Around the start of 2007 a work colleague introduced me to an Apple IIe emulator. The memories started to flood back to my teenage years when the Apple IIe took up a good part of my life. It had been about a decade since I last had one. I figured it might be fun to source a working model and try out a few projects that I never got around to doing.
From ebay I picked up an Apple IIGS, knocked up a serial cable and with a program called ADTPro I downloaded a few disk images to try out. It was slow going because I did not have any media to store the programs on. I only wish I had kept my software collection. I sourced some 5.25" and 3.5" floppies but this was a battle in itself. Not all the floppies I managed to get stood the test of time.
It wasn't long before I bit the bullet and bought myself a hard drive solution. There were a few good options to choose from (fantastic considering the IIGS was discontinued back in the early 90s) and the one I chose was the Microdrive IDE controller with a Compact Flash (CF) card. Things started to move along but it was still quite cumbersome. Every time I wanted to add software to the hard drive I had to open the case, removed the CF card and plug it into the CF reader on my PC. Eventually I got a custom extension cable made up and I mounted the CF card in an external enclosure.
This was all good and well for the latest software that supports a hard drive or was easily converted to be used on one. However getting the older Apple II software to work was a little more challenging. There were a variety of different creative solutions to this problem however either through compatibility or difficulty with setup/usage none suited my expectations. I wanted something as easy to use as the Apple IIe emulator on my PC. I know that would be expecting too much but I set about building something that will come as close as possible.
Over the next few months I did not see much progress in my project as I went about refining my ideas, researching, designing the product and collecting the parts.