Incorporating Passport by 4am into my workflow for archiving Apple II software with pictures

This post will:

  • Answer if I still need an Essential Data Duplicator (EDD) card to continue my efforts in preserving Apple II software from 5.25″ media
  • Outline how I use Passport by 4㏂
  • How the Floppy Emu can be incorporated in the process to more efficiently create disk images
  • New titles since the first 66 titles were published

The EDD card is known to me as a card for your slotted Apple II that has the Disk II cable pass through the EDD card on it’s way to the disk controller. Using the up to date software “I’m fEDDup“, one can capture a file containing disk information which retains the original sector structure.  A CFFA3000 is used with a ProDOS partition to save the files for sneaker net transfer to a modern computer.  

Up until the release of Passport, EDD disk images were distributed online to a select few who could apply their talents to removing the embedded copy protection from each image and release the software as cleanly cracked.  That is the disk image is compatible in an emulator and no longer contains routines to stop the loading of the software due to protections.

The presents a problem for the following reasons:

  • EDD backups are slow at ~18 minutes per disk on a stock speed IIe
  • The person doing the backing up doesn’t have a working solution until someone online cracks it
  • Cost involved with sourcing an EDD card and possibly a ZIP Chip or Transwarp accelerator to greatly improve the speed of EDD backups.  
  • Highly specific hardware required means an investment in an EDD card and accelerator which I personally was struggling to justify 
  • Hardware required can be difficult to source

Having said that clearly people to consider the costs involved for a EDD backups system to be justified, with users groups such as Apple II Australia even suggesting the idea of having an EDD card on rotation for members to use.  Time is still a problem here considering an unprotected disk can practically fly through ADTPro in 30 seconds, facing 18 minutes just to capture the disk alone is a hard sell.

The solution is here, available now and working – use Passport by 4am and your choice of 5.25″ disk emulator such as the Floppy Emu which I use and other solutions like Unisdisk and CFFA3000.  Passport does not format while it writes to the disk which is key to Floppy Emu compatibility and possibly other devices.

You can get around having a floppy drive emulator by using two disk drives and ADTPro to transfer the cracked disk to an image which in my experience works equally as well as writing direct to the Floppy Emu.

Disks now successfully backed up that previously failed are at the time of writing:

  1. Fish Scales – Designed by Neosoft, Published by DLM in 1985
  2. Facemaker – by Spinnaker Software DesignWare in 1982
  3. The First Fleet Convict Database – Distributed by Information Technology Week Committee in conjection with The Elizabeth Computer Centre and Gemini Software in 1982
  4. Scholastic Microzine 7
  5. Epyx Summer Games II

My hardware is:

  • Apple IIe, re-capped ASTEC power supply
  • AppleColor Composite Monitor IIe
  • Slot (S) 1 Apple Super Serial Card
  • S2 Apple IIe mouse interface
  • S3 Apple IIe 80 column/64K Memory Expansion and Video
  • S4 Empty
  • S5 Empty
  • S6 Apple 5.25″ Disk controller connected to the DuoDisk
  • S7 Apple 5.25″ Disk controller connected to Big Mess of Wire’s Floppy Emu

To get Passport by 4㏂ running on a setup similar to mine, you’ll need to modify the supplied 819kb .2mg file so it fits into a 140kb disk image for compatibility with the 5.25″ disk controller card.  Passport’s binary and system file are the core files one needs to keep, deleting the source code in CiderPress to trim down the disk image.  I have done this already and I now link to a ready to run 140kb disk image

Here are the steps to take an original copy protected disk into a disk image I use:

  1. Prepare your working disk.  I use a blank 140kb disk image file duplicated with the file name changed to the title of the software I’m backing up.  Or have a formatted 5.25″ floppy disk in Drive (D) 2
  2. Boot my 140kb version of Passport on your Apple II using your method of choice such as disk emulation or ADTPro
  3. Insert your original disk to drive one
  4. Eject the Passport disk image and mount the blank image file you made with the matching file name to the original disk
  5. Configure your target slot and drive, for me I have to press the “S” key once to change the target to: S7,D1 – the Floppy Emu.  My source is S6,D1 – the DuoDisk
  6. Press the “C” key and watch the magic happen.  While the realtime copy and copy protection removal occurs you may like to take notes of what Passport is doing on screen for documentation purposes.
  7. Either repeat steps 4 to 6 or reboot your Apple II to see if the copy boots as expected.

Best practice in making disk images involves cleaning of your drive heads as required. I have cleaned my drive heads with a cotton bud dipped in alcohol and now use a Memorex branded disc drive head cleaner floppy.  If you are getting read errors for some reason, clean your drive heads.

I visually inspect the exposed disk section of a floppy before inserting it looking for surface changes.  If it looks like there is a coating or any deterioration of the surface there is a good chance you’ll transfer some of that to your drive.

By all means get in contact if you have any questions.  Jeremy Barr-Hyde can be contacted by email or Twitter direct message.

Here are some example photos of me indulging:

20160724_21492820160725_17035520160725_19251220160725_193206 …

2 thoughts on “Incorporating Passport by 4am into my workflow for archiving Apple II software with pictures

Add yours

  1. I’m keen to use Passport soon for the 5.25″ disks I have I think are worth preserving (probably only a few that haven’t been archived anywhere) but I’d be using a CFFA3000 and a IIGS to do it. I’d HOPE there’s a way of having the original disk in the 5.25″ disk drive (slot 6, drive 1) and outputting the stripped copy-protection copy to slot 6, drive 2, but surely I can’t have the actual 5.25″ disk drive and the CFFA3000 working in slot 6 (which I’d specify by setting to ‘Your Card’ in the IIGS control panel) at the same time?

    I can have Passport run from the Smartport, so that wouldn’t be an issue. Just wanting to avoid having to copy to an actual 5.25″ disk, because I don’t have any spares of those around. I’d much rather just send the copy to a disk image as Passport does its magic.

    Have you played with a CFFA3000, modifying the Floppy Emu in the workflow?


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