• Niek

Desk Accessory + Updating...

Running the AppleSqueezer GS at full speed is nice, and it's even better with its 14MB of built-in memory enabled. However, there may be situations where you may not want to use the built-in RAM, or the acceleration. For instance, certain games that were not designed with different CPU speeds in mind may run too fast with acceleration, or you may want to use your memory expansion slot, rather than use the built-in 14MB of memory. This could be the case if you have a DMA-enabled expansion card, which could be incompatible with the AppleSqueezer. For these types of situations, it's good to be able to disable certain aspects of the AppleSqueezer. This is now possible thanks to a new Desk Accessory that can be installed, and which gives you the options to disable acceleration and built-in RAM. The AppleSqueezer CDA allows you to change these aspects, and the changes will then be stored in the AppleSqueezer itself. So after a hard reboot, the changes take effect.

Another request that was made by some potential users was the ability to upgrade the card with a new "bitstream", in case new features become available, or bug fixes are made. This will now be possible as well, straight from your IIGS itself. It would always be possible to send back the card, for me to upgrade it in person, but obviously that takes time, and it would be a lot easier for users to have the ability to do this by themselves. The bitstream is what defines the functionality of the FPGA on the board. It basically configures the "chip" that forms the heart of the AppleSqueezer. FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array, and this is the "Field Programmable" part :) Essentially, what you are doing is changing the main chip in the AppleSqueezer. The upgrade functionality is not yet part of the CDA (desk accessory), but it should be in the future! This should give early adopters a bit of peace of mind that even in case they run into an unforeseen incompatibility, this could still be fixed later (depending on my time and severity of the issue! :) Note that potential incompatibilities could also be worked around already by disabling certain features, as described earlier.

The upgrade functionality should alleviate aspects of "feature creep" that I mentioned in an earlier post: with the upgrade option, certain features that only a few people may be interested in, don't have to hold back delivery for the other 90% of users who may not care about that specific feature. The feature can then later be added and the card updated. This should ensure that the first shipments happen sooner, which I hope is good news for everyone!

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