Source:GEnieLamp A2, May 1993

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Section excerpted from the May 1993 issue of GEnieLamp A2.


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May 1993


Darrel Raines


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Apple II Corner

By Darrel Raines

Industry Standards

One of the secrets to becoming a happy computer owner is very simple: standardized components. I have learned that I go with industry standards whenever possible. This may sound obvious, but there is more to this than meets the eye.

Since the Apple II (and for that matter, any computer platform) will not last forever, you have to have an eye toward the future. I am always trying to decide what hardware I should purchase based upon the ability of that hardware to function on more than one type of computer. I want to be able to take most of my equipment with me whenever I change computers. Or, more likely, when I purchase other computers to supplement my Apple IIgs.

An example involves my hard drives. I decided some time ago to use an interface standard that works across the various platforms. Therefore, the SCSI interface was the only logical route to travel. These hard drives will work on Apple II's, Mac's, IBM's and the various clones, just to mention a few. I do not have to worry about the ability to use my mass storage devices on the new equipment I might purchase. The SCSI standard provides me that assurance.

Another example: my laser printer is an Epson product that conforms to the Printer Control Language (PCL) defined by the industry standard Hewlett Packard (HP) LaserJet IIP. This standard insures that my printer will work on a number of computer systems. It also insures that the software I purchase will support the printer. (An Epson dot matrix emulation adds to the functionality of the printer.)

At this point we can see one of two problem areas begin to arise: new standards that replace the old. HP has come out with a new printer, the LaserJet III printer and an updated PCL for that printer. If I want to stay up-to-date with the most current printer control language, I must buy a new printer that conforms to the new standard. When, and if, I make this change is dictated by my budget and the software I might purchase that needs this updated PCL. I have ignored the possibility of "buying a new toy" for the sake having the latest and greatest electronics.

The other problem area is the choice of which standard to buy into. My laser printer will work as another case study. The HP PCL standard is not the only game in town. Adobe has created a Page Scripting language that they call PostScript. This standard is radically different than the HP PCL and has been around longer. A good case could be made for purchasing a PostScript printer instead of the HP compatible. However, price of the final printer was a deciding factor for me (PostScript is fairly expense to license from Adobe).

With these goals in mind, I have purchased computer hardware that can be used on my current system, other computers systems that I might want to hook up, and future systems that I may buy. The biggest pay-back for this planning will be immediately after purchasing a new computer platform. I will not have to buy new equipment for every peripheral I need to enjoyment of my computer. If this type of thinking has not been a factor for you in the past, why don't you give it some consideration. You might save some money over the long haul.


Look for a couple of graphic demo programs (from me) during the next month. I managed to find the time to shake off my programming rust and get two projects finished. One package relates to the mention I made last month of Eamon software for the Apple IIgs. Where do you think that you will see these uploads first: GEnie, of course! See you online.