Henry Spragens’ Music, The Lost LOST Project

2010 December 4
by JJ Sonick

Wow, way too long since I last posted! I haven’t been neglecting my Apple II in all the time that’s past, though – there’s a number of Apple II shenanigans I have to report here and in upcoming posts.

First, thanks to Henry Spragens for leaving a comment on the Boxy’s Lament post, pointing to his site where he has samples of various fascinating 8-bit Apple II music experiments he did. Lots of pics/info on sound hardware of the time and a bunch of great music demos, be sure to check it out!

Second, I wanted to feature an abandoned Apple II project of mine. As has been noted in Apple II retro-dom, The TV series LOST featured an Apple II (with the Apple logo replaced by a Dharma one and, apparently, an Apple III monitor being used?) as the “Dharma Initiative computer” — most prominently in Season 2.

Between Season 5 & 6, I had an idea to make an actual Apple II program that would simulate connecting to the Dharma Initiative’s DharmaTel network. After connecting, the user would recieve a report, from the DI’s perspective, on the cataclysmic Incident that served as the climax of Season 5 and a focal plot point of much of the show. The user would type out various keywords (highlighted in all caps in the report) to navigate to various parts of the report. It would include images from the show, translated into Apple II hi-res screens via the jpeg-to-HGR-screen routine I posted about earlier, and use the Beagle Brother’s Pronto DOS to allow somewhat speedy loading of those images.

I made a VERY short demo of the idea, and embedded the disk image in an AppleIIGo java applet. Here’s a screenshot:

Dharmatel Report Demo screenshot

Dharmatel Report Demo screenshot

You can try it out by clicking the link below. Enter anything you want as the username. Caveats: Requires java to run in your browser, which your browser might block by default, and you may have to click on the applet’s screen to gain focus before typing. AND the applet seems to hang in Mac Chrome sometimes. Other browsers seem OK.

>> DharmaTel Report DEMO

(Really, I should have AppleIIGo set to monochrome monitor mode for more fidelity to the show’s computer.)

I was going to collaborate on the report entries with a friend of mine who was even more of an obsessed LOST fan, but I wanted to wait to see how Season 6 was going to treat the post-Incident world. Well, the way Season 6 unfolded made the Dharma Initiative’s view of the Incident not so very important anymore, at least to my eyes, and I lost enthusiasm for completing the project.

I still enjoy the image of Desmond messing with the Dharma Apple II with the lid off, though.

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