:12 AM
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Last summer, I found my copy of the 1993 VHS tape Enhancing AppleWorks 4, a 26-minute video in which software developers Randy Brandt and Dan Verkade discuss the program's origin and the optional enhancements one can make to Quality Computers' 1993 update to the classic word processor, spreadsheet, and database productivity suite.

I recently decided to part with the video (before finding out that the intended party didn't want it), so I finally digitized it so that everyone could enjoy it. It seemed especially timely to do so, given Randy's recent reappearance in the Apple II community. Though it's true this video is already available on YouTube courtesy the generous Antoine Vignau, he writes, "My VCR is NTSC compatible on output to a TV screen, but my Plextor digitizer sees the flow as black & white only." I knew from my previous conversions of Quality Computer videos that my setup was capable of color, so I now offer a more picturesque alternative in this single Vimeo video:

Q/Vision, a division of Quality Computers, presents this introduction to AppleWorks 4 and the Apple II programmers behind it. Starring QC employees Randy Brandt, Dan Verkade, Katherine Hempton, and Walker Archer, written by Jerry Kindall, and produced and directed by Sam Mannino, this 1993 video was converted from VHS and is posted here with permission from copyright holder Joe Gleason.

I am not skilled at editing video and so did not run the above MP4 file through free utilities such as JES Deinterlacer and JES Video Cleaner. If anyone wishes to do so, the video file can be freely downloaded from Vimeo for further processing. Please let me know of your results, and I can replace the Vimeo file with a superior quality version without changing the URL.

It's important to remember that physical media have additional aspects that can be lost in a straight conversion, so I have also scanned all pertinent materials associated with this VHS tape into a PDF.

Quality Computers on Vimeo

December 13th, 2010 9:54 AM
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Just a brief note today to point out that both the Quality Computers videos I previously digitized and made available via YouTube — those being the Q-Drive care & feeding video and the System 6.0.1 introduction — are now available on Vimeo.

Quality Computers Q-Drive care & feeding video from Ken Gagne on Vimeo.

Quality Computers System 6.0.1 video from Ken Gagne on Vimeo.

I started using Vimeo in conjunction with KansasFest 2010, which marked the first official effort to create a video record of the event. Having previously uploaded Quality Computers videos to YouTube, I knew that the service's ten-minute maximum movie length imposed on standard users would be a significant barrier to publishing multiple and lengthy KansasFest videos. Vimeo has no such limits, and its premium service offers high-definition videos and downloadable source files. True, it's easy enough to download YouTube videos with Safari, but Vimeo makes the process that much more transparent.

So although the content of each Quality Computers video is unchanged from YouTube to Vimeo, you can now watch each in one segment instead of seven, and you can download it at such for your own archives as well — making the history of the Apple II all that much easier to access and preserve.

Quality Computers System 6.0.1 video

July 12th, 2010 11:48 AM
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Two months ago, I digitized and uploaded a Quality Computers VHS video. Permission to do so was provided in a csa2 post started by Donald Jordan, who was looking to convert and preserve Quality Computer's video about the System 6.0.1 operating system. Though his quest had opened the door for all Quality Computers videos to be converted, I was curious if he'd achieved that goal with the specific video he had in mind.

I emailed Donald and learned that he had indeed converted his video — from VHS to DVD, using the Sony RDR-VXD655 VHS/DVD combo unit. His needs were met, but I was interested in distributing the video to a larger audience. Donald graciously donated a copy of his DVD to me for that purpose.

Once I had the DVD, I used MacTheRipper to save it to my hard drive; then, per Tony Diaz's suggestion, I used HandBrake to convert the DVD format to an MPEG-4 video file. Then, using QuickTime Player 7 Pro, I chopped the 57-minute video into seven separate MOV files that would accommodate YouTube's ten-minute upload limit. Here is the resulting playlist:


Q/Vision, a division of Quality Computers, presents this introduction to System 6.0.1, the last official Apple IIGS operating system released by Apple Computer Inc. This video was originally presented in six parts: previews of other Quality Computers products; an overview of System 6.0.1 and the Bonus Pack; preparation; installation; the Apple desktop; and the IIGS Finder. Starring QC employee Walker Archer, this 1992 video was converted from VHS to DVD by Donald Jordan and is posted here with his permission and cooperation, as well as that of copyright holder Joe Gleason.

Quality Computers Q-Drive tutorial video

May 31st, 2010 11:00 AM
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The Lost Classics project serves to reclassify formerly commercial Apple II software, preserving it for current and future users of the classic computer. But there exists a variety of other Apple II products that require not just reclassification, but digitization, as their original format was physical and prone to decay or destruction.

Of late, Antoine Vignau of Brutal Deluxe Software has made it his mission to convert various VHS recordings and upload them to YouTube, where anyone can see and share them. Inspired, I decided to follow suit. I rummaged through my modest tape collection and found one from Quality Computers covering the installation and maintenance of their Q-Drive external SCSI hard drive. Concerned about copyright, I recalled that Sean Fahey had recently contacted Joe Gleason, former president of Quality Computers, and had been granted permission to distribute these videos, putting my efforts in the clear.

To make the conversion, I used the Pinnacle Video Transfer tool, which takes A/V input on one end and outputs to a USB storage device on the other. My VCR is old (but then, aren't they all?) and lacks an S-Video jack, so I relied on composite, or RCA, cables. Although this limitation may've impacted the final product's quality, I don't think the potential improvement would've been great given the VHS source material.

Once I had a digital file, Eric Shepherd recommended I use the program JES Deinterlacer, but its powers were beyond my ken. The filter's multiple options and settings were not obvious to someone unfamiliar with video editing, and I found that running a file through the program took several hours to output a final product, which deterred experimentation. In the end, and with Antoine's seal of approval, I skipped this step and uploaded the result to YouTube. Due to the service's 10-minute limit on individual files, I broke the 30-minute video into thirds. You can now view parts one, two, and three online, or altogether in this playlist:



Q/Vision, a division of Quality Computers, presents this tutorial for installing and maintaining their Q-Drive external hard drive on your Apple IIGS computer. Starring QC employees Michael Heintz, Walker Archer, and Jerry Kindall, this 1992 video is posted here with permission from Joe Gleason.


Thank you to Sean, Antoine, and Sheppy for their help!