Apple IIe Twitter ticker

A hand input bootloader and a custom communications protocol are what bring the Apple IIe Twitter ticker to life. [Chris Yerga] bought the decades-old machine for $20 at a flea market. Having just completed his TweetWall he decided to adapt the idea for the 1 MHz machine. He manually input a 50 byte bootloader that would let him dump programs into memory via the joystick port. From there he rigged up a connection with a USB FTDI cable. Now the images and text are processed by a modern-day machine and fed to the Apple IIe at 3600 baud. See this in action after the break.


  1. M4CGYV3R says:

    Wow. It’s hard to imagine that the 1/4″ PIC chip I’m working on now runs 48 times faster than that whole huge computer, and probably supports more functions.

  2. b says:


    I know right?
    computers really have come a long way…
    now i am rocking a 3 ghz machine!

  3. xxdixonxx says:

    I love it when these old machines get hacked. Brings back memories…

  4. Hackersmith says:

    Ok. So this thing is just a fancy monitor and not actually pulling the information and processing. Just doing the output.

    Wheeeeellllll. The only OBVIOUS solution here is to create an arduino that will emulate the bigger computer and just build it into the AppleII.
    (Actually that would be kinda cool)

  5. Roon says:

    Or even better build a top of the range gaming pc into the case and play Crysis on max settings on it!
    That might be a bit OTT but it would still be awesome. :)

  6. xeracy says:

    Awww.. i was quite impressed with the graphics rendering speed… too bad its done by a regular compy…

  7. TJ says:

    Or just use the Apple II xscreensaver hack… that’s a different type of hack though d8)

  8. Sp`ange says:

    It’d be cool to hack a copy of “where in the world is carmen sandiago” or “oregon trail” and have the screen show images from the game(s) with the twitter text.

  9. mrgoogfan says:

    Put it on a c64 and then i’ll be impressed.

  10. J Harton says:

    Actually if you want to see something really cool, check this out: It’s Second Life being streamed to an Apple IIc and displayed on the monitor in relatively high res for the Apple.

  11. Buzz says:

    Bah, the ultimate apple hack is right here :D

    ^^Truly a awesome mod:P

  12. Paul Potter says:

    Pure brilliance. Also, total bargain he had there. Could do with an older monitor though. :)

    I’ve got a IIc.

  13. Ugly American says:

    There’s already a native C64 client to send and receive.

    “BREADBOX64 is a twitter client for the C64/128 which allows you to tweet from a real C64 and show your friends timeline.”

  14. Alex says:

    I really like the ASCII art in the first photo. Twitter has always seemed pretty pointless to me, but this project is nicely done, so kudos for that.

  15. M4CGYV3R says:

    Oregon Trail is the first thing I think whenever I see an Apple II.

    Your whole party has dysentery. Let’s go hunting!

  16. blurry says:

    There’s lots of fun way to stream data and programs to a vintage apple. I put one up here a few years ago using a serial bootloader, which has an advantage of 1) no typing and 2) no floppy drive. Provided you have the serial card installed, no hardware hacks necessary. I also added on-the-fly compression and decompression.

    One of these days I’ll get around to streaming video, much like the second life demonstration, but more portable (using java, so more platform agnostic)

  17. Erik says:

    Meh. They are just using it as a terminal – nothing special here. The serial port uses standard protocol, just keep IN’ing port 2 and printing the data. That also isn’t ASCII art, it was a special video mode of the apples with graphics on top, and text on the bottom – a lot of RPGs used this (Castlevania comes to mind first)

  18. Scratch says:

    Seeing an Apple II being used for anything makes me weep tears of nostalgic joy.

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