Second Life on an Apple ][+

Torley sez, "My esteemed colleague, Joshua Linden, had the audacity and ingenuity to get Second Life streaming to an Apple ][+, and while masochistic due to slow-loading, it's pretty awesome to watch and listen to him explain how he did it. Sheer geeky awesomeness. Link (Thanks, Torley!)


  1. I hope I’m not the first to notice this (since that would reflect poorly on the memories and knowledge of Apple history of my fellow readers)- the computer in view is very clearly an Apple ][c, not a ][+. The ][e and ][c were very similar, the + was a generation behind.

  2. Thats pretty awesome, I love seeing things like this! 15.95 for the the usb to rs232 cable SWEET!
    Gotta get me one of those,time to dust off the old computers.

    I recently found a hack that is sorta the opposite of new game on old computer, it’s old games on new digital camera.
    I’ve been playing Reversi/Othello on my camera . I found out about this looking at Kite Aerial Photography on flickr.

    CHDK is a firmware update that unlocks/ adds features your canon digital camera.
    The level of control it gives you over your consumer camera is mind blowing, I paid less than $200 for my little credit card sized 7.1 megapixel canon sd1000 and not I’m shooting Raw Images and time lapse video. One of the awesome things I have not tried yet is the High-Speed Shutter & Flash-Sync feature that is totally off the hook.

    I used a lot of links in this post because I know there are lots of readers like me, who love to find out about this stuff. Someone should blog about this on boing boing about this coolness or maybe @ bbgadgets?

  3. I was going to comment on that, also. Apple wrote the model name “Apple //c” with two slashes and a c, as opposed to the ][ brackets of earlier models.

    I had a //c in High School. I loved that old machine, and was using it to Telnet, FTP and Gopher surf the Internet at 1200 baud as late as 1990.

  4. I *still* have my ][e from high school in a box in my garage. I wonder if this hack will work on a ][e, which was notably less integrated (a serial port was an add-on that I only had through my Apple-Cat Modem) as a //c, and was no where near as standardized as the serial ports on current(-1) generation PCs (since RS232 and other legacy IO ports have been obsoleted by USB) and current(-bazillion) Macintosh generations. (I could WTFV, but I’m on a wireless card and my video quality is sporadic at best).

  5. That’s effin’ awesome. It’s like seeing Super Mario Bros. on a 1800’s stereoscope. XD

  6. Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

    Hagrid – yeah, it’s definitely a //c. Apple used a variety of letterforms to make the Roman 2 on the cases and during the boot sequence. I believe the sequence is something like ][, ][+, ][e (early), //e, //c, IIgs, IIc (late), IIe (late), IIc+ where the exact glyphs changed even within a model over time. However, that’s basically just ASCII art, not actual product naming. These days, “II” is used generically.

    Hazmat – To get the stellar frame rate shown (a whopping 1.5Hz or so!) it requires 115kbps. This is supported on the Super Serial “Card” (SSC) present on the Apple IIc and IIgs motherboards. This speed is undocumented – I was unaware of it myself and apparently no software at the time took advantage of it. I am not sure if the SSC add-on card for the IIe, but it is unlikely that any other card did.

    Before I knew about the possibility of a 115kbps transfer rate I was thinking of doing it in lo-res graphics mode (40×48!). Although the graphics are chunky you get a 16 color palette to play with, and can easily achieve 30fps. Developers have recently done some amazing things with this, including a 30fps ray-casting adventure game ( and encoding short music videos, which is what directly inspired this project. (You just have to stand on the other side of the room…)

  7. Cory, thanks graciously for posting this!

    Josh heads the Release Team at Linden Lab and out-from-behind-the-scenes, I just think it’s darn cool to see his uberhobby shared. Mark Linden (also @ LL, every employee has the avatar last name “Linden”) provided the hardware… speaking of…

    thanks to the knowledgeable Appleologists in the comments for pointing that out — I now have more richness through hyperlinks to learn, follow, absorb, and smile about! :)

  8. The Second Life aspect of this is largely irrelevant. This is just video streaming to an old computer. Whenever you need a bridging computer that does most of the heavy lifting you really haven’t proven much.

    Now, if someone took a C64 with an Ethernet cartridge and connected it directly to Second Life giving you the ability to text chat and teleport, *that* would be something.

    Heck, if Second Life *itself* released 2D and textmode clients for old or limited hardware, *that* would be cool. Second Life on my Pocket PC or Nokia Series 60 mobile phone would rock.

  9. How about Second Life streaming in 3D to TWO cell phones – you hold one display up to each eye!

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