Apple II Weather Display (part 1)

Due to computer issues I had to rob some parts from my “electronics” computer, which wasn’t bad, since I was not working on anything at the time and I felt a software project itch. I also wanted to do something with my Apple //c, which resides on my computer desk, so this ghetto brute force “solution” to use the 25 year old computer as a weather display came about.

In a nutshell there is the Apple II, a serial cable, and a PC running linux mint 10 and a handful of command line utilities. My specific Apple is the fist revision of the //c which means its got a buggy rom and the serial port(s) can be troublesome, the best speed I was able to get was 600 baud with just basic, though every other model could probably go a little faster.

On the linux side, wget downloads html and the radar image from Weather Underground’s mobile site, which is not a perfect source, but its easy. A lua script phrases text and graphics into string patterns that the Apple II can handle as keyboard input, and its sent down a serial cable where it is drawn on screen in basic.

Yea its pretty darn slow … it typically takes about eight to twelve minutes to redraw the screen, which is not all that horrid (imo) considering what is going on, but anyone with a more serious take on this could find numerous ways to optimize it, I just wanted to see what it would look like.

Join us after the break for a short video and to read all the details about how this all works!

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