||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (August 2014)|
|Headquarters||San Diego, California, United States|
|Key people||Bert Kersey, Alan Bird, Jack Cassidy, Mark Simonsen, Rob Renstrom, Randy Brandt, Dan Verkade, Matt Reimer, Mark Munz|
Beagle Bros was an American software company that specialized in creating personal computing products that were both useful and whimsical. Their primary focus was on the Apple II family of computers. Although they ceased business in 1991, owner Mark Simonsen permitted the Beagle Bros name and logo to be included on the 30th anniversary reboot of I. O. Silver, released on December 12, 2014 by former Beagle programmer Randy Brandt.
Beagle Bros (the lack of a period at the end is intentional; according to the company, "there wasn't room") was founded in 1980 by Bert Kersey and expanded over the years to include a wide variety of staff members, programmers, and designers. Whereas most software companies focused on professional users and business systems, Kersey founded the company with the intention of supporting the "hobbyist" users who had sprung up when affordable personal computers were made available to the general public.
As a result, much of the Beagle Bros product line consists of software that put the creative power in the hands of the user or expanded popular products of other companies. Apple Mechanic allowed users to create their own shape tables (an early form of sprites) to create their own games, DOS Boss let users patch the disk operating system, and Beagle Bag had a number of simple but fun games written in BASIC that budding programmers could also list out and learn from. In the early days, every Beagle Bros order also included a "Peeks, Pokes, & Pointers" chart, a wall poster that budding Apple programmers could use. One use was to protect their boot disk by entering the Peeks and Pokes that would disable the Control+Reset function that hackers would to use to access the boot disk programming. Another was as a reference for the memory locations that did useful things on the Apple II. The company also later released a Big Tip Book containing many programming tips for Apple hobbyists and also published a Tip Disk. The company took great pride in not copy-protecting their software.
When the Apple IIgs was released, Beagle Bros was among the first companies to release high-quality packages that took full advantage of that computer's capabilities. Both Platinum Paint and BeagleWrite GS (acquired and repackaged) are still regarded as being among the high points of commercial IIgs software.
Beagle Bros reached a new audience when they began producing add-ons for the AppleWorks integrated package. Their first AppleWorks add-on, released in 1986, was the MacroWorks keyboard shortcut utility by Randy Brandt. Beagle Bros programmer Alan Bird later devised an API for creating AppleWorks add-ons, which they dubbed TimeOut. The company produced an extensive and ever-expanding line of TimeOut products. TimeOut programmers Alan Bird, Randy Brandt and Rob Renstrom were tapped by Claris to develop AppleWorks 3.0, and the TimeOut API itself became a part of AppleWorks with version 4.0 (created by Randy Brandt and Dan Verkade; released by Quality Computers). Eventually the TimeOut API was made public and a number of non-Beagle TimeOut applications were released.
The end of an age came in 1991 when then-owner Mark Simonsen licensed the Beagle Bros Apple II line to Quality Computers. Quality Computers subsequently went through several acquisitions and no longer exists. However, many Beagle Bros "classics" were released as freeware in the mid-1990s, including most of the company's early utilities and games. Today, their programs are available on the Internet.
BeagleWorks, the company's main Macintosh product, was licensed to WordPerfect Corporation in 1992, where it became WordPerfect Works. This product was later discontinued after WordPerfect was acquired by Novell. The company also produced a few small Macintosh and PC utilities.
Many former "Beaglers" have continued to be involved in the software industry; for example, Joe Holt is one of the authors of iMovie, and Alan Bird has worked on Eudora and was the author of the OneClick shortcut utility for Macintosh. Randy Brandt created Online Army Knife, an award-winning Macintosh spell checker, and continued publishing AppleWorks products through his JEM Software spin-off. Mark Munz created Deja ][, which allows AppleWorks to run under Mac OS X. The company's founder, Bert Kersey, started a model train company after selling Beagle Bros, featuring much of the same humor, but is now retired and living in Fallbrook, California with his wife Sharon and a backyard full of barn owls.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of Beagle Bros was their use of vintage woodcut art in their print material. While many computer and software companies in the 1980s aimed for flashy, high-tech logos and advertising, Beagle Bros cultivated a nostalgic, down-home feel in keeping with their intended mission of creating software that was welcoming to inexperienced computer owners.
Humor permeated Beagle Bros products, even extending to the warning label printed on their 5.25" disk jackets. Unlike most disk care labels, which warned that magnets, water, and high temperatures could damage disks, Beagle Bros' warning icons admonished users not to use their disks as kites, fold them into paper planes, set fire to them, or feed them to alligators.
Another delight was the "two-liner" computer programs that peppered Beagle Bros advertising and mailers. Each new Beagle Bros communication contained one or more Applesoft BASIC programs tucked away in speech balloons or whitespace. The two-liners were always nigh-impenetrable, yet extremely clever, little programs that showcased unusual tricks or capabilities of the Apple II. At first these were written by Kersey himself; later, users began submitting their own. Eventually, almost every Beagle Bros release came with a selection of these "miniprograms" either on disk or in the box inserts.
|Apple Printer||Lo-res graphics and titling program|
|Alpha Plot||Bert Kersey and Jack Cassidy||1980||Hi-res graphics program|
|Apple Mechanic/Shape Mechanic||Bert Kersey||1982||Hi-res shape/font editor; multiple other utilities|
|Apple Mechanic Typefaces||Bert Kersey||Twenty-six fonts for use with Apple Mechanic|
|AppleWorks 3.0 Companion||Patches for various AppleWorks 3.0 modules|
|Bag of Tricks||Don Worth and Pieter Lechner||Examine, edit, reformat and repair disk data (published by Quality Software)|
|Beagle Bag||Bert Kersey and the Beagle Bros staff||A collection of games including Buzzword!, Elevators, Hang Person, Magic Pack, Oink!, Pick-A-Pair, Quick-Draw!, Slippery Digits, Sub Search, TextTrain, Triple Digits and Wowzo, plus the Beagle Menu utility|
|Beagle BASIC||Mark Simonsen||1983||An expanded version of AppleSoft BASIC with various new commands|
|The Beagle Compiler||Alan Bird||1986||AppleSoft BASIC program compiler|
|BeagleDraw||Robert A. Hearn and Jeff G. Erickson||1989||Apple IIGS graphic application, formerly TopDraw|
|Beagle Graphics||Mark Simonsen||Graphics editor in 16-color double hi-res|
|Beagle Screens||Fred & Sara Crone, Matt Reimer, Bert Kersey and Robert Renstrom||1986||Full-screen captionable clip art|
|BeagleWorks||1992||Later renamed WordPerfect Works, then PerfectWorks|
|BeagleWrite, BeagleWrite GS||ProDOS-based GUI word processor, acquired from Styleware where it had been named MultiScribe|
|BeagleWrite Desk Accessories||Adds a clock, calendar and calculator|
|BeagleWrite Picture Manager||Allows import of Print Shop (8-bit) and Newsroom images|
|Big U||Randy Brandt||1986||ProDOS utilities including CRT.WRITER, FILE.MOVER and KEYCAT.80|
|D Code||Alan Bird||AppleSoft program optimizer and debugger|
|DiskQuik||Harry Bruce and Gene Hite||Creates a virtual disk in RAM|
|DOS Boss||Bert Kersey and Jack Cassidy||DOS 3.3 enhancer and command editor|
|Double-Take||Mark Simonsen||Various small utilities including two-way text scrolling|
|Extra K||Alan Bird and Mark Simonsen||1985||An extended memory utility allowing AppleSoft to use a second 64K bank of memory in an upgraded IIe or IIc|
|FatCat||Alan Bird||Disk library cataloguer|
|Flash||Joe Holt||1989||Tool to copy files over AppleTalk, integrated into the Finder. Beagle's first Macintosh program|
|Flex Type||Mark Simonsen||1982||Variable-width hi-res text utility|
|Font Mechanic||Mark & Jon Simonsen||1985||Thirty fonts for use with Shape Mechanic|
|Frame-Up||Tom Weishaar||1982||Apple presentation program|
|GPLE||Neil Konzen||1983||Global Program Line Editor for AppleSoft BASIC programs. Originally published by Synergistic Software, 1982.|
|GS Font Editor||Font editor for AppleWorks|
|I.O. Silver||Brad Wilhelmsen||1984||Popular strategy/action game rebooted in 2014 as a 30th anniversary mobile app: I. O. Silver|
|MacroWorks||Randy Brandt||1986||Macros (keyboard shortcuts)for AppleWorks 1.3|
|Master Find||Master Mind-style game|
|Minipix||Fred & Sara Crone||A three-disk series of clipart collections|
|Outliner||Randy Brandt||1990||AppleWorks 3.0 Word Processor outlining|
|Platinum Paint||Matt Reimer||Apple IIGS paint program|
|Point-to-Point||Gary Little||Telecommunications program|
|Power Print||Robert Renstrom||Dot matrix printer utility|
|Pro-Byter||1985||Disk editor and ProDOS utilities|
|Program Writer||Alan Bird||1987||AppleSoft program editor|
|ProntoDOS||Tom Weishaar||Accelerated version of DOS 3.3 with other additional features|
|Resource Disk||Sample file disk for SuperFonts Activity Guide|
|Shape Mechanic||Bert Kersey and Mark Simonsen||Shape animation and screen fonts|
|Silicon Salad||Bert Kersey and Mark Simonsen||Various tips, tricks and utilities from Beagle Bros Tip Books 5, 6 and 7|
|Super MacroWorks||Randy Brandt||1986||Macros (keyboard shortcuts) for AppleWorks 2.0|
|TimeOut series||Various add-ons for AppleWorks 2.0 and newer built on the TimeOut core technology created by Alan Bird. Includes products detailed below, plus MacroEase, MacroTools, Paint, TeleComm and Utilities|
|TimeOut DeskTools||Howard Bangerter, Alan Bird, Glenn Clawson, Mark de Jong & Dan Verkade||1987||Calculator, Calendar, Case Converter, Clock, Data Converter, Dialer, Envelope Addresser, File Encrypter, Note Pad, Page Preview, Puzzle, Word Count|
|TimeOut DeskTools II||Dan Verkade, Glenn Clawson & Randy Brandt||1988||Area Codes, Calculator+, Clipboard Viewer, DirecTree, Disk Tester, File Search, Measurements, Printer Manager, Screen Out, Screen Printer, Stop Watches|
|TimeOut FileMaster||Randy Brandt||1987||File and disk utilities|
|TimeOut Grammar||Dan Verkade||Grammar checking for the AppleWorks Word Processor|
|TimeOut Graph||Robert Renstrom||1987||Graphing for the AppleWorks Spreadsheet|
|TimeOut MacroEase||Randy Brandt & Mark Munz||1990||Macro-related Timeout apps and sample macros|
|TimeOut MacroTools||Randy Brandt||1988||Macro-related Timeout apps and sample macros|
|TimeOut MacroTools II||Randy Brandt||1988||Macro-related Timeout apps and sample macros|
|TimeOut PowerPack||Randy Brandt||1988||ASCII Values, AWP to TXT, Category Search, Desktop Sorter, File Librarian, Help Screens, Line Sorter, Program Selector, Triple Clipboard, Triple Desktop|
|TimeOut QuickSpell||Alan Bird||1987||Spell checking for the AppleWorks Word Processor|
|TimeOut ReportWriter||Dan Verkade||1989||Relational reports for the Data Base and Spreadsheet|
|TimeOut SpreadTools||Alan Bird, Randy Brandt and Dan Verkade||1988||CelLink, Block Copy, Error Analyzer, Bird's Eye View, AutoZoom, Data Converter, Cross Reference, Formula/Value Switcher, Quick Widths, Row Column Converter|
|TimeOut SideSpread||Mark Simonsen||1987||Wide paper printing for the AppleWorks Spreadsheet|
|TimeOut SuperFonts||Mark Simonsen||1987||Graphical fonts for the AppleWorks Word Processor|
|TimeOut SuperForms||Dan Verkade||Form generation|
|TimeOut TextTools||Mark Munz, Randy Brandt and Howard Bangerter||assorted tools|
|TimeOut Thesaurus||Alan Bird||Synonyms in the AppleWorks Word Processor|
|TimeOut UltraMacros||Randy Brandt||1987||Keystroke recorder and macro programming language|
|Tip Disk#1||Bert Kersey||One hundred tips from the Beagle Bros Tip Books|
|Triple-Dump||Mark Simonsen and Robert Renstrom||"Print anything" utility for dot matrix printers|
|Utility City||Bert Kersey||1982||Twenty-one separate Apple utilities|
|Zoom Graphix||Sends hi-res images to any graphics-compatible printer|
- The Beagle Bros Online Museum
- The Beagle Brothers Software repository
- Beagle Bros' software at the Lost Classics Project
- Backyard Barn Owls — Beagle Bros' founder's current Web site about barn owls (includes contact link)