[Blindapple] Interesting Textalker discoveries

Jayson Smith jaybird at bluegrasspals.com
Fri Nov 8 18:55:38 EST 2013


I have a theory, and it's just that, a theory. According to BEX 
newsletters, the version numbering for BEX was a bit nonstandard. First 
there was an early beta which was version 1.0, and then a later beta 
which was 1.5. Neither of these versions seems to have survived. The 
first public version was 2.0. If Street did much the same thing, it's 
possible that Textalker 2.X versions were internal or private betas, and 
were never publicly released. That would explain why no copies of 
Textalker 2.X seem to exist, at least none that we've been able to find.

A similar thing happened with Apple DOS. Apparently, when the developer 
turned over his copy of DOS to Apple, the version number he was using 
was 2.8. Apple decided they couldn't release something called DOS 2.8, 
so they bumped it up to 3.0 for the beta release, and 3.1 for the 
initial public release.

On 11/8/2013 2:45 PM, Tony Baechler wrote:
> Hi all,
> Before anyone asks, I'm sorry, but I can't share the disk images.  I have
> been asked not to do so and I respect the person's wishes.  He is on this
> list and can choose to share them if he wishes.  He gave them to me along
> with a lot of other material from a business who developed accessible software.
> I was looking at some old disks of software for the blind and made a few
> interesting discoveries.  First, a while ago, people have asked about
> putting multiple versions of Textalker on one disk.  I can confirm that yes,
> it can be done.  You will have four files, textalker.ram and textalker.obj
> for 3.1.X and textalker.whatever and textalker.ram.obj for version 1.3,
> replacing ".whatever" with something unique.  The particular disks called it
> textalker.plus.  I was able to confirm that versions 1.3 and 3.1.2 can
> happily coexist on a disk together.  I'm not exactly sure why they did it
> that way, but there you go.
> Secondly, I found an old version of Textalker not yet on any of the
> available disk images.  It's 3.1 and doesn't have the APH copyright.  I
> remember using 3.1.1 a long time ago, but I've never seen anything between
> 1.3 and 3.1.1 until now.  I find 3.1 interesting because it was the last
> version released by Street Electronics before APH took over development.  In
> both versions 3.1 and 3.1.1, speech doesn't stop when a key is pressed.
> That was a new feature added in 3.1.2, but other than that, I don't know
> what else changed.  Version 3.1 is dated 1985 while 3.1.1 and on are dated
> 1986 or later by APH.
> As I said, I can't actually share these disks due to a request not to do so,
> but they're out there.  Perhaps someone should compile a Textalker museum or
> something.  I'm still looking for the illusive 2.X if it exists.  I find it
> hard to believe that no development was done between 1981 with 1.3 and 1985
> with 3.1 and that 3.0 doesn't exist out there.  Ah well, the search goes on.
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